Playing With Fire

Playing With Fire
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  • Comments: Mass market (rack) paperback. Glued binding. 379 p. Audience: General/trade.

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  • ISBN-13: 9780373771295
  • ISBN: 0373771290
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises, Limited


Showalter, Gena


ISN'T IT AMAZING HOW ONE seemingly innocent decision can change your entire life? For me, that decision came in the form of a grande mocha latte.Allow me to explain.The day began normally enough. Translation: I rolled out of bed thirty minutes late, rushed through a shower and hurriedly dressed in the standard black slacks and white button-up top every Utopia Cafeacute; employee is required to wear. Unlike the other employees, I left the top three buttons of my shirt undone, revealing hints of the white lace (push-up) bra I wore underneath. Don't judge. Some people are mammarily challenged and need a little boost. Anyway, if I showed a little cleavage my pervert boss wouldn't care that I was late. Again.He might even thank me for coming in at all.Was it wrong of me to rely on the girls to get me out of trouble? Probably. Did I give a shit? Hell, no. In fact, I unabashedly adjusted them for ample display. I was single, twenty-four and determined to keep this job. Anyone who objected could blow me.See, my dad suffers from massive heart problems and I'm the "responsible party" in charge of his bills, not to mention the one who finances his stay at Village on the Park, a nearby assisted living center. I would have loved for him to live with me (not that there's enough space in my one-bedroom efficiency), but it's best that he stays there. They have twenty-four-hour monitoring and make sure he takes his medications, which he "forgets" to do when left to his own devices.Besides, he claims he's never been happier. The women there are "silver foxes," he says, and eager for masculine attention. Dare I mention those silver foxes cost more than high-priced hookers because my dad is always popping the Viagra he buys from his friends?I'll do anything to ensure my dad's happiness, though, the way he unselfishly ensured my happiness throughout my entire childhood. So I desperately need to keep my current jobandget the one I'm interviewing for after my shift.Can't be late, can't be late, can't be late,I mentally chanted as I searched for my coffee-stained tennis shoes. I've spilled more cappuccinos on them than I've served to high-class snobs. Needless to say, I've served a lot of high-class snobs."Aha! Found you, you dirty little bastards." When had I put them in the refrigerator? I tugged them on, shivering as my toes grew numb from the cold.Meanwhile, the clock ticked away more precious minutes. I hastily applied blush, mascara and gloss. You'd think the need for money would inspire me to wake up bright and early every morning no matter the circumstances, but you'd be wrong. I was too tired to do bright and early today, even for a stack of greens. Last night I'd bartended a bachelorette party until 3:00 a.m. Me, a girl who knows nothing about alcohol. Sex on the Beach--sure, with the right man. Fuzzy Navel--uh, shower, anyone? Tom Collins--who the hell?Of course, I'd pretended to be the expert I'd claimed to be in the interview, mixing anything and everything I could get my hands on. My drinks hadn't been the tastiest, but they'd certainly created the desired results. By the end of the evening, all of the women drunkenly swore they loved me and my "wicked nasty" concoctions.The clock chimed the hour: 6:00 a.m. "Damn it." I rubbed my tired, burning eyes--then froze when I realized the mascara hadn't dried. Freaking great. I probably looked like a boxer who'd lost the big match. As I scrubbed my face with a wet washrag, I watered my dry, brittle plants, multitasking to save time. What would it take to make the little green monsters thrive?Finally ready to leave, I dug my keys out of the fishbowl. How many drinks hadIsucked down last night? I didn't remember dropping my keys in the water. At least the bowl was presently devoid of fish. Martin, my betta, had kicked it a few days ago. Natural causes, I assure you."I hope you're rotting in the sewers," I said, looking down. No way hShowalter, Gena is the author of 'Playing With Fire', published 2006 under ISBN 9780373771295 and ISBN 0373771290.

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