Authors: Madeleine Oh
Katie Fairfax jokingly asks her cousin for “a gorgeous,
exciting, bedworthy man to make all my wildest dreams come true,” not expecting
to be taken at her word. When she first meets Jud Carlton, she finds the man
pushy and overbearing. But as Jud bulldozes into her life, she finds his
special way of loving is what she’s always longed for.
An Ellora’s Cave Romantica
Trick or Treat
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Trick or Treat Copyright © 2003 Madeleine Oh
Cover art by Syneca
Electronic book publication 2003
The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of Ellora’s
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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons,
living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The
characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
“But I told Andrew you would, darling. He’s counting on
Katie Fairfax took a deep breath. “Mother, did it ever occur
to you to ask? What if I happened to be going away that weekend?”
She pictured her mother’s raised eyebrows. “You’re not, are
Katie sighed. ‘Yes, I am’ entailed lying to her mother, ‘No,
of course not’ meant she got stuck cat sitting. What a choice! Pity she
couldn’t plead allergies. “Tell Andrew, I’ll keep his cat.”
“I think it will have to be in his house, dear. Moving Elise
will upset her, she’s expecting.”
Sheesh, her sister, her cousin, and now the cat. At least
Mother hadn’t started on, ‘Isn’t it time you found a nice young man Katie’.
“Okay, Mom. Tell Andrew I’m game. But he darn well owes me!”
“I knew you would dear, now don’t forget Sally and Tim’s
shower. You do have a gift don’t you?”
Yet another cousin getting hitched-not that she’d have
Sally’s Tim if he came gift-wrapped, “Not yet, Mom, but I will. See you there
then. Bye, I love you.”
Katie hung up the phone with a sigh. One of these days she’d
toughen up and learn how to tell her mother ‘no’. Meanwhile, she was committed
to spend a weekend in her favorite cousin, Andrew’s, almost obscenely luxurious
house, and possibly midwifing a cat. That was in two weeks. More pressing was
getting a shower gift for Sally and her intended. A quick trip to the mall one
afternoon after work would take care of that. As for the cat, she’d manage. If
Andrew had asked, she’d have agreed like a shot, but when her mother asked, she
felt honor-bound to push a bit. Mind you, Andrew never nagged her about still
being single, and didn’t ask prying questions about her social life.
He did however, call her the next day. “So your mom and mine
put the screws on you. I didn’t mean them to shanghai you.”
“What did you intend?” Just curious of course…
“I asked my mother if she knew anyone who’d house and cat
sit while I was away. I’m driving down to Atlanta to pick up Sophie.” Sophie
was Andrew’s sophisticated, but quite agreeable, intended.
“No prob, Andrew, but you owe me!”
“Forever!” he agreed. “What can I get you?
“A gorgeous, exciting, bedworthy man to make all my wildest
dreams come true.” Good luck Andrew! She’d not managed it herself in
“That’s a tall order!”
She chuckled. If her mother knew what she’d asked, she’d
pitch a hissy fit. “Too hard?”
“No way! Give me time!”
“Never mind, Andrew, if you can’t, I’ll settle for pizza.”
“I think I can find the man for you.” He gave a teasing
laugh. “Tell you what, you come help me shop for a gift for Sally and Tim, and
I’ll take you to the new brick oven pizza place at Five Points.”
“Sounds great. Shall we stop by the mall?”
“How about the Rose and Leather Boutique?”
The new, kinky sex shop out in Rosewood that certain city
counselors had been trying to close. “I thought I’d get them scented candles or
perfumed massage oil.”
“They have oil, and scented candles, and other stuff. It’ll
help broaden your horizons. Pick you up at seven, tomorrow.”
Mom and Andrew seemed to be taking over her life. She'd
suspect them of being in cahoots-but the kinky boutique was not, she was certain,
her mother’s idea. Still it might be fun. She had been curious about it, with
Andrew she’d not get hit on by perverts looking for entertainment, and it would
up her street cred with the twenty-year-olds at work.
Andrew was there on the dot, complete with his sporty
Mercedes and a smile. Pity he was her cousin, and taken already. On the other
hand, did she really want to hook up with someone she’d played kidnap and 'tie
up the princess' to his dragon, when they were kids?
“I might have another client for you,” he said as his car
purred away from the curb. “I gave your name to a man at work for his sister.”
“Great! What does she want?”
“Not too sure. She’s a writer. Just sold a book, and decided
she needs a web site. I’ve got her card in the glove box.”
Not a name that rang any bells, but if she’d just sold a
first book, it wouldn’t. “Thanks,”
“Have to help keep my little coz solvent.”
“I’m two days older than you!” They’d had this argument a
dozen times. It was about the only edge she’d ever had.
He glanced away from the road and grinned. “Maybe, but I’ve
got a bigger one than yours!”
She spluttered. What next? “I’ve managed very nicely without
one for twenty-seven years.”
“That’s not what you told me on the phone last night.”
She’d live to regret that little confidence. “Maybe, but can
you provide one?” She was sorely tempted to slug him one and wipe the smirk off
his face. But he was driving, and a major collision would delay getting pizza.
Marvelous pizza it was too—pesto and assagio with shrimp,
piping hot from the brick oven. The tiny restaurant was cozy from the warmth of
cooking. The air redolent of garlic and cheese.
“Thanks for the referral about the website,” Katie said as
she chewed on a particularly toothsome mouthful of shrimp. “Every one helps.”
“How are things going?
“Not bad really. I may even end up making a profit this
“Not a massive profit you understand-about a hundred, if I’m
lucky, but it’s way better than a loss, and I can tell my mother that Fairfax
Web Design has had a profitable year.”
“She’s still giving you a hard time over it?”
“Pretty much. I think I’m a major disappointment to her.
Susie is a tax accountant, properly married, and producing grandchildren, while
I’m single, eking out an existence with a retail job, and playing with
computers in spare time that would be better spent finding a husband.”
“Quit acting like a sad sack! You’ll be the successful one.
Your web sites are marvelous. Each one is different, not cookie cutter sites
“Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I can’t convince
“My mother adds her fuel to the fire. I’d better warn you,
they have both decided you need a ‘nice young man’. They’ve seconded me to find
She’d been joking, sort of. Her mother and Aunt Mary
weren’t. “Darn them!” She reached for a second slice. Pizza momentarily
satisfied a lot of needs.
“How’s your love life?”
From him it didn’t sound like a cliche. “According to my
mother, unsatisfactory. I’m too particular. I need a man made to measure. After
all Sally is getting married and she’s two years younger than me! I should be
getting worried.” It was enough to make a saint cuss.
“Are you too particular?” He grinned. “Don’t throw that
slice at me! The cheese will fall off. Just wondered. After all you’ve had
plenty of dates over the years.”
Katie shrugged. She’d never admit this to Mom, but after
all, Andrew was the closest thing to a brother. They’d shared confidences and
secrets since they were kids. “I’ve met some nice ones, yes. A couple Mom thought
“But you didn’t?”
She shook her head. “No one who lit my fire.”
He looked at her a long minute. “What was wrong with them?”
“Nothing really! They were nice men, but…”
“The sex just wasn’t right?”
“Yeah.” She chuckled. “You can just hear me telling Mom
that, can’t you?”
“I’ll find you someone. I think I know the perfect man for
“I’m pretty picky, you know.”
“But I know you, Katie. Remember when we were kids and I’d
kidnap you and carry you off to the dungeon?”
“Yeah! And remember when you tried to kidnap Sally and she
ran screaming to Aunt Jenna?”
“God, yes! I had to apologize for scaring her. She was a
whiny brat.” And hadn’t changed much, only now it was her fiancé she griped
about. “You never complained.”
“Just planned on punching you when I’d had enough!”
“I don’t remember you ever punching me.”
“Neither do I.”
He went very thoughtful, looking at her in a way that sent
an odd shiver down her back. It wasn’t sexual. Couldn’t be. Heck, she and
Andrew had had diapers changed together. Attraction wasn’t anywhere in the
They finished the pizza in companionable silence, sharing
the last slice. Andrew eyed the empty platter. “That was worth the trip down
here, now shopping, right? It’s why we came, wasn’t it?”
“I’ve got my Visa card ready.”
He hadn’t been joking about the Rose and Leather Boutique.
The black leather bikini and fishnet stockings on the model in the window, set
the mood. The whip in her plastic hand left little doubt that this was not your
everyday gift shop.
But despite her misgivings, Katie was fascinated, and
couldn’t help noticing Andrew seemed right at home as he went over to the cash
register and bought a gift certificate. That would be an easy way out, but she
caught sight of a row of costumes. All grown-up sizes, for Halloween, she
supposed. She was looking at a pirate outfit complete with black breeches,
spotted kerchief and a white shirt with flowing sleeves, when a young woman
clerk came over.
“Looking for a costume?”
“Just looking, thanks.”
Andrew came up behind her. “Found something you like?”
“I don’t dress up for Halloween.” She spent her energies and
money handing out candy to the children in the neighborhood.
“They’re not for Halloween.”
Katie looked from Andrew to the young woman. “Fancy dress?”
She shook her head. “Acting out fantasies.” She pulled out a
couple of hangers. “The French maid and the nurse are popular.”
The idea was preposterous, and utterly fascinating. The
nurse and maid did nothing for Katie, but the empire line Jane Austen style
dress the clerk now held was lovely. Apart from the slits up to the high waist.
“Like it?” Andrew asked, as the clerk wandered off to talk
to another customer.
“I do rather, but it’s revealing.”
“That’s the whole point.”
“You could get arrested walking down the street in that.”
“Sweet coz, it’s not meant to be worn walking down the
street. It’s for acting out your fantasies in the privacy of your boudoir.”
For when the pirate came and carried you off… It took her
back to their old games of make believe as kids. “You’ve got a pirate one?”
“Not the pirate.” He chuckled. “I go for the black leather
look myself.” He looked up at a model suspended against the wall. “Like that.”
‘That’, was skin-tight, black leather pants with a vest that
showed pretty much all of the model’s wide chest. “I can’t see you wearing that
for Sunday lunch with your parents.”
That sent him off in a great peal of laughter. “I’ll let you
into a secret, only Sophie has seen me in it.”
Perfectly understandable. Or was it? What was she doing
here? Fascinated to tell the truth. The price tag on the Jane Austen dress was
reasonable enough, but when would she every wear it?
“You like it don’t you?” Andrew asked.
“Yes, but I came to get a shower gift, not fancy dress.” But
she spared a final glance for the Pirate. It even had a leather eye patch
dangling from the hanger. Enough! She turned and all but knocked over a table
of whips and riding crops. She stepped back, but not before noticing one made
of royal blue suede. Fascinated, she reached for the smooth handle, and ran her
fingers through the soft tresses, until she noticed the price tag, and put it
down very carefully. Way above her price level.
“Like it?” Andrew asked. “It’s a nice piece of workmanship:
French. They make very nice quality things over there.”
“They make the best crystallized fruit too.”
He raised an eyebrow at that. “Marrons Glacés to you too,
Katie me girl. Never thought I’d find you with a flogger in your hands.”
This was getting too much. “Let up, Andrew. I need to find a
gift for Sally.”
“I’ve paid for mine. You’re the one playing with the
Undeniable, but… “You brought me here.
“Yes, I did!”
“Just curious, Katie, and I do so love yanking your chain.”
He rattled a set of manacles and chains hanging from a display case.
There was no point denying her fascination. Andrew read her
too well, but the shop was more crowded than a few minutes earlier. What if one
of her clients walked in, or someone she knew? Time to beat a fast retreat. She
grabbed the nearest article that wasn’t leather or metal: a pair of red velvet,
fur-lined handcuffs, and made for the check out.
If the pimply youth at the cash register dared any smart ass
comments… He barely glanced at them, just scanned the tag and took her plastic.
Why not? If customers regularly bought chains, whips, and the odd-looking
leather swing hanging in the window, a pair of handcuffs were pretty banal.
“Do you gift wrap?” She wasn’t sure what made her ask that,
“Sure,” he indicated a roll of paper behind him. It was shiny
black with tiny gold and silver handcuffs.
“Never mind.” She’d drop by the card shop later and pick up
something with flowers or wedding bells. Much safer.
She was ready to beat a fast exit. Where was Andrew? Over by
the books and videos, talking to a tall, dark-haired man. A sumptuous-looking
dark-haired man. Okay, a kinky dark haired man, given he spent his evenings
here, but on the other hand, maybe his cousin had dragged him here too.
At that moment, Andrew looked her way. “Ready?”
He-and the scrumptious other-walked over.
“Katie, this is Jud Carlton. Jud, Katie Fairfax.”
“Hi, Jud” He had a lovely firm handshake, and his eyes
crinkled at the corners when he smiled.
“My pleasure.” His voice was warm and confident. Yikes! What
a sexy smile, did the man have any idea what he did to any woman over puberty?
“You’re with Andrew?”