Talking Sex

By: Maxine Sullivan

CHAPTER ONE


“You want me to do what tonight?” Zac Ryan exclaimed, almost choking over his Australian accent. Maybe he was going deaf since arriving in the States a week ago. He definitely wasn’t hearing right, that’s for sure.

“I said I want you to go on-air and replace our missing guest,” the spiky-haired radio producer repeated, as if merely asking Zac to pass the salt. “So what do you say, pal? Are you ready for your fifteen minutes of fame?”

“Only if someone stands me up against a wall and shoots me.” This bloke was insane.

Leon’s chuckle jingled the gold chains at his neck. “It’s not that bad.”

“Then you do it,” Zac said, feeling like he’d just walked into a movie, and a bad one at that. One where the good guy –- him –- was about to run into a burning building.

The young producer shook his head. “Believe me, no one would be interested in anything I have to say.”

Zac raised a brow. “Then how do you know they’ll be interested in me?”

“That accent for one thing. It’ll drive the gals wild.”

Yeah, he’d already come across that a few times since coming to the States a week ago. Hell, he should have kept his mouth shut tonight, instead of passing the time of day with this guy. “But I know nothing about talking on-air,” he felt obliged to point out. “I only came downtown with Adam because he was being interviewed about his toy soldiers.”

And hadn’t that been a surprise! Not the interview -- the hobby. Having arrived for a three week vacation in the States, he’d discovered he’d had to share Adam’s spare bedroom with a collection of toy soldiers. Wall-to-wall miniatures. Adam had kept them well-hidden on a previous visit a few years ago, but now they had been literally brought out of the closet, which would have made for some great ribbing if his friend hadn’t been such a womanizer.

Instead Zac had joked “Nightmares’R’Us”, but it was just as well that first night he’d been jetlagged, otherwise the bloody things might have come to life and thrown him in the same movie with the burning building.

He snorted.

Yeah, so who would’ve believed it, eh? Adam the Architect collected dolls for Christ’s sake. And the guy was just wrapping up a surprisingly entertaining talk on the subject to the people of Chicago.

But each to their own…

Live and let live…

He’d once collected pet rocks himself.

The producer began to look frazzled. “Now, Zac… I can call you Zac, can’t I?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “We’re desperate. We need someone and we need them now. The show starts in less than five minutes.”

Talk about pressure!

“Look, I --”

“It’s not hard, you know. We’re only a small station, so you don’t have to split the atom or anything.”

Zac sent the guy a wry look. “Easy for you to say, mate. You Americans were born with a microphone in your mouth.”

Leon sent him an equally wry look. “And some would kill their mothers for a chance at talking on-air. You, on the other hand, don’t have to go that far.”

“I’m relieved,” Zac quipped, not quite believing he was actually thinking of doing this. Wouldn’t that be an experience to take back home to Australia! His parents had wanted him to take a total break from work, hadn’t they? He’d been working hard these past six months helping expand the family business into Brisbane and Melbourne, so they’d told him to go have some fun with Adam. Forced him to, actually. Well, this may not be what they’d had in mind, but it sounded like fun anyway.


“I’ve never been on the radio before. If I decided to do it, that is.”

Extreme relief rolled over Leon’s face. “Thanks, buddy!”

Zac pushed aside his misgivings. “You may live to regret it.”

“I doubt that.”

Such confidence. He wished he could feel the same. “So, what was your missing guest going to talk about, Leon? I doubt I’ll be able to talk about the same thing, but maybe it’ll give me some ideas.”

All at once the other man got an odd gleam in his eyes, like he’d had a lightbulb moment or something. He began scribbling on a notepad. “Just tell them about Australia. Our listeners love hearing about different things.”

Zac frowned. Different? As in weird different? Hey, at least he didn’t collect toy soldiers. “Yeah, but will they understand me?” he mocked.

The producer tore off the top sheet of the writing pad. “Better than you understand yourself.” All at once his gaze went to an attractive honey-blonde slipping into the empty booth on the other side of the studio.

To Zac’s own surprise, he took one look at the woman in her short black skirt and bright pink top, and his body jump-started without a helping hand. It had been a while since he’d been so instantly attracted to someone. After Erin he’d wondered how long it would take to want a woman so much again.

The producer turned back to him. “What do you say, Zac? Can we tell Cassie you’re a guest for her show?”

Cassie.

Hmm. Catchy name. Tempting body. And legs that stretched from here to Sydney. “I suppose I could put a few words together for the lovely lady.”

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