Perfectly Sexy by Emily McKay released on Apr 23, 2004 is available now for purchase.
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Chapter OneBRAD SUMNERS - successful entrepreneur, former high school football quarterback, and all-around Greek God. Of all the things Mattie Wilcox could imagine him needing advice about, women was dead last on the list.
"Let me see if I've got this right." Mattie eyed her best friend and roommate speculatively. "Your brother needs advice and, since you're leaving town, I'm elected?"
Jessica Sumners tossed two suitcases on her bed. "Come on," she cajoled. "You and I have been best friends since the sixth grade. We practically grew up together. He thinks of you as a sister." She scooped the entire contents of one dresser drawer into her arms and then dumped it into one of the open bags.
Mattie raised her eyebrows at Jessica's uncharacteristic packing. Seeing Jessica - who was normally so calm and sophisticated - this rattled was a bit amusing, really. But who wouldn't be rattled under the circumstances? Packing for a nine-week trip in less than an hour would make anyone panicked. But Jessica? Jessica, who organized her wardrobe by color and planned her schedule up to six months in advance? Of course this had sent her into a tailspin.
Mattie gently nudged her friend into the chair by the bed. "Just sit down." Jessica started to stand back up. "Calm down. You're getting all ... flitty on me."
"Flitty?" Jessica's voice rose several octaves. "Of course I'm flitty. They're sending me to Sweden for nine weeks and I've only got -" she snatched up her alarm clock and stared at it "- twenty minutes to pack. It's noon?" She shook the clock, tapping it against her palm as if to test that it was working properly. "Is this right?"
Mattie glanced at her own watch. "'Fraid so." Noticing the harried expression on Jessica's face, she continued, "It's okay. I'll help you pack. Just remember, it's Sweden. You've been begging your boss to send you abroad on business since you started working there."
Jessica sucked in a deep breath and visibly relaxed as she exhaled. "You're right. I just wish I had more time to prepare. And to help Brad. This just kills me. The first time my big brother asks for help and I can't be here to give it. Promise me you'll help him."
The distress in Jessica's sapphire eyes tugged at Mattie's heart. She answered without thinking. "Of course I will."
She would do whatever it took to help out, even though the thought of seeing Brad Sumners again after all these years made her feel all flitty. "I'll talk to Brad. I promise."
Something in her voice must have given her away, because Jessica frowned, then said, "Oh, Mattie, I didn't think. This is going to be awkward for you, isn't it? Because you were in love with him for all those years."
"Nonsense." She brushed aside her own needs with a wave of her hand. "That wasn't love. That was teenage hormones. Lusting after a hunky guy isn't the same thing as love. Doesn't matter how hot he is. I'll be fine."
Jessica studied her with a worried gaze. "You're sure?"
"Yes. Definitely. Go pack your hanging bag while I handle this suitcase."
While Jessica hurried off to her walk-in closet, Mattie sifted through the sleepwear and lingerie Jessica had dumped on the bed. She picked out only what Jessica would need for her trip, then carefully folded it and packed it into the open suitcase.
A few minutes later Jessica returned, holding a hanging bag in one hand and clutching an armful of casual clothes to her chest.
"Do you have room for these?"
As Mattie folded and packed the T-shirts, she asked, as casually as she could, "What kind of advice about women does he need? How to jump out of their way as they throw themselves at him? How to step over their prone bodies on the way out of his house every morning?"
"Mattie, be serious." Jessica slapped one suitcase closed and tugged on the zipper.
"I thought I was." When Jessica paused to glare at her, she held up her hands in a gesture of surrender.
"Okay, okay. I'm serious."
"Besides, I don't think he needs advice about women so much as advice from a woman. You know, a woman's perception of things."
"But if he needs advice," Mattie asked, "why doesn't he just call you and get advice over the phone like a normal person?"
"Because this is Brad, remember? He's not a normal person. You know how he gets when he sets a goal for himself. He's totally focused. He's relentless. It's like he's got blinders on. Just like my team leader who was so focused on this project he worked himself into a case of pneumonia and had to be hospitalized this morning."
"And now you have to go to Sweden in his place." Mattie sighed, resting a hand dramatically over her heart. "Sweden in the summer. Rugged mountains, majestic fjords, and hunky Nordic men. If I wasn't so damn broke, I'd go with you."
Jessica paused and looked up. Then she dropped a handful of shoes into the open suitcase and rounded the corner of the bed, coming over to give Mattie a brief hug.
"I'll miss you."
Mattie returned the hug, squeezing her eyes shut against the prickling of tears. They'd been through Girl Scout cookie sales, high school calculus, and college term papers together.
A year ago, when Mattie had finally divorced her worthless husband, Jessica had been by her side lending support through it all. Jessica had given her a place to live, a shoulder to cry on, and at least a half-dozen boxes of Thin Mints. Aromatherapy for the broken-hearted, Jess had called them.
"I know the timing is horrible, but if we lose this account it could be my job." Jessica pulled back and smiled brightly. "And it's only nine weeks. Besides, they're paying me oodles of money for going on such short notice. And I happen to know a little quilt store that could use an investor."
"I've told you before. I'm not letting you give me money. It's bad enough that you don't let me pay more rent. I won't let you -"
Jessica waved aside the protest and crammed a few more items into the suitcase. "I wouldn't be giving it to you. I'd be making an investment. But we'll discuss that later. Besides, if you can handle this Brad crisis for me, I'll really owe you."
"You know, he may not want advice from me. We haven't seen each other for years. He probably doesn't even remember me."
"Trust me, he remembers you." Jessica zipped the last suitcase closed; then she picked up a suitcase in each hand and nodded toward the hanging bag. "Get that one, will you?"
Mattie groaned under the weight, following Jessica through the living room to the front door.
Jessica set the suitcase on the marble tile of the foyer then opened the door to watch for her taxi. "Brad's rearranged his schedule so he can work from here for a couple of weeks, so whatever advice he needs must be important. He never takes time off work, but I got the feeling he didn't want to be alone on his birthday. He just hasn't been the same since the divorce. Ginger broke his heart - the witch."
Excerpted from Perfectly Sexy by Emily McKay Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Sry gtg to walmart bye
Im here for the party
Has pretty much everthing you could ever want. Stage for stripshows and slave auctions? Check. Hot tub and pool for skinny dipping? Check. Room chock full of every type of sex toy imaginable? Check. Private rooms? Check.
I liked it even better than her first one, 'Baby, Be Mine,' which was great, too. But on to 'Perfectly Sexy,' Emily McKay's second book for Harlequin Temptation. I loved it! Mattie and Brad have some serious chemistry; the scenes with massage are drool-worthy. But best of all, McKay's writing is fine and smooth and serious, and often, seriously funny. She has an excellent grasp of human nature; when I read her books I keep thinking 'Hey! That's just what I do!' or 'I recognize that!' because she's so good at capturing human foibles. I highly recommend this book, and can't wait to read her next one.
After finishing Perfectly Sexy I just have one question for author Emily McKay. How soon will your next book hit the shelves? Mattie Wilcox is one of those people who puts everyone else¿s needs before her own. That character trait gets her into the situation she faces at the beginning of Perfectly Sexy. Suddenly she finds herself in the position of giving advice on women to her best friend¿s brother, Brad Sumners. Unfortunately, the successful businessman and former jock is also the object of Mattie¿s long time crush. Seeing Brad for the first time in years, Mattie realizes that the attraction is mutual. But, for some reason, Brad is determined to resist what she so willingly offers. What Mattie doesn¿t know is that long ago he had promised her father to keep his hands off her. But, never under estimate the determination of a woman in love. Mattie is determined to have her way (with Brad) but they both must get past their individual insecurities as well as that antiquated promise. Add into the mix three eclectic employees, a dog subconsciously named after Mattie and an ¿inflatable¿ surprise and it all comes together into a hilarious recipe for true love. Ms. McKay is a master at the imaginative use of the senses. I will never look at massage therapy and apple pie in quite the same way. (You will have to read the book.) The creative situations and wonderful characters made this a hilarious read. But, behind the laughter, Ms. McKay gives a closer look at the insecurities that everyone faces at some time in their lives and in their relationships. Before you know it, she has shown you a little bit more about yourself. In the end the title says it all. It is Perfectly Sexy.