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Charming Carmen – Incognito #6

CharmingCarmen300X454ISBN:  ISBN:   978-1-60088-124-4

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After years of servitude in a dead-end job and with her life in shambles, Carmen leaps at the chance to bid in a charity auction. The prize—a weekend of pampering by the gorgeous Carl at Incognito. But she gets more than she bargained for, because he’s not what he seems.

Carl had never found a woman who could capture his attention, until the pretty little Latino came along with her sad eyes and luscious mouth. But does she have what it takes to make him surrender his heart? Does he have what it takes to make her his…forever?


EXCERPT:

“Carl! Carl, damn it, wake up!”

Carl groaned and rolled over, frowning at Kat’s strident shriek. “Goddammit, woman, it’s my day off.”

“What did she do to you? Are you okay? Where are you hurt?”

Carl finally opened his eyes, bright sunlight nearly blinding him. When he realized where he was, that he was naked and Kat was on the bed with him, he almost rolled off the edge. “What the fuck are you doing here?”

He gathered the sheet around him toga-style and dodged Kat’s hand as she tried to touch his forehead.

“Carmen said she—well, she didn’t say what she did to you, just that she was so sorry, and I—”

“Carmen…” Looking around, he couldn’t find her. “Where is she?”

Kat stared at him as if she thought him mad, raised a finger toward the door, and said, “She left.”

“Left? She can’t!” He scrambled from the bed, tripped as his feet tangled in the sheet, and stumbled through the door.

“Hey! Carl…?”

He didn’t stop at Kat’s concerned call. Holding the sheet at his waist with one fist, he slammed the other against the front door to shove his way outside and ran down the path—just in time to see Carmen slip behind the wheel of a sleek little convertible.

“Carmen, stop!”

She glanced his way. The engine rumbled to life.

Carl ran, uncaring of the expense his bare feet would pay for his dash across the crushed seashell lot. He darted past Dalton, vaguely heard him say something about a torn-up check, and skidded to a halt in front of the car. He slapped a hand on the hood.

Having been looking over her shoulder to back up, she spun around to face him and frowned. He could tell she’d been crying. Her cheeks were damp and splotchy. Her eyes still glistened with unshed tears.

“Get out of the way.” She fought with the gearshift to get it into first, grinding the gears.

“Mistress, stop. Please—”

“Don’t call me that. I’m n-not your mistress. K-Kat is. I’ve no right to do what I did to you. I’m s-so sorry.”

“No, wait. What you did? Mis—Carmen, wait. Let’s talk about this.”

Her grip tightened on the steering wheel. She squeezed her eyes shut tight.

He took advantage of that, rounded the hood of the car, and leapt over the door to plop onto the passenger’s seat. The move startled her.

“What do you think you’re doing? Get out.”

“No.”

She scowled at him. “I said, get out.”

He turned toward the door but, instead of opening it, he buckled himself in with the seatbelt.

She gaped then shouted, “Katriona, come and get your slave out of my car.”

Carl crossed his arms over his bare chest, cast a glance down to ensure the sheet still hid everything important, and gave her an I’m-not-going-anywhere smirk.

“What seems to be the problem now?” Dalton said, approaching the car with Kat by his side.

“Your slave will not obey and get out of my car.”

Kat looked at him then at Carmen. “He does have a tendency to misbehave, but you see, today’s his day off. He only answers to my orders when on the clock so-to-speak. The rest of the time…” She gave a sympathetic, and completely helpless, shrug.

Carl bit the inside of his right cheek to keep the smile from escaping.

“Dalton…?” Carmen asked in a tone emblazoned with last-ditch hopefulness.

“Don’t look at me. He’s never obeyed me worth a damn.”

She slapped the steering wheel with an exasperated, “Ugh!”

Carl ducked his head to hide his grin as she rattled off a string of Spanish—expletives, no doubt.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to explain to him what you told me,” Dalton continued. “Trust him to hear you out, and listen to whatever it is he’s so determined to discuss with you. Then, if you still want to part company, I’m sure you’ll find a way to kick him out, sheet and all.”

She gave him a long, hard look. He didn’t see it, but he felt it. “Will you. Please. Get. Out.” She spoke as if she were talking to a hardheaded child or thought he lacked understanding of the English language.

“No, ma’am.” He kept his face and gaze down, although he could spot her scowl out of the corner of his eye. “Not until we talk…in private,” he said, adding the last part as a not-so-subtle hint to the other dominant persons present.

The crunch of seashells told him they heard his message and willingly offered him the privacy he needed.

“I’m warning you; I’m leaving.”

He didn’t budge, not even an eyelash.

“You can’t ride around town like that. Get out, and I’ll call you later.”

He grinned, shook his head, and didn’t believe her for a minute.

“Fine! Fuck it. If you want to sit there like some frat-boy at a toga party, be my guest, but don’t expect me to put the roof up.”

She slammed her foot on the gas pedal and peeled out of the driveway.

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