Authors: Lindsey Brookes
Only In Vegas
ONLY IN VEGAS
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 Lindsey Brookes
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used
or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Notable awards: Four-time Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist, Finalist in Dorchester Books/Romantic Times Magazine’s American Title III competition, Winner of Harlequin’s Great American Romance Novel Contest.
To all my family and friends, thank you for all your love and support.
And to Erin Dameron-Hill with EDH Graphics
for creating such an awesome cover!
Her life sucked.
Well, maybe not her entire life. Just her love life. At this rate, she was never going to experience that mind blowing, life-altering orgasm her friends all ranted about.
“Why so glum?” a familiar voice called out. “Don’t tell me another one bit the dust?”
Angelina Rossi closed the drawer she had just dumped the framed picture of her ex into and looked up from her desk. Cindy, her friend and co-worker at Sunset Travel, stood at the opening of the travel brochure plastered cubicle, shaking her head.
“Nope. Rick was the last.”
Cindy flashed her usual empathetic smile, followed by the slow shake of her head.
“Don’t say it,” she warned, cutting her friend off before she began. She knew exactly where this was heading. Been there, had that conversation about a zillion times. Or at least it was beginning to feel that way.
Cindy gave a tsk-tsk as she settled into the chair across from her. “I don’t think I have to. I’m sure that you are well aware that you’re running out of men in Pittsburgh to date.”
“I haven’t dated that many men.”
“Maybe not, but you have to admit you’ve gone through the relationships you have had at warp speed.”
“Maybe so, but why waste time in a relationship that’s never going to work?”
“How do you know for sure if you never give it a chance?”
She just knew.
“We never really had a chance to discuss what happened with Rick,” Cindy added, not waiting for a reply to her previous question. “Not that he’s any real loss.”
Rick was the nephew of Sunset Travel’s owner and worked in group tours. He had been persistent enough in his pursuit of her that Angie had given in, breaking one of her own rules - never date a co-worker. Nothing good can ever come from it. Her failed relationship with Rick living proof of that.
“We called it quits,” Angie replied matter-of-factly.
She gave in with a long sigh. “Okay, fine
called it quits.”
“Let me take a wild guess,”
her friend began as she reached down to straighten the travel insurance pamphlets on the corner of Angie’s desk. “You wouldn’t sleep with him.”
Her friend arched a questioning brow. “Dry well syndrome? There are fixes for that, you know.”
“He never made it to the well.” Angie fidgeted with the papers on her desk, her cheeks feeling like they had just popped out of a toaster.
shook her head. “I guess the ‘Office Ice Princess’ strikes again.” That was her current office nickname, started, no doubt, by Rick. Unfortunately, the taunting moniker fit her to a tee. “What’s wrong with me?” she groaned. “It’s like I’m a man anti-magnet when it comes to sex.”
Cindy waved the thought away. “Come on, Angie, look at you. I mean what man wouldn’t go for those dark, exotic eyes? Then there’s your long hair. Guys go nutso over that. And let’s not forget your boobs. The kind girls like me have paid big bucks to have, only you got them for free. Okay, now I want to smack you.”
Cindy was almost a hundred percent store bought from her 38DD’s to her fake nails, colored contacts, and porcelain veneers. Even her butt had been surgically altered, which made Angie hurt to even think about having all that work done. Her friend was a life-size Barbie. She had no reason to be jealous of any woman, especially her.
“Let’s face it,” Angie replied, “I’m twenty-six-years-old and a total failure in the sex goddess department. I meet a guy. We go out, hit it off. Then comes the big relationship killer for me - sex.”
Cindy’s eyes widened. “You’re a virgin?”
Angie laughed. “No, but I might as well be. It’s been so long since I’ve gone all the way a guy would have to fight his way through cobwebs to get the deed done.”
Her friend studied her for a long moment then said, “Did you ever think that maybe you’re holding out on having sex again because you just haven’t found the right guy yet?”
That’s exactly what Trey kept telling her every time she cried on his shoulder. Maybe not so much the sex part. Their talks usually revolved around her tendency to date the wrong kind of men. Yet, he still hadn’t come up with a good explanation
of what exactly the
kind of man was.
Trey Landers was not only her next door neighbor in the apartment complex she had moved into a few years before, but also her best friend Kathy’s older brother. He was like a best male bud and brother all rolled into one. She could talk to him about almost anything, and usually did.
Angie arched a neatly plucked brow, eyeing her co-worker suspiciously. “You haven’t by any chance been comparing notes with Trey have you?”
Cindy laughed. “No, but the guy’s obviously smart
“Oh, come on. You practically grew up in the guy’s house. Have probably seen him walking around in nothing more than his underwear. How can you still be so oblivious to the man? He sends all of us into drool mode every time he stops by to take you out to lunch or to make travel arrangements for his company.”
The ‘us’ her friend was referring to included every female employee at Sunset Travel, married ones not excluded. Everyone but her and Kathy, of course.
Angie shook her head. “I’ve never seen Trey in his...”
Cindy crossed her arms and arched an incredulous brow.
“Okay, so I might have seen him in his underwear once,”
“Don’t read too much into it. We were just kids. Trey and a couple of his high school buddies got a little drunk one night and went for a swim in their skivvies.”
“Ooh, do tell.”
“There’s not much to tell. It was too dark to see much of anything and I really didn’t look.” At least for very long.
“Well, I have to say I’m surprised. I’ve always thought you two had some sort of
She didn’t have to say the words ‘sexual relationship’ for Angie to know that was what her friend was implying.
She laughed. “Trey and me?”
Her friend nodded.
“He is who we were talking about.”
“That’s crazy. He’s like a brother to me.”
“There’s no blood relation there. And, according to you, he’s single again.”
As if that mattered.
Trey was too busy expanding his medical imaging company to get serious with any woman for very long. Not that his unwillingness to settle down in a committed relationship stopped women from lining up at his door. They all thought they would be the one to change his way of thinking.
“Trey is not an option.”
“Why not?” she reached out to pluck a peppermint candy from the crystal dish that sat next to Angie’s business card holder.
Because he’s my best friend. That would be breaking a huge rule.” And there was no way she would ever risk losing what she and Trey had by dating him.
“Rules are made to be broken,” Cindy said
with a shrug as she untwisted the wrapper and popped the candy into her mouth.
“Not that one.”
“I think you’re missing an opportunity where that man’s concerned.”
“It’s not going to happen,” she told her. “So can we please change the subject?”
“Fine,” Cindy said, sounding frustrated. “No more about Trey.”
“You know, Angie,” she said with a worried frown, “I think what you really need is to get away.”
“You’ve been putting in a ton of overtime lately, which means constantly crossing paths with Rick. I think a vacation away from here and that obnoxious ass would do you good.”
It’s not like I’m devastated over the breakup,” she said. And she wasn’t. Not really. It was knowing that she had failed in yet another relationship that had her wondering what was wrong with her. Was she destined to spend her life emotionally uncommitted? Physically incapable of any real desire?
“If you ask me,
” Cindy said, drawing Angie from her troubled thoughts, “I think Kathy should fire his ass.”
Kathy had recently been promoted to office manager at Sunset Travel and was away attending corporate meetings in Chicago. “I think she’d need a little more justification than Rick’s being a jerk to fire him
, his being the boss’s nephew and all.”
“I suppose so,” Cindy
said with a sigh.
d away from her desk and stood. “I hate to rush off, but I have a date with a pair of stirrups.”
“Ooh! Sounds fun.”
“Loads.” If one liked being perched in the wishbone position and probed while discussing current events. She grabbed for her purse and slung the leather strap over her shoulder.
Cindy followed her from the cubicle. “Well, it’s one sure way to get a man to check out the merchandise.”
Angie rolled her eyes and walked away shaking her head. Fortunately, she hadn’t sunk to that level of desperation yet.
‘Yet’ being the key word.
* * *
o unsexy.” Angelina Rossi’s voice echoed off the walls of Multi-Med’s boardroom, bringing all ongoing conversation to a sudden halt.
That was the last thing Trey Landers expected to hear when he’d hit the conference call button on the newfangled phone system he’d just had installed that week. When his secretary had said the call was urgent, he’d assumed it was from the group of investors his medical imaging company had been courting. The men had gotten stuck in traffic just outside of the Fort Pitt tunnel on their way in from the Pittsburgh airport, delaying their scheduled lunch meeting.
Her response was a long, drawn out sigh, followed by, “What am I going to do? I can’t even get my gynecologist to check out the merchandise.”
Muttering a curse, he scrambled for phone. Snatching up the receiver, Trey brought it to his ear, naturally expecting the speaker phone to switch over to the handset.
It had all the bells and whistles he could ever want according to the sales rep from the phone company. That might be good if he knew how to work the damn thing.
jabbed at buttons, trying to get the speaker to shut off, but all he succeeded in doing was turning up the volume.
“What’s wrong with me, Trey? Okay, so he was called away to deliver a baby, but that’s not the point.”
He lunged halfway across the desk to muffle the speaker, grateful the investors hadn’t yet arrived. The men already there were both his business associates and friends.
“Angel, this isn’t a good time.”
“Tell me about it.” Her sigh seeped out from under his splayed hand. “What does a girl have to do to get her boyfriend to make love to her? It’s not so much even the
part. It’s my not wanting to.”
Trey turned his head to find a half dozen stunned faces, mouths agape, staring at him from across the room.
“It’s not me,” he mouthed in his own defense as heat surged up his neck.
“I’m going to become a virgin again if this dry spell keeps up, Trey. I just know it.”
He straightened and tugged at the tie Angel had given him the Christmas before. The same one that seemed to be choking him right now.
“You’ve got to help me,” she pleaded.
Not the Angelina Rossi perfected pout
, he thought with a frown. That never failed to get to him. Sweat beaded up on his already tense brow.
“This really isn’t a good time, Angel. I’m in the middle of a meeting right now.”
“Oops.” That was followed by soft, feminine laughter. “Sorry.”
“We’ll talk later, when I get home,” he said, slowly regaining some of his composure.
“Great. See you tonight.” The phone clicked and a dial tone replaced the honey-sweet voice.
Life certainly wasn’t dull with Angel around.
He shook his head as he returned the receiver to its cradle, making a mental note to forget technological advances and go back to his old phone system.
What else could go wrong today?
He dragged a hand down over his face and then turned to look out across his desk. The stunned expressions he’d seen on his friends’ faces a moment before were now replaced by knowing grins.
“She’s my neighbor,” he attempted to explain. He usually kept his personal life to himself, but Angel’s call definitely needed explaining.
“Some neighbor,” one of the men remarked with a chuckle.