GOES DOWN EASY
Harlequin Blaze
Red Letter Nights Mini Series
ISBN 0373792298
January 2006

It sure wasn’t going down easy ...

Jack Montgomery is out of his element. The former covert ops hero is now carving out a living as a P.I, specializing in missing persons. Except the trail’s gone stone cold on the Eckhardt kidnapping case just as Jack hits sizzling New Orleans. To top it off some psychic woman is making wild claims—and newspaper headlines—on his case no less.

Though she was easy on the eyes ...

Perry Brazille knows her aunt can help Jack—Della has solved crimes before with her unexplained visions. Even Perry herself can glimpse the future and is afraid—she and the mysterious sexy Jack will be lovers ... soon. They’ll explore some dark and delicious fantasies together. What Perry can’t see is the kind of future that can build on a hot and steamy fling. One that’s set against a dangerous situation that’s clearly unraveling ...

Read an Excerpt

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BOOKLIST

The Comfort of Favorite Things - Bliss and the Art of Forever - The Sweetness of Honey - Beneath the Patchwork Moon - Boots Under Her Bed - A Blue Christmas/Jingle Bell Rock(Digital Edition) - Unforgettable - The Second Chance Café - Unbreakable - Undeniable - Holiday Kisses/This Time Next Year - Twenty-One Hours/SEAL of My Dreams - At His Mercy - Playing Love's Odds (Digital Edition) - Love Me Tender (Digital Edition) - Love In Bloom - (Digital Edition) - The Icing On The Cake - With Extreme Pleasure - One Good Man - No Limits - A Long, Hard Ride - Maximum Exposure - Kiss & Tell - Deep Trouble - In Danger - At Risk - Tex Appeal - The Perfect Stranger - Beyond A Shadow - Infatuation - The Complete Idiot's Guide To Writing Erotic Romance - Deep Breath - Goes Down Easy - Red Letter Nights - Totally Charmed - Kiss & Makeup - Undressed - Larger Than Life - Sara Smiles/Beach Blanket Bad Boys - The McKenzie Artifact - The Beach Alibi - The Samms Agenda - The Shaughnessey Accord - The Bane Affair - Mother, Please! - Indiscreet - Wicked Games - A Blue Christmas/Jingle Bell Rock - Striptease - The Sweetest Taboo - Bound To Happen - No Strings Attached - Roped Into Romance - All Tied Up - Love In Bloom - Four Men & A Lady - Love Me Tender - The Badge And The Baby - The Grinch Makes Good - The Heartbreak Kid - Call Me - Playing Love's Odds

After Perry had cleared their dinner dishes and gone to bed, Jack had started nodding off. A combination of exhaustion and pasta. Without a mega dose of caffeine, he’d known there was no way he’d make it through even an hour of his online fact-finding mission.

And as much as he was enjoying Perry’s company, as much as he’d like to enjoy even more, she wasn’t the reason he was here. He couldn’t let go of his focus. Couldn’t let himself lose sight of his priorities or his purpose.

The Eckhardt family had placed in him their trust, their faith. Their hope that he’d be able to succeed where law enforcement had failed.

They knew his reputation—didn’t know how he’d earned it, weren’t aware of the road he’d taken from covert ops to private investigation or the details of the cases he’d handled since.

But those particular bit of his past were only relevant in that they got him out of sticky situations as easily as they helped get him in.

“That I’m not sure about,” he said, answering Perry’s question as he settled back into his seat. “But I am certain that she’s not the least bit unhappy that he’s missing.”

“Wonder what she’d think about him being dead,” Perry said, reminding him of Della’s last vision of Dayton Eckhardt.

Jack wasn’t ready to go there. Not now. Not yet. “I have to operate on the assumption that he’s alive and at least marginally well.”

“I didn’t think you’d do anything else.”

He looked up in time to catch her hiding a smile behind her fingertips. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“The obvious.” She fluttered the hand she’d had at her mouth, wrapped her other arm around her middle. “You’re a ‘just-the-facts’ kinda guy. You have to see for yourself before you’ll believe. And even then I’m guessing you need to get your hands on whatever it is before you’re one hundred percent convinced.”

She’d pegged him pretty damn well. “Some people talk with their hands. I think with mine. ”

“Then it shouldn’t be too hard for you to understand that there are times Della can see things with hers. ”

Yeah, right. He wasn’t going there either.

“If you’d rather not talk about it, I’ll understand. But I am curious.” She returned her laced hands to the tabletop. “And eventually I’ll get Della to tell me.”

“Tell you what?” Jack asked, fighting the fist that had slammed into his stomach.

“What she saw when she touched you,” Perry said, meeting his gaze, refusing to look away when he narrowed his eyes and glared.

He did not want Perry knowing about his failures, or about the mess he’d made of his life. “Don’t psychics have a code of ethics? A doctor patient confidentiality thing? ”

“Whatever goes on between Della and her clients during a reading remains private, yes. ”

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?” he mused, not liking so much the bit of smugness to her smile.

“That’s a workable analogy.” She lifted a brow. “Except it only applies when it comes to closed sessions.”

“Making the rest of us open books, whether we like it or not.” He didn’t like it. He didn’t like it at all.

Well . . .” she said, then let the thought trail, causing him to grouch back.

“Go ahead. Enjoy a big fat laugh at my expense.” He flicked his pencil across the table. “I’ll be gone soon anyway.”

At that, she looked away, picking at a scar in the wooden surface of the table with her thumbnail. “When do you think you’ll be leaving?”

“I don’t know, look, I’m sorry. I’m beat, and if this lead with Taylor doesn’t pan out I’m stuck with nothing else tangible to go on.”

Not to mention his wanting to get to know her wasn’t going so well. Wrong time, wrong place, and all that. Though right now he wouldn’t say no if she offered.

“Is there anything I can do to help?” she asked. “Anything I can look up or print out or local numbers you need?”

Actually, he had an idea—one that went against his grain. But with the chips down and crushed beneath his feet, and the weirdness of the last two days turning out to make a twisted sort of sense, he wasn’t above looking like a fool if doing so resulted in answers.

And he started to tell Perry everything. Only when he focused again on her face, her expression had him forgetting what he was going to say.

Her dark eyes were wide, the brows above raised while she waited for him to answer. She’d washed away what little makeup she’d been wearing before. And as much as he liked the natural look, what he really liked was that she let him see her face.

The beaded earrings that seemed her trademark no longer dangled the length of her neck. She’d pushed her froth of curls behind her ears, and for the first time he noticed the jewels piercing the upper shell. Garnets, he thought, not really up on his precious stones.

She was wearing a tank top that matched her pajama bottoms so he figured it was a set. A soft looking purple fabric, like that of a well-worn T-shirt he wished she’d tug over her head and off.

“Jack?” she prodded, reaching over and touching his wrist.

He looked down to where their skin made contact, hers cool against his that he couldn’t imagine feeling anything but hot. And then he lifted his gaze, curious, willing to take a long walk on a short plank if it would get him the truth.

“What do you see?”

She frowned. “Besides the whites of your eyes that look like road maps? ”

“Yeah. How much of your aunt’s gift did you inherit?” he asked, not certain he wanted to know if she could see the same things.

She shook her head. “None. I don’t know what she saw. All I can see is you. ”

He wanted to believe her. He couldn’t think of what she’d have to gain by lying. Even her efforts to convince him that the trick of the light he’d seen in the stairwell was some sort of spectral energy didn’t seem particularly self-serving.

He took a deep breath and an even deeper leap of faith. “Good. I don’t like everyone and his brother knowing where I’ve been.”

She pressed her lips together in that prissy way she had. “So, you think of me as everyone’s brother?”

He waited a moment, letting the seconds tick by as the skin in the hollow of her throat grew damp. “No. I don’t.”

“But you still don’t want me to know.”

He shook his head.

“Why?”

“Because I don’t want you to turn me down when I ask you to come over here and sit on my lap.”