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Good. It hadn't been easy finding an incompetent private eye on such short notice in a midwestern city like Riverbend. But now there was Mitchell Peatwick. She could picture him, leaning back in his office chair, balding and overweight, slack-jawed and beady-eyed, no brains to speak of.
He'd patronize her because she was female. She'd play him like a piano.
All she had to do was convince him that he was investigating a real murder case, and he'd swing his paunchy weight around, creating noise and confusion until whoever had taken her uncle's diary would be forced to either give it up or bury it forever if he didn't want to be accused of murder. Yep, that was all she had to do. So go do it. She took a deep breath and winced as the waistband of her borrowed pink skirt cut into her flesh. Then she pulled the veil on her hat over her eyes and walked toward the cracked glass doors of the old building, watching her reflection as she climbed the steps.
Even through the dumb pink veil, she really did look sexy. It was amazing what clothes could do.
Now, if she could just get this damn interview over with before the waistband of June's skirt cut her in two and June's heels made her lame for life, she'd be on her way to solving all of their problems.
Please let Mitchell Peatwick be dumb as a rock with a weakness for women in tight skirts, she prayed as she rang for the elevator. Please let him be everything I need him to be.
* * *
The window behind him was cranked wide-open, and the ceiling fan above him stirred the air, and Mitch was sure if he got any hotter, he'd die. As it was, he was pretty sure that the only thing that kept him alive was the fact that he wasn't moving. If he moved, his body temperature would rise, and he'd melt right there in his office chair.
He didn't want to move, anyway. He was too depressed to move. He leaned back in his cracked leather desk chair - sleeves rolled up, hands laced behind his head, heels crossed on his battered metal desk - and thought about the way he'd planned things and the way they'd turned out. Big difference there. Anticipation was a lousy preparation for reality. That's why he was giving it up for fantasy. Fantasy was not particularly productive, nor was it lucrative, but it beat reality hands down.
Reality sucked. Fantasy was leaving a prosperous career to become a private detective. Reality was regretting it. He closed his eyes and tried to recapture the dream, the part where he'd be the Sam Spade of the nineties. Then the elevator cables rumbled across the hall and Mitch knew another divorce job was coming his way. He hadn't had many illusions about relationships before, he thought sadly, but he had absolutely none now. Even the people who weren't married had him investigate to see if the people they weren't married to were telling the truth. And of course, they weren't. That was the one irrevocable truth Mitch had learned in a year, the only thing, he realized now, that he'd taken away with him.
Everybody lied. Sam Spade would have understood that part, but he would have spit on the divorce work. Mitch had the uncomfortable feeling that he should be spitting on it, too, instead of making a precarious living at it. Too precarious. He had one week left in the year, one week to earn the last of the twenty thousand dollars and win his stupid bet and go back to his regularly scheduled life, but to do that he needed a client who would shell out $2,694 before Friday.
It wasn't going to happen. Prying money out of clients was the second least favorite thing he'd learned about this job.
So when he heard the elevator cables rumble in the hall opposite his office door, he didn't leap to his feet with enthusiasm. It wasn't just because the heat would kill him if he moved. It was also because it had been a long time since he'd done anything with enthusiasm, and he'd forgotten how it worked.
If I was Sam Spade, this would be Brigid O'Shaughnessy. The ancient ceiling fan creaked above him, and buttery sunlight spattered over him, and in spite of himself, he began to feel optimistic again. Maybe hope wasn't dead yet. Maybe this was a Brigid heading his way, a woman uninterested in marriage and commitment, willing to seduce him to get what she wanted.
He was sure as hell willing to be seduced. She would come into the office, cool, slender, lovely and lethal, in one of those white suits with the wide lapels and a tight skirt that was slit to the hip. She'd have incredible legs. And maybe she'd be wearing a hat over her glossy red curls, a dark veil that dusted over blue, blue eyes and a straight little nose above moist, pouty lips. And in between the lips and the legs would be the best part. Her jacket would be tight under her breasts. Round breasts. Full, round breasts. High, full, round breasts.
With an effort, Mitch pried his mind off the breasts.
And she'd come in and say, "I need you to find the Maltese Falcon," and her voice would be throaty and soft. And somewhere along the way, she'd take off her hat, and they'd have passionate, steamy, slippery, sweaty sex ...
Mitch lingered for a moment on the sex.... and then he'd find out that she'd been the guilty one all along. "I won't play the sap for you, baby," he'd say, and they'd take her away for murdering his partner. Okay, he didn't have a partner unless he counted Newton, and nobody ever counted Newton, but still.... No wonder that book was a classic. Sam Spade got to nail her without a commitment and still feel good about himself when he dumped her. First, great sex, and then he walked out on her, free as a bird, a hero instead of a schmuck.
Now there was a fantasy. Then the door opened, and he looked up, and she came in.
Her hair was dark brown, and so were her eyes behind the veil, and her suit was pink instead of white, but everything else was pretty much his fantasy. The nose, the lips, the ...
"I'll be damned." With enormous effort, Mitch raised his eyes from her breasts to her face.
"Probably." Her low voice reverberated straight into his spine. "Are you Mitchell Peatwick?"
"Uh, yeah." Mitch swung his feet to the floor and stood up, wiping his sweaty palm on his shirt before offering her his hand. "Mitch Peatwick, private investigator. Listen, did you ever read The Maltese Falcon?"
"Yes." She ignored his hand as she surveyed the dingy office, her pout deepening as she took in the cracks in the upholstery and the dust. "Is this really your office?"
Excerpted from What The Lady Wants by Jennifer Crusie
Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Posted May 9, 2010
I bought this book because I'm a fan of most of Jennifer Crusie's work. She hasn't put out many recently, so I was happy to see something new. I was absolutely ticked when I realized upon receiving it, that it's an old book...and not a very good one at that. The old Maltese Falcon theme is old and worn out. The characters aren't even that likable. I keep most of my books, but this was one I'd gotten rid of because it was lame. So it really ticks me off when I find out I bought the stupid thing again. Don't waste your money...especially twice. If you happen to like the Maltese Falcon theme, check it out from the library or come by my house...I'll give it to you.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 30, 2007
I have always enjoyed J. Cruisie's humor. But this was a waste of money. It may be worth reading if you borrow it from a friend or library, but don't buy it. Many of the parts that might be humorous are mirror images of situations in her other books. I was in need of a really great read and this was a let down.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 21, 2012
I Also Recommend:
"What the Lady Wants" by Jennifer Crusie is a good novel. Although it reminds me of Janet Evanovich's novels, I still enjoyed it and got through it quickly. Mae and Mitch seem like a match- but it takes a lot of obstacles to get Mae's family to allow her to be truly happy. And not only that, Mae finds herself in a mess when she realizes her uncle has been murdered. As Mitch comes to the rescue, family quarrels ensue, and trouble is all around Mae. Will love bloom even through the obstacles that they face? Read the novel to find out! C+Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 10, 2012
Posted January 28, 2012
The story of Mitch and Mae. The private investigator and the girl who hires him to find her Uncle's missing diary. But she doesn't think he will take the case of just a missing diary so she makes a the story a little more intriguing by adding that she thinks her Uncle was murdered. Mitch of course takes the case but isn't sure he believes her because as we all know everyone lies. She has a crazy family and the two of them seem to annoy each other at every turn. But what happens when they start to fall for each other? You will have to read to find out.
This wasn't one of my favorite Jennifer Crusie novels. Good characters with yes you guessed it a little love thrown in. The book starts of pretty slow and it seems that most of the romance and suspense all took place in the end. So if you can make it through about the first half of the novel you get a really intriguing suspenseful romance novel. We all know that my favorite part of any story line is the love story and I feel that the romance part of this book was rushed. I would have liked to see a little more of Mae and Mitch's relationship. I still gave it three hearts/stars because in the end the book delivered for me.
Posted October 4, 2011
Both Mitch and Mea have a bit of a problem, they've modeled the life of a PI after Sam Spade's in A Maltese Falcon. It's really funny to watch them try to determine if they are playing out as Sam & Brigid.
Mitch is doing his best to get his PI business in the black and only living off the income - not an easy feat. Mae is trying to figure out what has been going on in her home the last few months. Mae is a ward of her uncles. The one whose home she grew up in has just died and nothing is going well.
This is the best of her books that I've read thus far.
Posted July 11, 2011
Posted June 15, 2011
No text was provided for this review.
Posted March 16, 2011
Posted May 6, 2010
Things are not always as they appear at first glance. Mitch isn't being honest and neither is Mae Belle. The lineup of characters is a bit over the top, but that's what makes it so enjoyable (However, since I am unfamiliar with the mob world, maybe they are more realistic than I think!) One miscommunication/assumption leads to another until finally it all comes to a surprising conclusion. This book is typical of Cruisie's style--a fun, easy, feel good read. Although I enjoy many different venues of books, I always make a point to pick up Jennifer's latest. Love her sarcastic humor! I often find myself laughing out loud as I read and this book was no exception. I would recommend reading this light-hearted, comical romance.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 8, 2010
There is only one word to describe this book: average. The plot and characters were just as any other romance novel. The description in characters, both physical and personality, were the same as any other novel. This book is great if you're looking for a time filler. A long wait at a doctor's office, airport, or any place with light and a chair is good for this paperback.
In my opinion, the heightened anticipation and heat between characters should have a direct correlation to my pulse. I should want to be THAT girl; I should want to be with THAT guy. I want to imagine that as soon as I flip that page, they'll get it on, but in this novel I just didn't feel THAT spark. The anticipation wasn't there. The heat was 55-60 degrees.
Posted March 8, 2010
I Also Recommend:
This book was awesome! I couldn't put it down. I would read this again and again but I got other books to read. This book is mysterious, romantic, and just over the top great. The only thing I did not like was...well I don't have anything negative to say about it at all.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 3, 2010
I Also Recommend:
I love the way that Mrs. Cruise mixes romance and adventure. When I am reading this book, I can picture all the places the characters are going with great detail. Her love scenes are great. Her characters are regular people that you can identify with and you can't help but root for them. In addition, I like the smart woman she creates and the banter her main characters usually have. I bought this book as a bundle for my new Nook.
The odd part, in my book Mitch's last name is Peatwick not Peabody.
My favorite books by Mrs. Cruise are Bet Me, Don't look Down(with Bob Mayer) and my all time favorite Agnes and the Hitman(with Bob Mayer)
Posted February 1, 2006
Posted November 8, 2004
I didn't enjoy this one as much as Crusie's other books. I felt there was a decent build up between the characters, but when they finally got together, I felt it was forced. This isn't one of her best, but it was a short, easy read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 3, 2003
The book was pretty good. I am sure I will read it again in a year or so like I do most books I enjoy. The characters are likeable like all of Jenn's Books. It is a fast read a book that you could read in a couple of days or maybe over the weekend. If you have read any of Jen's books this is yet another good one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2003
These characters could easily be put into a series of mystery/romance detective stories. Crusie writes with the flair of the classic romantic comedies with plenty of witty sarcasm. The dialogue between Mitch and Mae is great! Fun read and Great Book!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 27, 2003
Posted March 20, 2011
No text was provided for this review.
Posted January 19, 2010
No text was provided for this review.