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Authors: Cari Quinn

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BOOK: ProvokeMe
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She sighed.
There it was again.
That niggle for a boyfriend,
for something real that didn’t begin with a name and a ranking.
Next thing she
knew her biological clock would start ticking and she’d be really screwed.

Nah, it was probably just an itch.
Maybe even
birthday-related.
Birthdays tended to mess with people’s heads.

Her life was fine as it was.
She had a nice one-bedroom
apartment with a big bathroom and charming little kitchenette, complete with
lots of bookshelves and plants.
The space was hers and she loved it.
She didn’t
need to share that space with anyone to feel complete.
And she didn’t mind when
her occasional lovers hit the road with an “I’ll call” that never amounted to
anything.

That was what she wanted.

Casual sex had always been enough for her before.
She’d been
discriminating about her lovers and made sure she liked them well enough in and
out of bed.
Her plan had worked perfectly for years.

But it had been months since she’d slept with anyone.
She
was sick of waiting and just as sick of wanting Spencer and knowing it could
never happen.
Not if she wanted to advance at her job without dealing with all
sorts of gossip and innuendoes.
Though Tony worked under Marcia and no one made
an issue out of it.
Of course, guys always seemed to operate under their own
set of rules.

And that was even assuming Spencer was the least bit
interested in her.
Other than those blink-and-it’s-over glances at her breasts
in his office, she’d never gotten a single vibe that he’d even noticed she was
female.

Then again, her list had disappeared.
Could this be a sign
the time had come to step outside her comfort zone?

“I thought Kink had been closed down,” she said.
Alana was
staring at her, clearly waiting for an answer.

“Yeah, they have been.
Several times.
They wait a few
months, try out a new location and shift things around.”

“How do they manage that?
Wouldn’t that cost a lot of
money?”

“The owners are loaded.
Supposedly they’re ultra-kinky and
the hubby came up with the club idea to please his wife.
She gets off on
watching people do each other, I guess.” Alana shrugged.
“Who knows.
That could
be some urban legend.
No one’s ever really investigated it, far as I know.”

Kelly gripped the cat’s-eye amulet dangling between her
breasts, unable to come up with a response.
Was she being silly?
Should she
just go with Alana and see where the night led?

“It’s not nearly as blatant as I made it sound,” Alana
added.
“The people who go there are normal.
Really.
They’re just like you and
me, with a few more quirks.”

Kelly let out a laugh.
“Not sure I’m that kind of normal.”

“You’re just repressed is all.”

Kelly fingered her necklace.
“I don’t know, Lan.
Maybe I’m
getting too old for this stuff.
According to you, I should be excited about
going to Kink.
And I’m not.”

The only prospect that excited her anymore was wrapping
herself in the comforting familiarity of The Book Nook.
And seeing Spencer,
even though most of the time he was so uptight she wondered what she possibly
saw in him.

Alana plopped down next to her on the bed.
“How about this?
We’ll pour you into this dress and go play for an hour.
If you’re not feeling
it, we’ll leave.”

“The last time you said that I had to catch a ride home with
Freddy Fingers, the guy with the hairy knuckles that kept finding their way
into my bra.”

“That won’t happen tonight.
Promise.
I won’t abandon you for
sex—group or otherwise.” Alana’s eyes sparkled.
“Heck, you might even like it
and want to stay.”

“Don’t think so.
Besides, I have to be up at—”

“Five a.m.
for work.
Yeah, yeah, I know your spiel.
C’mon
then.
Let’s get you out of those granny clothes.” Alana bounced to her feet,
still clutching the dress.
She turned back, lips pursed.
“Oh, and seriously,
Kel?
Skip the underwear.
Easier access.”

* * * * *

Two games of racquetball, a long cold shower and a quick
dinner of Chinese takeout later, Spencer headed to Kink.
He kept a change of
clothes in his locker at the gym, though he rarely skipped a trip home to get
dressed.
Wrinkled khakis and a gray T-shirt wasn’t exactly his outfit of choice
but he didn’t have the patience to make the twenty-minute drive to his
apartment.

His needs hadn’t been entirely sated by the hard bout of
exercise, but it had taken the edge off.
Time to move to phase two.

It was already pushing 9 p.m.
and he had to be up at the
crack of dawn tomorrow.
Not only was there all of today’s work he hadn’t
finished, namely the stacks of P&Ls he had to evaluate and the dozen phone
calls and emails he needed to return, but the first order of business would be
talking to his staff.
All
of his staff.
Everyone needed a reminder that
The Book Nook was a business.
He had no intention of tolerating anything that
diluted anyone’s focus on the job at hand.

Including his own.

He hadn’t yet figured out how he would handle Kelly, since
she technically hadn’t done anything wrong other than exercising her sharp
tongue.
Even that hadn’t been much of an infraction.
She was certainly allowed
to pursue recreational activities outside work.
He hadn’t gotten a single
report that she wasn’t doing her job.
Even Marcia had admitted grudgingly that
she’d never seen anyone more committed to The Book Nook, other than him.

It wasn’t as if he could write her up for having the gall to
rank him dead last on her stupid list.
He almost wished he could.

Spencer blew out a breath as he considered the small purple
contraption lodged in the bottom of his briefcase, currently stationed in the
trunk of his Acura.
Somehow he’d have to keep his cool when he returned the
damn thing.
She’d know he saw her list and she’d probably be embarrassed,
humiliated even.
He didn’t want her to feel bad—okay, yeah he did, but only
because she had such lousy taste in other men—and he also didn’t want her to
freak out when she discovered the PDA was missing.
Even so, the conversation
between them would have to wait.

Right now the only screwing he had in mind didn’t involve
lists.
Or Kelly.
Whomever he met up with at Kink was going to reap the benefits
of how much he wanted to drum Kelly right the fuck out of his head.

The club was situated on the outskirts of Ely, or at least
this incarnation of it was.
Kink had been shut down more than once so people
had gotten smarter about bragging about their exploits.
The place wasn’t only
about sex, despite its reputation.
Some people only went there to dance or take
advantage of the on-site massage services.
Legit massage services too, unless
the client had a “special need.”

He’d never partaken of the massages or the BDSM room with
its spanking bench and numerous contraptions on the wall that doubled as erotic
art when the owners were questioned by the police.
Not his thing.
His
particular kink was watching and between the lounge, with its soft couches and
mood lighting, and the steam room, there were plenty of opportunities to
indulge.

He didn’t have sex every time he went to Kink.
Or even most
times.
He enjoyed voyeurism for its own sake and as often as not, cruised
through to soak up the atmosphere.
Beautiful, sensual women roamed the premises
and nothing turned him on more than seeing a couple engaged in the physical
expression of their desire.

Sometimes watching was more than enough.
And sometimes it
wasn’t.
Tonight would definitely fall into the second category.

He parked and shut off the ignition.
Maybe Marcia was right
about his low standards.
She had a thing for young guys but at least she was a
serial monogamist.
He agreed with the serial part of the equation, but
monogamy?
Not so much.

It had been over a year since he’d had a regular girlfriend.
Nina had actually been the one to introduce him to the club.
He worked too
much, she’d claimed, and this was a low-pressure way to have some fun.
He’d
been reluctant at first but he’d returned even after they’d broken up.

For a guy who didn’t unwind easily, Kink was a freaking
gift.
It was the only place he felt comfortable being exactly who he was.
More
than that, no one there frowned upon his urge to watch.
In fact, it was
encouraged.
He still saw Nina there once in a while.
They’d even had a semi-reunion
in the steam room a few months ago.
She didn’t ask for much.
A couple of
orgasms and they parted mutually satisfied with no messy feelings to get in the
way.

He sucked in one last breath in his air-conditioned car and
stepped out into nature’s own steam bath.
He’d barely made it to the short line
waiting to enter before he felt a trickle between his shoulder blades.
It was
only May and the entire long hot summer loomed ahead.

Good thing he liked to sweat.

He paid the cover charge and strode inside, blood already
humming.
Luckily the interior was nice and crisp.
He stepped up to the bar to
order his usual neat whiskey.
The liquor cooled his throat all the way down.
The burn in his gut afterward was a bonus.

“Hey, handsome.
Buy me one of what you’re having?”

Speak of the devil.
He turned, a smile already forming.
“Nina.”

“In the flesh.” That flesh was prominently displayed, all
but overflowing the constraints of her short, black, jersey minidress.
She
leaned up to lick his cheek, making him laugh.
“How’ve you been?”

He shifted toward her and mentally rearranged his plans for
the evening.
Nina was as low-maintenance as they came, part of why they’d been
so good together.
She liked sex as much as he did and didn’t get it all tangled
up with love.
From the flickers of arousal in her sea-green eyes, she’d come
ready to play.

Worked for him.

He picked up her long, slim hand, laying it deliberately
against his erection.
“Hard.”

“Mmm, so I feel.” She curved her fingers, squeezing him.
“Buy me that drink and we’ll see what we can do about that.”

Chapter Three

 

Kelly glanced at Alana as they pulled into Kink’s parking
lot.
“This is it?”

“Yep.” Alana grinned.
“Behold the awesomeness.”

The building was a gray, nondescript box.
Not that
aesthetics seemed to matter—the parking lot was full.
A black awning hung over
the doorway and the three-deep line of patrons.
Kelly squinted at the cavernous
hole she assumed was the entrance.

“Looks kind of…”
Shady
was the word that came to
mind, but then she remembered what sort of establishment it was.
Probably
looking shady was part of the appeal.

“You’ll love it.” Alana patted Kelly’s bare knee—which went
with her equally bare pussy—and drove toward the last line of cars in the lot.
“I always park in the same place, just in case the police show.” She paused.
“What the hell?”

Kelly craned her neck to see what the problem was.
She
couldn’t see where Alana was staring, thanks to all the people strolling about
as if they were on the beach rather than at an illicit sex club.
Why weren’t
they slinking around and trying to hide their faces?
Was she the only one who
found the concept of visiting a sex club blush-worthy?
“What?”

“My space.
Some creep took it.” Alana screeched the car to a
halt in the nearest empty slot and yanked the key out of the ignition.
“I’ve
been here half a dozen times and no one ever takes it.
Must not be my night.”

“Which space?”

“The one on the end.
Closest to the side exit.
Anyway, it
doesn’t matter.
We’re parked now.” She fluffed her curls, checked her teeth in
the rearview mirror and smiled brightly.
“Ready?”

Kelly looked.
Looked again.
She forced out the breath
trapped in her throat.
“No.”

The car in Lan’s space looked awfully familiar.
Surely a lot
of people drove red Acuras.
Just because Spencer did too didn’t mean anything.

She just had him on the brain.
That was all.

“Kel?
What’s the problem?”

It was silly even to consider it might be him.
Because there
was absolutely no chance her straitlaced boss would hang out here.
A
down-and-dirty, illegal sex club?
No way.

“Nothing.” It couldn’t be Spencer, and that was that.

She got out and followed Alana as quickly as she could in
her high-heeled sandals.
What choice did she have?
She’d been dumb enough to
agree to come along, so she’d slink inside, take a quick look around to say she
had and hit the exit.
She opened her tiny purse to dig out her wallet.
Hopefully she had enough money for a couple of mixed drinks.
They’d blunt her
anxiety but not leave her hungover in the morning.
Very important.
She’d be
damned if she had to fight a migraine all day at work.

Alana huffed out a breath.
“There are hot guys all over the
place.
And I need to find
my
hot guy soon before I melt into a damn
puddle.” Obviously reading Kelly’s torn expression, she tugged on her arm.
“Can’t you just live a little?
You program your sex, your meals, your exercise.
You never get to work a minute late.
You so need to get laid tonight.
You need
something
.”

Maybe so, but sex was absolutely the last thing on her mind
at the moment, other than the trouble her damn list was going to cause her if
the wrong person happened upon it.
Which was anyone, really.
Especially if
she’d lost the PDA at work—the most likely scenario.
God, why hadn’t she
thought to password protect the file?
Was she really that stupid?

Yes, she was.

At the sudden prickle of heat behind her eyes, she glanced
away from Alana and stared across the parking lot, the perfect angle to see the
red sedan.
Dammit, it even had a dent in the same place on the fender.
She’d
seen it just that morning when she’d parked behind him.

Holy fuck.
Her boss, here.
Looking for sex.
Naughty sex, the
kind best suited to explicit movies.

Kelly licked her lips.
No damn way.
Not Mr.
All Business,
24/7.
It was even more improbable than
her
being here.
Forget improbable,
try impossible.

“Lan, c’mere.”

Though her friend sputtered, Kelly dragged her to the next
row of cars.
She peered through the lightly tinted windows at the sedan’s
miniscule backseat.
Sitting there, plain as day, was a paper bag from The Book
Nook full of promo items.

“Oh man.” She leaned against the trunk to keep from
collapsing on the sizzling blacktop.
“Oh man.”

“What is it?
What’s wrong?”

She couldn’t tell her.
How could she out him like that when
she didn’t know the score?
Not that Alana knew him or would ever betray a
confidence, but still.
She owed Spencer the benefit of the doubt.

And God, the heat must be getting to her, because what doubt
could he be benefiting from?
His car was in the parking lot of a traveling sex
club.
He probably wasn’t inside reading the magazines.

Her stomach twisted in slippery knots.
He could be having
sex right now, with who knows who.
Or maybe several whos.
Dammit, she couldn’t
even say if that aroused her or pissed her off.

“Kel, we’ve been here ten minutes.
The line’s getting longer
and I’m nowhere near getting any cock.”

It took Kelly a split second to make up her mind.
Spencer
was off-limits, which was why she’d ranked him at the top of her list.
She’d
always half-hoped their situation would have changed by the time she reached
him, so the office romance issue wouldn’t be a factor anymore.
But the reality
was, she didn’t want it to change.

The bookstore meant the world to her and she knew even if
she and Spencer saw nothing else the same, they had that in common.
She didn’t
intend to go anywhere and she didn’t think he did either.
Nor did she want him
to.
She wanted him right where he was, teasing the hell out of her just by
occupying the same airspace.

She wanted
him
.
Even if she’d never anticipated his
sexual appetites would extend to this, or maybe even more because they did.
The
idea of seeing by-the-book Spencer unbuttoned and uninhibited set off a dozen
explosions inside her.
Her nipples tingled, her thighs clenched.
And the sweat
dripping down her back paled in comparison to the sudden flood between her
legs.

Here, the rules about workplace romance didn’t count for
much.
They definitely weren’t at work now.
Why should propriety affect them any
more than it did their coworkers?
Several of the other employees had slept
together.
Just because Spencer happened to be the boss didn’t make things
different.
Did it?

Besides, how would she ever face herself if she didn’t go
inside and see where things went?
Even if they only led to her going home alone
with a fantasy, she had to find out what the hell he was doing here.

Kelly smiled and fought to ignore the nervous fluttering in
her belly.
“Let’s go inside.”

“Whose car is this, Kel?
Why are you so flushed all of a
sudden?”

“C’mon.” Kelly linked fingers with Alana and they hurried
over to take their place at the end of the line.

She tried not to fidget while they waited.
It was damn
tough.
Spencer would be her biggest catch yet, and she still hadn’t fully
worked out how she’d get him on the hook.
While also avoiding hooking herself,
since she was already almost in love with him.
And that was
before
sexy
times were added into the mix.

As of yet, she’d only ever seen him fully dressed and coolly
staring her down.
But tonight he’d have to deal with her as a woman and not
just an employee.

He wouldn’t be happy to see her here, if for no other reason
than his blown cover.
But hers would be blown too, though she figured it
already had been thanks to her inability to hold on to her personal property.

She worried the strap of her purse as they crept toward the
gaping dark mouth of Kink.
The line contained a wide assortment of people,
ranging in age from college students to one older gentleman with a combover.
Once they paid the cover charge, the customers disappeared through a shadowy door
ringed in white lights, and Kelly could hear smoky laughter and a thumping bass
from within the club.
What she
didn’t
hear were moans and groans, but
the music was pretty loud.

“Ever done anyone here?” she whispered to Alana.

“Um, yeah.” Alana sighed as if she’d run out of patience.
“I
met Ramon here, remember?”

“How could I forget?” She glanced down at her purse as they
stepped under the awning.
“I didn’t bring any condoms.”

“Thought you didn’t need any.” Smirking, Alana pointed
inside the doorway.
“They’re all over the place.
Free of charge.
Now relax.
Lots of people hang out at Kink, even vanilla types.
I even saw one of my
parents’ friends last time I was here.”

“Ick.
Seriously?”

“Seriously.
Talk about horrifying.” Though she was a good
six inches shorter, Alana reached up to massage Kelly’s shoulders.
“You’re so
tense.
This is going to be fun.
Right?”

Ignoring every inner alarm that screamed no, Kelly nodded.
She could do this.
Sexy woman of the world, remember?

If she didn’t go for it with Spencer now, she didn’t know
how she’d ever drum up the nerve again.
Not that she had nerve now either, but
at least she hadn’t hightailed it home.
Yet.

“Right.”

She blew out a breath and smiled at the guy taking money at
the door.
He winked and waved away her money.
The gesture seemed more kindly
than suggestive considering he looked old enough to collect Social Security.

“Women don’t pay, silly,” Alana whispered.

“Oh.”

Kelly gave the door guy a hesitant smile and followed her
friend inside.
A medley of scents greeted her.
Smoke—cigarette and
otherwise—cologne, perfume, liquor.
A light overlay of sweat too, probably some
her own.
She was practically incinerating.
And it wasn’t all fear.
Most of it
was.
But there was excitement too.

The lights were low but she had no trouble finding the
neon-lit bar.
“Want a drink?” she asked.
“My treat.”

She didn’t think anything of it when Alana didn’t answer
right away.
Her best friend didn’t have much of an attention span to begin with
and a place like this could fray anyone’s focus.
But when Kelly glanced over
her shoulder, she saw she was now very much alone.

“Thanks, Lan,” she muttered, taking the last empty stool.
“So much for sticking close.”

People pressed all around her, laughing, talking, kissing.
But she tuned everyone out as she focused on the beaming bartender who would be
her savior tonight.
“Midori Sour, please.
Actually, make it two.”

“Two’s the limit for newbies, you know.”

“Huh?”

“Of drinks.
No more than two alcoholic beverages for new
patrons.” His lips parted in a lecherous grin.
“We want everyone to be alert
and aware.”

She shrugged.
This beggar couldn’t afford to be choosy.
“Fine.
Whatever.”

“You got ID, pretty lady?”

“Sure.
I already flashed it at the door.”

She dug it out and waited as he studied her photo, surreptitiously
checking out the men at the bar.
She didn’t see anyone with wavy blond hair and
she definitely didn’t see any fancy suits.
Had he gone up to the infamous
lounge?
Or maybe he’d headed right for the steam room.

BOOK: ProvokeMe
11.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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