Samantha Lytton is either going to end up in jail or famous. Maybe both.
Samantha, a semi-enthusiastic secretary, is getting along just fine. So what if her big Los Angeles acting career peaked at a pickle commercial, her love life is a grislier remake of Titanic, and dinner every night features Pizza Rolls. Life is great and fabulous and not terrible at all, okay?
Things start to look up when a hot accountant with the cutest dimple in the world maneuvers her into her boss's office for a little hanky-panky. Except his version of hanky-panky is stealing a priceless Picasso and some light kidnapping. Samantha gets away, kidnaps him back—thank you very much—and finally figures out this guy isn't an accountant, or an F.B.I. agent like he said. His name is Nick—or Sam, maybe—and he's a freaking international art thief. And she's one dead wannabe-actress if they can't get the bad guys to stop shooting at them.
Samantha should hate Nick/Sam, but he's sexy, funny, and can square dance better than anyone ought to in such tight pants. How can any self-respecting woman fall for a man whose name she doesn't know? Easy. He opens his not-so-wicked heart and ruins her life in the best way possible.
Between dodging criminals, Samantha learns that finding happily ever after with yourself is the first step to real contentment. A cute dimple is just the second.
About the Author
That's why she writes funny books, because goodness knows we all need to escape the real world once in a while.
She believes in red lipstick, equality, and the interrobang. Lucy daydreams in Los Angeles with her husband and a very fat cat who doesn't like you.
Read an Excerpt
It's a Not-So-Wonderful Life
Accountants should not be so sexy.
It all started at the office Christmas party, as many terrible hangovers do.
My palms began to sweat at the sight of The Accountant walking in my direction. His shining eyes said, I wanna spread your sheet, his masterful gait said, Damn, I'm masterful, and his tantalising smirk said, I've read the Kama Sutra — all the way through.
I swallowed the lump of lust in my throat and twiddled with the tablecloth of the catered buffet table. My usual party plan involved making winsome eyes at the food, but tonight I salivated over more than just the pigs in a blanket.
"Potato ball?" he asked. Sam Turner, aka The Accountant, held the fried offering palm up on a festive red and green paper plate.
I had the hots for a dude named Sam. My name is Samantha. Samantha 'n' Sam. It was the stuff of obnoxious wedding invitations.
What colour were his hazel eyes today? Glancing up, I slid into hormone heaven. He stood, eyes mossy green pools of sensual seductiveness, and offered me the Garden of Eden apple. Except it was a potato ball.
Cocking my head, I posed in an alluring manner that I hoped brought Marilyn Monroe to mind. I should say something. Something not stupid.
"I love balls." Oh, damn. "And potatoes!" Did I just tell him I loved to eat balls? "I mean I love to eat food! In ball form. You know. Because it's easy. To eat. Except when it rolls. Then it can be hard to catch."
"Okay." Sam's lips turned upward in mockery on his almost handsome, totally charming face, topped in curling, floppy, please-run-your-hands-through-me brown hair.
Yes, I absolutely had told him I loved to eat balls. I decided I should smile through this faux pas. Everyone knew a bright grin made unpleasant things go away. Ask Judy Garland.
"I like food in stick or chip form myself," he said, munching a piece of celery in stick form.
I couldn't come up with anything to say about sticks that wasn't dirty. "Chips are good." Really, I impressed even myself with the brilliance of my witty banter. At any moment my clothes would be ripped off my quivering body by Sam, my same-named accounting crush.
I hated the office Christmas party.
Sam blinked and appraised me in what I chose to interpret as a captivated manner. A girl could dream. Instead he said, "So, Scott told me you entertained the employees at last year's party."
"Yes. I fell down the steps." My cheeks burned like the carpet at the end of two flights of stairs. I wasn't clumsy too often, but when I made the effort, I really won at it. "You can still see the splotch on the floor from the blood. I lost a tooth, but gained a reputation."
"That's gross." He grinned. One wouldn't call him drop-dead gorgeous or anything. At first, you might consider him kinda ordinary-looking. Then the naughty glimmer in his eye caught your breath. The smile appeared, emphasising the lickable curve of his bottom lip. Charm emanated from his very pores.
And, of course, he possessed the nuclear weapon of facial features. The dimple. Only one — on the left side of his face — deep enough to bury yourself in. One flicker and panties fell at thirty paces.
My body temperature had suddenly shot upward to somewhere near surface of the sun levels. I'd disconnected completely from the conversation and reverted to teenage-girl-like gawking.
I took a steadying breath and jumped back into the fray. "So, accounting? Is that as glamorous as it sounds?" I had, apparently, decided that deriding his profession was the way to go, flirt-wise. Plays like this were risky, but desperation had sunk in. His temp job in the finance department ended today — I would have no more chances to bend and snap at the water cooler for his benefit.
The corners of his sometimes green, sometimes brown, always dreamy eyes crinkled. "Of course. Usually I have eight models in my accounting entourage, but I gave them the night off."
Uh-oh. He was funny, too. It just wasn't fair. "How kind of you. You could say you're a model boss! Ha ha!" Yes, I laughed at my own joke, which was a behaviour shared by the most sophisticated of ladies. Then I remembered I turned a horrid shade of blotchy red when I got too excited. I choked off my laughter and forced down some potato.
"I could say that, but I won't."
"No, you really shouldn't."
The dimple chose that moment to come out and play. Oh, Sam — let's retire to the supply room and hump. It had been so long since I had humped anyone. Or anywhere. I shoved more mmmmm-yummy potato ball into my mouth and almost didn't get it on my festive sweater, the beautiful red one I'd spent way too much money on in the hopes of getting Sam to notice me.
He noticed now. "You have a blob of —"
Then he grabbed my boob.
"Jesus, I'm sorry!" His eyes became saucers, and he jerked his hand back, leaving my skin scorched and feverish. "There's a bunch of potato on your ... sweater. Let's, um, let's go to the kitchen. There's a sink."
My stomach dropped three storeys — I'd just accidentally got to second base in public. He grabbed my arm, and we hurried past a maze of monochrome cubes draped in twinkle lights to the break room. This was the most exciting event in the office since they had switched the carpeting from taupe to tan.
Sam stood there while I applied a paper towel to my tit. Actually, he didn't merely stand there — he stared, turned away, blinked and stared again. I couldn't blame the guy. The girls were rather ravishing — perky from the cold water, encased in a formidable push-up bra, eager for more inappropriate fondling.
"I'm sorry about ... that." He slumped and shoved his hands in his pockets.
"It's okay. It happens." I smiled, brimming with reassurance.
The tension finally broke when he snickered. "It does? How often does it happen? You should avoid potato balls."
We laughed at each other. For once I wasn't laughing by myself.
My ears pricked at the silence surrounding us. The back office echoed, and we were alone. The whirring hum of the old refrigerator sounded like a Lionel Ritchie love song to me in my hyper-aroused state. Hello? Is it me you want to do on the floor?
I stared at him, knowing I resembled an enraptured puppy, but unable to help it. Unbelievably, he gazed right back. Soft green eyes mesmerised me. After what felt like ten minutes, I found my voice again. "I think I'll wait here until my boo — sweater dries."
"I understand." His focus never left my face. "We don't want to start any lactating rumours."
"No. It takes a long time for those to go away — I know from experience."
Sam chuckled, flashing the dimple again.
What happened next was one hundred per cent the dimple's fault — the evil dent winked in his cheek like a boozy lounge singer, urging me to bad behaviour.
I reached up his five-nine or so height and pulled the collar of his green shirt down to my five-foot lip level to kiss him.
He smelt divine — shaving cream and man skin. An enticing combination. His lips were soft and surprised at first, but soon parted to allow my exploration. Sweet. He tasted sweet, warm, delicious. Oh, God.
My fantasies about kissing him were pale, pathetic compared to the real thing. Sparks flew from my lips through my veins to my toes, singeing various important parts in between. The sudden heat emanating from his talented mouth made me dizzy. Blood pounding, I clutched him harder to remain upright. This was not an ordinary kiss. This was a masterpiece painted by the two of us.
I let his shirt go before his lips.
His hazy gaze melted into mine. "I should be inappropriate more often."
"I wrinkled your nice green shirt." I smoothed the cloth over his chest — his solid, inviting, muscled, taut ... What on earth is going on? Oh, yes, I've messed up his shirt.
"I don't care. Do you like it?" His eyebrows hovered upward, as if he really cared about me liking his clothes.
I dared a glance into his eyes again. I should learn not to do that. Warmth pooled in my stomach when he leaned in, desire writ large in the purse of his lips, the falling of his eyelashes. I gripped his shirt. I didn't have to pull very hard — this time his arms locked around my waist and lifted me until I stood on his feet. On my tiptoes, I flicked my tongue across his bottom lip. Marvellous. With an approving grunt, he sucked on mine, and I heard myself moan into his open mouth. Accountants shouldn't have such nice bodies, but I felt firm, delicious muscle when my belly pressed against his.
"Ahem." We froze.
In slow motion, I turned around to find Scott, the company scumbag, leering. Scott made office irritation an art form by eavesdropping, rumour-mongering, licking his fingers and leaving messes in the communal microwave. He gave his best smarmy laugh before leaving.
Sam closed his eyes. "Crap."
"Crap," I agreed. "I should have taken you home, and then kissed you."
Grinning, he said, "Samantha, I like you."
He did? I held my breath. There was no candid camera. No pointing and/or laughing. A hot, normal guy liked me.
I did not believe that women should derive their self- worth from the approval of male persons. However, the dating scene in Los Angeles was ... unique. It was riddled with loser actors, and loser producers, and loser losers and more tall, tanned silicone than you could shake a jiggling arm at. Let's just say that pale, short girls who don't speak Dipshit did not enjoy as robust a dating life as they might have desired. In other words, there were slim fucking pickings. Therefore, it was cause for real celebration when he continued —
"I have to ask you out now. For the office's sake. To ensure a legacy of rakishness."
"There aren't enough old-fashioned rakes nowadays."
His response was a leer Casanova would have envied.
This man caused my brain to revert to Primal Mode, where the animalistic priorities were food and sex. Usually food was my number one passion, but this man was locked in a dead heat with fried chicken. "I'm not really easy, you know."
"Too bad. I am."
Quite breathless, I smiled and stepped off his feet. Everyone knew what they said about large feet. That they were easy to stand on when you kissed the guy attached.
He tucked a tendril of hair behind my ear. I felt that shivery little touch like it was an earthquake. "Do you have the keys to Oliver's office?" he asked.
"Oliver the CEO?"
"Yeah, I saw him leave." He twirled a strand of my hair — it shimmered like gold against his skin, making me suddenly feel beautiful. It had been a while since that had happened. Leaning closer, he whispered, "His empty office might be a better place to ... let your sweater dry. Besides, if we go back out to the buffet table everyone will stare."
We wouldn't want staring. Staring might impede the clandestine nakedness we planned to perpetrate. "I have the keys. I'll meet you up there."
Warning bells permeated the din of lust in my head. I knew I should not do this, but that damn dimple was a con man of the highest order. Later I would send a thousand dollars to a Nigerian prince because it asked me to.
I put my hand over my chest in a probably futile attempt to cover up the boob disaster and hurried to find my best friend, fellow office drone and love consultant Ellen. As I suspected, she occupied my old spot by the buffet tables. Great minds and all that. I hoped the food wouldn't forget me now.
She paused mid-potato ball. She'd thank me later.
I pulled her into a nearby cube and shoved aside someone's work papers to sit on the white, plastic counter. The files probably weren't important. This was the Steak on a Stick corporation — the United Nations it was not. "Should I go make out with The Accountant?" I asked.
Her brown eyes narrowed. "You pulled me away from hot hors d'oeuvres to ask me that?"
"I fully deserve that reprimand, but this is important, too. Kissing or no kissing?" I didn't mention that there had already been kissing. No need to complicate the matter.
She set her martini down and took on a more properly ponderous attitude. The politics of inter-office romance were tricky. "Kissing."
I fist-pumped. "Yes!"
"But don't screw him in the copy room. You'll always be the girl who screwed a guy in the copy room. Remember poor Mary Lou and the supply closet?"
"That nickname was just evil. How come the men never get vile rhymes made up about them?"
Ellen was indeed wise. A few months ago, she'd sold a book — an awesome young adult novel about the zombie apocalypse starring a lesbian heroine named Samantha. Oh, yeah, I would forever be personified as the tough, yet sensitive saviour of humankind with a penchant for both justice and redheads.
"Where you gonna do it?" she asked.
"Why? It's deserted. Oliver fled his unwashed minions an hour ago."
She opened her mouth and closed it again, but the furrow between her eyebrows remained.
"Besides, he has couches." I hoisted my boobs farther up in my push-up bra. Almost time for my pretties to shine!
"Do not have sex with that man in your boss's office! You'd always be —"
"Yes, yes, I know. Besides, it would be slutty."
Ellen pulled my sweater down so it stretched over my cleavage more. "You say that like it's a bad thing."
Ellen was indeed wise.
"What's going on with your boob there?" She pointed just as some guy passed by. He snickered and moved on. Now those gay rumours would circulate again. When they resurfaced I got hit on more by skeevy vice presidents who dreamed of getting to watch. I didn't know if Ellen minded. She was a lesbian, so she didn't care about that part. But perhaps she hated that people thought I was her main squeeze. She dated taller and cooler than me. Her words.
* * *
I unlocked the door and tiptoed into the CEO's well- appointed office. It smelt of leather furniture and large, ridiculous bonuses. I had been Oliver Taylor's second assistant for over a year at Steak on a Stick, whose slogan read, 'What doesn't taste better on a stick!' It wasn't the best rhetorical question ever. I'd gone to school to learn how to act. Now every day I acted as if being a secretary at Steak on a Stick didn't murder my soul one beefy bite at a time.
Sam hadn't arrived yet. I planted myself on Oliver's desk and turned off the negative voices in my head. After all, I wasn't here to rehash my disastrous acting career — I was here to begin a disastrous affair.
I didn't wait long. A couple of minutes later, he sauntered into the room, cool, collected, debonair. Ellen's cock-blocking face filled my brain. I tried to conjure chaste thoughts — nuns, priests, naughty monks ... hot priests listening to dirty confessions ...
I wasn't very good at chaste thoughts. Whoever it was who said that only men thought about sex all the time was dead wrong, or simply rubbish at picking up ladies.
Sam paused a moment in the dim light, then came towards me, slowly, almost prowling like a jungle cat. That was what romance novels always said the hero did and boy, did Sam panther with the best of them. Appropriate, for while my bodice hadn't exactly been ripped, it had been stained thoroughly.
"Hello," he said.
I jumped. The room had been so quiet. He threw me a cheeky smile that said he wasn't sorry for making me jittery.
"I've never been in here before." He ran his hand across the back of a sofa that probably cost more than my car.
The twinkling lights of downtown Los Angeles filtered in through the enormous executive windows, illuminating him in warm, sultry yellows — Hollywood's modern version of candlelight. I slid off the desk and jutted out a curvy, come-hither hip. "Well, here is where it all goes down."
"Where all what goes down?"
I shrugged. "I don't know. I don't care. I avoid thinking about my job any more than I have to as a tremendously dedicated professional."
He laughed and said, "But he never sees people up here, right? That's the scuttlebutt." Sam's eyes caressed every inch of the room instead of caressing every inch of me.
"Yes, that's true, I guess. It's a secret office," I joked. He didn't say anything. I glanced in the ornate wall mirror and floofed up my hair.
Sam made a slow circuit of the room while I almost jumped out of my skin. I ought to be the jumpee, not the jumper — why was he ignoring my obvious signals? My seduction techniques were rusty. Perhaps in true Tinseltown fashion I should have sent him a sex tape as a warm-up act.
"I heard there was a secret, secret room." he said.
My heart tripped just enough to make me flustered. "How do you —?" Shit. A good assistant would have denied the secret, secret room. Truth be told, I was a competent, bored assistant at best. "I mean, what room?"(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Dimple of Doom"
Copyright © 2013 Lucy Woodhull.
Excerpted by permission of Totally Entwined Group Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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