Carly Phillips

Hot Property

The fourth book in the Hot Zone series, 2008

Dear Reader,

I love writing, but no series has given me more joy than the Hot Zone, maybe because of the many personal connections for me in these books. Uncle Yank is based on my grandpa Jack, may he rest in peace, and macular degeneration runs in my family. Giving Uncle Yank a love of life despite his limitations has truly been a labor of love. From your many wonderful letters, I sense you have the same warm, fuzzy feeling for the Jordan sisters and the Hot Zone characters as I do. Thank you so much for letting me know!

Thank you, too, for being diligent, intelligent, smart readers. You picked up on inconsistencies in this series that are-frankly-embarrassing for me. As I explained to those of you who wrote me about the errors, I wasn’t trying to see if you were paying attention (although you definitely were!). All I can say is that I’m human. I have tried to address the inconsistencies in this story and have clarified that both Annabelle and Micki have daughters.

Hot Property is the last in the Hot Zone series of books. John Roper (Micki’s best friend and high-maintenance client) and Amy Stone (Riley’s cousin from Florida) are about to meet-and when they do, sparks fly!

So enjoy the heat and the fun, and the next time you write to me, I hope it’s because you miss these characters as much as I will!

Best wishes always and happy reading!

Carly

www.carlyphillips.com

e-mail: carly@carlyphillips.com

I write best when I’m on vacation. Maybe it’s the

sand, the surf or maybe it’s the company.

This book is dedicated to The Smith Family-

Gary, Tracey, Matthew and Robbie, the greatest

(and funniest) family friends ever. Thanks for

giving a Table for Four new meaning.

As always, to Phil, Jackie, Jen, Buddy and Bailey-

for making me crazy and keeping me sane…

all at the same time.

To the editor who knows me best and always makes

me better, Brenda Chin; and to Janelle Denison, for

all you do, they’re all for you!

And to the Plotmonkeys: Janelle, Julie Leto and

Leslie Kelly-www.plotmonkeys.com-for having a

brain when mine is fried. Love you guys!

PROLOGUE

AMY STONE WAS SURROUNDED by testosterone. Not everyday, average testosterone but the heavy-duty testosterone that could only belong to athletes. She couldn’t stop staring at the quarterbacks, the baseball stars and other large, muscular guests attending her cousin Riley’s wedding reception. The bride, Sophie Jordan, her sisters and their friends appeared unfazed by so many hot men in one place. As publicists for the Hot Zone, a PR firm specializing in athletes, they were probably used to the sight. As a single woman more accustomed to living and working as a social director at a Fort Lauderdale retirement community owned by her relatives, Amy was out of her element.

But that was about to change. Starting in January, Amy would be working at the Hot Zone, too, and she’d have to learn how to handle herself around these big-shot athletes without melting at their feet. She’d already made a few trips to the city and had begun settling into the apartment Micki Jordan Fuller had leased to her. After spending the holidays with her family, Amy would be leaving her easy life behind.

She’d turned twenty-five on Halloween-there was some irony there, she was sure-and she’d woken up, looked at her life and realized a change was long overdue. She belonged in a crowd of young people, not refereeing irreverent retirees who preferred skinny-dipping to swimming with bathing suits and Long Island iced teas to the nonalcoholic variety. But she was worried about the trouble her mother and her friends could get into left on their own.

Which reminded her…She scanned the area looking for her family. The acreage was huge, the view beautiful. Amy couldn’t find her mother or her aunt Darla, but she consoled herself with the notion that if she couldn’t see or hear them, they couldn’t be causing a ruckus. That had to be a good sign. Especially since the reception was being held at the Brandon, Mississippi, estate of Senator Harlan Nash, the man who’d raised Riley as his own son.

She prayed her mother and aunt would behave for a change. As she’d instructed them this morning, no nude bathing in the fountain, no playing tag in the yard. Her relatives lived to enjoy life. And they did-a little too much sometimes, which often got them into trouble, making them all the object of public ridicule. It had often been a point of contention between her parents when her father was alive. When Amy had made the decision to move back home and had taken the job as director, aka babysitter, she’d known her father, who’d died when she was twelve, would approve.

The sun beat down on her head and she envied the senator’s guests who had parasols to shade themselves from the heated rays. The humidity was really getting to her. Her skin was sticky beneath her dress as she strode to the bar.

“Can I get you a drink?” a deep male voice asked.

Amy turned, shading her eyes against the glare of the sun, and stared into the most gorgeous face she’d ever seen on a man. His eyes were a deep shade of green, his features more chiseled than rugged, and when he smiled, dimples embraced his white teeth and oh-so-sexy smile.

“I was just about to order a cola,” she said.

“I think I can manage that for you.” His easygoing smile grew wider. “Do not go anywhere.”

Amy wouldn’t dream of it. It was one thing to be surrounded by testosterone, another to have one of these men turn his attention her way. Heat suffused her and her pulse rate kicked up so she found it hard to breathe. Amy wasn’t a nun and she’d been with her share of men, but she’d never dated a guy as rugged and…well, hot as this man.

He eased his way between the people at the bar and quickly returned with her drink in one hand, one for himself in the other. “Here you go.”

She accepted the glass. “Thank you.”

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