Lust at first sight. The Man For the Job by Marie-Nicole Ryan

Ex-police Detective Mike Carlton considers bodyguard work a necessary evil–it pays the bills. But he changes his mind as soon as attorney Gwyn waltzes into his office.

A stalker? Yes, he’ll guard her all night long if necessary. All he has to do is convince this uptight attorney with a fondness for Italian shoes and a propensity for getting into trouble that he’s THE MAN FOR THE JOB…and the man for her.

THE MAN FOR THE JOB
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Mystery
Cover art: Marie-Nicole Ryan
Published 2004, Wings ePress
Re-released 2010, Ryandale Publishing
ASIN: B00342VEGK
eISBN: 9781501486814
Print ISBN: 9781466397545

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Reviews

5 Cups! — “An absolute must read! It is fast and witty, and the pace never slows down.” Reviewer: Cherokee at Coffee Time Romance

A Top Pick: “THE MAN FOR THE JOB is just fantastic…on a number of levels. This story sparkles with a great romance, gobs of humor, intriguing characters, non-stop action and a cleverly done murder mystery….With most of the story taking place within a weekend house party, THE MAN FOR THE JOB is reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot stories. A Poirot with lots of humor. Ms. Ryan seems to have had as much fun writing this story as a reader will have devouring it.” Reviewer: Debbie at Romance Readers at Heart

“5 Hearts… The story will hold your interest from the first chapter to the last. The plot is not only excellent but each character is so well defined they seem to come right of the pages at the reader.” Reviewer: Louise Riviero-Mitchell at The Romance Studio

“THE MAN FOR THE JOB is adorable! Mike and Gwyneth heat up the pages with their vintage style romance.” Reviewer: Ansley Velarde at The Road to Romance

“Marie-Nicole Ryan’s latest book, aptly titled THE MAN FOR THE JOB, is a fun, fast-paced romantic suspense that will leave you satisfied when you’re done. The chemistry between Gwyneth and Mike is hot and spicy, while the supporting characters and sub-story is romantic and sweet.” Reviewer: Brook Wills at Romance Junkies’ Blue Ribbon Reviews

“Marie-Nicole Ryan has penned a likeable yarn that is filled with quirky humor, interlaced with murder and mayhem. If you’re looking for a witty and fun suspense story, filled with diverting characters, then THE MAN FOR THE JOB is for you. It’s a clever and sparkling tale, and one not to be missed.” Reviewer: Patti Fischer at Romance Reviews Today Note: Full review is no longer available on line.

“What engaged me the most was the fast and witty style that kept the pace up and kept me interested in the book. I’d say this is a great light mystery for someone who likes a dash of romance with their suspense!” Reviewer: Jean at Fallen Angel Reviews — Four Angels

Excerpt
©2004 Marie-Nicole Ryan
All rights reserved, Ryandale Publishing

Like an armored tank brooking no obstacles, Gwyneth strode along the busy streets of the Big Apple. For once she wasn’t worried about being mugged or stalked–just let someone try.

“Wilford Wells, just wait until I get hold of you. I’ll wring your wrinkled old neck for the trick you’ve played on me,” she muttered, knowing she must look as demented as half the people around her. Still, she didn’t give a damn what anyone thought.

“’Now then, sugar’, Uncle Wil had said, ‘This Mike Carlton, I checked him out. He’s the best.’”

The best? If that phony cretin was the best, she’d hate to see the worst. She’d show her uncle what she thought of the best. She’d pull his gray, stringy ponytail out by the roots.

Dammit. She’d presented herself at Mike Carlton’s office, expecting to be treated with due respect, and instead he’d hit on her like she was a lap dancer in a stripper bar.

He’d even had the nerve to kiss her in the back seat of a taxi. Never mind that Richard’s kisses had never made her hot and squishy inside. Mike’s lips were tender and warm, and he’d tasted of his morning coffee. How could one kiss–a kiss that reminded her of a rich burgundy, dark and earthy–upset her so?”

What was the matter with her? She had no business thinking about Mike’s lips or his earthiness–no matter that she already had. Keeping her head on straight was of paramount importance. At least it always had been.

Gwyneth entered her office building and managed a semblance of self-control while riding the creaky elevator to the tenth floor. True, she and her uncle could have afforded offices in a better location, but Uncle Wil had argued that their clients might be intimidated by more ostentatious surroundings. And these were certainly humble.

Humble or not, the sight of Wells and Wells, Attorneys-at-Law always made her feel proud, even if the faux gold paint was a touch tarnished. She loved her uncle, but he was in for a shellacking. And she was just the woman to wield the brush.

“He in?” Gwyneth asked the assistant she shared with her uncle. Without waiting for an answer, she flung open the door to his office.

“Good afternoon to you too, sugar.”

She leaned across her uncle’s desk, resisting the urge to throttle the only relative with whom she could stand to be in the same room. “You have some explaining to do.”

An expression of total bewilderment took up residence on her uncle’s grizzled face. Rearing back in his chair, he frowned. “What the hell’s the matter with you?”

“Th-that detective you referred me to–he’s a joke. That’s what’s the matter with me.”

“You saw Mike Carlton, right? Not one of his flunkies?”

“Yeah, I saw him. He’s arrogant, rude and a throwback.”

Maybe it was the glint in her uncle’s faded blue eyes and the twitch of his lips–or maybe it was the prickle on the back of her neck–but something made her stop mid-rant. “He’s standing right behind me, isn’t he?”

“You got that right,” came the already too familiar voice.

Gwyneth whirled. “You!” Advancing on the arrogant upstart leaning against the door frame, looking ever so pleased with himself, she shouted, “I can’t believe you’d have the effrontery to show your face in my office after your unconscionable behavior in the taxi.”

“You hired me, Counselor,” Mike replied with a shrug, turning his palms upward. “What else could I do?”

“I distinctly remember firing you,” she bluffed, all too aware that she’d done no such thing.

His forehead furrowed, but crystal green eyes shone under thick, dark eyebrows. “Fired? No, I think I’d remember if you’d fired me.”

“I did,” she insisted, barely refraining from stamping her foot. “I’m sure I did.”

“Were we in the taxi when you supposedly fired me?”

“Of course we were.” The nerve of the man–acting so innocent, when all the time he knew exactly what had transpired between them.

Removing his fedora, Mike ran his fingers through wavy, dark-brown hair while he appeared to consider her words. Honestly, if she weren’t so mad, she wouldn’t mind tangling her fingers in those curls and…

Great! The man had cast a spell over her. She was on the verge of turning into a gibbering, over-sexed hedonist.

Then he smiled. He had such a sexy mouth and gorgeous eyes, but she didn’t trust his expression. She took it as a sign that he was about to say–or do–something totally outrageous.

“That’s not what I remember happening in the taxi.” Then, as if remembering they weren’t alone in the room, Mike stepped around her and approached her uncle. “Sorry, Mr. Wells. We weren’t properly introduced. I’m Mike Carlton.” Mike offered his hand to her traitorous uncle who was actually smiling at the P.I. “Your niece has hired me to find out who’s stalking her.”

“I fired you!” Gwyneth gave in and stamped her foot.

“You didn’t.”

“Well, I am now.” She fumbled in her purse and pulled out a roll of bills. “Here. Take this for your time and no effort. You are officially fired–as officially fired as I know how to fire anyone.”

Mike took her money, ruffled the bills, then handed them back to her. “Too much, and besides, the taxi ride was pure pleasure on my part. You’re very entertaining, Counselor.”

Outraged, she turned back to her uncle. “See what I mean? He’s… he’s… “

“Got you all stirred up. That’s what I see, sugar.” Uncle Wil’s shoulders shook with laughter.

Exasperated, Gwyneth took a deep breath in a feeble effort to regain control–then another. “Why aren’t you leaving?” she managed to ask in her most dulcet tone. “You have been dismissed. I no longer have any need of your services. Must I say it in another language perhaps?”

“I understand English, Counselor. It was my first language.” He nodded at her uncle. “Sir, it was a pleasure meeting you, however brief our acquaintance.”

“What’s this butter-won’t-melt-in-your-mouth act you’re putting on for my uncle? That’s not how you talked to me.”

All she received for a reply from the outrageous phony was a smirking half-grin as he turned to leave.

“Mike,” Uncle Wil called after the wretched detective. “I think we can do business. Since my misguided niece has fired you, I take it you’re free for another job?”

“No!” she cried, unable to stop herself.

Ignoring her, Mike stopped, turned around and smiled. “Yes, as it happens I am.”

“Good, ’cause I’m putting you on retainer. I want you to find Gwyn’s stalker.”

“I’d be more than happy to work for you, Mr. Wells.”

 

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