Paid in Full
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by Moira Reid
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: When I was younger, men were everywhere, and I sampled them like chocolates in a box. Then, over time, all that were left were the nasty pink-filled ones, and my sweet tooth was far from satisfied. I watched movies; I read romance novels. I knew there were women out there getting it on, and dammit, I wanted to be one of them. So, I took the plunge into on-line dating. When I met an even more horrific chain of Neanderthals, I demanded elovepro honor their "double-your money back" guarantee. When one of their "secret weapons" showed up with the check, I got more than I bargained for.
eBook Publisher: Cobblestone Press, 2008
eBookwise Release Date: August 2008
8 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [52 KB]
Reading time: 29-41 min.
"This is a fun novella about a girl who wants to be loved for herself--even if she is reluctant to reveal exactly who that is. The story is fresh and clever. Savannah's friend Mara and the agency receptionist Penelope are the only supporting characters, deftly described in a minimum of words. Savannah is funny, likable, and wacky. Jack is hunky, confused, and smitten. Author Reid does a great job of dealing with expectations, the truth, and the modern world. This is a cute little gem." Sphinx Minx, Literary Nymphs, 4 Nymphs
I glanced in the direction of her head toss. Mr. Jack Drake, indeed, was not in the bar. He stood by the front desk but moved toward us when he spotted me. Wearing an Armani tuxedo, he looked even better than his photograph, and I wanted to give him "strike one" for not following directions but immediately decided to call it a foul ball since he struck such a close resemblance to a dark-headed Greek god.
His gait as he moved through the other arriving guests reminded me of a hungry panther, the look on his face not a distant comparison. I curved my lips into a noncommittal smile and straightened.
He stopped in front of me and smiled first at Mara then at me. "You should update your profile photo." His voice was flat, unlike the dazzling light of his gaze.
The comment caught me off guard. Here we go, I thought, immediately having flashbacks of the Prince Albert man. "Well, hello to you, too."
"The photo you provided doesn't do you justice. Could be another reason you've met the wrong people during your time with elovepro."
"I'm not interested in people who are only interested in how I look," I told him haughtily. On the other hand, I looked him over with increasing interest. The double standard, I figured, shouldn't apply to me. Besides, eyelashes that thick ought to be illegal.
"Only beautiful women say things like that."
I officially take back strike one, I thought.
"I'm Jack Drake." He held his hand toward me, but Mara grabbed it first.
"I'm her best friend, Mara."
"Very nice to meet you in person," he said, shaking her hand.
In person? How else was he going to meet her? In a chat room? I started to comment on that strange remark, but Mara interrupted me.
"I'm late. Savvy, see you inside. You two don't do anything I wouldn't do." Mara turned and strutted her stuff into the hotel's ballroom.
Jack closed the distance between us that hadn't been much to begin with and placed his hand on my elbow. "Savannah, shall we go in?"
Oh yeah, I thought, then my bean-counting, Jamaica-bound brain forced the words out of my head, and they echoed through the lobby: "First things first: show me the check."
The handsome Mr. Drake pulled a folded envelope from the inside of his tuxedo jacket, flipped it over then tucked it back out of sight. "I have it, but the deal was after the date. I'm here to convince you that elovepro can do what they promise--find your perfect match."
"What are you, one of their employees?"
"No, I'm not an employee of elovepro," he said. "But I have seen the process work. My sister, for one, met her perfect match after joining elovepro. You've sabotaged yourself in at least two ways. You're far more beautiful than your bio photo, and you have an unusual occupation which might have inadvertently turned away your perfect match."
"Penelope mentioned the occupation already." If he wasn't an employee, then why was he giving me the hard sell? Not that he had to work too hard to sell me on this date. So far, he hadn't threatened to kill me or scratched himself or farted. Not to mention he looked like a professional male escort. Still, why did this guy need an expensive matchmaking service anyway? What was wrong with him? Did he have a hundred dead cats buried in his backyard? He'd mentioned a sister; did he live at home with his mother?
There had to be something wrong with a guy who looked this good but was unattached. The thought crossed my mind that he might be thinking the same thing about me, but I pushed it aside. Wishful thinking.
"What's in this for you, Jack? Why do you care if I find my perfect match?"
He considered that a moment, then smiled. "I was contacted, told about you, and became immediately interested in going out with you. Are you going to give this date a chance or not?"
I shrugged and smiled back. "Sure, I guess."
He shook his head then took both of my hands into his. Stroking his fingers over my knuckles, he took a step closer. The scent from his cologne filled my head and made me a little dizzy. "That dress looks gorgeous on you, Savannah. What did your friend call you--Savvy? I like that. May I call you Savvy?"
I opened my mouth, but couldn't make words come out. His sea foam green eyes behind those luscious lashes were hypnotic. I'd just met him, and already my palms were starting to sweat. I wanted to say he could call me any damn thing he wanted to; probably just as well I couldn't talk.
He still hadn't released my hands, and my Ferragamo slingbacks had sprung roots and grown into the floor like some long, winding, very fast-growing ivy.
"Unless you'd rather stay here," he said, still looking down at me and smiling. His eyes changed, darkened to a deep jade, becoming even more mesmerizing. The look did nothing to move my feet, nor could I seem to be able to breathe anymore.
"Maybe it's the good-night kiss you're worried about." He leaned closer to me, his voice a warm whisper on my skin. "We could take care of that right now, if you'd like." He cleared his throat as he stared at my lips. "Maybe I won't spend any more time thinking about it."
So, yeah, it was a dare. He knew he'd scored points for being gorgeous, and he was making fun of me. I will not be made fun of. I moved, not far, just far enough to touch his lips with mine.
For a long, sensuous second, I thought the kiss would be simple, tender, and friendly--just to show him that I wasn't afraid of his taunt. That second passed. His hands released mine and, as my fingers crawled up the lapels of his tuxedo, his slid into my hair.
The kiss erased the hotel, the dress, the tuxedo, elovepro, and fourteen years of education from my mind. His lips moved over mine, softly at first, then more firmly, urgently until he abruptly pulled back.