by Fran Lee
Christine Lange thought she’d found a white knight, only to learn there’s no such thing. And even though her world’s falling apart, she decides she can make it on her own—until a gorgeous guy appears out of the blue, offering a helping hand. Christine grabs it, pride be damned. Surely her heart will remain safe because Tonio’s gay. At least, she assumes so. Why else would a man who looks like that need a temporary wife to satisfy his family?
Tonio needs a wife and the sexy redhead is perfect. She’s attractive, desperate…and since she doesn’t like men, there’s no danger of her falling in love with him. But Fate likes to play with those who tempt her, and an agreement to see to each other’s physical needs soon has them scorching the sheets.
Never Tempt Fate
by Fran Lee
She unlocked her door and stepped inside the tiny but immaculate apartment she had called home for these past five years. Tears stung the back of her throat again as she bit her lower lip and walked into the bathroom to blow her nose. She glared at her red-eyed reflection in the mirror over her sink. The mirror she had bought because the old medicine chest mirror had fallen out and broken.
She turned on the tap and splashed water over her flushed face and puffy eyes, then she dried her face with a soft towel. “You certainly do have the lousiest luck, girl,” she breathed as she folded the towel and hung it over the rack.
What was it her father had always said? Copper hair meant good luck?
Hah! In her recollection, it never had done anything to make hers any better. “Unlucky” should be my middle name, she thought darkly as she cleaned up the mess from the shower she’d taken earlier, tossing her undies into the wicker hamper by the door.
She’d left home nearly six years ago to escape the dead-end cycle of life in a small town in Nebraska and headed for the big city—San Francisco. Of course, the school pal who’d invited her to come out hadn’t had room for her and had conveniently forgotten the offer she’d made to let her stay, so she’d struggled for six months to stay alive, too damn proud to call home for help.
Then she’d met Jimmy. Gorgeous, sexy, breathtaking Jimmy.
That thought made her pause for a moment. She didn’t like to think about that. She gave an unamused bark of laughter. Then, after total disillusionment in the city by the bay, she had trekked southward to Los Angeles.
Dear God, if I had a dollar for every damn mess I’ve gotten myself into, I’d be rich. She drew a shaking breath.
This one wasn’t her fault. She’d had a great job, making plenty of money. Then one of the partners had died and the other had been unable to carry the load. The company had folded after eight months of Mr. Erlinger’s bumbling business practices.
She had, luckily, put away a few thousand while the money had been good. It had kept her going at the rate of nearly two thousand per month in living expenses over the past eight months while she’d fought to hold one lousy-paying job after another. It hadn’t been easy for her to compete in a world filled with hopeful starlets working for pennies, waiting for that big break in the movies. The one that never came.
At twenty-nine she wasn’t in the first bloom of youth, and despite all that crap about equal-opportunity employment, she found herself fighting over scraps with busty young things fresh off the farm, scrambling to get a job until they could get that big break—and she had lost one hell of a lot of the battles. Most likely because she was unwilling to file a job app on her back in some sleazy store room.
She had managed to snag a few temp jobs, a few fast food stints and one or two short-term accounting jobs that had helped to pay the bills and fend off bankruptcy. But the halfway decent-paying, permanent job had come too late to save her from this terribly embarrassing and depressing eviction.
She had managed to convince Mr. Anderson that she was far more efficient and ten times more knowledgeable than the bevy of busty beauties applying for this particular job, so he had magnanimously given her a try, at half the salary she’d been drawing with Erlinger and Dunn. But it was steady work and the pay was better than she’d had for the past few months. If she could just have three weeks she would have a handle on this.
Maybe she would try Mrs. Allen again in the morning. If she could only convince her to give her another month she could catch up the back rent within a few weeks at the pay she would be getting. She drew another calming breath and decided to try again.
Anything worth keeping was worth fighting for, even if it was going to be a couple of hundred bucks more expensive next month. It would be terribly hard to rebuild her savings, spending that much more on the rent, but what choice did she have? Of course that was assuming that she was a good talker and Mrs. Allen was a willing listener.
She sank down onto the bed and leaned her chin on her crossed arms. Maybe some miracle would happen to take her away from all this. She rolled onto her back and closed her eyes. Some wildly handsome knight in shining armor, maybe, whisking her onto the back of his huge black stallion to ride off into the sunset.
Sure. Just like the last one.
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