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Special of the Day
Fish House Punch -- expect the unexpected ...
Light and Dark rum, brandy, peach brandy, lemon juice, sugar
Roxanne Rayeaux raised her hips and let out a little moan. She tilted her head back, exposing her throat, and arched her back, moving one shoulder to release the tangled locks of her long hair from beneath her.
Enveloped in darkness, surrounded by mystery, she had to admit she was nervous. Yes, very nervous.
She bit her bottom lip and reached out, palms sweating, to find the steely shaft in the dark. Cupping it with uncertain hands, she felt its length. Could she find the right spot? She hoped she wouldn't get wet.
She tried to remember the page in the book that had shown this maneuver. She was not at all sure she was in the right position; it certainly didn't feel like the right position. She was ... uncomfortable.
Though she would have admitted it to no one, she had never done anything like this before.
If only she'd thought to light a candle. She could at least have made sure she wasn't lying down with a rat.
She didn't have a flashlight, not one of her lamps would fit in here, and her body blocked most of the light from the cabinet door.
She was alone under the sink with the pipes. And a more inept plumber she'd be hard pressed to find. Steve Serrano knocked again on the oak-paneled door, then tilted his head to align an eyeball to the opening. Awoman's shoe kept the door from closing completely, leaving a crack through which to see the inside of the apartment.
Nice furnishings. Some boxes. Classical music on the radio. Or no, he leaned further to the right, on the highend CD system he could see in the corner against the exposed brick wall.
He pushed on the door and it swung wider.
"Hello?" he called.
An orange cat bolted from the couch, lit out across the room and disappeared through a door down a short hallway.
Steve stepped inside the apartment. This one was definitely nicer than his, but maybe that was because there were real oriental rugs on the hardwood floor and actual artwork hanging on the walls.
He moved into the living room and put his hands on his hips. This was one high-class woman. He'd seen the truck from his window when she'd moved in two weeks ago, but he'd never seen her. And he'd expected to. She'd just bought the restaurant downstairs in which he worked as a bartender.
He set the bottle of wine he'd brought as a welcome gift on a sleek glass-topped coffee table and moved toward the kitchen. She had to be home. Why else would her door have been ajar?
He stopped at the entry to the kitchen, his attention caught by the sight of two long jean-clad legs sticking out from beneath the sink. Above the waistband, where her shirt had hiked up, he saw the jut of a hip bone and the curve of a small waist.
He strode across the black and white tiles to look down the drain opening. There, in the dim light, glowed the pale profile of a woman.
"Hey," he greeted mildly.
She gasped, and dropped something loud and metallic beside her.
"Damn it," she hissed.
To herself, he thought, though she could have been swearing at him. Then she started to push herself out from inside the cabinet.
As she wriggled from the space he couldn't help noticing -- objectively, of course -- that she had a lithe, agile body, if a little on the skinny side. But when her head emerged, complete with a tangled mass of dark hair and black smudges on her forehead and cheek, his breath about left his body.
She was -- again, objectively -- gorgeous. Maybe the most gorgeous woman he'd ever seen in real life.
Even sitting on the floor, covered in dirt, a spiderweb in her hair, she looked like something out of a movie. Her dark eyes flashed above high cheekbones and her mouth was so sensually shaped he couldn't help picturing it sucking strawberries on the big screen.
He almost glanced around to see if someone was playing a joke. As if he might have stumbled into one of those homemaking reality shows, one that pitted beautiful women against average men in some kind of plumbing contest.
She ran one hand across her brow, moving locks of long hair to the side of her face. "You scared me."
"I, uh, I didn't mean to." The words came out like bricks. He'd never been struck so dumb by a pretty face. "I thought you heard me coming."
"What, over the music?" She threw a hand out toward the sound system. She was over her fright now and clearly getting angry.
"Well I was singing along." He couched this with a smile.
Slim, arched brows descended over luscious, inky eyes. "Who are you? And what are you doing in here?"
He motioned behind him, unable to pry his gaze from her face. "The door was open."
"And that looked like an invitation to you?" Those lips quirked in a sarcastic -- attractively sarcastic, God help him -- manner.
"Well, I thought, you know, I had this wine ... " He looked around for it, had forgotten what he'd done with it.
She exhaled. "Listen, I'm not interested, got it? And next time, knock. Though I'd appreciate it if there wasn't a next time."
He looked back at her. She had one hand on her hip, clutching a wrench. The other hand was slimed from nails to knuckles with trap grease. Still, she managed to look haughty.
He laughed once. Amazing how beauty could dim with the wrong personality attached to it. Words flooded back to him ...Special of the Day. Copyright © by Elaine Fox. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.