When Ellen Anderson’s antique ring goes down her bathtub drain late one night, naturally she calls a plumber. Ellen expects the plumber to have a beer gut, a tool belt, and an exposed butt crack. What Ellen gets is Rick Braswell- a hunk- who cuts his hand, bleeds all over her bedroom carpet, and faints. Every time Rick and Ellen find themselves together, Rick ends up in trouble from a near arrest for breaking into his own office, to two emergency room visits, to a dent in his brand new truck. Ellen is convinced she has jinxed him; but Rick is willing to risk bad karma if it means he can be with her.
How many pairs of shoes did this woman have? Rick asked himself as he perched on the unmade bed and took
a couple of deep breaths. She could provide shoes for half of Georgia with the footwear she was too slowly moving to
the other side of her closet. Rick surveyed his surroundings. The room was small and feminine. It oozed
sensuality, like she did. The wisteria was absent here. But there was some scent—something sweet and edible, like
vanilla. It made his mouth water. He didn’t like that.
She didn’t move; she glided. He had only touched her for a second when he walked by her in the hall, but what
he had touched was soft and silky. Yes, it was the robe, but it was the skin underneath, too. Rick knew it. Her
graceful little hands were lining up shoe after shoe in military precision. Rick swore he had even seen her caress
a pair of silver sandals, one rose tipped finger running up and down a strap. Rick swallowed, trying to get rid of all
the liquid pooling in his mouth. This room...He didn’t like it—trappings, his dad would say. Everywhere it screamed
“woman.” No, that was wrong. It didn’t scream it; it purred it. There were curlers and make-up on top of the
dresser, potpourri in a crystal bowl on the nightstand, and a framed print of a Georgia O’Keefe flower over the bed.
Rick studied it. It looked like a….Geez, Louise.
Rick turned away. He had to get a hold of himself. His gaze fell on a black bra thrown across the foot of the bed. If he
reached his hand out, he could…his hand came into contact with something soft, something…satin sheets.
Rick jumped up as if he’d been burnt. Ellen glanced back at him, a question in her eyes.
“I’ll…I’ll be outside. Let me know when you’re finished.” Rick’s hand was on the door when she stopped
“Wait. Please. I’m almost done.” She reached into the closet one more time. Rick studied her. At least,
he studied the rear part of her which was sticking out of the closet. Could she be doing this on purpose?
This whole scene was putting images in his mind, which had no business being there. He had a girlfriend.
And here this woman was…what was her name? In that soft robe and those satin sheets, she
was a dangerous combination. He couldn’t be sure, but he didn’t think she was wearing any underwear.
Oh, man, he had to get out of here.
“Okay,” she said as she stood up. Rick caught a glimpse of a matching gown underneath the robe.
“Good.” Rick went over to the closet and crouched down inside of it. He ran his hand down the wall on the
right side until he found a crack. Maneuvering his fingers underneath the crack, he pulled until a panel opened.
“Hey! A secret compartment!” Ellen delighted.
“It’s not a secret compartment. Some houses have them. Be glad yours does, otherwise, I’d have to cut
through the wall.”
“Well, I didn’t know about it, so it was a secret to me. Imagine living here for over a year and never noticing it.”
Rick grinned in spite of himself. “Miss Muffet, come over here.”
Ellen went over to the closet, and Rick handed her the flashlight. “Shine this on the panel, so I can see what
Ellen took the flashlight. “Right here?”
“Yeah, that’s good…No, no. Keep it still.” Rick felt her close behind him. He narrowed his eyes and tried to
block out her presence. It didn’t work. The wisteria was lingering again. Man, she smelled good. Warmth spread
from her body to his back, his guts, and his front. She was that close. If he moved back an inch, their bodies would be
touching. Her robe touched his head, and something incredibly soft brushed the side of his face.
Rick bit down on two more colorful words. His hand had found a nail in the woodwork and as he pulled back,
the nail caught flesh between his thumb and forefinger, ripping a jagged cut across it to the center of his palm.
Ellen gasped and stepped back. The cut opened; blood streamed forth. Rick, who had never had a stomach for
injury, stood up and stumbled into Ellen. He grasped the injured limb with his other hand. Blood. Blood.
Everywhere. It gushed from the wound and covered his entire hand. Scarlet rivulets poured over his fingers unto
the light-colored carpeted floor, creating an odd pattern. The red and white design wavered before Rick’s eyes, and
then grew fuzzy, as darkness closed around it. Rick reached for something—anything—solid as he realized his
legs were wobbling. He almost made it to the door, when everything went black.
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