Jake and I were simply playing a game. We weren’t having a date or a love affair.

Fine, we might acknowledge that more was brewing between us than mere friendship. But we’d never pretended we were only friends. We’d acknowledged our mutual attraction. That didn’t mean we were going to act on it beyond this weekend.

We had an expiration date—we’d simply extended it by twenty-four hours.

A late checkout, if you will.

But we still had one, and we’d adhere to it.

I wasn’t keen on getting involved, and he’d made his feelings on relationships abundantly clear.

He’d said it himself when I asked the question at Edge two nights ago.

Like a date?

No. Like dinner. They serve food. You eat. It’s good.

Even if we kissed, even if we touched, these were roles we were acting out.

This thing was all one giant scenario.

And I needed to get my head in the game.

I squared my shoulders, took a drink of my water—I’d had enough wine at the restaurant—and prepped to meet a stranger.

We had our parts to play.

* * *

“Is this seat taken?” His smile was crooked and full of dirty intent.

I shot him a playful look in return, tapping the stool with my burgundy fingernail. “It is now.”

He parked himself on it, his eyes roaming over me, then landing on my glass. “Can I buy you a drink?”

It was a classic pickup line.

All pickup lines were.

But that was what we were playing tonight, and my skin was already tingling. Especially since this was a bar for coupling up—the duo at the end of the counter would be coupling upstairs soon, from the look of it.

The two gorgeous women in tight dresses couldn’t keep their hands off each other. The dark-skinned woman in red threaded her fingers through the blonde’s hair. The blonde leaned into the touch like she was luxuriating in it.

I wasn’t usually turned on by two women—that wasn’t my thing. But public shows of affection were my kink.

I tipped my forehead in their direction. “I’ll have what they’re having.”

Jake’s gaze followed mine, and he murmured appreciatively as he perused the two women. “Looks like they’re having each other.”

He rose, moved his stool closer to mine, then gestured to the bartender and pointed to the women. “We’ll have what they’re having.”

“Two martinis, coming right up,” the man said, and set to work.

Jake turned to me, his eyes eating me up. “So, are you from around here? Or just in town for the weekend?”

Time to improvise. “Passing through. I’m on my way to New York, and I stopped here for the weekend with friends.”

An eyebrow rose. “A girls’ weekend? Has it been good so far?”

I nibbled on the corner of my lip, shamelessly staring at him because I could. Because I fucking could. “It’s getting better. A lot better,” I said, taking my time to punctuate those last words with a pop of my lips, so my meaning was clear.

A groan emanated from his throat. “I’d say so too,” he rasped out as his eyes slid down to my cleavage, then back up to my face.

A ribbon of heat unfurled in me, spreading through my body, pulsing between my legs. Out of the corner of my eye, the two women moved closer to each other. The woman in red took the lead, leaning in and pressing a kiss to the blonde’s neck.

I went up in flames. “They’re going upstairs soon,” I said, unable to resist. My core ached. My desire shot sky-high. There was nothing that thrilled me more than strangers touching.

Until Jake set a hand on my thigh, and I trembled.

Oh, God.

This man.

He turned me on more.

He turned me inside out with pleasure.

Sliding his hand up my thigh, he shifted closer, his voice low and husky near my ear. “The blonde is about to be devoured. In a few minutes, she’ll be on the hotel sink, skirt hiked up, panties around her ankles, legs spread.”

The fire was stoked.

I shuddered, picturing that.

But I wasn’t picturing them.

I was seeing me on that hotel sink.

Me leaning against the mirror.

Me parting my legs.

For this sexy, dirty stranger.

“They don’t even know each other’s names,” I said.

“No names, no professions,” he said, his hand gliding higher up my thigh, closer, closer still.

I swallowed roughly. My throat was dry. “Just desire,” I whispered.

Under the bar, his hand traveled to my center, and he cupped me.

“Oh God,” I gasped, closing my eyes, giving in briefly to the enticing sensation of his hand where I wanted him. “That’s all they want. To make each other feel incredible,” I whispered.

His fingers dipped between my legs, against the denim, as he stroked me, arousing me further, sending me higher.

“You know what I think would feel incredible?”

“Tell me,” I said, practically panting.

He dipped his face to my neck, dusting his lips across my skin, his stubble sending sparks over me. “I’d like to take you to my room, strip you, and show you what I want to do to you with my tongue,” he said, flicking the tip of it along my neck.


Tags: Lauren Blakely The Gift Erotic
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