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Special of the Day
     

Special of the Day

3.8 6
by Elaine Fox
 

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Writing with her trademark wit and humour, Elaine Fox brings us another wonderfully charming contemporary romance about a beauty who finally finds love that is more than just skin deep.

Life can be difficult when you're stunningly beautiful. For Roxanne Rayeaux, a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, beauty had its costs. Not only did she have to worry

Overview

Writing with her trademark wit and humour, Elaine Fox brings us another wonderfully charming contemporary romance about a beauty who finally finds love that is more than just skin deep.

Life can be difficult when you're stunningly beautiful. For Roxanne Rayeaux, a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, beauty had its costs. Not only did she have to worry constantly about how she looked, but she was considered stupid by strangers. She became romantically involved with a man who turned out to be married. So Roxanne pitched the world of diets and philanderers and moved her orange cat, Cheeto (the closest she could come to that forbidden food) to Virginia to open a restaurant. She went looking for some peace and tranquillity and instead inherited the restaurant's contentious, but sexy bartender, Steve Serrano.

An average joe most of his life, Steve cannot deny Roxanne's obvious physical charms but thinks she is stuck up and pretentious — not his type. Roxanne, suspicious of Steve's motives after a rash of break-ins occurs at the restaurant and a string of bad publicity appears in the local gossip column, cannot let her guard down around him. Besides he's not her type.

If only they weren't so darned attracted to each other...

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060740597
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/01/2005
Series:
Avon Romance Series
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

Special of the Day

Chapter One

Bar Special

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.

Meet the Author

Elaine Fox has spent enough of her life datingto know that the scenarios described in this book arecompletely plausible — though she disclaims any direct experience with any of them. Fortunately,however, she has been able to parlay this extendedsearch for romance into a career and hopesher readers appreciate the cathartic experience whileliving happily-ever-after lives themselves. Elainecurrently lives in Virginia.

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3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was not disappointed in this book.. The Author carries her humor on in all of her books. It had mystery, romance, and humor all in one.. I would recommend any book by this Author.. Looking forward to her next book.. The book Made you want to keep reading and it grabs your attention right in the beginning. There were some parts I admit that I found a little boring.. But with out those parts the book would not have any basis to it.. so it was worth reading those parts to be able to get the full insight of the story.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Old Town Alexandria, New York transplant and former model and a recent CIA grad (Culinary Institute of America that is) Roxanne Rayeaux opens up a new restaurant Charters Fish House where she will also serve as the pastry chef. She leaves open the door to her new Virginia apartment so after knocking, her upstairs neighbor historian and bartender Steve Serrano enters to introduce himself to his new boss. Instead he frightens Roxanna and her cat Cheeto before she throws him out.--- Steve works at the Charters Fish House to give him access to the restaurant as he is actually looking for a historical document that he thinks is somewhere on the premises of this old edifice. Roxanne meets the current workers of the failing restaurant and lays down her changes starting with organs to a disbelieving staff and puts Steve in his place when he tries to explain that before management ruined the place six months ago, it was a success. As he and his boss argue they fall in love while break-ins and other nasty activity occur as others seek what Steve wants (that is besides his employer). Steve also worries that Roxanne will end their relationship once she learns about his undercover sleuthing.--- This is a fun contemporary romance starring two likable lead protagonists and a terrific support cast. The war of words between them is worth the price of admission as the two combatants battle with one another as much as each one wrestles with their growing attraction to each other. Elaine Fox provides a sly sweet tale of love in the kitchen and a few other places.--- Harriet Klausner
sara_b_timmins More than 1 year ago
I loved that the hero was a bartender - not some cop/fireman etc. This story was grounded and yet laugh out loud and loveable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Had lots of good laughs and enough steam to make it worth reading. Characters and story line very well written. Once again Elaine Fox wrote an fab read and worth putting in the re-read pile.