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By BONNIE EDWARDS
APHRODISIA BOOKSCopyright © 2007 Bonnie Edwards
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOn a mission she'd been planning for two weeks and wanting for longer, Faye Grantham took a breath, smoothed her palm up her thigh to hike her dress and crossed the threshold into the darkly lit hotel bar.
Desperation was a harsh mistress and demanded sacrifice, and Faye was desperate. Propelled into the bar by a heat under her skin she could no longer deny, her craving exploded outward, from her skin, her hair, the ends of her fingertips. She was on fire, and it amazed her that no one in the hotel lobby had called 911.
Sex with a stranger. An I don't want to know your name kind of stranger, that's what she was here for, and that's what she was determined to get.
She paused inside the entrance to glance around for a likely candidate. At first she was disappointed. A sparse crowd was sprinkled around the edges of the room. Light came from tabletop candles and subdued ceiling bulbs made to look like the night sky. For a bar called the Stargazer, it made sense.
Couples shared a quiet drink, men spoke into cell phones with laptops open, a woman with shopping bags sporting expensive logos at her feet sipped a martini. Her mouth was set grimly, and she downed the drink fast, nodding for the next before the glass was set back on the table. An obviously bad day.
The only men of interest were a group of rowdy suits at a table left of the door. Four men in their early thirties, happy, celebrating.
Her inner heat cranked up to unbearable at the sight of all those delicious-looking men. She kept her gaze forward to hide her interest but had to ease out a breath. She half expected to see fire blaze from her mouth.
Need. She'd never felt such need.
Forcing her legs to take her past the men and toward the bar kept her focused.
An ego-boosting silence hit the table as she strolled by. A whiff of tantalizing male cologne swirled around her head as she moved past. It was a man-spice smell that went straight to every feminine scent receptacle in her head. Her nostrils flared to catch every molecule.
If she turned her head to look at the men, she'd stop walking, and one last shred of pride wouldn't let her. She would not stand there to be ogled openly.
Moisture pooled at the image in her mind of four men touching her with their eyes, skimming her arms, her breasts, her legs, taking inventory of all her secret places. All of them wanting to be with her, inside her hot, hot skin.
Suddenly awash in heat, she took a hard breath. Keep moving.
If she wasn't careful, she'd end up with all of them at once! Flat out, stripped naked on a bed, with four men making her melt, making her wet.
She felt the back of a male hand brush lovingly down the side of her naked breast. The hair on the back of his fingers would excite and entice as he pressed against the soft flesh. Her nipple would bead; the knuckles, large and knobby, would caress and inflame her areola. Another man would kiss her mouth, sucking at her lower lip before sliding his tongue deeply into her yearning, empty mouth. Oh, yes.
She could have two of them suckle her breasts, and one could pleasure her toes. The fourth, oh, the fourth would slide his broad fingers into her so she could ride out an explosive orgasm before he slid his massive cock into her. She squeezed her thighs together, barely able to walk the rest of the way. Melting in the heat of her own fantasy, she finally made it to a bar stool.
She'd never, ever entertained such hot fantasies before. Maybe it was turning thirty last month, or maybe it was finally being engaged after five years. Or, maybe, it was Colin's talk of her needing a sex therapist.
Whatever was going on, she loved it. She was living a sexual implosion, and she needed to understand why. And fast.
Her bra felt like burlap and scratched against her raised nipples. Sparkles of desire raced from her breasts to her pussy, and she shivered with the yummy feel. In her mind, one of the men soothed the roughened nubs with an expert tongue. She imagined a wet mouth suckling at her as she tilted her head back to offer more. She shivered as the man's lips trailed up her neck.
Suddenly remembering she was sitting alone on a bar stool waiting to be served, she pulled herself out of her fantasy and looked down the bar for the bartender. It wouldn't do to start moaning in the throes of an imagined orgasm.
She'd be hauled out of her seat and sent to a rubber room.
Maybe that's where she belonged. But before that happened, she was going to get laid. Her nameless lover would be one of those great-smelling men at the table behind her.
One of them would surely read the signs of her arousal. One of them would tap into it, want to exploit it. One of them would want it bad.
And bad was what she needed.
This craving had built for months. At first it had manifested as an unsettled feeling when Great Auntie Mae Grantham had passed away. She'd felt guilty for not going to see her more often.
Then-oh, so slowly-the unsettled feeling grew into an itch she couldn't scratch. She'd had more sex, but she'd been even less satisfied than usual. All the while the craving grew until it tore and clawed at her, bringing sexual frustration to a pinnacle. She couldn't fight it any longer.
A sexual implosion was the only name she could give the wild craving. It filled most of her waking moments and all of her sleeping ones. Sexual need crawled under her skin, oozed out her pores, scented her breath and made her carry fresh panties everywhere she went.
Everything she'd done, everything she'd tried had brought her to this moment, to these men. These strangers.
If she didn't succeed in this mission tonight, her marriage was doomed before it began.
She kept her back to the tableful of men so they could sort it out amongst themselves. In a few minutes, when they saw she was alone, one of them would stroll over, lean against her forearm where it rested on the bar. He'd burn with the fire on her skin. He'd order a drink, see if she shifted away.
When she stayed put, he'd look at her and smile. She'd cross her arms under her breasts and, without flinching, give him an eyeful. She'd chosen this bra for maximum uplift. The top of her areolae peeked over the edges of the lace cups, the rosy flesh obvious from above.
The dress she wore had practically chosen her instead of the other way around. She'd found it in her backroom inventory in a stack of men's fedoras, folded like a scarf.
Odd that she'd even thought to look there. She shouldn't have looked for a dress in a pile of hats. When she'd pulled it out and held it against her body, it screamed come fuck me, and she knew it was the one to wear.
She'd checked the tag and found it had been worn by a B actress in a 1957 sex-kitten flick. Not much cachet in the vintage clothing business, but a whole lot of "hot" in the seduce-a-stranger realm.
She smiled and felt her sexual aura shimmer again as she tilted her hips just so toward the men and placed her beaded clutch on the bar top.
Beaming a smile at the bartender, she leaned toward him, her nipples grazing the round, leather, rolled edge of the bar top. Enjoying the pressure, she swished her nipples back and forth to ease herself.
Big mistake. At the faint abrasion, moisture pooled again and slid down her channel to wet her g-string. She crossed and uncrossed her legs to appease her inner ache.
Her focus turned inward at the first sensation of moisture between her legs. The bartender had been wiping up a spill a few feet over but let the cloth he used dangle from his hand as she settled herself. Idly she wondered if he could see sparks in her eyes.
She tilted her head, gave her hair a fluff, then raised her arms so her breasts jiggled just for him. He woke from wherever his thoughts had taken him and came over to her. Young, handsome, and randy, he leaned across the bar and took a good look at her cleavage.
"Aren't you breaking some bartender's code by staring at my breasts?" But she squeezed them together again to ensure his interest.
He grinned and looked into her eyes. "What can I give you tonight?"
"I don't know. What do you have that's juicy and wet? I'm a thirsty girl."
His eyes flared, and he folded his arms on the bar. Strong forearms, with a sprinkling of hair showing out of the sleeves of his brilliant white shirt.
"You must work out. Your upper arms bulge with muscles. You look very strong." She trailed a fingernail across the back of his hand, down to the tip of his middle finger.
One of the suits moved in beside her before the bartender could answer. "I'll have a whiskey and soda. And for the lady?"
He followed the script, and with a look that scorched, peered down her scoop-necked bodice. Faye gave him a slow, welcoming smile and crossed her legs again. "I like your cologne. I smelled it when I walked by."
He caught the movement of her legs and grinned. "I'm glad you like it." He reversed her seductive movement and traced a fingertip from the pink-painted nail of her index finger across her knuckle and along the vein in her hand to her wrist.
Fire raced along every nerve he danced against. Touch me, touch me. Oh, touch me.
When he stopped the delicate caress, she thought she'd beg for more. She bit her lower lip, wetting it, plumping it, preparing it. He watched her mouth with deep focus.
Their bodies turned toward each other; their heads dipped even closer.
A strong jaw, even teeth, and intelligent eyes made up her first impression. His control of the situation was apparent when he looked at the younger man and cocked an eyebrow. Quick as that, the bartender bowed out of the equation.
Faye had found her man.
Aside from the sexy cologne, he smelled of success and power, and she blinked up at him as if surprised he'd be so bold. His forearm burned along the length of hers on the bar, right on cue.
She swiveled her ass toward the other three men the man had left behind. An appreciative hiss came from one of them.
She imagined the man beside her skimming his hand down her back to cup a cheek and squeeze. She had to blink to dislodge the image.
His eyes were hazel and hot, his hair neatly trimmed, his hands the hands of a businessman. Clean, neat nails. She'd already learned his gentle strength when he'd traced her finger and hand.
His lips were hard, though-exactly the way she liked them. She saw them bearing down on her own, demanding she yield her mouth to his. The strength of her fantasies unnerved her. As if they'd come from somewhere outside her own psyche.
Each fantasy was more powerful than the one before until she wondered if she was projecting them onto her forehead for all the world to see.
She'd never been so imaginative. Never so hot, never so needy, never so alive.
"I haven't decided what I want yet," she said, finally remembering to reply to the stranger's question. "I can be very picky."
She cleared her fantasies away with great effort and took stock of him. What she saw fit her requirements. Healthy looking, interested, no wedding band, and keen intelligence. Yes, he'd do.
"I'm Faye Grantham," she said, tossing away her anonymous-sex fantasy. Giving her real name came naturally, and she wasn't an easy liar.
"As in, grant 'im his wish?" One side of his hard mouth quirked up.
"If you'd like."
"Miss, can I get you something?" The bartender interjected, all business now.
"Like I said, I'd like something wet, something juicy." She arched her neck, trailed her fingertips down her throat. "Maybe an icy drink; I like the way they cool me when I'm hot." Her fingers drew down farther along the line of her cleavage.
There was a long moment of silence from the two men as they watched her fingers trail between her breasts. Her nipples stood out prouder, the areolae hard.
"Do you have something that will cool me off? Something juicy and wet?" She emphasized the t sound, drawing it out only to clip it off at the end.
The gulp the young bartender gave was audible. "A Bellini. You'll like it, I promise."
The man at her side-older, more experienced than the bartender-narrowed his gaze. Then he slid his hand to her back to a spot above the low material of her dress. Her flesh tingled where he touched.
His fingertip drew slow, hypnotic circles on her naked flesh. Her spine straightened in response, lifting her breasts higher. If he didn't do more than skim a finger along her skin soon, she'd shimmy right out of this bodice. She looked into his eyes and saw the promise of a sure thing.
He was hers for as long as she wanted to play.
"I don't need that drink after all," she said. "I think I see what I need right here."
She slid off the stool, making certain to brush the length of his body. Her pebbled breasts skimmed his chest, her knee bent as it caressed the side of his leg. More juices flowed at the thought of sex with this man with the hot eyes and hard mouth. She licked her lower lip in anticipation.
"You have a room?" she asked him on a husky note, surprised at the deep timbre.
He nodded and turned his head to the bartender. She liked the sharp angles of his profile, took a complete inventory and burned again.
"Champagne. Suite twenty fourteen," he ordered from the gaping young man on the other side of the bar.
She slid her eyes to the younger man. "Make it the best you've got."
She turned, took her clutch from the bar top and headed toward the exit that would take them through the lobby and up to his suite. Her hips swayed seductively, her shoulders straightened and she could feel the heat of his stare through the silk of her dress.
"My card," he offered. He took her elbow in a firm grip to guide her through the tables. She took the card, glanced at his name in spite of not wanting to know it. Mark McLeod.
It was a good name. She didn't recognize the company logo, but it didn't matter; they'd never be in touch again. She slid the card into the outside pocket of her clutch next to the very convenient letter from Watson, Watson and Sloane.
She looked up at his profile once more. Strong chin, bold nose, hard lips, and great shoulders. She warmed through and through at the idea of skimming his collarbone with her mouth, allowing her teeth to leave small marks of possession along the path.
He did not look back at the table of companions he'd left behind. No, his focus was on Faye and Faye alone.
She knew he'd keep it there. How refreshing.
They strode across the lobby together, his fingers firm on her arm. Her breath quickened with each step, her breasts bounced, each movement a secret abrasion on her sensitized nipples. Her knees quaked at the knowledge of what she was about to do. Sex with a stranger in an airport hotel room.
Coolheaded logic flushed through her body, washing away the rapacious desire that had brought her here.
The inherent danger in her plan finally rattled her. Faye glanced at Mark out of the corner of her eye as they walked together. He looked like a decent man, a kind man. A normal man. A hot and ready man she'd deliberately enticed. She couldn't go back on her offer now.
Her body wouldn't let her, she realized, as the warmth in her loins spread upward again. She tried to tamp it back, but it was useless. This was a battle she'd lost many times in the last three months. Her body wanted what it wanted in spite of her attempts to hold herself in check.
She wanted to scream her need out loud, but she didn't have to. Mark had picked up on her sexual craving, had responded and answered the call of woman to man. He knew what she wanted, and he would give it to her.
Once alone in the suite with Mark, anything could happen. Any sexually deviant behavior he favored could occur, and she'd be trapped in it with him. But wasn't that part of the whole thing? The fantasy of being unable to put a stop to things, of being swept up into something forbidden, exciting, and wild. Excitement mixed with a healthy dose of fear twitched and grew and made her pant.
Mark slid a finger over the elevator keypad and grinned into her eyes. "Okay?"
"I'm fine." Fear mixed with anticipation was a heady blend-arousing and spicy.
"You're more than fine, Faye. You're a dream come true." He let go of her arm and ran his hand down her back to cup her ass the way she'd envisioned earlier. Thrill trails followed his movements. "You're perfect."
Excerpted from Midnight Confessions by BONNIE EDWARDS Copyright © 2007 by Bonnie Edwards. Excerpted by permission.
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