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Winter Heat Weekend Meltdown Anna DeStefano

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Chapter One

"You'll have the romantic getaway reputation you're paying me for." Tony Rossi flashed Tom Walker a confident smile. "I guarantee it." A whoop heckled him from the lobby's oak bar, where rock star Maddy Lov was holding court. Lov was A-List Publicity's problem for the weekend. Not Tony's, thank God. But the lodge's floundering PR firm had figured what better way to grab Winter Pass an Internet full of tabloid attention, than to leverage the latest pop princess du jour for all the viral press they could get. The ensuing chaos was dangerously close to running off the romantic couples the Walkers wanted drawn to their lovely jewel in the mountains.


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"A Weekend of Poetry and Romance, huh?" Walker asked. The theme had been his and his wife's brainchild. So was the online sonnet contest, the winners of which were the weekend's guest of honor. Now Tony's job was to promote his ass off at the eleventh hour, to counter A-Lists' missteps. He was a one-man show, an insanely-expensive PR gun for hire, and he never let a client down. Walker's attention shifted to a buxom ski bunny prancing by. The party girl's snow suit was unzipped so close to nirvana, Lov's contingent of paparazzi had her under roundthe-clock surveillance. "Well." Tom clapped Tony on the shoulder. "You're our closer. Get it done!" With a glad I'm not you glance, he headed behind the Tucson-inspired registration desk and disappeared into the lodge's offices. "No luck to it," Tony reminded himself. Luck had revealed its mercurial ways to him at a tender age. He'd made his own success ever since, screw the odds against him. Winter Pass might be a mess, but it was his highest profile account yet. His professional future was riding on delivering on the promise he'd just made.


Weekend Meltdown Anna DeStefano

Maddy Lov had been watching Tony's exchange with his anxious client. She smiled from the epicenter of her sea of admirers, as if she'd heard every word and relished the trouble her girls-gone-wild approach to ski resort chic was causing Tony. The day kept getting better and better. Liz Song, the author of one of the contest's winning poems, was snowed in somewhere not Colorado. The second contest couple, whom Tony had wanted settled in before that afternoon's welcome festivities began, was MIA. At least Felicia Gallo and her guest were on their way in from the airport. She and her amazing poem were the real deal the Walkers needed to show the lodge off. And Tony, and the events schedule he'd created and subsequently leaked to the press, was determined to make sure that's exactly what happened. He'd gladly left classic literature behind after high school. But poetry was the language of lovers. And twenty couples were arriving at Winter Pass, expecting the luxury poetry weekend the Walkers had dreamed up. A romantic vibe he wasn't letting Lov's full-tilt-boogie mania tarnish. The Walkers would have their dream, despite A-List's

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bungling. He'd organized a flurry of expensive, last-minute publicity on every available travel magazine Website. Couples bookings had quickly surpassed the flurry of singles coming to Party with Lov. The sonnet contest winners were going to romance the socks off the guests. That's just the way it was going to be. He jerked at his lapels, resettling his black wool sports coat on his shoulders. Or as settled as the jacket could look, considering the distressed finish of the shirt he'd thrown on beneath it—without a tie. Appearance was an essential part of the PR game. He did his job and kept the wrinkles at bay. But dawning a conservative shirt and tie every day wasn't going to happen. Neither was getting excited about the arrival of a hard-core romantic like Gallo. But as he headed for the carved wood and stained glass doors that opened onto the lodge's portico, he caught himself smoothing the front of his tailored slacks. Damn, man! Felicia Gallo's coming with the date the Walkers urged her to bring. Get her settled, give her weekend her itinerary, then get back to Maddy Lov before one of her groupies torches the lobby!


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Except all day, while Tony had been keeping an eye on Maddy's boom-baby curves, it was Gallo's soft features he couldn't get out of his mind. He'd studied her head shot as he'd designed and distributed a flurry of press releases. Soft waves of dark blonde hair. Sparkling, princess-blue eyes. Her smile was sugar-sweet. So why did it make him think of wicked sex and satin sheets? Why did he keep imagining the warmth radiating from her expression, smoldering into nuclear waves that could melt even a frigid Colorado January? She made him think of sex and drama, and he never let his sex life get anywhere close to dramatic. Standing at the curb, Tony checked the time on his Tag Heur Manaco. Then he checked himself. Gazed at the snowcovered landscape he'd spent the last three weeks hyping to anyone who'd listen. Felicia Gallo, and the warm intelligence dripping from every word of her poetry, was arriving any minute. He'd work her pedigreed business success and romantic heart to the resort's advantage. If a part of him wanted to sample any of her warmth for himself, he'd deal with it. The same way he dealt with the few things that ever managed to surprise him.


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He'd ignore the impulse to indulge in weak feelings that would only bring him trouble, then he'd get back to work. A speck on the frozen horizon crept closer—one of the Town Cars Tony had reserved for the weekend's VIP's. The corporate lawyer with a lover's soul would be inside, along with the man she'd invited to share her romantic prize package. But the poet from Ms. Gallo's poignant biopic didn't emerge from the luxury car. Out teetered a high-maintenance fashionista instead, wearing four inch heels and the kind of severe style he'd seen firsthand on Madison Avenue. Nothing turned Tony off more, than the brittle kind of bombshell striding toward him. Her hips swayed as if she was on a mission to captivate every man in sight—because she knew she could. Gallo's smile zeroed in on Tony, as if she were playing a role, and his part in her production was to do her bidding. She wrapped a hand around the back of his neck, meeting him eye-to-eye—a woman who had no intention of being ignored. Then she leaned in to whisper, "Hello," with both her wicked perfume and a husky, sensual voice. Turned off or not, Tony's body instantly helloed back.


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He found himself sipping the taste of champagne from her lips, groaning while she licked, then sucked, at his tongue. Her bottom wiggled beneath the vibrant purple of the catsuitcome-snowsuit she'd worn with her skyscraper stilettos. Actually, a firm cheek had found it's way beneath each of his palms. His hands skimmed across the softest female flesh he'd ever touched, and kept right on skimming, encountering not the barest trace of panties. Damn! His fingers clenched, and her breath hitched. A rough sound that brimmed with wicked promise. Then she jerked away, shock vibrating through her body, her pupils expanding, her head slowly shaking. Tony's body screamed for more. A spark of reason argued that his hands were better off in his pockets. His palms settled the matter by pulling the enticing globes of her ass closer. She squirmed, but in the next second her body brushed his hardness, and her resistance evaporated. She burrowed her head against his neck, her teeth nipping. Lost in the rush, he settled her tighter against his straining flesh and lost what was left of his mind.


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Wrapping a fist in her wildly curling hair, he pulled until he had her lips again. Her taste. "Good Lord, Fe," a masculine voice chided. "Get a room before you devour the beautiful man for dinner." Tony opened one eye, then the other. The woman in his arms panted, her legs sliding down his thighs and calves until the toes of her outlandish shoes touched the sidewalk, then the heels. A wave of uncharacteristic protectiveness had him pulling her head to his shoulder, shielding her face, while she pulled together whatever wits she still possessed. It took him longer than it should have to do the same. Then he took stock of the man the wanton in his arms had arrived with. A man dressed as expensively, and as vividly, as Felicia Gallo herself. Tony made his hands drop to his side. "I suppose," he rasped, "that this is the muse for your words of enduring love. The date you were encouraged to invite to share your romantic getaway with?" "Wh... What?" Afternoon sun shone fire-red in the deep blond of Gallo's hair. Her features softened in confusion. Something of the woman in the picture Tony had studied emerged.


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"Your new boy toy wants to know if he has competition for the weekend." Gallo's flamboyant friend winked, his gaze skimming from Tony's laced-up dress shoes to his untamable hair. "And I want to know if you plan to share the wealth." A strobing flash of light momentarily blinded them. "Kiss her again, Rossi," demanded one of the photogs constantly cruising the lodge. "That was hot!" More flashes followed, attracting the attention of passers by who otherwise might not have noticed Tony's insane reaction to the kind of female he wanted nothing to do with. The nexus of his wholesome PR plans for the Walkers. "Rossi?" The hard-core sex goddess who'd been mauling him blushed from the diamonds winking in her earlobes, to the tantalizing cleavage spilling from her top's plunging neckline. "Oh-My-God!"

winter heat  

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