Holy hell. I was an inferno already. This woman was bold, daring, and spoke her mind. Finally.

Forget being hard to read.

She was a book with the pages spread open now.

Jake: I cannot wait to show you what I want to do to your body. But I would love to know what made you change your mind.

Kate: That’s easy enough. The meeting I had today. I have to market an escort service that’s adding role-playing to its menu. I want to do an amazing job.

Jake: Ah, so you want to practice?

Kate: I do. But I also want to be up-front from the start. This thing we’re doing? How about we agree to this: one weekend, no strings, no promises, nothing more?

This was better than a high score in pinball.

No strings sounded like my favorite kind of deal, especially since my last few attempts at relationships had gone up in smoke.

Two years ago, Cassidy had told me I was a shitty boyfriend because I was married to work. “You always put clients first,” she’d said when we split.

Ouch.

That had stung because it was true.

But Debbie, my last girlfriend, was the reason I had no problem agreeing to zero attachments with Kate.

With my work schedule in the last year, I’d mostly just been interested in having fun with Debbie, and she’d said that sounded good to her too. Vibrant and carefree, Debbie loved to plan unusual dates—rock-climbing gyms, candy factory tours, laser-tag mini golf. We’d had a blast together, but after three short months of most excellent dates, Debbie changed her tune one afternoon at Red Rocks after we’d just hiked three miles.

“Let’s get married,” she’d said. “We can even do it this weekend.”

Taken by surprise would be a massive understatement.

I had no empirical issues with commitment. I wasn’t a devoted playboy, planning to swing his dick forever and ever. But neither did I want to sign up for a marriage license with someone I’d only just started dating.

Except that wasn’t the only issue.

Her taste for fun stopped at the bedroom door. And I’d considered compatibility to be vital when it came to beliefs, passions, worldviews, and, yes, the bedroom.

When Debbie issued her ultimatum, I called it quits—with her and with dating for a while.

So, Kate’s rules suited me fine.

Now I’d learn if we were as electric in the bedroom as I’d imagined we could be.

Tonight was no longer about me time.

It was about satisfying a woman who’d intrigued me for a while.

A woman I couldn’t get out of my mind.

A woman I desperately wanted.

I glanced at the clock on the wall of my living room, the time a reminder that the games would be starting soon. I wrote back to Kate.

Jake: I’m about to get in the shower. While I’m naked, I’ll be thinking of all the ways you want me to pleasure you. But I have one thing I need you to do.

Kate: What’s that?

Jake: When I see you tonight, we’re going to do more than watch and talk.

Kate: We are?

Jake: We’re going to pretend too.

Kate: Ohh . . . tell me more.

Jake: We’re going to role-play as we watch others. Think of it as a combo platter of your dirty dreams.

Kate: I like the sound of that. What’s our situation?

Jake: We’re potential business partners. We live on opposite coasts, and we’re in town for a conference. We’ve been working on a deal for months and sending emails that border on flirty and dirty. We’re meeting for a drink to seal the deal.

Kate: I bet the drink turns to something more.

Jake: Only one way to find out.

10

Jake

She looked like a woman on the brink.

As I headed into the Rapture, wearing jeans and a sharp button-down, my jaw unshaven, her eyes were already on me from her perch on a metal barstool. She nibbled on the corner of her lips, appraising.

My gaze traveled up and down her body too. Up those long legs to the tight pencil skirt, down to those sinfully sexy heels, and up again to the tight short-sleeve top that clung to her curves.

All business. All sexy executive I wanted to put on her knees.

Dance music pulsed through the club, and her eyes stayed on me as I walked to her.

When I reached her, I offered a hand and said, like a professional, “Glad you could meet me tonight to finalize this deal, Ms. Williams.”

“And you as well. Thank you for fitting me in, Mr. Hamilton.” She sat up properly, a little demure.

I took the stool next to her, ordered a scotch, and turned to look out at the lounge. It was teeming with groups of friends and couples, men and women already tangled together.

I returned my focus to her. “I’d been hoping we’d do this deal for some time now.”

“I’ve been eager as well.” She lifted her drink and took a sip, leaving an imprint of pink gloss on her glass. I grabbed her glass and knocked some back too, watching her eyes the whole time. The message was clear as I drank her vodka tonic—I wanted her taste on my lips.


Tags: Lauren Blakely The Gift Erotic
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