Cocktails at Tiffany's
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by Lynne Logan
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Jade Brennan arrives at Tiffany's party expecting cocktails, never once imagining she'd be getting sex on the menu or having Kyle Adams as an appetizer. Her past record when it comes to men is horrific, and she's afraid Kyle might be yet another man on her long list of mistakes. As a quarterback, he's had his own black book of beautiful, ego-stroking women. Jade's afraid if she charges ahead and lets Kyle into her heart, she'll eventually end up erased from his black book and his life. Until she decides whether or not a relationship with Kyle is yet another lapse of good judgment, she is determined to keep Kyle and her relationship with him under wraps. Kyle Adams is just as determined to unwrap Jade from her doubts and her clothes. Up his sleeve, he's got a flawless playbook, and he's going to ruthlessly stick to it. Kyle is going to prove to Jade they're perfect for each other in the bedroom, in the office, in the hall and in life. By the time the evening's over, he will crash through her last line of defense. Kyle's positive Jade is going to get far more than cocktails at Tiffany's. To My Reader: I've always loved old movies--Carey Grant, Rock Hudson, and Doris Day. One of my favorites was Breakfast at Tiffany's. I would guess the only similarity between this story and the movie, though, is the name Tiffany and a cocktail party. I also thought I'd put a completely different and naughty spin on the old cocktail party you see in those movies. I hope you enjoy Jade's evening. After reading Jade and Kyle's story, I know you'll have a completely different take when it comes to cocktails!
eBook Publisher: Red Sage Publishing/Red Sage Presents, 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: August 2010
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [70 KB]
Reading time: 42-59 min.
Cocktails at Tiffany's: Chapter One
OHappy birthday, Tiff!O Jade Brennan stepped into the foyer of her friend's home and greeted her with a quick hug. OI'm not late, am I?O
With a fleeting smile, Tiffany shook her head. The soft light from the chandelier gleamed off her shoulder-length blond curls. ONot at all. Keith and his wife haven't arrived yet, but everyone else is here. And the way things are going with the caterers, dinner won't be ready for a good hour.O
Jade offered a bottle of wine with a pink bow. Four years now they'd been friends. OThis is for you. I know you said no gifts this year, butE.O
Tiffany took the bottle and smiled. OWine is good. But having you here for my birthday is the best present I could have.O
Jade followed Tiffany into the living room, the thick, mauve carpet muffling the sound of her heels. A couple on the navy sofa sat talking to Tiffany's brother in an adjacent chair, while over a dozen other people chatted in small groups. She recognized two football players and a co-worker from her company. Laughter drifted in from the back yard and punctuated the party-type atmosphere inside the house. Four people stood beneath an arch that led to the dining room. One woman and three men. Jade jerked to a stop.
OWhat's wrong?O Tiffany asked in a whisper, her hand touching the back of Jade's bare arm briefly in concern.
OAre you sure?O She glanced over to where Jade had been staring. OIs it Jennifer or Lance? It's not Kyle, is it?O
ONo, of course not.O Of course it was. It had everything to do with Kyle.
Jade had suspected he'd be here tonight, but to actually see his tall, rugged form left her floundering for calm. Over six feet of muscle and bone, he stood inches above everyone else. Thick raven hair swept back from a broad forehead, prominent cheekbones and a hard, square jaw. He was masculine, sexy and filled with an aura of confidence that no man had a right to. Unbidden desire heated her flesh and tightened her breasts.
OGood. I had to invite him. He is my cousin, but he's more a friend than anything else.O
Dressed in faded jeans and a navy polo shirt, Kyle turned from the couple beside him and glanced at Jade. For the briefest of seconds their gazes clashed. She sensed a stillness settle over him. The intense look in his eyes sent panic flaring inside her chest. Then his attention turned back to the woman, but Jade couldn't slow her frantic pulse.
Blinking, Jade looked away and managed to say in a normal voice, ODon't even think of apologizing. Of course you had to invite him.O
Tiffany sighed in obvious relief. OIt's just sometimes I get this vibe that you don't like him, even though any fool can see he's really into you andE well, maybe it'll do him good to have a woman treat him differently than all the others trotting in and out of his life. You would think Kyle was an international star instead of just another football player.O
Jade said, OI think you're forgetting that I work in the admin department of The Leopard's Football Company, and I can't fraternize with any of the players. I'm not about to ignore company rules and lose my job.O Hah, the sad part was she'd done just that--broken the rules and slept with another employee. If she didn't keep her hands off the man now, it would be only a matter of time before she was found out and in the employment line. But talking or thinking about Kyle would only make her delve into her feelings. With Kyle yards away, they were already a jumbled mess.
OOh, that's just a small detail,O Tiffany said.
Tiffany's younger brother Frasier unfolded his lanky frame from his lounge chair and walked over. With a long-neck bottle of beer, he saluted first Tiffany, then Jade, and smiled. The expression accented his thin face and the hollows beneath his cheeks as he wiped his nose with the back of his other hand. His wavy, dirty blond hair melded with his washed-out complexion. OHey, Jade. Always great to see you.O
Meeting his glassy-eyed stare, Jade tensed but nodded and returned the smile. Drunk and/or high, she didn't know which, but she suspected he wasn't going to sober up anytime soon with that bottle of beer in his hands. Quickly, she glanced over at Tiffany and noted her friend's thinned lips and frigid expression.
Frasier also must have caught his sister's look because he rolled his eyes and said, OAren't you in a sour mood.O Turning to Jade, he stumbled but quickly righted himself. OFeel like a game of pool?O
OWellE.O Jade searched wildly for a reason to decline without coming across as rude. Over the last year, Tiffany's brother had drastically changed into a person who left Jade feeling leery and unnerved. The way he stared at her breasts beneath the white silk blouse didn't exactly make her feel warm and fuzzy either.
OHow about later?O Tiffany saved her from an answer. OThe food is going to be ready soon, and I wanted to introduce Jade to a couple of people she's never met.O
OI'll introduce her.O Frasier staggered toward her, and Jade quickly stepped backward.
ONo, that's my job,O Tiffany protested, much to Jade's relief. OWhy don't you go upstairs to the game room and watch TV or something while we're waiting to eat. Maybe that'll give you time to sober up a bit. And while you're at it, take the wine and bring it in the kitchen for the caterers. Just don't drink any. You've had enough as it is.O
OYou can be such a bitch.O Frasier took a large swallow from his beer, grabbed the wine by its neck from Tiffany's hands, and lurched past them.
Jade opened her mouth, then shut it. Really, what could she say to that?
Tiffany rubbed the bridge of her nose and dropped her hand to wave Jade farther into the room. OHe frustrates me to no end, but I don't know what to do with him. The family's tried everything. Rehab seems to be a lost cause. I swear the Sierra Canyon Clinic has a revolving door when it comes to Frasier. Our parents have completely given up on him now. So it's just as well they're out of the country and couldn't come. I don't think I would have been able to handle the drama.O
OI'm sure he just needs to hit rock bottom.O Jade injected a note of interest and optimism in her voice, but inside her mind raced as she followed Tiffany and greeted several people on their way toward the archway where Kyle and three others stood, still talking. In seconds she would have to face him, be polite and indifferent--in other words, act like she didn't give a damn.
OHey, Jennifer, Lance. I don't think you've met one of my dearest friends, Jade.O
Lips molded into a smile, Jade nodded, shook hands and said something, but if anyone asked what, she wouldn't be able to remember.
Lance, a man with a pale complexion and even paler hair, nodded politely, while the woman beside him, dark and sober, muttered a reply Jade didn't--or couldn't--comprehend. Her entire attention was focused on the black-haired man. Kyle.
OAnd this is Jerry. You've probably met before.O
OJust a couple months ago, actually,O Jade returned, pleased she stopped herself from staring over at the man next to Jerry. OWe had a little problem with the bank transferring payroll into his account.O
OBut you got everything straightened out just fine.O Jerry, a running back for the Leopard's Football, winked.
OAnd you know Kyle,O Tiffany said.
OY-yes, of course,O Jade returned, hating the tell-tale stumble. OIt's nice seeing you again, Kyle.O
OThe same.O Kyle's deep voice rumbled across her senses. His lips curved into a far too seductive smile, revealing white, even teeth that contrasted with his tanned face and neck. The short sleeves of his shirt banded around muscled biceps and reminded her of other toned parts of his body. OIt's been awhile.O
OProbably since the last time Tiffany had everyone over,O she replied, her voice still amazingly strong.
He searched her face with those charcoal eyes of his. The intensity in their depths sent a shiver racing up Jade's spine. Couldn't the other people see how sexy and dangerous he was?
She stared at his proffered hand, swallowed and offered her own briefly. The warm, firm touch, the scrape of his callused palm against her skin flooded her head with a mirage of memories. The last time they were together, they'd been in her bed, naked, limbs writhing, bodies straining with insatiable hunger. Desire coiled through her insides and unmistakable moisture clung to her panties. The air around her turned heavy and pressed against her chest, restricting her breath. Right this moment, with all these people around them, she wanted him like crazy.
OYou're looking beautiful tonight.O He took a sip of his wine as he let go her hand, his gaze fastened on hers. OYou've done something different with your hair. It suits you.O
OThank you.O Jade stopped herself from touching her hair. All she'd done was use a straightener to tame her normally unruly chestnut curls. She'd never felt this awkward in her life, damn it. OI never got the chance to say congratulations for making the playoffs.O
OThanks. Maybe next year we'll get to the Super Bowl.O He flashed another blinding grin and looked about to devour her with his eyes.
OI'm sure all your female fans are deeply appreciative of your hard work.O Well, that was just wonderful. Could she sound any more asinine? Or act worse than one of his jealous groupies? Just because she couldn't handle her reaction to him didn't mean she needed to lash out, especially when he'd been instrumental in securing her latest job.
Kyle arched a brow but only asked in a mild voice, OAnd how's working at the head office? Going on six months now, right?O
Jade smiled at Jennifer and Lance and explained. OI heard through Tiffany that they were hiring a staff accountant for the football team, and Kyle here was nice enough to put in a good word for me.O When she glanced back at Kyle, her smile faltered. She didn't think his gaze could get much hotter. OI don't know if I ever thanked you.O
OOh, yeah, you did.O His gaze darkened to near-black and his lips curved into a half-smile, one that increased her blood pressure to the point where she might literally combust. OI do remember that.O
Jade awkwardly fisted her hands at her sides to hide their trembling. Kyle was talking about a completely different subject, and they both knew it. She just hoped no one else was guessing the same thing. If anyone found out they were having sex, she'd lose her job. Stupid of her. Only last year her sister had been deeply burned by an office romance. She had paid for it, losing her job, her heart and her co-workers' respect. It had taken Abby a good year to get her life and career on track. Jade should have learned from Abby's disastrous experience, but oh, no, not her. At least Jade hadn't messed with a married man.
OJade, let's get you a drink.O Tiffany interrupted Jade's frantic thoughts and looked around. OI can't find a server right this second, but I know I can get you wine, imported and domestic beer, and they've been making a very nice lemon-drop martini.O
Jade forestalled her friend with a hand to her arm. OPlease. I'll get a glass of wine myself and let you take care of your guests.O
Not giving Tiffany the opportunity to protest, Jade slipped from the group and moved toward the kitchen. When the doorbell rang, signifying the possible arrival of Keith and his wife or some other guest, Jade didn't pause as she stepped into the other room. Two male caterers with their backs to her didn't turn as she walked over to the kitchen's island, which was laden with numerous bottles of wine and other alcoholic beverages. Visibly shaking, she found a wine glass and an already open bottle of Merlot. In her haste, she spilled several drops on the counter when she filled her glass.
She felt like an idiot. Of course Kyle would be here tonight. Hell, it was Tiffany's birthday. He'd been at Tiffany's last birthday. Why wouldn't he be at this one? Any moron would have figured that one out, but she guessed she was worse than any idiot.
After capping the wine bottle, she took two deep, fortifying swallows of wine. It immediately made her a little light-headed. Maybe she shouldn't be touching alcohol, but since when did she listen to logic with Kyle near? Ha. She couldn't remember a time.
She eyed her glass. Oh, what the hell. She took another deep swallow. Her heart rate slowed and the alcohol had the desired effect. Her mind calmed and stopped racing with worst-case scenarios for the evening. Three hours, four hours max, and she'd leave for the night. Still, the idea didn't exactly soothe. That was just too many hours in the same house with Kyle.
With a hand latched onto her glass, Jade delayed going into the living room and instead veered through the kitchen's other exit, down the hall and toward the restroom. Maybe she could subtract a good ten minutes from those three or four hours and delay another face-to-face with Kyle.
Jade escaped into the bathroom. She closed the door, muffling the sound of voices in the other section of the house. She was a mess. Damn it.
After setting her glass on the counter, she stared at the mirror with guarded blue eyes, pinched her cheeks to get some color into her pale complexion, slipped a tube of lipstick from the side pocket of her skirt and touched up her lips. The dark red shade amplified the pallor of her skin. Not the best visual. The flames from the votive candles on the far corner of the long marble counter added dark hollows beneath her eyes and cheek bones. She didn't want him thinking his appearance upset her. After combing her mahogany hair back from her face with her fingers, she took two deep breaths. She needed to calm down, for God's sake. Kyle was just a man.
Yeah, right. If only she could believe that. He terrified her. One touch from him tonight--just one--and she knew she'd lose all sense of self-preservation. She craved, hungered, yearned for his hand, his body, his possession. She wanted to wrap herself around him and--
That's enough. She turned away from the mirror and her doubts and smoothed the white silk blouse over her short black skirt and retrieved her glass. She'd get through the evening and prove to everyone--and particularly Kyle--his presence didn't rattle her. She could--no, she would--act as if they were friends and nothing more. Right now, she didn't want anyone else thinking differently.
She stepped from the bathroom into the hall and stopped short, sucking in a breath of shock. Her hand tightened on her wine glass. Kyle stood with a broad shoulder resting against the wall, blocking the way toward the kitchen and other guests. The hallway behind her only led to bedrooms. Not a place she wanted to go.
He'd been waiting for her. She wasn't foolish enough to think otherwise. A shiver whispered across her nape and down her back from Kyle's hooded gaze. He shoved off the wall and moved toward her, his gait smooth and filled with power and confidence. The knit material of his shirt stretched across a wide, muscled chest, while his worn jeans clung to narrow hips and strong, lean thighs. Her gaze stumbled over the bulge of his jeans and lifted.
Breath growing shallow, she stared into his hot gaze without flinching, but desire bloomed in her belly and her breasts tightened with awareness. She'd never stop wanting him.
OWhy?O he asked.
At his bald question, she stiffened. OWe went through this before.O