OUT OF PRINT
by Erin McCarthy, Jen Nicholas and Jordan Summers
They’re Not Just For Breakfast Anymore…
Hot. Delicious. So satisfying. Who wouldn’t want to start the day with a little bad boy breakfast in bed…or anywhere else?
Amanda Dillon is used to gorgeous men falling at her feet, wooing her, and obeying her every command. Of course, it helps that they’re hypnotized at the time. She’d give her left big toenail to find a man who’d tell the truth without having to be put in a trance.
Just once this professional stage hypnotist would like to be mesmerized.
Derek Armstrong knows a juicy story when he sees it. And Amanda Dillon is it. He’s not going to let the fact that she doesn’t grant interviews stand in his way. So what’s a star journalist to do? Allow her to hypnotize him, of course. A simple plan that should work like a charm, if he can avoid falling under her hypnotic spell.
MESMERIZED is very clever, with an unusual and captivating premise. I didn’t waste any time making room for BAD BOYS OVER EASY on my keeper shelf!–Romance Junkies
Jordan Summers’ Mesmerized is one story you want to make sure to read. In just a few pages readers will be absorbed by Amanda and Derek’s getting to know each other. Readers will know there’s trouble brewing, but the ride there is sizzling. Mesmerized will be over before you know it and if you’re like me, you’ll be wondering what else Jordan Summers has written and how fast you can get to it. Bad Boys Over Easy is just an awesome read all the way around. If you’ve never read one of the anthologies from Brava, Bad Boys Over Easy is a great place to start. If you have read the Brava anthologies, then Bad Boys Over Easy is definitely an auto-buy.–Fallen Angel Reviews
Once I picked up this book I was not able to stop reading until I finished each story. Bad Boys Over Easy is not only a keeper for my book case but a reread. I also would love to see them write another one with the secondary characters.–A Romance Review
Read an Excerpt
Cluck, Cluck, Cluck. Quack, Quack, Quack. Oink, Oink, Oink. Hee-haw, Hee-haw, Hee-haw.
Amanda Dillon’s eyes widened and her head snapped to the right as the last hee-haw faded. She glanced at the five gorgeous men crawling around at her feet like barnyard animals, each one more delicious-looking than the last.
Someone was certainly getting into the act tonight.
A smile played at the corners of her mouth, then she snapped her fingers twice. “Woo me!” she shouted. “Win me over by professing your love and devotion.”
The men instantly transformed from helpless farm critters to wannabe Romeos all vying for her attention at once.
If only it were that easy in real life.
One man recited poetry, while another blond Adonis crouched on bended knee, attempting to sing a love ballad. “Attempting” being the key word. It was a good thing he was gorgeous, because cats fighting in a garbage bin maintained better pitch.
Amanda looked at the audience and winced. The women in the crowd broke into giggles, while the men shifted restlessly in their seats.
One of the Lotharios on stage broke into an interpretive dance. She pinched her nose and waved her hand in front of her face. The crowd roared. Amanda had earned the reputation as the “Man Tamer of Manhattan” after two years of sold out shows. Every time a paper or magazine printed that headline, Amanda half expected to see a stool and a whip appear beside her.
“Man Tamer of Manhattan,” she snorted, under her breath. If only they knew the truth.
The nickname was embarrassing, but it did pay the bills. Too bad it also kept most men at bay. A rather disappointing repercussion of achieving success that willing or not, she’d grown accustomed to.
Not that Amanda had the time or inclination to date. Her jaundiced gaze scanned the men. These same types of men validated her career-imposed celibacy every night.
Amanda smiled wistfully, then turned back to the groveling and begging men at her feet. Every woman’s fantasy. Hardly.
Each performance was the same. Amanda prayed her boredom with the act didn’t show. She needed to find something to liven the show up. Then again, was it her act—or her life that needed livening as of late?
Amanda wasn’t sure and thinking about it now wouldn’t solve anything.
One bold man on stage took that moment to snatch her hand in his, shaking Amanda from her thoughts. Not you sweetheart, she mused, as the man placed soft kisses along the length of her arm. She chuckled and fought to keep from laughing louder, then carefully extracted her hand from his grasp.
Ah, well…time for the big finale.
Amanda pasted a smile on her face and raised her arms. “When I count to five you will awake feeling refreshed and rested, as if you’ve had an hour-long nap filled with pleasurable dreams. One, two, you’re feeling more awake and aware of your surroundings, three, four, sounds in the room are growing louder, five, open your eyes.” Amanda snapped her fingers twice.
The men blinked and looked around, their brows knitted in confusion. They took in their surroundings as if seeing the stage and audience for the first time. One particularly cocky participant stood and stretched his limbs, then rested his massive fists on his trim waist.
At another time in her life, Amanda would’ve found the man attractive and desirable but not now. To her jaded eyes, he looked like a Neanderthal ready to beat his chest for attention. No thanks.
“See I told you I couldn’t be hypnotized.” He gave her a mocking grin.
As tempting as it was to knock the smile off his face, Amanda didn’t have to because the audience took care of it for her.
They burst out laughing at his bravado. Some hee-hawed for added insult. Amanda walked to the side of the stage and retrieved the complimentary digital files the men received for their participation.
She smiled at the blond man who’d made the outburst, this time for real, then handed him his copy. Crimson streaked the man’s cheeks and his chest deflated, but the anger in his hazel eyes promised retribution.
Amanda had seen it all before. A week from now he’d laugh about the whole event. Tell his buddies that he was in on the act the whole time.
“Enjoy the show.” She winked at him, then turned to the audience to bid them goodnight.
The crowd came to their feet in a standing ovation. Amanda bowed deep, then looked at her volunteers. “How about a round of applause for our good sports?” She waved a hand in the direction of the men, who were still brushing their pants off and straightening their clothes.
The applause and wolf-whistles grew louder. A stagehand gathered the participants together and led them back to their seats. Amanda bowed one last time, then exited stage right.
Someone handed her a towel and a bottle of water as she made her way down the long corridor to her dressing room. She dabbed at the moisture on her face, then hung the towel around her neck.
“Good show,” one of the stagehands said.
“Thanks.” Amanda opened her dressing room door and was met by an explosion of flowers.
Blooms of all shapes, colors, and sizes covered every inch of her dressing room. Someone had stacked them three deep on her coffee table and she could only see a small square patch of her navy sofa. Even her changing screen held hanging baskets.
The only clear spot was the white wicker chair shoved in front of her lighted vanity. Amanda stepped inside and closed the door behind her. She rested her back against the hard wood for a couple of breaths, attempting to take in the botanical garden that once was her dressing room.
It was beautiful but completely over-the-top. She hadn’t received this kind of congratulations since her show opened.
The flowers’ sweet scents tickled her nose. Amanda’s eyes watered and her throat began to itch. She let out a loud sneeze.
“Perfect,” she groaned, then carefully stepped over the baskets to get to her chair.
The tediousness of tonight’s show weighed heavily on her shoulders. The audience deserved better than her split attention. They paid good money to be entertained.
The show’s success reached beyond her wildest dreams. She’d hoped to have a couple months run, but the popularity of the performance turned into a two-year stint with guaranteed bookings through the end of the year.
With success came a new kind of pressure, one that required her to expand the show or eventually go bust. Unfortunately, the only way to do that was to cooperate and pander to the media. She shuddered at the thought.
Amanda received calls daily from every major network and magazine, begging her to grant them an interview or as she liked to think of it, the opportunity to rip her “Man Tamer of Manhattan” persona to shreds.
She sighed and dropped into her wicker chair. Amanda barely recognized the woman staring back at her in the mirror. Makeup covered the dark circles under her eyes. Tired, weak, and stretched thin from so many performances, her eyes no longer sparkled. Wariness had replaced the shine.
When had that happened? When had the flicker of excitement and rush from performing left her? Had she always been so cynical? A resounding, “yes,” clamored in her head. Amanda ignored the voice. She had a career, but she needed a life.
Too bad the only men interested in her were either after a juicy story or had to be hypnotically induced to like her.
Amanda had removed all but two spots of her makeup when someone knocked on the door. “Who is it?” Her ears strained to hear a response.
She’d learned the hard way not to grant entry without first identifying the caller. The last time that occurred Amanda found herself eye to belt buckle with one of her audience participants.
He’d signed a release like every other volunteer in the show, but from the crumpled piece of paper in his fist, Amanda deduced he didn’t care.
Luckily, her assistant, Wendy Cole had arrived and removed the man with a little finesse. Amanda smiled. Wendy was worth every penny Amanda paid her and then some. The knock sounded again with more force.
“Who is it?”
“It’s me, Wendy.”
Speak of the she-devil. “Come in.”
Wendy burst into the room like a ray of sunshine reflecting off a mirror. Her russet-colored ponytail bounced from side-to-side as she dropped onto the couch. A pair of striped designer pants with a black pullover sweater fit her lithe form perfectly. She stacked a couple of baskets onto the back of the couch and sat in the spot she’d cleared off.
Upbeat and perpetually cheerful, Wendy never met a person she didn’t like. At parties, everyone gravitated toward her like planets to the sun, drawn by her warmth. Amanda had hired he specifically for those traits because she was the exact opposite.
In the solar system of life, Amanda was disenfranchised Pluto. Cold, hard, and unforgiving.
Originally her aloofness had been cultivated to keep her focused on her career, but now it was a habit she could no longer control. It occurred anytime a man got too close.
Amanda was well aware of her ice queen reputation. Wendy was the perfect buffer and a good friend.
“How was it tonight?” Wendy chewed on her lower lip.
“Same ol’, same ol’,” Amanda said. “What’s up with all the flowers?”
Amanda stared at her from the mirror, which was why it took a moment for her assistant’s expression to permeate her thoughts. She swiveled in her chair. “What gives?”
Wendy fidgeted, unable to meet her gaze. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Wendy Ann. . . .” She only used Wendy’s middle name when she knew her friend was lying. “You never bite your lip unless you have bad news to tell me or you know I’m not going to like what you have to say.”
She grimaced. “I’ll have to work on my face.”
Amanda laughed. “Don’t you dare. I like taking your money.”
Wendy giggled. “We really need to schedule another poker night. It’s been way too long.”
“Stop trying to change the subject,” she said. “Now tell me what’s up.”
Wendy gazed at the bouquets spread around the room. “Do you like the flowers?”
Atch-oo. “Yes, they’re lovely.” Amanda sniffled. “Quit stalling.”
Her assistant slipped her shoes off and drew her feet under her legs. “You received another message, along with all these flowers from that journalist at Mode Times Magazine.”
“They’re all from one person?”
“Yep!” Wendy beamed.
Amanda stared at the all the baskets. It had to have cost a fortune. Either that or the journalist knew someone who owned a flower shop. “What’s his name again?” she asked.
Wendy’s brow furrowed. “You know, I never caught it.”
“Aren’t any of the cards signed?” she asked.
“No,” Wendy said.
“That’s weird. Normally star journalists love the sound of their names rolling off their lips.” Amanda frowned. “How many messages does this make?”
“Fifteen, not counting today’s note,” Wendy said.
“Are you sure he’s not a stalker?” Concern replaced annoyance.
Wendy’s gaze met hers. “Pretty sure. His credentials checked out.”
“He’s persistent, I’ll give him that.” Amanda sneezed, and then wiped the last two smudges of makeup away. “Is that all?”
Wendy shifted again under her scrutiny. “I was just thinking maybe you should grant him an interview.”
Amanda’s eyes widened. “Why would I want to do that? It’s not like he’s found a way into my heart through my hay fever.”
Wendy bit her lip to keep from laughing, then pretended to pluck fuzz from her sweater. “No, I think you should do it because your show needs the publicity right now and he sounds kind of sexy.”
“Sounds sexy, eh?” Amanda arched a brow and began applying moisturizer. “Voices can be deceptive just like appearances. You aren’t trying to play matchmaker again, are you?”
“Yes to the first question and no to the second.” Wendy bit her lip once more and her gaze dropped to the flower-covered carpet.
Amanda’s stomach tightened. Her friend fibbed again. She tilted her head to get a better look at Wendy. She didn’t know what her assistant was up to but Amanda didn’t like it. “When did you last speak with him?”
“Yesterday when he phoned.”
Amanda’s heart slammed into her ribs. “You didn’t grant him an interview on my behalf, did you? Don’t you remember what happened to my father? One stupid article by one reporter and his life was ruined. Do you want that to happen to me?”
Her eyes searched her friend’s face as panic set in. Oh God, the last thing she needed was some strange man showing up at her door.
Wendy waved a hand in the air. “Calm down. Of course, not. I’d never do anything like that without your permission. I know your reasons for not granting interviews. And you know I’m sorry about your dad. I just thought that maybe it was time to reconsider. This is your career—not his.”
Amanda humphed. “Every time I consider changing my mind, I picture my father working himself to death, trying to rebuild a reputation that one article shattered beyond repair,” she stated firmly. Her gaze narrowed in suspicion. “If you didn’t agree to an interview, then what did you say?”
Wendy shrugged, but the action didn’t look nonchalant. “I told him to stop by after the show and ask you himself.”
Amanda felt the air squeeze from her lungs. It was one thing to turn someone down via email or phone, it was quite another to look them in the eye while doing so. “You didn’t,” she murmured in disbelief.
Wendy grinned sheepishly. “I did.”
“Why? You’re supposed to be my defense against the dark side.”
Her friend giggled. “I am, Luke, but what’s it going to hurt? He may look as good as he sounds.” Wendy waggled her eyebrows. “If nothing else, you could get a date out of the meet and greet.”
“I doubt it. With everything “on the record”, we wouldn’t have anything to talk about.” Amanda dropped her head into her hands. “What have you done?” she asked, peeking through two fingers.
“Nothing that isn’t good for you.” Her friend bounced up from the couch and sashayed to the door. She glanced over her shoulder one last time. “There’s more to life than hypnotizing men. There is such a thing as dating and sex in the world, remember? Besides, if you don’t want him, I’ll take him.” Wendy winked, then left.
Amanda groaned. She didn’t need a journalist for anything, not even a sexy sounding one. Wendy could have him with her blessing.
Note to self: kill smart mouthed assistant.