Body Heat – The Simply Series Book 4 by Carly Phillips

Body Heat
The Simply Series Book 5
USA Today Bestselling Author
Carly Phillips


NYC summer days are hot. Nights are even hotter…

Not much has stirred Detective Jake Lowell’s interest since a perp put a bullet in his shoulder, killed his partner, then walked on a technicality. Until an sexy waitress at a tiny neighborhood café catches his eye.

Physical therapy is the last thing on Jake’s want-to-do list, but he needs it to get back on the street and track down the killer. But what’s a guy to do when he meets his new PT—and it’s his smoking hot café angel?

Working two jobs, Brianne Nelson never expected to do more than fantasize about Mr. Tall, Tanned & Gorgeous. But when her new private PT client turns out to be the man who fuels her fantasies, she realizes she’s going to be seeing a lot more of him—in the flesh—than she bargained for.

It’s not long before skin-on-skin contact turns into a hot summer fling. But the killer Jake is after isn’t going down without a fight and more than their hearts could get caught in the crossfire…

This title was originally published in 2006 by Harlequin Blaze. It appears here in its original glory, without substantial revision.

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Detective Jake Lowell injured his shoulder in a set up that killed his partner, unfortunately the perp got off on a technicality and now he wants to make it right. He wants an extended leave to gather information to recapture the man, so he’s been telling everyone he doesn’t need physical therapy.

His sister Rina is a recent widow and Jake meets her at least once a week for dinner and drinks The Sidewalk Café. This particular day she’s late, and he indulges in his favorite pastime watching the beautiful waitress. He should ask her out, but he doesn’t want to ruin the fantasy he’s build around her.

When Rina finally arrives, she again gets on him about physical therapy before dropping the bomb that she’s going away for the summer and needs him to stay at her penthouse to take care of her dog Norton. She also has another surprise in store for him on the day she leaves.

Brianne Nelson is the waitress Luke goes to the café to watch. The waitressing is her second job, the one she needed to keep her gifted brother in private school and then on to college. Her brother would be starting Sanford in the fall and Brianne would love to move to the west coast to be close to him. It’s just not an easy thing to do.

Her profession is as a physical therapist and Rina has hired her to get her brother ready to return to work. She also offered her a room in her penthouse for the summer and a salary that will guarantee she can move west to be near her brother. The thing is Rina didn’t tell her brother. Oh, and from seeing them in the cafe she thinks Jake is her boyfriend.

This is a favorite scene.

When she remained silent, he groaned and dropped his hand. “Okay, let’s back up and try this again. I didn’t know Rina was expecting company. Hell, I didn’t know you and Rina even knew each other.”

Without his touch, she was able to focus a little more. “We met last week. And Rina’s not expecting me exactly, her brother is.”

He raised an eyebrow in definite surprise. “He is?”

“I assume so. Rina said she’d let him know I’d be coming. I’m Brianne Nelson.” Good manners dictated she extend her hand for a greeting. Self-preservation demanded she never touch him again. Considering he still stood in a towel and nothing more, Brianne figured she’d be forgiven for her lapse in social graces.

“Brianne,” he murmured. Her name seemed to roll off his tongue. “Beautiful. It suits you.”

“Thank you.”

He nodded. “So tell me, why do you think Rina’s brother is expecting you?”

Brianne narrowed her eyes. Wouldn’t Rina have mentioned she’d hired someone as her brother’s physical therapist? Or was their relationship so shallow, they didn’t discuss anything of emotional importance? Somehow, she didn’t think so. Brianne had sensed a depth to Rina, an innate sense of decency and caring. Much as Brianne would have enjoyed disliking the other woman, she just couldn’t, which suddenly made this conversation even stranger than it already was.

She opted for minimal explanation. “I’m a physical therapist.” She didn’t like the speculative gleam that came into his eye.

“I thought you were a waitress.”

Belatedly, she realized she knew no more about him than when she’d walked in, and she disliked being at a disadvantage. “You know, this has become a very lopsided conversation. You know my name and occupations, but I know nothing about you.”

“You know how I look fresh out of a shower,” he said with a grin. “And that’s an awful lot more than I know about you.” He seared her with his deep eyes and a meaningful glance.

“That isn’t what I meant.”

He shook his head and laughed. “Sorry. Let’s start over.”

“We tried that already.” She folded her arms across her chest—to cover her body’s reaction to his heated stare and to ease the slow-building ache in her breasts.

“Then, let’s do it till we get it right.” He extended his hand.

In his eyes, she saw a definite challenge, as if he knew how much his touch affected her and dared her to grasp his hand, anyway. She had grown up with a younger brother and had learned to never back down from a dare. She steeled herself and placed her hand inside his.

“Jake Lowell,” he said. “Nice to meet you, Brianne.” He curled his large fingers around her smaller hand. Although she thought she’d been prepared, the connection between them was strong and sure—heated in a distinctly physical way and warm in a purely seductive one.

Without warning, his words registered; Rina had mentioned her brother’s name. Brianne took a shocked step back. “Jake Lowell? You mean to tell me you’re the one who needs therapy?” He grinned, and the air left her lungs in a rush. “You’re Rina’s brother?” she managed to ask.

“I’m Rina’s brother, in the flesh.”

His grin grew wider. Her gaze fell from his smile to the towel tucked in so that it looked about to fall open at the slightest provocation. She had no doubt that what lay beneath that towel was as incredible as the rest of him. She swallowed hard.

He wasn’t Rina’s boyfriend. He was Brianne’s fantasy man. And she was his very own physical therapist, for as long as it took to both convince him to accept her help and bring him to full recovery. Fainting sounded good about now.

“And you’re the surprise gift Rina said she’d leave for me while she was gone.”

“Gone?” He’d mentioned something about a limo earlier, and Brianne’s mouth grew dry.

“To Europe for the summer.”

“You have got to be kidding.”

He shook his head, looking more amused than she’d have liked. More of his earlier words came back to her. “You said she’s gone and I’m the surprise gift?”

“Apparently so.”

“What the hell do you mean I’m a gift?” Anger and betrayal oozed inside her, and seemed destined to grow. “Physical therapy isn’t a gift; it’s a necessity.” And Rina had seemed to understand that.

She’d cared about her injured brother and wanted to speed his recovery despite his reticence, something Brianne could relate to. Her brother Marc had been a frail child, prone to illness and broken bones. Their parents hadn’t appreciated having their extreme fun curtailed, and often had to hire a private physical therapist to rush his recovery.

Brianne had been fascinated by the seemingly magical healing powers the therapists had possessed, prompting her to follow in their footsteps. And though Marc had eventually outgrown his childhood weaknesses, Brianne had never forgotten. Hence her desire to work with kids at the Special Kid Ranch, a place where she could heal children while they remained with their families.

Family. The word brought her back to Rina’s ploy. Fury settled inside Brianne, and she felt as if she’d been punched in the stomach. She curled one arm around her waist for support. “Why in the world would she play this kind of game?” Brianne asked aloud, anger simmering.

“Oh, I can venture a guess.”

He gestured back and forth between the two of them, and Brianne slapped her hand against her thigh and whirled around, starting for the door. Then she turned back again, not one to leave without letting her feelings be known. “Let me tell you something. I resent being taken advantage of. I take my job and my skills seriously. I’m not interested in some sort of matchmaking scheme.” At least, that’s what her mind insisted. Her rapidly beating heart begged to differ.

“Knowing Rina, it could very well be a scheme.”

He stepped closer again, so close she felt his body heat.

“I wish you would stop doing that.”

“How else can I prove you wrong?” His hand touched the pulse point in her throat, and she knew he felt it beating rapidly.

“Wrong about what?” she asked.

“You are interested.” His voice dropped a seductive note.

“I’m about as interested as you are in need of therapy.” She wondered briefly if he was involved in his sister’s game, but his shock at seeing her here seemed so real, she dismissed the notion. She might not be able to blame him, but she was furious just the same.

“Then, I guess we have something in common.” He reached for the corner of the towel hanging over his neck.

“What are you doing?”

“Making a point. See this?” Before she could argue or stop him, he lifted the towel high enough to reveal fading bruises across his powerful chest. “It was injured and my mobility’s limited…” he lifted his arm, squinting as he moved, stopping obviously because of pain and an inability to go farther, “which means I am in need of physical therapy. So by your own admission, that means you, Brianne, are most definitely interested. In me.”

She opened her mouth, then closed it again, her thoughts reeling, her heart pounding. He’d been injured, and she couldn’t believe how knowing that affected her. She wanted to comfort him. To heal him. To make him all better.

She didn’t want to pull her gaze from the faint bruising on his chest and shoulder, but dropped her eyes only to find herself focused on the towel barely covering his waist. Obviously he was serious, and Brianne forced her mind to the task at hand. She needed the money his sister had offered too much to walk away.

If she saw this job through to the end, she could afford to move west, even if she didn’t get offered a job at the Ranch just yet. Working with Jake posed a challenge, but she’d never been a quitter, not even at the roughest, most exhausting points in her life. So what if she’d been manipulated into this job?

She pushed aside the hurt and anger and even managed to swallow some pride. He hadn’t set her up; his sister had. But the benefits would be all hers in the long run, and that’s all that mattered. She’d continue as planned, take this job, move into this apartment and rehabilitate this man’s shoulder.

Oh Lord, what had she gotten herself into?
Carly Phillips. Body Heat (Kindle Locations 351-422). CP Publishing. Kindle Edition.

While Jake does give in to the therapy, there is also the intense attraction between them. I love the banter between these two, and the antics of Norton the dog too.

This is a fun and suspenseful read with plenty of sizzle.

5 Contented Purrs for Carly!

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Carly Phillips

Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels featuring hot men, strong women and the emotionally compelling stories her readers have come to expect and love.

Carly’s career spans over a decade and a half with various New York publishing houses, and she is now an Indie author who runs her own business and loves every exciting minute of her publishing journey. Carly is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs (two wheaten terriers and one mutant Havanese) who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.

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