Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: 28-year-old Brandy Palmer has managed to keep everything in her life under control - including her prodigal half-brother Kevin Reins. But when Kevin finds himself in trouble again, Brandy immediately flies down to Texas to try and help him get his job back. Despite Brandy's conservative, strictly business appearance, Roberto Santos - the owner of Club Phoenix, from whence Kevin has been fired - is taken with the beautiful young woman who has come to plead with him for her brother's livelihood. Although he appreciates her devotion to family, will his own family secrets keep him from finding true love and happiness?. Codice inventario libreria
Riassunto: Sexy Roberto Santos was her teenage brother's boss, but for Brandy Parker, family came first. Her mother and her brother would always need her--and that kind of responsibility meant sacrifice. She needed the charming nightclub owner on her side for her brother's sake, but the warning signs were flashing. From his sexy Spanish lilt, to his seductive tropical retreat, Brandy is certain he's a one-stop ride to Heartbreakville. But despite her best intentions to sit on the sidelines, the sultry heat and pounding rhythms of romance soon work their magic…and Brandy can't resist a dance that might just last forever.
Estratto. © Riprodotto con l'autorizzazione. Tutti i diritti riservati.: The text message read 911. Emergency.
Of all the torture techniques in the world this had to be the worst. Brandy Parker, her headache throbbing and pounding like a jackhammer on concrete, blinked and squinted her hazel-colored eyes against the onslaught of brightly colored flashing lights. She knew she was going to regret this evening, she just didn't know how much.
It was eleven-thirty and so far tonight she'd managed to dissuade the advances of her company's biggest client while dropping a package off to him at his hotel, skipped out on a blind date who had bad breath and octopus tentacles for hands, and now here she was wading through a mass of half-dressed humanity looking for the one person whose neck she was destined to wring.
Kevin Reins was her younger brother, her half brother. They had the same mother. And when her father, an innocent bystander, was killed in a botched robbery, her mother quickly married Kevin's father, William Reins Jr., less then a year later. "A real woman needs a man to complete her," her mother always said, so she married William. His wealthy family had recently disowned him. They fell in love instantly, her with his charm and charisma, and him with her widow's insurance money. As soon as it was gone, so was he. He needed to breathe, he'd said, and the instant-family thing was stifling his dreams and creativity. He didn't even stick around for the birth of his son.
For her mother, the second loss and subsequent divorce-- painful yet quick--hit her especially hard. Still a sucker for love, she forged ahead. "A real woman needs a man to complete her," she echoed silently. A few years later their mother married again. A seemingly docile man, he lacked gumption and a backbone until the day he ran off with the next-door neighbor after emptying their savings account. He went on to a life a crime and her mother was alone again.
After the consecutive string of heartaches, her mother focused on her kids and work. Finding husband number four never occurred to her. Apparently, a real woman needs a man to complete her had run its course.
At seventeen, Brandy had no idea what all this meant. All she knew was that another man had walked out on her mother and broken her heart again. So as far as Brandy was concerned, relationships ended only one way. It was simple: open up and heartbreak followed. The way to avoid heartbreak was obvious. Never give your heart, and never open up emotionally.
Then a few months before her high-school graduation, Brandy's mother, while at work, suffered an aneurysm, which led to a stroke, leaving her debilitated and in a nursing home, while the teenager was left to pick up the pieces.
Brandy was sure that there had to be something about the Y chromosome that prompted men to walk away from their families without a second glance. But her goal was not to let her brother fall into that same trap. He was going to be a man, a good man, even if it killed her, and given her current circumstances, it probably would.
Club Phoenix, part restaurant, part nightclub, was the latest it place to be. Frequented mostly by twenty-somethings and Generation X, Y and Zers, it was completely out of her comfort zone. The noise, the rap, the attitude all added up to mind-numbing, brain-draining frustration.
Thankfully, she'd sown her wild oats long ago; well, suppressed them would be a more precise description. At twenty-eight years old she was settled into a routine lifestyle of responsibility. She worked, paid her bills and on occasion dated, so the last thing she needed was to deal with the nightclub's patrons whose maturity was closer to their sneaker size.
Searching for Kevin, she originally went to the restaurant side of Club Phoenix. They were just closing. She expected to find him finishing up at work, but instead his co-workers directed her to the forty-five-thousand-square-foot nightclub. She immediately sensed trouble.
As she entered the club, she was swallowed up in the pandemonium and revelry. Twenty minutes later, still unable to find him, having been bumped and knocked around on the dance floor, she was sure that she'd covered what seemed like fifty acres of Club Phoenix, twice already.
She remained on the lower level, presuming this was where Kevin could be found, as the upper level, roped off with velvet and security, was obviously reserved for VIP patrons, celebrities and private parties. The majority of the lower level was dance floor, taken well advantage of; it was packed to capacity and beyond, even as some revelers danced in the aisle and along the side. A ring of booths lined the rear of the crowded floor, so she decided to concentrate her search in that area.
The loud hip-hop and house music, the constant pulsating Latin beat and the continuous laughter was driving her insane, and added to her already throbbing headache. If she didn't find him soon she was going to scream. But chances were, even if she did, no one would even hear, let alone care.
Wait. She squinted through the flashing lights and veiled fog. There he was, leaving the dance floor. She'd found him. He was walking back toward the restaurant section. Now all she had to do was get over to him before he was swallowed up in the crowd again. Standing on a slight riser several yards away, Brandy searched out the shortest distance between herself and Kevin. Unfortunately, it would take her through the middle of the dance floor, which was already jam-packed. She decided to avoid the dancers and walk around the crowded bar to head him off on the other side.
Moments later, as she neared Kevin, she caught a glimpse of her brother again. She stopped, her mouth dropped, shocked by the sight of him. Calm and collected, Kevin was relaxed and sitting at a semicircular booth drinking, smoking a cigarette and talking casually.
"Kevin?" Brandy called out over the loud, blasting music as she walked up to the table and saw him surrounded by three young women.
Kevin turned to her. "Hey, you made it. Great." Boyishly charming, he'd always had a way of driving her crazy with his completely clueless expressions. His smile was wide and genuine and lit up his hazel eyes, their only family resemblance.
Brandy was medium height, with an extra five pounds on her hips, hazel eyes and a deep cinnamon complexion. He was tall and lean, with fair skin and the "good hair" from his father. Both siblings were attractive and drew attention from the opposite sex. But Kevin reveled in the adoration.
Maybe it was his youth, or maybe it was because he went to an all-boys prep school, but as soon as he'd graduated last spring and started college classes that summer, the girls went wild for him.
"Holler, check you later," two of the woman said as they slid from the booth, stood and left. The third remained. Her lips immediately pouted and her expression bordered on livid as she checked Brandy out head to toe and apparently not at all impressed by what she saw.
"Yes, I'm here, what's wrong, what's the big emergency?" Brandy said as she hurriedly slid down in the seat next to her younger brother after being jostled and bumped by several people as they passed by.
The young woman sitting on the opposite side of Kevin braced as soon as Brandy sat down. They exchanged glances. Brandy nodded, but the scantily dressed woman in a top three sizes too small and wearing far too much lip gloss, stiffened her upper lip and stared. "Yo, what's up, Kevin, who's this? I know you don't have some old woman coming all up in my space," she said as she shrugged her shoulders for emphasis.
"Don't worry about it. It's all good, sweet thing, you know what I'm saying," he cooed without turning to her.
Apparently a habit, her upper lip curled up again as her nose crinkled. "I ain't worried about nothing." Shanika talked in a baby-like twang that instantly annoyed Brandy, and set her on edge like nails on a chalkboard. "So what, you just gonna let her sit down all up in my face like that? I thought you wanted to be my man."
"Yo, Shanika, chill, she's cool," Kevin said.
"She don't look like no kind of cool to me."
"Hi," Brandy offered, extending her hand across the table to meet her brother's friend. "I'm Kevin's older sister, Brandy. Nice to meet you."
"Whatever." Shanika waved her hand in the air, dismissing Brandy's hand, then picked up a big red fruity drink with two paper umbrellas and started bopping her head to the continuous hip-hop beat.
Brandy shook her head at the childish antics. "So what's wrong?" she asked, turning her attention to her brother and his most recent crisis. "What's the emergency?"
Kevin lit a cigarette and blew smoke with a measure of exasperation. Knowing that Brandy hated it when he smoked, he sometimes did it deliberately just to annoy her. "So check it out, I'm a little light, I need some paper, you know what I'm saying?"
"What?" Brandy asked, not knowing what he was talking about.
"I need a couple of bills."
Brandy, out of habit, pulled two twenty-dollar bills from her purse and slid them across the table. "Oh, wait, didn't you just get paid? As a matter of fact--" she looked at her watch and noted the time "--shouldn't you still be on the other side in the restaurant? I thought you were working tonight."
He shrugged. "Nah, I got fired."
"You got what?" she asked as she reached over and snatched the cigarette out of his mouth, stamping it out in the ashtray.
"You heard me. I got fired," he repeated.
"A week ago," he replied.
"A week ago," Brandy repeated. "Kevin," she began, sounding disappointed. But she was quickly cut off by the sudden attention of his friend.
"You ain't tell me you got fired," Shanika said. "Damn, now how you gonna hook me up with that diamond bracelet you promised me?" she said as she sucked her teeth, looking back toward the dance floor.
"Don't worry," he said to Brandy. "I'll find another gig, no biggie."
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