Excerpt: Once Upon a Jinx
Once Upon a Jinx
This book includes the original version, Jinxed, as well as the updated version, Once Upon a Jinx, which contains lots of new content. Prefer the original in all its infamous glory? It’s there! Or enjoy the new and improved story!
A thick cloud of purple powder wafted out from under the door of the Testing and Research Department of The Toy Company and spun in lazy circles before settling like a gentle blanket onto the pristine, cream-colored carpet. The door thumped open, releasing a huge cloud of the brightly colored powder, along with two people coated from head to foot in the dust.
“You idiot,” Kit repeated, glaring at her assistant.
Why? Why did this always happen to her? Her entire life people had told her she’d been born under an unlucky star. Well, here was more proof. She whipped off a pair of goggles, exposing two round circles of white skin, and threw them down, choking on the mushroom cloud of powder billowing from the carpet.
It took her three tries to clear her throat enough to speak. “How could you be so clumsy?” she demanded.
Todd hunched his thin shoulders. Tall and gangly, he epitomized the stereotypical “science geek” image. “I said I was sorry, Kit. What do you want, blood? It was an accident. I was thirsty and the water just spilled.”
“Into both the ammonium nitrate and ammonium chloride?” Sarcasm laced the question. “How is that possible, Todd? The compounds would have had to be already mixed with the zinc and iodine to get that sort of reaction.”
He shoved a lock of once-black hair off his brow, leaving a florid streak across his forehead. “That’s gratitude for you! I was trying to do you a favor. Just trying to be helpful by having the chemicals premixed and all ready to go. But do you appreciate it? Oh, no, of course not.”
Kit squeezed her eyes shut for a brief moment, seeing again the water hitting the chemicals and the resulting cloud of dense, billowing purple smoke rising to swallow them. “Why in the world did you have to make it in such a large quantity?” She issued the question through gritted teeth—gritty, gritted teeth. She didn’t have a single doubt her smile would be as purple as the rest of her. “We only needed a tenth of what you prepared, if that.”
At Todd’s silent shrug, Kit surveyed the filthy hallway and formerly cream carpet and then looked through the open door of Testing to see the powder settling over the once spotless interior. “Damnation! What a disaster. St. Clair is going to throw a fit if he gets wind of it. Just who do you think is going to clean that mess?”
“Precisely what I was about to ask,” a deep voice broke in. “I’m afraid St. Clair has gotten wind of your little fiasco. Literally.”
In unison, Todd and Kit turned, their mouths dropping open at the sight of the president and CEO of The Toy Company. She groaned, swearing beneath her breath. Why? By everything holy, why? Just once, even just once in a blue moon, could she pretty, pretty please experience a little good luck instead of an unending run of bad?
A cold smile played about Stephen St. Clair’s well-formed mouth, a smile that didn’t begin to touch the wintry expression in his startling blue eyes. A smile that revealed a distinct lack of appreciation for the light dusting of violet clinging to his lashes and to the burnished gold of his hair. A smile that caused layers of powder to settle into the deep creases of his rugged face. Nor did the damage stop there. Kit’s gaze drifted downward over impressive shoulders and an equally impressive body, all encased in an impeccably tailored suit. She somehow doubted the suit began the day colored such a virulent shade of purple.
“I was interested in the experiment, so I entered Testing through the other door.” Long, muscular arms folded across a broad chest, the movement causing powder to waft serenely away from his large body. “And guess what happened?”
Okay, not only bad luck, but bad luck with St. Clair as a witness. Guaran-frigging-teed, the moment something went awry, Mr. Über-Boss appeared, his slightly crooked nose flaring in disdain, his mouth curled into a mocking half smile, his frosty gaze slicing through her.
“Mr. St. Clair, I’m really sorry,” Kit began. “We were trying to improve the magician’s package and—”
“And I presume, Ms. Mallory, you did your customary fine job and made a royal mess of things,” he cut in, his gaze sweeping over her. “As usual.”
A tiny jolt shot through Kit’s body, the touch of Stephen’s stare creating an actual physical sensation. It had been like that from day one. The minute they’d been introduced by Miss Dobson, the head of personnel, Kit had experienced an intense awareness, one which had grown stronger each day for the past six months.
She’d begun to suspect the odd electricity between them added to her overall problems. She’d become self-conscious at work, jumpy at the idea he might appear at any moment. And he watched her with hawk-like vigilance, the predator eyeing the prey, streaking toward the helpless mouse with talons outstretched.
She shivered, forcing the image aside. “Again, I apologize, Mr. St. Clair. We’ll get everything cleaned up within the hour.”
She’d failed to pacify him. “You know, Ms. Mallory, everyone has insisted, despite these—” he waved a long-fingered hand toward Testing “—these incidents, that you’re quite an asset to the company. I must admit I was somewhat skeptical before. Now I flat-out don’t believe it.”
“If you’d let me explain—”
“Certainly. You have ten minutes to be in my office with your explanation. I’ll be interested to hear why you shouldn’t be fired on the spot.” With that, he turned and stalked toward the bank of elevators, little swirls of dust spinning out behind him. There he turned back to survey the silent duo, a small cloud of regal purple settling at his feet like a prince’s robe. “I suggest, Mr. Templeton, you start cleaning up this disaster. Immediately.”
The elevator doors closed behind St. Clair and Todd sighed. “I can’t believe our bad luck.”
“Well, believe it,” Kit retorted. Not only did she believe in bad luck. She’d had to live with it her entire life. “I have precisely ten minutes in which to clean this powder off me and get up to the penthouse. I don’t suppose you have any suggestions about what I can change into? I don’t dare track this stuff all through the building.” She brushed at her slacks and lab coat. Powder once again filled the air, causing her to sneeze repeatedly.
“Would you cut that out!” He released a sigh and throttled back. “You hit the showers first and I’ll lend you my spare set of coveralls. I have jeans and a T-shirt I can use in my car.”
“You must be kidding. You’re what…? Six foot three?”
“A full foot taller than me. I’ll look ludicrous.”
“You’d look a darn sight more ludicrous running around in your altogether.” He grinned, revealing shiny purple teeth she didn’t doubt matched her own. “Although considering St. Clair’s temper, that might not be a bad idea.”
“Might not be a bad idea? Have you lost—”
She bit off the rest of her remark. What was the point? Getting into an argument with Todd wouldn’t solve anything. Reining in her temper, she spun on her heel and headed for the bathroom, leaving a trail of purple in her wake. Once there, she stripped down with methodical precision and stepped beneath the shower head in the postage stamp size stall.
St. Clair was a giant iceberg from one end of his gorgeous, masculine body to the other. From his superintellectual brain to his hard, frozen heart, right down to his tippytoes, the man was pure ice. Why, she could probably dance naked on his desk and he wouldn’t turn a hair, just tell her in that snooty tone to stop wasting his time and get back to work. Assuming she still had a job.
She twisted the knob of the faucet. Freezing water cascaded onto her and she howled her displeasure. Naturally. What does an Iceman need with hot water? It might thaw him out a bit. She thrust her head under the frigid water, yanking at the braided strands of her normally honey-blond hair. Huge pools of swirling purple gathered around her feet and she groped for the soap to lather her head. At long last the hot water heater kicked in and she sighed in relief. Not that her relief lasted long.
She paused, her hands sunk deep in her sudsy scalp. Dear heaven, she could actually be fired. After only six months on the job, she could be back out on the streets searching for another position. And with the reference St. Clair was likely to give her—or not give her—it would be a long search. She rinsed her hair while her brain raced along.
And all because she was a woman. Of course, nothing had actually been said and Stephen would deny it if ever accused of discrimination. But she knew. The moment they’d first been introduced and shook hands, his expression had given him away. She’d caught the shock blazing in his eyes, along with a flash of anger, swiftly replaced by that cold, remote façade of his.
Kit’s brow wrinkled in confusion. Why in the world did Miss Dobson appoint a woman as head of The Toy Company’s Testing and Research Department when Stephen St. Clair so clearly preferred a man for the job? True, Miss Dobson was rather… Kit smiled fondly. Well, Miss Dobson did tend to be a wee bit absentminded. Her smile turned to a grin. All right, to be honest, Miss Dobson was very absentminded. Even so, that didn’t explain an obvious case of crossed wires between the president and CEO of the company and the head of personnel.
Kit’s hands moved over her body, soaping away purple powder that had managed to find its way into the most interesting spots. And now, here she was, in trouble again for another minor disaster. How could it be that, in the space of a few short months, a reasonably intelligent mature woman of twenty-eight could be instantly reduced to a klutz every single time St. Clair came anywhere near her? Kit shook her head in annoyance, giving her body a final rinse before turning off the steady spray of water.
Stepping out of the tiny cubicle, she grabbed a large, fluffy towel, thoughtfully provided by the company, and squeezed the moisture from the long strands of her hair. There wasn’t time to dry it, but if she toweled most of the water out and rebraided it, it should pass muster. After checking to make sure she’d rinsed all the purple from her face and teeth, she rubbed herself dry.
“Are you going to be all day?” a masculine voice bellowed. “You’ve got exactly two minutes and counting to be upstairs.”
“Great!” she shouted back. “Should I go up wrapped in a damp towel? I thought you promised me something to wear.”
“Got it right here, boss lady.” She caught the teasing leer in Todd’s voice. “Want me to bring it in?”
“Only if you’d like a cold shower—with your clothes on.”
His laughter echoed through the tiled dressing room. “I’ll just leave it out here for you. Don’t be too long. I think this purple stuff is beginning to give my skin a permanent tint.”
Kit scooped up her discarded clothing, eyeing them with disfavor. Even her underclothes hadn’t escaped contamination. She shoved her slacks, blouse, and lab coat into a plastic trash bag she found under the sink and rinsed her lacy bra and bikini briefs in the basin, hoping the thin material would dry by the time she concluded her interview with St. Clair.
Exiting to the dressing room she found the coveralls Todd had left for her. Her mouth curved upward in amusement. On Todd’s seventy-five inch frame, the denim coverall, a one piece, long-sleeved outfit, fit very nicely. On her sixty-four inch frame the result would be laughable, to say the least. Still… She cocked her head consideringly. The excessive amount of material, in a very masculine chocolate brown, should help conceal her lack of underclothes.
At least she hoped it would. She climbed into the coverall, pulled the zipper up the front of the coverall, and frowned. Unfortunately the zip didn’t extend all the way up, ending at least five inches too low on her chest, exposing a great deal of creamy skin from her throat down to the deep valley between her breasts, breasts noticeably unhindered by any type of undergarment. She removed Todd’s large name tag from the pocket of the coveralls and inserting the heavy pin just above the thrust of her breasts.
There, that should do it. Satisfied, she rolled up the dark brown sleeves and bent to do the same with the cuffs. It wouldn’t do to trip and break her leg. All the while she could practically hear the remaining minutes St. Clair had allotted ticking away. A final check to make sure her braid was neat and Kit hurried from the small dressing area, making a beeline for the elevators.
A hesitant voice halted her headlong flight. “Kathy? A moment, if you please.”
Kit sighed and turned to face the head of personnel, silently cursing the fates determined to keep her from reaching her employer’s office within the stipulated ten minutes. She smiled at the sweet, diminutive lady who stood before her with the usual bundle of files tucked beneath her arm. At a guess, the head of personnel passed the age of retirement long ago, not that her age had any noticeable effect on her abilities. Miss Dobson—she’d stressed at the initial interview it was “Miss,” not “Ms.”—seemed to possess an uncanny instinct for matching the right person with the right job. The employees of The Toy Company regarded her with fond amusement for both her overall forgetfulness and the peculiar way she seemed to pop in and out of places at the oddest moments.
“It’s Kit, Miss Dobson, not Kathy,” she corrected gently. “Did you need me for something?”
“Indeed I do. They’ve moved Mr. Jenkins’s office again,” Miss Dobson declared, practically dancing with righteous indignation. “How they expect a body to find their way around this place when they keep moving everything about is beyond comprehension.” Her twinkling blue eyes peered at Kit over wire-rimmed glasses perched on the end of what could only be called an inquisitive nose. “I don’t suppose you know where they’ve put him this time, do you?” she asked hopefully.
Kit forced back a laugh. Mr. Jenkins had occupied the same office for the past five years, but she didn’t want to do or say anything to offend the woman. Well, she was already late. What was another few minutes? “I can help you with that,” she offered, adding kindly, “Why don’t I take you there myself?”
“Thank you so much,” Miss Dobson said in relief. “And how are you settling down, Karen? Do you like our little company?” Her movements were swift and darting, her delicate frame never still, reminding Kit of the hummingbirds who visited her feeder on a daily basis. “We do want our employees to be happy here.”
“Yes, Miss Dobson,” Kit replied. She didn’t dare confess to her one reservation, a reservation which took the form of the large and intimidating president and CEO of the company. “I like it very much.”
“No problems, dear?” Miss Dobson asked delicately. She tucked a floating wisp of white hair behind one ear and tilted her head to one side. “Sometimes when we try a little too hard, we find ourselves making a bit of a mess of things.” Her bright blue eyes widened in distress behind the gleam of her lenses and she stilled for an instant before resuming in a nervous frenzy of movement. “Not that you’d ever make a mess of things,” she hastened to add, a tiny hand fluttering in the air. “But sometimes…”
Kit shut her eyes, suppressing a groan of exasperation. If the absentminded Miss Dobson had heard of the incident in Testing, then the whole office complex must be talking about it. “Everything’s fine, Miss Dobson.” She attempted to dismiss the subject with a measure of calm. “I can handle it.”
“Well, if you say so,” Miss Dobson murmured, a hint of doubt creeping into her voice.
Kit’s lips twitched with reluctant humor. Her ego already felt bruised and battered. Now it had taken another ding and she still had more to come from St. Clair. Oh, well. She’d manage to survive the experience. Somehow. “I say so.” She made the statement both quiet and firm. She’d missed her ten minute deadline long ago. No doubt St. Clair would make her pay for that, but she refused to leave until Miss Dobson had been adequately provided for. “Mr. Jenkins’s office is the next door on the left. Is there anything else I can help you with before I go?”
“You’ve been a dear girl to put up with my bumbling ways.”
Kit glanced down, some slight change in the older woman’s voice capturing her attention. To her surprise a sudden sharpness appeared in Miss Dobson’s eyes.
“Don’t let Stephen bully you too much, Kit. You stand right up to him if he tries.” A knowing smile slipped across her face. “Of course, I wouldn’t have hired you if I hadn’t been certain you were the perfect one for him.”
Kit stared for a moment, speechless. “You mean perfect for the job, don’t you?” she finally managed to say.
Miss Dobson’s blue eyes twinkled from behind the gleam of her spectacles. “Of course, dear. Isn’t that what I said?” And with that she turned in the opposite direction from Mr. Jenkins’ office and disappeared down the hallway, leaving a bewildered Kit blinking in her wake.
* * *
You’re late! You’re late! You’re late! She rushed into St. Clair’s outer office, the refrain echoing through her brain. A quick glance around the silent room filled her with dismay. No executive assistant. No boss man. Now what? She glanced at the door leading to his private sanctum. It stood ajar. For her? Without further thought, she crossed the room and entered his office.
A small sound from the far side of the room caught her attention and she approached a second door, one fully open. A split-second later, she realized two vital facts. First, the second door led to a large, luxurious bathroom, and second, she’d made a serious tactical error in not knocking before entering.
Stephen St. Clair stood within the embrace of a huge, natural stone shower stall, separated from the rest of the bathroom by a curved wall of glass bricks. Though the rippled glass prevented her from seeing him in exact detail, she saw enough to realize he possessed an athlete’s physique with wide shoulders and well-muscled arms, narrow hips, and strong, powerful legs. He stood with his back to her, one hand braced against the wall while water cascaded over him, shooting from multiple jet heads.
She must have made some sound that alerted him to her presence. No doubt that little mouse squeak of shock—okay, and serious appreciation—she’d been unable to contain. Forcing her legs to move, she took a stumbling step backward. But she’d lingered a millisecond too long. He turned and she caught his growl of fury that had her backpedaling even faster. She also caught a glimpse of parts of her boss she had no business glimpsing.
“Son of a bitch!” he roared.
To her utter shock, he emerged from around the glass wall of the shower stall like Neptune emerging from the sea. All he needed was a crown and trident to complete the picture, though the one trident he’d been gifted with by nature would have made Neptune’s wife a very happy woman. He started toward her, water streaming from his godlike body, fully revealed in all his—oh dear Lord—very impressive glory. She didn’t know whether to shout “Hallelujah” and rip off her own clothes or turn tail and run.
“Is it your intention to stand there all day indulging your voyeuristic tendencies?” He was so angry it was a wonder his body didn’t instantly steam itself dry. “Get the hell out of my private office and knock like any civilized person would have.”
“I’m sorry! I didn’t realize—”
He didn’t wait for her explanation, but slammed the bathroom door closed in her face. She almost fell over backward in her haste to escape to the outer office, more relieved than she could express that St. Clair’s assistant hadn’t returned to witness Kit’s latest humiliation. She closed the door leading to his office and leaned her forehead against the cool surface in an agony of embarrassment. Why? Why? Why? It wasn’t fair. It never failed that he brought out the worst in her. Or that her bad luck always turned into worse luck around him. Just once she’d like to show him she was good—really good—at her job, instead of the total screw-up he thought her to be.
But dear God, he was beautiful. The single thought crystallized in her mind. He was also an irresistibly delicious temptation. Like the perfect sundae with mounds of whipped cream drizzled in hot fudge, a couple scoops of nuts, and a big, fat cherry on top. Yum. She could picture him just like that, scooped out on a bed of silk, covered in…well…nothing. After all, you couldn’t top perfection. You just consumed it bite by delicious bite.
She stiffened, her irreverent thoughts confusing her. Envisioning her boss in those terms guaranteed a fast trip to the unemployment office. Still… She caught her lower lip between her teeth. She doubted she’d ever be able to look at St. Clair the same way ever again. Heck, she doubted she’d ever be able to look him in the eye without turning six shades of red. Or drooling.
Someone had been generous on the day he’d been creating, blessing him with the face of a fallen angel and the physique of a medieval warrior. He was nearly Todd’s height, but built on a far more imposing scale.
How was it possible that this Iceman—always careful to display such rigid perfection in his elegant three-piece suits and tasteful ties—could have such a sensuous body, with taut golden skin and a beguiling play of firm muscles just begging to be touched and caressed. His shoulders were huge, as were the ropes of muscles along his arms and spanning his chest. And what a chest. Crisp, light brown hair furred the expanse, bumping downward over a kegger’s worth of six packs to some highly impressive equipment. As loath as she was to admit it, she’d never seen anything quite like it. Or anything quite like him.
She sagged against the door, a hint of a smile curling her mouth. And wouldn’t he be shocked to the core of his frigid little heart if he could read her mind right now?
Of course, he had to open the door just then. And naturally, Kit fumed, he caught her grinning like an idiot right before she tumbled against his broad, once again impeccably groomed chest. Though now that she knew what he kept hidden beneath those suits, they really didn’t do him justice. She struggled to pull herself free of his arms and took a hasty step backward, cringing at his stormy expression.
“Please, enlighten me. Is it just me or are you like this with everyone you meet?” St. Clair demanded.
Good. Yell at her. At least then she wouldn’t think about him naked. And darn it, there he was, dancing through her head in all his glorious wherewithal. She closed her eyes, struggling to stuff the image into the deepest, darkest recesses of her mind. Not an easy feat, but she managed. Next, she forced herself to focus on his question and nothing else. Not showers. Not bare-assed bosses. Not Neptune. And certainly not tridents.
“No, I’m not like this with everyone,” she retorted. It occurred to her there could, just possibly, be a grain of truth in his words and sighed. “At least I don’t think so,” she added with painful honesty.
“Which is it?” He folded his arms across his chest, pulling the pale blue silk taut across his shoulders. For the first time, a spark of amusement warmed his eyes, turning them to a brilliant sapphire. “Or should I say isn’t it—everyone or just me?”
Please don’t smile at me, she almost said. She didn’t think she could handle it if he laughed at her—or even with her. She lifted her chin and attempted to present a dignified, professional front. Unfortunately the effect wasn’t quite what she might have wished, considering her small stature and the droopy fit of the oversized coveralls. “Let’s just say you haven’t seen me at my best.”
“I’m relieved to hear it.” He grimaced. “I think.”
Her temper flared and she struggled to control it. “For some reason, it’s only when you’re around that things go wrong.”
Stephen shook his head. “I see. So now it’s all my fault you can’t get through a day without disaster striking.” Striding over to his desk, he picked up a tablet computer and swept his finger across the surface. “I think that’s open to debate.”
“That’s not what I—”
“Let me see. I believe I can find something in here to dispute that. Ah, yes.” He speared her with a hard gaze and flipped the tablet to face her, holding the screen out for her inspection. “What about the Webber Films incident?”
Webber Films had placed an order for The Toy Company to create an automated creature that combined the Loch Ness monster with a giant slug with fangs for one of their sci-fi/adventure movies. It had worked perfectly during the testing phase, offering an impressive realism. They’d shipped several versions, depending on whether the production company planned to use it in the water, on land, or interacting with the actors.
Kit winced at the memory, shifting restlessly beneath his unwavering stare. The Iceman was back in force. She didn’t know whether to be grateful or disappointed. “The Mobley Monster worked fine the last time we tested it. One of the circuit boards must have worked loose during shipping.”
Stephen spun the tablet around and scanned the report. “It says here the director was in the hospital for two weeks after your monster attacked him.”
She lifted her chin a rebellious inch, a tinge of red creeping across her cheekbones. “Well, Webber Films couldn’t have been that upset about it, considering they ordered a whole line of Tarantula Terrors for their next horror flick.”
He was swift to deflate her. “Mmm. I’m not sure you can say the same for the director. He’s threatening to sue us.” He ran his finger across the screen, accessing another report. “And then there was this small problem you had with a—” He broke off, peering closely at the image. “A skateboard?” He lifted an eyebrow in question.
Kit shuffled her feet. “Todd and I were running tests in the parking lot since we couldn’t exactly try it out in Testing. Besides, no one was injured.”
“It says the sod replacement ran to the tune of…” He paused, flipping through a series of screens. “Five hundred and thirty-nine dollars and fifteen cents.”
“I find that hard to believe.” She stalked to his side and peered over his shoulder, rapidly scanning the figures. “I thought not. One hundred and eighteen of it was for replacing the shrubs and forty-five was for new flowers. Besides, if Mrs. Enright hadn’t panicked and driven up over that curb and onto the lawn—”
He flicked the image back into its virtual folder. “I see. Now it’s Mrs. Enright’s fault for trying to avoid running you down when you appeared out of nowhere directly in front of her car. On a skateboard.”
“How else were we supposed to test it?” she challenged crossly. “We couldn’t very well go whizzing through the halls.”
His expression turned pained. “True. I’m quite relieved that idea didn’t occur to either you or Todd.”
She decided to ignore his last comment. She supposed he did have some cause to be a trifle peeved. Even so, wasn’t her department called Testing and Research? Just how did he expect her to accomplish her job if she couldn’t actively try out the products and make any necessary adjustments and improvements?
“I notice you don’t mention any of our successes. What about our series on warships? You certainly can’t claim anything went wrong with that.”
Stephen flipped the cover closed on the tablet and tossed it onto his desk. “Very true. Even I would be amazed if you found some way to transform the building of a simple model ship, designed for seven-year-olds, into a disaster area. The only thing you had to work with were the parts of the ship and the glue.” He broke off, something about her expression giving her away. “Don’t tell me,” he murmured, shutting his eyes and shaking his head.
She grabbed her hair and shook it at him. “I only had to cut off three inches and I keep my hair in a braid now.”
He couldn’t help it. His mouth began to twitch and then a deep, uninhibited laugh broke free, echoing across the room. He turned and walked toward a small cabinet near the bathroom to retrieve a gold tie clip. Kit followed right on his heels, determined to fight back, knowing if she didn’t she’d lose her job.
“I can’t believe you. You’re absolutely hopeless.”
She fought to keep a tight rein on her volatile temper. “Mr. St. Clair, I realize this all looks very bad.” She addressed the breadth of his back in a quieter, more conciliatory tone. If she had a hope in hell of remaining employed, she’d have a much better shot at it if she didn’t antagonize him. “But I promise this will never happen again.”
It not only happened again, but no sooner were the words out of her mouth than the cuff at her ankle decided to come unrolled. She tripped, careening full against her employer. She didn’t weigh much, but he received the full impact of what there was and hit the floor like a felled tree, his nose buried in the two-inch thick carpet, a horrified Kit sprawled facedown across his back.
For a long moment she didn’t dare move, overwhelmed both by the enormity of her position and by the unfamiliar feel of a hard male body beneath her soft curves. Even worse, every thought in her head turned carnal. Well, except for the odd image of a hot fudge sundae dancing on a bed of silk. She didn’t have long to dwell on the strange sensations assailing her. A deep growl rumbled through his rigid body, reminding her of the precariousness of her situation.
If Kit didn’t miss her guess, Stephen St. Clair was about to blow the cherry right off his sundae.
Once Upon a Jinx