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Cox Club By Alice Gaines
The cab stopped in the absolutely last place you'd expect to find an exclusive sex club. One lone light bulb barely made a dent in the drizzle, but you wouldn't want to see too much in this neighborhood, anyway.
Nothing but run-down warehouses, some with forklifts sitting outside. From the peeling paint on others, it appeared they hadn't held any merchandise for years.
The driver looked back over his seat. "You ladies sure you want to get out here?"
"Thank you, yes." Andi Crawford's friend, Carol, fumbled in her purse for a few seconds and then passed the man several twenties. "Keep the change."
He took them briefly and then grunted his approval. "You'll pardon my saying so, but this block don't look safe."
Andi sat in the darkest part of the cab, back between the seat and the rear window. The place wasn't safe. In fact, he had no idea how unsafe it was, but not for the reason he thought.
Carol opened the cab door, grabbed Andi's arm, and hauled them both onto the street. She continued holding onto Andi as she closed the door again and the cab drove away. Obviously, she thought Andi would bolt, and she could very well be right. But in this part of town, wearing three inch heels and a short skirt, Andi wasn't going anywhere without the cab.
Why had she let Carol talk her into this?
Oh hell, she knew damned well. She hadn't had an orgasm in six monthsexcept for the ones that woke her up from a dream sometimes. Not since Blake, damn him, anyway.
Kat on a Hot Tin Roof by Maree Anderson
Anyone spotting the cat crouched on the rooftop could be forgiven for thinking that it was a mini panther. It was sleek and muscular, and its short, jet-black coat had a glossy sheen that begged to be petted and stroked. But, one glance at its copper-penny colored eyes dispelled any notion that this was a domesticated creature who would tolerate such indignities. It was wild. It had a mind of its own. A distinctly un-catlike mind.
And an agenda.
The cat didn't understand why it had been drawn to this particular house. Only that instinct had prodded and poked it until it had succumbed to the primal pull of a force it couldn't deny. It leaped from the rooftop to a fence paling, streaked across the inch-wide strip of wood capping the fence, then launched itself from the fence and hit the ground running. It darted across the grass, its lithe form winding between bushes and landscape plantings, barely raising a disturbance at its passing. At the side door of the house it came to an abrupt halt and paused, sniffing the air. Then it pushed its head against the cat-flap and prowled through into the kitchen.
It wasn't looking for food. Just as well, because there was no cat-lover residing here. No pets at all, in fact. And certainly no food left out for bold strays to sample.
The cat gathered itself to leap. In one smooth movement, it bounded from the floor to the marble countertop. It paused there a moment, whiskers twitching, ears alert for unwelcome intruders before hopping into the sink and lapping at the tiny puddle of water.
Moonlight filtered through the open blinds, painting the pale walls with linear swathes of luminous silver. The glint from a moon-kissed trinket sitting on a saucer by the sink drew the cat's attention. It stepped neatly from the sink to the countertop and slinked over to investigate.
The cat sniffed the trinket, scenting human male
Kellen's Conquest by Anne Kane
Place: Earth Colony 6, Urali System
Mia looked around and rolled her eyes. Kellen's office looked the same as it had six months agosterile. The man needed a decorator, or at least a can of paint. Beige did not count as a color.
She crossed to the computer console, gliding on the balls of her feet. Her childhood in the projects had taught her the art of moving stealthily. Now, with a practiced flick of her wrist, she unwrapped the little dragon charm from around her neck. This charm, which she had named Spike, interfaced her neural implants with external systems using its A.I. base program. Its eyes opened, and pale green sparks glittered within the jewel-like lenses.
The computer's access port gaped wide for easy access. Mia hesitated uneasily and tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear. Frowning, she took a moment to check the shadows for potential problems.
This had been easy. Too easy. Kellen might be a lot of things, but he wasn't a fool. A sinking feeling landed in the pit of her stomach. She bit her lip and placed the little dragon on the computer interface board. Closing her eyes, she let her mind slip away and merge with the vast array of data banks.
Although she made her living as a data courier and thief, this wasn't theft. Not really. The file, the original idea, years of research and the design of the weapon all belonged to her. She'd just been too hasty when she departed, leaving the documentation and proof of her hard work behind.
Ah. There it is. Mia directed the download of the weapon specs through her implant to the little dragon, quickly running the data through a scanner to make sure the contents were intact. Perfect. She pulled her consciousness out of the computer.
"Not going to stay long enough to say hi?" The lazy drawl sent heat racing through her gut, even as she silently cursed the speaker. Kellen lounged inside the doorway, blocking the only way out. The smug look on his face confirmed what she already knew. He set me up. She'd waltzed into the lion's den like a naive idiot.
Damn! She should have known better.
Scoundrel in a Kilt by Nicole North
Scotland, present day
"I'm in hell," Erin Shultz muttered between chattering teeth. Frozen hell!
"Concentrate, Erin!" Sam, the creative director of the photo shoot called, his voice carried away by the icy Highland wind whipping off the Atlantic and across the castle's roof.
Didn't he know it was damned hard to concentrate on edgy poses when one's nipples were in danger of freezing and falling off? The thin silk dress, studded with millions of sequins, didn't do a thing to deflect the wind.
"We're looking for ethereal but sexy," Kincaid, the fashion designer and client, reminded her. "Mythical but earthy. Pretend you're a mermaid."
A mermaid? On top of a castle? That made a lot of sense.
Determined to get a great photo even if it killed her, Erin focused on her stiff facial muscles. Move, damn you!
Three more blinding flashes.
"That's a wrap!" Sam waved.
Erin dashed inside the castle, grabbed her coat from the female assistant, and wrapped her shivering body within the heavy wool. "Thank you. I have to find some heat."
"Kincaid isn't impressed by your photos, Erin." Sam's voice echoed from behind her.
Her stomach dropped as she spun to face him. "He loved my look before. I thought those last few shots were great."
Sam's hard gray eyes and tight ponytail made his expression appear more severe than usual. "We're scheduling a re-shoot for tomorrow. Something isn't translating into the pictures this time. Are you distracted? What's going on?"
"Nothing. I'm fine." Why did he bother asking? He didn't care about her financial problems. "I'm simply not used to working in such extreme cold," Erin said. And the world was indeed a cold place.
Sam patted her back. "Do better tomorrow."
She nodded and watched him walk away. Her eyes burned and her throat ached. How could I screw up so badly?