Sex on the beach sounded heavenly. Either the drink or the act, I wasn’t picky.
I was plumb exhausted. My feet hurt. My legs hurt. My back hurt. Hell, my nipples hurt, but that served me right for wearing a negligee to work in February. Not that my choice of wardrobe was completely my doing. My sexy British billionaire boss, Maxwell Penn, said the best way to sell lingerie was to wear it, and considering the staggering number of zeros in his net worth, I figured the man knew what he was talking about.
Red Light Lingerie, a sexy little boutique right in the heart of Dallas, was one of Max’s pet ventures, and I had the honor of being its manager, although I wasn’t feeling very honored that night. We’d been positively slammed from opening to closing. Damn Max for insisting on a two-for-one lingerie sale. And to think, the next day would be busier; the day before Valentine’s Day always was.
I leaned against the checkout counter and surveyed the damage. Ugh. The place looked as if a family of tornadoes had dropped by for a fitting. Merchandise hung mismatched on racks. Bottles of lube littered the shelving along the left wall. And don’t get me started on the table of couples’ toys in the back. Damn overexcited bride-to-be about gave me a concussion when she pushed me into the display on her way to the last size-eight red bustier in the store.
“It’ll take hours to get this mess cleaned up,” I said, turning to Aimée, the Latino bombshell beside me. “Remind me to castrate Chad the next time he leaves us high and dry like this.”
Chad was Red Light Lingerie’s only male employee, assuming I didn’t count Max. A little testosterone to balance out all the estrogen. But the bastard had called in sick with a sudden case of “stomach flu.” More like he’d met some hunk at the bar the night before and caught a vigorous strain of Can’tStopFuckingitis.
“Oh, Bree.” Aimée laughed, the bosom of her yellow nightie straining against her DDs. How those babies stayed in place was a testament to maximum-strength breast-lift tape. “You’ll have to wait in line for that particular honor, mi amiga. I’m ready to strangle the boy myself.”
“Amen, sister!” I raised my hands to the sky. “What do you say we get out of here and save cleanup for tomorrow morning? When Chad’s here. I’m beat. Besides—” I stepped closer and lowered my voice to a conspirator’s level. “I have a date tonight.”
“A date?” A way-to-go-girl smile played with my Cuban compadre’s lips. “With Señor Sexy from the coffee shop?”
Every afternoon, Aimée and I indulged in a java-and-gossip ritual at Spill the Beans across the street. The beanery had recently hired a new barista. He was desire wrapped in yum and dipped in sweet brown sugar. If he looked half as good naked as he did with his little gold apron, heaven help my under-ravaged pussy.
That evening’s stud would more than do for a round or two of wild sex. And who knew? If I was lucky, maybe I’d get a full twelve rounds out of him. The young man wasn’t as sexy as Max. Then again, who was? But a girl had needs, and my trusty Triple Pleasure Rabbit Vibrator just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I needed flesh and blood, and seeing as how Max was perpetually unavailable, I’d have to make do.
Maxwell Penn was equal parts sex-god and domineering asshole. Sexy as sin and twice as tempting. I spent most of my time on the clock either wanting to strangle him or fuck him. Sometimes both at the same time.
Who knew I was such a masochist?
I hated to admit it, but I’d been totally smitten with the man since he’d hired me two years before—assuming smitten was even the right word, considering I wanted to get naked with him and bear his love child.
Yeah, I didn’t think so, either.
The sexy, tempting, English son of a bitch.
I’d lost count of how many times I’d fantasized about Max throwing me over his desk and fucking me senseless—even though, when I’d first met him, he’d still been married. I’d tried to control my lust, but no harm could come from a little mental fun, right? After all, it wasn’t as if I’d ever acted on my fantasies.
Despite my inappropriate contemplations, I enjoyed my job. I got paid to talk to people about ways to push the boundaries of their sexual world, the newest pleasure toys on the market, and the yummiest assets every man and woman needed to complement their bedroom toy chests. What more could a girl ask for?
Aimée rested her elbows on the glass counter. “You’ll let me know how the date goes, right? And by that, I mean tell me if he’s any good in bed. And if he’s hung.”
I laughed. “It’ll be my first night of sex in over six months. I’ll be shouting the details to the damn moon.”
“But don’t forget the condoms, mi amiga. It’d be a shame if your evening came to a crashing halt because of a lack of rubber.”
“Bought some last night. They’re already in my purse.”
“Good. Now go have some fucking fun.” She draped an arm over my shoulder. “Emphasis on fucking.”
I gave her a playful push. “Get outta here. I’m gonna cash out the register. I’ll be gone in twenty minutes. Thirty, tops.”
“Ah, you’re the best, Bree.”
* * *
When I’d finished cashing out, I stored the day’s earnings in the safe. The task had taken about five percent brain power, which was a damn good thing. My body was in countdown mode.
I grabbed my travel bag from beneath my desk. Just under an hour until my date. Calculate two hours for dinner and small talk. Thirty minutes from the restaurant to my apartment. Ten to fifteen minutes to get inside and get naked. Ugh. I still had almost four hours to suffer before I could scratch my sexual itch.
Much longer, and I feared the itch would turn into a flippin’ rash.
But I tried not to dwell on the negatives. The night would be fantastic. If not fantastic, at least there’d be sex and, hopefully, orgasms involved. Sex! That was a major plus for me. Since Max had hired me, my personal life and dodo birds had a lot in common; neither existed anymore.
My job had been chaotic since day one, but when Max’s wife, Gina, had passed away, things had gone from chaotic to downright frenzied. On top of my day-to-day duties, I had to deal with most of Max’s, too. I couldn’t get upset with him, though. To lose a spouse had to be unbearable.
On top of that, Red Light wasn’t Max’s only business venture. He was a real estate and banking magnate. He dabbled in other side ventures, too, like fashion, green energy creation, and philanthropy. A quick Google search before my interview had revealed how vast Max’s global empire, Whitecliff International, stretched. The revelation had left me feeling supremely intimidated and highly unqualified.
On a more selfish note, I wished Gina’s death hadn’t taken my friend from me. Max and I had grown close in the months prior to her death, but now, he and I were practically strangers again.
I sighed. What I wouldn’t give for him to open up to me once more. I missed him more than I wanted to let on but—
My office door flew open.
Heart thudding a frantic rhythm against my sternum and adrenaline driving my actions, I spun toward the door while simultaneously lunging for the Mace I kept in my center desk drawer, but it was only Max.
He strolled in like he owned the place, which was appropriate, considering he did own the place. But did he have to do it looking sexier than any man should be allowed to be?
I clutched my hand over my heart. “Max, you scared the living shit outta me! I thought a maniac had stuck around after hours.”
“My apologies, Ms. Jennings,” he said.
Bree. Bree. Bree. I wished he’d stop with the formalities and go back to calling me Bree, the way he used to before our relationship had gone sideways.
“It’s okay,” I said, readjusting the strap of my travel bag. “My mind was…elsewhere.”
Max nodded, looking me up and down with the Texas-sky-blue eyes that fueled my fantasies, and my heart kicked up a few more beats per minute. That time, however, my reaction had nothing to do with fear.
Why’d he have to be so damned sexy?
Tanned, muscular, and topping six foot, he was a walking wet dream, and the stimulating hum between my legs, the one that had been driving me crazy all night, morphed into a high-powered tingle. I doubted even my trusty Rabbit could ease the ache.
I glanced at my Apple watch and wrenched in a deep breath. Four more hours till release. Only four more.
A man I didn’t recognize stepped into the room behind Max, and my mouth hinged open. He could easily have been Max’s evil twin. Where my boss could pass as a Matthew McConaughey lookalike, the other man was more Tom Hardy—dark, dangerous, and inked all over.
Was even one inch of his skin tat-free?
Judging by the tattoo sleeves going from wrists and disappearing beneath his black t-shirt, probably not. I tried to focus on the designs, but I couldn’t get my eyes to cooperate. Were the lines of ink supposed to be some sort of recognizable design or a chaotic mess?
Either way, yum.
Raven-black hair swept away from his face and was tied at his nape, accentuating the richest chocolate-brown eyes I’d ever seen. A simple diamond stud decorated his left ear, and a day or two’s worth of stubble covered his cheeks, giving him a rugged bad-boy look. Usually, bad boys didn’t set my libido on fire, but on him, the look conjured image after image of him throwing me over his shoulder and carrying me off to his fuck-pad in the sky.
Yeah, I had to get out of there.
Max motioned to his companion. “Ms. Jennings, this’s Garrett Lanyon. He’s an old friend of mine from Britain. He’s also one of the designers competing to design for our new Risqué line.”
Pierced-tattoo-man was a lingerie designer? No fucking way.
Garrett held his hand toward me, and I grasped it in a firm handshake.
“Nice to meet you,” I said.
“Oh, the pleasure is all mine, love.” Garrett’s voice resonated much lower than Max’s, with a thicker accent, too. Then again, Max had lived in the States for almost fifteen years. His accent had been Americanized.
I released Garrett’s hand; he didn’t release mine. On the contrary, he tugged it closer, kissed the back of my hand and the inside of my wrist. His lips were firm, possessive, as was his grip.
Regretting the fact I hadn’t changed for my date before cashing out the register, I should have pulled back, but his gaze entranced me. Goosebumps chased across my skin, and my nipples hardened beneath my lacy negligee. What would his lips feel like against my breasts? My labia?
I clenched my legs together in a vain effort to ease the heat winding through my pussy, but the move only made things worse. My panties were well on their way to being soaked.
Not fucking happening!
Garrett grinned. “Max said you were lovely, Ms. Jennings, but he didn’t tell me you were this lovely.”
Max had said I was lovely?
I glanced at my boss. He stood with his hands fisted on his hips, his kissable lips pressed into a tight line. Jealousy, perhaps? Probably not, but it was a fun idea to play with.
Max jealous of another man touching me? That scenario would definitely go on my Max Fantasy List.
“Garrett,” Max said, stepping between us, “we need to start this meeting. Ms. Jennings has no doubt had a long day, and I’d hate to keep her any longer than we need to.”
Any longer than they needed to?
“I can’t stay late tonight,” I said. “I have plans. I was about to leave when you—”
“You’ll have to cancel. I need you here for this purchasing meeting.”
And just like that, an I-want-to-fuck-Max moment imploded into an I’m-gonna-strangle-the-bastard moment.
I glanced at my watch again. Forty-five minutes until my date. “Purchasing new clothing lines is your department, not mine.” I just ran the store, managed inventory, took care of payroll. You know, pretty much every-fucking-thing else, but not purchasing.
“Garrett has brought some sample pieces for me to evaluate, but our model canceled at the last moment.”
I shook my head, knowing exactly where he was going. “I’m not a model, Max. You’ll have to reschedule. Besides, I have a—”
“Rescheduling isn’t an option. Garrett’s only in Dallas for the evening. He has to be on a plane for L.A. first thing in the morning.”
Garrett drew a fingertip down my arm. “For what it’s worth, you’ve got a better body for lingerie than most of the stick-thin models I’ve worked with. I prefer a woman with a little meat on her bones.”
Max hooked his index finger under my chin and drew my gaze back to him. “Make no mistake, Ms. Jennings. This isn’t a request. Either change, or we’ll strip you down and dress you ourselves.”