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Life of the Party by Elle Druskin

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Zach headed upstairs and flung open the door. A double bed, dresser, desk, night table in maple wood, and a huge closet with a full-length mirror on the inside door. A blue and white quilt covered the bed that matched the curtains fluttering at the window. At least, it seemed to match them because most of the bedding was covered with a heap of women’s clothes.
Hayley must have been cleaning out closets. Maybe this was going to be the baby’s room. Babies. The last time Zach had seen babies, they were dying of starvation; skinny little bodies with the faces of old men and women and covered with flies. He shoved the nightmare image aside and dropped his bags. Suddenly, the thought of a cool shower and shave after the long haul flight from Mumbai seemed like heaven.
He snagged a towel from the linen closet and headed to the bathroom. The handle stuck, and he yanked a little too hard so the door slammed against the wall.
“Hey, what’s the big idea?”
His jaw dropped wide enough for a truck to drive through. The most gorgeous backside he’d ever seen bent over the bathtub. Perfectly shaped firm legs that seemed to go on forever and ended in a tight, luscious ass. He gulped, and his groin reacted involuntarily.
“Pervert!”
The door slammed in his face. Zach stood as if rooted to the floor. Jake didn’t mention any other guests. And it definitely wasn’t Ed borrowing the shower because of his plumbing problems. Hell, he might be a trifle jetlagged, but all his hormones had gone on Red Alert because that had to be the sexiest woman on the planet.
He headed downstairs to Jake and Hayley in the living room who looked up at him.
“Didn’t you find the towels?” Hayley asked.
Zach nodded. “Yeah. I found something else. That’s some cleaning lady, you’ve got.”
Jake frowned. “We don’t have a cleaning lady.”
Before he could explain, feet pounded down the stairs. Zach turned over his shoulder and staggered. A brunette with flashing green eyes glared at him. Wrapped in a pink satin robe that clung to her body but did nothing to hide her perfect curves, she planted her feet in an inverted vee with her hands on her hips.
“Can’t a person get any privacy around here?” she hollered.
Jake’s eyes widened. “What are you doing here?”
The woman flashed a familiar grin at Jake, and Zach wracked his brain for a name. There was something about her, but he couldn’t recall meeting a woman this hot. Even with the damp hair that curled around her face, she was dynamite.
“Surprise! You’ll never believe it. The cruise ship had to shut down. An outbreak of a gastro bug on the last two sailings; the whole thing has to be cleaned out. Plumbing, air conditioning, the works, so the entire crew has a few weeks off. I figured I’d better head right here what with Hayley having another baby. I bet you didn’t even have a baby shower yet.”
Hayley tried to rise from the sofa and plopped back down again, but that didn’t deter the woman.
“You sit right down. Pretty big, no offense. How long to go? Not twins again, is it?”She didn’t bother to wait for an answer but kept up the rapid fire chatter. “I figured you could use some help, so leave everything to me. You know how terrific I am with organizing stuff. This is going to be fun, only I didn’t count on some pervert walking in on me in the bathroom.”
She whirled around and glared at Zach. Her eyes narrowed. Without warning, she punched his arm.
“Hey. What gives?” he snapped.
An arch smile lit her face. She glanced at Jake and Hayley who hadn’t recovered from the shock of the surprise guest.
“That’s for walking in on me upstairs naked.”
Before Zach could apologize, although it hadn’t been his fault, she punched him again.
“Cut it out!”
The woman sniffed and shot a superior look at Zach. “That’s for not letting me in the tree house. The Junior Detectives Club. Boys only.”
Tree house? What the heck was this woman talking about?
“You shoved me right off the top of the ladder, and I fractured my wrist. Boy, were my parents mad, but nothing compared with yours.”
Zach swallowed hard. “Ellie? Little Ellie Marx?”

 

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