All Worked Up [Pleasure Inn, Book 2]
Click on image to enlarge.
by Cathryn Fox
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance
Description: It's just one little bet. Winner takes?all. Pleasure Inn, Book 2 Tired of aspiring actors using her to get close to her movie-producer father, Candace Steele has sworn off relationships. At least until she's achieved her dream of restoring an old inn on the outskirts of Mason Creek. The new carpenter who's been hired to help her create bedroom furniture designed for--endurance--is throwing a kink into her plans. Watching his athletic body pound wood is doing things to her hormones that have her rethinking her vow. When he agreed to take the job, Marc Collins intended to keep the sexy spitfire at arm's length. But Candace is giving him a run for his money in more ways than one. It's tough to keep just his eyes on--and hands off--his boss's daughter when she's hell-bent on seducing him. And when she pulls a fast one and wins an impromptu bet, what's a red-blooded guy to do except let her collect her winnings--all of them. The heat they generate melts the fresh paint off the walls. But when seeds of doubt make Candace put on her running shoes to flee, Marc will have to talk fast--and run faster--to capture her heart. Warning: This red-hot story contains graphic sex, frank language, wet play, use of orgasm-enhancing props, and to top it all off, it's all caught on film--just in case you missed anything the first time.
eBook Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd., 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: December 2009
9 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [110 KB]
Reading time: 67-93 min.
Interior designer Candace Steele stood on the cracked and pitted sidewalk fringing the unsightly Victorian inn, which was unquestionably defacing the quaint town of Mason Creek, a small community on the outskirts of Connecticut. As she examined the array of landscapers and painters all milling about in an effort to return the insect-infested yard as well as the paint-chipped cedar shingles to their natural beautiful state, she stretched out her legs in preparation for her habitual early-morning run.
Just because she was on a job, hired by a strange mystical-like woman named Pamina, and was on a tight deadline, it didn't mean she was about to give up her regular exercise routine--partly due to the upcoming fall triathlon and partly because the exercise filled her sex-deprived body with endorphins. Since she and her colleagues, Lindsay and Anna, childhood friends and co-owners of the bustling interior design shop, Styles for Living, had all recently sworn off men, she damn well had to get her "natural high" from somewhere.
Candace lunged forward, preparing her thigh muscles for a strenuous workout. While she stretched, she thought about the job ahead and the fantasy-inspired theme room each designer had been hired to create. Lindsay had gone for a BDSM theme, Anna for sweet romance. Candace, however, drawing on her experience as a competitive runner, had decided to create a fantasy room for those interested in a little marathon sex. Talk about a room doing double duty for the actively inclined.
She lunged again and stretched her legs as she considered the props she'd need for her project. But her thoughts suddenly careened off-track when she caught sight of a stripper--a paint stripper, that is--who nearly turned said legs to mush.
Shirtless and sexy in a pair of running shorts, he turned her way, giving her a frontal view, and she took in his bronzed skin as it glistened with perspiration beneath the early-morning autumn sun. With those sculpted chest muscles, tight abdominals and long strong legs, it was clear to Candace that he had the body of an athlete, a man straight out of her erotic fantasies. As she perused him longer, taking pleasure in his short, almost military-cut hairstyle, firm square jaw, dark eyes and commanding presence, she wondered if he had the stamina to keep up with her on the track.
Or in the bedroom.
Damned if she didn't want to go for a test run with him in her soon-to-be-created fantasy-inspired theme room and find out.
Why was it again she'd sworn off men?
As she pondered that a moment longer, wondering if Lindsay and Anna were also questioning the logic behind their pact, her cell phone rang. She pulled it from her zippered pocket and when she glanced at the display name, every reason she had for renouncing the opposite sex came rushing back to her.
Candace didn't approve of nepotism and believed in making it on her own, which was why she'd pursued a career in design instead of working for her father, Jason Krane, a successful New York movie director who could easily make or break the careers of aspiring actors.
Whereas Lindsay attracted lazy good-for-nothing guys who wanted to separate her from her hard-earned money, Candace attracted the opposite: aggressive, career-driven men who would wine, dine and bed her in an effort to get closer to her father. When some guy seemed too good to be true, he usually was. She'd learned the hard way that men didn't covet her for who she was, but for who she could introduce them to. The last thing she wanted was for her father to give these guys preference over others or to show favoritism simply because they were dating her.
She flipped open her cell phone. "Hi, Dad."
"Candace, this is Olive. Your father asked me to connect to you. One moment please and I'll transfer the call."
As her father's secretary put her through, she stole another glace at the sexy paint stripper and the way he carefully worked his hands over the cedar walls, taking his good old time, laboring slowly, methodically, conscientiously. He was a professional through and through, clearly determined to get the job done right. A warm tingle moved all the way through her body and settled deep between her thighs as she considered the way those large capable hands would feel brushing over her body, Mr. Shirtless taking the utmost care to get that particular job done right.
The deep sound of her father's breathless voice came through the line and pulled her from her musings. "Candace, honey, how are you?"
She smiled, giving her father her full concentration. "I'm great. How about you?"
God, it was so good to hear his voice. Even though talking with him made it feel like he was close by, he was far away in New York. Candace had been only a child when her parents had split and she'd moved to Connecticut with her mother. She couldn't remember much about New York or her time with her father, since he'd spent most of his days on the movie set, neglecting his family at home. Oh, granted, he'd given to her in other ways and tried to show his love by showering her with toys and money, but as a child Candace couldn't really understand those gestures and only ever wanted his fatherly attention.
When her father went silent on the other end, Candace shook her head and chuckled. It was no wonder her mother had divorced him some twenty years ago. For as long as she'd known him, he'd never given anyone his undivided attention if it didn't directly affect his latest movie. This lack of regard had undoubtedly been the downfall of his marriage. She knew as a director his mind was always in two places at once. As she grew up and entered adulthood, Candace had accepted his absent-minded professor disposition and learned to live with it.
"Dad, are you there?"
"Yes, honey, what is it I can do for you?"
She exhaled an exasperated breath. "You were the one who called me."
"Oh right. Have you read today's paper?"
Disheartened at the way the media always distorted information and cold-heartedly attacked the rich and famous for the sheer pleasure of it, she plunked herself down on the sunburnt grass and blew a heavy sigh. "Yeah, I read it."
Her father went silent for a moment. She listened to the sound of papers rustling in the background. "It's not true," he piped up.
"I know. You don't have to call me every time, Dad. I know the accusations aren't true and you didn't fire Ginger Simone because she wouldn't sleep with you." He'd fired her because during the first week of shooting she never bothered to show up to the set. That woman was a prima donna through and through. Just then Lindsay, Anna, Pamina--along with Pamina's fat cat, Abra--came sauntering out of the house. Candace gave them a wave and they all shouted a greeting as they walked to the masonry truck that had suddenly materialized in the driveway.
"Candace..." Her father's voice went serious, and Candace prepared herself for what was coming next. "I think--"
She cut him off before he had the chance to continue. "No. I don't need a security guard tagging around and smothering me." She shivered just thinking about it. Sure it was sweet that he cared about her well-being, but she simply wanted to live a normal life. "Most people don't know who I am anyway." After the divorce Candace and her mother had both taken on her mother's maiden name for privacy and safety. But of course, there were those few men who, after doing a little digging, had learned her true identity and tried to use her to get to her father.
"Candace, the letters are getting worse. They're far more threatening than they used to be."
She shaded her eyes from the sun and cast a glance around the quaint neighborhood, her focus settling on her two best friends. "Look, Dad, I'm safe here in Connecticut. I'm surrounded by family and friends. And it's probably Ginger herself sending those letters."
A heavy sigh and then, "I miss you, kiddo."
"I miss you too, Dad. Right now I'm swamped with a project but I promise to come see you soon."
"Maybe that's not such a good idea. Not until the police find out who's been sending the letters."
"You don't want me to visit?" she teased, trying to lighten the mood.
"You know I do, but--"
She let him off the hook and gave a breezy laugh. "It's okay, Dad. I'll be in New York later this fall for the state marathon and we'll get together then." With that they said their goodbyes. Candace slipped her phone back into her pocket and pulled out her iPod.
When she lifted her chin to look at the house, to take one more longing gaze at the stripper before her run, she noticed he was gone. She darted a glance around, but he'd disappeared without a trace. How very stealthy of him. Oh well. Maybe it was for the best. The less temptation the better.
Fully aware of the heat rising inside her lascivious body, Candace tightened her laces before climbing to her feet. She strapped her iPod to her arm and adjusted the buds in her ears before taking off for the running park circling Blueberry Lake--named after its super clean, crystal blue water. As she approached the water, she watched the waves lap gently against the embankment, undulating, rippling and reminding her of two salacious bodies coming together, over and over.
Dear God, her sex-deprived body was definitely showing signs of stress. Sure she had a good imagination, but conjuring up images of naked bodies in motion simply from watching the swell was over the top. Perhaps a trip to Toys4Gals for a few extra accessories was in order. Her thoughts raced back to Mr. Shirtless, and she suspected the only way to tamp down the flames inside her was by taking a dip in the water, now likely frigid from the cool autumn nights.
Marc Collins didn't like the way she was watching him. Well, that wasn't entirely true. He liked it. A little too much. And therein lay the problem. Jason Krane had hired him to watch over his daughter, not for his daughter to watch over him--with interest in her eyes.
Sure he needed to get close to her, but there was a fine line between close, and up close and personal, and he knew better than to cross it.
But did she have to be so damn sexy?
With her tight athletic body, curvy in all the right places, long dark hair pulled back into a ponytail and gorgeous green eyes, she made it hard to remember that he was here on an assignment. And that assignment meant staying alert and aware until investigators found whoever was sending Krane those threatening letters. The last thing he wanted to do was get mixed up with his boss's daughter. No, Krane deserved better from him. After all, Marc owed his career to Krane, having gone from set designer to security specialist after halting a crazed stalker on the movie set. Krane, grateful for Marc's quick thinking and bravery, had taken Marc under his wing, had him trained as a security specialist and hired him as one of his own personal bodyguards. He certainly didn't want to betray his boss or jeopardize his position.
When Candace plunked herself down on the grass and answered her phone, Marc left his post and decided a short run was in order, to clear his head--both of them. Right now Candace was safe and sound, surrounded by her coworkers and friends, and he desperately needed a moment of reprieve from those flirtatious eyes of hers.
The soles of his running shoes tapped a steady beat on the path and helped drone out his thoughts of Candace. As a security specialist, keeping fit, alert and healthy was a necessary part of the job, necessary to keep both him and his clients alive.
Perspiration broke out on his skin as he ran long and hard, exhausting his muscles and focusing his thoughts. He turned his attention from Candace to Pamina, the willowy woman who'd hired him. How fortunate for him that she'd mistaken him for the paint stripper when he'd walked by the house a few days ago, after he'd finished setting up his hidden surveillance cameras.
A sound behind him gained his attention and he turned in time to see Candace closing the distance between them.
The swinging of her ponytail, the flush on her cheeks, her quick rapid breathing and the sight of her gorgeous breasts bouncing with each thrust had his mind racing and his cock throbbing. Despite knowing better, his thoughts took off on an erotic journey, and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it.