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Chapyer 8 On To the Next Stop...and the Next Man

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B.J. was cranky enough that his secretary threatened to toss him into the Gulf if he didn't start acting like a human being. But he'd been like a bear with a thorn in his paw since he'd gotten up that morning. No, since last night when he'd finally quit working at midnight and gone home. And tried to push the images of a naked Miranda Fox with a faceless stranger out of his mind.

He had to get over this. He had fucked a hundred Mirandas. A thousand. What was so special about this one, anyway?

As usual, the buzz on his intercom announcing Miranda coincided with her laughing entrance. She walked over and kissed him on the cheek, then placed the pastry box she was carrying on his desk.

"Chocolate croissants, as promised. Your secretary tells me you're angry as a billy goat this morning, Maybe this will improve your disposition."

"My disposition is fine," he grumped but he couldn't hide the smile she always brought to his face. "All right. You know my secret. Feed me chocolate and I'm yours."

"You don't have to be mine," she told him. "Just find my damn pearl for me."

"And another useless stud to take to bed?" He wanted the words back as soon as he said them.

"What isyour problem, B.J.? I'm free and over twenty-one. If I want to sleep with the entire Marine Corps, it's my business, right?"

"Fine, fine, fine. Forget I said anything." He took the paper plate with the croissant she handed him and his refilled coffee mug and sat down at his desk.

"So." She arranged herself in one of the client chairs. "Do you have you another lead for me? Something as exotic as the last one?"

"This will cost you a bundle," he told her, "but I have a friend who tracked down a second possible for you."

"And for this one I have to fly to South America, right?"

He shook his head. "No, just that state of Maine. Alex Garvey has an estate on the Maine Coast outside of Bar Harbor. You just have to fly to Bangor and a car will pick you up."

"And exactly who is this Alex Garvey?"

B.J. made a face. "A collector of fine jewelry who isn't too particular where he gets it from. And be warned. He's a man of peculiar sexual tastes."

Miranda burst into laughter. "B.J., are you trying to be my guardian angel?"

"No, just trying to keep you as safe as possible. You have no idea what some of these guys are capable of and you just throw caution to the wind."

"You are very sweet," she told him. "But I'll be fine. Truly. Now when is Mr. Garvey expecting me?"

B.J. grimaced. "This evening for dinner. And you're expected to stay the night."

Miranda's eyebrows lifted. "Excuse me?"

"I tried to put this off until tomorrow so you could take an early flight and get back the same day but it seems your quest for the perfect lover is gaining fame." He made a face. "Or notoriety, however you call it. Anyway, he's another one who wants his chance to audition."

"Audition," she repeated slowly.

"I just hope you're getting what you want, Miranda. And you don't get hurt doing it." He handed her an envelope. "Here's all the information you need plus your e-ticket. And please, for God's sake. Be careful."

"I'll be just fine. Thank you so much for your concern." She couldn't keep the bitchiness out of her voice. But she pasted a fake smile on her face. B.J. was just mixing it up too much in her personal business these days.

But already tendrils of excitement were creeping through her. A man of peculiar sexual tastes, was he? Well, she'd see just what he meant by that.

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