* * *

I STARTED IN the shower, begging each roommate to leave me and the bathroom alone for the next hour. I shaved my legs, underarms and all but a thin strip down below. I exfoliated vigorously, soaked in a hot bubble bath for twenty minutes, then exfoliated again. Getting out, I wrapped a towel around my body and put light makeup on. I then went to my closet.

The idea of a sex party was foreign and, as much as I hated to admit it, exciting to me. Images from Eyes Wide Shut filled my head, though I doubted any event of Brad’s would be as cold and reserved as that scene had been. He said we could stop in, see how it works and leave. That was what I needed to keep in mind. That this was a sightseeing expedition and nothing more. My mind wandered back to the threesome that Brad had orchestrated a few weeks ago. How I had agreed to “try it” for ten minutes and at that point I’d be given the opportunity to back out. How, when that time frame had been reached, and his voice had come through the darkness, offering me an escape, I had never been so aroused, and the thought of stopping had seemed pure insanity. I suddenly realized how drug addicts became addicted. The threesome had been my gateway drug, and I now hovered at the edge of the cliff, ready and willing to jump into the dark depths below. More than willing, soaking wet at the thought of it. I knew, without even entering the party, that I would stay.

Nothing in my closet screamed Sex Party, so I aimed for club wear instead. I chose a red minidress that was tight on the bottom, loose and flowing on top. I ignored Brad’s directive and put on panties, a black lace thong. Slathering my legs in lotion, I was spritzing on perfume when I heard the doorbell ring. I grabbed small faux diamond studs and a black clutch, then headed for the door.

My roommates Alex and Zach were smoking weed on the couch when I walked through the living room and opened the front door. Brad stood there, dark, delicious and sexy in a white button-up shirt and dark dress slacks. His dark hair and tan stood out in stark contrast to the white shirt. I leaned against the door frame, and his eyes swept over me with an appreciative grin. Stepping forward, he braced a hand on the frame and kissed me, trailing his free hand down my open neckline.

I pulled away from the kiss and blushed, flicking my eyes inside at my roommates. He chuckled and put his mouth to my ear. “You know people are going to see a lot more than that tonight.” My cheeks burning, I waved to my roommates and pushed him out, toward the limo idling at the curb.

“Good night, gentlemen,” Brad called out. Alex and Zach giggled in response, and I shut the door, taking Brad’s outstretched hand. We walked to the car, his hand exploring my bare back and short dress along the way, and I swatted his hand as we arrived at the car. Brad opened the door and I ducked inside.

* * *

“YOU SHOULD MOVE.” I turned to look at him, confused. We were moving, the limo driving north through town.

“What? Why?”

“Your roommates. Weed? You don’t need to get caught up in that.”

“I’m not gonna ‘get caught up’ in anything.”

“If the cops bust your house, you are just as likely to be arrested as they are.” I glowered at him, avoiding his reasoning by opening my clutch and pulling out lipstick.

“I don’t think cops ‘bust’ houses over weed. Besides, I like my house.”

“Really? What’s your favorite part? The mildew in the shower or the worn-out carpet?”

“It’s the finicky hot water pressure I adore, thank you very much.”

I stuck out my tongue at him, uncapping the lipstick and carefully applying it.

He laughed, grabbing my knee and squeezing it gently. “We have a stop to make on the way.”

“What kind of stop?”

“Hair and makeup.” His cell rang and he straightened his legs, reaching in his pocket to pull it out. Glancing at the screen, he silenced the phone and put it back in his pocket.

“Hair and makeup? I already did all that.”

He glanced at my worried face with a reassuring smile. “And you look absolutely gorgeous. This is more for the mask aspect of the party. Jessica and Marco are masters of creative disguises. As much as I hate costumes, it does add to the ambience of the party, as well as relax a lot of inhibitions.”

I gripped my purse and thought of the peephole mask I had tucked inside. Not the sexiest thing in the world, it was the only thing I had that would be considered a mask. I was grateful for the opportunity to choose a different one. “I’d think you would have a closet full of swinger costumes. You know, velvet capes, top hats, canes?”

He fought a smile and leaned over, brushing my lips with his, the brief contact not nearly enough for me. “I prefer a more discreet approach. And that is pimp attire, not swinger.”

“Oh, that’s right. Swingers wear suspenders and fedoras, right?” My smart response earned me another silencing kiss, and I grinned against his mouth, stealing an opportunity to grip his hair and deepen the kiss.

“So.” I tilted my head and looked at him. “You’ll be fine with us just popping into this party, watching some stuff and then leaving?”

He turned in his seat, my eyes finding mine and holding them hostage. “Of course. Are you getting cold feet?”

I frowned. “Not cold feet—I’m just a little nervous.”

“Okay. That’s normal. What are you nervous about?”

I shrugged. “Just the fact that it’s an organized sex party. I get uncomfortable at being approached. I don’t like the pressure of turning someone down. I think that’s what stresses me out.”

“First of all, all of Beverly’s parties have one cardinal rule. Women do the instigating. Men can’t approach you, and you will make any decisions about what will occur. Think of it as a feminist’s wet dream.”

I turned that over in my head, leaning against him and trying to figure out what I would want if it was all going to be up to me.

He frowned, running a hand down my hair and rubbing my neck gently. “I don’t want you to be stressed. This party, this lifestyle, is about enhancing our sex life—not causing it or you discomfort.”

“But if I’m not okay with the swinging, then we break up.”

“I don’t expect you to be okay with everything from the get-go. You can ease into this. We are taking the fast route, and we don’t need to do that. I just didn’t want you to miss out on this party and have to wait three months for the next one.” He frowned at me. “We don’t need to go. I have no issue with saying ‘screw the party’ and going home.”

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