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Here's an excerpt:
His smile faded when he glanced up to meet the stare of none other than Miss Norah Hawkins, standing in the archway like a she-witch spying her unsuspecting prey. Hell’s bells, she could wither a man. A lesser man than Mac at least. Her fiery eyes belied her cool attitude. He found himself wanting a good quenching drink after she burned him with her appraisal.
She sauntered up. “Good news, Mac?”
“The paper’s full of both good and bad. And you?” She must have good news if she’s taunting me.
Her grin smug, she dangled a key from her hand and perched on a chair opposite the sofa. “Never better. My dream’s come true.”
He gasped. “I’m flattered, Miss Hawkins, that you’d speak of me so highly.”
Her sweetness turned sour. “Not you. My gentleman’s club. Soon it will be the toast of San Francisco.”
Now that sounded promising indeed. “Customers will expect entertainment of some type. My offer’s still open. People love piano players.” And many had. Maybe even Norah would warm to him after hearing him tickle the ivories.
“I have more pressing needs at the moment.”
“Such as?” Maybe he could fulfill those other needs too.
Eyes glimmering, she stared at nothing, and spoke as if to herself. “There’s so much work to do. Fixing up the place, hiring employees…”
He could see the wheels turning in her head. “I’m happy to help. As I said, I’ve many talents.”
She roused to look at him. “I need trustworthy workers.”
All sincerity, he said, “You can trust me with your life.”
Pursing her lips, she rolled her eyes. “I don’t even know your name.”
True, by design he’d not given it. Time to rectify that. Bowing his head, he said, “Gerard MacKenzie, at your service.”
She studied him. “Mac suits you better.”
“Most people think so.”
Defeat weighed her voice. “I am desperate.”
Hope rose up. “I’m a hard worker, no matter the task. I’ll help you set up your new place, and I can bartend.”
To his surprise, she assessed him. “I’m warning you, I won’t tolerate nonsense of any kind.”
He pressed a hand to his chest. “You wound me.”
“Mac…” she warned.
“My barkeep skills are legendary.” His eyebrows waggled. “And so are my others skills.”
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