Operation Prince Charming

By: Phyllis Bourne


The preschooler asked, pointing toward the door.

Ali’s gaze followed the little finger to the doorway, and she blinked in surprise.

If Prince Charming existed outside the pages of a storybook, surely the man at the door was the genuine article. His broad shoulders filled the doorframe, and for a moment, the sight of him made her forget to breathe…

On closer look, he bore only a passing resemblance to a hero in a children’s tale. His dark good looks held a provocative edge that brought to mind a black knight of an erotic bedtime story only a woman could appreciate.

“Sorry to interrupt, but there wasn’t anyone at the receptionist’s desk.” His velvet-smooth voice sent a tingle through her.

“Miss Ali, is he my Prince Charming?” Tiffany asked again, more insistently.

No, he’s all mine.

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And as always, for Byron

Chapter One

Hunter Coleman leaned back on his elbows and watched her scramble around the opulent bedroom, gathering up the clothes she’d eagerly stripped off for him just hours ago.

“I told you this would have to be a quickie.” She balanced her lithe body on a stiletto heel as she hurriedly slipped on the other. “Now I’m running late, and it’s all your fault.”

“My fault?” Hunter pushed himself upright on the bed and grinned at his girlfriend of the past two years. “I’m not the one who wanted to break out the handcuffs.”

Ignoring him, Erica surveyed her appearance in the gilt-edge mirror and frowned. “I spent hours getting this hair sewn in yesterday. Now look at it.” She threw her expertly manicured hands in the air. “What’s Vivian Cox going to think if I show up at her luncheon looking like this?”

Hunter took in the disheveled mane, whisker-scorched cheeks, and lipstick smudged by his kisses. Despite the scowl marring her beautiful, walnut-hued face, she looked like a woman who’d spent a long, satisfying morning in bed.

“She’ll wonder why you stopped what you were doing to waste the afternoon kissing her a—”

“Hunter!” She cut him off. “Must you be so crude?”

She grabbed a silver brush from her vanity and began attacking the mass of tangles. “Can’t you even make an attempt to like my new friends?”

“Friends?” Hunter couldn’t hold back the sarcasm tainting his query.

“Well…” she stammered, brushing her faux tresses harder. “I might be closer to being accepted by them if you didn’t act so uncouth.”

Uncouth? He watched her pull bobby pins from between her lips and strategically jab them into hanks of hair. What was he supposed to do, nod politely as those snobs pelted her with their thinly veiled insults?

“What’s wrong with your old friends?” The ones who actually give a damn about you, he wanted to add, but thought better of it.

Erica smoothed her hair, which she’d finally managed to wrestle into a prim bun. “They can’t get me into the Ladies’ Lunch League or the Highland Oaks Country Club.”

“Then maybe you don’t belong there either.”

Her jaw tightened, making Hunter wish he’d kept his trap shut. “I belong there now,” she said, pausing to put on a pair of golf-ball-sized diamond studs. “Vivian is a fixture on the Nashville social circuit. One word from her and I’m in. So I’ll do whatever it takes to get on her good side.”

Hunter groaned and collapsed back onto the feather pillows. After pissing the night away on a stakeout that hadn’t gotten him any closer to finding the people responsible for burglarizing over thirty homes in his precinct, spending the morning with a naked Erica beneath him had been a pleasant diversion. He didn’t want it to deteriorate into a now familiar argument.

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