I've been told that the verbal sparring between Donna Stone, the heroine in The Housewife Assassin's Handbook, and Jack Craig, the hero of the series, is hot enough to steam an ice cube.
Works for me.
For my TGIF except, I've chosen their first meet-up, which has Jack on his back with Donna's heel at his throat.
But not for long.
Enjoy! And if you do so, download from Amazon, Kobo, or Apple, where it's free. It's 99 cents in BN.com. I've put links below the exerpt.
“You know, you’re kind of cute when you’re
angry.” When, finally, he can speak, his words come out in a husky mutter.
I’m guessing that’s because I’ve got my kitten
heel on his jugular.
He’s lucky I’m not wearing my six-inch fuck-me
“You think so? You should ask around about
that…Oh, sorry, you can’t—because anyone who’s seen me really angry has never
lived to tell about it.”
Despite my chokehold, he’s able to mumble out,
“I love it when you talk dirty to me.”
“Oh yeah? Tell, me, do you love it when I do
this?” I press his arm to the breaking point. “And how about this?” I lean down
on my heel again, but just enough.
I’m enjoying the sound of him rasping for air
when, from the other side of the door, I hear Mary ask, “Mom, is everything
okay in there?”
That breaks my concentration, enough for him to
grab my ankle. Next thing I know it’s me who’s facedown, on the bed. I can feel
his knee in the center of my back. The pressure he’s putting on me is
excruciating, but I’m not going to let him know that.
“If you don’t answer her, she’ll walk in here
and find us… like this.” This is murmured more as a promise than a threat. I
don’t know what makes me angrier: the thought that he thinks he’s scaring me,
or the realization that the warmth of his breath on my cheek is turning me on.
Either way, I won’t give him the satisfaction of
I resist the urge to spit in his face. Instead I
collect myself, and then in my best sing-song mommy voice, I answer, “Yes,
honey, everything is fine! We’re just moving a few boxes in the closet. Why
don’t you go downstairs and check on the chicken? If it’s browned, lower the
oven to 275. Oh! And do me a favor, and mash the potatoes.”
“Um… Okay. Just call down if you need anything.”
She sounds uncertain, but a moment later I hear all three of my children
clomping down the stairs.
He’s listening closely, too. I inch my one free
hand up slowly. I’m hoping to punch him in the groin—
As if reading my mind, he grabs my arm and curls
it behind my back. “Gee, Mrs. Stone, I didn’t take you for the kind who liked
the rough stuff, but whatever turns you on.”
To keep from groaning in pain, I let loose with
a litany of words that, had I’d heard them coming from my own kids’ mouths,
would have me reaching for a bar of soap.
“You’ve got quite a little potty mouth, now
don’t you?” To drive his point home, he gives me a smack on the ass. “You know,
I can play like this all night, but the boss man may not be too pleased that
we’re keeping him waiting.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” I hiss at
him. “Just who are you, anyway?”
I guess he realizes that this really isn’t my
idea of a meet-and-greet because suddenly he eases his knee off my back. “You
mean you really don’t know? And all this time I thought this was just your way
of welcoming me to the family. I hadn’t had you pegged for the type who gets
into rough foreplay—”
“Foreplay?” I’m so riled that I sit straight up.
So, he wants it rough? Wait until I pull out the Taser I’ve stashed under the
Then it hits me: “Wait, start over. What do you
mean, ‘welcoming you to the family?’ Just who are you, anyway?”
“I’m Jack Craig—”
The name sounds familiar. Where have I heard
Now I remember! What is it that they call him on
the spook loops? Oh, yeah: Wild Card Jack. The agent known to shirk protocol
whenever it suits him; to bend the rules according to his whims. He’s not above
going rogue when the impulse hits—
Especially if there’s a woman around to impress.
“—but you can call me ‘Carl darling.’ That’s as
my new alias.”
I can’t believe my ears. “The mission calls for
you to pretend to be my husband? No! No way in Hell—”
“Look lady, don’t shoot the messenger. It was
Ryan’s idea. I told him it was crazy, too.” He shrugs. “No one in their right
mind would believe I’d be attracted to someone like you—”
“Oh yeah?…What’s wrong with me anyway?”
“Well to be honest, you’re not exactly my type.”
I’m trying hard not to snicker. “Considering
what I’ve heard about your ‘type,’ I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Your reputation precedes you, too—or haven’t
you noticed that Wikipedia uses your photo beside the definition of ‘man-ho.’”
“You see? This is exactly what I told Ryan.
You’re one of those women who have no self-control. You’ll just fly off the
handle, mission be damned. Being saddled with you would just tie me down.”
“You’ve got some nerve, saying that to me!” I
reach for the phone. “I’m calling Ryan right now.”
“Fine by me. If we’re going to take down the
Quorum, I’ll need a swallow who doesn’t carry around her emotional baggage like
a third boob—”
“Third boob? Why you…. Wait! The Quorum? What’s
that got to do with you?”
A brow raises just as the smirk hits his lips.
“What, you haven’t had time to read the directive? I saw you at the drop. I
know the cut-out in the ice cream truck handed you the order—”
“You were there, watching us in the park?”
“Sure. Hey, I’m no fool. I didn’t want to walk
in here and get blown away for breaking and entering.”
I can’t help but shrug proudly.
But then he ruins it by adding “Besides, it’s
ice cream. From the looks of things”—he scrutinizes my backside critically—“I’m
guessing you’re not opposed to a sugar fix every now and then. I would have
guessed you’d have torn into it before you even got into that mommy mobile
they’ve saddled you with.”
“How dare you!”
“Just teasing. Look, it’s not as if you’re a
total heifer but a little toning up wouldn’t hurt. Might get rid of those love
handles.” He has the audacity to put his hands on my hips.
When I try to slap them away, he smiles, but he
doesn’t let go. Instead he nudges me closer, as if we’re playing some sort of
game, until I’m right up against his rock hard abdomen—
And it’s not the only thing that’s hard—
“You know what they say: sex is the best
exercise,” he coaxes seductively. “Since we’ve got to play house anyway, might
as well enjoy the fringe benefits, right? Hey, I won’t even mind if you close
your eyes and call me Carl—”
My punch to his jaw has him reeling backward,
into the wall. “Dream on, you son of a bitch. Just to let you know: you’re not
half the man Carl was.”
He grimaces as he rubs his jaw. “Just trying to
do my conjugal duty.”
“Get dressed. And make it snappy. I want to get
this meeting with Ryan over pronto. I’ve got to be home before eight, to put
Trisha to bed.”
“Speaking of beds, do you like the right side,
or the left? For that matter, are you a top or a bottom? Not that I’m partial,
To shut him up, I toss his clothes at him.
As he grabs for them, his towel drops to the
floor and I’m given a full-on view as to what all the spook loop fuss is about—
Okay, I’m wrong. He’s got at least one thing in
common with Carl.
To hide my shock and awe, I turn and walk out of
the room, slamming the door behind me.
Even from the bottom of the stairway I can hear
I tell Mary that we’ll be back in time for
dinner, but just in case our “run to the store” takes longer than expected, she
is to put Trisha to bed no later than eight, and for Jeff and her to go down no
later than ten.
She gives Jack a shy peck on the cheek. On the
other hand, Trisha throws herself into Jack’s arms, body, and soul. It only
takes a second for his initial look of shock to melt into gentle appreciation.
Jeff’s wary handshake is taken just as seriously.
I wonder if this cover is going to be harder for
him than he initially imagined.
Already my heart is breaking. Shame on Ryan for
putting my family’s emotional wellbeing at risk! He better have a hell of a
good reason for doing this to us.
Jack and I take separate cars. He refuses to be
seen in my “mommy mobile.” That’s fine with me. The way he peels out in his
Lamborghini Aventador roadster, I’ve no doubt he’s just an accident waiting to
Three heads that turn as he races down Main
Street are those belonging to Penelope, Tiffy, and Hayley. They’re sitting at
one of the outdoor tables in front of our local Starbucks, dishing some
neighbor’s dirt, I suppose. As Jack idles at the corner, Penelope licks her
Collagened lips and lifts her sunglasses in order to get a better view of him.
This is not lost on Jack. Through his side-view
mirror, I can see him honoring her with a wink and that lazy smile of his.
It’s all I can do not to ram him from behind.
Instead I lay on the horn.
As he screeches out of the grand gates fronting
Hilldale, I wave at them sweetly. The way they show their obvious
disappointment is to ignore me.
I wonder how they’d treat me if they thought
Jack was my husband. They’d be jealous, for sure. But I know better than to
presume it would earn me their friendships, let alone their respect.
Not that it matters. As soon as I lay down the
law to Ryan, Jack Craig will just be a fond fantasy for Hilldale’s mères terrible.
An even bigger problem is explaining to my
children that he’s not who they think—and hope—he is:
Copyright © 2011 by Josie Brown. Published in May 2011 by Signal Press. All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Author.
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ho they think—and hope—he is: