Authors: Tabitha Robbins
Tags: #mystery, #detective, #boss, #rich, #billionaire, #wealthy, #private investigator, #millionaire, #bodyguard
Wild About the
HAT Rock Publishing
2014 Tabitha Robbins
characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination
of the author, and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing
the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any
individual known or unknown to the author, and all the incidents
are pure invention.
Edition, License Notes
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Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
, you awake?” he asked. “Wanna toss
over a towel?”
Mayne registered the man’s question. It required an answer—demanded
some action. But, holy balls, that dude was
. Every time he moved,
prime-time muscle and sinew rippled all over the place. Thanks to
the fire-tipped tendrils licking their way through her veins, Sammy
had drummed up a sweat.
escaped in here a minute ago, she’d found him in that shower stall,
lathering up his hair and belting out a classic about being
gone in the morning
bats out of
. Then, strumming that six-pack like
he was making love to an electric guitar, he’d swung around and
everything else had zoned out. Now the singing had stopped, the
faucet was off and her dark-haired Adonis was studying her, his
head angled and sharp blue eyes uncertain.
She found a
towel from a nearby laundered pile and crossed over. Stepping out
from the stall, he swiped the towel down his curious face, around
that delectable GI-Joe chest.
waiter?” he asked.
fake moustache firmly under her nose, Sammy got back into character
and lowered her voice. “Yes sir.”
Why don’t I
I’m, er, new
at the club. Started today.”
When he ran a
hand through his wet locks, that bicep bulged, making her insides
he said. “I personally hire all my staff.”
dropped. This guy
The Don was an
exclusive gentleman’s club reserved for San Francisco’s elite.
Sammy had imagined the boss would be polished, stuffy. Probably
gray at the temples. One foot in the grave. None of that gelled
with this man, his choice of song, or that bad-ass tattoo trailing
over one shoulder—a fanged serpent set to devour a big shiny
her feet, Sammy came up with a believable excuse. He hired all his
casual, through an agency.” She shrugged like it was no big deal.
“All I know is you were short on hands today and I got a
mouth curved with a knowing smile–a streak of white set in a
sun-bronzed face. “That’s what you’re going with?”
finding my way around. I took a wrong turn. I need to get
As she headed
for the exit, he drawled, “Not so fast, sport.”
shoulders again, she angled back around. “Something else I can get
for you, boss?”
He was rubbing
the towel up around either side of his neck. “I want the truth, and
I want it now.”
Once back in
grade school Sammy had been accused of cheating on a math test. Now
she drew upon that memory—that sense of injustice. This minute,
unjustly charged waiter who had simply lost his way in a new
environment, not an out of work actress struggling with where to
look next. This would be a lot easier if he covered up that
He wiggled a
finger under his nose. “Ditch the fuzz hanging off your top lip and
we’ll talk. Or, if you prefer, we can get the cops
She tugged off
the moustache and, winching, rubbed that tender strip of
With a look
I won’t bite,
asked, “Now, what’s your name,
— You’re a
woman might have been insulted. Sammy, however, felt a measure of
pride. Not Academy Award winning stuff but at least that part of
her performance had been convincing.
With his brow
furrowed, he lashed that towel around his hips, securing its end a
hand-span below the navel she still had a craving to kiss. Her eye
line craned north as his chest expanded on a big, patient
So, what are
you doing here, Samantha—aside from having a good, hard
he looked in the mirror lately?
standing right in front of me,” she explained, “sudsing all the way
up, rinsing all the way down—”
Sign on the
door says Men’s Locker Room.”
… “I missed that.”
parents know where you are?”
of the vest, she released her squashed boobs and siphoned in the
big breath. “Do I look twelve?”
several times and then composed himself again. “I’ll ask the
questions. How old are you?”
off the wig, too. Shoulder-length hair spilled out.
enough to face the courts on a charge of trespassing.”
flinched, he hitched a hip over the corner of a nearby timber table
that was stacked with magazines and complementary toiletries.
Sitting like a guy would—thighs apart—the towel’s opening pulled
apart, too. When her fingers twitched, the moustache slipped and
wafted to the linoleum floor.
Is this your
way of asking for a job?” he asked.
have a job.” And a degree. She kept a few small businesses’ books,
but that wasn’t how she ever introduced herself. She lifted her
chin. “I’m an actress.”
hiked up. “An actress, huh?”
featured in a number of commercials.”
Dougie’s Dog Shampoo. Extra flea control. I’m the one on
rollerblades being pulled by two cartoon otters—”
shampoo.” He held up both palms. “Forget it. I’ll get dressed
and see you out before anyone else comes in and freaks.”
groaned. It had always been a long shot. She’d already tried the
more conventional, legal means to sort out her problem. To an
outsider, this might seem like a desperate act. In truth she
a little desperate.
If she failed here–and it seemed that she had–where in hell could
she turn next?
What are you
doing here anyway?” the man asked, sauntering across to a locker.
“What, or who, are you after?”
eyes pierced hers. “You’re not exactly the cooperative type, are
you, Miss Mayne?”
rubbed an aching temple. “I’m disappointed…out of
know. If you tell me what’s wrong, maybe I could help.”
She looked him
up and down. “Why would you want to do that?”
A soft smile
tugged at his lips. “It’s been a slow week.”
When he began
sifting through the locker, she sighed.
What did she have to lose?
I need to
speak with Hector Garfield,” she said. “He’s a patron
relationship to Garfield? Are you a disinherited granddaughter or
he’s disgustingly wealthy?” Sammy nodded. “
. I don’t want to be
anyone’s sugar baby. His wife has a ruby and pearl ring, hundreds
of years old.”
belongs to me.”
When his head
snapped around, she read his eyes.
know you’re nuts
. With a line etched
between the dark slashes of his brows, he slid his dynamite arms
through the sleeves of a crisp, white button-down shirt. “I’ll have
my driver take you home. Wherever you want to go.”
He’d put on
added security to keep her out, too, she’d bet. But he’d asked the
question. Implied that he might help. Now, damn it, he’d hear the
rest of the story.
There was a
famous French courtesan in the 18
century,” she said. “Her
admirers showered her in gifts.”
buttoning the shirt, tail end first. “That’s…nice.”
courtesan is an ancestor. The ruby ring was hers, handed down
through the generations via every second daughter. The courtesan
had been a second daughter herself.”
He grabbed a
pair of boxer briefs from the locker. Towel still hanging on his
hips, he stepped in, one long muscular leg then the
I tried to
contact Hector Garfield other ways,” she croaked. Her mouth was dry
from watching him dress, which, believe it or not, was even sexier
than seeing him naked. “But his bodyguard’s a bulldog. I did some
research, found out he liked to chill here. There are tons of
movies and plays were a woman dresses up as a man to gain an edge.
I decided to get a costume together, slide in back, find Garfield
and toss out a couple of quick questions before slipping away
didn’t go as planned, I presume.”
sitting by himself, working his way through a document and a hand
full of mints when one of your staff called me over. Guess I said
something that didn’t fit. Then another waiter got in my face and
threw me off course. I made some excuse then bolted down a
corridor, in through the nearest door and inside a ways. And,
well…here I am.”
Garfield supposed to have come by the ring?” he asked, finding a
tie and sliding the strip of blue paisley through his upturned
stolen ten years ago.”
doesn’t need to steal. He’s rich enough to own the Mona
I didn’t say
he was a thief. I don’t know how many people think they’ve owned
that ring since it vanished. When it went missing, we contacted the
sister and me. The cops came up empty.” Sammy remembered the day
her life had been tossed upside down, twice in a matter of months.
At first, she’d felt numb, and then ill. After that, she’d gotten
piece insured?” he asked, and she nodded. “Money