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Body Movers: 3 Men and a Body (A Body Movers Novel) [Kindle Edition]

Stephanie Bond
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Carlotta Wren desperately needs a vacation from her life. So when hunky Cooper Craft invites her to ride with him to Florida for some fun in the sun and a VIP body pickup, it seems like the opportunity she's been waiting for.

Until her brother Wesley, eluding an irate loan shark, tags along to play chaperone...

Until they arrive to pick up their VIP body and are greeted by three different men--each one laying claim to the celebutante they've been hired to move...

And until Carlotta realizes that someone is very determined that they don't make it back to Atlanta with their famous cargo intact!

Look for all six books in Stephanie Bond's Body Movers series, available from Harlequin MIRA! 

BODY MOVERS
2 BODIES FOR THE PRICE OF 1
3 MEN AND A BODY
4 BODIES AND A FUNERAL
5 BODIES TO DIE FOR
6 KILLER BODIES

And don't miss the Body Movers series "prequel" full-length novel PARTY CRASHERS (meet Carlotta Wren before she was scared straight!), and the special e-novella "6 1/2 Body Parts" that picks up where book 6 leaves off!


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

See Stephanie's Amazon Author Page:  amazon.com/author/stephaniebond

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Carlotta Wren bumped her cast against the door frame leading from the kitchen to the living room. "Son of a…" She bit back tears as pain lit up her entire left arm. Although she was lucky the fall from the balcony of the Fox Theater hadn't resulted in more serious physical injuries, the prospect of another four weeks in this clumsy cast left her frustrated and antsy.

It wasn't enough that she couldn't do her job at Neiman Marcus at a time when she desperately needed the money (short-term disability paid only partial wages). But yesterday when Peter Ashford had brought her home from the hospital, he'd shown her a ring he'd had made for her—her Cartier engagement ring, which he'd recovered from the shop where she'd pawned it, with two more large diamonds mounted, on either side of the original stone. The past, the present and the future. He would keep it for her, he'd said, until she was ready to make a decision.

And on top of everything else, her brother, Wesley, was missing.

Wesley was supposed to have picked her up at the hospital yesterday in a taxi, and when he hadn't shown, his boss, Cooper Craft, had offered to go look for him. As oflast night, Coop hadn't found Wesley, but Carlotta was hopeful that her brother would turn up this morning. He'd come strolling into the house, whistling, with a mouse in a jar to feed his snake, Einstein, oblivious to the fact that Carlotta had barely slept last night, worrying about him….

Worrying about Wesley seemed to be her fate in life. She'd raised him since he was nine years old, when their parents had skipped town so their father could elude charges for investment fraud. Over the past decade, they'd heard from their parents only through a handful of postcards…until recently.

When a look-alike had stolen her identity and been murdered, Carlotta had agreed to fake her own death. The D.A. wanted to try to smoke out her parents and in exchange, they'd offered to suspend Wesley's probation for hacking into the courthouse computer records. But Kelvin Lucas, the D.A. who'd been denied the chance to prosecute her father, Randolph Wren, had reneged on his deal when her parents hadn't shown.

After Carlotta had alienated Wesley for going along with the plan.

After she'd put her friends and coworkers through the traumatic ordeal of thinking her dead.

And after she'd slept with Detective Jack Terry, her temporary live-in bodyguard.

What no one knew was that Carlotta's father had shown up, in disguise, and he'd recognized her, even though she was also in disguise. She hadn't known it was him until later, when she'd found the note he'd slipped into her pocket: "So proud of you both. See you soon. Dad"

The scrawled wordsleft her conflicted. During her parents' long absence, Carlotta had worked up a powerful resentment. Sometimes, she even cheerfully hated them. Leaving without saying goodbye. Leaving her to f inish raising Wesley when she was just a few months shy of graduating high school and barely equipped to take care of herself. Leaving no money, only a paid-for town house in a transitional section of Atlanta that was a far cry from the palatial home in Buckhead that they had lost.

College had no longer been an option. The only real expertise she'd had was…clothes. Her father had been a wealthy investment broker; Carlotta had worn nothing but the best since she could dress herself. Thankfully, she'd been able to turn that dubious skill into a career in retail. She'd been a top salesperson for most of her years at Neiman's… until lately, when her life had seemingly exploded with complications and new relationships.

And old ones.

"Did shithead make it home yet?"

Carlotta turned to see her friend Hannah Kizer standing there, hands on hips. Dressed in pink pj's with white bunny rabbits and without her severe goth makeup, Hannah looked almost human—pretty, even.

"Not yet."

"Have you heard from Coop?"

"Not yet."

"Don't worry. Wesley can take care of himself, whether you want to admit it or not."

"I wish you were right, but history has taught me otherwise."

"How's the arm?"

"Getting dressed is an aerobic workout. Thank heaven for front-closure bras."

"Yeah, I had a broken arm once. Men wanted to jump in bed with me. I guess it made me seem vulnerable or something."

"Or less likely to eat your prey?"

Hannah gave her the f inger, then dropped onto the couch, picked up the remote control and turned on the small TV. When the picture came on, it was warped. "What happened to your big-screen TV?"

Carlotta sat next to her friend and pointed to theliving room window, still covered with the boards the police had tacked in place. "Taken out during the drive-by shooting. I'm waiting for a new window to be delivered and installed, but we can't afford to replace the TV. Wesley shouldn't have bought it, anyway," she grumbled. "We could've used that money for other things."

Like paying toward what he owed his odious loan sharks, Father Thom and The Carver. Or paying down their credit card debt, which had ballooned in size since her identity had been stolen. Or catching up their loan payments, or any one of a hundred other bills they were late on.

Wesley said he'd sold his motorcycle to buy the TV, but she knew the television had cost more than his bike was worth. She figured he'd been gambling again, despite his claims to her that he'd stopped.

She turned her head to look at her friend. "Where could he be?"

"A thousand safe places," Hannah assured her.

"Or a thousand unsafe places. Those thugs for The Carver who tried to force me into their van the other day said that Wesley had pulled a stupid stunt and was in big trouble. What if they kidnapped him?"

"Look on the bright side—his loan sharks probably won't kill him because they want to collect their money."

Carlotta glared at her.

Hannah's smile fell. "Sorry. Just trying to lift the mood." She flipped channels past the midmorning game shows, and stopped on a local talk show, Atlanta &Company, where local celebutante KiKi Deerling was being interviewed in all her silky blond, micro-mini glory, snuggling her pet pug on her lap. It was the guilty pleasure that Carlotta needed to take her mind off Wesley.

But a minute into the interview, Hannah scoffed, "Give me a break. This girl is only famous for being famous. She's a total poser."

Carlotta nodded, but nursed a little pang of envy toward the young woman who had inherited beauty, money and a last name that adorned a jewelry empire headquartered in Atlanta. "It would be fun to live her life for a day, though. No worries, just party after party." She gave Hannah a pointed look. "For once, we wouldn't have to crash."

"That girl is a waste of human skin. You'd think with all that cash she'd buy some underwear. I've seen her twat more than my own."

"Thanks for the wholesome image."

"And you'd think she'd learn by now that if she's going to have sex with someone, she should sweep the room f irst for hidden cameras. I always do."

"Really?" Carlotta said. "What married man are you dating this week?"

"His name is Troy and he's a college professor."

"What does he teach?"

"Ethics."

"Oh, well then, plus ten points."

On television the starlet held up her pet pug, which she'd dressed in a T-shirt bearing the name of the camp she was promoting.

"Camp Kiki?" Hannah said. "Is that where kids go to breathe fresh air, learn to snort coke and become anorexic?"

"Cut her some slack," Carlotta said with a little laugh. "I've heard of this camp. It looks like she's at least trying to do something good for underprivileged kids."

"Underprivileged to her probably means anyone who doesn't have a driver." Hannah gave Carlotta a sideways look. "Sorry. I forgot that you used to be rich."

"Not that kind of rich."

"Are there classif ications for how rich you are?"

"Sure." Carlotta used the f ingers on her good hand to count them off. "There's inherited wealth, the kind that's so massive the heirs live off the interest. Then there's inherited wealth that has to be maintained, like taking over the reins of a family business. There are ranks within inherited wealth, depending on how prestigious the business—jewelry is near the top of the list. Then there's aristocratic wealth, meaning there's no cash flow, everyone just kind of exists off their family name and estate. My parents were farther down in the pecking order—they were bourgeois rich. My dad worked for his money."

Hannah lifted an eyebrow.

"Or stole it, depending on who you believe."

"And who do you believe?"

The note her father had slipped to her scratched the skin of her chest where she was keeping it in her bra. She was afraid that Wesley might find it if she left it in her bedroom. And truthfully, she just wanted to keep it close. "I honestly don't know. He was indicted for fraud, so the D.A. must have had a case, right?"

"Maybe. Maybe it was personal. What do you really know about the D.A.?"

"Just that he's a lying asshole for reneging on our deal."

"Well, there you go. Maybe he had some other motivation for charging your dad."

"So why didn't Dad stay and fight it? Why skip town and abandon his own kids?"

"I don't know."

"Would your parents do something like that?"

Hannah shifted on the couch, and it occurred to Carlotta that she had never talked about her parents. And frankly, Carlotta couldn't picture the people who had spawned her bizarre friend.

"Has your father called you again?" Hannah asked, neatly sidestepping Carlotta's question.

"No."

Not that it had been much of a conversation. He'd phoned her at work a few weeks ago and said, "It's Daddy." She'd been so startled, she'd dropped her cell phone—and the connection.

"And I broke my cell phone, so I couldn't even call ...

Product Details

  • File Size: 383 KB
  • Print Length: 236 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0989042995
  • Publisher: Harlequin MIRA; Reprint edition (December 17, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A9V3J94
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,720 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What's that big sucking sound? August 16, 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Coop figures out a way to get some alone time with Carlotta, or at least, he thought he had until Wesley crashed the party. Coop is diggin' Carlotta and Carlotta is pretending to be diggin' him, when what she's really doing is hitching a ride down to Daytona Beach to see if she can flush out her fugitive parents. She even goes so far as to let the man get his head between her legs when Wesley actually saves the day - for Coop. (Coop is really too good for Carlotta).

I zipped through books one and two and eagerly sat down with three. I started this series with so much anticipation, and boom! right here is where it got tiresome. I really liked Carlotta and Wesley, but now I see them for the users they are. While Wesley tries to get himself out of loan shark and other assorted trouble, he pimps Carlotta to Peter, totally turning on his boss, Coop; and Carlotta, while well aware that Coop wants an exclusive and meaningful relationship with her, is also well aware that she doesn't necessarily want that type of relationship with him. (Don't know when she's going to get around to telling him, though.) But, gosh it's been so long since she had sex and her best friend (who has a crush on Coop and Carlotta knows about the crush) directed her to have some meaningless sex (best friend didn't know Carlotta would be trying Coop). Like Stephanie Plum, Carlotta's a closet skank. Trying to "choose" which of three men would make her happy when she's really channeling her inner whore. Carlotta is thirty years old or somewhere thereabouts. She needs to grow up.

So, should Carlotta pick Jack? Negly. Jack is handsome and good in bed, but he also makes it clear that his job comes FIRST. Should Carlotta pick Coop? Again, negly.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High Maintenance Drama Queen February 7, 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I love this series but after awhile Carlotta starts to get a little heavy. She has deliberately painted a big "V" for victim on her forehead and then seems confused when her brother, ex-lovers, girlfriend and father take advantage of her invitation. Carlotta is a toss up between Lucille Ball and Stephanie Plum (J. Evanovich). Instead of dealing with her immediate problems of living hand to mouth and dealing with an immature brother, she goes out of her way to look for drama. Her choice to pimp herself for a father, who abandoned his children and walked away from a son being held at gun point is a mystery. She all but ignores the one person that sincerely cares for her. No matter how many times her friends give her advice, she does what she wants, and then expects them to bail her out. High maintenance friends like this soon become too burdensome and find themselves alone. The whole Wren family needs to grow up. I kept waiting for Carlotta and Wesley to learn from their mistakes and have a eureka moment but it never came. The fruit didn't fall too far from the tree here. I love SBs writing style and character backgrounds but the plots are forced and stretched beyond the point of caring.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars There are MORE books on this coming?!?! August 7, 2008
Format:Paperback
I like Stephanie Bond books and this is a great story line, but when will this all end. The books keep you hanging. The stories are all off the mark of what should be going on, they just have enough in them to remind you of what they started with.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quick & Easy Read. November 22, 2010
Format:Paperback
Carlotta Wren finds herself still recovering from a close call with death at the hands of a friend/killer; worrying about her gambling, now pill addicted brother Wesley; fighting her attraction to Jack; wondering should she trust her heart to her ex, Peter; or should she give Coop (the disgraced ex-medical examiner turned body mover) a chance. She is also wondering will she still have a job at Neiman Marcus when she returns or will she ever be able to get out of debt. So when Coop asks her to accompany him to retrieve a body of a celebrity from Florida, and when she finds out (from Jack) that her father may be alive in a town near her destination, she believes the trip may lead to the answers to questions that she has longed to know. And while both Coop and Carlotta had hoped for romance, they both find themselves in the middle of a mystery....why someone wants the body of the famous person he has been asked to transport back to Atlanta. After several attempts to get the body, Carlotta begins to realize that there is more to the death of the celebrity than was believed...and she's leaning more towards murder. Soon Carlotta has just as many attempts on her life as she does missed romantic encounters with Coop.

I enjoyed this book, especially because it picked up where the last "Body Movers" book left off. The tension between Carlotta and Jack is still as interesting as in the last novel. Peter is still trying desperately to prove that he is worthy of her love. Coop is still the underdog that you cheer for, hoping that he will have all that he desires (both in his relationship with Carlotta and maybe even get his old job back). I am not sure if I'd want to continue reading about the love triangle or her close brushes with death..... for let's say....
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really??!! August 14, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have always enjoyed Stephanie Bond's books and had high hopes at the beginning of this series... unfortunately this latest book is disappointing. After waiting so long for the story to continue, this book felt like one long placeholder. Nothing of any relevance happens and the story just seems to drag on - as if the author is trying to stretch a short story over multiple novels. I found the book difficult to finish and just didn't care by the end.

Also, for a book touted as a "sexy mystery" the storyline offers nothing sexy (or romantic!) and the so-called mystery is a trite afterthought.

Hopefully the next book in the series will accelerate the story and unveil new information that will bring the excitement back.
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More About the Author

Stephanie Bond was several years into a corporate computer programming career when an instructor in her night school MBA program remarked that she had a flair for writing and encouraged her to submit one of her projects to academic journals. "But," Stephanie says, "all I could think was 'I wonder if I could write a romance novel?'" Bond grew up on a farm in eastern Kentucky where the entertainment choices were few. Luckily, she had a beloved aunt who shared her passion for reading. "When she visited once a year, she brought boxes and boxes of gothic novels by Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney and lush historical romances--I was in heaven! So suddenly thinking about writing in the genre of the books I loved was very exciting." After writing every spare moment for two years, Stephanie sold her first romantic comedy manuscript, IRRESISTIBLE? to Harlequin books. Two years later, she walked away from her corporate career to write commercial fiction full time. To date, she's published over 60 romance and mystery projects with Random House, St. Martin's Press, HarperCollins, and Mira Books, and is most well-known for her BODY MOVERS humorous mystery series. Her newest series is TWO GUYS DETECTIVE AGENCY (about two sisters whose last name is Guy). Stephanie lives in midtown Atlanta and is probably working on a story at this very moment.

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