Slow Hands

Slow Hands

by Leslie Kelly

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426817816
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 06/01/2008
Series: Harlequin Blaze Series , #402
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 223,097
File size: 532 KB

About the Author

Leslie Kelly has written dozens of books and novellas for Harlequin Blaze, Temptation and HQN. Known for her sparkling dialogue, fun characters and depth of emotion, her books have been honored with numerous awards. Leslie lives in Maryland with her own romantic hero, Bruce, and their three daughters. Visit her online at

Read an Excerpt

"Our stepmommy dearest is about to buy herself a gigolo."

Madeline Turner, who'd been signing a foot-tall stack of documents at her desk, dropped her pen, leaving a blot of black ink on the second quarter Profit and Loss Statement from a major local firm. Looking up, she could muster no surprise when she realized her sharp-toned visitor was her older half sister, Tabitha, looking as enraged as she sounded.

Enraged…but beautiful, as always. The stunning fashion plate had inherited all her mother's tall and slender genes, blond hair and elegance, which suited her lifestyle to a T. Madeline, meanwhile, had been gifted with their father's more short and round frame, plus her late mother's nearly black hair; dark, laughing eyes and dimples. Which did not suit her lifestyle as a nose-to-the-grindstone bank manager to an R or a squiggly S, much less to a T.

Tabitha tossed her designer handbag onto an empty chair and kicked the door shut with the heel of one pointy-toed, five-hundred-dollar shoe. "Maddy, did you hear me?"

"I think the construction workers twenty floors down heard you," Madeline mumbled, wondering why Tabitha always had to be so damned melodramatic. Something else she'd inherited from her jet-setting mother.

"The money-grubbing witch is going to cheat on our father."

Considering Tabitha had cheated on one of her husbands and one of her fiancés, Maddy figured her sister had better jump off that moral high ground upon which she was perched before it crumbled out from underneath her. Still she frowned, not happy with the news that their father's newest wife—his fourth—was already looking around for more adventure than her older husband could provide.

Tabby might loathe Deborah, but Maddy had never had anything against her. The woman wasn't exactly warmth personified, especially not to her adult stepdaughters, but she was a lot better than some of the alternatives. Their father could have married a twenty-five-year old…someone younger than Maddy or her sister. At least Deborah, aside from being in her forties, was well-spoken, graceful and successful. She had once run her own successful ballroom dancing studio—that's where she'd met Maddy's father—and seemed to make him happy, first as a dance partner, now as a wife.

So she really hoped Tabby was wrong. "How do you know this?"

"I got it straight from Bitsy Wellington."

Their stepmother's best gal pal. "Why would she tell you?"

"Well, you know Bitsy. She can never resist causing trouble."

True. The woman was completely toxic.

"Besides, she wants the man for herself. He's some European gigolo being auctioned off at that Give A Kid A Christmas charity gig at the InterContinental tomorrow night."

A gigolo being sold to benefit a children's charity. There was some serious irony in that. Leave it to the Ladies Who Lunch of Chicago to come up with the idea of buying a stud to raise money for a worthy cause. And then, to compete over him.

Tabitha lowered herself to one of the chairs across from Maddy's broad desk, sniffing slightly at the messy files strewn across it. Her big sister liked the money that came from the bank their great-grandfather had founded several decades ago. She just didn't particularly like the stench of work that came along with it.

Sometimes Maddy wondered if one of them had been adopted. Or found on a doorstep. They had so little in common with each other, physically as well as everything else.

In personality, she was told she was a lot like her mother, Jason Turner's second wife, who'd died when Maddy was four. Supposedly, though he never spoke of her, Jason had mourned her greatly. Which could explain why her sister always harassed Maddy about being their father's favorite.

Maybe it was just that they had more in common. Aside from looking more like Jason than Tabby did, Maddy was also blessed with his quick mind, one fascinated by banking and finance. She also had the work ethic to run the business that had been in the family for generations.

That didn't mean Tabitha hadn't gotten something from their father, too—his fickleness. Maddy seemed to be the only Turner who didn't fall in and out of love as frequently as the networks changed their Friday night lineup.

"We have to do something."

"About what?"

"About the little cheater, that's what!"

Maddy sighed, lowered her pen, and leaned back in her chair. "But she hasn't cheated yet, has she?"

"No…and we're going to make damn sure she doesn't."

Frankly, her sister's attitude came as a surprise. Considering how strongly Tabitha disliked their father's new wife, Maddy would have figured Tabitha would want Deborah to cheat, and get caught. Her father would tolerate a lot when it came to his wives—spending money, demanding attention and throwing tantrums. But he would never tolerate being cheated on. As a few of his former loves could certainly attest. Tabitha's mother included.

"I'm surprised you haven't hired a detective to follow her and get the goods yourself."

Tabitha frowned, shifting her pretty blue eyes away to study her perfectly manicured nails.

"You have? Jesus, Tabby…"

"Look, it was stupid, and I changed my mind almost right away. I don't want to catch the bitch cheating."

"You don't?"

Her sister finally lifted her eyes, and in them was a hint of genuineness, an emotion Tabitha didn't often let the world see, but which Maddy knew lurked beneath her sister's polished, shiny, brittle surface. "He loves her, Mad. Really loves her and she makes him so happy. It's like he's twenty years younger." She swallowed, murmuring, "I don't want him hurt. Again."

Wow. That stunned her. So much that she couldn't reply for a minute. Because while she completely understood the senti-ment—and felt the same way—she wouldn't have expected it of Tabitha.

Then she remembered the one area where she and her sister were absolutely, one hundred percent alike: in their love for their father.

She lowered her pen to her desk, finally giving her sister her undivided attention. "Okay. What do you propose we do?"

Tabitha dissembled for a moment, glancing around the room, at the few framed photos on Maddy's bookshelf—all family— at the plants in the corner and the view of the Chicago skyline out the window.

She wasn't going to like this, Maddy knew. Tabitha had the same look she'd had when they were nine and twelve and her big sister had suggested they "borrow" their new stepmother's— wife three's—Dior gowns to play house. And Maddy had the same reaction—the similar twitch in her temple and the sweatiness in her palms she'd experienced on that day.

One thing was sure…sweat wouldn't wash any better out of her Chanel suit now than it had out of Dior then.


Her sister finally met her stare, appearing almost defiant. "It's simple, really."

The twitching intensified. The moisture on her palms could water the office plants for a week. "Oh?"

"Yes. She can't cheat on our father with the guy if somebody outbids her." With a smile that showed off the twenty-thousand-dollar smile their father had bestowed upon his oldest daughter, Tabitha continued.

"You buy the gigolo."

PARAMEDIC JAKE WALLACE had faced death dozens of times since he'd started working with Chicago FD's 4th Battalion five years ago. He'd responded to fires and shootings, to brawls and domestic abuse calls. To riots and hostage standoffs. He'd treated heart attacks, drowning victims and people two steps past death who'd miraculously taken three steps back into existence.

He'd once talked a whacked-out druggie into letting him take his injured girlfriend—whom said druggie had stabbed—out of their house for emergency treatment. And he'd then gotten chewed out by his lieutenant for not following protocol by waiting for the Chicago P.D. to handle it. Right—as if he was going to let her die.

None of those situations had intimidated him.

But this? This scared the hell out of him.

"Why did I ever agree to get involved with this?" he muttered.

One reason. Because he owed his lieutenant big and his lieutenant owed the chief big and the chief's wife loved this particular pet charity. End of story. Which was why two of his buddies from the battalion had already taken their turns under the spotlight.

"I've been asking myself the same thing," a stranger's voice replied.

Jake tugged helplessly at the bow tie that was choking him and glanced at Bachelor Number Eighteen, the one right before him. The other man looked just about as happy to be here as Jake, which was saying a lot. Because Jake would just as soon give CPR to a toothless octogenarian with halitosis than stand up on stage and be bid on by a bunch of rich, horny women with way too much time on their hands and too little self-respect. Or self-control.

"I should feel better about it," he said, trying to convince himself more than the other final few "bachelors" waiting for their turn on the block. "It is for a good cause, right? So I suffer a few minutes' embarrassment and a bad date. It's worth it."

Number Twenty offered a jaded smile as he leaned indolently against a column in the backstage area that had been set up for this evening's event. The guy looked almost bored, and Jake envied him his calm. "What, you don't enjoy having women 'paying' for your services?" The voice held amusement, and a hint of a foreign accent, possibly Irish.

Maybe European dudes were more at ease playing meat-on-parade. But this all-American rescue worker most definitely was not. "You do?"

Number twenty smiled as he checked his sleeves, the gold sheen of expensive cuff links flashing beneath the obviously pricey, tailored tux. Jake would lay money it was not rented.

"It can be…entertaining." This guy's suit and demeanor said he had money enough to donate to worthy causes on his own. But the longish hair scooped back into a black ponytail said he also liked to live dangerously.

So did Jake. But he got quite enough thrills out of putting his ass on the line at emergency scenes, thank you very much. He didn't particularly want to put it out there to be appraised, pinched, ogled or catcalled over by a bunch of strange women with itches between their legs and enough dollar bills to scratch them.

The other man continued. "Besides, as you said, it's for a good cause."

Right. Good cause. Kids. I like kids. Don't have any, don't really want any for a few more years, but they're cute in a long-distance way. As long as they're not sticking raisins up their noses or falling down into sewer drains or following the family cat up a tree.

Okay, so maybe he didn't like kids so much. Not enough to go through this humiliation.

Then he thought about his own baby niece and twin nephews. There was nothing he wouldn't do to make sure they remained the safe, healthy munchkins they were.

Damn. He was going to have to go through with it.

Tugging again at the too-tight collar of his own rent-a-tux, Jake peered through a crease in the black cloth curtains, eyeing the audience. The elegant ballroom was packed with round, white-draped tables, around which sat dozens of women in gowns and shimmery cocktail dresses. Laughter and gossip reigned supreme as they tossed back fruity Cosmos or sparkling champagne. They all watched hungrily, calling out bawdy suggestions as the raucous bidding continued for Bachelor Seventeen, who was currently center stage.

Well, all except one. A brunette who stood about ten feet away from the curtain he was peeking through. She drew his eye as he scanned the crowd…then drew it again. And this time, he let his gaze linger.

She was almost shadowed by one of the giant standing spotlights, which cast gaudy, unforgiving pools of light on the spectacle occurring on the stage. But what he saw of her was definitely enough to pique his interest.

First because she had some wicked curves. She wasn't a tall stick figure in a little black dress like half the women here. Instead she was petite, very rounded with the kind of full curves—generous hips and lush breasts revealed in a low-cut, silky blue dress—that weren't currently fashionable but made his heart pick up its pace and his recently dormant cock come awake in his pants.

Nor did she have bottled blond hair swept up in a complicated hairdo like the other half of the audience. No, hers was dark and thick, with long curls that fell in disarray past her shoulders. The look was wildly seductive, as if she'd just left her bed rather than an exclusive Michigan Avenue beauty salon.

Earthy, sultry, not at all restrained. The woman was sexy in a way that women didn't seem to allow themselves to be sexy anymore.

Her looks, however, merely started the fire in his gut. Her untouchable, out-of-place demeanor stoked it until it almost engulfed him.

The brunette wasn't laughing it up with her rich gal pals, or tossing back Manhattans while turning her hand to make sure her diamond rings showed to their greatest flashy advantage. In fact, if he had to guess, he'd say she looked almost disapproving, even tense. He couldn't see her face very well, though he got a glimpse of a stiff little jaw, lifted up in visible determination. And her back was military straight.

He sensed she was keeping it that way intentionally, as if she didn't dare let her guard down lest she be distracted from whatever mission she'd set for herself.

As if realizing she was being watched, the woman glanced around, turning her head enough to cast her face in a bit of light spilling off the stage. Enough to highlight the creamy skin, the curve of her cheek, the fullness of her lips and the dark flash of her eyes.


Jake's hands clenched into fists at his sides. Though she couldn't possibly see him and was in no way mirroring his reaction, hers did the same.

She clenched out of visible concentration that seemed to swirl around her, creating a no-fly zone between her and everyone else

in the room.

He clenched out of pure lust.

He hadn't had sex in a while—not since breaking up with a woman he'd been dating last winter. And nobody had as much as given him a quickened pulse rate since. Not the women he met at the station. Not the ones he helped. Not the nurses at the hospital. Not the hot girl who'd moved in upstairs from him, the one who'd already locked herself out three times just so she'd have an excuse to ask for his help.

This stranger? She'd given him a hard-on from ten feet away.

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Slow Hands (Harlequin Blaze Series #402) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3099 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
... and I love it! I love the raw, animalistic attraction between Maddy and Jake. I love that Jake isn't some Billionaire but an ordinary, normal guy. Since reading this book, I've become Leslie Kelly's fan.
FancyPants_Poli More than 1 year ago
At first I only got this book because it was free and I thought 'why not give it a shot?' But as soon as I started reading, I could not put this book down!! It is such a great, original story, with well developed characters and interesting plot that by the end of the book you will feel like you know the people in it. Everything you could possibly want in a romance book plus a couple of hot love scenes :)
exes_and_ohs More than 1 year ago
I appreciate that B&N had this available for a free download. That is why I gave this book five stars instead of four. It is exactly what one should expect from a Harlequin Romance (and that is not a criticism). This was the first time that I've read a book from Harlequin's "Blaze" series, and I must say that it lives up to it's name. I have to give Leslie Kelly a commendation for putting such... detailed love scenes into such a short book. The plot was a little iffy, but you can't really expect an extravagant plot in 195 pages. It was well written and enjoyable. I recommend this book for readers of sexy romances.
RLynn4 More than 1 year ago
I was guessing this book was sort of the erotica type and I've never read one before but always wondered why people liked them. I chose this one mostly based on price and reviews and the description wasn't so bad either. I was surprised it was actually quite good. I thought eroticas were solely written for descriptive sex scenes which is why I was just never really drawn to them. The plot was very good and romantic without being boring, sappy and corny. The characters were good as well. Realistic, funny, sad, touching and relatable. I like it and I would recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book but i was mad when she told him she didnt want to see him again then so happy when she went back :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alot happens in this short but sweet book! Must read!
Jwood816 More than 1 year ago
My grandma (haha) loved the harlequin books and I finally decided to read one. It definitely wasn't bad as I was thinking it might be. The storyline was interesting as well as the characters. I'm a sucker for a good romance story and I definitely got that from this one. For a free book I suggest reading it!
BelieverinbooksJB More than 1 year ago
i was unable to read all of this had a good start as a romantic theme but i found it to descriptive in sex and unable to read is probably ok for others..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I couldnt put the book down. It surely is a page turner and im glad i decided to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the story and the characters.the great sex was a bonus!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been reading and deleting a number of free nook books lately. This one, however, is a keeper. The ending was a great surprise and well worth taking the chance on an author I had not read yet. Just under 200 pages...and the page turns are accurate. This is something rarely seen in a free book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing and is a must read for sure i just wished it told us about when they get married but its a great book stayed up all night just to finish it really worth your while
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Sexy, steamy scenes that I had to read and re-read because they were so good! I'd tell my husband "Hey buddy, you need to read and remember these lines so you can use them on me!" LOL. Once you read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about. Love it!
Julie Fullerton More than 1 year ago
I've very much enjoyed this read very discriptive and passionate love scenes and gusshy love that builds until everything in the end is absolutely perfect.
Melinda Mataya More than 1 year ago
I am not a fan of love stories but this was actualy quite interesting. The mix up at the auction was what made this book good because the character development and writing wasn't anything scpecial. If it was not free I would not recommend it, but it you like romance then you will like this book.
Bobbie Gossett More than 1 year ago
Oh my god just make it stop! I cant tolerate all the emotional talk! The book was great, but there isnt enough dialogue! Maddy just wont stop narrarating! Speak more, think less
momma2fourboys More than 1 year ago
I really liked this story! It was sweet and sexy, a good read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So steamy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good book with a simple plot. A writer who knows how to create interesting charactes in an easy to read story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
164 Nook pages. DW
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