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Be swept away in December

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A modern twist on the Regency house party.


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Signet
November 2010
On Sale: November 2, 2010
320 pages
ISBN: 0451231333
EAN: 9780451231338
Trade Size
$14.00
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Romance Anthology

Also by Susanna Carr:

The Bridesmaid's Best Man, October 2013
Paperback
The Bridesmaid's Best Man, October 2013
Paperback
Her Shameful Secret, January 2013
e-Book
Suddenly Sexy, June 2012
Mass Market Paperback
The Tarnished Jewel of Jazaar, April 2012
Mass Market Paperback
Wicked Wonderland, November 2010
Trade Size
The Year Of Living Shamelessly, October 2009
Paperback
Red-Hot and Royal, June 2008
Paperback
Bad Girl Bridesmaids, May 2007
Trade Size
Valentine's Day Is Killing Me, January 2007
Paperback
Pink Ice, November 2006
Trade Size
EX, Why and Me, July 2006
Trade Size
Valentine's Day Is Killing Me, January 2006
Trade Size
Liplock, December 2005
Trade Size
Wicked Women 101, September 2005
Paperback (reprint)
Beach Blanket Bad Boys, June 2005
Trade Size
Confessions Of A Wicked Woman, June 2005
Trade Size
Merry Christmas, Baby, October 2004
Trade Size
How To Be a "Wicked" Woman, August 2004
Trade Size
The Wrong Bride, December 2001
Trade Size

Also by Janice Maynard:

Christmas in the Billionaire's Bed, December 2014
Paperback
A Wolff at Heart, October 2013
e-Book
All Grown Up, January 2013
Paperback
The Maid's Daughter, September 2012
Paperback
Into His Private Domain, January 2012
Paperback
The Billionaire's Borrowed Baby, September 2011
Paperback
Wicked Wonderland, November 2010
Trade Size
Mating Game, July 2009
Trade Size
Hot Mail, January 2009
Trade Size
By Appointment Only, July 2008
Trade Size
The Perfect Ten, January 2008
Paperback
A Very Merry Christmas, October 2007
Paperback
Improper Etiquette, July 2007
Paperback
Play With Me, January 2007
Trade Size
A Very Merry Christmas, October 2006
Trade Size
Suite Fantasy, January 2006
Trade Size
Wildest Dreams, December 2003
Paperback

Also by LuAnn McLane:

Sweet Harmony, October 2014
Paperback
Wildflower Wedding, April 2014
Paperback
Moonlight Kiss, November 2013
Paperback
Christmas On Main Street, November 2013
Paperback
Whisper's Edge, May 2013
Paperback
Pitch Perfect, September 2012
Paperback
Catch Of A Lifetime, January 2012
Paperback
Playing For Keeps, March 2011
Mass Market Paperback
Wicked Wonderland, November 2010
Trade Size
He's No Prince Charming, October 2009
Paperback
Redneck Cinderella, March 2009
Paperback
A Little Less Talk And A Lot More Action, July 2008
Paperback
Trick My Truck But Don't Mess With My Heart, January 2008
Paperback
Dancing Shoes and Honky-Tonk Blues, May 2007
Paperback
Love, Lust and Pixie Dust, October 2006
Trade Size
Dark Roots and Cowboy Boots, August 2006
Paperback
Wild Ride, March 2006
Trade Size
Taking Care of Business, August 2005
Trade Size
Hot Summer Nights, July 2004
Trade Size
Wildest Dreams, December 2003
Paperback

Excerpt of Wicked Wonderland by Susanna Carr, Janice Maynard, LuAnn McLane

Hot for the Holidays by Susanna Carr

The silver tinsel looked like it had been ravaged. One spot had been crushed, another part stripped bare. A long stretch of the decorative string was twisted, the silver strips fanning out wildly. It was beyond repair. 

Maybe no one would notice. Rachel grabbed for a tack from her desk. Once she pinned it back up, she could hide the damage with a few well-placed Christmas cards. 

"Whoa, Rachel." She recognized her friend Nikki's voice at the doorway. "What happened to your cubicle?" 

Shoot. So much for no one noticing. Rachel felt the unfamiliar heat sting her cheeks. Was she blushing? Terrific. She used to think she was physiologically incapable of showing embarrassment. The inability had come in handy many times over the years. 

"It was a wild party last night," Rachel said, keeping her head low and her attention on the denuded tinsel so Nikki couldn't see her blush. 

"The office Christmas party?" Nikki asked in disbelief. Rachel heard her friend step into her work space. "Were we at the same party?" 

"Pretty sure," she muttered as she drove the thumbtack into the wall with more force than necessary. 

Nikki's attention was drawn to Rachel's desk. "What happened to your chair?" 

"Uh . . . nothing." She wanted to wince at the lame answer. 

"It's totally destroyed." Nikki gave the wheels a kick and watched the lopsided piece of furniture sag. "It looks like there was an orgy in here. . . ." 

All of Rachel's muscles locked. She knew there was no getting out of this. She watched Nikki's face with dread. She saw her friend's eyes flicker over the cubicle, indexing every damning piece of evidence. 

"Rachel Bartlett, what were you doing last night?" Her voice dropped low as delight shone in her eyes. "More importantly, who were you doing it with?" 

Rachel carefully avoided eye contact. "Nikki, seriously. This is me you're talking to. I've given up my wild ways." Give or take a relapse. Like the one last night. 

"Still?" Nikki looked like she wanted to shake some sense into her. "I was hoping that was a phase." 

"I like the new and improved me." 

"We could debate on the improved," Nikki muttered, frowning at Rachel's tight ponytail, button- down shirt, baggy jeans, and chunky shoes. "You know, there's nothing wrong with a little cleavage, especially with the size of your--" 

"Thanks, but I'm comfortable with what I'm wearing." Rachel wasn't going to apologize for the uninspired outfit. Her wardrobe suited her new life in a quiet mountain town, and her new job as a graphic artist. She was getting used to the buttoned-up look, but Nikki still missed the old Rachel. "I need to get back to work." 

"Yeah, fine." Nikki looked around the cubicle one last time. "So you didn't get lucky?" 

She didn't want to lie to her friend, but she wasn't ready to reveal how badly she relapsed. Nikki would encourage it and she needed to be stricter with herself more than ever. Rachel settled for a partial truth. "I came into work and found my cubicle looking like this." 

"Bummer." Nikki tsked. She tilted her head as she studied the bald patches on the tinsel.   "Who do you think it was?" 

Rachel shrugged. She wasn't going to make this worse by pointing any fingers. "It could be anyone." 

"I bet it was Leah." Nikki looked over at the nearby empty cubicle. "She was all over Ben last night." 

Rachel was about to disagree when she caught the faint sound of footsteps coming down the corridor. She knew that purposeful, confident stride anywhere. 

Nikki's voice faded to nothing as Rachel's heart started to pound. The last time her heart pounded against her rib cage like this was two years ago. It was right before she got caught by the cops for skinny-dipping in a park fountain. Sadly, that event was not the most stupid moment of her life, but the fiasco, with a heavy fine, was a turning point and helped her get on the straight and narrow. 

She recognized the pulse-tripping, heart-pounding, nerve-racking feelings. Caused by the one guy who could make her go wilder than she had imagined. 

Her pulse gave a violent skip as Justin O'Rourke came into view. His head was tucked down as he stripped off his worn olive green jacket, revealing a navy blue merino wool sweater. 

She hungrily stared at him, noticing everything from his short brown hair that looked like he ran his hands through it a few times this morning to the dark stubble covering his angular jaw. Her gaze skimmed the hard planes of his chest to his lean hips to the way his soft, faded jeans clung to his strong legs. 

Justin pushed the sweater sleeves up, exposing an intricate dragon tattoo that curled along his right forearm. The colors were dark and muted, the fierce lines emphasizing the dragon's savagery, but Rachel always saw the beauty and power of the mythical beast. 

Realizing that she was staring, Rachel made herself look away. Her gaze collided with Justin's. His light blue eyes were playful. Mischievous. This guy was a charmer. He could talk his way into bed and out of trouble. 

"Hello, Rachel." His low and rough voice sent a tingling flutter down her spine. Only two words from him and her self-control was ready to splinter. 

Rachel gritted her teeth. "Good morning, Justin." If he noticed how forced her greeting was, he didn't show it. 

"Hey, Justin." Nikki motioned for him to come forward. "Get a load of Rachel's office." 

Rachel winced. That was the last thing she wanted, but before she could come up with a reasonable excuse, Justin stepped inside the cubicle. She was immediately aware of the tight fit. 

She stood next to him, so close that she felt his body heat. His scent distracted her. It was clean, masculine, and irresistible. She wanted to move closer. So close until they were pressing against each other. 

"Wow," Justin said. 

Rachel's head jerked up. She momentarily forgot about the state of her work space. She had to keep Justin from saying anything. "Nikki is under the impression someone had a wild night in my cubicle," she said in a rush. 

Justin looked over at her with a lazy grin. "I'd say." 

Rachel felt the blush zooming up her neck and flooding across her face. She glared at him. "She's trying to figure out who." 

"Oh." Justin looked at Nikki. "That's easy." 

Rachel went completely still. Her muscles froze with such intensity that she was surprised she didn't fall over. Her breath caught in her throat as her stomach gave a twist. 

"Who is it?" Nikki asked excitedly. The woman always enjoyed a good gossip session. 

"You see where that tinsel is worn off?" He pointed at the portion that Rachel had just tacked back up. "That could only happen from friction. Hot and sweaty friction." 

Rachel blinked several times, but it didn't work. She couldn't get rid of the memory when Justin took her against the wall. They had been naked, their skin flushed and damp, their lips clinging together as they gasped for their next breath. Her arms and legs were wrapped tightly around Justin as he drove into her, the cubicle wall shaking with each thrust. 

"You're making that up," Nikki declared as she smacked him on the arm with her palm. 

"I'm simply offering my expert opinion," Justin said. "You need to find someone who has rug burn on their back." 

Rachel squirmed as her shoulder blades began to sting. She stopped the moment she saw Justin smile at her telltale move. 

"And they probably have bruises on their legs from giving a lap dance on that." Justin pointed at the broken chair. 

Rachel squeezed her sore legs together as heat flashed through her body. She had felt sexy and powerful as she mesmerized Justin with her moves. Christmas songs had pulsated from the party a floor below them, but she and Justin had found a sensual rhythm that kept them going long after the chair broke. 

"I'm gonna have to disagree with you there," Nikki said. "It could have been Cosmo's sex position of the day. Yesterday's was called the Joystick Joyride and--" 

"So all you have to do is look for someone with rug burn and bruises," Rachel interrupted before Nikki gave a thorough description. "That's going to be difficult, since it's the dead of winter and everyone's covered up." 

"That's true," Nikki said with great disappointment. 

Justin suddenly crouched down and reached under her desk, his hand grazing Rachel's leg. She flinched and backed up. 

"And"--Justin retrieved something small and pearly white--"the guilty party is missing this button." 

Damn, she missed that. Rachel curled her hands into fists. She wasn't going to snatch it away. No matter how much she wanted to. 

Justin stood to his full height as he tossed the button in his hand. Rachel's head bobbed up and down as she focused on the pearl. "Probably happened while they were ripping each other's clothes off." 

Rachel tugged at her shirt collar as she remembered brazenly tearing off her ivory lace blouse and offering herself to Justin. But her wanton behavior had hit a new level when she clawed off Justin's clothes. 

Nikki studied the pearl button in Justin's hand. "Wow, you're good." 

"So I've been told." Justin gave a sidelong look in Rachel's direction. "Repeatedly."

Excerpt from Wicked Wonderland by Susanna Carr, Janice Maynard, LuAnn McLane
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