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Games Girls Play
By Deanna Lee
APHRODISIA BOOKSCopyright © 2009 Deanna Lee
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Oh. My. God." I stared numbly at the television.
The phone started to ring as the reporter started to replay the video footage and I reached out for the phone. My hand connected with it and I dragged it to my ear. I swallowed hard as the replay of the video of my favorite client strutting out of a well-known BDSM club with not one but two women continued.
"Jesus H. Christ." Kristen Travis groaned in my ear. "Please say it's fake."
No. I knew the man well enough to know that it was him. Joshua Keller-every delicious inch of him encased in leather pants and a too-tight T-shirt-star soccer player, one of my mostly heavily endorsed clients, so James Bond British he practically gleamed in the sun, and much to my utter shock a sexual deviant.
I reached out and grabbed my DVR remote to record the footage. "Shit."
"Yeah." Kristen sighed. "Come on, Tara, what did we do to deserve this?"
"I don't know but my father was right. I should have gotten into corporate PR. It was a mistake specializing in athletes. Look at this crap!" I paused the recording when it centered on his face. "It's old."
"Unless he's shaved off his goatee this is old; at least six months."
Six months old. Yes, at least six months andwe could manage that. Couldn't we? My company was entirely too new for me to fail at handling such a public display of bad judgment on the part of one of my biggest clients. Sure, Joshua had never been a choirboy and when he'd come to Atlanta he'd brought with him a reputation for loud parties, indiscreet women, and barhopping.
"Yeah. You're right. He's very attached to the facial hair. I tried for three hours to get him to shave last week for that modeling gig. He outright refused."
I was glad; the look was dead sexy, and if I were right, it would certainly help defuse the situation that was quickly developing. "Has this hit national news yet?"
"No, but it's on the web so it's just a matter of time before we start getting phone calls asking for statements. Even if it's old, it's still brand-new news."
She was right and that presented a problem that I did not want to think about. Though getting one of my clients on a national news broadcast had appeal, one normally hoped for charity events, not innuendos of threesome sex and BDSM clubs.
"Did you have any idea he had ...?" Kristen paused. "How exactly can we spin it? I mean if he likes to tie up women and spank them ..."
I pursed my lips and glared at the television; the mere thought of him enjoying something like that had my pulse racing in a very different way. As sexy as the man was I'd never seriously considered hooking up with him because I'd figured he wouldn't be up for that kind of rough sex play.
"Men won't care, but women ... At least some will try to paint him as a misogynist who gets off on hitting women."
"Yeah, that's so not good." Kristen groaned.
I jumped at the sound of my doorbell and stood from the couch. "I have to go. Someone's at the door."
"I'll try to figure out what to say besides 'no comment.'"
"Yeah." Though I wasn't all that convinced there was a damn thing anyone could say that would make the situation any better.
I went to the front door of my apartment, still clutching the phone, and jerked it open. Joshua. The man looked like sin, the kind of sin my mama had assured me would send me straight to hell. A year and a half of being his publicist and I still couldn't look at him without my panties getting wet.
I glanced over his face, taking in the still-present goatee, his short black hair, his finely chiseled face, and nice very kissable mouth before I met his gaze with my own. Dark blue eyes stared back at me, intense and thoughtful. He'd been at my home once in all the time that I'd known him and that had been for a company dinner party.
"You know I prefer to meet clients in my office."
"I didn't figure this could wait until tomorrow."
I stepped back and motioned him inside. "Already getting questions?"
"Phone and e-mail." He shoved his hands into his pockets as he stopped in front of my television. "HD?"
"Of course." I sat down on the couch and watched him as he started to pace. The black slacks he wore molded quite nicely to his ass with each turn.
Objectifying men was something of a hobby, and my job was totally to blame. I spent all day selling some of the finest bodies on the planet for advertising and endorsement. It was a bit disturbing how much of a product I viewed some of them. "How old is it and do you have any idea who recorded it?"
"At least a year. I haven't been in the Playground in a long time and I have no idea who filmed it or what else they might be sitting on. I haven't always been discreet about my sexual liaisons but I've put a serious effort into behaving since ... well, for a while now." He stopped pacing and turned to face me. His expression spoke volumes about the state of his temper. The barely leashed anger was oddly attractive.
"Okay." I took a breath and tried to refocus. "At least that's something. We can say that video is old and try to leave it at that."
"Don't yank me around, Tara." He motioned toward the television. "We live in the freaking south and the people around here are so repressed that I'll be some hell-bound pervert inside the next twelve hours."
"At least we won't have to worry about the metrosexual factor anymore."
He stilled completely and turned to glare at me. "Pardon me?"
"We've had feedback that perhaps you were too fashionable, too put together to be straight." I pursed my lips. "It's not really a problem among your female fans and now that male fans think you've lived out their favorite sexual fantasy ... They were twins, right?"
He looked briefly at the television before focusing on me entirely. "Yes, I believe so. So what kind of fallout am I looking at?"
"I doubt you'll lose any of your endorsement deals; we might have to do an interview or two. You'll have to discuss and if necessary downplay your role in the lifestyle. You're a Dom, right?"
He raised one eyebrow but gave a short nod. "But I'm not a sadist."
"No, you didn't strike me as that type."
But suddenly Joshua did seem to be the sort of man who might like to control every aspect of a sexual encounter. How on earth had I missed it? I crossed my legs and tried to get comfortable on the couch. I really missed sitting behind my desk in a suit; at home in shorts and a T-shirt I didn't feel nearly as powerful and in control as I figured I needed to be to deal with a man like him.
"You bloody Americans ..." He paused and flushed. "Sorry."
"We're not all sexually repressed religious zealots." I bit down on my lip, stunned that I had let the words fall out of my mouth. "I mean, not everyone is going to think you're going to hell."
He was silent as he crossed the distance that separated us and took a seat on the couch beside me. "What do you think?"
"Why does it matter what I think?" I took a deep breath as he picked up one of my hands and held it between his. "Joshua?"
"You're going to be making statements and answering questions about this for the next few weeks. At least until some starlet is photographed without panties. I need to know if knowing this about me disgusts you or makes you feel differently about me. If it does ..." He rubbed his thumb across the top of my hand. "I need to know you're in my corner on this, Tara. That's why I'm here. I could give a fuck what most people think. I'd land on my feet professional if things went to shit here in Atlanta. What I need to know is that I've got you on my side."
My fingers tightened against his even as I relaxed beside him. "Did you know that you're the only single client I have who has never once hit on me?"
He laughed softly, brought my hand up to his mouth, and kissed it gently. "You deserve better than a man like me."
"Is that so?" The thought was a little irritating. I deserved a lot and I figured a man like him could do a lot to set my world to rights. My body was already humming at the possibilities.
"I travel too much and let's not forget"-he jerked his head toward the television-"I'm a bit pervy."
Hadn't I thought the same thing just minutes earlier? Of course, truth be known I was just as deviant as he was. I liked a little pain and a lot of dominance with my sex. I'd never gone to a club like the Playground, not because I wouldn't have enjoyed myself but because I was afraid that I would enjoy it too much.
The last man I had dated had been so vanilla that I'd practically fallen asleep during sex one night. I'd ended it before I wound up embarrassing myself.
Joshua's thumb brushed over the top of my hand where his lips had been all too briefly and I straightened up.
"Well, we have plans to make."
His grip tightened as I started to leave the couch. "Tara."
What could I say that wouldn't reveal my true position on his lifestyle choices? I forced myself to relax back against the couch. "I'm not disturbed by discovering you like ..." What the hell did he like? He'd said he wasn't a sadist but had offered little other explanation. "Please tell me you're the average run-of-the-mill guy with control issues and an occasional need to spank a woman's ass."
I turned to look at his face just as his mouth dropped open.
"Look, reporters are going to find those two women and they are going to be interviewed and they are going to talk about all the freaky sex you did have and probably make some stuff up, too. Do you get off on any extreme fetish play and if you do, did you with those two women?"
"Most would consider any aspect of BDSM extreme fetish play," he replied softly, obviously unwilling to answer the question.
"Yeah, well, I'm not most people." Fuck. That was not what I meant to say.
"Are you asking me for a play-by-play description of my sexual exploits with two women from over a year ago? I don't even remember their names!"
I jerked my fingers free from his hand and bolted up off the couch. "Well, we'd damn well better find out their full names so you'll know who they are. Otherwise, you'll be a hell-bound man-whore deviant who's slept with so many women he's forgotten half of them."
"Man-whore?" he asked, his voice low with shock.
"Well, you did take home two strange women." I took a step back as he stood. "That's certainly man-whorish behavior. And what's up with the leather pants?"
He glanced toward the TV and crossed his arms over his chest. "They suited the occasion. As for your question, no-I'm not into anything extreme. At the most, I probably tied those two women up, spanked them a little, and made them beg for my cock. Which I'm sure I gave to both of them repeatedly until I could not move. But honestly, I don't remember the night specifically; they aren't the last pair of women I've had in my bed."
Beg for his cock. My mouth watered, my nipples tightened against the soft material of my T-shirt, and wetness rushed between my labia at that naughty thought. I cleared my throat and tried to push back the unexpected slap of lust that rushed over my body. "Is that your kick, then? Two women?"
"No, not normally." His gaze roamed over me, lingered on my breasts, and then focused on my face. "Frankly, very little has satisfied me over the last year and a little excess goes a long way toward making a man forget that."
"Well, stop that! No more double dipping until this blows over." I pointed my finger at him and took another step back when he glared at me. "It's my job to manage your public image."
"It's not your job to tell me who I can stick my dick into."
I flushed and my gaze immediately dropped to his crotch. "Well, you and your penis have made enough of a mess already so for the next good while I am going to be telling you where you can and cannot stick it!"
"Then I suggest you stop talking to it because despite what you women might think that head doesn't make the decisions."
I jerked my gaze back up to his face, stunned that I'd actually been staring at his groin, and blushed. "I wasn't talking to your dick, you jerk."
"Could have fooled me."
My phone started to ring and I made an immediate grab for it. Talking to anyone would be better than continuing this conversation.
"It's on CNN."
Sonya Carson. She was the third member of my PR firm and another close friend. Both she and Kristen worked their butts off with me to get the Marcus Group off the ground. They were like sisters; only I never had to worry about them tattling to my daddy when I did something they didn't like. I glared at Joshua as I perched on a chair a few feet from the couch.
"Our answering service is losing their mind," Sonya chuckled. "God, he looks hot in those pants. Of course, honestly, he looks hot in just about anything. I bet you five bucks those two women are already arranging to get paid for a tabloid interview."
"I told you taking him on would be difficult."
She had. Repeatedly. I glanced toward him and found him pacing in front of the still-paused television. "Yeah, I remember."
"Have you had any contact with him?"
"He's standing in front of my new flat-panel television plotting something. He's either going to steal the TV or try to reach through it to strangle himself." Joshua flashed me a grin and walked back to the couch. "The video is at least a year old, so someone has sat on this for a while. Maybe they didn't realize it was him and only just discovered they'd caught someone famous on their camera."
"Or they have more goodies to share and that's just the start. I think we'll see another video or maybe pictures any day now."
"Well, it isn't like the world hasn't seen his bare ass already." I glared at him when he laughed. It was one of the reasons my company had been hired to manage his image. He'd been caught in the Bahamas skinny-dipping with a woman. "And a sex tape could make us all some money."
"That's un-fucking-believable...." He stopped, obviously at a loss as to how to deal with such a prospect.
"Kristen is running through ideas for a public statement and we still need to get in touch with Joshua's agent. In the meantime, tell the answering service that they can stop taking phone calls for our firm and please do not turn our voicemail on. I don't want five hundred messages waiting for us tomorrow."
He was back up and pacing by the time I hung up the phone. "Gary is on vacation with his wife and kids. I'm sure he'll call me as soon as he gets back to his hotel room and catches wind of this."
Gary Moorsey was his agent and had been since the day Joshua had come to the United States. "Don't you think we should call him?"
"He told me he wasn't carrying his cell phone to freaking Disney World. I'm sure he's trying to play grab-ass with Snow White even as we speak."
I couldn't help but laugh. Gary was from all accounts faithful to his wife but he was fond of the female ass in such a way that I always made sure that he never got in proximity of mine.
How bad was it really? Atlanta's new soccer star coming out of a fetish club with two women? I bit down on my bottom lip. It was bad enough. It would amuse men, outrage militant feminists, and set the devoutly religious on a tirade that could last for months.
"So what else are you hiding?"
"Look, I was under the impression that you were keeping your nose clean. No skinny-dipping, no loud parties with barely clothed college girls, and the last time I checked you were dating a very respectable lawyer. Now look at you." I waved my hand toward the television.
"That is a year old, at least," he reminded me through clenched teeth. "I have done my level best to remain within the image plan you set up for me. I don't drink to excess, not even at home. I wear the right clothes, with the right logos. I wear the right fucking shoes when I run on my own goddamned street. I joined the gym you suggested; I go to the parties you determine are good for my image."
Okay, so he was mad. I forced myself to remain perfectly still under his gaze as I considered what I should say. I knew he hated the endorsement deals, the image management. It wasn't hard to imagine how it must have felt to wear workout clothes not because they were comfortable but because someone paid him to. "Okay, so the lawyer?"
"She started hinting that she wanted a ring. So I pushed her off."
He said it as if she'd demanded he get a sex change or something. "Joshua." His name left my mouth in an exasperated rush.
"What?" he demanded. "Can't a man find a steady piece of ass who won't be mentally shopping for a wedding dress within six months?"
Excerpted from Games Girls Play by Deanna Lee Copyright © 2009 by Deanna Lee. Excerpted by permission.
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