Dominated by Duplicitous Desires

Dominated by Duplicitous Desires

Status: Finished

Genre: Erotica

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Erotica

Summary

Come enter into the world where one night of reckless abandon plunges Ann into a world of deception, intrigue, murder, and revenge where nothing is as it seems and she is the red flag in a tug-o-war of powerful businessmen who will dominate her, protect her, or strip her bare in order to unlock secrets from her past of which even she is unaware. While attending the charitable event which she spearheaded with her stepfather last year in hopes of grounding herself after his death, Ann is knocked off her feet by billionaire businessman, Stephan Greystone. His steel eyes flare with fiery desire as they lock with her gray inflaming her core and igniting an insatiable hunger for a man she can never have. As a stunning woman places her fingertips on Stephan’s forearm, his eyes cool causing waves of self-doubt and insecurity to crash over Ann, prompting her to flee. Just once, she wishes she could be a confident, sexual siren like her best friend, Alice, who arouses passion in every man caught in her sights. As Alice slips into the seat next to Ann smelling of sex and her latest conquest’s cologne, she begs Ann to experiment and enter into games of erotic seduction planned for later in the evening involving some of the guests. With that one word and a nod of her head indicating that Stephan will be one such entrant, Ann is consumed by an inexplicable need to try and win Stephan and engage in one night of unrestrained passion. Never did she expect that her hopes of catching an impossible dream would lead her into the arms of a man who derives pleasure from inflicting pain and spurn her descent into a world of duplicity and vengeance where nothing is as it seems. Waking in the woods, she soon learns that Alice is dead and that the only people surrounding her are those with an agenda to unlock information from her past that even she does not know she has or strip away all that she has known.

Summary

Come enter into the world where one night of reckless abandon plunges Ann into a world of deception, intrigue, murder, and revenge where nothing is as it seems and she is the red flag in a tug-o-war of powerful businessmen who will dominate her, protect her, or strip her bare in order to unlock secrets from her past of which even she is unaware.

While attending the charitable event which she spearheaded with her stepfather last year in hopes of grounding herself after his death, Ann is knocked off her feet by billionaire businessman, Stephan Greystone. His steel eyes flare with fiery desire as they lock with her gray inflaming her core and igniting an insatiable hunger for a man she can never have. As a stunning woman places her fingertips on Stephan’s forearm, his eyes cool causing waves of self-doubt and insecurity to crash over Ann, prompting her to flee.

Just once, she wishes she could be a confident, sexual siren like her best friend, Alice, who arouses passion in every man caught in her sights. As Alice slips into the seat next to Ann smelling of sex and her latest conquest’s cologne, she begs Ann to experiment and enter into games of erotic seduction planned for later in the evening involving some of the guests. With that one word and a nod of her head indicating that Stephan will be one such entrant, Ann is consumed by an inexplicable need to try and win Stephan and engage in one night of unrestrained passion.

Never did she expect that her hopes of catching an impossible dream would lead her into the arms of a man who derives pleasure from inflicting pain and spurn her descent into a world of duplicity and vengeance where nothing is as it seems. Waking in the woods, she soon learns that Alice is dead and that the only people surrounding her are those with an agenda to unlock information from her past that even she does not know she has or strip away all that she has known.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Dominated by Duplicitous Desires

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 27, 2015

Reads: 654

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: January 27, 2015

A A A

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Prologue

~~Throbbing temples and a piercing headache rip me from my slumber and serve as a stark reminder of my overindulgence in the fine liquors which flowed like water throughout the evening’s games. Lifting my sore and heavy limbs, I wince before brushing away the morning and wrenching my eyes open. Why am I outside? Frantically glancing around, terror engulfs me as I realize that I am not at my home but in a ditch surrounded by tall, thick based trees. The damp, cold ground permeates my thin, satin cocktail dress awakening my senses as image after image of strange men’s faces flash through my cloudy consciousness.
Although the last few adventurous months have me slipping far afield from my rational self, accompanying my best friend, Alice, to an erotic after hour’s party following the charitable event we attended was beyond the pale. Escaping trouble during my first encounter should have had me pushing thoughts of all such things out of my mind instead of indulging in the uncharacteristic desires which eclipsed all common sense.
Whether provoked by the whispers of a dangerously mysterious stranger claiming to desire me as opposed to Alice whose confident sexuality could lead men to hell with just the sway of her hips, my feelings of inadequacy stemming from the alienation of my father, or my one sexual relationship with a man who never once made me feel desirable, I could not escape the driving hunger to return once more to nourish my starving self-confidence. Assuring myself that I would indulge in only one more evening of reckless abandon before picking up the pieces of my out of control existence to settle into a life I had grown accustomed to but failed to realize how truly comforting it was, I returned for one last game.
I never suspected that pursing pleasure would lead me into the arms of a man who derives pleasure from inflicting pain and spurn my descent into a world of deception, intrigue, murder, and revenge.
Forcing myself to my knees and rising quickly, my head spins wildly, heated blood courses through me, and the sonic boom of my pounding heart in my ears causes me to stumble toward the unyielding ground. Curling into a ball, forcing in shallow breaths as pain lances through my body, I fight to calm myself and think. Panic is not an option. I repeat this mantra until the ringing in my ears subsides and I force calming breaths into my lungs slowing my raging heart. Sitting up, I gasp at seeing tears in my dress and the deep purple bruises covering my arms and legs. Don’t start panicking again, my inner voice screams. Remember what your father always taught you. Forcing my mind to concentrate, his authoritative voice pierces my muddled thoughts. Ann, whatever situation you find yourself in, panicking only makes it worse and is usually what kills you.
Despite my grave circumstance, an “ugh” escapes my lips as a bizarre image of Brian sitting on his cloud, crossing his arms, and shaking his head flashes before me. The strange image allows me to release my anxiety long enough to steady my pulse and I wonder if he somehow sent me the image to clear my befuddled mind.
Rising while forcing myself to take in slow deep breaths, I strain to listen for any sound that may indicate I am near a road, but all I hear is the rustling of windblown leaves. Hugging myself, I move forward. The graying sky offers no indication if it is dawn or dusk. My lack of attire will make an October evening, if I am where I fear, unbearable.
Moving slowly and carefully, my bare feet ache as the thick rooted brush pricks my soles. If I don’t find softer ground soon, at least the bloodied path I’m sure to leave behind will ensure that I don’t go in circles.
Wandering for what feels like hours, there is no sign of civilization. At least the brightening sky reassures me that I have time before nightfall.
As the sun hits its peak, there is no sign of civilization or life beyond the small creatures crossing my path. Raising my face hoping to warm myself, I cannot escape the chilling sensation that I have been dumped as food for the animals who will surely feast upon my rotting corpse if I fail to find a way out. My heart constricts. I fight to breathe. If fear grabs hold of me again, I will die.
Surely, Alice knows I am missing by now. Maybe my driver has alerted the police. Shaking my head I have been too out of control since my return from Europe. My driver probably thinks I am on a bender. He is probably relieved that I spared him the ugly job of cleaning up vile vomit which lingers in the limousine’s interior. Tears prick my eyes as I realize that Alice probably believes I retreated into myself to lament over the choices I made. Although I can’t remember that day she says I disappeared on her in Europe after Barrett left, I’m sure she will attribute my disappearance now as just more of the same. I have turned into such a disappointment since my father’s death, well my step-father, but he did raise me since birth.
Brushing away tears, my hands glide over dirt, scratches, and bruises that mar my usual peaches and cream complexion. I really have lost my way and not just because of my surroundings. My life has been in a tailspin since losing my step-father, my rock, and anchor. Despite my fighting him every step of the way when I was eighteen to gain the inheritance my mother left for me, I now realize, standing in the midst of what may become my burial ground, that he fought me to save me. He fought me to ensure that I didn’t become what I am now. His love, care, and discipline ensured that from the tender age of ten, when I lost my mother, until his death shortly after I turned twenty-three, I moved toward doing well, being productive, and staying out of trouble. He even quickly pulled me from my expensive boarding university after I ditched classes to party with my friends or recover from a severe hangover.
As fiduciary of my trust, he cut off all funds, ripped me from that world, and forced me into a local college where I had to earn not only good grades, but also my tuition. He even had me help with the police force’s favorite children’s charities. I always knew with him that if I ever wanted to see my money again, I would have to be productive on my own first. Although I graduated at the top of my class with a major in business finance and a minor in public relations and advertising, he did not turn my money over. I can still hear his words on graduation day. I am so proud of you, honey. I love you and you know that your money is always safe and here for you, but I want you to see it only as a back-up, a safe haven that you can dip into after working hard to indulge in a trip or treat. Idle time can only bring you trouble and you are better than that, you need to make your way, build your confidence and like the person that you are. Otherwise, all the money in the world will not make you happy. Although I fought him then, I realize as I stand in the midst of a crisis, I am at least physically stronger and force myself to move on. If only I had enough self-confidence when he died to continue on the path he set and enter a career or relationship that was not damaging to my shaky ego, I would not have sought the destructive existence over the past few months that led me down to this point.
Pushing my fear aside and drawing from that which he instilled in me, I look around and know that as the day drags on, it is not only a way out I must search for, but shelter and water. My stomach grumbles in protest, but I begin walking briskly and with purpose.
The graying sky alerts me that I am running out of time and still have found no path to freedom. Another night in this interminable abyss as nocturnal animals begin their prowl will surely bring death to my already withering existence. My body protests, my mind becomes cloudier and cloudier, and my arid throat is so constricted that every breath brings an aching, strangling feeling. Stumbling toward a downed tree hoping to sit and gather strength, if only for a moment, I trip on some undergrowth. As the world comes quickly toward my face, I know I am through.
 
Chapter One ~~The grand ballroom is crowded as the soft strings of music fill the air warming the atmosphere while still allowing the crowd to speak softly. Brian would have loved how filled the room is, knowing that the children’s fund will be replenished by the well-to-do suits who paid handsomely for the per plate dinner. As Alice and I step through, I can’t help but feel a pang of regret for not volunteering to assist in an endeavor which meant so much to my dad and which I creatively raised funds for last year.
Alice quickly secures two champagne flutes from a passing waiter and hands me one. “Come on, I’m sure that there is someone here who wants to have fun and whom I haven’t had yet.”
“Sometimes you can be so crude.” I retort harshly.
“Maybe if you go on the prowl and experiment, you wouldn’t let one bad relationship with a man who made you feel like you couldn’t get anyone else continue to mess with your self-esteem. For someone who worked her way through school, is beautiful, and from last year’s little impromptu excursion and investments made the charity a nice chunk of change, you should think better of yourself.”
Although I smile fondly at Alice as she scans the room for prospects, I know that the last few wild months are not something that I am proud of. She is right about one thing, I did let my lack of self-confidence and self-doubt rule my behavior. Although I tried to convince myself that if I acted more like her maybe some of her strong attitude of not caring what others thought would rub off, I know that it is actually feeding my insecurities because I am accomplishing nothing. I need to find a way to jump start a new existence. Before I finish my thoughts, Alice spots a blond, six-one Adonis with sea-foam eyes and broad shoulders. From the way his suit hugs his torso, he is extremely athletic and well endowed. Shoving her empty glass in my hand, she licks her lips, and darts off after him as he downs his drink and turns for the bar.
Feeling self-conscious about standing alone at the entrance, I scan the room to see if some of Brian’s old colleagues are here. Although they do not have significant funds, they and their spouses attend as invited guests to thank them for all their hard work with the shelters.
Turning to deposit the two empty flutes on a waiter’s tray before slipping through the crowd, my body lunges violently forward as what feels like a steel girder thrusts between my shoulder blades. Bumping the waiter, his tray flies out of his hands and glasses shatter as they hit the floor. A phone hits the marble and smashes before I fall upon its pieces. Hearing the gasps throughout the room, I know all eyes are glued to the spectacle before them. My heart pounds, my face flushes, but at least I am donning my graphite gray halter dress with flowing skirt instead of the red strapless fitting number that Alice tried to talk me into and would have surely ripped at the seams.
“I’m terribly sorry.” A smooth silky tone rasps at my ear as strong hands lift me to my feet. Turning, deep sapphire eyes apprise me carefully. “Are you alright?’ His silken inquiry wraps around me simultaneously melting and clenching my insides. His strong grip heats my blood and my heart pounds in my ears drowning out everything else. Quickly tearing his eyes from mine, I am instantly aware of the crowd gathering. Embarrassment floods through my body, I flush everywhere. Pulling me closer, I drag in a calming breath but the faint scent of his skin that hints of something even more tantalizing than fresh mountain air on a crisp day plays havoc with my already riotous senses. “She’s fine. She just needs some air. Please go back to your socializing, we have this covered.”
I can’t help but stare at his resplendent profile. I have been around strong, gorgeous men, granted none have brought me to my knees so quickly, but I have never been stunned into silence or unable to tear my gaze from them. Turning his attention back to me, he raises his hand and runs his fingertips from my temple to my chin. Grasping it lightly, he unwittingly sends a bolt of electricity to my very core. His eyes reflect concern and his voice takes on a touch of anxiety. “Miss Stanton, are you hurt?”
I can’t stop the gasp escaping my lips. He knows my name. I tear my eyes from his hypnotic stare hoping to catch my breath and speak, only to be struck mute as I am treated to the most dazzling smile on a face that would make angels jealous and have every woman in the place down on their knees intentionally. Inhaling a sharp breath, I manage a slight nod and he waves off the lingering onlookers.
Slipping one hand around to the small of my back, his touch is as electrified as captured lightening in a bottle causing my body to tingle with sharp sparks of desire. Forgetting to breathe, I wobble as he tries to move us forward. “Breathe or you’ll pass out” His cool breath caresses my ear. His fresh scent is scrumptious and feeds my senses allowing me to at least move forward. Striding toward the bar, he orders an Irish cream on the rocks and a scotch. How could he know my favorite drink at these types of affairs? Handing it to me, “Ann, you haven’t said anything, are you alright?”
Taking a small sip, it glides down my throat slowly. As it settles, the knots in my stomach finally loosen enough so I can move my lips and answer. “I’m fine, just a little embarrassed. How do you know me? I would have remembered meeting you before.” Did I just say that out loud?
An amused smile plays upon his sculpted lips and his eyes shine. “I saw your photograph in the paper.”
I can’t help but groan remembering the less than flatting photograph that appeared in the society section where Alice and I were clearly visible among the sea of other attendees photographed at a concert that had to be broken up by police because it got out of hand. “I can’t seem to stop making a fool out of myself.” The comment escapes my lips before I can quash it.
His features turned puzzled. “I think what you did here last year was phenomenal. In fact that is what brought me here tonight. I hope that you are having another auction. I would love the opportunity to bid on you as my escort for this evening’s event.” I can’t snap my jaw shut quick enough as his silky tone wraps itself around me like a shawl on a brisk morning before my snarky conscious rips it away making me cold by her harsh retort. He is only saying that because he embarrassed you and is trying to alleviate his conscious. Look at him. She is right. Looking at how crisp and commanding he appears standing six-four, perfectly sculpted, impeccably groomed with chocolate hair framing his masculine features and not even a hint of a hair out of place, he exudes an air of confidence and strength that could easily overtake anyone in this room and makes him sexy as hell. Knowing he must be here to mingle as all businessmen do at these affairs to strengthen contacts, social ties, and usually to see if there are any prospects, I can’t understand why he is wasting time on someone like me.
“Ann, are you participating in the auction this evening?” He inquires again as his thumb, still at the small of my back, rubs circles sending continuous charges bolting up my spine elevating my breathing. I have never reacted to a man’s touch like this. I want to lean into his strong, muscular chest and lay my head against his chest as I nuzzle his neck. His eyes grow dark as if he can read where my thoughts are heading. I force myself to look down at my drink, but cannot force my voice above a breathy whisper.
“I didn’t help organize this year’s event, but I’m sure that if they are having an auction your donation to the evening will provide you with a gorgeous companion Mr…”
“Greystone, Stephan Greystone. I am rather enjoying your company.” Internally, I hit my head, I read about his mega-investment mergers, acquisitions, and how he took his father’s company into the business stratosphere, diversifying and making him one of the richest men on the planet. He takes another sip of his scotch. As the glass touches his lips, I can’t help but be envious and wish it were my lips brushing against his. Oh my God, get a grip on yourself. Why would he want your lips against his? His dulcet tone propels me from my internal struggle. “I’m sure that they missed you this year. I read the article after last year’s event which showcased you and your father spearheading the public relations and highlighting the impromptu auction. Considering the job you did on the public relations end, I would have thought that was your field, but then I read about how you got them to their goal with your investment savvy, promising to cover the investment if it fell short. As I recall, your choice led to a record twenty percent return and allowed them to not only meet their goal but have a few thousand going into the next year. I know from experience that is quite difficult. Your father was listed as a detective, so is it your mother who got you interested in investments?
Heat colors my cheeks scarlet. This was the first complement I received since my father died and it is from a man who is one of the most accomplished business men in the world.
“I had followed the start-up company while in school and knew they were just about to explode.” I smile but drop my eyes as his sea eyes gleam.
He moves his free hand under my chin lifting my face to his. Strength radiates through his touch and my attraction to him deepens my blush. “You should never drop your eyes when speaking of your accomplishments. You should show your pride. Hasn’t your boss ever told you that is what gains the client’s confidence and trust?”
I gulp trying to stop the truth which escapes from my lips. “I’m not working currently. I decided to travel a while. Is that how you have succeeded by gaining people’s confidence?”
“I have been told that I am very persuasive when I want something and know how to grab hold and take what I need.” His eyes turn wicked as he maneuvers me closer. My left breast brushes against his taught torso elongating my nipple. An incendiary device explodes deep within me, my heart pounds, and pulse races, sending heated blood flooding through me. An image of Stephan reaching up, unfastening the button at my neck and letting the material fall before gliding his hands down my torso and cupping my breasts as he claims my mouth flashes before me. He smirks as if knowing the erotic image flooding my thoughts. His soft remark pulls me to the present. “You should come to work for me. I could show you how to gain confidences and would love to have you in my company.” His bad boy tone is one of pure sin and causes my insides to clench at his double entreaty. He fights to suppress his amusement at my obvious shock. My subconscious rips through the fluffy blanket his words drape warmly over my shoulders. He’s only playing with you. Men like him are not interested in silly girls, they want accomplished women.
As if my subconscious registers her coming before she arrives, a tall, lean, auburn haired woman approximate five eleven, wearing a classy jade Romanesque gown that matches her eyes slinks next to Stephan caressing his shoulder before slipping her hand into the crook of his arm and effectively breaking our contact. His stance shifts, he is suddenly cooler and taller. I feel the impenetrable, invisible wall erecting around him securing them behind its protective barrier. Impassivity cools his eyes before she kisses his cheek, and whispers something so low into his ear that I only catch the words “you could have at least chosen a less disappointing…” Knowing she is referring to his disappointing choice in filler-company, self-doubt erupts within me.
My longtime insecurities flare, gripping me like a vice despite telling myself it is irrational to feel this way and that I do not even know this god like creature who stands before me, mister sex on legs. Fighting to suppress the crushing emotion, I have no right to feel, I argue with myself that this has nothing to do with the perfect couple standing before me but stems instead from issues revolving around my birth father, who despite my mother’s denial, left her upon learning about me. He never wanted anything to do with me, not even a greeting card at Christmas. Although Brian loved us both and I could not have asked for a better father, I knew my existence caused my birth father to flee and that my mother loved him even as Brian held her hand and she took her last breath. She clung to his memory the way she grasped the locket which hung from her neck and hid a small platinum band and key. The attendants pried it from her hand. For as far back as I can remember, this was the only piece of jewelry she wore, it never left her neck. She didn’t even wear a wedding ring. That day, however, she had it wrapped around her left ring finger while her thumb continuously ran over it. The image of Brian’s anguished face as I tried to give it to him still causes my stomach to churn. As it brushed his hand, he looked as if a snake bit him and his raspy voice said it was mine now, something my mother wanted to make sure I cherished as much as she did. I knew right then it was from him, the one no one ever named, but the one who never left my mother’s heart. From that moment, I knew that it had to be me that caused him to flee. I was the one he could not love or accept. He had to have loved her because no one could hold a torch for someone that long if they did not receive love back. My lanky, awkward high school days, complete with glasses and braces, did nothing to dissipate my self-loathing. Despite my college mates trying to convince me I was hot, I could never escape the feeling of unworthiness, of not being loved, and ruining my mother’s life. My relationship with Barrett, who never truly desired me, only fueled the mess that is me.
The woman beside a now aloof Stephan caresses his forearm before turning to me and extending her free hand. “I’m Eva and you are…”
Fighting to expel the inexplicable excruciating ache in my chest at the realization that he was toying with the poor girl he knocked to the floor while killing time waiting for his Grecian goddess, I fight not to reveal my crushed desires. “Ann” I rasp quickly shaking her hand which holds a firm grip. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to find my friend. It was nice meeting you both.”
I scurry away quickly, but Alice is nowhere to be found. Sighing, knowing that she is probably upstairs in some room making that man’s evening, I wish for the first time in my life that it was me upstairs with mister tall, handsome and lean.
Half way through the meal, Alice slides into the seat next to me sporting a Cheshire grin. I can’t help the flare of jealousy that seizes me. Although I have never envied her sex life and don’t know where this feeling is truly coming from, tonight I can’t help wishing I were more like her, desired by mister sex on legs, taken, possessed, and dominated by a lover who just couldn’t get enough.
“Is it any good? I’m starving” She whispers.
Smelling the mix of her perfume, his cologne, and hot sex scrambles my brain and I barely push out “it’s all fine, especially after you have worked up such an appetite.”
Noticing my tone, her head whips toward me. “What’s wrong?” I shake my head. “Come on Ann, you have never been bothered by my activity before, but now you seem livid. What’s up?”
“It is not you, it’s me. Sometimes, I just wish…nothing…forget it…I’m just in a mood.”
She smiles as if reading my mind. “You wish you had the nerve to give in to reckless abandon, experiment with someone who will make you feel alive. Lord knows, Barrett probably never even allowed you to come. What you ever saw in him is beyond me. I still think you were with him because he fed your insecurities, made you believe that you would never find anyone or be good enough to be with anyone, always keeping you down and making you feel like you had no options. Ann, you are bright, beautiful and have the whole package if you would just put yourself out there and take a chance. You may be surprised, but you have to loosen up, experiment a little. You should have put yourself out there with those men in Europe instead of just drinking, dismissing them, and waking alone in your room after waiting for a man who did nothing but tear you down. Since you refused to experiment then, you should start tonight.” Sliding back her chair, she pops an olive from the salad in her mouth, grabs her glass of wine, and motions for me to join her. Walking to the stairs, we ascend them just enough to look over the people enjoying their meal. “Ann, take a look at some of these men, they are delectable, sophisticated, and I’m sure they know what they are doing in bed, powerful men always do. After leaving Jeff, I went to freshen up and overheard some women talking about an erotic game and that they were going to check out and see if some of the regulars were playing this evening. It is going to be held here after the event. I followed them out and they went up to…” Her chin lifts and tilts toward certain men at the close tables and then she discretely points to some others at the more distant ones. As she gestures to Stephan, my pulse quickens and I feel a strange clenching deep within me at the thought of feeling his obviously taught chest and sculpted physique against mine. I can’t help but wonder if his erection would be as strong as the girder which knocked me to the floor. Heat floods my face and Alice’s retort pulls my attention back to her. “You are already picturing him sinking into you. There’s hope for you yet.” Opening my mouth, I plan on denying it, but she cuts me off. “Don’t even; your expression speaks volumes. Come on its fun to experiment and be with a real man.”
“From the look on your face when you sat down, you already had your fill for the night.”
She snorts. “I have never experimented with an erotic game and this could be just too much fun to pass up. Besides, you can never have your fill of satisfying and mind blowing sex that brings you to your knees and makes you sore for days on end.”
As the evening wears down, Alice unleashes her full persuasive force coaxing me into believing it will be exciting to experiment with such things as she slowly beats down the trepidation settling in my core.
Slipping near the women she saw earlier, we enter an ornate but smaller room, probably set up for private functions. The giddy women are talking amongst themselves while staff members set out cards on the round tables. As the door closes behind us, a gentleman in a dark suit addresses us. “Ladies if you will please take a seat the card games will begin. Alice and I take seats to the far left, but as Alice sits beside me, a striking woman whose inky hair is cut in a perfect bob and who is wearing a crimson Grecian style dress puts her hand on Alice’s shoulder. “You must be new. You need to leave a seat between you for the men.” Alice slides into a seat to my right while the woman sits on my left.
Leaning over, I whisper. “Would you mind telling me how this works?”
She smiles. “The men will come in and the games begin, we should lose our dresses within the half hour, then the men who keep score somehow know who they will end up with, and the fun begins.”
I can’t stop the heat flooding my cheeks and she smiles sheepishly at my embarrassment. Rising, I am about to tell Alice I can’t do this, can’t stand the thought of practically being naked in a room of strangers and women with perfect manicures, voluptuous bodies and beautiful faces but she grasps my hand and states “Tonight we experiment, we play.”
A strange, inexplicable shift in my mood occurs, bolting my feet to the floor just as the door opens and Stephan breezes through. As our eyes lock, I hear Alice whisper once more “experiment” and it feels as if an unseen force pushes upon my shoulders and I sink in my chair. An expression I cannot identify crosses his features as he moves toward our table. Heated blood coursing through my veins makes me feel too hot in my dress and I want to tear it off, but as my eyes are drawn to a woman clearing her throat, I catch Eva and feel as if a bucket of cold water is thrown upon me. A man approaches Stephan asking for a quick word and effectively maneuvers him to Eva’s table. I wonder if she planned that and cannot help the little surge of pleasure as a balding man slips into the seat next to her forcing Stephan to slip into a seat next to a woman in her late forties.
I keep my dress for five rounds. Losing it in the sixth, an attendant comes over to me, I stand, but my knees wobble as my fingers unbutton my top and move toward the zipper. As the dress pools at my feat, I’m sure I am as red as the crimson dress the woman beside me lost in round two. My eyes tear through the room and I catch Stephan’s eyes before he lowers and shakes his head. I want to grab my dress, pull it up, and run out the door, but the attendant has already bent and is asking me to step out of it and sit down. Robotically I sit, fold my hands on the table, and wish I could just crawl under it. Why would I ever have thought he wanted me, obviously he is relieved he was rescued earlier. The vice of my insecurities tightens. No one could ever want me.
I can only see the floor and my ruby red polished toenails from my peak a boo pumps through the silk scarf tied around my eyes. Cold seeps into my pores. My heart pounds, I squirm feeling the cold metal rings around my wrists. Moving my arms up, my fingertips touch the silk scarf obscuring my view. Someone grasps the cuff’s chain. A deep voice booms at my ear. “Now, now you agreed to experiment with this game, no peeking.”
Jumping, I clumsily trip over myself and yelp in surprise as strong hands grasp my shoulders, pulling me into his rock hard chest. He shifts swiftly snaking his muscular arms around my back and behind my knees, lifting me off my feet...

If you are interested in t~~The grand ballroom is crowded as the soft strings of music fill the air warming the atmosphere while still allowing the crowd to speak softly. Brian would have loved how filled the room is, knowing that the children’s fund will be replenished by the well-to-do suits who paid handsomely for the per plate dinner. As Alice and I step through, I can’t help but feel a pang of regret for not volunteering to assist in an endeavor which meant so much to my dad and which I creatively raised funds for last year.
Alice quickly secures two champagne flutes from a passing waiter and hands me one. “Come on, I’m sure that there is someone here who wants to have fun and whom I haven’t had yet.”
“Sometimes you can be so crude.” I retort harshly.
“Maybe if you go on the prowl and experiment, you wouldn’t let one bad relationship with a man who made you feel like you couldn’t get anyone else continue to mess with your self-esteem. For someone who worked her way through school, is beautiful, and from last year’s little impromptu excursion and investments made the charity a nice chunk of change, you should think better of yourself.”
Although I smile fondly at Alice as she scans the room for prospects, I know that the last few wild months are not something that I am proud of. She is right about one thing, I did let my lack of self-confidence and self-doubt rule my behavior. Although I tried to convince myself that if I acted more like her maybe some of her strong attitude of not caring what others thought would rub off, I know that it is actually feeding my insecurities because I am accomplishing nothing. I need to find a way to jump start a new existence. Before I finish my thoughts, Alice spots a blond, six-one Adonis with sea-foam eyes and broad shoulders. From the way his suit hugs his torso, he is extremely athletic and well endowed. Shoving her empty glass in my hand, she licks her lips, and darts off after him as he downs his drink and turns for the bar.
Feeling self-conscious about standing alone at the entrance, I scan the room to see if some of Brian’s old colleagues are here. Although they do not have significant funds, they and their spouses attend as invited guests to thank them for all their hard work with the shelters.
Turning to deposit the two empty flutes on a waiter’s tray before slipping through the crowd, my body lunges violently forward as what feels like a steel girder thrusts between my shoulder blades. Bumping the waiter, his tray flies out of his hands and glasses shatter as they hit the floor. A phone hits the marble and smashes before I fall upon its pieces. Hearing the gasps throughout the room, I know all eyes are glued to the spectacle before them. My heart pounds, my face flushes, but at least I am donning my graphite gray halter dress with flowing skirt instead of the red strapless fitting number that Alice tried to talk me into and would have surely ripped at the seams.
“I’m terribly sorry.” A smooth silky tone rasps at my ear as strong hands lift me to my feet. Turning, deep sapphire eyes apprise me carefully. “Are you alright?’ His silken inquiry wraps around me simultaneously melting and clenching my insides. His strong grip heats my blood and my heart pounds in my ears drowning out everything else. Quickly tearing his eyes from mine, I am instantly aware of the crowd gathering. Embarrassment floods through my body, I flush everywhere. Pulling me closer, I drag in a calming breath but the faint scent of his skin that hints of something even more tantalizing than fresh mountain air on a crisp day plays havoc with my already riotous senses. “She’s fine. She just needs some air. Please go back to your socializing, we have this covered.”
I can’t help but stare at his resplendent profile. I have been around strong, gorgeous men, granted none have brought me to my knees so quickly, but I have never been stunned into silence or unable to tear my gaze from them. Turning his attention back to me, he raises his hand and runs his fingertips from my temple to my chin. Grasping it lightly, he unwittingly sends a bolt of electricity to my very core. His eyes reflect concern and his voice takes on a touch of anxiety. “Miss Stanton, are you hurt?”
I can’t stop the gasp escaping my lips. He knows my name. I tear my eyes from his hypnotic stare hoping to catch my breath and speak, only to be struck mute as I am treated to the most dazzling smile on a face that would make angels jealous and have every woman in the place down on their knees intentionally. Inhaling a sharp breath, I manage a slight nod and he waves off the lingering onlookers.
Slipping one hand around to the small of my back, his touch is as electrified as captured lightening in a bottle causing my body to tingle with sharp sparks of desire. Forgetting to breathe, I wobble as he tries to move us forward. “Breathe or you’ll pass out” His cool breath caresses my ear. His fresh scent is scrumptious and feeds my senses allowing me to at least move forward. Striding toward the bar, he orders an Irish cream on the rocks and a scotch. How could he know my favorite drink at these types of affairs? Handing it to me, “Ann, you haven’t said anything, are you alright?”
Taking a small sip, it glides down my throat slowly. As it settles, the knots in my stomach finally loosen enough so I can move my lips and answer. “I’m fine, just a little embarrassed. How do you know me? I would have remembered meeting you before.” Did I just say that out loud?
An amused smile plays upon his sculpted lips and his eyes shine. “I saw your photograph in the paper.”
I can’t help but groan remembering the less than flatting photograph that appeared in the society section where Alice and I were clearly visible among the sea of other attendees photographed at a concert that had to be broken up by police because it got out of hand. “I can’t seem to stop making a fool out of myself.” The comment escapes my lips before I can quash it.
His features turned puzzled. “I think what you did here last year was phenomenal. In fact that is what brought me here tonight. I hope that you are having another auction. I would love the opportunity to bid on you as my escort for this evening’s event.” I can’t snap my jaw shut quick enough as his silky tone wraps itself around me like a shawl on a brisk morning before my snarky conscious rips it away making me cold by her harsh retort. He is only saying that because he embarrassed you and is trying to alleviate his conscious. Look at him. She is right. Looking at how crisp and commanding he appears standing six-four, perfectly sculpted, impeccably groomed with chocolate hair framing his masculine features and not even a hint of a hair out of place, he exudes an air of confidence and strength that could easily overtake anyone in this room and makes him sexy as hell. Knowing he must be here to mingle as all businessmen do at these affairs to strengthen contacts, social ties, and usually to see if there are any prospects, I can’t understand why he is wasting time on someone like me.
“Ann, are you participating in the auction this evening?” He inquires again as his thumb, still at the small of my back, rubs circles sending continuous charges bolting up my spine elevating my breathing. I have never reacted to a man’s touch like this. I want to lean into his strong, muscular chest and lay my head against his chest as I nuzzle his neck. His eyes grow dark as if he can read where my thoughts are heading. I force myself to look down at my drink, but cannot force my voice above a breathy whisper.
“I didn’t help organize this year’s event, but I’m sure that if they are having an auction your donation to the evening will provide you with a gorgeous companion Mr…”
“Greystone, Stephan Greystone. I am rather enjoying your company.” Internally, I hit my head, I read about his mega-investment mergers, acquisitions, and how he took his father’s company into the business stratosphere, diversifying and making him one of the richest men on the planet. He takes another sip of his scotch. As the glass touches his lips, I can’t help but be envious and wish it were my lips brushing against his. Oh my God, get a grip on yourself. Why would he want your lips against his? His dulcet tone propels me from my internal struggle. “I’m sure that they missed you this year. I read the article after last year’s event which showcased you and your father spearheading the public relations and highlighting the impromptu auction. Considering the job you did on the public relations end, I would have thought that was your field, but then I read about how you got them to their goal with your investment savvy, promising to cover the investment if it fell short. As I recall, your choice led to a record twenty percent return and allowed them to not only meet their goal but have a few thousand going into the next year. I know from experience that is quite difficult. Your father was listed as a detective, so is it your mother who got you interested in investments?
Heat colors my cheeks scarlet. This was the first complement I received since my father died and it is from a man who is one of the most accomplished business men in the world.
“I had followed the start-up company while in school and knew they were just about to explode.” I smile but drop my eyes as his sea eyes gleam.
He moves his free hand under my chin lifting my face to his. Strength radiates through his touch and my attraction to him deepens my blush. “You should never drop your eyes when speaking of your accomplishments. You should show your pride. Hasn’t your boss ever told you that is what gains the client’s confidence and trust?”
I gulp trying to stop the truth which escapes from my lips. “I’m not working currently. I decided to travel a while. Is that how you have succeeded by gaining people’s confidence?”
“I have been told that I am very persuasive when I want something and know how to grab hold and take what I need.” His eyes turn wicked as he maneuvers me closer. My left breast brushes against his taught torso elongating my nipple. An incendiary device explodes deep within me, my heart pounds, and pulse races, sending heated blood flooding through me. An image of Stephan reaching up, unfastening the button at my neck and letting the material fall before gliding his hands down my torso and cupping my breasts as he claims my mouth flashes before me. He smirks as if knowing the erotic image flooding my thoughts. His soft remark pulls me to the present. “You should come to work for me. I could show you how to gain confidences and would love to have you in my company.” His bad boy tone is one of pure sin and causes my insides to clench at his double entreaty. He fights to suppress his amusement at my obvious shock. My subconscious rips through the fluffy blanket his words drape warmly over my shoulders. He’s only playing with you. Men like him are not interested in silly girls, they want accomplished women.
As if my subconscious registers her coming before she arrives, a tall, lean, auburn haired woman approximate five eleven, wearing a classy jade Romanesque gown that matches her eyes slinks next to Stephan caressing his shoulder before slipping her hand into the crook of his arm and effectively breaking our contact. His stance shifts, he is suddenly cooler and taller. I feel the impenetrable, invisible wall erecting around him securing them behind its protective barrier. Impassivity cools his eyes before she kisses his cheek, and whispers something so low into his ear that I only catch the words “you could have at least chosen a less disappointing…” Knowing she is referring to his disappointing choice in filler-company, self-doubt erupts within me.
My longtime insecurities flare, gripping me like a vice despite telling myself it is irrational to feel this way and that I do not even know this god like creature who stands before me, mister sex on legs. Fighting to suppress the crushing emotion, I have no right to feel, I argue with myself that this has nothing to do with the perfect couple standing before me but stems instead from issues revolving around my birth father, who despite my mother’s denial, left her upon learning about me. He never wanted anything to do with me, not even a greeting card at Christmas. Although Brian loved us both and I could not have asked for a better father, I knew my existence caused my birth father to flee and that my mother loved him even as Brian held her hand and she took her last breath. She clung to his memory the way she grasped the locket which hung from her neck and hid a small platinum band and key. The attendants pried it from her hand. For as far back as I can remember, this was the only piece of jewelry she wore, it never left her neck. She didn’t even wear a wedding ring. That day, however, she had it wrapped around her left ring finger while her thumb continuously ran over it. The image of Brian’s anguished face as I tried to give it to him still causes my stomach to churn. As it brushed his hand, he looked as if a snake bit him and his raspy voice said it was mine now, something my mother wanted to make sure I cherished as much as she did. I knew right then it was from him, the one no one ever named, but the one who never left my mother’s heart. From that moment, I knew that it had to be me that caused him to flee. I was the one he could not love or accept. He had to have loved her because no one could hold a torch for someone that long if they did not receive love back. My lanky, awkward high school days, complete with glasses and braces, did nothing to dissipate my self-loathing. Despite my college mates trying to convince me I was hot, I could never escape the feeling of unworthiness, of not being loved, and ruining my mother’s life. My relationship with Barrett, who never truly desired me, only fueled the mess that is me.
The woman beside a now aloof Stephan caresses his forearm before turning to me and extending her free hand. “I’m Eva and you are…”
Fighting to expel the inexplicable excruciating ache in my chest at the realization that he was toying with the poor girl he knocked to the floor while killing time waiting for his Grecian goddess, I fight not to reveal my crushed desires. “Ann” I rasp quickly shaking her hand which holds a firm grip. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to find my friend. It was nice meeting you both.”
I scurry away quickly, but Alice is nowhere to be found. Sighing, knowing that she is probably upstairs in some room making that man’s evening, I wish for the first time in my life that it was me upstairs with mister tall, handsome and lean.
Half way through the meal, Alice slides into the seat next to me sporting a Cheshire grin. I can’t help the flare of jealousy that seizes me. Although I have never envied her sex life and don’t know where this feeling is truly coming from, tonight I can’t help wishing I were more like her, desired by mister sex on legs, taken, possessed, and dominated by a lover who just couldn’t get enough.
“Is it any good? I’m starving” She whispers.
Smelling the mix of her perfume, his cologne, and hot sex scrambles my brain and I barely push out “it’s all fine, especially after you have worked up such an appetite.”
Noticing my tone, her head whips toward me. “What’s wrong?” I shake my head. “Come on Ann, you have never been bothered by my activity before, but now you seem livid. What’s up?”
“It is not you, it’s me. Sometimes, I just wish…nothing…forget it…I’m just in a mood.”
She smiles as if reading my mind. “You wish you had the nerve to give in to reckless abandon, experiment with someone who will make you feel alive. Lord knows, Barrett probably never even allowed you to come. What you ever saw in him is beyond me. I still think you were with him because he fed your insecurities, made you believe that you would never find anyone or be good enough to be with anyone, always keeping you down and making you feel like you had no options. Ann, you are bright, beautiful and have the whole package if you would just put yourself out there and take a chance. You may be surprised, but you have to loosen up, experiment a little. You should have put yourself out there with those men in Europe instead of just drinking, dismissing them, and waking alone in your room after waiting for a man who did nothing but tear you down. Since you refused to experiment then, you should start tonight.” Sliding back her chair, she pops an olive from the salad in her mouth, grabs her glass of wine, and motions for me to join her. Walking to the stairs, we ascend them just enough to look over the people enjoying their meal. “Ann, take a look at some of these men, they are delectable, sophisticated, and I’m sure they know what they are doing in bed, powerful men always do. After leaving Jeff, I went to freshen up and overheard some women talking about an erotic game and that they were going to check out and see if some of the regulars were playing this evening. It is going to be held here after the event. I followed them out and they went up to…” Her chin lifts and tilts toward certain men at the close tables and then she discretely points to some others at the more distant ones. As she gestures to Stephan, my pulse quickens and I feel a strange clenching deep within me at the thought of feeling his obviously taught chest and sculpted physique against mine. I can’t help but wonder if his erection would be as strong as the girder which knocked me to the floor. Heat floods my face and Alice’s retort pulls my attention back to her. “You are already picturing him sinking into you. There’s hope for you yet.” Opening my mouth, I plan on denying it, but she cuts me off. “Don’t even; your expression speaks volumes. Come on its fun to experiment and be with a real man.”
“From the look on your face when you sat down, you already had your fill for the night.”
She snorts. “I have never experimented with an erotic game and this could be just too much fun to pass up. Besides, you can never have your fill of satisfying and mind blowing sex that brings you to your knees and makes you sore for days on end.”
As the evening wears down, Alice unleashes her full persuasive force coaxing me into believing it will be exciting to experiment with such things as she slowly beats down the trepidation settling in my core.
Slipping near the women she saw earlier, we enter an ornate but smaller room, probably set up for private functions. The giddy women are talking amongst themselves while staff members set out cards on the round tables. As the door closes behind us, a gentleman in a dark suit addresses us. “Ladies if you will please take a seat the card games will begin. Alice and I take seats to the far left, but as Alice sits beside me, a striking woman whose inky hair is cut in a perfect bob and who is wearing a crimson Grecian style dress puts her hand on Alice’s shoulder. “You must be new. You need to leave a seat between you for the men.” Alice slides into a seat to my right while the woman sits on my left.
Leaning over, I whisper. “Would you mind telling me how this works?”
She smiles. “The men will come in and the games begin, we should lose our dresses within the half hour, then the men who keep score somehow know who they will end up with, and the fun begins.”
I can’t stop the heat flooding my cheeks and she smiles sheepishly at my embarrassment. Rising, I am about to tell Alice I can’t do this, can’t stand the thought of practically being naked in a room of strangers and women with perfect manicures, voluptuous bodies and beautiful faces but she grasps my hand and states “Tonight we experiment, we play.”
A strange, inexplicable shift in my mood occurs, bolting my feet to the floor just as the door opens and Stephan breezes through. As our eyes lock, I hear Alice whisper once more “experiment” and it feels as if an unseen force pushes upon my shoulders and I sink in my chair. An expression I cannot identify crosses his features as he moves toward our table. Heated blood coursing through my veins makes me feel too hot in my dress and I want to tear it off, but as my eyes are drawn to a woman clearing her throat, I catch Eva and feel as if a bucket of cold water is thrown upon me. A man approaches Stephan asking for a quick word and effectively maneuvers him to Eva’s table. I wonder if she planned that and cannot help the little surge of pleasure as a balding man slips into the seat next to her forcing Stephan to slip into a seat next to a woman in her late forties.
I keep my dress for five rounds. Losing it in the sixth, an attendant comes over to me, I stand, but my knees wobble as my fingers unbutton my top and move toward the zipper. As the dress pools at my feat, I’m sure I am as red as the crimson dress the woman beside me lost in round two. My eyes tear through the room and I catch Stephan’s eyes before he lowers and shakes his head. I want to grab my dress, pull it up, and run out the door, but the attendant has already bent and is asking me to step out of it and sit down. Robotically I sit, fold my hands on the table, and wish I could just crawl under it. Why would I ever have thought he wanted me, obviously he is relieved he was rescued earlier. The vice of my insecurities tightens. No one could ever want me.
I can only see the floor and my ruby red polished toenails from my peak a boo pumps through the silk scarf tied around my eyes. Cold seeps into my pores. My heart pounds, I squirm feeling the cold metal rings around my wrists. Moving my arms up, my fingertips touch the silk scarf obscuring my view. Someone grasps the cuff’s chain. A deep voice booms at my ear. “Now, now you agreed to experiment with this game, no peeking.”
Jumping, I clumsily trip over myself and yelp in surprise as strong hands grasp my shoulders, pulling me into his rock hard chest. He shifts swiftly snaking his muscular arms around my back and behind my knees, lifting me off my feet.
~~The grand ballroom is crowded as the soft strings of music fill the air warming the atmosphere while still allowing the crowd to speak softly. Brian would have loved how filled the room is, knowing that the children’s fund will be replenished by the well-to-do suits who paid handsomely for the per plate dinner. As Alice and I step through, I can’t help but feel a pang of regret for not volunteering to assist in an endeavor which meant so much to my dad and which I creatively raised funds for last year.
Alice quickly secures two champagne flutes from a passing waiter and hands me one. “Come on, I’m sure that there is someone here who wants to have fun and whom I haven’t had yet.”
“Sometimes you can be so crude.” I retort harshly.
“Maybe if you go on the prowl and experiment, you wouldn’t let one bad relationship with a man who made you feel like you couldn’t get anyone else continue to mess with your self-esteem. For someone who worked her way through school, is beautiful, and from last year’s little impromptu excursion and investments made the charity a nice chunk of change, you should think better of yourself.”
Although I smile fondly at Alice as she scans the room for prospects, I know that the last few wild months are not something that I am proud of. She is right about one thing, I did let my lack of self-confidence and self-doubt rule my behavior. Although I tried to convince myself that if I acted more like her maybe some of her strong attitude of not caring what others thought would rub off, I know that it is actually feeding my insecurities because I am accomplishing nothing. I need to find a way to jump start a new existence. Before I finish my thoughts, Alice spots a blond, six-one Adonis with sea-foam eyes and broad shoulders. From the way his suit hugs his torso, he is extremely athletic and well endowed. Shoving her empty glass in my hand, she licks her lips, and darts off after him as he downs his drink and turns for the bar.
Feeling self-conscious about standing alone at the entrance, I scan the room to see if some of Brian’s old colleagues are here. Although they do not have significant funds, they and their spouses attend as invited guests to thank them for all their hard work with the shelters.
Turning to deposit the two empty flutes on a waiter’s tray before slipping through the crowd, my body lunges violently forward as what feels like a steel girder thrusts between my shoulder blades. Bumping the waiter, his tray flies out of his hands and glasses shatter as they hit the floor. A phone hits the marble and smashes before I fall upon its pieces. Hearing the gasps throughout the room, I know all eyes are glued to the spectacle before them. My heart pounds, my face flushes, but at least I am donning my graphite gray halter dress with flowing skirt instead of the red strapless fitting number that Alice tried to talk me into and would have surely ripped at the seams.
“I’m terribly sorry.” A smooth silky tone rasps at my ear as strong hands lift me to my feet. Turning, deep sapphire eyes apprise me carefully. “Are you alright?’ His silken inquiry wraps around me simultaneously melting and clenching my insides. His strong grip heats my blood and my heart pounds in my ears drowning out everything else. Quickly tearing his eyes from mine, I am instantly aware of the crowd gathering. Embarrassment floods through my body, I flush everywhere. Pulling me closer, I drag in a calming breath but the faint scent of his skin that hints of something even more tantalizing than fresh mountain air on a crisp day plays havoc with my already riotous senses. “She’s fine. She just needs some air. Please go back to your socializing, we have this covered.”
I can’t help but stare at his resplendent profile. I have been around strong, gorgeous men, granted none have brought me to my knees so quickly, but I have never been stunned into silence or unable to tear my gaze from them. Turning his attention back to me, he raises his hand and runs his fingertips from my temple to my chin. Grasping it lightly, he unwittingly sends a bolt of electricity to my very core. His eyes reflect concern and his voice takes on a touch of anxiety. “Miss Stanton, are you hurt?”
I can’t stop the gasp escaping my lips. He knows my name. I tear my eyes from his hypnotic stare hoping to catch my breath and speak, only to be struck mute as I am treated to the most dazzling smile on a face that would make angels jealous and have every woman in the place down on their knees intentionally. Inhaling a sharp breath, I manage a slight nod and he waves off the lingering onlookers.
Slipping one hand around to the small of my back, his touch is as electrified as captured lightening in a bottle causing my body to tingle with sharp sparks of desire. Forgetting to breathe, I wobble as he tries to move us forward. “Breathe or you’ll pass out” His cool breath caresses my ear. His fresh scent is scrumptious and feeds my senses allowing me to at least move forward. Striding toward the bar, he orders an Irish cream on the rocks and a scotch. How could he know my favorite drink at these types of affairs? Handing it to me, “Ann, you haven’t said anything, are you alright?”
Taking a small sip, it glides down my throat slowly. As it settles, the knots in my stomach finally loosen enough so I can move my lips and answer. “I’m fine, just a little embarrassed. How do you know me? I would have remembered meeting you before.” Did I just say that out loud?
An amused smile plays upon his sculpted lips and his eyes shine. “I saw your photograph in the paper.”
I can’t help but groan remembering the less than flatting photograph that appeared in the society section where Alice and I were clearly visible among the sea of other attendees photographed at a concert that had to be broken up by police because it got out of hand. “I can’t seem to stop making a fool out of myself.” The comment escapes my lips before I can quash it.
His features turned puzzled. “I think what you did here last year was phenomenal. In fact that is what brought me here tonight. I hope that you are having another auction. I would love the opportunity to bid on you as my escort for this evening’s event.” I can’t snap my jaw shut quick enough as his silky tone wraps itself around me like a shawl on a brisk morning before my snarky conscious rips it away making me cold by her harsh retort. He is only saying that because he embarrassed you and is trying to alleviate his conscious. Look at him. She is right. Looking at how crisp and commanding he appears standing six-four, perfectly sculpted, impeccably groomed with chocolate hair framing his masculine features and not even a hint of a hair out of place, he exudes an air of confidence and strength that could easily overtake anyone in this room and makes him sexy as hell. Knowing he must be here to mingle as all businessmen do at these affairs to strengthen contacts, social ties, and usually to see if there are any prospects, I can’t understand why he is wasting time on someone like me.
“Ann, are you participating in the auction this evening?” He inquires again as his thumb, still at the small of my back, rubs circles sending continuous charges bolting up my spine elevating my breathing. I have never reacted to a man’s touch like this. I want to lean into his strong, muscular chest and lay my head against his chest as I nuzzle his neck. His eyes grow dark as if he can read where my thoughts are heading. I force myself to look down at my drink, but cannot force my voice above a breathy whisper.
“I didn’t help organize this year’s event, but I’m sure that if they are having an auction your donation to the evening will provide you with a gorgeous companion Mr…”
“Greystone, Stephan Greystone. I am rather enjoying your company.” Internally, I hit my head, I read about his mega-investment mergers, acquisitions, and how he took his father’s company into the business stratosphere, diversifying and making him one of the richest men on the planet. He takes another sip of his scotch. As the glass touches his lips, I can’t help but be envious and wish it were my lips brushing against his. Oh my God, get a grip on yourself. Why would he want your lips against his? His dulcet tone propels me from my internal struggle. “I’m sure that they missed you this year. I read the article after last year’s event which showcased you and your father spearheading the public relations and highlighting the impromptu auction. Considering the job you did on the public relations end, I would have thought that was your field, but then I read about how you got them to their goal with your investment savvy, promising to cover the investment if it fell short. As I recall, your choice led to a record twenty percent return and allowed them to not only meet their goal but have a few thousand going into the next year. I know from experience that is quite difficult. Your father was listed as a detective, so is it your mother who got you interested in investments?
Heat colors my cheeks scarlet. This was the first complement I received since my father died and it is from a man who is one of the most accomplished business men in the world.
“I had followed the start-up company while in school and knew they were just about to explode.” I smile but drop my eyes as his sea eyes gleam.
He moves his free hand under my chin lifting my face to his. Strength radiates through his touch and my attraction to him deepens my blush. “You should never drop your eyes when speaking of your accomplishments. You should show your pride. Hasn’t your boss ever told you that is what gains the client’s confidence and trust?”
I gulp trying to stop the truth which escapes from my lips. “I’m not working currently. I decided to


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