Contemporary Romance Short Story (Anthology)
"Let the Games Begin"
Former shy bookworm Tiffany Taylor has always wanted Nick Marlow, not that he ever noticed. Now, with a controlling interest in Nick’s Las Vegas casino and a new sultry look to match, Tiffany’s got his full attention. But Nick has no intention of giving up his area of expertise, gaming, to Tiffany. Instead, he presents a wager: They’ll play strip poker for control…but if he wins, he wants a night of passion—nothing forbidden, nothing held back. As clothes and inhibitions are shed, a sizzling game of temptation begins, and all bets are off…
Wicked Women on top is a wonderful book that combines the talents of three great authors. The stories of full of action and romance and passionwill surely delights fans of the contemporary genre that like their characters with lots of guts and spunk. All three authors did an excellent job of creating stories that will keep the readers interested and turning the pages to see what happens next. A definite keeper in my opinion, this book is sure to delight readers even after they are done reading.
Reviewed by Angel Brewer, Romance Junkies.
Nick Marlow looked at the note that had just been slipped beneath his door.
Nick, it began rather nicely, then got straight to the point.
My office, this morning, at 9.
It was signed T.T.
It was also scrawled in what looked to be lipstick or lip liner that was a deep rose color.
Nick opened the door to his penthouse suite and looked into the hall. Behind the potted palms and lush tropical flowers, he caught movement as the elevator doors closed on the note's messenger.
Her fragrance lingered. It reminded Nick of the scent of skin baked hot from the Las Vegas sun and washed clean with perfumed soap. Delicate, yet provocative.
He smiled at that enticing thought until he looked back to the note. Lifting it to his nose, he sniffed. Oddly enough it had that same delicious scent, despite the fact that it had been written on the back of a used Keno ticket.
The player hadn’t won.
Nick tried to picture TT – Tiffany Taylor – playing anything more rousing than tournament chess, and could not. She was his partner’s only child and so damned smart she had been holed up at Oxford before entering the real world as the CEO of a Hollywood cosmetics firm that just went belly-up.
Maybe it was the way she wasted lipstick.
Not that it mattered, since daddy had just given her controlling interest in this casino, with Nick owning the next largest block of stock in Piacere. Italian for pleasure.
He looked at the Be There on the note. Very commanding for a young, inexperienced businesswoman who not only considered herself his boss, but fully expected him to accept her as such. Bad boy that he was, he had not. If anything, he had worked very hard to avoid her – hell, he still hadn’t laid eyes on her. And was she ever pissed. She had pressed so hard while writing this love note, she actually ripped the paper....unless those were claw marks.
Hmmmm. Pleasure probably wasn’t something TT was anticipating for him this morning, but as far as Nick was concerned it was definitely time that they met on his terms. And that was not going to be in her office, nor was it going to wait until nine.
Twenty minutes later, Nick adjusted the collar of his Polo shirt, smoothed down his khakis, then exited the elevator near Tiffany’s suite. Just ahead were reproductions of Venus de Milo and Michelangelo’s David. From this angle, David’s vacant gaze fell on Venus’s naked breasts.
Nick gave the kids two thumbs-up. This was not lost on Mae, a room service employee. Mae was only forty, but had always treated Nick as if he were the son she never had. “You should be arrested,” she said.
Nick grinned. “I’m working on it.” He followed as she wheeled her cart past. “Here, let me help.”
Mae gave him a sidelong glance as he eased the cart towards himself, then lifted the metal covers from the plates.
Besides the usual female fare of fresh fruit, there was a steaming white egg omelette and a toasted bagel with cream cheese.
“Would you care for a paper with that?” Mae asked.
Nick smiled sweetly at her sarcasm, then glanced at the papers Tiffany had obviously ordered. There was the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and one he couldn’t read since it was in French.
“Ms. Taylor’s very smart,” Mae said.
As if he were stupid enough to challenge that. Of course, he was tempted to show Mae Ms. Taylor’s lipstick-written note, while bragging about his mathematics degree from MIT. Before he could, Mae tried to take her cart back.
He held firm. “I’ll deliver the goods.”
For the first time ever Mae smiled.
It wasn’t pretty. She obviously knew something about TT that would make him unwilling to deliver anything. Despite that, Nick bribed Mae with a generous tip, then pushed the cart to Tiffany’s door and pressed the buzzer. A voice over the intercom murmured, “Please come in.”
Nick didn’t move. Dear God, but that voice was so deliciously throaty it conjured up an image of a sultry brunette in a tight leather dress, stiletto boots and quite possibly a delicate rose tattoo.
Before his stiffened shaft got too excited, Nick warned himself that the voice couldn’t belong to Tiffany. It had to be an automated answering system, or one of her executive assistants who had probably been told to hate him.
Reluctantly, he went inside. To his surprise, the room was empty, but drenched in sun, and filled with real art, broad-leaf banana plants, whispery ferns, a bronze leather sofa and matching chairs. It also smelled faintly of sun-baked skin that had been washed clean with perfumed soap.
Nick lifted his face to get a really good whiff when that same voice called from down the hall, “Please set up breakfast in the dining room, Mae.”
Nick glanced in that direction, before looking back down the hall. A shaft of light spilled from the opened doorway of a bedroom or bath.
There was a brief tinkling of glass containers as they were being lifted, then returned to a counter. Beneath that was the faint whirr of the air-conditioning and music. One of Aretha Franklin’s old hits.
As Aretha belted out how some guy made her feel like a natural woman, Nick finally paused.
What had seemed like a good idea just moments before, didn’t now. Even if Tiffany Taylor had a nice voice (and by God, she must since no one else was here), Nick thought it might be best to keep avoiding her, especially at this ungodly hour, in particular if she were still getting dressed. Quick as can be, he rolled the cart to the dining room table, set up her breakfast (so Mae wouldn’t get blamed) and was turning to leave when he heard footfalls coming down the hall.
As he froze, she said “Good morn—”
Her delicious voice paused. So did Nick’s heart.
Before turning around, he warned himself not to expect a sultry brunette, a tight leather dress, or a tattoo.
He was right on two out of three counts.
The tattoo was on her right thigh, just below her silk boxer shorts. It was a cluster of tiny stars that appeared to falling down her taut, bronzed flesh.