Out Now—Eyes Wide Open – MMF BDSM Erotic Romance by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) #menage #BDSM #MMF

Blurb:

A chance meeting opens Fiona’s eyes to some very sexy possibilities.

Recent graduate Fiona Gillespie is stuck working in a grimy pub in London’s East End, and living in a horrid flat. It’s only while she figures out what she wants to do career-wise, but that’s easier said than done.

When she sees an advertisement for a job at a plush Mayfair hotel, she jumps at the chance. Determination and a spot of luck land Fiona her dream role—and it comes with accommodation included.

Her job and living situation sorted, things are on the up. Unfortunately, her personal life is lacklustre. It doesn’t bother her, though—not until she meets businessmen James and Logan, and her head is well and truly turned.

When a misunderstanding leads Fiona to James and Logan’s sumptuous top-floor hotel suite, she has no idea what she’s about to uncover. Her imagination runs wild, but not wild enough to get to the truth—James and Logan are a couple, and they’re into some seriously intriguing activities.

Fascinated, she launches herself into a whole new world with the two men. But is this just physical, or is their arrangement set to become something more?

*Eyes Wide Open has been re-released with a stunning new cover and has been re-edited.

Universal link: http://books2read.com/eyeswideopenV2

*****

Excerpt:

Continuing to surreptitiously peer at the men over the rim of her glass, it hit her that this was the first time in months she’d looked at a man with interest, much less two men—and at the same time! She was ready to snatch her gaze away if one of them happened to glance at her, but it wasn’t surprising the pair had attracted her attention.

The tailored business suits would draw the eye even on someone unremarkable. But on these two, the fine clothing was practically an orgasm for the gaze. They sat opposite each other, and their angle to her meant she had a view of both their profiles—lucky her.

The one to her right had very dark, almost black hair, with a bit of a curl to it, a long straight nose, a trimmed goatee and, if she wasn’t mistaken, deep blue eyes. It was hard to tell for sure from this distance and perspective.

The one on her left had lighter, shorter hair, stubble that by some magical feat still looked smart, and the most sinful lips she’d ever set eyes on. And speaking of eyes, she thought perhaps his were green. What she wouldn’t give to go and check both of them out close up, preferably naked.

Shocked at her own sudden lustful thoughts, she inhaled more than drank another sip of the juice. Unfortunately, it hit her throat all wrong and she almost slammed the glass down as she started to cough. She tried so hard to suppress the cough, eager not to draw attention to herself, that she made it worse. Snatching up the thick linen serviette from the table, she held it to her mouth as she spluttered in a most embarrassing manner, and tears began to roll down her cheeks. By now, she was sure the whole damn restaurant was staring at her, and she wished the tablecloths reached the floor, like the ones in the restaurant upstairs, so she could hide under the table until she regained her composure.

Swallowing repeatedly to try to soothe her irritated throat, she gasped as a gentle hand laid on her shoulder, which set her off all over again.

“Oh God,” came a voice. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to make you jump. I just wanted to make sure you were all right. See if I could help.”

Unable to speak, Fiona waved a hand to try to signal that she’d be okay, but unless the guy was a mind reader, he’d have no luck figuring that out. Blinking through the tears that marred her vision, her urge to hide underneath the table grew stronger. Christ, it was only the hottie with the blue eyes. And, if she wasn’t mistaken, his sexy friend with the green eyes was also hovering close by, concern etched into his handsome features.

Managing to drag in a breath, she huffed out, “Thank you.”

Just then, Jeremy arrived with a carafe of water, complete with ice, and poured her a glassful. “Here you go, Fiona. Drink this. Are you all right? Anything else I can get you?”

She picked up the glass and took a tiny sip of the freezing cold liquid, hoping it wouldn’t make her cough again. She seemed to have got a handle on it, though her now-sore throat wasn’t at all happy with her. After taking several more tiny sips, she let out a sigh of relief—it seemed her mortifying coughing bout was over. Then she moved on to bigger gulps, buying herself some time to think of something witty to say, anything to convince the three men looking at her that she wasn’t some kind of imbecile who couldn’t even manage a glass of juice without choking.

Unfortunately, her creative brain, which had been on fire up until she’d started lusting over the hotties, had taken its leave. So she decided to opt for the truth. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you. My juice just went down the wrong way, that’s all. I’m fine, really. I’ll just finish my drink and be on my way. Thank you for the water, Jeremy.” She aimed a weak smile in his direction.

Blue Eyes turned to Jeremy. “Yeah, thanks, buddy. If you need to get on, we’ll keep an eye on her for a bit, make sure she’s okay. Don’t worry.”

A little warily, Jeremy looked at the two men, then at Fiona. “Are you going to be all right, Fiona? Do you need me to call someone and let them know you’ll be late or anything?”

She shook her head. “Honestly, Jeremy, I’ll be fine. It was just a coughing fit, that’s all. No lasting damage, except maybe to my makeup. And no, nobody will be missing me yet. It’s fine. Thank you so much, though.”

“Just give me a wave if you need me,” he said, backing away.

“Will do.”

With that, he morphed from concerned acquaintance into efficient waiter in an instant and went back to looking after his tables and the patrons frequenting them.

Knowing she’d now have to address the two men who’d caused her blush-worthy incident in the first place, she took yet another huge gulp of the icy water, then dabbed at her face with the serviette. Putting it down, she turned to Blue Eyes, who still stood by her side, but had removed his hand from her shoulder, with a wide smile.

“I’m so sorry,” she said again. “Please excuse the state of me, I’m sure I must look terrible. Thank you so much, both of you, for coming to check on me, but I’m really fine. No Heimlich manoeuvre required. I’ll just finish my drink… drinks… and be on my way. Please feel free to go back to your meeting.”

Green Eyes stepped a little closer. “You look just fine, sweetheart, except for being a little flushed, but that’s no bad thing.” He shot an almost imperceptible glance at Blue Eyes, and Fiona had to wonder if she’d imagined it. And if not, what on earth did he mean by that, anyway?

“Yes,” his friend chipped in, moving around so that he, too, could look at her face. “You look great. We’ll be just over there if you need us, all right? Don’t you hesitate to call out or wave, okay?”

Fiona wished they’d stop making such a fuss. But they were just being polite, she supposed. So, fixing the smile back on her face, she said, “Thank you. And I will. I promise.”

She waited until they’d retaken their seats before she started to make preparations for leaving hers. She didn’t want to dash off straight away as that might concern them further and send Jeremy into a tizzy, so she acted as coolly and calmly as possible, finishing the water, then the juice, as she continued making notes on her tablet. Finally, feeling able to leave without raising any eyebrows, she got up and collected her things.

Her movement attracted the attention of Blue Eyes and Green Eyes, and she gave them both a smile and a nod before moving off. She didn’t see Jeremy, who must have been in the kitchen collecting something, so she made a mental note to thank him when she next saw him. That was the downside to posh material serviettes and electronic devices—it meant there was no paper or pen handy to scrawl him a little note with.

She wasn’t quite ready to head back to the PR & Marketing Suite yet, at least not until she’d fixed her no doubt ruined makeup—which would raise a few eyebrows and spawn some questions—so she decided she’d dash up to her room for a few minutes and sort herself out.

After pressing the button for the elevator, she swiped through some of the photos she’d taken on the tablet as she waited for it to arrive. A couple of minutes later, the car arrived with a ping and a swish of doors. She stepped in, pressed the number for her floor and moved back. Just as the doors began closing, she realised the table the two men had been sitting at was visible from her position.

They were still there, and she was glad no one could see or hear her reaction as she looked at them, only to find two pairs of very arresting eyes looking right back at her—with interest.

And, as her view of them grew narrower and narrower until only a sliver was left, Blue Eyes flashed her a positively wicked grin just before he disappeared altogether.

Clinging onto the brass handrail behind her to steady herself, Fiona willed herself to get a grip. She’d been having a really good day, right up until those two had somehow awakened her hormones and made her bloody fruit juice go down wrong. And the way they’d clearly been watching her… and that smile! Shaking her head, she wanted desperately to believe they were some kind of dodgy perverts who frequented hotel restaurants to prey on lone young women, but common sense and cold, hard facts told her that wasn’t the case.

For one, what had they done? Offered help, and concern. That was all. What had they gained? Nothing, except maybe peace of mind in knowing she was okay. Her tablet and phone were still in her possession, so they weren’t thieves. Dodgy folk didn’t spend time in The Portmannow Hotel. It just didn’t happen.

So if they weren’t dodgy perverts and were just two relatively young businessmen, why had they been watching her like that? Their expressions, the looks in their eyes, indicated something altogether different from innocent concern for her wellbeing. The smile Blue Eyes had thrown her had been nothing short of sinful. Lustful, even. One Lucifer himself would have been proud of.

God, was it possible that they… found her attractive?

*****

Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of Cliterati.co.uk’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller), Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller), The Persecution of the Wolves, Hiding in Plain Sight and The Heiress’s Harem series. Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 170 publications to her name. Find out more about her writing at http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk, or on Twitter or Facebook. Join her Facebook group for exclusive cover reveals, sneak peeks and more! Sign up for automatic updates on Amazon or BookBub. Subscribe to her newsletter here: http://www.subscribepage.com/lfnewsletter

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Opposites May Attract, but then What?

While I’m generally an avid lover of Happy Ever Afters, I don’t really believe that when opposites attract there’s much chance of a good ole HEA. But, oh, how we love the possibility that there might be! It’s the othernessthat attracts us, I think. Who doesn’t want to know what it’s like to be different, other than we are? We all want to know how the other half lives, even if that other half is vampires, shifters and demons. There are a million stories written about our attraction to that otherness, to that which we know we can’t have and to what we, ourselves, most definitely are not. I think that’s why billionaire stories and prince charming stories are always so popular. I could add to that list paranormal stories, spy stories, star-crossed lovers and cross-cultural romances. While we’re in the heat of the moment, they’re captivating … but then what?

 

Tell me honestly, can you even imagine an HEA with James Bond? At the end of a Bond movie, when Bond is fucking the costar on a slow boat to China, we know it won’t last, nor do we want it to, because there’s always another movie and another love interest to be seduced. But we most definitely expect the HEA with billionaires and princes and movie star stories.

 

I quite often struggle to believe the Happy Ever Afters offered up in othernessattraction stories, though I might buy a Happy for Now ending. Go for it while you can, 007 chicks, cuz it’s all you’re gonna get! I’m a practical sort of girl. I’ve never believed that love can overcome all obstacles. For me there comes a point when the otherness that was so attractive in the early days of chemistry and mad passionate sex and obsession becomes more of a hardship, more of a minefield for misunderstandings, than a sexy adventure. Then the logistics, the reality of what that HEA, all tied up in bows and ribbons, will actually cost becomes more work than it’s worth. I’ve ended several otherness relationships because I couldn’t get past the “what happens next” phase to really believe that love could conquer all. Bottom line: I just didn’t want to work that hard. A relationship is demanding enough without the incredible challenge of that opposites attractsort of otherness.

 

When I started writing erotica, part of the appeal was that I could explore the heat of the moment when opposites attract and the inevitable happens. I could put people who could have never made a relationship work in the real world together for nothing more than the fucking, for nothing more than the chance to see what that otherness would feel like skin to skin. In erotica, there’s always the expectation of sex, but the expectation that the sex will lead anywhere beyond a fabulous orgasm or three is optional. Erotic romance is another animal entirely, but the erotic aspect still allows for a little more suspension of belief resulting in at least an HFN.

 

Having said that, writing the consequences of what could actually happen when opposites attract, and then upping the stakes makes for great fiction of a sexy but different type. I’m thinking Fatal Attraction or The Hunger. There are often serious, even terrifying, consequences when opposites attract and that attraction is allowed to play out in a much darker way. The plot can be terrifying, heart stopping, sleep
depriving reading or watching. The truth is that otherness interests us all, whether it’s Romeo and Juliet or Buffy and Angel. We want to know the whole story, and we can’t get enough. But the one thing we’re always certain we won’t get when a good dose of consequences is added to the mix is a happy ending. Ah, fiction! How we love you! You allow us to toy with that otherness any way we choose, and our only real consequences for doing so is the time it takes to read, write or watch. I’m good with that.

 

Take Advantage of the Paranormal Romance Rocks Sale

 

 

 

The best part about summer … the best part about any time of year, actually, is lots of good reading. No matter how big your TBR pile is, it’s never big enough to satisfy a rabid reader, and if you love paranormal romance as much as I do, then you’re gonna love the Paranormal Romance Rocks Sale!

 

Paranormal Romance Rocks Sale!

You won’t want miss out on the big sale. All fans of PNR, this is just what the end of the summer calls for! All the fabulous books by many of your favorite authors along with some wonderful new ones, in the sale are under $2.99, £1.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited. So let’s all end the summer with some seriously good reads!  I don’t plan to miss out on the reading opportunity, nor the chance to make you an offer you can’t refuse.

 

Blindsided is included in the great PNR Rocks Sale!

 

The Enemy within could be their only hope

 

Blindsided is the second book in the Medusa Consortium series. You won’t want to miss out on this sale.

 

Just follow the Paranormal Romance Rocks Sale! link to great paranormal reads.

 

 

 

 

Free On-line Reads from the Medusa’s Consortium Series:

 

If you’ve not yet read these freebies available right here on a Hopeful Romantic, here are the links. Enjoy!

 

In Pursuit of Mr. Sands

In Pursuit of Mr. Sands Part 1

In Pursuit of Mr.Sands Part 2

  

An Unexpected Encounter with a Vampire

Part 1 An Unexpected Encounter with Alonso Darlington

Part 2 An Unexpected Encounter with Alonso Darlington.

Part 3 An Unexpected Encounter with Alonso Darlington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First in Series Part 4: In The Flesh

For the final installment of the First in Series Series, I’m once again wearing my KDG hat, but writing what has become my first love, PNR and urban fantasy. I’m sharing an excerpt from my final series, which is still in progress, The Medusa Consortium tales. Once again, it was never my plan to begin a series when I wrote In The Flesh, which interestingly enough, actually began life as a weekly series on my blog. There are now three books and a novella in the series, as well as several related short stories only available on my blog, along with another novel on the way. As always, be warned, most of my excerpts bite back, even if they don’t have vampires in them. Enjoy!

 

Book one in the Medusa’s Consortium series (Click Here for Book Two | Book Three)

Blurb:

When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize. If Susan is to fight an inhuman stalker intent on having her as his own, she’ll need a little inhuman help.

 

 

 

I Wasn’t Alone in the Dark

 

I wasn’t alone in the dark. I knew that the first time I entered the crypt at Chapel House. I could feel a presence there, almost as though someone stood just behind me, about to reach out and touch me. The shiver over my skin was not so much from fear, though certainly there was an element of fear, as it was from longing, bone-deep longing. I could barely breathe for it, I could barely stand under the weight of it, and I couldn’t imagine how such an ache, such a hunger could exist inside my flesh and not tear me apart. I was astonished that Annie seemed completely unaware of anything out of the ordinary, and to be quite honest, I wasn’t anxious to share it with her.

She continued to chatter on about her plans to make Chapel House over with a state of the art kitchen—she who didn’t cook, and a master suite that would rival the finest hotels in London. Strange that I could listen with one part of my brain and comment on her ideas for an open plan living space, for a library in the choir loft, for a wet room in the sacristy, while with another part of my brain I felt like every cell of my body was responding to whatever it was, whoever it was that I was certain waited there in the darkness, just beyond the beam of Annie’s Maglite.

The departmentalizing of Annie’s plans and the feel of the presence in the darkness became much more difficult when I felt the closeness of a warm, hard body against my back and the humid nip of a kiss on the nape of my neck. I explained away my little gasp of surprise to Annie by saying I’d almost lost my footing. I should have been frightened. I should have been terrified, and believe me, I was. But by the time I felt a large hand splayed low against my belly, by the time I was certain of the maleness pressed hard and low just above my butt, I was far more intrigued than I was frightened. Even if terror had won out, I don’t think I could have forced myself to move as the hand in the darkness migrated to cup my breasts and thumb my nipples, first one, then the other, and the slow grind and undulation from behind became more demanding.

“The roses, they smell lovely.” I managed a breathless response to Annie’s ramblings about plans for the overgrown mess of a garden. “You might want to consider a scent garden.”

She laughed. “I can’t smell anything, but then you were always the one with the sensitive nose. Of course I’ll make sure there are lots of roses.” She knew they were my favorite, but I couldn’t imagine her not smelling them; the scent was nearly overwhelming in the tight space of the crypt. To my surprise, as she rambled on about a patio with a Jacuzzi, the smell of roses was subsumed in my own scent and the humid, piquant scent of a man well aroused. The hand on my breast began a slow, torturous descent, and I wanted nothing more than for Annie to keep talking, keep planning, anything to keep her from dragging me away from this place, at least for a few more minutes.

I asked about the Jacuzzi, hoping that would give me another minute. By the time she got started about the sites she’d looked up online and the builders she’d talked to, I was rocking back against the hardness, craning my neck to yield as much bare skin as possible to teeth and tongue and lips all soft and warm and wet and sharp and hard and demanding. Oh, I tried to be as unobtrusive as possible, but looking back, I wonder how the hell Annie couldn’t see? How could she have missed it? But she rattled on and on about some builder just up the road near Keswick who was supposed to be really good, some guy named Michael. Like I gave a fuck.

The study suddenly felt stuffy and overheated, and Michael’s grip on my hand convulsed. His jaw tightened, but he didn’t look at me.

Magda paid little attention to either my discomfort or Michael’s. She just kept on reading.

He was cute, Annie said. That led to observations about this Michael’s broad shoulders and nice arse and speculation as to whether or not he would be any good in bed, and was it wise to seduce him before he put in her Jacuzzi or wait till after and seduce him in it. All the while I nodded and pretended to be interested.

I was thankful for the extra time, but Christ, how could she not notice me standing there, legs apart, rocking back and forth and shifting from foot to foot like I had ants in my knickers? In truth, what I wanted in my knickers surely couldn’t actually be there, and yet I felt it, fucking hell, how I felt it! I swear, I could feel muscle and sinew. Hell, I could feel the actual shape of an erection as though we were both naked, as though all he need do, this dark being who surely was just my imagination, was bend me over and open me, me struggling to keep my breathing quiet, me struggling to focus enough attention on my friend that she wouldn’t suspect I was about to come. Oh yes, I was terrified. I would have, should have, run, if I hadn’t been so intrigued, so turned on. I just wanted one more second, and then another and another.

In desperation that shocks me even now as I write this in the dark silence of Annie’s flat, I grabbed onto a wrist that I swear was as solid and warm as my own and guided the caress, the tease, the fondling of fingers and palm down my belly toward where I really needed it to be.

Annie yammered on about this Michael, all the things she’d heard about him, all the things she wanted to do to him—at least I think she did. My God, my whole body felt alive, every cell, every molecule. I could damn near feel the coursing of my own blood through my veins. You have no idea what an exhilarating combination fear and arousal make. I lost track of what Annie was saying, and the air was filled with the scent of sex. I could smell him, actually smell this phantom man, who was as near release as I was, and I was sure, as my knees gave beneath me, I felt the warm wet of his orgasm against my lower back. And then for an instant everything around me was silk and darkness, so perfect, so ecstatic. But just beyond that warm tight space, I knew. I knew as well as I know my own breath, I was terrified, and what I felt was like no terror I’d ever known before and, holy God in heaven, I want to feel it again.

And then I was shivering on my knees against the stone floor in the crypt at Chapel

House.

“Susan? Susan, you’re scaring me.” Annie’s worried face invaded my field of vision before she half-blinded me with her Maglite. “Are you all right? What the hell
happened?”

“Sorry, I got a little lightheaded there. Probably just blood sugar. I missed lunch,” I

lied, stumbling quickly to my feet, making a quick swipe at the back of my skirt, surprised to find it was dry. Glancing over my shoulder into the narrow beam of the Maglite, I saw only the empty darkness of the crypt and the tunnel that led back to the rusted barred door. But I was certain someone was there, someone I hungered for way more than I hungered for food. And I was equally certain that I would have Him.

 

First in Series Part 3: An Executive Decision

Hi everyone! Reading any good series I should know about??? In the third week of the First in Series Series, I not only try my hand at contemporary romance, but I take off my KDG hat and don my Grace Marshall hat for The Executive Decision Series. As a testament to my love for series, The Executive Decisions series started out as a trilogy, but then readers insisted on knowing Wade’s story too, so Interviewing Wade became the fourth book in the trilogy. Today’s excerpt is from the first book in the series, An Executive Decision. And today I’m feeling generous, so you get one of my favourite excerpts from the novel. It’s long, it’s juicy, and it’s fun. Enjoy! And do let me know if you’re reading a great series you think I shouldn’t miss out on.

 

Book One of the Executive Decision Trilogy (Click here for Book Two |
Book Three  Interviewing Wade )

Sex in the contract – it’s the only way super-focused, over-worked CEO, Ellison Thorne, is ever going to get laid. That’s what his retiring business partner and secret match-maker, Beverly Neumann, thinks. She’s convinced no-strings, stress-free sex in certain employee contracts would raise productivity and minimize stress — perfect for a busy executive like Ellis. But she’s joking, right?

Enter her hand-picked replacement, Dee Henning. Young, hungry, gifted, Dee is the queen of no time for sex. When negotiations on a major project break down, and Dee and Ellis end up in each other’s arms, the Executive Sex Clause suddenly becomes more than a joke. In fact hot executive sex just might be the ultimate secret weapon for success. But secrets seldom remain secret, and Dee and Ellis soon learn there’s no such thing as no-strings where the heart is concerned.

 

 

 

I can handle it if you can

 

‘What the hell are you doing in Beverly’s office?’

A hard hand on her arm spun her around none too gently, and she found herself face to face with Ellison Thorne, who was clearly not pleased to see her. In fact, the powerful grip on her arm, the storm cloud look on his face made her knees weak and her voice difficult to find.

Just then, Beverly’s secretary burst in. ‘Ellis! That’s Dee Henning.’ She laid a gentle hand on the man’s arm. ‘Ellis, it’s all right. Dee had an appointment with Beverly. She doesn’t know.’

‘Doesn’t know what?’

The knot growing in her stomach suddenly tightened like a fist as the secretary turned her attention to Dee, her face drawn, her always square shoulders tight. ‘I’m sorry, Dee. I would have let you know, but we couldn’t get hold of you.’

‘Let me know what? I was out of the country. I told Beverly. What’s going on? Where is she?’ It was then she noticed Ellis was in khaki walking trousers and a rumpled matching shirt. The man, who had never looked anything other than pristine in his photos, wore several days’ growth of beard, and even from behind his glasses, she could tell he hadn’t slept. He still didn’t release her arm.

He held her gaze as though he were searching for something in her face, then he drew a breath that sounded like he’d just come up from the depths. ‘Beverly’s gone missing.’

The room spun slightly, and the buzzing in her ears made everything sound far off, even her own voice. She jerked her arm away, nearly toppling back into Beverly’s plants. ‘What do you mean she’s gone missing? How can she have? She was with the best. She assured me the people she was with were the best in their field. She said she’d be safe. She promised me she’d be safe.’

This time Ellis took her by the shoulders and gave a gentle shake. ‘She’s missing, Dee. That’s all. We’ve lost contact. That’s all. We’ll find her.’

She stepped back and ran a hand through her hair, a little embarrassed by her outburst, but it was Beverly they were talking about. ‘What happened?’

‘There was a tropical storm. Unseasonal. The outfitters lost contact with the expedition.’ He looked down at the clothes he wore. ‘The storm was supposed to break. I went down to look for her, but the weather got worse, and I had to come back.’

‘You went to look for her?’ Dee said. ‘Are you out of your mind?’

The secretary fidgeted uncomfortably, but Ellis offered her what might have almost been half a smile. ‘Probably, but I went anyway.’ Then he heaved a sigh. ‘Look I really need a shower. Sandra’s ordered Chinese. I need to eat, she says, and I know better than to argue with Sandra. I’m sure she’ll have ordered enough for a family of six.’ He nodded to the door. ‘If you’d like to join me, I’ll tell you everything.’

Ellis’s office was nothing like she expected. It was much more like an apartment than the lair of one of the most progressive businessmen in the US. He led her away from the big oak desk that sat, with its full complement of office furnishings and necessities, in front of a wall of glass looking out on to Mount Hood. He led her down a short hallway into a lounge that could have easily passed for a library in an Edwardian manor house. The blue leather furnishings were dwarfed by bookcases full to capacity, and the coffee table in front of it was strewn with an eclectic disarray of books from poetry of the English Romantics to modern theories of cosmology to Stephen King and everything in between.

It didn’t take him long to shower. He returned in jeans and blue cotton shirt open at the neck, sleeves rolled carelessly halfway up his forearms. He was once again clean shaven and his short hair was still damp. As Sandra arrived with the Chinese food, he shoved the books off onto the floor and made room for dinner. The secretary left for the day, and Dee silently helped him spread the meal, feeling shy and almost embarrassed to have seen beyond the man’s

façade, to be sharing such an intimate view of him, the man who, in her mind’s eye, was always so much larger than life. When the meal was spread, he smiled up at her, his glasses slipping down the bridge of his nose, and her stomach did a little somersault at the sight of him like this. She blushed. It embarrassed her that she did so, but she did.

She was taller than he had expected. In the black heels she almost stood nose to nose with him. And her eyes, her eyes were even bluer than they were in the photo. The contrast with her nearly black hair and her pale skin was stunning. And the way she talked; it wasn’t the antiseptic elocution he had grown used to hearing from women in the business world. There was something interesting about her barely perceptible accent. He wondered if she owed that to her French father. The last thing he wanted was to entertain. The last thing he wanted was to make nicey-nice, and yet he had invited her to join him, and when his arm brushed hers, when the silence between them seemed strangely comfortable, he wasn’t sorry for her company.

When at last they were seated, Dee spoke without preamble. ‘What happened?’ she said around a mouthful of spring roll, covering her lips daintily with one hand. Ellis could instantly see why Beverly was impressed. There was no nonsense about this woman. No subterfuge. But then to have earned such high praise and respect from Beverly, he would have expected nothing less. Even more importantly, she was Beverly’s friend. She must feel as gutted as he did right now.

‘The guides had taken her into the rainforest,’ he said by way of explanation. ‘Some really remote area, where there was a nest of harpy eagles.’

Dee nodded. ‘She told me she had her heart set on seeing harpy eagles.’

Ellis continued. ‘I knew they’d be out of contact while they were there. And she promised me it was no big deal, that this was a regular expedition for the outfitters. She promised that she was in the best possible hands. Then the storm came in. They were supposed to have been back before it hit. Damn it!’ He tossed down his chopsticks and stood to pace. ‘Why the hell couldn’t she just go to the zoo to see harpy eagles, or watch them on YouTube like everyone else does?’

‘You know why not.’ Dee nodded to his plate. ‘Sit down and eat.’

‘Jesus –’ he grumped ‘– you’re damn near as bossy as Beverly.’

She blushed – a beautiful pink blush – and fidgeted in her seat, no doubt remembering that this was his domain, and she was still trying to decide if she were here on business or not. When she squared her shoulders and nodded to the sofa, he figured she’d decided she wasn’t. He was glad.

He dropped down beside her, picked up the chopsticks, and stuffed his mouth full of Singapore noodles, more because he could tell it pleased her than because he had anything resembling an appetite right now.

He swallowed his noodles without chewing, and continued. ‘I waited until I got word that there was a lull in the storm, and I could actually fly in. I barely got there before things picked up again.’
Her full lips were a tight line, as though she were making every effort to keep her mouth shut, to keep her disapproval to herself. But she failed.

‘What did you expect you could do down there on your own besides put your life at risk along with Beverly’s?’

‘I wasn’t alone. And my team’s at least as good as Beverly’s. They know the area like the back of their hand. If anyone could have gone in and found her, they could.’

She raised an eyebrow. ‘And all that with the added responsibility of keeping the CEO of Pneuma Inc. safe. Nice.’

‘I happen to know a good bit about trekking in the rain forests, Dee. I would have been just fine.’

‘I know what an outdoorsman you are, Mr Thorne. Everyone in the Northwest knows that.’

‘It’s Ellis,’ he interrupted her.

She bit at a prawn as though it had somehow offended her. ‘The point is, Ellis, your team would have gone in level-headed and calm. They would have gone in without any personal feelings one way or the other. I doubt you’d have been able to do that. I know I wouldn’t have.’

He shrugged. ‘Anyway, it doesn’t matter because no one was going anywhere, and in the end I was lucky to get a flight out before the airport shut down again. I would have stayed, but Beverly has an important meeting tomorrow. She’ll tear me a new one if it gets cancelled.’ He felt helpless anger bubble up into his chest as though it would strangle him. ‘Damn it, I don’t have time to do her job and mine. The woman’s 63 years old. She shouldn’t be traipsing around in the rainforest out of contact with everyone like some stupid teenager.’

Dee studied him over the top of her chopsticks. ‘She deserved a vacation. Besides, she was doing what she wanted.’

‘I know that, but I need her here, and I need her safe. In spite of the woman’s bossy, crazy wackiness, I need her. I need her.’

‘I know,’ Dee said. ‘I need her too. My visits with her keep me sane, and the nuttier she is, the more sense everything makes.’ She laid down her chopsticks, folded her arms across her chest, and held herself as though she were suddenly cold. ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to sound so airy-fairy. Beverly would laugh her ass off. She’s far more concerned with getting me laid than keeping me sane.’ She cocked her head to one side, her lips curving upward in a little quirk of a smile. ‘Though I suppose she probably wouldn’t see much difference in the two, really.’

‘Her Executive Sex Clause?’ he asked.

She nodded, and he thought he saw a whisper of a blush cross her cheeks. ‘Not likely to happen at Jasper and McDowell, though. In fact, the thought makes me a little queasy. But still, I won’t deny that it’s an intriguing idea under the right circumstances.’

He chuckled. ‘Believe me, I hear about it ad nauseum, along with all her other hair-brained schemes, and I won’t complain again about any of them once she’s back here safe and sound.’

‘Yes you will,’ Dee said. ‘It wouldn’t be nearly so much fun for either of you if you didn’t.’

Before he could agree with her, his phone rang and he grabbed it from the book shelf behind the sofa. ‘It’s from Brazil,’ he said, feeling the muscles in his shoulders tighten and his stomach clench. She was on the edge of the sofa next to him in an instant, her eyes locked on him. The call took less than ten seconds. It jump-started his brain back into the hyper-alert state it had been in since Beverly’s disappearance, the state it had only just come down from in Dee Henning’s comforting presence.

‘Storm’s breaking.’ He mouthed the words to her. She moved still closer, trying to overhear the conversation. He placed a finger to his lips and strained to hear. ‘All right,’ he said. ‘I’m on my way.’ He disconnected and all but catapulted off the sofa. ‘That’s the outfitters. I made them promise to call me the minute they knew anything.’

She was off the sofa too, following him to where his backpack leaned against a wing-backed chair. He’d had Harold prepare it and deliver it to the office just in case.

‘And?’

‘I’m going back. Jeffries is on standby with the limo. The plane is fuelled and ready. I figure we can be at PDX in 30 minutes, if traffic’s not too bad.’

She grabbed his arm and pulled him to a stop. ‘You can’t go back without at least a night’s rest, Ellis. You’re exhausted, and what about Beverly’s important meeting?’

He jerked away from her and hefted the pack onto one shoulder. ‘Fuck her meeting. I just want her safe.’

‘Ellis, be reasonable. As soon as things settle, you could get a phone call from Beverly laughing the whole thing off. Do you know how upset she’d be if she knew you’d put yourself in danger traipsing down there when there was no need? Please.’ She grabbed the backpack and wrestled it off his shoulder. ‘You know I’m right. Just rest. Just for tonight, and then tomorrow …’ She stepped into his personal space and placed a hand on his biceps. ‘Tomorrow I’ll go with you.’

‘Are you crazy?’ He jerked his arm away. ‘You can’t go with me, Dee. It’s awful down there, flooding, wind damage … It was bad where I was and I wasn’t anywhere near the worst of it.’

‘I’ve just spent a week in the Andes working for Sportwide Extreme Adventure. I can handle it if you can.’

He held her gaze. ‘And were there bodies floating in the streets where you were?’

She caught her breath, grabbed for the back of the chair, and nearly stumbled. All the beautiful colour went out of her face, and he was sorry he’d said anything.

‘Bodies, you didn’t say anything about bodies, Ellis. Why the hell didn’t you tell me there were bodies? Jesus!’ She ran a hand through her hair and looked around the room wildly. ‘Why the fuck didn’t you tell me?’

He took both her arms and steadied her, looking down into those deep, serious eyes. ‘I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to worry you. Christ, it’s bad enough for those pictures to be going through one of our brains, let alone both.’

She straightened her shoulders, nodded, and stepped back. ‘All right, but that’s in the towns, isn’t it? I mean we’re talking the rain forest; trees, tall trees, lots of them. That’s where Beverly’ll be. It’ll be better there, surely it will be. And no people. No bodies.’

‘I didn’t get that far. I don’t know what to expect, and we don’t know where Beverly was when the outfitters lost contact. I don’t want you there, Dee. And neither would she. Don’t you understand?’

But of course she didn’t understand, and he really didn’t expect her to. God, she was as stubborn and pig-headed as Beverly. She held him in a hard blue gaze. ‘She wouldn’t want you there either, damn it.’

‘Don’t tell me what she would want. I don’t care what she would want. I’m going, you’re staying. That’s final.’

Dee shoved both her hands onto her hips and glared at him, her eyes suddenly like raw heat. ‘You’re not my boss, and I do what I want, and right now I’m telling you you’re being an idiot.’

It came as a total shock when he grabbed her. He didn’t see it coming. He didn’t see any of it coming. Before she could do more than utter a gasp of surprise, he pulled her to him so hard that he feared he’d given her whiplash, then he did the unthinkable. He kissed her. He kissed her hard. His mouth was bruising and tyrannical against hers, like he’d forgotten how to be gentle, like he’d forgotten how to be civilised. He swallowed her breath even as she fought to swallow his. At first she pushed

him, pushed him as hard as she could, and he thought she was pushing him away, but her mouth sparred with his for still more contact. He only yielded enough to step back, pulling her with him, kissing her harder, holding her tighter, tight enough to crush her breasts against his chest. She bit and nipped at him like an angry wolf, with him yanking and shoving her jacket off her shoulders and going to work on her buttons while she pushed and shoved and clawed.

There was ripping and tearing. At least one button went flying. He wasn’t sure whose. He didn’t care. He’d fucking buy her a new suit if he had to.

With one hand he tugged and yanked her skirt up over her hips, with the other he shoved down the straps of her bra and kneaded and cupped until his thumb raked her nipples into heavy, responsive peaks.

She managed to force his trousers down over his hips as he figured out how to release the front catch on her bra. ‘Wait, wait,’ he said, struggling to breathe in the charged atmosphere, trying to keep his head clear. He nearly elbowed her as he tugged his wallet from his pocket.

In his distracted efforts, he stumbled backward over the backpack, pulling her down on top of him, forcing the breath from his lungs with a grunt.

‘Oh my God!’ she cried out. They landed in a heap sprawled across the soft carpet. With her sitting astraddle him, he yanked and tugged at his wallet, money, credit cards, and receipts falling like confetti until he found the silver foil packet, which he ripped open, launching the condom into the air in

his frenzied efforts.
‘Shit,’ they both cursed at the same time. She

was already tugging at his boxers as he grabbed up the rogue condom, rolled it down over his arcing erection, and thrust up into it, nearly bucking her off his thighs with the effort. He tugged the crotch of her panties aside. For a second he glimpsed the warm depths of her before they clawed and shifted and positioned to get what, until now, neither of them had known they needed so desperately.

Once he pushed into her, it was his turn to cry out. ‘Oh God, Dee! I can’t stand it!’ He grabbed her hips and held her tight. ‘Hold still. Don’t move. Give me a second.’

It had been a long time since he’d had any sex other than with his own fist, and his sensitivity was astounding, embarrassing actually. His chest rose and fell like bellows. Dee sat impaled, eyes closed, hands cupping her breasts, breathing like there was fire in her chest. She felt stretched exquisitely tight and warm and tetchy around his girth, and the few seconds he held her there seemed an eternity, suspended in the delicious agony of needing to thrust, but knowing to wait. Just a few more seconds until he felt in better control

When he was certain he wouldn’t embarrass himself, he gathered her to him, feeling the carpet abrade his elbows as he rolled on top of her, still buried to the hilt. And he began to thrust. She tightened her legs around his hips and rose in rhythm to meet his efforts, growling at him as he growled back, balling her fists against his back, straining upward onto her impaler, meeting strength

with strength. And her strength was impressive. She was all muscle and sinew, rounded and softened with delicious curves engulfing him in the feel and the power and the scent of femaleness, the tidal scent of steamy summer, the scent of lust tightly controlled. No doubt some of that was his own. And the blending of the two was intoxicating.

It was all over in a few minutes. They exploded into release like glass shattering on concrete. He came with a heavy groan and collapsed on top of her while she convulsed in orgasm. Surely he was dreaming. Surely he was asleep, and his psyche had fabricated the whole experience in an effort to relieve stress. Surely it couldn’t be real. He’d wake up soon.

They lay panting on the floor in a tangle of discarded clothing and trembling limbs, as his brain gradually regained control. In his fantasies, he always made it last, lingering to tease and pleasure Dee their first time together. And it was true; he actually had fantasised about her, about the woman he’d never met, the woman whose photo was in the dossier Beverly had put together. He’d fantasised about her from his first glance at Beverly’s wild concoction of a resume. And he had no doubt that had been a part of Beverly’s scheme.

But he was always a good lover in his fantasies; no awkward moments, no clumsy efforts. In his fantasies he always pleasured her like she’d never been pleasured before. He never imagined he’d take her with such force. He never imagined he’d take her at all, at least not in the real world. God, what must she think? He found himself remembering

Beverly’s Executive Sex Clause. No doubt this situation would meet with her approval, but at the moment, he wasn’t sure what he felt, other than dismayed that he’d lost control.

Finally he found the breath to speak. ‘Dee, are you all right? I’m so sorry. I don’t know what came over me; I don’t know what I was thinking. I didn’t mean to be such an animal.’

‘I like animals.’ She spoke around laboured breath.

The sting her nails had left across his shoulders and back convinced him she might be a bit of an animal herself, a thought that brought with it a new wave of arousal, which he tried to suppress. ‘Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I want you to know that I never, that I wouldn’t –’

‘I know. Me neither,’ she said.

Neither of them made any effort to get up or to move out of each other’s arms. In fact, the feel of her so close was worth hanging on to. He’d rest for a little while with her so nicely wrapped around him. Just for a few minutes, then he’d call Jeffries to take him to the airport. Just a little while longer, close to her warmth. That was all he needed. Just a few more delicious minutes.

 

The Executive Decisions Boxed Set

 

 

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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