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Set Up

Author(s): Cheryl B. Dale

Three divorces should teach a man something, but hotel heir Cal McIntyre can't figure out what. Then a flashy redhead – the kind he adores – shows up. Since he's off women, he reluctantly takes a bet to seduce her. One more hook-up won't matter. Especially with this temptress.

But Amanda’s hair is dyed and she’s not about to be seduced. Her younger sister gambled with an heirloom engagement ring, and Cal won. If Amanda has to drug him to retrieve the ring and save her sister's marriage, so be it.

She doesn't count on Cal's kisses awakening a long-banished sexuality. Lucky for her, he passes out before she gets carried away. She escapes with the ring and virtue intact. Now to forget him.

But Cal tracks her down. And tells her he bought the ring. From her sister. Worse, someone stole diamonds worth millions after she knocked him out. Cal wasn’t the only one set up.

There must be an explanation, but her sister can't give it; she's vanished. Now Amanda must help Cal find her sister or go to jail. She's determined to protect her sister, and he's determined to recover his diamonds. Sparks are about to fly.


“This box is taken,” she said. Her voice was husky and low. As enticing as her looks. “Oh!” The quick gasp conveyed recognition, surprise, and imperfectly concealed interest.

Mid- or late twenties. Her halter dress plunged down the “V” of her cleavage to where nipples nudged the thin black silk.

Sexy. Real sexy. The familiar need stirred.

“Don't you think I know it's taken?” When he stepped behind a chair at her left, a scent of oranges drifted by. “I've been watching you watching me all evening, sugar. I'd be ashamed, if I were you, flirting with me that way when I was trapped in my seat till intermission. You’ve got to stop ogling me.”

“Ogling you?” Breasts mounded with a disbelieving gasp. “I wonder why you’d think that. If you'd bothered to look anywhere else in the building, you would certainly not be under the mistaken impression that I was ogling you.”

“I couldn't possibly have looked anywhere else. I was too busy watching you.” Uninvited, he sat down beside her. “You're the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”

The same old words he always said. He always meant them, too.

“You must not know many women, then. Go away.” Red-tipped fingers tightened around a beaded evening bag. The diamonds at her throat – not very good ones, though the lighting might have accounted for the off-tint – couldn’t hide the rapid pulse beating in one of the tiny hollows. Brows were delicate arches nearly hidden by red curls falling over her forehead. A dignified nose showed off a short upper lip that peaked delectably.

Made for kisses.

A pink tongue licked the peak. “I hate ugly scenes so I don't want to call an usher to throw you out. I don't know you, and I don't want to talk to you.”

Strange. Oranges were common, but on her their fragrance was intoxicating. “No, you don't know me, but if I leave, how'll we ever get to know each other? You'll enjoy talking to me. I promise.”

Her complexion was the unblemished cream redheads sometimes possess. Her eyes, accentuated by green eyeshadow and fake fringes half an inch long, were large and emerald and abnormally bright.

Contact lenses­, probably. Near?sighted with astigma­tism? Maybe dull intellectually and ordinary conversationally, but irresistible physically. Packaged just the way he liked.

Cal moved closer. “I'll tell you who I am, and you tell me who you are. Then we can sit and talk. I'm Cal McIntyre. And you're...?”

The corners of her mouth tried to curve upward. After a full five seconds, she giggled. Not a titter, a breathy gurgle. “I'm astonished.”

“Hello, Astonished. How quaint. Is that an old family name?" He held out his hand. "How do you do?”

Ignoring his hand and execrable humor, she looked around for help. “I'll do much better when you're gone.”

Good. Not a hint of annoyance or impatience. The sweet thing was curious.

“I'll leave but not until you tell me your name. Come on, fair's fair. I told you mine.”

“You’ve got a lot of gall. I’m calling someone to get rid of you.” The infectious grin wouldn’t be restrained, belying her words.

“Oh, I’ll leave. I promise. If you tell me your name. Please. If you don't, I'll be up all night wondering. And how can I ask you to dinner if I don't know what to call you?”

“I wouldn't go to dinner with you. I wouldn't walk out of the theater with you. I don't like men who stare at a woman all evening and then burst in on her private box uninvited.”

Said in the friendliest way imaginable.

Oh, yes, the lady was definitely interested.

He moved his chair a half inch toward hers. “If I promise not to stare any more, will you tell me your name?”

The delicious mouth tried its best to present a prim line. “You can call me Scarlet.”

“As in O'Hara?” Mild derision couldn’t be contained. “Is that what you are? A vain, opinionat­ed, spoiled heroine?”

Her quick withdrawal made him backpedal. Stupid. Not playing the game lately had made him forget the rules. Scarlet apparently didn’t care for blunt men.

The puppy dog look should cover his mistake. “Not that you’re spoiled or opinionated. You’re perfect.”

His beseeching eyes didn’t allay her suspicions.

“Scarlet because of my hair.” She held up a strand, revealing a long rhinestone earring, before drawing enchanting brows together. “You'd better go.”

He loved gaudy dangling earrings. “I wasn't making fun of you, sugar. You didn't tell me the rest. Scarlet what?”

Two white teeth caught her bottom lip. “Scarlet…Smith.”

Smith. Yeah, sure. No matter. That luscious mouth, the orange scent, her whole flamboyance made him want to sigh. Later. Afterward. “Okay, Scarlet Smith. The Resort is having a small reception upstairs after the show for all the cast.”

Her face lit up. “Will Jeanne Picarde be there?”

So she had a thing for New York divas. “Along with the others. Would you join us?”

She drooped. “I can't. I'm expected at home.”

“Surely you don't have to answer to Mother.”

“I don't have to answer to anybody!”

“Good. Tell whoever’s expecting you that you'll be home later.”

“I can’t. I have a car scheduled to pick me up.”

Sweet Scarlet could be persuaded. “I can tell you really want to go. Cancel your car. I'll take you home afterward.”

The breathy laugh returned. “You're persistent. You make it seem easy.” One hand pushed at the necklace, drawing attention to the swell of her breasts, the sketch of her nipples. When she moved, the silk whispered suggestively. “I would love to meet Jeanne Picarde. Her voice is amazing.”

He knew what she was doing, but her flaunting of her body still worked. "Then come. Please. If you don't, you'll spoil my entire evening." Her shoulder where it curved into her neck invited a light caress. No, don’t spook her now. “Call and tell them you won't be home tonight.”

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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-77127-029-8
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Date Published: 07/27/2012
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing

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