As Hot as It Gets Page 1

Author: Elle Kennedy

Series: Out of Uniform #10

Genres: Romance

Chapter One

Mia Weldrick could think of a hundred better ways to spend a Saturday morning. Sleeping in, maybe. Eating breakfast at the diner across the street from her apartment. Jogging. Reading one of the gazillion unread books gathering dust on her shelf.

But she wasn’t doing any of those things. Nope, because she was too busy trying to find the cell phone she’d accidentally buried in Tom and Sarah Smith’s tulip bed yesterday.

“Oh, for the love of Hey-zeus,” she grumbled to herself. “Where are you, motherfucker?”

She desperately hoped her little brother Danny hadn’t gone back to sleep after she’d roused him and ordered him to start calling her phone in precisely twenty minutes. She was going to flip the f**k out if she lost all her contacts. Unlike smarter and more practical people, she didn’t have a backup list of passwords and phone numbers—everything was in her phone, which meant she couldn’t afford to lose it.

Stifling a sigh, Mia scooted over a few inches and lowered her head to the yellow tulips. A sweet flowery scent filled her nose, but no sound reached her ears.

Well, except for the loud throat clearing that suddenly echoed from behind her.

She swiveled her head and instantly spotted the source of the noise. He was obviously Tom and Sarah’s neighbor, judging by the rolled-up newspaper in his hand and the serious case of bedhead he was sporting.

“Everything okay, sugar?” he called out.

Oh boy. He had a Southern drawl. That upped his hotness factor by a million, though even without the accent the guy was a perfect ten. Messy light-brown hair, whiskey-colored eyes, a chiseled jawline. And his body wasn’t a pain to look at either—it was muscular but lean, long legs encased in faded blue denim and defined biceps poking out of a wrinkled white wifebeater.

“Not really,” she called in response. “Hey, you mind if I borrow your ears, sugar?”

He raised his dark eyebrows. “Beg your pardon?”

“Come over here and help me listen.”

The dumbfounded look he flashed her made her want to laugh. She knew she sounded like a total wacko, but she really could use his help. She had just a little over an hour to find her phone, go home to change and hightail it over to the sandwich shop where she worked on the weekends.

“Can I ask what we’re listening to?” her dark-haired stranger inquired when he reached her.

Mia tilted her head back in order to meet his gaze. “Jeez Louise,” she blurted out. “You’re ridiculously tall.”

Her stranger grinned. “Maybe you’re just ridiculously short.”

“I’m five-four. That’s average height.” Her forehead was starting to sweat, so she pulled off her baseball cap and shoved a strand of damp hair off her face. “How tall are you?” she asked curiously.


“Like I said, ridiculously tall. I’m talking to a giant. Do you play basketball?”

“Nope. Do you?”

“Sure, I shoot hoops every morning before work.”

“For real?”

A laugh flew out. “No, not for real. You actually believed me?”

Before he could answer, she gestured to the other side of the flowerbed. “Anyway, go over there. Tell me if you hear anything.”

To his credit, he didn’t question the command. He simply crossed the freshly mowed grass with long strides and knelt down in front of the flowers. “What am I supposed to be hearing?”

“Well, if my brother is repeatedly dialing my phone like I ordered him to, then you should be hearing the faint strains of A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’. I’m really into ’80s pop,” she said in a self-deprecating tone.

Her stranger eyed her for a moment, before understanding dawned in his gorgeous eyes.

“Wait a sec—you buried your phone in the dirt?”

Mia sighed. “Not on purpose. It must have slipped out of my pocket when I was planting yesterday. Hazard of the job.” She flopped down onto her knees. “Now, hush. I’d like to find my phone sometime this century. I drove all the way back here this morning and I have stuff to do today.”

From the corner of her eye, she saw his big body curling as he bent over the dirt. She had to give him credit—he was definitely being a good sport about this insanity.

And gosh, he was cute. She couldn’t stop taking peeks at him, so many peeks that she finally had to force herself to wrench her eyes away.

“Over here,” he called a minute later.

As relief flooded her body, Mia bounded over to him with a spade in hand. She started digging in the spot he indicated, then stuck her hand in the moist soil and felt around for the phone. Her fingers connected with something hard and solid, the vibrations accompanied by her ringtone tickling her palm.

She triumphantly pulled out the iPhone, brushed dirt off the screen protector, and glanced at her savior with utter delight. “Hells yeah! We did it!”

He seemed to be fighting a laugh, but she didn’t care how crazy or silly she sounded. He’d just saved her entire day with his assistance.

The phone was still blaring out her favorite ’80s song with her brother’s number flashing on the screen, so she quickly answered the call.

“Hey, Danny, it’s me. I found it.”

Irritation laced her brother’s voice. “I’m so happy for you, dum-dum. Can I go back to sleep now?”

“Call me a dum-dum again and I won’t bring home any breakfast.”

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