"Can Tony teach Amber how to be a bad girl? And how many lessons will it take?"
Reviewed by Cheryl Beal
Posted December 23, 2012
Contemporary Novella / Short Story | Series | Romance Contemporary
Amber Clark works as the program director at the Camelot
Community Center. Amber has spent her whole life being good
-- being a good girl to please her parents, being good to
please God, being a good girl in school. And now that she's
realized being good isn't all it's cracked up to be, she
can't convince people that she still isn't that good girl.
Maybe it's her big brown eyes, her round cheeks, the
ponytail she always wears....but no-one ever considers Amber
as anything but a good girl.
Tony Mazzara is running the family construction business
with his younger brother Patrick. Tony projects a strong,
controlled persona that draws Amber in from the first time
she sees him; but inside he is punishing himself for
something that happened years ago.
Tony and Amber meet when he is working on the expansion of
the Camelot Community Center and are unexpectedly caught
alone together during a tornado. While riding out the storm
in the community center basement, they share some intimate
secrets and unleash a storm of their own.
HOW TO MISBEHAVE is a fun, fast-paced romantic romp that
introduces us to the town of Camelot and the Clark family.
Ruthie Knox does an excellent job of building characters and
setting up the series in this short story. I recommend this
book and look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Next up in the series is ALONG CAME TROUBLE, due out in
Ruthie Knox’s Camelot series continues in this sizzling
eBook original novel, featuring two headstrong souls who
bump heads—and bodies—as temptation and lust bring nothing
but delicious trouble.
An accomplished lawyer and driven single mother, Ellen
Callahan isn’t looking for any help. She’s doing just fine
on her own. So Ellen’s more than a little peeved when her
brother, an international pop star, hires a security guard
to protect her from a prying press that will stop at nothing
to dig up dirt on him. But when the tanned and toned Caleb
Clark shows up at her door, Ellen might just have to plead
Back home after a deployment in Iraq and looking for work as
a civilian, Caleb signs on as Ellen’s bodyguard. After
combat in the hot desert sun, this job should be a breeze.
But guarding the willful beauty is harder than he
imagined—and Caleb can’t resist the temptation to mix
business with pleasure. With their desires growing more
undeniable by the day, Ellen and Caleb give in to an evening
of steamy passion. But will they ever be able to share more
than just a one-night stand?
Friday, July 16, 1999
When the tornado siren began to scream, Amber was alone
in the building with him.
The foreman. The guy with the deep tan and the hard hat
and the oh–my–lord arms.
Everybody had a different name for him. One of the
lifeguards called him "the Italian Stallion." A patron had
referred to him as "Mr. Yummy." Rosalie, the weekday
receptionist, said his name was actually Patrick Mazzara,
and he was trouble.
Amber just thought of him as "him."
She thought of him a great deal more than was good for
Gusts of wind flung the sound of the siren at the
building, drowning out whatever noises he might have been
making behind the thick plastic curtain that separated the
construction zone from the rest of the center. But he was
definitely over there.
Knowing when he left was part of her job. As program
director, Amber opened Camelot Community Center at seven in
the morning and locked up at five. Sometimes, like today,
she had to wait around for him after everyone else had gone
home. She would sit behind the counter of the tall, curved
reception desk and imagine herself pushing aside the
plastic curtain to ask when he might be finished cleaning
up. It's twenty after. I need to head home.
She never actually did it, though. She'd never been
brave enough to initiate the conversation, and there was
nothing so pressing on her agenda that she couldn't wait
Except, right now, the siren seemed kind of pressing.
Herding all the inhabitants of the center down to the
basement in the event of an emergency was another one of
Amber's responsibilities, which meant she should probably
get off her tush and round the man up.
But then she'd be alone with him in the basement.
The notion simultaneously thrilled and frightened her.
On the one hand, it felt a little bit like Providence
tapping her on the shoulder. Is this what you wanted? Here
you go! Carpe diem!
On the other hand, she was female and alone. She didn't
go in dark basements with strange men, and especially not
with large strange men who'd been described to her
as "trouble." Because what if? What if seven hundred
different horrible things?
Smart girls didn't ignore the what–ifs.
They didn't ignore tornado sirens, either.
She might have sat there forever, immobilized by
indecision, if the phone hadn't rung at the exact same
moment his shape materialized as a red–and–blue
blob behind the plastic sheeting.
"Camelot Community Center, this is Amber, can I help
"Why are you still by the phone? Don't you hear the
Her mother. Perfect.
"Yeah, I hear it."
He shoved the curtain aside and walked across the lobby,
past the desk toward the front doors. Surely he
"—have to go to the basement," her mother
continued. "It's not safe near all that glass. Really, you
He was. The man pushed open one of the entry doors, and
Amber shot out of her chair.
"Hey!" She dropped the phone and scooted quickly around
the desk. "You can't go out there. The siren."
When he frowned, he looked even more intimidating than
usual. "I'm only checking it out."
He had the door propped open with his right arm and leg.
"Right. Sorry." All the blood in her body attempted to
relocate to her cheeks. "I'm, uh, supposed to take you down
to the basement. Hold up a second, and I'll get off the
She crossed back to the desk in a rush and leaned way
over to retrieve the phone from the far side. "Mom, I have
to go. Be safe. I'll call you when it's over."
"Who were you talking to?"
"The guy from the construction company."
She didn't know if he was technically the foreman or the
owner or what. He seemed to boss a lot of people around,
particularly another man who looked like a shorter,
angrier, tattooed version of him, but he also did plenty of
She'd mentally designated him the foreman on the basis
of the fact that he seemed to come and go as he pleased. He
did half days sometimes and skipped other days altogether,
which made her think he was off running the show at another
"You mean that man who keeps you late? You can't go down
to the basement with him."
"Of course I can. I have to."
"He's a stranger."
"Yes, but there's a tornado."
The storm noise died down as the door eased shut behind
His boots squeaked over the polished linoleum of the
entryway, and then metal clicked on plastic as something
hit the desk beside her.
She looked sideways. His belt buckle. Holy Toledo.
"I know there's a tornado," her mother was
saying. "That's why I called. But you can't go running down
into the basement with a man. It's unsafe."
"I think this is one of those situations where you have
to pick your poison, Mom."
"Ask him his name, at least, so if something happens I
can report him to the authorities."
"His name is Patrick Mazzara." Her face got even hotter.
Why not just wear a sign that read, I Know Your Name
Because I Have a Huge, Inappropriate Crush on You? "I have
He shifted beside her. The buckle scraped over Formica.
"Mazzara? Is he the one who—"
Amber hung up the phone and closed her eyes. Inhale,
exhale, inhale, gosh darn it, she hoped he hadn't heard
But she wasn't any good at lying, even to herself. She
worked the phone all the time, and she knew perfectly well
that the volume stayed cranked up loud enough that it was
possible to hear both sides of any conversation from
several feet away. Rosalie was a little hearing impaired.
He wasn't several feet away. He was breathing. Right
next to her.
He cleared his throat.
She beamed as if she were offering him a cocktail.
Because she was excellent with men. So very excellent and
savvy. Not at all a flushing, bumbling Bible college
graduate who'd lost the faith and misplaced her virginity
but somehow accidentally managed to hang on to her air of
It was her face—her giant eyes and big round
cheeks. She looked like Bambi. The kind of men who were
attracted to her wanted her to be as sweet and innocent as
"I'm not Patrick."
Amber blinked. I'm not Patrick was the last thing she'd
expected him to say. Though to be fair, she was
hard–pressed to come up with a list of things he
might reasonably have said.
I adore you, Amber.
I want to marry you.
Or maybe, I want to take you out to my truck and teach
you what sex is supposed to feel like.
She wasn't innocent enough to think it would be romantic
if he said any of those things. Not at all. It would be
creepy. And probably also terrifying.
"Patrick's my brother," he added. "My name's Tony."
"It's all right. People get us confused a lot."
Patrick had to be the tattooed guy, then. The shorter
brother, who didn't do as much of the work or the bossing
Patrick the troublemaker.
Maybe Tony was the nice one.
Though if he'd looked like the nice one, she certainly
wouldn't have developed such a desperate, inadvisable crush
on him. No, she liked his rough edges. The way his hair
stuck out underneath his hard hat and clung to the back of
his neck, a few weeks overdue for a visit with the
scissors. The way his hands always looked so beat up when
he held the door open for her—a dark blood blister
under his thumbnail, a crack in one knuckle.
A man who worked hard, knew what he wanted, and didn't
take flack from anybody.
"I live over in Mount Pleasant," he said. "Sunnybrook
She flapped one hand and made a dismissive shape with
her mouth, as if to say, No, no. Though what she was
denying, she couldn't say. That she'd wanted to know where
he lived? That she minded going into basements with strange
She did mind. Or she would, normally. It was just that
the tornado siren had short–circuited her brain.
And also, his voice was rich and dark and delicious. He
wasn't a big talker, and maybe that was because his voice
was such a valuable substance, he had to ration it. She
might actually be able to live on it for the next week.
"You need to know anything else to be sure I'm not gonna
maim you?" he asked. "Social security number? Height and
She shook her head with too much energy.
Amber thought she just might die.
It was dazzling. Tony Mazzara had a dazzling smile. Like
a toothpaste commercial dipped in a porn movie.
"Now we're at the part where you tell me your name," he
"Sorry?" She had an urge to shake her head and clear
away the smile vapors, but she managed not to. Just.
"Your name, honey."
His eyes were laughing at her, but they were doing it
kindly. He had nice eyes. Dark, dark brown eyes and wavy
black hair. A face like his name, like it should have been
chiseled out of marble, with a big Mediterranean nose, high
cheekbones, and one of those brows that could go dark and
menacing and make a girl shiver.
His mouth was probably illegal.
She needed to stop cataloging him, because it only made
the blushing, perky thing worse. The guy she now realized
was his brother gave her sly looks whenever the two of them
passed her. Looks that said, I see the way you watch him.
She wanted to tell him, It's not like you think. I'm not
mooning over him. I'm trying to figure out a way to drag
him into my bed and tie him up.
But that was such baloney. She was mooning over him.
"And you live . . . ?"
She pointed out the door in the general direction of her
place. "Camelot Arms apartments. A mile or so over that
"And if I go into that basement with you, you're not
going to attack me? Compromise my virtue?"
"I'll call your mother and swear to it if you want."
He huffed, half a laugh, and his mouth curved into a
sideways kind of smirk that lit her panties on fire.
"All right, Amber Clark. Shall we go find ourselves a
corner to huddle in?"
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