When Lindsay receives a mysterious invitation to live out her most illicit fantasies, she thinks it's her best friend playing a joke. Little does she know, the invitation is from someone else. Someone who knows her deepest desires…and intends to fulfill them.
Erik is a man of many secrets, and he intends to keep it that way. When he invites Lindsay to his mansion, he thinks it's just for a steamy weekend fling. But from their first night together, there's an inexplicably deep connection that shakes him to his core. And with Lindsay in his arms, he feels both thrilled and unnerved. As Lindsay brings his fantasies to life, he's unwilling to let her go. But can he tell her how he knows her deepest desires, and will she stay with him if she learns the truth?
You're invited…to explore your most forbidden desires with ILLICIT from author Opal Carew.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.66(w) x 8.06(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
I do, too, have sexual fantasies.
Lindsay’s hands clenched into fists as she strode across the lobby. Leave it to her stepmother, Audrey, to assume Lindsay’s relationship with Glen had failed so miserably because Lindsay wasn’t adventurous enough in the bedroom.
She couldn’t bring herself to tell Audrey that the reason the relationship had ended so suddenly was because she’d walked in on the jerk in bed with two women. Anger still burned through her at the memory. It had happened weeks ago, but her discussion with Audrey over lunch had brought it all crashing back.
She sucked in a breath. Right now, all she wanted to do was get up to Jill’s apartment where she could kick back over a glass of wine and rant to her best friend.
She heard a ding and glanced up to see the elevator doors closing ahead.
“Wait,” she called and raced for the doors.
A man crossed in front of her and she weaved around him, then made a last dash for the elevator. Someone inside must have pushed the button because the doors opened again. Her high heel caught as she raced inside and she stumbled forward, landing face-first into a solid masculine chest. Hard. Rippled with smooth ridges. And naked.
“You okay?” the owner of the chest asked, as his strong hands grasped her shoulders and steadied her.
She turned around and gazed downward, nodding, her cheeks flushed.
The man and his two companions—at least she assumed they were all together—wore swimsuits and had towels in hand. There was a pool on the roof of the apartment building. Maybe they’d been to the gym and had worked up a sweat and were now heading up for a swim. She immediately realized the weight room was near the pool, so that didn’t make any sense, but she liked thinking about the hard-ridged muscles she’d felt when she’d fallen against Mr. X being strained and stretched while he pulled weights, his body glistening with sweat.
The three men were all ripped and solid. And tall. Her eyes were at shoulder level or below for all of them, though she wouldn’t look straight at them. She was too embarrassed at having stumbled into Mr. X on the way in. There was one other person in the elevator, a woman in a business suit who had a magazine in one hand and seemed to be reading it, but Lindsay noticed she kept glancing at the men with interest.
A few floors up the elevator stopped and a young guy in a T-shirt and jeans got on. The three men and Lindsay shifted to the side, pushing her closer to Mr. X.
“Hey, Connor. Travis. You must be busy packing for the move.”
“Just finished. We move out tomorrow morning,” one of Mr. X’s companions said. “Now it’s time for a swim.”
The man who initiated the conversation laughed as the elevator doors opened again. “Hope it goes well.” Then he disappeared down the hall as the doors closed.
A couple floors later, another four people got on. They exchanged polite hellos with the men as they pressed in closer to make room. With Mr. X in the corner and his friends beside her, Lindsay felt like she was surrounded by a wall of muscular male flesh. She could feel the heat of their bodies.
Tingles quivered through her and her imagination conjured delectable images. Mr. X wrapped his hand around her waist and drew her tightly to his body as his lips brushed her neck. Then he turned her around while one of his friends stepped behind her. She felt both their hard bodies pressing against her. The third man stroked her hair, then nuzzled her ear as Mr. X claimed her lips with an eager passion, his tongue driving into her mouth.
Oh, God, the images were so hot her body began to ache with need. Imagining the feel of Mr. X’s solid body pressed to hers, a huge erection pushing against her, his friend behind her also sporting a raging hard-on that pushed against her ass, sent her hormones spinning out of control.
Lips traced along her neck, sending tingles fluttering along her spine.
The images changed and she felt all three of their naked bodies entwined with hers. Moving against her. Touching her everywhere. Kissing her everywhere. The sensations were muddled. She had no sense of what or how, just hard male bodies—sexy bodies—giving her intense pleasure.
The elevator doors opened and her eyelids flickered, then opened wide.
Oh, God, she’d lost track of what was going on around her. Only two other people remained in the elevator besides her and the three half-naked men, and those two people were getting off. The doors closed behind them and panic set in as she realized she was alone in the elevator with these Adonis-like specimens of manhood.
She stared at the elevator buttons, willing her floor to come up soon. Then she realized she was still standing close to them in the corner of a practically empty elevator, so she shifted forward a little.
She half expected Mr. X to draw her back, then pull her into his arms, then all of them to ravish her. Or, if she was stuck here much longer, she might ravish them.
Who said she didn’t have sexual fantasies? Though they’d never been this potent.
The elevator stopped and she impatiently waited for the doors to open, then she fled the small, confined space.
* * *
Erik watched the gorgeous young blonde woman hurry down the hall as the elevator doors closed, his gaze locked firmly on her deliciously swaying ass. He hadn’t gotten much of a look at her face, but her body was curved in all the right places. And her reactions to him and his two friends, Travis and Connor, had delighted him. She’d pretended not to notice them after their first interaction, but it was clear that she was totally mesmerized by their presence.
He was glad they’d decided to take this break from packing up Travis and Connor’s apartment to go for a swim.
“Damn, she was sexy as hell,” Connor said.
“True that,” said Travis.
Erik nodded absently. She was also sweet and a little shy. Had low self-esteem. And had a burning inferno of passion hidden deep inside. And he would love to be the one to let it loose. Along with Connor and Travis.
* * *
“I thought you were off men.”
Lindsay stopped swirling her fingertip around the rim of her wineglass and glanced at her best friend, Jill. Lindsay had just told her about the hot fantasies that had burst through her during the elevator ride.
“I’m not on them.” Her words immediately triggered a hot image of her straddling Mr. X. If his manhood was proportional to the rest of him, it would be huge. She could almost feel it, and couldn’t help imagining moving up and down on him.
Jill laughed. “Lindsay, you’re doing it again, aren’t you?”
Lindsay sent her friend a guilty glance. Her burning cheeks had to be a dead giveaway.
“Well, I can’t help it. Those guys were big and hot and … sexy. I barely got a glimpse of their faces, but they were ripped.”
Jill placed a bowl of cashews on the table, then sat down with her glass of wine.
“Well, hey, I didn’t say I disapprove. Maybe we should try to find out who these guys are.” She grinned. “I could ask around.”
“Someone mentioned their names. At least, two of them. Connor and … uh, Travis.”
“Connor and Travis? I know them. They hang out at the pool a lot and you know how I love to go swimming. They’re really nice guys.” Jill smiled. “As for the third man … there’s this other guy who visits them frequently and he’s just as smoking hot as they are. No wonder your imagination ran wild.” Her eyes twinkled. “You know, I could introduce you. Then maybe you could live out those hot fantasies.”
“Are you saying I should go off with three guys and have sex?”
Jill laughed. “Well, if the opportunity presented itself.”
Lindsay sipped her wine and laughed. “I think I’ll keep that particular fantasy just that. A fantasy.” She sipped her wine. “Oh, and speaking of fantasies, over lunch, Audrey accused me of not having sexual fantasies.”
“You’re kidding? Why would she even mention anything about”—Jill’s eyes widened and she held her hand in front of her mouth in mock mortification—“you know … sex!”
Lindsay giggled. “Well, I guess she’d rather go there than admit she’d been wrong.”
Audrey had set her up with Glen, insisting he was the perfect man for her. Since he was well-educated, made a lot of money, and was as handsome as sin, clearly in Audrey’s mind the fault had to lie with Lindsay.
In retrospect, Lindsay couldn’t believe she’d gone along with meeting him in the first place, but Audrey had been insistent and Lindsay had been suffering a dry spell in the romance department. In fact, she’d been out with a string of losers over the past few years. Was it just her, or did guys seem to be more interested in having regular sex than an actual relationship?
At first, Glen had seemed quite promising. Charming and attentive. After about six months, however, his interest seemed to wane and he became distant and increasingly critical. Lindsay was determined to make it work, though. Clearly, more determined than he was.
“Just remember. You decided a long time ago not to let what Audrey thinks get you down. If you listened to her, you’d have changed jobs long ago and moved farther out of the city so you could have a bigger apartment. But then you’d be living her idea of what your life should be, not yours.”
It was true. Her father might love the woman, and Lindsay would do her best to keep peace, but being raised by a woman who simply did not understand her had been hard. And Dad had never seemed to notice the strife between them. Now that she was an adult, she would do the occasional lunch with Audrey, but Lindsay had long ago given up on trying to make things work between them.
“You know,” Jill said with an impish grin on her face, “I think you should reconsider meeting Connor and Travis. I could set you up on a wild, sexy weekend with them. Afterward, you can shock the pants off Audrey by explaining that you decided to take her advice and then tell her all about it.”
“Jill, you’re terrible.” But Lindsay giggled anyway.
But the thought of those big, sexy bodies set her insides quivering. She was sure they would star in her dreams for a long time to come.
* * *
Three weeks later, Lindsay got off the bus and walked the block to her own apartment building. It was smaller and far less glamorous than her parents’, but she liked it.
She turned the key in her mailbox and pulled out the handful of envelopes from inside, then glanced through the small stack as she rode the elevator to her floor. A bill from the electric company, something from her dentist—probably reminding her about her next checkup, a couple of flyers, and …
How unusual. She gazed at the linen envelope with a satin ribbon tied around it and only her first name written on the front. She didn’t recognize the handwriting, but it looked masculine. There was no return address.
She walked down the hall to her apartment and dropped her mail on the table in the small entryway while she took off her shoes, then picked up the envelope again. She untied the ribbon and pulled out a white card with the words “You are invited…” in silver letters on the front. She opened it to read the message in script inside.
To a magical fantasy weekend with three attentive men who will satisfy your every sexual whim.
This had to be a joke.
Below the message were details including the date, an address, and a map. The invitation was for next weekend and the address was downtown, right off the river.
Why would someone send her this? Then it occurred to her. Jill had kidded her for days about the elevator incident. This was probably from her. They’d been talking about setting up a girls’ weekend away for months now, but had never gotten around to it. It would be just like Jill to do something like this to make it happen. The fact that the location was right here in the city was odd, but maybe Jill had found a good deal on a vacation condo or something and had set up a staycation. Whatever her friend had planned, Lindsay hoped it involved a day spa and a nice long massage.
She peered in the envelope and found a key card inside. A little yellow sticky note said “Unit 2101.” Jill had a friend who asked her to house-sit her condo sometimes. Jill had probably asked if she could borrow the place to make it feel like a real weekend getaway.
Lindsay smiled. A change of setting would do her good. She and Jill could just kick back and enjoy themselves.
She dropped the envelope on the dining room table as she headed for the kitchen to start dinner. She grinned. She wouldn’t mention anything to Jill about receiving the invitation. Keep her guessing whether she’d show up or not. It would serve her right for teasing her so mercilessly.
* * *
As Lindsay walked toward the entrance of the tall, glittering building a doorman stepped toward her, smiling.
“May I help you, ma’am?”
“Um, yes. I’ve been invited to unit 2101.”
He smiled. “Of course, Ms. Reed.” He opened the glass door. “Just walk past the elevators, then take a right. The private elevator is down that corridor. You have a key card?”
She nodded. The card had been included with the invitation and was now in her purse.
She stepped from the humid heat of the afternoon into the cool, air-conditioned lobby. She walked toward the elevators, her high heels clacking on the glossy marble floors, then turned right as directed. At the end, she found a single elevator door with a slot for a key card. She set down her overnight bag and grabbed the crystal heart on the zipper tag of her new, dark purple purse and pulled it open, retrieved the card, and slid it into the slot. The doors opened immediately.
Inside the roomy elevator was a cushioned bench. The walls were mirrored and the floor covered with soft carpet. She stepped inside and set her bag on the bench. The doors closed and the elevator began moving upward.
The building was very high class. She began to doubt it was the friend whose apartment Jill house-sat. Maybe Jill’s boss had let her use it for the weekend. The woman owned her own company and had a big house in the country. Lindsay wouldn’t be surprised if she kept an apartment in the city, too.
Would Jill be at the apartment already? If she wasn’t, how would Lindsay get in? Unless the key card opened the apartment door, too, which was what she’d originally assumed.
The elevator slowed, then came to a stop and the doors opened. Lindsay’s eyes widened as she stepped out of the elevator into the biggest, most luxurious apartment she’d ever seen. The elevator doors closed behind her and she stepped farther into the entryway and glanced around the large living room beyond with plush leather couches and armchairs, a large marble fireplace, a huge flat-screen television, and a large window overlooking the city.
Lindsay took off her shoes and placed them on the ceramic tiled floor beside the hall closet, then set down her purse beside them and stepped into the living room, her feet sinking into the thick carpet. It wasn’t as cool as in the lobby, but with a soft breeze washing through the place from the open windows, it was a comfortable temperature.
She padded across the room to the hallway in search of the bedrooms. Five doors spanned the hallway, only two open. The one at the far end of the hall seemed to be a bathroom, the other was the first door on the left. She shrugged and decided that must be the guest room. Inside she found a large queen bed with white bedding and a dark chocolate coverlet across the bottom of the bed which matched the leather headboard. She set her overnight bag on the coverlet as she glanced around at the sumptuous room. Green and brown accent pillows topped the bed and facing the window sat a brown leather chaise longue with accent pillows that matched those on the bed. The bedside tables and dresser were a glossy mahogany and behind the double folding doors must be a very large closet.
She crossed the room and peeked out the window, then sucked in a breath. Right outside was a private patio with teak chairs around a glass table shaded under an umbrella and lounge chairs skirting a private pool.
* * *
Travis pushed the button to the penthouse and the doors to the elevator closed.
“I might never get used to this place,” Connor said. “Private elevator. Luxury penthouse.”
“I don’t think I should get used to it.”
Connor nudged his elbow. “Look, Erik inherited this place and he wants us to live with him. It wouldn’t make sense to turn him down just because we couldn’t afford the rent on a place like this. Erik really doesn’t care about stuff like that.”
“I know. I didn’t turn it down.”
“Yeah, but I had to practically twist your arm.”
It was true. Connor really wanted the two of them to move in with Erik, and Travis wanted that, too. The three of them had a solid relationship and Travis wanted them all to be together as much as Connor and Erik did. He just wished it had been somewhere he could afford. It was important to him to pull his own weight. He’d been living on his own since he was seventeen and he’d never relied on anyone. Financially, anyway. Since he’d moved in with Connor several years ago, he had learned to rely on Connor for emotional support. And for sex, of course. Erik came along later, but the three of them had forged a strong, intimate relationship together.
“Listen, when we get upstairs, let’s go for a quick swim before Lindsay arrives,” Connor suggested.
Travis’ stomach knotted, despite the thought of a nice swim in the heated pool. He was looking forward to a wild weekend sharing a sexy woman with his two friends, but it was the first time they’d had a woman to a place they all shared. It would be a little strange, especially since he still didn’t feel quite settled.
“She’ll be here soon, so we don’t really have time.”
The elevator arrived at the rooftop apartment and the doors opened.
* * *
At a noise in the other room, Lindsay turned her head. She walked toward the door, straining to hear. It sounded like the elevator doors opening. Well, now that Jill had arrived, she could find out what was going on.
“It looks like our guest is here,” someone said in the other room, but it was a man’s voice.
An unfamiliar voice. Lindsay stiffened. Why had Jill invited a man?
“How do you know?” another man said.
“Right there. Unless Erik’s taken to cross-dressing, those aren’t his shoes and purse.”
Someone chuckled. “Erik texted me to say he’d be late, so they’re definitely not his.”
“So he wasn’t here when she arrived? Let’s go find her.”
Panic rose in Lindsay. Oh, God, the invitation had been the real deal. She’d been invited to come and party—sexually—with three men. Three strange men.
Copyright © 2013 by Opal Carew