Book Excerpt

"The Tycoon and The Townie"

by Elizabeth Lane

Excerpt from "The Tycoon and The Townie"

“Excuse me, but is my nose on straight?”

The raspy-cello voice was so sensual that for an instant Jefferson Parrish III thought he must still be dreaming. Lulled by cool Atlantic breezes, he had dozed off in one of the big Adirondack chairs on the open verandah, only to be startled awake by this libido-tickling Greta Garbo voice.

A voice that appeared to be coming from a clown.

“What the devil…?” Jeff blinked himself fully awake, expecting the clown to vaporize. No such luck.

“I need to make sure my nose is on straight. I bumped it getting out of the Jeep. Quick—take a look!”

Too startled to argue, Jeff did as he was told. The clown was certainly no Bozo, he observed. Or Ronald McDonald, either. Short and pudgy in a tie-dyed, padded suit and ragged purple wig, she couldn’t have stretched over five foot three. White greasepaint and a round, red, rubber nose hid whatever features she might possess—except for her eyes. Surrounded by painted circles, they blazed like oversize twin aquamarines.

Fine and dandy, Jeff groused, easing out of the chair and stretching to his husky six-foot height. But unless some ragtag circus had come to Misty Point, North Carolina, he still had no idea why this dumpy-looking little clown would be standing on his verandah in the middle of an ordinary July afternoon.

“Well?” the hypnotic voice demanded.

Jeff ran an impatient hand through his wiry thatch of prematurely graying hair. “Yes, your nose is on straight. Now, would you mind telling me what the hell you’re doing here?”.

She appeared startled, though it was hard to tell beneath all that paint. “Uh—you are Mr. Jefferson Parrish, aren’t you?” she asked.

“Yes,” Jeff snapped, none too graciously.

“Then you should be expecting me. My agency sent me. I’m Jo-Jo.”

The look he gave her was as blank as his mind.

“The clown you hired for your daughter, Ellen’s, birthday party.”

“The party—oh, blast…” Jeff remembered dimly that his mother had said something about hiring a party clown, but until this moment, he’d forgotten all about it. That, or he was still asleep, and having this bizarre dream….

“I’m sorry,” he muttered. “And yes, you are expected.”

“Fine. So, where’s the party?”

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