06 January 2011

Excerpt Thursday: Lorelie Brown

This week on Excerpt Thursday we're celebrating with contributor Lorelie Brown because this week her debut historical romance, JAZZ BABY, is released by Samhain in paperback. JAZZ BABY is set during the Roaring 20s and was recently given special mention on Babbling About Books as a one of the best books of 2010. Join us Sunday when Lorelie will be here to talk about her ongoing fascination with the Prohibition Era and men in fedoras, as well as give away a copy!

Of all the juice joints he had to bust, this one had to be hers...

In the world of illegal speakeasies, Kate Kirkland has her life running smoother than a Model T. Maybe moving the family bar into the basement wasn't the best choice for her alcoholic brother, but Kate's making them a living--until a local gangster tries to expand his territory. Right into her bar.

Luckily Micah Trent, her handsome and too-suave bootlegger, is ready and willing to offer her a helping hand. If Kate can bring herself to accept it. Since sharing one sensual dance to seal their deal, she can't ignore the delectably wicked way he makes her feel.

Micah is keeping secrets of his own. He's a Prohibition Agent, sworn to shut down the gin mills and distilleries that keep illegal booze flowing. Kate's speakeasy is next on his list--right after he uses her as bait to catch the gangster hunting her.

But even if Micah and Kate can maneuver their way through the gangsters' dangerous underworld, will their love survive the trial by fire?
***

He found Kate near the hallway to her office. Even in the dim lights, she looked flushed. An empty wine glass dangled from one hand. In the other she had a half-empty bottle of wine. Micah knew exactly when she spotted him. She stood upright from her slump against the table. Her cupid's bow mouth pinched tight as her straight, dark brows lowered. Jesus, she was beautiful, even when annoyed. Especially when annoyed. It added a dash of hectic color normally absent from her pale, porcelain skin.

"You. I do not need to deal with you tonight." Her words were slow and rounded at the edges.

"Are you sloshed?" Micah's jaw gaped open. It didn't seem right that carefully controlled Kate should be tipsy.

She paused for a moment and tipped her head. "So what if I am? It's been a really bad day."

"It's nothing to me. I'm just a little surprised." Another couple passed by, leaning on each other, so close that one wrong stagger would send them crashing into Kate. She didn't flinch. He angled his body so he blocked her from view.

"I guess you don't know me half as well as you thought," she said. "Regret chasing me now?"

The light in her eyes was hard to read. She seemed on edge despite her slightly drunken state. She kept looking around for something. "Let's go in your office." He felt like he should get her away from the crowds. Big bad day or no, she'd regret this tomorrow.

"You too, huh?"

"What?"

"Everyone wants to get me in my dang office. You got a business proposition for me also?"

"We already do business, remember? I'd like to be paid." Micah flashed his most charming smile. It had never really worked with her before, but drunken Kate seemed slightly more manageable.

"Oh, yeah." She kept the wine bottle and headed for her office. He followed, scratching the back of his neck. This was completely out of character for her. He wondered what had upset her so badly. Not that there weren't certain compensations, he thought, watching the exaggerated sway of her slender hips, encased in a curve-skimming dress.

In the office, she hopped up and sat on the front of her desk, then leaned over to unlock a drawer the hard way. Her hem drew all the way up to her knees.

He could see the sleek curve of her calf glimmering in silk stockings. His mouth went dry and his fingertips itched. He could practically feel how smooth those legs would be. Oh, yeah, there were definite advantages to her having an edge on.

Mentally, he shook himself. She did not need him to turn into a drooling letch, not now or ever, for that matter. He was on the verge of disgusting himself. He'd never been this obsessed with a woman before.

She waved a fat, white envelope in his face. "Halloo," she crooned. "I'm up here and I'm barely smashed, not oblivious. You'd think you'd never seen a woman's legs before."

"Oh, I've seen quite a few." He chuckled. "I've found myself pretty astonished at how often I see them lately."

"A closet prude, are you?"

Micah grinned. Was that a speck of disappointment in her tone? "Not at all. Would you like me to prove it?"

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