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      He Shouldn’t Be Kissing Lucy…

      his assistant, his friend, the one person he didn’t want to offend because, as he often joked, she knew where the bodies were buried.

      But she felt good. She smelled good. And she tasted amazing.

      Since puberty, he’d had his share of fantasies. But no dream, no matter how erotic, could ever live up to what was happening right here, right now.

      If they didn’t stop soon, it would be too late.

      But he had no intention of stopping. The ground would have to open up and swallow him whole. This elevator that had trapped them so securely would have to break from its cables and crush them like pancakes. Because unless an act of God pulled them apart, he was going to make love to Lucy Grainger.

      Finally.

      Dear Reader,

      Thank you for choosing Silhouette Desire, where this month we have six fabulous novels for you to enjoy. We start things off with Estate Affair by Sara Orwig, the latest installment of the continuing DYNASTIES: THE ASHTONS series. In this upstairs/downstairs-themed story, the Ashtons’ maid falls for an Ashton son and all sorts of scandal follows. And in Maureen Child’s Whatever Reilly Wants…, the second title in the THREE-WAY WAGER series, a sexy marine gets an unexpected surprise when he falls for his suddenly transformed gal pal.

      Susan Crosby concludes her BEHIND CLOSED DOORS series with Secrets of Paternity. The secret baby in this book just happens to be eighteen years old…. Hmm, there’s quite the story behind that revelation. The wonderful Emilie Rose presents Scandalous Passion, a sultry tale of a woman desperate to get back some steamy photos from her past lover. Of course, he has a price for returning those pictures, but it’s not money he’s after. The Sultan’s Bed, by Laura Wright, continues the tales of her sheikh heroes with an enigmatic male who is searching for his missing sister and finds a startling attraction to her lovely neighbor. And finally, what was supposed to be just an elevator ride turns into a very passionate encounter, in Blame It on the Blackout by Heidi Betts.

      Sit back and enjoy all of the smart, sensual stories Silhouette Desire has to offer.

      Happy reading,

      Melissa Jeglinski

       Senior Editor Silhouette Desire

      Blame It on the Blackout

      Heidi Betts

       www.millsandboon.co.uk

      HEIDI BETTS

      An avid romance reader since junior high school, Heidi knew early on that she wanted to write these wonderful stories of love and adventure. It wasn’t until her freshman year of college, however, when she spent the entire night reading a romance novel instead of studying for finals, that she decided to take the road less traveled and follow her dream. In addition to reading, writing and romance, she is the founder of her local Romance Writers of America chapter and has a tendency to take injured and homeless animals of every species into her central Pennsylvania home.

      Heidi loves to hear from readers. You can write to her at P.O. Box 99, Kylertown, PA 16847 (a SASE is appreciated but not necessary), or e-mail heidi@heidibetts.com. And be sure to visit www.heidibetts.com for news and information about upcoming books.

      To Maureen Child and Leanne Banks—

      Friends and fellow Desire authors, you’ve inspired me more than you can ever know.

       Thank you for your wonderful stories that remind me of why I love this line so much, and for all the great advice you’ve offered this past year.

      And to my Absolutely Fabulous editor, Melissa Jeglinski—Thank you for taking me under your wing, teaching me the ins and outs of the Desire line and making me love what I’m writing even more than I did to begin with.

      With many thanks to fellow WRW member Sandy Rangel for her help with the research for this book and willingness to share her firsthand knowledge of the Georgetown area.

      And always, for Daddy.

      Contents

      Chapter One

      Chapter Two

      Chapter Three

      Chapter Four

      Chapter Five

      Chapter Six

      Chapter Seven

      Chapter Eight

      Chapter Nine

      Chapter Ten

      Chapter Eleven

      Epilogue

      One

      Lucy Grainger tapped softly in warning on the front door of Peter Reynolds’s town house, then used a key to let herself in. Gathering the morning mail and paper from the foyer floor, she made her way past the den that held her office to the large kitchen at the back of the house. Setting the paper and mail alongside her purse on the island countertop, she started a pot of coffee and began clearing away some of last night’s mess.

      It wasn’t her job to clean up after Peter. He did have a housekeeper, after all, who dropped by once a week to do laundry and dishes and relocate some of the dust that settled on miscellaneous surfaces. But Lucy was so used to taking care of him that it seemed only natural to move a few dirty dishes to the sink or throw away a near-empty carton of milk that had been left out of the refrigerator too long.

      From there, she walked back toward the front of the house, up the stairs, and down the short hallway that led to Peter’s bedroom. He might have slept in, especially if he’d been up late working on some computer program or another. Or maybe he’d simply forgotten to set his alarm clock—again. But his bed was empty, the sheets tangled and nearly stripped off the mattress.

      Only one place left to look. Lucy eased the bedroom door closed and walked across the hallway in the opposite direction to Peter’s home office.

      Less conservative than the den, Peter liked this room because it was small, private, and casually decorated to his personal tastes. Which basically meant unadorned walls painted periwinkle-blue with white trim, a three-part desk taking up one whole corner, and low tables of sliding file drawers lining the remaining three. Every available surface was filled with assorted computer equipment, ongoing work projects, and Peter’s collection of original Star Trek action figures.

      Inside, the computer tower hummed softly from its home on the floor, telling her she was right about Peter’s location. With one arm folded beneath his head, Lucy’s boss slept hunched over his cluttered desk. He wore an old gray T-shirt and plaid boxers, his sandy-blond hair ruffled and sticking up in places—probably from all the times he’d run his fingers through it in frustration during the night.

      Lucy’s own fingers clenched at her sides as she fought the urge to flatten those spiky spots or slide a palm down the strong curve of his spine.

      She sighed. This was the problem with working for a man she had half a crush on. The line between employer and potential lover got blurrier by the day.

      But only for her. Peter didn’t see her as potential lover material. Most of the time, she didn’t think he saw her as a woman at all.

      As a secretary, an assistant, the person he ran to when he needed just about anything, yes. But as an attractive, interested, flesh-and-blood woman? He’d never glanced up from his computer screen long enough to notice.

      Then

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