P.I. Emilio Sanchez just received the latest supersexy note from his hot, anonymous admirer. Signed only as "Yours in Black Lace," the letters are becoming more illicit with every blazing word. Getting the pearl-gray note cards at work suggests that she's someone in his office, but he can't be sure, and the not knowing is driving Emilio crazy. When she's discovered, he knows better than to mix business with pleasure, but the words are irresistible. And so is Stevie.
Stephanie "Stevie" Madison. Investigator, siren, letter writer. When Emilio discovers it's her, he knows he should keep hands off, but the words she wrote are unforgettable. And, now that she's in jeopardy, she isn't just a colleague anymore, she's also a client. At an exclusive hideaway, he can't fight the attraction any longer, especially when she hands him a new note card. How can he protect her from danger when he can't even protect her from his own desire? And how can he ever protect their hearts?
About the Author
When Mia was about 10 years old, her mother let her read a 'grown-up' book. It was a Harlequin Romance novel about a small-town veterinarian and the family practitioner he falls in love with. That story was pretty tame by today's standards--the hero and heroine didn't even kiss until the last page--but it opened up a whole new world to a romantic little girl who loved to write.
Over the years, Mia penned really bad poetry, even worse song lyrics, adolescent short stories and overly descriptive class papers. Then one day a scene for a medieval romance emerged fully detailed in her head and she rushed to get it on paper. That scene eventually turned into eight chapters and a synopsis, but she kept getting bogged down in historical research and set the story aside. Deep in a sea of self-doubt, she set writing aside as well.
Mia met her husband in Russian 101 at the beginning of the university semester. Their first date was November 17, 1989, and they eloped one year and 13 days later. She credits her husband with encouraging her to write again and for suggesting that a contemporary time frame might help her focus more on the story than the setting.
One of her contemporary romance manuscripts won the Harlequin Books 2000 Summer Blaze Contest for bold, brash love scenes, placing second in the published category. On July 10, 2002, after four years and nine rewrites, Red Shoes & a Diary finally sold to the Harlequin Blaze line! Mia figures it was fate.
Mia lives in Maryland with her wonderful husband and their beautiful little boy. In addition to being a fiction author, she's also a creativity coach and a paralegal hoping to quit the law firm to write full-time. You can contact Mia.
Read an Excerpt
Yours In Black Lace
By Mia Zachary
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneYou're all I think about, all that I dream of. I can't wait to get my hands on you. I want to strip you bare and pleasure your gorgeous body in the most erotic ways.
In my fantasy, I slowly unbutton your shirt and slip it off your shoulders. As I lightly stroke your neck and chest, I feel your skin heat beneath my fingers. Then my hands glide lower, over your belly and down to your waist.
I unsnap your jeans and slide the zipper down. Then I push them, along with your shorts, over your hips and down your thighs, leaving you naked at last.
I take my time, touching and tasting and enjoying you. I wait to hear you moan and whisper my name. Then, and only then, will I be ...
Yours, in black lace.
HE WAS READING one of her letters. She recognized the pearl-gray note card right away. Stephanie Madison stood in the doorway of Emelio Sanchez's office and concentrated on him, instead of the packet she was gripping in her left hand.
South Florida sunlight poured through the large windows, flashed off the steel-and-smoked-glass desk, highlighting Emelio's coffee-brown hair. Tousled strands fell loosely around his face then were absently pushed aside, his attention focused on the provocative words she'd written for him.
Stevie took advantage of his distraction, using the time to study features she'd already committed to memory on her first day at January Investigations. It was a compelling face, a blend of cool reserve and masculine appeal too beautiful to be called handsome and yet devastatingly male.
Her eyes roamed over his strong jaw, regal nose and the high ridge of his cheekbones. His hazel eyes, she knew, were flecked with amber and green and the shadows of distant secrets. His lips were firm and full in a wide mouth that rarely smiled.
Just now, there was a slight softening of his normally brooding features. Had the contents of her letter gotten to him? She hoped so. Dreams about Emelio, about what she wanted to do with him, made for long, frustrating nights. Her pulse accelerated and a delicious longing settled into her belly.
She'd been lusting after her boss ever since she joined the agency. But only on paper. Women called the office for him all the time, so she didn't stand much of a chance with a playboy who was already juggling at least three girlfriends. Still, she hadn't been able to resist the urge to write down her fantasies.
There was power and magic in words, because once she dared to put her thoughts on paper, she started to give Emelio the occasional flirtatious glance or inviting smile at work. When the looks he sent her in return began to hold a bit more than professional interest, she took a chance and mailed him one of her letters. Over the past four months, she'd sent eight more.
But she hadn't yet figured out when or how to tell him of her attraction. Somehow the timing never seemed right. And, truthfully, she liked controlling the situation for now. She wanted to seduce his mind before she risked going after his body. She'd changed a lot, was almost a completely different person than the girl who'd fled New Orleans five years ago. However, inside, the fear of rejection, of not being good enough, remained.
Stevie continued to admire the sight of him. How could any man look so good in a polo shirt the color of pistachio ice cream? The pastel green material offset the golden brown of his skin and emphasized his muscular shoulders and broad chest. The short sleeves wrapped snugly around rock-solid biceps. But Emelio's hands fascinated her most.
Long, tapered fingers curved around the letter he held. His hands had a surprising eloquence that accompanied his words when he spoke. Those hands had haunted her for months now. She longed to feel them cradle her neck as he kissed her, then slide along her bare skin until his fingers delved lower, making her moan with pleasure.
She must have made some sound because his head came up fast, like a wolf sensing danger. His amber-green eyes shimmered with a sensual heat before the emotion vanished behind his professional mask. In the same instant, he turned the letter facedown on his desk and brought his left hand out of his lap.
Stevie assumed her words had caused his need for adjustment but suppressed a grin. She wished she could give in to the laughter but for one thing, Emelio had no idea she'd been mailing him the erotic notes. For another, she was too damn upset to laugh right now.
All last night, she'd lain in bed awake, startling at the slightest noise, fighting the restless urge to escape into a glass of wine. As a result, her skin felt too tight, as if all of her nerve endings were exposed. She clutched the envelope in front of her as she stepped onto the gray-and-black area rug.
"Did I disturb you, Emelio?"
He cleared his throat, but a trace of huskiness remained. "No. Come on in."
Out of habit, she looked over at the original Jose'
Castillo paintings on the wall as she passed by. The bold slashes of color swirling across the canvases seemed out of place in the stylishly austere corner office.
"You always do that."
Stevie shifted her gaze at the sound of his voice.
"I know. It's impossible to look away. The artist's work is so ... passionate."
Passion. Lately the only passion he experienced was vicarious, through either art or words. Emelio leaned back in his leather executive chair and glanced down at the latest note from his secret seductress. Just as with the last seven letters, these erotic images burned themselves into his brain.
Excerpted from Yours In Black Lace by Mia Zachary Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I got this one, signed, a while ago in a charity auction--I don't remember which one. Charity auctions are a great way, by the way, to both help out a worthy cause and discover new authors.Stevie Madison has been lusting after her boss, P.I. Emilio Sanchez, for months. But with all the women around him, she doesn't want to be one of the crowd, so she writes him anonymous, sexually explicit notes, signed "yours in black lace."Then she gets surveillance photos of herself, and asks Emilio for help investigating. He recognizes someone in the background of one of the photos and realizes she's in danger, and decides to stick to her like glue to protect her. While he's doing that, he discovers she's the anonymous letter writer.The romantic suspense part of the story was... well, romantic and suspenseful. Stevie and Emilio had both been attracted to each other for a while, so the fast-paced romance made sense, and alternately running from and chasing the bad guys kept the tension high. I enjoyed that part very much.But there were two things that kept me from really loving this book--one was the anonymous letters. Even though we know he enjoyed them, and they worked, anonymous letters in general squick me. It's stalkery. And the letters themselves were embarrassingly cheesy, though I wouldn't be surprised if that's just me and everyone else thinks they're hot. I have a low tolerance for that sort of thing.The other thing was Emilio's secret. I'm not going to give it away, or even say what kind of secret it was, but it needed to be either expanded on or left out entirely. As it is, it's interesting, but there was really no point to it, as far as the plot goes. If it had connected to the suspense plot in some way, or if it had been something Stevie wondered about, it would have made more sense, and would have made the book feel more layered.At any rate, I have one or two more of Mia Zachary's books in my TBR pile, and if they're as entertaining as this, I'll be happy.
The premise of this story drew me in and the story held me to the very end. Ms Zachary is a good writer but I would have liked a little more steaminess in the love scenes. This book didn't get my heart racing like some of the books in the BLAZE series can; but overall, a good read.
'Mia Zachary's sexy, striking saga is an impeccably dishy blend of tender romance, red-hot passion and non-stop suspense. With a slick plot, plenty of fast-paced action and fascinatingly flawed characters, the breathless narrative has a James Bond movie style look and feel to it...All in all, 'Yours in Black Lace' will, without a doubt, make a place for itself in, not just the keeper shelf but also in the readers' collective hearts.'
With an ending that is triumphant and empowering, with perfect pacing, sexy and sassy dialogue and an attraction to curl your toes, with anticipation prolonging the pleasure and a heavy dose of humor and female empowerment I enjoyed every word, every page of Yours In Black Lace. Rating- 5 Roses