Read an Excerpt
Tell Me Something Good
Lyrissa Rideau stood beside her boss, barely able to believe he was about to introduce her to the Georgina St. Denis. She'd chosen her clothes for the occasion with great care. The soft dove gray silk suit was conservative without being too severe. A rose blouse beneath the jacket softened the look.
"It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Mrs. St. Denis." Shelton Taylor's voice dripped old New Orleans Creole charm. "Welcome to Taylor Gallery."
Georgina St. Denis held a carved mahogany walking cane, but didn't lean on it. Her iron gray hair was brushed back into a French twist at the nape of her neck. "Thank you, Mr. Taylor." She inclined her head ever so slightly and gazed at Lyrissa, a question in her eyes.
"This is my assistant, Lyrissa Rideau." Mr. Taylor turned to Lyrissa.
Lyrissa nodded to Mrs. St. Denis with deference. "Hello."
Mrs. St. Denis gave her a cool smile that was more a dismissal than a greeting, yet Lyrissa was hardly intimidated. In fact, she was practically giddy at her own good fortune. No, that wasn't accurate. Good fortune implied luck. But luck had had little to do with this meeting. Lyrissa had made this day a reality. A careful word in the right circles she'd carefully cultivated for the last three months had borne fruit. Today the plum had dropped right into her lap. Perfect.
"Come this way to my office." Mr. Taylor paused and turned to Lyrissa. "Would you please get us some coffee?"
"Of course," Lyrissa said.
"I'll have decaffeinated café au lait," Mrs. St. Denis said over her shoulder as she walked on ahead as though she owned the place. "Doctor'sorders."
Anxiety flittered across Mr. Taylor's face. "Would you mind, Lyrissa?"
"No problem. I'll get it from CC's Coffee House," Lyrissa said quickly.
"Thank you," he whispered, handing her a twenty-dollar bill. "Here. Say a prayer for me. This woman is just as likely to eat me alive as hire me," he muttered before scurrying off after the imperious woman.
Lyrissa laughed. Georgina St. Denis had a reputation for being a rottweiler in pearls. She should feel guilty. After all, Lyrissa was the indirect cause of the poor man's panic attack. Yet she was too happy at the prospect of getting close to the St. Denis family art collection to feel anything but triumph.
She strode past Mr. Taylor's office and around a corner down another hallway. The storage room had a wide door that led to the alley and a loading dock. A muscular young man was unpacking a massive cast-iron sculpture.
"Kevin, I'm going out to get coffee for a potential client. Do you want something?"
He stood straight and wiped his forehead with the back of his hand. "Nah, I'm okay. What's wrong with the coffee we got?"
"It's not decaf café au lait," Lyrissa intoned in a voice to imitate Georgina St. Denis.
"'Scuse me!" Kevin grinned at her. "Guess we'd better start stockin' the good stuff."
Lyrissa waved a hand. "Not necessary. Her highness won't be back soon. We'll be visiting the royal palace from now on to see her art collection. Sure you don't want anything?"
"No way. I'm in training. Nothing but bottled water for me these days." The young man was on the Southern University wrestling team.
"What discipline," Lyrissa said with a grin and left.
She walked back down the hall toward the side entrance and paused outside Mr. Taylor's office door. The murmur of voices came through the smooth oak, but she couldn't make out the words.
"Maybe if you pressed your ear to it you could hear better," a deep voice said.Lyrissa jumped and turned sharply. "I, I work here, and..."
Her voice died away when she looked into a pair of eyes the color of dark amber with a hint of green. Shapely, masculine eyebrows lifted above them. The man stood at least six feet three inches tall. His skin was the color of vanilla caramel candy. His face was framed by dark thick bronze curls cut into a short, neat style that suited him. The custom fit navy linen and silk jacket did not disguise broad shoulders. Lyrissa imagined an equally broad chest covered in downy curls. For a moment she forgot to be embarrassed as she pictured this man naked to the waist. Before she could undress him further he spoke again, breaking the spell.
"You get paid to eavesdrop?" His full mouth lifted at one corner as his dark eyebrows arched even higher.
"Yes. I mean, of course not!" Lyrissa blinked her way back to reality. His smart-ass tone pinched a nerve. "May I help you?" she said in her best chilly tone.
"Nice collection," he said, untouched by the frost in her voice. He waved a large hand back toward the main gallery. "Mr. Taylor deserves his reputation, Ms....?"
"Lyrissa Rideau. I assist Mr. Taylor in acquisitions and appraisals." She extended her hand. She felt a shock of warmth like a soft electrical charge at the sensation of his large hand closing around hers. His palm was dry and smooth. He smiled and revealed even white teeth. Her breath went shallow for a split second at the sight. This man went from being merely tall and good-looking to drop-dead gorgeous in the blink of an eye. He let go of her hand too soon.
"I'll just look around a bit more."
"Yes." Her answer was more a sigh than a word. She watched his broad back retreat.
Mr. Taylor opened his office door. "I'll just check on that, Mrs. St. Denis." The short wiry man literally bowed his way out into the hallway. He bumped into Lyrissa. "Where's the café au lait?"
"Um, just on my way," she said, craning her...Tell Me Something Good. Copyright � by Lynn Emery. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.