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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review
Out-of-this-world chemistry and an action-packed plot keep the pages turning in this hot romance with a Rambo twist by New York Times–bestselling author Lori Foster. When Eli Connors hired a tough mercenary to rescue his younger brother from Central America, he had no idea that "the meanest SOB," Ray Vereker, would turn out to be a gorgeous woman with amazing karate skills. For her part, Ray had no idea that working with this sexy, obstinate man would prove to be the hardest mission of her life. Rescuing the brother turns out to be the easy part. Falling in love, learning to trust each other, and dealing with the unexpected consequences of a steamy affair in the jungle is far, far tougher. For their love affair to flourish, both Eli and Ray have to relinquish their need for control. Ginger Curwen
Library Journal
A beautiful, female, Rambo-type mercenary is not at all what Eli Conners had in mind when he contracted with Ray Vereker to rescue his brother from a Central American jungle. But Ray is an expert-with the credentials to prove it-and so Eli agrees, on the condition that he goes along. Predictably, passions flare in concert with the jungle heat-only this time with totally unexpected results. Although not a standard plot device in erotic romance, the surprise pregnancy adds a new dimension to this sassy, modern, and sexually explicit tale. Foster (Too Much Temptation) is a veteran writer of romance novels, most recently of erotic contemporaries, and lives in Ross, OH. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758205490
  • Publisher: Kensington
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.34 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Lori Foster is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many contemporary romances.

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Read an Excerpt

UNEXPECTED


By Lori Foster

Kensington Brava

ISBN: 0-7582-0548-1


Chapter One

She'd already signed the contract.

Backing out now would blow her reputation with the agency, and besides, this mission would be a piece of cake. There was no reason to drag her feet. She needed the money, she was free at the moment and it'd be a routine run, nothing more, nothing less. It'd be easier now than in the past. Everything had changed.

Herself included.

She shook her head at that errant thought. True, she was older now, wiser, more settled. But at the core, she was the same - unacceptable to most, invaluable to others. Her skills, an innate part of her, were still finely honed. She knew what she could do, and damn it, she'd do it. Hell, she'd missed doing it.

So why, when she pushed the door open and stared into the dim, smoky room of the bar, was her heart so heavy in her chest? It wasn't the depressing gray cloud that hung thick in the air, not only from cigarettes, but from disgust and ambivalence and antagonism. This was far from a happy place, but then, she'd known it wouldn't be. By necessity, it was an obscure hole in the Chicago slums where meetings like this one, with people like her, could be handled with discretion.

It was stupid to borrow trouble or dwell in indecision. Doing so undermined her credibility, so instead, she'd concentrate on getting this over with fast and easy, with no complications.

She had everything planned out.

Flipping her bangs off her forehead, she strode into the room, ready to get things started.

Several heads turned her way, scrutinizing her, making note of her appearance. Calculating. For much of her life, she'd gotten undue attention for one reason or another, most of the reasons uncomplimentary. She'd long since gotten used to the stares and the whispers. She ignored them all and with luck, they'd show her the same courtesy.

Peering through the obscuring smoke, she scanned the tables and booths, searching out each darkened corner. Country music blasted through tinny speakers, vying with the boasting and bragging of drunken men. It was the typical atmosphere of a seedy bar. Without thinking, she rubbed her stomach, sick with a rush of vivid memories that never failed to surface.

Then her gaze locked onto his. Wow. The past faded away under the impact of the present - his impact. She felt ... invaded.

Bright hazel eyes, radiant in the otherwise dismal interior, held her captive. She stared at him; he stared back.

Never before had she seen such intense emotion in a man's expression. For a moment, it knocked her off guard. Without moving, he appeared turbulent, frustrated, filled with determination and impatience.

Because of his situation, or because she'd arrived late?

She watched him a moment more, taking his measure. He was bigger than most of the men she knew or had worked with. And he had a more self-assured air. That he'd be trouble she didn't doubt - he pretty much screamed it with a capital T. But how much trouble, that's what she needed to know.

Lounged back in his chair, he allowed her perusal, and even took the time to look her over, too. But then, amazingly enough, he dismissed her by giving his attention back to the entrance of the bar.

Cynical amusement nudged away the lingering nervousness. He hadn't realized her identity? She wasn't what he'd been expecting? Typical. And for a second there, she'd thought he might be more astute than the others.

Anticipating his reaction when she introduced herself, she started toward him. He sat in a solitary table at the far end of the room, his back to the wall so he could face the bar, a rear exit to his right. It was a guarded position she would have chosen, but probably just coincidence for him.

She wove her way around tables, drunks and proffered drinks without once taking her eyes off him.

As was her usual habit at such meetings, she'd dressed in plain black clothes. It made it easier to disappear if necessary, and didn't draw added attention that more complimentary clothes might have.

Her long sleeved tunic hung to mid thigh, loosely fitted so it wouldn't impede her movements should she need to take physical control of the surroundings. Her jeans were slim, her low-heeled boots only ankle high. She never wore jewelry - in fact, she didn't own any to wear - but she did carry a black briefcase. The case was an annoyance, but it usually proved necessary to have it handy.

When she stopped in front of him, his gaze came to her face, arrested for only a moment. Then slowly, very slowly, he looked her over again, his attention lingering in certain places like her chest, below her waist, her thighs. His look was so intimate, so personal that it brought on a mélange of sensations - outrage, disgust and strangely enough, heat. Surely not embarrassment, she told herself. She was too old and far too jaded to be disconcerted by the likes of him.

His visual inspection was appreciative and felt like a tactile touch. Damn it, she didn't like being touched, not without permission.

Her eyes narrowed, prompting him to a softly uttered, reluctant rejection. "Sorry, honey. It's unfortunate, but I'm already busy tonight."

The nerve. Despite her exceptional control, antagonism bristled to the surface. Her every movement rigid, Ray hooked a chair and drew it out. She seated herself, placing the briefcase at her feet for safekeeping.

He cocked one dark brow upward and braced his forearms on the rough, scarred table. The new position emphasized the width of his shoulders, the brawn of his arms. She'd expected another wimpy, slim GQ look-alike, but this man could be a barroom bouncer. He wasn't bulky, just big and hard and solid.

Added to the fine physique were the eyes of a predator, now filled with annoyance. He leaned toward her with a scowl.

"I'm Ray Vereker," she drawled, stopping him in his tracks. She didn't say anything more, didn't offer her hand in polite greeting. She just waited for the usual signs of disbelief and disparagement.

They were slow in coming.

Rather than gape, he leaned back and studied her anew. If she'd thought his earlier perusal was intimate, it was nothing compared to how he looked at her now. For a lesser person, for someone without her skills and background, it might have been an unnerving process. His eyes were such an unusual shade of hazel, cat eyes, bright with intelligence, almost menacing. They went from heated notice to cool regard.

Deciding to mock his up-close and personal inspection with one of her own, Ray draped one elbow over the back of the chair and slouched down in the seat to get comfortable. Wearing an air of unconcern, she took in his appearance from his dark brown hair cut in precise lines to his straight, masculine nose and high cheekbones to his mouth, now flattened with irritation at her boldness. He had a stubborn jaw, she noted, proving he'd be plenty of trouble, indeed.

The black Tee he wore looked softer than heaven, fitted over that broad chest. Even his open jacket screamed wealth, made of fine leather and deliberately scuffed to appear fashionably worn. The watch on his thick wrist probably cost as much as her truck. Maybe more. And his nails were impeccably clean.

Thanks to the table, she couldn't see below his waist, but she'd be willing to bet the rest of him was as sturdy and strong as what she could see. Maybe it was a good thing half of him was hidden. Half was about all she could take at one time. The man made her heart race.

Though she doubted he'd ever been in such a ramshackle bar in his life, he didn't look the least bit ill at ease. Even her presence, which had to be a shocker, hadn't really rattled him.

To be honest with herself, she admitted he was very fine to look at. She appreciated strength and self control. From what she could tell, he had both in spades.

Not that it mattered. He was still rich, and given what she'd seen so far, too arrogant for his own good. What fool came into such a place and advertised himself as an easy mark? By wearing the watch and the jacket, he'd done exactly that.

He was a fool, all right. And for the next few days, she owed him her service.

As the silence stretched on, Ray sighed and crossed her legs. She knew his tactic. He hoped to remain silent so long that she'd begin to babble nervously. He underestimated her. He could sit in strained silence as long as he wanted. Time was money, his money, and she didn't mind wasting it if he didn't.

He looked at her mouth, rubbed his own, then pinned her in place with a laser sharp gaze. In a flat tone devoid of any telltale emotion, he said, "I requested the meanest son-of-a-bitch they had."

She gave a slow smile. "I know what you requested. I have your papers with me."

"And?"

She lifted one shoulder, held up her hands to indicate her presence. "They complied."

Eyes closed, he pinched the bridge of his nose, muttering under his breath. Ray noticed that his hands were large, sprinkled with brown hair. They looked like capable hands, not the pampered, smooth hands of a rich boy.

Catching herself, she jerked her attention back to his face. He scrutinized her, then asked with some disbelief, "Do you have any idea what it is I want from you?"

"Sure."

With a touch of disbelief, his gaze slid all over her again, appraising, before both brows lifted. Ray never moved a muscle. He could look a dozen times if it made him feel better. She wouldn't be changing.

"I assumed 'Ray' would be a man."

"Assumptions are nasty things. They can get you into trouble."

He waved that away. "What's your real name?"

"Ray is my real name."

"Your whole name then."

"Why does it matter?"

Ray could feel his growing tension deep inside herself. It was an odd sensation, one she'd never experienced before. She half expected an explosion at any minute and braced for it, making herself tense too.

"I'm wondering," he said slowly, his unnerving attention on her mouth again, "if there's some feminine nuance I'm missing."

She smirked. "In me, or my name?"

His gaze snapped back to hers and he barked a laugh. "Honey, despite the hard attitude, your appearance is most definitely unmanly."

He said that with ... interest? No, no way. She was lousy at judging men and their various moods in regards to the whole man/woman thing, but she understood reality very well, thank you. No man in his right mind would be thinking of anything but the mission. Not with her. Not now.

And most definitely not after the mission ended, when her special skills had been revealed.

During her ruminations, the silence grew and finally, because she had no reason not to, she said, "Ray Jean Vereker. But I go by Ray and only Ray. You're given fair warning right now not to use my middle name, ever."

Oddly enough, her warning evoked amusement. Oh, he didn't laugh, didn't even smile. But she saw the mischievous twinkle that entered those mysterious eyes. "Yeah? Or what?"

Done with the small talk, with the nonsense, Ray said, "Or I'll walk out and you'll be left to settle for the second meanest son-of-a-bitch there is."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from UNEXPECTED by Lori Foster 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.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 33 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2014

    Good Story But Beware

    I always enjoy Lori Foster's books and characters. What I don't like are books re-released without a disclaimer. Unfortunately, that's the case with this book. Again, good story but not good enough to pay for it twice.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2014

    Great read

    ## Lori Foster rarely disappoints. With the exception of "Getting Rowdy" (which was horrible), I've enjoyed all her books. I loved the heroine in this book. She was so capable and strong and I love that. The hero was sweet and very patient. They had tremendous chemistry. I also loved that they had so much face to face time so they got to know each other. I did think the hero should've broken things off with his girlfriend first, arrangement or not. He however obviously didn't see it as cheating. And it bugged me that he wasn't more persistant in getting rid of her. Other than that, terrific read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2014

    OMGoodness

    This is one of my favorite print books which finally became an ebook!!!! It stood the test of time.....I highly recommend almost anything by Ms Foster but this one tops my list....she makes the characters on equal footing and I like that

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    highly recommended

    love Lori Foster books

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2014

    Who's Alpha?

    This is a good read, but a bit disappointed in the female alpha. The alpha male could have done this mission on his own, but in the end all was well. Something seemed missing from this book, don't know what, but over all it is worth the money to buy and read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2014

    .

    .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2014

    Unexpected

    I read a lot of Lori Forrester books and really like her love and suspense books. This one to me is a 5 star. 224 pgs. Of romance and drama. There is also some laugh out loud parts. The story was told with lots of interest. A must read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2014

    WOW! LORI DID IT AGAIN

    Just one more example of why LF is an auto-buy for me and why all of her books go on my to be re-read shelf! Loved it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Just Okay

    This book had an interesting story but the guy fell in love with the girl really quickly. I guess I just like him to struggle with it or have it hit him suddenly instead of "yeah, I guess I do love this person that I just met..." The main girl, Ray, was a pretty cool kat though...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2007

    Absolutely Awesome

    This was the first Romance novel I've ever read, and I wasn't dissapointed. This book is an excellent story, I couldn't stop reading!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2006

    Another unrealistic, predictable romance...

    After reading 'Saving Brian' and not quite liking it, I gave Foster a second chance as most of the reviews said it did not seem like her typical work. They were wrong! 'Unexpected' had the same eye roll moments, where the main character is so unrealistic, the plot predictable and humor is far and few between. Foster is good at coming up with fresh and original story lines (although unrealistic) and a definite pro at writing sexual scenes. It's your modern day Harlequin romance novel so if that is your thing, this is up your alley. However, if you are into more of the chick lit scene, I suggest Janet Evanovich or Whitney Gaskell.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2005

    I wish I could give it a 4.5

    I really enjoyed this book and I'm sure any other reader would too. I had one problem with each person in the book. Ray had a few too many problems for my taste. It seemed like the whole world was against her. Eli was too understanding and Jeremy was too ungrateful for being saved and held his grudge (which was a pointless, throw in excuse) for too long. I may seem harsh, but I really did enjoy the book. I really would like to give it 4.5 stars. Foster hasn't let me down yet and I don't think she will.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2005

    I loved this book

    This is the first book I've read by this author. I checked it out, but after I read it I went out and bought it. I WILL read all her stuff. The book was great I read it in a day and half. I couldn't put it down, but I didn't want it to end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2003

    This story delivers

    Eli Conners has requested for the meanest mercenary that the agency has available. He needs help in rescuing his younger brother from a dangerous situation in Central America. The merc he gets literally takes his breath away. Ray Vereker is not your ordinary mercenary, for one thing, she is a woman. Her looks and delicate features are deceiving. Ray has sharp skills and knowledge to take on any man or woman. Ray can handle any situation but she didn¿t plan on this amazing attraction to Eli. Eli makes her feel and see things that she has never let into her life before and it scares her more then any mission. Eli realizes a woman like Ray comes along once in a lifetime. He really has his work cut out for him trying to convince her that they have what it takes to make it as a couple. Add to that mix, now there is a baby on the way, which really makes their situation more interesting. Lori Foster has another hit on her hands. This story has such depth and passion. It sizzles and will make you laugh out loud. This book is a must have.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2003

    A wonderful surprise

    Ray Vereker did NOT want to go back into Central America but she needed the money for her brother's college fund and this job should be a piece of cake. Besides, the guy had asked for the meanest and best that the agency had, and she was it. Not that he would believe that. She always ended up having to prove to them that she was more than capable of doing her job and she was kind of looking forward to doing that tonight. Eli Conners first thought is that there is no way the woman claiming to be his hired mercenary can help him get his little brother out of Central America. However, after seeing her in action he is forced to admit that she knows her stuff and he would like to know her better. He is determined that once that get back to the states he is going to make her his and she is just as determined that they will never see each other again. Neither expects the 'unexpected'. I really had my doubts about a female mercenary as a romance heroine but this was truly a delightful book. Ray is just tough enough to hold her own in ANY situation and I could just see the look on Eli's face during some of these scenes. It is fast paced, sweet, sexy and in some places, absolutely laugh-out-loud-and-hope-nobody-is-looking funny. Go ahead, give it try. You won't regret it.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent characterizations

    In a Chicago dive, Eli Conners awaits the arrival of the meanest SOB that a firm he contacted for special help employed. Into the bar walks a beautiful woman, who joins him. The company sent Ray ¿don¿t call me Jean¿ Vereker, who confidently informs Eli that she is the best and baddest. She will go to Central America to retrieve his kidnapped brother, as she already knows where he is held.<P> After seeing her ¿perform¿ and reading her resume and accolades, Eli hires her, but insists he accompany her when she goes to free nineteen year old Jeremy held in Mataya. As they trek through the jungle, they fall in love, steaming up the already heated environment. However, he is an upper crust business mogul while she is a lower class mercenary making a permanent relationship seems impossible.<P> Though readers will find it difficult that behind the desk even diligently working out Eli can keep pace with a pro like ¿bad girl¿ Ray in a deadly jungle scenario. Still the story line is hotter than the locale as the lead duo find love is an UNEXPECTED place, time and person. Lori Foster provides her usual strong suspense thriller with a gender bending twist on her bad boy tales.<P> Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2003

    Scintillating fall read! Very highly recommended

    Eli Conners breaks all her rules in accepting her latest assignment. Leaving behind her hammer and tool belt, Eli picks up her weapon to find Ray Vereker's missing brother. While she acquiesces to Ray's demand to take him along, Eli remains determinedly in charge of this rescue mission. For years Eli has been a successful mercenary, yet this assignment somehow feel much different than all the rest, threatening to spiral out of her control as she discovers an unexpected attraction to her employer. Even as he tries to grow closer to her, Eli remains an enigma for Ray. He knows her abilities, her experience and her success, but he does not have names or dates. She does not look cutthroat enough, powerful enough, or hardened enough to pull of this assignment. Indeed, Ray finds it hard to believe that Eli is a mercenary until he sees her in action. But his desperation to get his brother out of Central America and her insider's knowledge mean that he must risk everything on this unexpected woman, even it means his heart. Author Lori Foster's ability to pen sultry, titillating romance is not exactly UNEXPTECTED, and fans will be delighted that she once again delivers in spades. Eli's combination of fierce warrior strength and carefully concealed femininity results in a dazzling character. Likewise, Ray's determination to get closer to her despite her reserve resoles in unexpected challenge and pleasure. Indeed, Eli and Ray prove why Foster has become one of the hottest authors in the business. UNEXPECTED comes very highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2003

    Unexpected

    UNEXPECTED is what Ray Vereker is when Eli Connor meets her for the first time. Thinking that he was hiring a tough, jawbreaking man, he finds him looking at the most attractive woman he has seen. UNEXPECTED is what Eli is to Ray. He totally doesn't get that he is supposed to be repelled by Ray. Instead all he seems to be interested in, aside from rescuing his brother Jeremy, is in establishing relationship that Ray does not want. UNEXPECTED is fun and exciting as Lori Foster puts a different spin on the mercenary for hire storyline with the heroine who makes people cringe in terror. I can't recommend this book enough. Get it before it is UNEXPECTEDLY off the shelves.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews

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