Catnapped! (A Matchmaker Mystery Book 3)

BOOK: Catnapped! (A Matchmaker Mystery Book 3)
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Table of Contents

 

 

 

 

 

Catnapped!

 

 

 

JB LYNN

 

 

 

 

 

Praise for JB Lynn’s Novels

 

 

"If you love series such as Evanovich's Plum and Bond's Body Movers, you'll love Confessions of A Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman."

-A Chick Who Reads

 

“…
laugh out loud hilarious and totally engaging novel.”

-Night Owl Reviews

 

“JB Lynn knows how to entertain readers. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for Maggie next!”

-Romance Novel News

 

“Ms. Lynn writes stories that flow well, make you care about her characters, and make you want to read more. It’s a winning combination for a book.”

-Long and Short Reviews

 

“…Lynn similarly and masterfully joins the genres of suspense and romance with a tale that is sure to please fans of both. Readers will be anxiously awaiting the next book in this series.”

-LIBRARY JOURNAL

 

 

 

 

 

To my Friends and Family –

Those I know so well, and those who I invite into my heart through my books

Thank you for being there, reading, and spreading the love

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Alyssa Montgomery wanted to hit something.

Hard.

Instead, she stood outside The Pudding Place, pretending to read the menu of sweet treats taped to the inside of the window.  Not that The Pudding Place’s food wasn’t good, she was particularly fond of their rice pudding, but what she really wanted to do was  walk into the gym three doors down and take a good swing or two or ten dozen at a heavy bag.

She needed some sort of outlet for her frustration, and since she didn’t have a partner to have sex with, she’d settle for some form of physical aggression.

A week before she’d somehow allowed herself to become employed as the bodyguard of Mildred Michelman, an older, well-to-do woman, who someone wanted to harm. Watching over a little old lady who seemed incapable of keeping her opinion about
anything
to herself was not really part of Alyssa’s career plan. Then again, she no longer had a career and didn’t seem to have much of a plan.

She grimaced at her own lack of focus.

“That’s gonna cause wrinkles, chica,” a woman said behind her.

Turning, Alyssa took in the beautiful Latina who was watching her with mischief in her dark eyes.

“I’m Armani. I don’t know if you remember, but we met at Jane and Tom’s wedding.”

Alyssa remembered. She doubted anyone who’d met Armani Vasquez would forget her. Her physical deformities aside, a result of some sort of ice rink mishap, if one were to believe the rumor, the beauty had an oversized personality that left an impression.

Alyssa nodded her recognition. “You’re the matchmaker.” In general, Alyssa didn’t believe in things like matchmakers, but her friend Jane and Jane’s now-husband, Tom, seemed to.

Armani beamed. “Yes, I am.”

“What brings you here?” Alyssa asked.

“I was looking for you.”

Alyssa tensed. “Me?”

The matchmaker nodded.

“Why?” Alyssa didn’t bother to hide her suspicion.

“You need help.”

Alyssa shook her head. “No. I really don’t.”

A knowing smile lifted Armani’s lips. “Doors. With you it’s always coming down to choosing the right… or wrong door.”

Alyssa’s gut clenched and heartbeat sped up. She
had
chosen the wrong door. Literally. It was how she’d found herself without a career or plan. But the woman in front of her couldn’t possibly know that, unless she’d done some really deep searching.

“I didn’t mean to upset you,” Armani apologized softly, her expression frozen.

“Look, I don’t know what your game is,” Alyssa warned, “but I’m not going to fall for your psychic act or con or whatever it is you think you’re doing.”

Armani reared back, as though she’d been slapped. “Don’t shoot the messenger, chica.” Her tone made it clear she’d been insulted. “Jane said you might be a hard sell.”


Jane
said?”

Armani nodded. “She’s worried about you. Working too hard. Spending your nights alone.”

“My nights are just fine,” Alyssa snapped, unsure if she was more unhappy that her friend had been discussing her with this woman, or that her nights
were
spent alone.

“I’m just saying you’ll know the door that’s right,” Armani soothed, having recovered her equilibrium. She held out a business card. “Take it. It’s got my phone number for when you need me.”

Alyssa slowly took the card, not sure why she was doing so, other than she didn’t want to insult Jane’s friend even more. After all, Jane had been just about the only friend she’d made in this new life of hers.

Armani glanced up at The Pudding Place sign. “I’m thinking this one is
not
the door you should be going through. You’ll know the right ones, Alyssa.” With that, she turned and limped away.

Alyssa watched her go, wondering what doors she’d have to choose between, and whether she’d choose any better than she had in the past.

 

 

Three doors down, Pete Hanlon watched the exchange between the two women with more than idle curiosity.

“Who are you keeping such a close eye on?” Mauricio, the majority owner in the gym where they stood, asked.

“Tom’s crazy matchmaker and Jane’s friend.”

“The blonde?” Mauricio strolled over to the plate glass window Pete stood in front of.

“Alyssa,” Pete supplied.

“Yeah, I kept forgetting her name at the wedding.”

Pete shook his head, amazed that anyone could forget anything about Alyssa Montgomery. She was intelligent, beautiful, and, on the rare occasion when she forgot she was pissed off at the world, had a smile that could make a man’s heart sing.

“Looks like she’s not taking Armani’s advice too well,” Mauricio noted.

“I’m not sure she takes anything well,” Pete murmured, remembering the icy glare she’d directed at him when he’d tried to pay her a compliment at the wedding.

“Jane must see something in her the rest of us don’t.” Shrugging, Mauricio walked away from the window as Armani limped away from Alyssa. “Besides, I heard she’s helping Brady out with something.”

“I thought Brady was chasing his lady love across the ocean.”

Mauricio raised an eyebrow.

“That’s what Jackson told me.”

Mauricio shook his head. “Somehow, I think that sounded way better coming out of his mouth than yours.”

“So what is Alyssa helping Brady out with if he’s not even in the country?”

“Not sure. I know he was in a spot with his boss and asked Tom for help and he suggested…” Mauricio’s eyes widened a little as the door to the gym swung open. “Her.”

The object of their discussion, and more than one of Pete’s dreams, stalked through the door. Blonde hair, killer cheekbones and a two-ton attitude in a size-eight body entered the space, her blue eyes sweeping over the surroundings, taking inventory.

“Alyssa, right?” Mauricio smiled. “It’s good to see you.”

Pete shook his head in amazement. A minute before his friend couldn’t remember her name, now he was welcoming her like she were an old friend.

“Hello, Mauricio.” Her demeanor might be chilly, but her voice, deep and sultry, set parts of Pete’s anatomy on fire.

“Welcome. I own this place,” Mauricio told her with an unmistakable note of pride.

Alyssa gave the place a cursory glance, seemingly unimpressed by his ownership.

“Was there something I can help you with?” Mauricio asked.

“I’d like to try it out.”

“Try it out?”

She narrowed her eyes at Mauricio as if trying to determine whether he was mocking her or just dim. “Give the place a test run before I invest in a membership.”

“Today?”

“Now.”

He nodded. “Okay. Let me just get a waiver for you to sign.” He walked away toward his office.

“How much?” she called after him.

He waved his hand dismissively, not even looking back at her. “Nada. You get the friends and family discount.”

Pete, watching her scowl at Mauricio’s back, said quietly, “You’ll insult him if you push it further.”

Blinking, she turned, seeming surprised he was there.

He bit back a groan as his ego absorbed that body slam.

She tilted her chin defiantly. “I’m not a friend or family member.”

“But you’re a friend of a friend. That’s enough for us.”

“Us?”

“Mauricio is the majority owner, but a few of his friends have an investment in this place.” Extending his hand, Pete moved toward her. “I’m Pete. We met at Tom and Jane’s wedding.”

Her gaze flicked from his outstretched hand to his face. “I remember.”

He didn’t move, waiting patiently for her to shake his hand.

Grudgingly, she slid her fingers against his.

Her handshake was like her, efficient and strong, but he was surprised to find it to be warm too. “It’s good to see you again,” Pete murmured holding onto her hand for half a beat too long, taking the handshake from a business transaction to a moment of personal intimacy.

He saw a flash of surprise in her blue eyes before she snatched her hand back.

He let her go, his smile widening with triumph. So there was a living, breathing woman beneath that icy armor she wore with pride. “So I hear you’re helping Tom out...”

Her gazed narrowed suspiciously. “How do you know that?”

“The friends-and-family grapevine. Tell one of us, and it’s only a matter of time until we all know it.”

“So you all gossip about each other like teenage girls?” Her demeanor was haughty and her tone accusatory.

He shrugged. “More like we look out for one another, help out if or when we can.”

“But I’m not friend or family.”

“You’re a friend of a friend, that’s good enough for us.” Smirking, he looked past her. “Right, Mauricio?”

“Don’t get me in the middle of thing between the two of you.”

“There is no ‘two of us,’” Alyssa corrected sharply.

Wordlessly, Mauricio held out the waiver and a pen.

BOOK: Catnapped! (A Matchmaker Mystery Book 3)
5.72Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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