27 May 2010

Excerpt Thursday: Isabelle Santiago

This week on Excerpt Thursday we're featuring Freya's Bower author Isabelle Santiago's lighthearted murder mystery, DARK HOLLYWOOD NIGHTS, set in 1950s Hollywood. Join us Sunday when Isabelle will be here to talk Hollywood gossip and give away a copy! Here's the blurb:

A hair's breath away...

Alexis Grant's only job is to keep the prestigious Winmont Hotel running smoothly while her cousin, Charles Witmore, enjoys his honeymoon. The only problem: things begin to fall apart the moment he leaves. The pompous Chase Branton, who's determined to get access to one of her off limits celebrity clients, doesn't help.

Can she keep it together long enough to earn a managerial position of her own, or will a high profile death cause all of her dreams to shatter?

"I want a real man, Chase." She lifted a thin brow, her eyes glittering mischievously. They looked even brighter, glowing cerulean, if that was even possible. "A man who's going to treat me like a woman should be treated."

Brown eyes watched her, hungry. Chase tightened his grip even more. He suspected she'd have bruises on her pale, milky skin by the morning. He didn't care. She was throwing herself into the lion's pit, as though he could somehow save her. He was a private investigator, not a superhero.

"You're crazy," he whispered, not low enough to avoid being heard. She got the message loud and clear. He saw it in the way her lips twitched struggling to hide a smile. "If you think I'm going to let you leave me...." He finished, giving in, playing along with her dangerous game.

"The lady's decided." The goon stepped forward. His body, too tall and thick to avoid being awkward, waddled. Chase snickered. He looked like a penguin. "What's funny?" the man spat out, stopping short. He grimaced.

"Yea, what's funny?" Lexi egged on, ripping herself from his grasp. She tiptoed forward. Her hips swayed with each step, an exaggerated swish of her body from side to side. He had to hand it to her. Her undercover face was nearly flawless.

It didn't help that she'd developed a sudden sex appeal he hadn't seen in her before. Under the layers of composed, if not completely ungraceful exterior, was a woman begging to come out. "I've made my choice, Chase," she said, interrupting his thoughts, lifting her eyebrows as she turned beside the goon. Her hand drifted carefully behind the man beside her. Chase held his breath. Her long fingers were only inches away from the gun that hung on his holster. She was crazy.

Chase did the only thing he could. He stepped forward and swung.

His knuckles cracked as bone met bone. Lexi shrieked somewhere to his right. He didn't get time to react before large, heavy fists pummeled him. He fought against the idiot who held his arms behind him so that his penguin friend could swing his huge, gorilla hands at his face. Everything became a blur until the metallic click of a gun unlocked broke through the haze. Silence fell. Heavy, deafening silence against the panting breaths of three men frozen in place, staring.

She was quite a sight. Nearly five foot six judging by his own height, milky-white skin spilled over beautiful bone structure, limp obsidian hair and sapphire eyes. In all her femininity, there was something deadly about the way she held the gun in her hands. With authority. Like she'd held a gun before. Chase swallowed hard. God, he hoped she'd held a gun before.

"Excuse me, gentlemen," she said, her voice silky. "As flattered as I am by all the attention, what I'd really love is a booth right next to that man over there." She pointed inside. The two goons didn't move, didn't let him go, but their heads turned to follow her line of sight. Chase stared at her in disbelief. Their gazes met. She winked. The gangsters turned back toward her, and their hands slowly released him. "I'd also love your biggest bottle of wine. Today's been quite a doozy."