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Stand-in Groom by Suzanne Brockmann - Romance>Contemporary
With a rare blend of humor, erotic tension, and dead-on emotional truth, New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann weaves this delightful romance of a man and woman brought together by chance, bound by choice, and in trouble deeper than they realize.
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Sensuality Rating: Not rated
Chelsea was being followed.
It was crazy.
True, this wasn't the best neighborhood in Boston, but it was seven o'clock in the morning. It was broad daylight.
She glanced behind her. There were three of them—lean, dangerous-looking young men dressed in gang colors. She slipped the strap of her purse securely around her neck as she moved more quickly down the sidewalk. She could be wrong. Maybe they were headingtoward the H&R Block that was three doors down from her office. Maybe they were looking to have their taxes done.
They were right behind her now, and she moved aside, toward the street, praying that they would walk on past.
"Hey, blondie." The taller of the three leered at her—if it was possible for a sixteen-year-old to leer.
They were only kids. Kids with fuzz on their upper lips and chins that was supposed to pass as facial hair. Kids pretending to be grown men. Kids who were taller and wider than she was. Kids who probably carried knives and could hurt her badly before shecould even shout for help.
"You part of the beautification program in this part of the city?" the shortest of the three asked, laughing at his own joke. He wore an enormous ring in his nose—obviously to make up for his lack of height. He couldn't have been more than fourteen yearsold.
The third boy made animal noises—part dog, part barnyard pig—as he invaded her personal space.
Chelsea stepped out between two parked cars, into the street. "Excuse me. I need to get to work, and you should probably get to school—"
She had to stop short to keep from bumping into the tall one.
"Excuse me," he mimicked her. "Excuse me. We don't go to no friggin' school." "Maybe you should reconsider. You could use a little help with your grammar." She stepped around him, but the dog-boy blocked her path. He grinned, and she pulled back. His teeth were all filed to sharp little points. He snorted and woofed at her obviousalarm.
That's all they wanted. They wanted to scare her. Well, okay. She was scared. They could let her go now.
"You got some money we can borrow?" the nose-ring wearer asked. "We'll pay you back—we promise."
She felt a flash of anger, wondering how often that had worked—how often the people they intimidated simply handed over their money.
As the other boys laughed Chelsea pushed past them onto the sidewalk, aware of the cars moving down the street, aware that not a single one of them had even slowed to see if she needed help. "Go away," she said sharply, "before I call your mothers."
It was the wrong thing to say.
The dog-boy pushed her, hard, and she went down onto her knees. The tall one grabbed the strap of her purse and it lifted her back up as it caught around her throat.
He was running now, all three of them were, and she was dragged and bounced along the cracked, uneven sidewalk. She heard herself screaming and she felt her shoe come off, felt her toes scrape along the concrete. Her head snapped back and her arm twistedbehind her as the boy yanked her bag free.
God! All the work she did at home last night—that flash drive was in her purse! Chelsea pushed herself up off the sidewalk, kicked off her other shoe, and ran after them.
They were nearly a block ahead of her, but she could think of nothing but all those hours of work, and she ran faster.
And then it happened.
With a squeal of tires, a white delivery truck bounced over the curb, right onto the sidewalk in front of the three...
Stand-in GroomBy: Suzanne Brockmann