Read an Excerpt
Truly, Madly, Briefly/Tried and True
By Delores Fossen Katie Gallagher
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIf it hadn't been for the missing case of size triple-X Magic Magenta thong underwear, Bobbie would have kept her distance from Deputy Aidan O'Shea.
As it was, she had to put aside thoughts of lotteries, love and lust so she could report a possible crime. A really weird crime but a crime nonetheless.
She peered through the window to make sure the deputy was in his office. He was. And he was alone. He had his back to her, the phone squished between his shoulder and neck. It gave Bobbie an unrestricted view of the bottom-snuggling khakis that some had dubbed the item of clothing most eligible for removal. Not that anyone had personal knowledge of such removal, but it'd given the town fuel for fantasies.
When the bell on the door jangled, Deputy O'Shea glanced over his shoulder, and Bobbie eased inside the office. She motioned for him to continue with his conversation.
"Yes, I have that," he assured the person on the other end of the line.
Ah, the Boston accent. It was pure music to her ears, which were accustomed to Texas drawls. It made her thankful that Boston had actually agreed to the six-week law-enforcement exchange program. Liffey, Texas, however, had gotten the better part of the deal since Bobbie's cousin, Wes, was already on his way to his exchange station. That put Aidan, eye candy extraordinaire, right in front of her.
"But you'll actually have to come to the office to press charges, Miss Determyer," Aidan went on. He paused. "No, you'll have to come here to do that. With Sheriff Cooper still out with the flu, I can't leave the office unless there's a crime in progress." Another pause. "No. A funny feeling in the pit of your stomach doesn't constitute a crime."
Bobbie sank down in the chair in front of his desk and just listened. She couldn't stop the little trickle of heat that made its way through her. It was stupid, really stupid, but just hearing his voice made her go all warm and gooey. Too bad warm and gooey were the very things she had to avoid - hot fudge sundaes excluded. Deputy Aidan O'Shea was a temporary fixture in town, and she didn't want to mess with anything temporary.
"How can I help you?" he asked.
Pulling herself out of her daydreams, she got to her feet. "You probably don't remember me -"
"You're Bobbie Callahan, manager of Boxers or Briefs, the men's underwear factory at 225 Everton Road. You've had four parking tickets in the past six months. One citation for jaywalking. Yesterday, you were a no-show for your dental appointment. And you have an overdue library book titled The Joys of Swamp Tours through the Everglades."
So he did know a few things about her after all. Rather embarrassing things. Sheez. What a town of tattletales.
It probably wouldn't do any good to mention that her cousin had issued each and every one of those parking and walking citations and that he'd done it just to aggravate her.
"I paid the tickets," she explained. "And I'll reschedule the dental exam and take care of that library book first thing in the morning."
But apparently he wasn't finished. "You're also the winner of the Aidan-o-rama lottery."
Bobbie should have realized that he'd catch wind of something as ridiculous as the ill-contrived lottery put together by a bunch of women with obviously too much time on their hands.
Heck, Aidan had probably known the winner within seconds after Henrietta Beekins plucked Bobbie's name from the hat. Or rather the gallonsize Crock-Pot that Henrietta's lottery committee had used to hold the 137 slivers of paper.
Aidan glanced down at the Hank's Feed and Bait desk calendar. "I didn't think the lottery thing was supposed to start until tomorrow morning."
"It isn't. I mean, I guess it is. I'm really not sure. Look, I didn't even enter that stupid lottery."
Mercy, it sounded like a bona fide fish story. But the truth was she hadn't entered the lottery that would have given her a whole week of sole pursuing rights for the hottest guy in town - Aidan O'Shea.
Bobbie hadn't even considered entering it. After tangling twice with Jasper Kershaw, she needed another man about as much as a longhorn needed ultra-sheer panty hose.
"My uncles thought they were doing me a favor," Bobbie explained. "They were wrong, as they usually are when it comes to meddling in my personal life. I have no intentions of pursuing you tomorrow or any other day. Not that you're not worthy of pursuit. But I'm just not in the market for a man. Any man. I'm sort of taking a hiatus from romance and, um, all that other stuff."
From the deputy's crisp nod, it seemed he was pleased with her babbling. "Is this because of the travel agent who jilted you twice?"
She hadn't dared to hope that he hadn't heard about Jasper's jiltings either. Despite Aidan's arrival merely a week earlier, he'd probably heard the fiasco discussed in complete fiasco detail. Jasper and she were still one of the town's hottest topics. "Let's just say it's jaded my outlook about any and all future relationships."
Jaded, jinxed and junked them.
Again, he nodded in approval. "Your uncles," he commented. "I met them."
From the way he pulled his rather well-shaped mouth together, it hadn't been a pleasant meeting either. Since Bobbie didn't want to speculate about what such an encounter would entail, she settled for an inquisitive sounding "Oh?"
"They were in here this morning." Aidan unwrapped a small candy-striped mint and popped it into his mouth. "They tried to talk me into modeling for the Boxers or Briefs Internet catalog." He paused. "I declined their generous offer."
Excerpted from Truly, Madly, Briefly/Tried and True by Delores Fossen Katie Gallagher 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.