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.His lids dropped sleepily.He’d just take a quick nap, he thought.His breath evened out as he finally gave in to the exhaustion and the moment he did, felt himself spiraling into a dark abyss.CHAPTER 1M.K.Harm was just one of the many men who watched as the woman with mile-long legs incandesced her way into the lounge.And because of their interest, the women with them stared, too.The men ogled appreciatively; the women frowned jealously.Seemingly oblivious of the attention she was generating, she stood with her hands on her hips, her almond-shaped eyes raking the room, obviously looking for someone.Harm squashed a ridiculous urge to shout, “Me! Here I am!” She reminded him of the star on an old TV Wonder Woman rerun he had recently seen.The emerald green tank top she wore did not quite meet the skin-tight, hip-hugger jeans, leaving exposed a sliver of tanned skin, where the head of an intriguing dragon tattoo teased the onlookers.Unable to take his eyes off her, Harm thought, damn, that lady is some kind of fine.It was the first time a woman had peaked his interest since Kayla Saradon.He guessed her to be almost as tall as he was, probably five foot nine and that was without heels because he saw she was wearing sensible-looking, low-heeled boots.The fact that every other woman in the lounge was well dressed didn’t seem to bother her.Harm realized by her easy stance and unruffled look that this mystery woman was completely at ease and comfortable in her jeans.Her mass of auburn hair was swept casually to one side and she made no attempt to catch the stubborn tendrils escaping to curl around her exposed right ear that sported a dangling coiled-snake silver earring.But the most striking thing about her, the thing that held Harm’s rapt attention once he spotted it, was the unique tattoo on her right arm.The stem of a rose curled up and around her arm, its roots beginning in the center of the top of her hand like a brownish-green ink snake, rising up and ending on her slightly muscled upper arm in a fully opened flaming red rose.The intricate detail of that tattoo was astonishing.Whoever did that tattoo did one hell of a job, Harm thought as she stepped farther into the room came toward the bar.It seemed to him that she was coming right at him.And his surprise deepened as she, indeed, did come to stand before him, asking, “Your name Harm Pranston?”Sonofabitch!“Yes.”She stuck out her hand, “My father is Macklin McLemore.”Why the hell did he send his daughter instead of his son?“I was expecting your brother.”“My brother?”One perfectly shaped eyebrow shot up and her head tilted to one side, allowing that mass of hair to brush her full breasts.“Yes.He told me I would be meeting with his kid Mac, or as he preferred to be called, M.K.”She threw back her head and laughed.Harm liked her laugh.It was full on and throaty.Sexy as hell.“So, tell me, Mr.Pranston, did Dad actually say his “son”?”“Yes.Ah – well, no, not really but he implied that.“Bet he said that Mac would be miffed if you didn’t use M.K.instead.Right?”“That’s right.”“Well, I come from a long line of stubborn, gonna-do-it-my-own-damned-Scottish-way Scots.Dad’s parents named him Macklin Kinnel McLemore after his father and grandfather, and he always hated that name.But then, when he didn’t have the son he wanted, damned if he didn’t name me Macklin Kinnel McLemore the fourth.He calls me Mac but I do prefer M.K.”When she saw Harm’s confusion, she added, “Don’t try to understand it.It’s a Scottish thing.So, whether you like it or not, I’m your contact and the one with whom you’ll be working.Any objections?”A whole hell of a lot! Harm thought, but those words stayed in his mind.“If you're wondering if I can get the job done, stop fretting.I’m the one who found your Emily Richardson in the first place, not Dad.In fact, I’ve been running the business quite successfully for a long time.”“You’ve found Emily?”“That’s why I wanted us to meet here.First, how about buying a lady a drink?”“Sure.What’ll you have?”She spoke to the bartender directly since he had appeared and was staring at her, waiting for the order and pretty close to drooling, Harm noticed.And for some reason, that irritated him.“A shot of Jose Cuervo Gold.No, make that a double, handsome.”The young guy beamed as he set the salt shaker before her.“Lime?”“What else?”The lady is serious about her liquor, Harm thought as she settled next to him.“So, this Emily.Is she a former wife or girlfriend?” M.K.asked.The smitten bartender blazed a trail to place her tequila before her.Harm watched her lick the skin between her thumb and forefinger, pour salt there, lick it off, down the tequila in one quick gulp then suck one half of the sliced lime the bartender had placed in a saucer.She did that like a pro.Wonder what else she’s good at?Masking those thoughts, Harm said, “Now that you’ve had your drink, how about filling me in?”She gave him her full attention then, and Harm was struck by her green-eyed gaze.With a jolt, at that moment he was reminded of Kayla Saradon, who had also gotten under his skin with her shimmering green-eyed look.M.K.had that same kind of temptress gaze.Damn, why does she have to have green eyes? Harm thought.His breath quickened as old memories ran through his mind…Kayla smiling at him…Kayla beneath him and above him… Kayla now lost to him forever.M.K.recaptured his attention by leaning toward him with a mischievous grin, asking, “Anxious to reconnect with your old lover, huh?”“Just give me the damned report!” he snapped.Settling back on her seat, she said pithily, “All right.I didn’t realize it was such a touchy subject.One Emily Freemont, nee Richardson, has worked here at Sandia Resort and Casino for the last two years.She”“Wait!” Harm interrupted.“She’s married?““Was.She’s been divorced now for twelve years.”“What does she do here?”“Nothing now.She quit yesterday and moved.My guess is she heard from one of the people I was talking to, that someone was looking for her and she bolted.That says to me that she’s running scared.So, tell me, Pranston, is she scared of you?”“Hell, no.So why didn’t you contact me and let me know she’d already left here?”“Tried to but you were already on the road, I guess.I left a message on your cell phone.Have you checked it?”“No.”“Well, there you go.When you do, you’ll hear me say that she left but I am tracking her.So far, she’s covered her trail pretty well.She took her son and hightailed it like a bat out of hell.I know she’s moved at least a dozen times over the years.And that sounds like the actions of an abused woman.If I thought you had done that, Pranston, no amount of money would keep me on the job.”“I never abused Emily,” Harm gritted, even though it flashed through his mind that in a way, he had.“A son? You said she took her son.How old is he?”“Don’t know exactly.Never thought to check on that.I know he’s a teenager.”Sonofabitch! I may have a son.Harm returned M.K.’s stare.She nodded at him.“Okay.Now I get it.The boy’s yours, right?”“I don’t know.That’s what I’m trying to find out.I want answers.”“Seems to me a lot of time has gone by without those answers,” she said, with another raise of eyebrows.“So why now?’Harm almost said, it’s none of your business.But all he did say was, “It’s time.Find her [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]