The Heat Is On: Blame It on the Bikini

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Press: Harlequin; Reissue edition (June 25, 2013)
Publication Date:2013-6
ISBN:9780373180790
Author Name:Shalvis, Jill; Anderson, Natalie;
Pages:464
Language:English

Content

Catching FireBella Manchelli didn't stick, not to places, or to people. 
Even though she liked the coastal town of Santa Rey, California, and her job as a pastry chef, she never made promises and she never got hurt.
So when she signed up for Eight Dates in Eight Days, it was just for fun.
And when she went home with Date Eight, she crept out of his room in the morning and never expected to see him again.Until she found a body on her doorstop.
The detective on the case? None other than Mr.
Date Eight—Jacob Madden.
Bella was glad to see him, because there was definitely chemistry between them.
She felt safe and protected with Jacob, and for the first time Bella felt at home.
But he wasn't looking for forever…and they both knew the killer wasn't finished.

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis is the award winning author of over three dozen romance novels. 
Visit www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and a daily blog chronicling her I-Love-Lucy attempts at having it all; the writing, the kids, a life ...Natalie Anderson adores happy endings, so you can be sure you've got happy endings to enjoy when you buy her books, she promises nothing less.
She loves peppermint filled dark chocolate, pineapple juice & extremely long showers, plus teasing her imaginary friends with dating dilemmas! She lives in New Zealand with her gorgeous husband & four fabulous children.If you love happy endings too, come find her on facebook.com/authornataliea, twitter @authornataliea, or www.natalie-anderson.com

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"Oh, yeah, baby, that's good," she whispered. 
So good that she wanted more.
She couldn't help herself, she'd never been known for having much self-control.Not when it came to chocolate.
Isabella Manchelli loved desserts, all of them.
Especially hers.Which was why she was talking to them.
Licking the last of it off her spoon, Bella then tossed the spoon into the sink, nodding in satisfaction and pride at the tray of little chocolate Genoese sponge squares she'd created.
She wasn't sure of much, but she felt quite positive that the little cakes were her personal best to date.
She went to work making up a second batch, knowing her boss, Willow, owner of Edible Bliss Cakes and Pastries, would be clamoring for more for her customers as the day progressed.And the day had a lot of progressing to do.
By the very nature of her job, she was routinely up before dawn, baking, and today had been no exception.
At just the thought, she yawned.That's what you get for staying up way too late last night…Having her absolute last one-night stand.Her last, because as much as she enjoyed the occasional social orgasm, she never got much pleasure out of the morning after.
The slipping out of bed, hunting down her clothes from off the floor, carrying her sandals so as not to wake him up…No, none of that ever felt good as good as the night before.Even if this time, her first in a damn long time, now that she thought about it, the night before had been so admittedly terrific that she suspected she was still wearing a grin advertising just how terrific.She angled her stainless-steel mixer so that she could use the appliance as a mirror and turned her head right and then left, inspecting herself.Yep.Ridiculous grin still in place.She couldn't help it.
Mr.
Tall, Dark and Drop-dead Sexy had really had it going on.
She'd met him through the local rec center's singles club, when Willow had somehow talked her into signing up for their Eight Dates in Eight Days.
Tall, Dark and Drop-dead Sexy had been her eighth date, and the only one she'd let so much as kiss her.The kiss had been shockingly…wow.
Which had led to one thing or another, and some more wow, along with a good dash of yowza, and then…the whole morning-after thing.He'd caught her in mid-tiptoe and off-kilter; she'd decided to go with her standard protocol for such situations.She'd told him she was moving to Siberia, and then she'd left.No feelings hurt, no strings.
Just the way she liked it.So why she felt a little hollow, a little discontented, she had no idea.Probably it was all the chocolate on an empty stomach.
Or possibly not.
Possibly, the impossible had happened, and her mother's mantra—it's time to settle down, Bella—was right.And how disconcerting a thought was that.Bella didn't settle well.
After growing up one of many in a huge family, she'd taken off soon as she'd been able, loving being alone.
Loving the adventure of silence, the lack of planning ahead.
It'd been bliss.
She still felt that way, still preferred to roam the planet, touching down here and there as it suited her, never staying in one spot too long.
Except this time.This time she'd landed in Santa Rey, California, the latest stop on the Bella's Train of Travels, and she loved the small beach town.
Loved the job she'd taken on as a pastry chef at Edible Bliss, in the heart of a most adorable little downtown, only one block from the beach.She'd been working here for a month now, and things were good.
She had a roof over her head, she had pastries to make, and best yet—she'd gotten that orgasm last night.Make that multiple orgasms.She took a moment for a dreamy sigh.
It really was a shame that she'd forced herself out of Tall, Dark and Drop-dead Sexy's bed after such a fantastic night, because he'd been both sharp and fun, her two top requirements in a man.He'd also been focused and quietly controlled in a way that suggested cop or military, making her want to break the rules of the Eight Dates in Eight Days contract and ask him what he did for a living.
But they'd been forbidden from discussing details like their vocation or age of residence until a second date, if a second date came to be.He'd been the only one to spark her interest.
He'd certainly been the one and only to get her to a bed, and in fact, if things had been different, he might even have had a shot at being that elusive keeper everyone talked about.With a sigh, she moved through the front room of Edible Bliss, straightening tables and chairs, making sure everything was perfect before she opened them up for business.She was raising the shades on the windows when she thought she heard a scraping sound from the kitchen's back door.
She headed that way, thinking maybe it was Willow a little early.
But today was Tuesday, and on Tuesdays Willow took a drawing class at the city college.
It was male-model day.
Nude-male-model day.Willow's favorite.It wouldn't be Willow then, no way.Maybe it was Trevor, the rangy, sun-kissed cutie who worked part-time bussing tables and serving customers.Walking through the kitchen, Bella peeked out the window in the back door—no one.So now she was hearing things.
Seemed that's what sleep deprivation did to a person.
Good to know.
Maybe next time she was faced with the prospect of some seriously fantastic sex, she'd say, "No, sorry, I can't, it appears wild monkey sex causes auditory hallucinations in me."Shaking her head at herself, she checked the Cannoli batch she had in the oven, waving the heat blast from her face.
Needing air, she went to crack open the back door, but it caught on something.
She pushed, then squeezed through the space onto the back stoop to take a look, and tripped over—Oh, God.A body.It was a guy, in jeans and a T-shirt, a small bouquet of wildflowers clutched in his fist.Heart stuck in her throat, she dropped to a crouch and put a hand on his shoulder.
"Hello?" There was an odd stillness to him she didn't want to face.
"Are you okay?" Beneath her fingers, he felt warm, but she couldn't find a pulse.
Panic caught her by the throat, choking off her air supply, as did the sight of the blood pooling beneath the man.
"Not okay," she murmured, horror gathering in a greasy ball in her gut—which did not mix well with all the chocolate already there.She closed her eyes on a wave of dizziness, doing her best not to throw up her sponge squares.
"Hang on, I'll call 911."But even as she hit the buttons on her cell phone, even as she stumbled back and stuttered her name and address for the dispatcher, she knew.The man on her back stoop was beyond needing help.After being assured by the dispatcher that an ambulance was on its way, Bella practiced the breathing techniques she'd been learning in yoga.Not helping.She went to visualization next, trying to imagine herself on the beach, with the calm waves hitting the shore, the light breeze brushing her skin… She had a lot of beaches to choose from, but she went with the beach right across the street because there was just something about Santa Rey's long stretch of white sand, where the salt water whooshed sea foam in on the gently sloping shores, and then whished it back out again.
She swallowed hard, telling herself how much she loved the contemplative coves, the bluff-top trails, the dynamic tide pools, all off the beaten path.
Here she was both hidden from the world, and yet doing as she loved.
Here, unlike anywhere else in her travels, she felt as if she'd come home.Better.But then she opened her eyes and yep, there was still the dead guy on the concrete at her feet.At least he hadn't gone belly up in the kitchen, she told herself, taking big gulps of air.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration probably frowned on dead guys in an industrial kitchen.Oh, God.Legs weak, she sank to the ground, feeling weird about being so close, but also like she didn't want to leave him alone.
No one should die alone.
She set her back to the wall and brought her knees up to her chest to drop her head on them.
She was a practical, pragmatic woman, she assured herself.
She could survive this, she'd survived worse.She could hear the sirens now, coming closer.
Good.
That was good.
Then footsteps sounded from the front of the shop, heavy and steady.The cavalry.Paramedics first, two of them, tall and sure, dropping to a crouch near the body.
One of them reached out and checked the man beside her for a pulse, then shook his head at the other.Behind the paramedics came a steady parade of other uniforms, filling the small pastry kitchen, making Bella dizzy with it all.Or dizzier.She answered questions numbly and eventually someone pushed a cup of water into her hands.
One of Willow's pretty teacups.She answered more questions.
No, she hadn't heard any gunshots.
No, she hadn't recognized the victim, but then again, she had yet to see his face.
No, she hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary, other than a noise that she'd barely even registered much less investigated..God.How could she have not have actually opened the door when she'd heard that odd scraping sound?After the endless questions, she was finally left alone in the kitchen, by herself in the sea of controlled chaos.
She backed to the far wall, attempting to be as unobtrusive as possible.
Her legs were still wobbling, so she sank down the wall to sit on the floor, mind wandering.She wished she'd never gotten out of her bed.Correction: Tall, Dark and Drop-dead Sexy's bed.If she'd only broken her own protocol and stayed with him, then she wouldn't be here now.
And she might have, if she hadn't been so surprised at how badly she hadn't wanted to leave his bed.That didn't happen often—hell, who was she kidding—sex didn't happen for her often, and certainly not during Eight Dates in Eight Days.
She cursed Willow for talking her into doing it, but what was done was done.
Besides, it wasn't as if she'd been finding her own dates since she'd put down anchor in Santa Rey.Date one had been nice but a snooze.Dates two through seven had been pleasant but nothing to write home about.But date eight? Holy smokes.
Date eight had blown all the other dates not only out of the water, but out of her head, as well.Jacob.She knew him only as Jacob, since last names hadn't been given.
They'd agreed to meet at a new adventure facility on the outskirts of the county.
He'd been there waiting for her, leaning against the building, tall and leanly muscled, with dark wavy hair that curled at his nape and assessing brown eyes that reminded her of warm, melted chocolate when he smiled, which he'd done at first sight of her.Flattering, since though she was five foot seven and curvy, she knew she was merely average in looks.
Average brown hair that was utterly uncontrollable.
Average eyes.
Average face.In comparison, Jacob had been anything but average, oozing testosterone and sex appeal in a T-shirt and board shorts that emphasized his fit, hard body.
Sin on a stick, that's how he'd looked.For the next two hours they'd bungee jumped, jungle canopied and rode on a Jet Ski, none of which were conducive to talking and opening up, but she hadn't cared.They'd flirted, they'd laughed, and she'd been in desperate need of both, even knowing he would be nothing but trouble to her heart.
She'd had a blast, and afterward, her car had sputtered funny in the lot.Jacob had said she had a bad spark plug and that he was a car junkie and had extras at his place.
If she wanted, he could either follow her home to make sure she got there okay, and then return with the plug to fix her car, or she could follow him home and he'd fix it now.She'd looked at him for a long moment, ultimately deciding that no guy who looked as good in that ridiculous bungee protective gear as he had—and he had looked good—could be a bad guy.Naive? Not really.
Just damn lonely.
Besides, she assured herself, she knew just enough self-defense moves to feel comfortable.
She could always knock his nuts into next week if she had to.And then there was something else.
He had that air of undeniable control, that raw male power radiating from him that made her feel safe in his presence.
Safe from harm, but not necessarily safe from losing her mind over him.
She might not know his last name or what he did for a living, but she knew she wanted him.So she'd followed him home.She'd called her own number and left a message.
"If anything has happened to me, check with Jacob, sexy hunk, and mystery date number eight."But nothing had happened to her that she hadn't initiated.He'd changed her spark plug.
And there on his porch, she'd given him what she'd intended as a simple good-night peck.He'd returned it.

Tags

Romance,Contemporary,Literature & Fiction,United States



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Comment List (Total:14)

  •     Mya and Brad have a history, so to speak. Mya helped his sister, Lauren, in school, and it was the 2 of them against the world.
  •     Bella is a pastry chef that has popped into town to help at a bakery. She is talented, smart, sexy and funny. She is also a drifter. She doesn't stay in one place very long - her perpetually packed duffel bag is testament to that. Due to a series of shootings, she is being protected by Jacob, a detective that she also met through a dating site (8 days, 8 dates). They have already had mind-blowing sex on their date, and they are both together while the shooter is still on the loose.Jacob has been burned twice before from women that do not understand the demands of a police detective (cancelled dates, danger, etc), so he initially keeps the relationship (as does Bella) with Bella, very light and 'not serious'.Of course things progress for their relationship quickly and seriously.The book has some elements of danger with the shootings, but they seem to be the catalyst for their romance, and does not take over the novel- doesn't take center stage.Bella's sense of humor and the banter b/w H and h is fun and entertaining. I enjoyed the dialogue. The attraction b/w the two was fun to read, and it was not OTT. Jacob doesn't get all alpha-male over Bella. And she doesn't get harpy over him. They have a mutual, mature attraction towards each other.This book doesn't get dark, angst-y nor are there big 'misunderstandings' that frustrates the reader.The steaminess of this book is pretty high for such a short book.Yes - the storyline is formulaic - H or h (in this case both) are hesitant to jump into a serious relationship, but there is a threat (in this case, a shooter) that throws H&h together. H&h cannot fight attraction and fall in love. HEA. No cliffhanger. The end.Love it. It is predictable and the road to get to the HEA is easy and fairly smooth. If you need lots of angst, deep seeded emotional experiences, or a very tricky/unexpected suspenseful plot; then this is not the book for you.I poured myself a nice glass of wine and read this book in one sitting and it left me with a smile and happy thoughts. Easy to read, easy to enjoy. totally falls under 'beach reading'. We all need those!Enjoy!
  •     Excellent as always.
  •     Great book
  •     Both of these stories were fun to read, as always I like to read more about the characters and there families.
  •     I thought a Jill Shalvis book would be better and was disappointed. I can't disagree with all those who said this one was quick, easy, a beach read.
  •     love all of this author's books. this one was good, characters interesting, plot entertaining, well worth reading. give it a try.
  •     I love Jill Shalvis books. While it's never really a question if the hero and heroine will end up together, she does such a great job with the characters, it doesn't matter.
  •     Jill Shalvis pens another sultry read in The Heat Is On.Bella Manchelli thought she could handle a smoking hot one night stand. She would have if a body hadn't appeared the next day outside her place of employment. To make matters even worse is her one nighter is the cop assigned to the murder.Detective Jacob Madden was still thinking of the woman that rocked his world when he shows up to a dead body at Edible Bliss Cakes and Pastries. Sitting in the middle of it all is delectable Bella Manchelli. Jacob knows Bella is innocent but something is going on with the men that Bella had previously dated.Jacob bows out as the lead detective on the case in order to protect Bella. Spending so much time with her makes him realize that she may be the one he has been looking for all his life. But Bella is a rolling stone can he be enough to make her stay?As the bodies start to pile up will their new found relationship survive?The Heat Is On is packed with sizzling heat and heartfelt emotions. Jill Shalvis seamlessly blends the romance with the suspense. This book will keep you guessing until the very end. I am looking forward to the other Madden brother's stories.
  •     Met my expectations. Was not disappointed.
  •     Jill Shalvis never disappoints! This is a fun upbeat book despite the murder mystery undercurrent. She always makes you laugh and tells a great story.
  •     Both of the stories in this book are really cute.In the Jill Shalvis book The Heat Is On, things happen fast.
  •     The Heat is On: A fun and hot read with a great mystery to solve. Couldn't put it down until the mystery was solved and lots of fun and loving in between. Loved every minute. Jacob and Bella were scorching together.Bonus book by Natalie Anderson (Blame it on the Bikini): This story was so cute. Loved that it took place in New Zealand. Natalie accidently sends a picture of herself in a hot bikini to her high school crush, who is her best friend's older brother. He never noticed her before but he sure does now after he receives this text from her. And what ensues is him trying to pursue her but she is totally make him work for it. Loved this bonus story.
  •     Let me get this random thought out of the way first...the character's names. Bella...Jacob; Bella...Jacob...Whaaaa??? Wait was I reading Twilight this week LOL? You think this means Ms. Shalvis is Team Jacob?In this day and age of social networking and hooking up, on-line dating seems like the perfect way for Bella Manchelli and Jacob Madden to meet. In The Heat is On, Bella's experience can best be summed up by: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.The Good:As someone who never stays in one place long enough to get bored, you meet a group of guys (no last names required), have fun and then move on since you have no interest in any long term commitment to tie you down. If you're really lucky, you meet a tall, dark and drop-dead sexy guy, get your freak-on on the first date and slink away before that morning after awkwardness descends. Saving the best for last...date #8 was GRRREAT!The Bad:The men of dates #1-#7 are getting shot at and when one of them is discovered murdered at the back door of your place of employment...turns out they weren't quite so lucky and now neither are you.The Ugly:You have a deranged stalker after you determined to eliminate the competition for your affections so he can have you all to himself.Back to The Good: The cop investigating the murder? Well it's none other than Jacob Madden...hot, sexy date #8. Imagine his surprise when he turns up in cop mode the "morning after" only to discover you really weren't planning on moving to Siberia like you told him and are in fact, at the center of his police investigation.The Heat is On is a quick easy read, with lots of sizzle and a nice balance between the romance and suspense action. Shalvis' trademark witty style of writing is of course always a plus.Got a few hours to kill? Don't spend it trolling those on-line dating sites...read The Heat is On!

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