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Lying in Bed Mass Market Paperback – December 18, 2012
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About the Author
Jo has written over 50 books for Harlequin and Silhouette since 1994. She's a triple RITA finalist and was part of the Blaze launch. She also teaches story structure in workshops across the country. Jo lives in Utah. If you twitter, come tweet her at @Jo_Leigh, or find out the latest news at http://www.joleigh.co
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Special Agent Ryan Vail tossed the brochure on the bed. The amazingly comfortable-looking bed, which was a far cry from most of the rat holes he'd been stuck with on various FBI stings and stakeouts. The Color Canyon Resort and Spa was a decadent oasis in the middle of the Las Vegas desert built for people with cash to spend and a yen for excitement and being pampered.
Ryan settled against the headboard, the puffy comforter billowing around him. Straight ahead was a forty-two-inch flat-screen TV. There was a wing chair, a leather love seat, an extravagantly stocked minibar and, if he turned his head to the right, beyond the private patio was a view of a nice little courtyard with a pool and spa pool all in the shadow of the Spring Mountains. It might be February in the rest of the world, but in the Vegas desert it was a balmy seventy-two degrees with copious sunshine on the docket for the rest of the week.
He grinned, pulled out his cell phone and went right to speed dial text.
You're gonna die when you see the bathtub.
He hit Send, adjusted the pillow behind him and checked out his work stuff. Another email update on Delilah Bridges, one of the cotherapists in charge of this barbecue. Four people ran the Intimate At Last retreat weekends, all suspects in a major blackmail scheme. Unfortunately for them, they'd unwittingly targeted a friend of James Leonard, the Deputy Director of the FBI.
Ryan's phone rang, and he knew it was his partner without even looking. "Jeannie Foster. How's my favorite witness for the State?"
"Shut up, you bastard," she said, her voice echoey, as if she were speaking in a vast hall. Or a toilet stall.
Of course, he'd taken a picture of the bigenough-for-a-party whirlpool tub, which he promptly sent her. A moment later, the mother of two cursed him with her usual flair.
"I hate court. I hate lawyers. I hate judges. And don't even get me started on juries. Get me the hell out of here, Ryan."
"It should be over soon, right?"
"Probably around the time of the next ice age. Jesus, they love to hear themselves talk."
"In a few hours you'll forget all about them. This place is something else. If I'm going to be forced to sleep with you, I'm glad it's in this beauty of a bed. Which is actually more comfortable than mine at home."
Jeannie laughed. "It's not the bed, honey, it's all your extracurricular activity. I think you'd have to find a titanium mattress to keep up."
"Nothing is hilarious today," she said. "You get the new updates on Delilah?"
Her sigh was long and filled with frustration. "Interesting about her father and his criminal record, but dammit, still nothing usable. With all the data we've collected, you'd think we'd have uncovered something more viable."
"Everyone makes mistakes. But," he added, "I'm going to be such a perfect mark, they're gonna wet themselves waiting to get to me. We'll be out of here in a few days."
"I thought you said the accommodations were super deluxe?"
He grinned. This is why he liked his partner, despite the fact that she could be a stick in the mud, what with being married and a mom. She was quick and needed a vacation as badly as he did after the intensity of the past two months preparing for this sting. "Right. Maybe it'll take the whole week."
"There we go. I have to get back to the torture chamber. I hear they're planning on using the rack next."
"Hey, I'm gonna sign off on this phone, but Ryan Ebsen's cell and laptop haven't finished charging. If there's a God, I should be asleep when you arrive, so don't wake me."
"Coming off another late night, Romeo?"
"None of your business. Go be a witness."
"I'll talk to you in the morning," she said, and then she was gone, and he was faced with the prospect of what to do with the rest of the afternoon.
It would be more fun to play craps or hang out in one of the casino bars, but from the moment he'd checked in, FBI Special Agent Ryan Vail was locked in a vault for the duration of his stay, replaced by the fictitious Ryan Ebsen. Husband of the equally fictitious Jeannie Ebsen. Son of Felicia and Bob from Reseda, California.
Ryan sifted through the file, studying the cover story he already knew inside and out. But when you pretended to be someone else, there was no such thing as too much prep. Ebsen was a regional manager for a business software firm. His lovely bride of nineteen months didn't work because she didn't need to. Not because he brought in enough money to live their extravagant life, but because she had a trust fund. A very hefty trust fund.
But Mrs. Ebsen had been spending a little too much time at the club lately with a very handsome tennis coach, which made Ryan itchy. He doubted they were sleeping together, but there was always a risk that if she started to feel as if the honeymoon was over, she could find solace in the tennis pro's arms. It had been Ryan Ebsen's idea to attend this couple's retreat week, where they would "Learn how to transition to the deeper, more meaningful stage of a committed relationship."
Mr. Ebsen, the scoundrel, really, really wanted to make the marriage work. He'd grown attached to their Brentwood home, the Manhattan pied-a-terre, his Ferrari, the first-class travel. He'd even decided to break things off with Roxanne, the gorgeous receptionist at his office. He was nothing if not serious about this intimacy crap.
He continued to read the email from his team in White Collar Crimes back in L.A. The first report of blackmail had come shortly after a weekend Intimate At Last retreat in Los Angeles, and since it dealt with some historic artwork and blackmail, the L.A. team had taken point on the investigation and now this sting operation. The Vegas office was up to speed, of course. No one wanted a turf war, but there was a time limit on this gig, because in a matter of weeks, the suspects were moving their base of operation to Cancun, Mexico.
So he was on the clock. Since the missus wasn't here, he'd unpack, take a swim, order room service, charge his equipment and himself. Far from the carnal night Jeannie imagined, he'd been up till dawn talking the Long Beach P.D. out of putting his old man in jail. The stubborn idiot had been drunk off his ass again, trying to pick a fight with a halfdozen marines. It was like dealing with a rebellious teenager, only his father was in his fifties.
So sleep tonight, and tomorrow, he and Jeannie would be the very picture of a cookie-cutter couple: powdered sugar on the outside, but filled with lots and lots to lose if a certain trust-fund wife found out about her philandering hubby.
After he'd checked out the room service menu, and thank God there was an expense account because, Jesus, the prices, he opened up his suitcase while he found the sports channel on the TV. His thoughts weren't on the scoreboards, however, but on the reason he needed this operation to succeed beyond all expectations. Deputy Director Leonard was looking to fill a staff position in his Washington, D.C., office. Ryan was a contender in a very narrow pool of candidates. And now that he was in the spotlight, he was going to make damn sure he was a shining star.
Angie Wolf sighed when she heard the voices of the rest of the White Collar Crimes team coming in from their break on the outdoor patio. Damn, it seemed as if they'd left two minutes ago, not nearly enough time for her to breathe let alone hear herself think.
They were a great bunch: competent, dedicated and generally nice people with whom she got along well considering work colleagues were always a crapshoot. But the past two months had been brutal. She'd spent way too many hours in the office and right now she'd give anything to be alone, preferably on a ten-mile run with nothing more to worry about than beating her last record.
Even as she heard them close in on the bullpen, she stayed just as she was, legs stretched out in front of her, ankles crossed, one heel on her desk, leaning back in her chair as far as she could. The fresh air would've been nice, but two of the team members smoked and that she could do without.
"Hey, how come you didn't come out for the lifting of the Red Bulls?"
Angie smiled at Paula, another Special Agent who'd been in charge of the artwork aspect of the operation. The painting in question was a Reubens, stolen during World War II and recovered in the late 1990s. It was worth millions, and had been "gifted" to a New Mexico art gallery, which had then sold it to an anonymous private collector.
The transaction had been legal on the surface, but the granddaughter of the original owner was certain her grandfather had been blackmailed into giving away the family treasure. The Deputy Director of the FBI had been friends with the family since birth.
And now, if Angie's White Collar Crimes team had done their jobs right, the task force was days away from zeroing in on the blackmailers.
Angie realized Paula was still waiting for an answer. Break time was definitely over. "Haven't we spent enough quality time together? Two months of eighty- and ninety-hour weeks? I mean, come on."
Paula flopped into her chair and turned it so she faced Angie. "You can take a break when you're dead. Or tonight, when we go out for drinks. That one, you're not getting out of. We'll use force if necessary."
"You and what army?"
"Me, for one." It was Brad Pollinger, Angie's partner in the field. He was followed into the room by several other members of the group, all of whom cheerfully let her know that they weren't above using every dirty trick in the book to get her to join them.
"Fine. But I'm having exactly one beer." The bullpen was pretty full now, with only Fred MIA, but ...
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Top Customer Reviews
Characters- male and female alike- show signs of co-dependance, and are addicted to gossiping and begging friends for advice on iPads, Skype, texting, and cell phones. Parts of the story felt heavily influenced by "50 Shades of Grey" speech patterns- for example, "Holy crap." was part of the female protagonist's rather jarring and comically strange internal post-coital dialogue. Neither of the leads thought, spoke, or behaved as you would expect of people that were well educated undercover FBI agents.
The male protagonist seemed near bi-polar; macho, then thinking and speaking in an identical voice to the female lead, and crashes into depressive self-loathing after every sex scene. By 2/3 of the way through the book, I went from not being able to connect to the character to outright hating him. After his persona shift- loving, to cold and vicious user, and back again, I was left so miserable, I almost was unable to finish reading the book.
My general opinion is that there's worse out there, but there's better out there too. It's no great financial loss if you get it to read and end up not finishing it. It's a Harlequin... and like most Harlequins, it peters out at the end of the first act. Some people enjoy "riding a tidal wave of awkward"... if you're not particularly picky about it and are used to Harlequins, it's a $4 book- go for it if you feel like reading it.
What Ryan needs and what Angie wants are one and the same although they don't want to acknowledge it. I almost cried at Ryan's confession at the workshop the last day and was pissed at him at the way he handled the day after. I mean prick much!
Anyways, I love the story and the elements behind it. The way they went about solving the mystery and the bad guy. I just can't believe for what he used the freaking blackmail money!!
The end of the book I would have liked something different like, I don't know, have something more concrete about their future. Maybe he took the job in DC and she transfer there. But all in all it was an amusing, interesting and slightly annoying (in a good way) read.
Ryan is an FBI agent about to start a mission undercover posing with his partner Jeannie as a married couple on an intimacy retreat. Only Jeannie is held up in court and the office sends Angie instead. And that's a big problem for both of them... Because they almost hit it off at the Halloween party. The thing is, Ryan may be a lady-killer but he keeps his personal and his professional life separate. And Angie has no intention of being just another one of his conquests. But there's no denying the intense attraction they have for each other and posing as a couple for a whole week, in an intimacy retreat, and sleeping together on the same bed isn't helping. And the fact they're both on the run for the same promotion isn't helping either.
And let's not forget they're on a mission to find the blackmailer who is at least one of the four people organizing the retreat. Which means they have to be extra careful not to blow their cover and convincing people they're in love. But that can prove to be not as difficult as they originally thought.
I liked this story a lot, it's fresh, light and funny, the way they try to fight their growing feelings for each other and remain professional. And when they finally give in to their passion, let's just say the author doesn't disappoint.
I enjoyed this quirky tale about two FBI agents working undercover at an exclusive couple retreat to catch a blackmailer. Ryan Vail and Angie Wolf have been aware of each other for awhile; they even almost kissed once during a Halloween party. Both the sexual tension and emotional intensity fuels the natural progression of their attraction. Witnessing the characters struggle with maintaining a professional relationship while imagining each other naked - was very humorous. The author balances the romance, suspense, and humor perfectly.
Disclosure: This ebook was provided to me free of charge through NetGalley for the sole purpose of an honest review. All thoughts, comments, and ratings are my own.
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