Dressed to Drill

Chapter 1 continued

Read the beginning of the excerpt here

In the car on the way back to the hotel, Eric said, “I wish you hadn’t told all those people about the church project.”

“Why not?” I asked.

Chloe rolled down the window to let in the clean warm breeze. “You think it’s a problem?”

He frowned. “I think the less said about future plans, the better.”

“Are you being paranoid?” I asked.

“Of course he is,” Chloe said. “He’s a cop. He’s got a suspicious mind.”

“You’re darn right I do,” he said. “For good reason. There were eighteen people in that lunchroom and they all heard about the new church project. These days, it’s just not safe to let people know your business.”

“But it’s not like she announced it on the show or on Facebook,” Chloe argued. “My staff and crew are the only ones who heard us talking and they’re all trustworthy.”

“Not everyone is trustworthy,” he insisted. “All it takes is one word whispered to the wrong person, and all hell can break loose.”

Chloe elbowed him. “You’re such a cop.”

But Eric’s words reminded me that Chloe’s former director and some of her staff had come up to Lighthouse Cove to film the makeover of one of our beautiful old Victorian homes a couple years ago. They definitely were not all that trustworthy. In fact, a few of them were downright awful, and Chloe’s life was threatened several times.

I shook off those memories because they had nothing to do with our current situation. “Even if the news does get around, it’s just a construction job. On a church. And it’s hundreds of miles away from here. Do you really think it’s a problem?”

He frowned. “It’s a dangerous world out there. And you are two beautiful women. People notice.” He shook his head. “Look, it’s probably nothing, guys. Don’t mind me.”

Chloe stared at him. “What’s going on? Did you get some kind of a vibe back there?”

He narrowed his eyes. “I’m a cop, Chloe. I don’t get vibes.”

“Fine,” she said with a laugh. “Let’s call it your Spidey sense.”

He thought for a moment, then nodded. “I’m okay with that.”

The rest of us laughed, then Eric met my gaze in the rearview mirror. “Look, I shouldn’t have said anything, mainly because I don’t want you guys to worry about it. But generally, you shouldn’t say so much about your personal plans in public places.”


Back in our hotel room, Mac and I dressed for the evening. And I mean, dressed. We were attending the world premiere of Mac’s new movie, and we were going formal. Like, red carpet formal. The film company had put us up in a beautiful hotel suite in the hills with a view of the ocean. It was totally amazing.

I stared at the full-length mirror and wondered for a minute who that person was looking back at me. She had red hair and lots of curls, so it had to be me, because nobody I knew had that huge mop of hair. Except me. But, wow, I looked pretty good.

I had pulled some of my hair back and caught it in two silver barrettes. The rest of it curled down over my shoulders and down my back. And I was wearing makeup. Not like the stuff I’d worn for the camera on Chloe’s show. This was subtle and smoky.

The dress was stunning, and yes, I had borrowed it from Chloe, who lived in Hollywood and went to events like this all the time. She had formal dresses to spare so we picked one out that was perfect for me. It was the color of pewter with a hint of pink, and it sparkled with sequins. I felt sexy and glamorous, a feeling that didn’t come over me too often, mainly because I worked in construction. Denim jeans, heavy boots, and a tool belt were about as provocative as I got.

The neckline of the dress was off the shoulder with the tiniest cap sleeves, which I loved. It fit me like a glove all the way down my torso, then it loosened up enough to make it easy to walk in, thank goodness. The front of the dress was slit halfway up my thigh. It was ridiculously sexy.

Mac, who had attended these premieres every time a book of his was made into a movie, seemed to appreciate the way I looked—if his being rendered speechless was any indication. He opened his mouth, but no words came out. Then he blinked several times and I thought maybe he was stroking out. Finally he whispered, “Wow.”

“Same to you,” I said, smiling. The man had really nailed the James Bond Casino Royale tuxedo look.

He approached me slowly from across the room, like a panther on the prowl. “You take my breath away.”

I held out my arms. “Come here.”

With care, he pulled me close and whispered, “We don’t have to go to the movie.”

“It’s tempting,” I said, “but there’s no way I’m missing that movie.”

I could hear his laugh as he buried his face in my shoulder. “I had a feeling you’d say that.”

I wrapped my arms around him, and we stood like that for a long minute. “I happen to know that you’re dying to see it, too.”

“I can think of a few other things I’m dying to do.”

Then he kissed my neck, and then my jaw, and then my cheek, and then he stepped back. “Well, since we’re all dressed up anyway, we might as well go to the movies.”

I smiled. “As dumb as it sounds, I’d also really like to walk with you on the red carpet.”

“Then that’s what we’ll do.”

“I think it’ll be memorable, don’t you? Even though nobody will know who I am.”

“Believe me, Irish, that’s a good thing.” For one brief second his eyes clouded, then he smiled and tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. “Let’s go.”

© Kate Carlisle