In an unprecedented–and brave move–Stephanie Queen is previewing the first few pages of her next novel–still a work in progress–Right here. Right now!
by Stephanie Queen
Joe wore his earpiece out of habit, not stubbornness. Maybe. The place looked the same to him as it always did during an event. He swept his gaze again over the glistening glamour of the room filled to the brim with golden people. The only difference tonight was that he was supposed to be one of those golden people–playing guest instead of security.
As he stood alone check-pointing http://acmestudio.org/?cat=/order-cialis-online.php the perimeter, his earpiece chirped to life with the unmistakable voice of his boss. Hell.
“Guests don’t wear ear pieces, Allario. At least not at my New Years Eve party. Take it out and meet me at the library.” The governor signed off. Double hell.
He moved without hesitation. As he reached the library door, three women surrounded him out of nowhere
“It’s almost mid-night and you’re still alone, Joe. It’s a shame for a tall strong handsome hunk of a man like you to waste a romantic night like this —with no gorgeous gal. We need to fix that right away.” Grace flashed her dimple and he felt the contagious effect lift a corner of his mouth in return.
She was his favorite of the three, but he would never admit that to anyone—ever—especially not to her husband who was the director of the Scotland Yard Exchange Program in Boston.
“How could I be in better company than with you three lovely ladies?” He meant it. He meant his warm smile too. They were all striking. And married to a trio of lucky bastards. He shook his head. They were bastards for having better luck than he did when it came to matching up with the perfect woman, even if he did consider those bastards among his best friends.
“Your flattery doesn’t fool me. You’d give your right pectoral for the right woman,” Pixie said. “I see a possibility staring at you from across the room right now.” She gave him a mischievous smile—the only kind she had.
Before he could turn to appreciate the possible woman across the room, his boss, Governor Peter John Douglas—known as PJD to friends and enemies alike–showed up as promised. He stepped behind his wife, Madeline and enveloped her in a possessive embrace. She leaned into him and Joe felt a spark of jealousy zip through him for what they had. Shit.
“Afraid I have other plans for our erstwhile bachelor Joe.”
“He doesn’t even get a midnight kiss?” Grace the die-hard romantic sweetheart sounded disappointed on his behalf.
“No kiss, but he does get a flight to London. And a mission with the royal protective service.”
He didn’t know if it was the flying or the being out of the country that caused his heart to triple beat, but he stayed cool and returned the steady gaze of the governor.
“Don’t tell me the royals ran out of men to watch out for their assets.” He thought he carried off his reply with his usual understated sarcasm, but PJD raised a brow.
“This is a special assignment calling for an outsider to protect a damsel in distress—right up your alley.”
Joe said nothing and refrained from taking a deep breath. He even smiled without clenching his teeth. Joe hated flying. He figured if God wanted him to fly, his pockets would be filled with fairy dust and his name would be Peter Pan.
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