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Tart of Darkness
Carl Hiaasen
February 18, 2003
A crazed photographer has kidnapped a beautiful model and the hottest swimsuit cover in history. It's a perilous job for the man sent to retrieve them, one that tests the limits of his sanity...and his expense account
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February 18, 2003

Tart Of Darkness

A crazed photographer has kidnapped a beautiful model and the hottest swimsuit cover in history. It's a perilous job for the man sent to retrieve them, one that tests the limits of his sanity...and his expense account

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"I'm going to tell her."

"You will not!"

"Tell me what?" There she stood, bundled in the capacious white bathrobe that she had boosted from her suite at the Lonely Palms. I suppressed an urge to yank on the sash and twirl her like a top until she fell dizzily into my embrace. Searching her blue eyes for a cue, I found one: Don't try anything cute, mate, or I'll hurt you in a big way.

"Tell me what?" she yelled again.

The wind tore away her shower cap and sent her silken brown hair into a debauched electric boogie. Kurtz chose that moment to lunge for my throat, but I was ready. Backpedaling briskly, I cried, "Nora, you're not getting the cover! He's spiking the money shot—"

"No way."

"Way!" I said, tripping over a battery pack.

"Uvie, sweetie," Kurtz pleaded with her, "the whole magazine scene is tired. You're beyond that now, sugar. You're in the stratosphere. Cover shots are so over."

"Like 'ell," she said.

I turned to run, but plainly I'd lost a step or two since Blytheville. Kurtz caught me from behind as I dashed up the coral ledge, and we fell in a tangle. There was a ripe hint of Cointreau on his breath, but his vigor and agility seemed unimpaired. In fact, he was whupping me rather soundly until Uvula dived on the pile and commenced slugging both of us. Somehow, while defending myself, I ripped the top of her bikini off, exposing tan from sternum to navel. Kurtz froze in appreciative reverie, for he was nothing if not worshipful of the feminine form. It was his life passion and, of course, his ultimate undoing.

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