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Giving thanks for reading in November

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Romance and adventure. Passion and revenge. Blood Moon.


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Asritakalpalateeka. Revelations.. the tree with 12 kinds of fruit.


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Someone is trying to kill the Earl of Merton


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She thought she had it all figured out.


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Four bestselling authors create joyous romance around the Thanksgiving holiday


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14 heartwarming Amish Christmas stories from 14 of your favorite Amish authors.


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A secret no one dared whisper…


Excerpt of Play With Me by Leslie Kelly

Purchase


Forbidden Fantasies
Harlequin Blaze
February 2010
On Sale: February 1, 2010
Featuring: Amanda Bauer; Reese Campbell
224 pages
ISBN: 0373795254
EAN: 9780373795253
Mass Market Paperback
Add to Wish List

Romance Erotica Sensual

Also by Leslie Kelly:

Oh, Naughty Night, November 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Double Take, May 2014
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Don't Look Away, May 2013
e-Book
The Guy Most Likely To..., July 2012
Paperback / e-Book
Once Upon A Valentine, February 2012
Paperback / e-Book
It Happened One Christmas, December 2011
Paperback / e-Book
Terms Of Surrender, June 2011
Paperback
Her Last Temptation & Show & Tell, April 2011
Paperback
Not Another Blind Date?, February 2011
Paperback / e-Book
Another Wild Wedding Night, October 2010
Paperback
Naturally Naughty & Wicked & Willing, June 2010
Paperback
Blazing Bedtime Stories, Volume V, May 2010
Mass Market Paperback
The Blaze Collection, February 2010
Paperback
Play With Me, February 2010
Mass Market Paperback
More Blazing Bedtime Stories, November 2009
Mass Market Paperback
Sand, Sun...Seduction!, July 2009
Mass Market Paperback (reprint)
Blazing Bedtime Stories, February 2009
Mass Market Paperback
Heated Rush, July 2008
Paperback
Slow Hands, June 2008
Paperback
One Wild Wedding Night: Getaway RunawayThree-WayNo Way OutAll The Way, January 2008
Mass Market Paperback
Overexposed, September 2007
Mass Market Paperback
Heat Wave, July 2007
Mass Market Paperback
She's No Angel, July 2007
Mass Market Paperback
Night Whispers, February 2007
Paperback
Asking for Trouble, October 2006
Paperback
Here Comes Trouble, August 2006
Paperback
Boys of Summer, July 2006
Paperback
Bootcamp, March 2006
Paperback
Don't Open Till Christmas, December 2005
Paperback
She's Got The Look, September 2005
Paperback
Her Last Temptation, June 2005
Paperback
That's Amore, May 2005
Paperback

Excerpt of Play With Me by Leslie Kelly

Halloween

It should have been a routine flight.

Pittsburgh to Chicago was about as simple an itinerary as Clear-Blue Airlines ever flew. In the LearJet 60, travel time would be under an hour. The weather was perfect, the sky like something out of a kid's Crayola artwork display. Blue as a robin's egg, with a few puffy white clouds to set the scene and not a drop of moisture in the air. Crisp, not cold, it was about the most beautiful autumn day they'd had this year.

The guys in the tower were cheerful, the Lear impeccably maintained and a joy to handle. Amanda Bauer's mood was good, especially since it was one of her favorite holidays. Halloween.

She should have known something was going to screw it up.

"What do you mean Mrs. Rush canceled?" she asked, frowning as she held the cell phone tightly to her ear. Standing in the shadow of the jet on the tarmac, she edged in beside the fold-down steps. She covered her other ear with her hand to drown out the noises of nearby aircraft. "Are you sure? She's been talking about this trip for ages."

"Sorry, kiddo, you're going to have to do without your senior sisters meeting this month," said Ginny Tate, the backbone of Clear-Blue. The middle-aged woman did everything from scheduling appointments, to bookkeeping, to ordering parts, to maintaining the company Web site. Ginny was just as good at arguing with airport honchos who wanted to obsess over every flight plan as she was at making sure Uncle Frank, who had founded the airline, took his cholesterol medication every day.

In short, Ginny was the one who kept the business running so all Amanda and Uncle Frank—now 60-40 partners in the airline—had to do was fly.

Which was just fine with them.

"Mrs. Rush said one of her friends has the flu and she doesn't want to go away in case she comes down with it, too."

"Oh, that bites," Amanda muttered, really regretting the news. Because she had been looking forward to seeing the group of zany older women again. Mrs. Rush, an elderly widow and heir to a steel fortune, was one of her regular clients.

The wealthy woman and her "gal pals," who ranged in age from fifty to eighty, took girls-weekend trips every couple of months. They always requested Amanda as their pilot, having almost adopted her into the group. She'd flown them to Vegas for some gambling. To Reno for some gambling. To the Caribbean for some gambling. With a few spa destinations thrown in between.

Amanda had no idea what the group had planned for Halloween in Chicago, but she was sure it would have been entertaining.

"She asked me to tell you she's sorry, and says if she has to, she'll invent a trip in a few weeks so you two can catch up."

"You do realize she's not kidding."

"I know," said Ginny. "Money doesn't stand a chance in her wallet, does it? The hundred-dollar bills have springs attached—she puts them in and they start trying to bounce right out."

Pretty accurate. Since losing her husband, the woman had made it her mission to go through as much of his fortune as possible. Mr. Rush hadn't lived long enough to enjoy the full fruits of his labors, so in his memory, his widow was going to pluck every plum and wring every bit of juice she could out of the rest of her life. No regrets, that was her M.O.

Mrs. Rush was about as different from the people Amanda had grown up with as a person could be. Her own family back in Stubing, Ohio, epitomized the smalltown, hard-work, wholesome, nose-to-the-grindstone-'til-the-day-you-die mentality.

They had never quite known what to make of her.

Amanda had started rebelling by first grade, when she'd led a student revolt against lima beans in school lunches. Things had only gone downhill from there. By the time she hit seventh grade, her parents were looking into boarding schools…which they couldn't possibly afford. And when she graduated high school with a disciplinary record matched only by a guy who'd ended up in prison, they'd pretty much given up on her for good.

She couldn't say why she'd gone out of her way to find trouble. Maybe it was because trouble was such a bad word in her house. The forbidden path was always so much more exciting than the straight-and-narrow one.

There was only one member of the Bauer clan who was at all like her: Uncle Frank. His motto was Live 'til your fuel tank is in the red and then keep on going. You can rest during your long dirt nap when you finally slide off the runway of life.

Live to the extreme, take chances, go places, don't wait for anything you want, go out and find it or make it happen. And never let anyone tie you down.

These were all lessons Amanda had taken to heart when growing up, hearing tales of her wild uncle Frank, her father's brother, of whom everyone else in the family had so disapproved. They especially disliked that he seemed to have his own personal parking space in front of the nearest wedding chapel. He'd walked down the aisle four times.

Unfortunately, he'd also walked down the aisle of a divorce courtroom just as often.

He might not be lucky in love, but he was as loyal an uncle as had ever been born. Amanda had shown up on his Chicago doorstep three days after her high school graduation and never looked back. Nor had her parents ever hinted they wanted her to.

He'd welcomed her, adjusted his playboy lifestyle for her—though he needn't have. Her father might hate his brother's wild ways, but Amanda didn't give a damn who he slept with.

From day one, he had assumed a somewhat-parental role and harassed her into going to college. He'd made sure she went home for obligatory visits to see the folks. But he'd also shown her the world. Opened her eyes so wide, she hadn't wanted to close them even to sleep in those early days.

He'd given her the sky…and he'd given her wings to explore it by teaching her to fly. Eventually, he'd taken her in as a partner in his small regional charter airline and together they'd tripled its size and quadrupled its revenues.

Their success had come at a cost, of course. Neither of them had much of a social life. Even ladies' man Uncle Frank had been pretty much all-work-and-no-play since they'd expanded their territory up and down the east coast two years ago.

As for Amanda, aside from having a vivid fantasy life, when she wasn't in flight, she was as boring as a single twenty-nine-year-old could be. Evidence of that was her disappointment at not getting to spend a day with a group of old ladies who bitched about everything from their lazy kids to the hair growing out of their husbands' ears. Well, except Mrs. Rush, who sharply reminded her friends to be thankful for their husbands' ear hair while they still had husbandly ear hair to be thankful for.

"Well, so much for a fun Halloween," she said with a sigh.

"Honey, if sitting in a plane listening to a bunch of rich old ladies kvetch about their latest collagen injections is the only thing you've got to look forward to…"

"I know, I know." It did sound pathetic. And one of these days, she really needed to do something about that. Get working on a real social life again, rather than throwing herself into her job fourteen hours a day, and spending the other ten thinking about all the things she would do if she had the time.

Picturing those things, even.

She closed her eyes, willing that thought away. Her fantasy life might be a rich and vivid one. But it was definitely not suitable for work hours.

Problem was, ever since she'd realized just how dangerous she was to men's hearts, she really hadn't felt like going after their bodies.

Her last relationship had ended badly. Very badly. And she still hadn't quite gotten over the regret of it.

"What a shame. Mrs. Rush would have loved your costume."

"Oh, God, don't remind me," Amanda said with a groan.

It was for the benefit of the ladies that she'd worn it. Mrs. Rush had ordered her to let loose on this one holiday trip.

Gulping, Amanda glanced around, hoping nobody was close enough to see her getup. She needed to dart up into the plane and change because while the old-fashioned outfit would have made her passengers cackle with glee, she didn't particularly want to be seen by any of the workers or baggage handlers on the tarmac. Not to mention the fact that, even though the weather was great, it was October and she was freezing her butt off.

The Clear-Blue uniform she usually wore was tailored and businesslike, no-nonsense. Navy blue pants, crisp white blouse, meant to inspire confidence and get the customer to forget their pilot was only in her late twenties. Most customers liked that. However, the older women in the senior-gal group always harassed Amanda about her fashion sense. They insisted she would be one hot tamale if she'd lose the man-clothes and get girly.

She glanced down at herself again and had to smile. You couldn't get much more girly than this ancient stewardess costume, complete with white patent-leather go-go boots and hot pants that clung to her butt and skimmed the tops of her thighs.

She looked like she'd stepped out of a 1972 commercial for Southwest Airlines.

As costumes went, it wasn't bad, if she did say so herself. Shopping for vintage clothes on e-bay, she'd truly lucked out. The psychedelic blouse was a bit tight, even though she wasn't especially blessed in the boob department, and she couldn't button the polyester vest that went over it. But the satiny short-shorts fit perfectly, and the boots were so kick-ass she knew she would have to wear them again without the costume.

"Now, before you go worrying that your day is a total wash," Ginny said, sounding businesslike again, "I wanted to let you know that the trip was not in vain. I've got you a paying passenger back to Chicago who'll make it worth your while."

"Seriously? A sudden passenger from Pittsburgh, on a Saturday?" she asked. This wasn't exactly a hotbed destination like Orlando or Hartsfield International. Mrs. Rush was the only customer they picked up regularly in this part of Pennsylvania and most business types didn't charter flights on weekends.

"Yes. When Mrs. Rush called to cancel, she told me a local businessman needed a last-minute ride to Chicago. She put him in touch with us, hoping you could help him. I told him you were there and would have no problem bringing him back with you."

Perfect. A paying gig, and she could make it home in time to attend her best friend Jazz's annual Halloween party.

Then she reconsidered. Honestly, it was far more likely she would end up staying home, devouring a bag of Dots and Tootsie Rolls while watching old horror films on AMC. Because Jazz—Jocelyn Wilkes, their lead mechanic at Clear-Blue and the closest friend Amanda had ever had—was a wild one whose parties always got crashed and sometimes got raided. Amanda just wasn't in the mood for a big, wild house party with a ton of strangers.

Being honest, she'd much prefer a small, wild bedroom one—with only two guests. It was just too bad for her that, lately, the only guest in her bedroom had come with batteries and a scarily illustrated instruction manual written in Korean.

"Manda? Everything okay?"

"Absolutely," she said, shaking the crazy thoughts out of her head. "Glad I get to earn my keep today."

Ginny laughed softly into the phone. "You earn your keep every day, kiddo. I don't know what Frank would do without you."

"The feeling is most definitely mutual."

She meant that. Amanda hated to even think of what her life might be like if she hadn't escaped the small, closed-in, claustrophobic world she'd lived in with the family who had so disapproved of her and tried so hard to change her.

She had about as much in common with her cold, repressed parents and her completely subservient sister as she did with…well, with the swinging 1970s flower-power stewardess who'd probably once worn this uniform. When she'd stood in line to get doused in the gene pool, she'd gotten far more of her uncle Frank's reckless, free-wheeling, never-can-stand-to-be-tied-down genes than her parents' staid, conservative ones.

She had several exes who would testify to that. One still drunk-dialed her occasionally just to remind her she'd broken his heart. Yeah. Thanks. Good to know.

Even that, though, was better than thinking about the last guy she'd gotten involved with. He'd fallen in love. She'd fallen in "this is better than sleeping alone." Upon figuring that out, he'd tried to make her feel something more by staging a bogus overdose. She'd been terrified, stricken with guilt—and then, when he'd admitted what he'd done and why, absolutely furious rather than sympathetic.

Making things worse, he'd had the nerve to paint her as the bad guy. Her ears still rang with his accusations about just what a cold, heartless bitch she was.

Better cold and heartless than a lying, manipulative psycho. But it was also better to stay alone than to risk getting tangled up with another one.

So her Korean vibrator it was.

Some people were meant for commitment, family, all that stuff. Some, like her uncle Frank, weren't. Amanda was just like him; everybody said so. Including Uncle Frank.

"You'd better go. Your passenger should be there soon."

"Yeah. I definitely need to change my clothes before some groovy, foxy guy asks me if I want to go get high and make love not war at the peace rally," Amanda replied.

"Please don't on my account."

That hadn't come from Ginny.

Amanda froze, the phone against her face. It took a second to process, but her brain finally caught up with her ears and she realized she had indeed heard a strange voice.

It had been male. Deep, husky. And close.

"I gotta go," she muttered into the phone, sliding it closed before Ginny could respond.

Then she shifted her eyes, spying a pair of men's shoes not two feet from where she stood in the shadow of the Lear. Inside those shoes was a man wearing dark gray pants. Wearing them nicely, she had to acknowledge when she lifted her gaze and saw the long legs, the lean hips, the flat stomach.

Damn, he was well-made. Her throat tightened, her mouth going dry. She forced herself to swallow and kept on looking.

White dress shirt, unbuttoned at the strong throat. Thick arms flexing against the fabric that confined them. Broad shoulders, one of which was draped with a slung-over suit jacket that hung loosely from his masculine fingers.

Excerpt from Play With Me by Leslie Kelly
All rights reserved by publisher and author

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