Brazilian heiress Terry Monteverde was supposedly killed in a tragic accident. But how could a dead woman give birth to a baby? Bounty hunter Rick Singleton goes underground in Rio to find out. His only lead is Terry's sister, Nina Monteverde. She's sweet, shy—and not telling what she knows. Rick's a dangerous man to cross, but Nina's not afraid…Rick is. He's defenseless against her innocent charm. And that scares the hell out of him.
A contemporary romance.
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Hero For Hire
By Jill Shalvis
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFrustration boiled up inside, crawling, screaming to be let out.
What to do?
It should be so simple. There were only three things worth having in life - wealth, power and physical beauty.
Yet none had been obtained, which fried the blood. Others had gotten what they wanted. Others like Terry Monteverde.... Now there was a woman who'd had it all and hadn't even noticed. She'd lived her wild, wanton life without a single care.
She'd been punished for that, and that punishment had been quite satisfactory.
Only that satisfaction hadn't lasted long, not when the family reputation and success lived on through Terry's younger sister.
Nina Monteverde. Sweet and lovely. Beloved by all.
Just thinking about it had the bitterness and fury burning inside all over again. The Monteverdes had everything, everything worth coveting.
Yet they were untouchable.
If only Terry was still alive to pay for her sins once again.
Since she wasn't, Nina would have to do.
* * *
Man, the heat was brutal. But then again, the weather in Rio de Janeiro was known for being brutal, even in the winter month of July.
Winter being relative of course, especially in the tropics.
Though the air came off the ocean and should have been cool, it wasn't; but after four years in Brazil, Rick Singleton considered himself a Carioca - a native - and hardly felt a thing.
In truth, he hardly felt anything anymore, and that was how he liked it. He'd definitely come to fit into the South American way of life, where everything was casual, come-what-may, and absolutely pleasure-based.
Not many would consider their job pleasure-based, but Rick did. As a bounty hunter, he lived for the thrill of the chase - not to mention the money he got paid for finding his man.
Or in this case, woman.
Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the hazy Polaroid of a couple taken two Carnivals back. The woman with her feathery mask had eyes only for the man holding her close. They looked excited, anticipatory, and given the man's hot gaze, they were headed for a night of passion.
Rick didn't know the woman's name. All he knew was that Mitch Barnes, the man in the picture, had hired him through Finders Keepers, a private investigation agency in Texas, to find her. They'd spent one night together, she and Mitch, and the man was desperate, evidenced both by the ridiculous amount of money he'd offered Rick, and the tone of his voice when he talked about his mystery woman.
He obviously cared a great deal about her.
Given the hordes of tourists that came to Brazil every year to partake in Carnival's decadent celebration, Rick doubted the woman even lived in Rio, but for the money he'd do his best to find her. He had no clues other than the elaborate necklace she wore.
Mitch, an injured and recovering FBI agent now living in San Antonio, hadn't known anything about the hand-wrought gold-and-emerald necklace, except that the woman looked gorgeous in it. Apparently their one night together had produced more than just a wild heat and passion. It had also produced a baby, a fact Mitch hadn't been aware of until he'd discovered the baby girl left on his neighbor's doorstep was his.
Now more than ever Mitch wanted to find the woman.
That was Rick's job. Not much to go on, but he'd worked on less. He hadn't screwed up a case since his ultimate failure four years prior.
It was hard to believe it had been so long, and if there'd been any emotion left in him, any at all, he'd ache at the memory.
But his heart was as good as dead. Nothing got to him, not anymore.
He'd find the missing woman, no matter what he had to do, then get paid and move on. No sweat.
No looking back.
Excerpted from Hero For Hire by Jill Shalvis Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Loved this book. Could not put it down. Now I want to know what happens next. How does their story end?