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Striptease (Harlequin Blaze #99)

Striptease (Harlequin Blaze #99)

4.2 5
by Alison Kent

Product Details

Publication date:
Harlequin Blaze Series , #99
Product dimensions:
4.26(w) x 6.68(h) x 0.72(d)

Read an Excerpt


By Alison Kent

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0373791038

Chapter One

The gIRLS of gIRL-gEAR by Samantha Venus for Urban Attitude Magazine

Samantha Venus, intrepid reporter, insatiable gossip, back at long last with news about our favorite fashion divas. They soon won't be only our hometown honeys, but national - dare I say international - treasures.

My favorite L.A. production company and my favorite television show hostess with more mostess than most, Ann Russell, will pry out secrets even my bloodhound nose has not been able to divine. And the prospect is just that. Divine.

Even better is this little tidbit Samantha has scooped for all you darlings. Ann and the gIRLS will be baring all, so to speak, for our local Avatare Productions' deliciously dishy videographer Jacob Faulkner.

This reporter, for one, can only hope for a bit of reciprocal baring. We all know that there is nothing quite as yummy as a man stripped to his bare essentials!

Until that blissful day, dear readers ... Samantha Venus signing off for Urban Attitude Magazine.

June ...

Melanie Craine entered the sanctuary of the neighborhood church two blocks from the Hollisters' home. Three quick steps into the air-conditioned interior and she thudded to a stop.

"You've got to be kidding me," she muttered, knowing he wasn't kidding her at all.

What he was doing was ignoring every word of this morning's phone conversation during which she'd told him - yet again - where she wanted the cameras located for tonight's taping of Lauren and Anton's wedding.

Melanie jammed her pocket PC's stylus into its slot, then zipped the whole device into the pale yellow case at her waist. She was not about to let down the bride or the groom. Especially not after the honor of being asked to handle their wedding video details.

Setting her videographer on the straight and narrow had just become job one.

Her status as gIRL-gEAR's resident geek gave Melanie the inside scoop on the city's best in high-tech photographers and video firms. And Avatare Productions had been the obvious choice.

Or so she'd thought until she'd been stuck with the company's hard-headed, opinionated and - yes, okay - admittedly hunky crew chief.

No doubt about it.

Jacob Faulkner had been put on this earth to ruin her life.

But she'd be damned if she'd let him ruin her day.

Marching down the aisle to the raised dais, she stood on the first step, watching him tilt one of the remote-controlled cameras he'd mounted on either end of the choir box railing.

"Back up about three steps," he ordered her without looking up.

Melanie took three steps toward him instead. "What are you doing?"

"The job I've been hired to do." Frowning at the camera's LCD screen, he gestured to a point behind where she stood. "Not forward. Back. About six steps."

She shoved hands to hips and dug in her heels. She so did not want to fight with this man. Not today. "I thought we agreed the planter boxes were situated in the best spot for filming the wedding party."

Jacob continued to check the LCD image. "You suggested the planters." He shrugged. "I considered the suggestion."

Obviously for about as long as it had taken him to throw it away. She, on the other hand, had checked out the angle at least a dozen times and knew she was right. She tightened both hands into fists.

"Look, I know you're doing your job, but the bride is one of my business partners and a very good friend. She and the groom have put their trust in me to make this work. I intend to see that it does."

"The very reason I'm here, sweetheart." Again he waved her back before bending to check hidden wires and connections. "Six steps is all I need. Think of it as earning that trust."

Melanie pressed her lips together and held her tongue, an act that required more effort than she'd expected. Why were men so threatened by a strong woman's input, forget ever taking one's advice? No. They had to establish dominance and power and all other matters by penis size.

Frowning, Jacob straightened and resumed viewing the camera's display. "How tall are you?"

"Five-eight, but what my height has to do with anything -"

"Same as the bride. Heels look to be about the same, too. Once you're in place, I'll have a better idea of what I'm working with here."

Shoving a hand through hair that had to look like a mop by now, Melanie gritted her teeth. Compromises rubbed against her grain when it came to boys who thought they were the boss. But this wasn't about her. This was about Lauren.

So Melanie offered the only concession she was willing to make. "I know you can control the zoom remotely, but I'm worried the cameras are too far off center."

"They're not."

"So you say. I want to see exactly what you're seeing. Then I'll decide."

Blowing out an aggravated breath, Jacob glanced halfway in her direction. "Look. You've got control issues. That's cool. But could you save it for another guy? I'm not really into being whipped."

Melanie sputtered. Control issues? Whipped?

He straightened suddenly and met her eyes. "Hey, sorry. I shouldn't have said that."

Not "Hey, sorry, I didn't mean that." She crossed her arms and waited.

He gestured to his camera. "It's just that there's no way you can see what I'm seeing, even looking at the same view screen. We'd focus on different things."

"And how do you know that?"

"I've been at this for a lot of years. Time and experience have changed what I see, what I look for," he said. Then he added, "Besides, you're a girl. And I'm a guy - a very intuitive type, mind you, but still a guy."

"Intuitive. Really?"

"Really." He pressed his lips together in a cocky, bad boy sort of grin before adding, "Kind, considerate and sensitive, too."

She snorted.

He offered a modest shrug. "Hey, it's what all the women tell me."

Bonehead. "Right. You're not into being whipped."

Jacob's mouth quirked. A nice mouth, Melanie hated to notice. His burgeoning smile showed off great teeth and deep dimples, and hinted at a charming sense of humor. Just not enough of a hint to counter the black marks he'd racked up with his control issues remark.

Still ... Lauren. Think about Lauren.


Excerpted from Striptease by Alison Kent Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Alison Kent was a born reader, but it wasn't until the age of thirty that she decided she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Five years and a mental library of industry knowledge later, she had the most basic grasp of "how-to" and her first book in print.

Three years after that, she found a permanent home at Harlequin, accepting an invitation issued by the senior editor of the Temptation series, live on the "Isn't It Romantic?" episode of CBS 48 Hours.

That book, Call Me, was a Romantic Times finalist for Best First Series Book in 1996.

With her first three Temptations in print, she took a break from writing romance novels and spent a few months living one, finding her own hero and practicing every technique she'd learned from a lifetime of reading the best "how-to" manuals around! She now writes for both the Harlequin Blaze and Kensington Brava lines, and is a partner in Access Romance and DreamForge Media.

And the rest, as they say, is history. With the encouragement of her new master, er, husband, Alison is now back at work writing the stories she loves to read -- the fantasies that show readers the way love was meant to be. Alison lives in a Houston, Texas, suburb with her hero, four vagabond kids and a dog named Smith.

And she actually manages to write in the midst of all that madness.

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Striptease (Harlequin Blaze #99) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
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Control is the one thing that has made her successful in business and life. How can Melanie Craine prevent herself from being taken in by a cocky, bad boy attitude and a body to make a woman weep? Oh, and when he looks at her? What thoughts come to her mind then? She absolutely hates it. When Jacob Faulkner is assigned to film a documentary based on the successful gIRL gEAR business, he leaves Melanie a gift - something he made for her back at her friend's wedding, where they first met. Jacob was the videographer there. For reasons Jacob can't explain, Melanie affects him like no other woman. It is bad enough that Jacob has been under Melanie's skin since they first met. But then, Melanie fumes after investigating his gift, and devises the perfect scheme. She sets up her own surprise for Jacob, a striptease video. Melanie loves to have the upper hand. However, when she finds out that Jacob will be at her friend's barbeque, she gets quite nervous. What will Jacob think of her now? Melanie is a strong career woman. Business always comes first, no matter what. Will she continue to put gIRL gEAR first, despite the strong feelings that are quickly developing for Jacob? Will she ever use her heart and allow it to overrule her head - just for once? Jacob is determined he will not repeat the example his parents set. Two people married to their jobs and to each other, but two people who should never have had children. Why is it that Jacob's career is on such a fast track that he cannot see that it is time to open up his heart? While enjoying this passionate relationship with Jacob and Melanie, there is a secondary romance with Jacob's sister, Renata in STRIPTEASE. Renata met Aiden at a barbeque and they hit it off quite well. STRIPTEASE is about two people willing to share their bodies, but reluctant to share their souls. For a while it is also about one-upmanship. Who will give in first? Who will recognize that you can have a career and love? It is refreshing to see other women who have found love in STRIPTEASE - Sydney, Chloe and Macy. Their stories are in the other gIRL gEAR books. We also get to revisit Kinsey and Poe, who have their own gIRL gEAR stories coming up. Watching these women and seeing how their lives changed has a strong affect on Melanie, and makes her reconsider her choices. This makes STRIPTEASE very enjoyable and easy to read, because I couldn't help but root for Melanie. I wanted her to see past her need to be ambitious. Ms. Kent has done another fantastic job with this book! I enjoyed STRIPTEASE as much as I did ALL TIED UP, NO STRINGS ATTACHED and BOUND TO HAPPEN. I cannot wait to read Kinsey's story in WICKED GAMES (October, 03), and Poe's in INDISCREET (January, 04). If you want to continue on in this wonderfully touching series, do not miss picking up a copy of STRIPTEASE. Just as Jacob got more than be bargained for, so will the reader of this fantastic book.