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Masquerade: an action or appearance that is mere disguise or show
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There are too many masks in place. Too many false fronts. Everyone seems to be playing a role, including the modeling agency, the marketing representatives, the gracious Caribbean host and the owners of the high-end spa. But what were they all hiding?
Everything is turning upside down. The owner of the marketing agency dies in a mysterious one-car crash. Girls are disappearing and so are large chunks of money.
When hot, hot forensic accountant John Martino is reunited with very sexy Lindsey Califaro, with whom he had a short but intense fling, the heat between them rises high enough to burn down the town. So does the emotion. Lindsey is afraid tot rust him again, and John is trying to correct the biggest mistake of his life. But first they have to find the answers to a puzzle that reaches international proportions.
The elevator car arrived and they stepped into it, the only occupants from the high dollar floor. He followed her in and as soon as the door closed he pressed the button to hold the elevator car in place.
“John, we can’t do this now. People will be looking for the elevator. And I think a warning sounds if it doesn’t move for a certain amount of time.”
“Then I’d better talk fast.” He leaned forward, caging her with his arms. “Any excuse I can give for not calling you all this time is going to sound lame. Business crowded my schedule, time got away from me, all of that is true. But that’s not the whole story.”
“Oh? Then what is?”
“We need more time than five minutes for me to tell you. I was a first class jackass and I suffered for it. I’m not going to let that happen again. I’ve spent four years kicking myself for being such an asshole. When Taylor called, I pushed another job off on my partner so I could take this one. So I could see you.”
Lindsey stood there, scarcely able to breathe. Her heart was beating hard and her throat was so dry she could barely swallow.
“John.” She wet her lips. “I don’t think—“
“Don’t think. Listen. Like I said, I’m an asshole. I’ll be the first one to admit it. And any other names you want to add. When I left you four years ago I had every intention of calling you within the month. Hopping a plane to Miami or wherever you were by that time. Following up on what had started between us. Having a fun weekend.”
“A fun weekend,” she repeated.
“Because whatever it was, everything else aside, it was fucking good. Agreed?”
She just stared at him, unable to say a word.
“Okay. Don’t say anything. I don’t blame you. I got caught up in some international finance shit, used it as an excuse and time just kept passing. I’ve been single a long time, Lindsey. I told myself I wasn’t interested in anything more than a good time. I kept myself busy and after a while too much time had gone by. It suddenly hit me I’d tossed away what could be the best thing that ever happened to me. When Noah called and asked me to come here, told me who I’d be working with, I jumped at it. Saw a chance to make up for being such a jerk, even if I had to get down on my knees and beg you. Because that’s what I’m ready to do.” He blew out a breath. “Listen. You have no reason to believe anything I say after what I did. Or didn’t do. But I’m asking you for another chance, Lindsey. Begging you. Please. At least listen to what I have to say.”
While she was still trying to figure out how to answer him, his mouth descended on hers, his lips warm and smooth. He ran the tip of his tongue gently over her mouth, tracing the seam and urging her to open for him. Without thinking she did just that and he thrust his tongue inside.
And she went up in flames.
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