Nicknamed "The Porcupine," Jamie McNamara has a tough-as-nails attitude that makes her a force to be reckoned with on Wall Street. So it's a shock even to her when she seduces a sexy investment broker in a Hummer limo on the way to a business meeting. But when her erotic escapade becomes the topic of the "Red Choo Diaries" sex blog and threatens to destroy her steely persona, Jamie realizes a fling isn't always frivolous.
Used to getting what he wants, gorgeous man-about-town Andrew Brooks knows a good thing when he sees it—and he sees and wants Jamie. Her drive and passion have him consumed. He's determined to transform their passionate limo encounter into a long-term merger—and he's prepared to negotiate!
About the Author
Kate began reading romance in 1979 when she picked up a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss's Ashes in the Wind. She read the book from cover to cover in one very long night and was immediately hooked on the genre.
The next morning, she was standing at the door to her local Waldenbooks and when they opened, she hurried inside and asked for everything else written by Woodiwiss. At the same time, she found wonderful books by Rosemary Rogers, Laurie McBain, and Jennifer Blake.
Nearly 10 years later, while working as an advertising copywriter, Kate decided to try writing a romance of her own. After a history of interesting jobs in teaching, retailing, advertising, and nonprofit work, she was determined to add romance author to that list.
After numerous failed attempts over three years, Kate decided to forget writing historical romance and turned to category romance. Six months later, her first story, A Vagabond Heart, was finished. A year later, Harlequin bought the book after Kate won the national 1992 Harlequin Temptation contest. The book was published in 1993 as Indecent Exposure.
Her dream of adding romance writer to her resume came true and in December of 1993 she turned off her alarm clock, shredded her pantyhose, and became a full-time writer. Since then, Kate has written numerous books for Temptation, Weddings by DeWilde, Harlequin anthologies, Love and Laughter, and Duets.
Kate lives in southeastern Wisconsin in a cozy little house in a picturesque village. Two cats also live with her — Tansing, a grumpy Himalayan, and Tibriz, a tortie Persian mix that she rescued from an animal shelter. She enjoys gardening, golf, reading, and romantic movies.
Read an Excerpt
JAMIE MCNAMARA STOOD on the street outside Grand
Central Station and shook her head in disbelief. Two million commuters were sharing the same miserable situation. Stranded, stuck, marooned in Manhattan.
Why today? Of all days. Why not tomorrow, when Connecticut really didn't matter?
"It's not an insurmountable problem," said a deep, ear-tickling voice behind her, obviously not privy to the rage that was precariously close to boiling over inside her.
Insurmountable.Yeah, right. Like she could just walk the ninety-five miles from Grand Central to Stamford—in Jimmy Choo heels, no less. Not in this lifetime.
Jamie whirled around, partially to condemn the smug voice, but there were parts of her—devious, womanly parts, that wanted to see if the face matched the vocal chords.
"Thank you for that bit of blind optimism," she said, caught by the serious, dark eyes. Almost black. Then she noticed the suit, the leather briefcase, the same gray jacket that had nearly run over her earlier as she'd dashed for what was the last running train.
Very hot, but very rude.
Just her luck. People talked about the luck of the Irish, but you never heard about the luck of the Scottish. That's because they didn't have any.
The dark eyes flickered over her again. Efficiently, like an accountant jumping right to the bottom line. Jamie felt a slight flush and then mentally flogged herself for the lapse in confidence. She was classically tailored, buffed and polished herself. "Study hard," her mom used to tell her. "There're women who coast by on their looks. We're not them."
"Excuse me," Jamie said, brushing past the tightly muscled frame. The suit didn't hide his physique; it magnified it, as only a good custom job can do.
Italian wool, too. Probably Sergei Brand. Then she realized what she was doing and stopped, reminding herself she was currently in a man-free phase, which sounded much more acceptable than "my last boyfriend married my secretary, Amber."
Todd had whined continuously about her work hours, but not to Jamie. Oh no, he spent his quality time on the phone with Amber. She'd ask him "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," he'd said. Jamie read the engagement announcement in the New York Times before he had the guts to tell her in person. That'd been nearly two years ago and she'd restricted her relationships to mostly non-existent since then.
The old anger erupted inside her, flowing through her like hot liquid goo. Jamie elbowed the suit's briefcase, not quite an accident, and jumped right into the Forty-second street traffic, fighting all the other commuters for the six cabs that were currently on duty. She raised her hailing hand, stepping in front of a mousy touristy type.
"We should split a car," the suit said, stepping into traffic with her.
Jamie's hand lowered. A cabbie—occupied, of course—honked for her to move, and she jumped back to the curb, before taking another long look at the suit.
Split a car?
It was a fascinating suggestion because it couldn't be economic reasons that prompted the invitation. Clearly she and he shared the same financial echelon. It could be practicality, two strangers needing to find a way out of the city when a power outage stopped mass transit.
But what if the reasons were more carnal? Good, old-fashioned lust.
Thoughts of lust during business hours wasn't Jamie's standard operating procedure; business was her ruling passion, but she felt the dizzy pull of—him.
It was rash, it was spontaneous. It was thrilling. Briskly—because she'd already had three cups of coffee—she gave him an efficient once-over, starting at the spit-polished wingtips, then over long, long legs, up past lean hips, beyond the ogle-inducing broad chest and shoulders, taking note of the tiny dimple in the left side of his mouth, before finally coming to stare into those dark, velvety eyes.
Just her luck, the one time she felt a spark, the dark eyes were distinctly sparkless. Instead they just looked puzzled.
Jamie dismissed the moment of fantasy and sighed. "Where are you going?" she asked. "New Haven. You?"
"It would make sense," he said with a curt nod. He seemed polite, logical, with that extra quotient of testosterone that fluttered her insides.
Jamie didn't need fluttered insides today, or any day, so she started to tell him no.
But those eyes.
Intense, sexy, and slightly geeky. Those eyes currently held her tongue in check.
You need to get to Connecticut. He's right.
Weak, very weak, McNamara.
Her insides fluttered again, she nodded. "Okay." She held out her hand. "I'm Jamie. Pleased to make your acquaintance."
"Andrew," he said. His hand touched hers briefly. Nothing too personal. The handshake was crisp, businesslike.
Andrew. The name fit. Strong, intelligent, steadfast. He spoke again, and embarrassingly, it took her ten seconds to realize he wasn't speaking to her. He was speaking into the wireless earpiece hanging low next to his mouth.
It was a nice mouth, if you were a woman who noticed the male mouth. Jamie usually didn't, but this bottom lip belonged to a man who would never spout poetry or renegotiate a deal. Firm, decisive, driven.
Just like her.
For a moment, Jamie let herself relax. Her mother had always said she was too driven, that she'd have a heart attack before she was thirty-five. Maybe, but at least Jamie would know that she had tried. She had plans, goals, ambitions, and she could get there, heart attacks notwithstanding.
In Manhattan, you had to be hard, driven, and relentless in order to make it.
And sometimes, you needed a reward.
Jamie fished in the briefcase, finding the inside pocket that held her secret stash. She broke off the tiniest of pieces, just a bite, just a hint, just a taste, and popped it in her mouth while no one was looking.
The milk chocolate sugar rush washed over her, and she closed her eyes in bliss.
Oh, God, that was good.
Immediately the cravings struck again, but some of her mother's lectures were too deeply ingrained, so with a look of longing, she closed her briefcase, and put it away.
But tomorrow was another day.
They waited on the crowded sidewalk, frustrated commuters surrounding them, until finally Andrew tugged at her arm. She followed him to the south end of the block, past an interminable line of occupied cabs, hurrying pedestrians, and honking cars.
Eventually he stopped at a car and her mouth gaped.
Car was a euphemistic term only.
This monstrosity was a white Hummer limo that was as close to tacky as a black velvet Elvis.
The big chrome wheels trimmed in gold, the endless line of doors, the tinted windows—it screamed of junior proms or drunken women flinging their bras out of the roof.
Oh, God, he was in the music business.
A neat little man emerged from the driver's seat and then opened the passenger door. "Continental Cars, at your service."
"This?" Andrew asked, and Jamie was relieved to hear horror in his voice.
"It's all we have, sir. Cars are in big demand now since the trains aren't running."
Jamie averted her gaze from the vehicle, the block-long engineering defect making her corneas burn.
"Maybe a Town Car?" Andrew asked the driver hopefully.
He shook his head. "We're fresh out. Take it or leave it."
Andrew looked at Jamie, a question in his eyes. She wanted to flee, alligator-trimmed heels poised in a northward position, but instead she weighed her options, her sensible side telling her to call Newhouse and reschedule.
Now there was a name to pull her right into a Hummer. It'd taken her three months, fourteen phone calls, and three Powerpoint presentations to get one heel in the Newhouse door.
A lesser woman would have abandoned the situation, put a minus in the credit column and walked away, but the prize kept her in the game. Newhouse was one of the few software companies to not just survive, but thrive during the tech bust, and now they were rolling in cash. Cash that needed to be strategically invested because the bread crumbs that their current firm was earning for them were pitiful. Bond-Worthington could change all that, and Jamie, the top client-relations rep at the firm, was the one assigned to recruit them. To date, it had been an uphill battle. But Jamie was made of tough stuff.
The name Jamie McNamara meant nothing to Newhouse and his Gorgon of a secretary, but they would soon learn...
Assuming she could get to Connecticut before lunch. She took another look at the vehicle and tried not to shudder.
Hummer limos were for sleazy account managers, girls gone bonkers, and South Beach.
She didn't like this ostentatious hulk of metal on wheels, but the Newhouse account was calling. If she had to ride in a Hummer limo, well, suck it up McNamara, there are worse things in life.
She took a deep breath and nodded, echoes of a porno soundtrack spinning in her head.
Andrew held open the door, and before she could change her mind, Jamie climbed inside.
ANDREW BROOKS HAD a conference call in ten minutes and idle conversation wasn't his forte, but thankfully, the woman didn't seem to expect him to talk. Instead, she pulled out a copy of the Wall Street Journal and began to read.
He nearly smiled, because he knew just how she felt. People got in the way of productivity. Always wanting to ask him advice, or talk about a hot date, or worse yet, analyze Survivor. Survivor: The Wall Street Edition, that's what they needed. That was one game that Andrew would win. Every time.
The limo was hideous, red leather seats and the ceiling was covered with sparkling lights that blinked on and off. He thought there was a pattern, but was afraid to discover what it was.
He glanced over at "Jamie," wondering what her story was. She was tall and sleek, clad in a dark suit that was almost masculine in its severity. But those black shoes...
He had an odd compulsion to talk to her, find out where she worked, what she did, what corporate prize resided in Stamford.
He pushed back the purple curtain over the window, saw the endless line of gridlocked cars, and sighed. Not a good day for heading to Connecticut.
Not a good day for heading anywhere.
Their lead insurance analyst in New Haven had scheduled a lunch meeting to discuss the impact of the flattening bond market. A two-second phone call could have rescheduled the whole business, but then he had bumped into the sleek dark suit, the curvaceous body, and the stiff blue eyes, and he couldn't resist. His brother would have leered, his sister would have cheered.
Andrew was just intrigued.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jamie McNamara, a client services manager, has always been very career oriented. Her social life has been nearly nonexistent since her boyfriend dumped her for his secretary, so now all she has is her career. After a lot of work, she finally has a meeting in Connecticut with Mr. Newhouse. This is a meeting which could be very beneficial to her already successful career. However, Grand Central Station is shut down, making her late for her meeting. So she is desperate to get a ride to Connecticut. Andrew Brooks, a very wealthy partner in the Shearson, Brooks, Panhower and Bloom firm, also has an appointment in Connecticut. Since Grand Central Station is closed, he needs to find an alternate means of transportation. While attempting to do that, he strikes up a conversation with Jamie. Exchanging first names only, they agree to share a ride in a white Limo Hummer, which is the only transportation they can find on such short notice. Up to now, his whole world has been his work and his family. In fact, he has practically raised his two siblings, Jeff and Mercedes. Jamie has no idea who Andrew is, but the chemistry between them is strong. Deciding to give in to her impulses for once, she seduces him in the Hummer. This is not her normal behavior at all. Andrew is charmed by her, especially after the Hummer experience, and wants to see her again. However, the story of their intimate encounter finds its way to Andrew¿s younger sister, Mercedes, who is trying to establish a writing career. Not believing the story about her brother, she shares the tale in her online sex blog, The Red Choo Diaries, which causes quite a stir. It even gets a mention in the New York Times! Unfortunately, this is information neither Andrew nor Jamie want anyone to discover. This is a fun, steamy story. The ongoing chemistry between the characters is explosive and the fast paced action and witty dialogue will keep you reading. I had not read anything by Kathleen O¿Reilly before this one, but it has made me a fan. I cannot wait for the next installment of The Red Choo Diaries. Anyone who likes their stories really steamy this one is for you. The story is hot from the beginning to the end. I can see why it was included in the Harlequin Blaze series.
Jamie McNamara is a client services manager extraordinaire. She finally has the job she has been working so hard for, with Bond-Worthington on Wall Street. After lots of sweat, Jamie has gotten herself on Mr. Newhouse's calendar. She plans to take the Newhouse account away from Goldman-Sacks, earning another star in her crown. Yet thanks to trouble at Grand Central Station she is late. Jamie ends up sharing a White Hummer Limo (the only thing available) with 'Andrew'. Whether from stress, her starved love life, or just plain lust, Jamie ends up seducing Andrew en route to her important business meeting. But Jamie has no idea exactly WHO Andrew really is! ============ Andrew Brooks is part of Shearson, Brooks, Panhower, & Bloom. He got to where he is today by sheer determination and his personality disorder. (Hey, Andrew will be the first to admit that the disorder is very useful in the trade!) Andrew practically raised his younger brother and sister. When Andrew wants something, he goes after it nothing is held back. And ever since his mind-blowing experience with Jamie in the Hummer, Andrew wants her again. Problem is that after a little too much alcohol Andrew made the error of telling his brother, Jeff, about his Hummer experience. Then Jeff tells their sister, Mercedes, because she has received another book rejection letter and he is hoping the story will cheer her up. =========== Mercedes goes to The Red Choo Diaries online and writes the HOT scene up for all to see. Coming from Jeff, Mercedes never believed the Hummer story to be true! Even the Wall Street Journal mentions the story of two Wall Street execs in the Hummer. The story is a hit! Everyone wants to know who Bull Market Jack and the Hummer Honey really are. People are even willing to pay for any information. =========== Should anyone learn that the Hummer Honey is Jamie McNamara, she will be ruined (much to a particular intern's delight) and Andrew may never get the one thing he wants more in his life - Jamie. ========= ***** Wow! This story starts out hot, with the Hummer experience, and the heat blazes until the very end. Harlequin Blaze romances are for readers who enjoy more than a single love scene in their stories. Let me tell you this, author Kathleen O'Reilly delivers! You are going to L-O-V-E this tale. A successful hero who desires the love of an up-and-coming successful heroine, a believable plot, and a romance you will never forget. I am more than ready for book two! *****
Kathleen O'Reilly starts The Red Choo Diaries with a breathless bang. Jamie and Andrew are instant chemistry and explosive heat. They both discover so much about themselves, surprising themselves as much as each other, and are more alike than either realized. It's an incredible journey to share with them. Andrew's siblings, his sister is the writer of the 'Red Choo Diaries', add a rich quality of humor and family ties that enrich the story. Beyond Breathless is written with an earthiness and a spontaneity that draws a reader in, hooking them until the very end. Ms. O'Reilly is an author I've read again and again, and I haven't been disappointed yet. Witty, fun, fast-paced, great characters and a sensuality, Beyond Breathless is a contemporary romance that has it all, everything a reader is looking for. Looking forward to more of these diaries. This is another hit for Kathleen O'Reilly.