Laurell K. Hamilton's latest Anita book is Flirt, which the library delivered to me last week. It's a quick read, with an essay at the end describing how the book came about. I found that fascinating.
Hamilton was out for lunch with some friends, and they flirted a bit with the waiter, and then started talking about how they could use the incident in their writing. Hamilton pointed out that she twists everything towards the dark and sexy, so that's what would happen. Her friend is more humorous, and they even include the comic her friend wrote about the same incident, which does seem to appear (a bit modified) in the start of Flirt: Anita goes out to lunch a few of her gorgeous lovers, they flirt with the waiter, and even Anita tries a bit of flirting and is startled to discover that the waiter responds.
In the hilarious next chapter, Anita later goes back for a solo lunch at the same restaurant and again flirts with the waiter, who takes it more seriously since she is alone. She panics when he asks for her phone number, and decides the only way to tell him that she was just flirting is to ask for HIS number, but then never call. Whew! So far we are still on the theme of flirting.
Then some bad guys show up, threaten to assassinate the boyfriends, and kidnap Anita. Sex and violence ensue. Except that nothing else in the story has anything at all to do with flirting -- the bad guys could have shown up anytime, no one flirts with anyone, there is no return to the theme at all. So I don't agree that Hamilton's imagination turns everything to the dark side, because the innocent descriptions of Anita's insanely stupid flirting attempts have no connection whatsoever with the rest of the plot. Better luck next time!
PS. Even I know that if you need to communicate lack of seriousness to a flirt, try name-dropping your boyfriends before asking for phone numbers. Just saying.