Read Sinfully Sexy Online

Authors: Linda Francis Lee

Tags: #Romance, #Sex in the workplace, #Fiction

Sinfully Sexy

BOOK: Sinfully Sexy
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Sinfully
Sexy
Linda Francis Lee
Copyright © 2004 by Linda Francis Lee
ISBN 0-345-46272-6
PHOTO
COPY
From
the desk of Julia Boudreaux
Chloe,
Here's a copy of the quiz I was telling you about that I found in
Sexy!
magazine. Answer
and
return. Kate has already taken the copy I sent her and
passed with flying colors, xoxo, j
Julia,
I can't
believe you were serious about taking one of those
Sexy!
quizzes. 
They're
a
cliché.  But here are my answers.  - Chloe
Sexy!
Sex Appeal Quiz
How Sexy Are You?
MULTIPLE CHOICE
1. If a man doesn't touch you on a
first date, you automatically assume
he:
a.  Is not attracted to you
b.  Must be gay
c.  Is nervous or shy
Touching? On a first date?
2. If you were reincarnated as an
animal, which would you be?
a.  A sleek, prowling tiger
b.  An elegantly aloof panther
c.  A beautifully regal Persian
cat

 

Why can't they be more original with their choices?   How
about something  like a llama? 
A versatile, trustworthy animal that can be counted on. Am I allowed to
write in answers?
d. 
A uniquely lovely llama. -  I choose d.
3. If you were flirting with a man
at a party, he'd be most likely to
say:
a.  You know how to have fun,
wild thing.
b.  You could use a drink, babe.
c.  You look like Trouble with
a capital T.
d. 
Given my habit of attracting the completely wrong sorts of men, a man
may as well be
wearing a sign on his chest that says: Hey Babe, I'm Trouble with a
capital T, and I promise
I'll break your heart.
WORD ASSOCIATION
1.  Hottest Hunk
=
Jalapeño
Jack Cheese
2.  Sweetest Sensation
=
Triple-layer
velvet cake with whipped cream icing
3. Perfect Position
= 
Curled
up on the sofa, reading a good book
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
To: Chloe Sinclair
      Katherine Bloom

From: Julia Boudreaux
Subject: Stunned
Chloe,
sugar, how is it possible that you failed a
Sexy!
quiz?
xo, j
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

To: Julia Boudreaux
      Chloe Sinclair
From: Katherine Bloom
Subject: No offense but...
...
is it
possible
to fail a
Sexy!
quiz?
Just wondering,
Kate
Katherine C. Bloom
News Anchor, KTEX TV West Texas
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

To: Katherine Bloom
      Chloe Sinclair
From: Julia Boudreaux
Subject: Chloe's Sexy! Quiz—DOWNLOAD NOW
Kate,
for animal, she wrote in
llama
.
Need I say more? However, I've scanned her answers
and attached. All you have to do is download and judge for yourself.
xo.j
«attachment»
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

To: Julia Boudreaux
      Katherine Bloom

From: Chloe Sinclair
Subject: Maligned
Hey,
a llama is a perfectly respectable lifestyle reincarnation choice—a
fine animal that
is not given due credit.
And Julia, you might own this station, but I'm the manager. So
both of you
GET TO WORK!
Chloe Sinclair
Station Manager
Award-winning KTEXTV
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

To: Chloe Sinclair
      Katherine Bloom

From: Julia Boudreaux
Subject: Fine
Whatever.
And speaking of work, I can't make the party tonight at the Hilton
Hotel. Kate already has wildly romantic plans with Jesse of the
unable-to-change sort, so that leaves you, Chloe. You have to go in my
stead. Please wear something partyish... and try to think more like a
feline than
a llama. I'll send something over to your house for you to wear.
xo,j
p.s.
I've hired a man named Trey Tanner to give us a comprehensive analysis
of the station. Short-range prospects, long-term viability, and such.
We're meeting with him tomorrow morning
in the conference room. 10 a.m. Don't be late.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

ONE
It never would have happened if she hadn't taken that quiz.
At least it never would have happened if she hadn't taken it and failed.
Failed.
Her.
Chloe Sinclair, who had never failed a test in her life.
Granted, she hadn't been particularly serious when she took the
Sexy!
quiz, writing in her
responses instead of choosing one of the multiple choice answers. Deep
down she knew it was ridiculous to be upset, since she hadn't taken it
seriously. More than that, what did an idiotic quiz like that really
mean? Nothing. She knew it. But what had started out as a joke had
touched a nerve that she hadn't realized
was raw.
Failing—or perhaps the fact that she hadn't even tried to pass—spoke to
the reality of something deeper. She had given up on any sort of love
life and devoted every ounce of energy to her job as station
manager of KTEX TV. But as far as she was concerned, the cutthroat
world of television programming and advertising revenue was a piece of
cake compared to the convoluted labyrinth that was the male mind.
She was mature; men were not.
She wanted inspiring, intellectual dialogue; men wanted sex.
But she had promised herself that she wouldn't have sex again with any
man until she knew it was right, until she knew that he was the man she
was meant to be with. Which meant one, and only one, thing.
She hadn't had a lot of sex recently.
Given her answers on the
Sexy!
magazine quiz, she had to wonder if she'd ever have sex again.
Had she really filled in the second question with llama? She suppressed
an embarrassed cringe. Sure, llamas were an industrious animal, but she
had also heard they spit.
As if
that
was the problem
with her answer.
Earlier that evening, while getting ready for the cocktail reception
for the Heart Association that was
being held at the Hilton Hotel, Chloe had dressed in her usual, simple
black cocktail dress that she wore
to just that sort of business/social obligation. But when she had
looked at herself in the entry hall mirror, taking in her straight
shoulder-length dark hair cut in a sensible bob, her oversized glasses,
and the bangs that made her look twelve instead of twenty-seven, she
was reminded of her grandmother's constant refrain.
"Thank your lucky stars you were born
plain-looking, Chloe love. Your gift is being smart and
sensible. Don't ever let that desert you."
Her grandmother had died a year ago, and still, even missing her every
day, Chloe had to wonder how being plain could possibly be a plus on
anyone's list of Great Things to Be.
That's when she realized why an idiotic magazine quiz could upset her
so much. Lucky or not, she was plain. She wasn't sexy. Or perhaps more
accurately, she had never even tried to be sexy.
That's when everything changed. One minute she was headed to the
kitchen for the decadent comfort
of a slice of triple-layer velvet cake with whipped cream icing, then
the next, something she hadn't recognized flared inside her. She wanted
to feel beautiful. She wanted to feel sexy. She wanted to forget the
carefully mapped out rules for acceptable and respectable female
behavior that her grandmother had instilled in her.
She should have had the cake.
Instead, her heart had pounded when she hurried back to her bedroom.
With quick strokes, her hands practically shaking with a mix of
trepidation and excitement, she put makeup and blush on over her pale
white skin and dusting of freckles, lipstick over her lips, and mascara
on her rarely mascaraed eyelashes. She even curled her straight hair,
swept back her bangs, and pulled it all up in an elaborate twist. She
even wore the dress Julia had sent over.
Thirty minutes later, standing in front of the mirror a second time,
Chloe hadn't recognized herself.
No one would call her a llama tonight.
There was just one tiny little problem now that she sat in the hotel
parking lot, wearing the dress and
even the silky gloves that had sex appeal written all over them.
She couldn't bring herself to get out of the car.
She sat there having sheer, unadulterated second thoughts about how she
was dressed. The determination and bravado that had gotten her this far
was swept off like a hat in the late September wind that had decided to
pick up the second she drove into the parking lot—like some sort of
sign that she had no business going inside dressed as she was. But she
had promised Julia she would attend, and it was too
late to drive all the way home and change. She was the designated KTEX
TV representative for the evening, and as the station's general
manager, she knew she had to show up.
Without a parking valet or doorman in sight at the small hotel, Chloe
turned off the ignition, then gathered the impractical purse that
didn't have room in it for anything more than blush, a brush, and some
breath mints. Not her usual priorities. But tonight, Chloe felt like
anything but her usual self.
The second she stepped out of the car, a gust of wind kicked up, the
sort that rushed across the city, gathering speed until it hit the
towering peaks of Mount Franklin. The car door slammed shut and she
was carried along in a rush of wind that pushed her through the parking
lot on heels so high that she felt like she was teetering on her toes.
She could hardly see where she was going, and for half a second she
tried to cover her hair with her hands. But fancy hairstyles were
forgotten when every ounce of her concentration was consumed by staying
on her feet.
"Ahhh!" she cried out into the wind, the sound carried off.
She plunged across the tarmac, the bite of sand stinging her skin as
she headed the short distance to the hotel. She could barely see for
the churning wind, her hair pulling free, whipping against her face.
She thought she was alone. But without warning, she ran into another
body. Hard. Jarring them both.
The impact sent her lurching forward, arms extended like she was
flying. It happened so fast that she couldn't regain her balance. Her
gloved hands hit the pavement first, the tiny chain on the purse like a
vise around her wrist.
Next, her knees crashed into the ground and pain shot through her. She
lay there stunned.
"Are you all right?"
A man's voice, deep and commanding, came at her in a disjointed muffle
through the wind. She tried to pick herself up, but before she could
manage, strong hands came around her, and he swept her up with ease.
She tried to make out who he was, but he was much taller than she, and
she couldn't see more
than his shirt when he pulled her close, his body blocking the wind.
Huddled together, he propelled them the remaining few steps to the
hotel entrance. Despite the pain, she was very aware of the man's
touch, of the way his arm was secure around her, the way he controlled
her body easily. She had the altogether foreign thought that she was
safe.
The hotel's sliding doors whooshed open, then closed behind them. The
sudden calm after the storm felt like a deafening echo against her
ears. Her eyes stung from the sand, and her knees burned. She could
hear the low murmur of voices from the reception in the distance. There
were several people in the
lobby in varying states of dishevelment from the wind.
"Are you okay?" the man asked again, his hands clasped around her arms
to keep her steady.
Her curls fell in tangles from her once-elegant twist. She could feel
that her dress was askew and her gloves were ripped to shreds. All the
effort she had gone to to get ready was ruined.
She was a mess, making it impossible to attend the party now. "Fine,
fine," she stated bleakly.
She felt him tense, felt the heat of him in the simple touch of his
hand. "You aren't so fine," he stated with calm insistence.
"What?"
He took her elbow and guided her away from the lobby. He swept her
along again, but when they came to a set of double doors leading to the
hotel guests' rooms, she stiffened.
"Where are you taking me?"
"I'm staying here."
"You're taking me here, as in to your . . . your ..."
"Room?"
"Exactly," she stated primly. "I can't go to your room."
He made some kind of grumbling noise deep in his chest, but instead of
guiding her through the doors,
he tugged her away and soon had her inside an elegant ladies' room
decorated in marble and brass. Thankfully, it was empty. Though not as
thankfully, he slid the lock home.
"Now what are you doing?"
"You're bleeding."
"Bleeding?"
He pointed.
"Oh," was all she managed to say when she glanced down at herself and
got a really good look. Her once-shimmering thigh-high stockings were
ripped beyond repair, blood and grit marking both of her knees like a
six-year-old's after a playground fall.
On top of that, she had never been all that great with blood.
"Oh," she repeated, this time sort of wobbly.
"Don't go weak willed on me now."
"I am not weak willed," she stated, her spine straightening.
"That's what I like to hear."
Next thing she knew, he had her up on the marble counter as if she
didn't weigh anything at all, her
skirt riding high. That was when she looked up and saw his face.
Her first real look. She wasn't sure if she sucked in her breath or if
she sighed. She only knew that her world went still.
They stared at each other, she on the sink with her chin tilted
slightly, he standing so close that his thighs touched her knees. He
looked as surprised as she felt.
It seemed like an eternity that their gazes locked, but it probably
wasn't more than a second.
He looked as commanding as he had acted. He was tall, his dark hair
brushed back, his dark eyes filled with intelligence, knowing and
confident. His autocratic control of the situation was apparent in the
hard line of his square jaw. This was a man used to getting what he
wanted.
He wore a finely made shirt that molded to broad shoulders and narrowed
into a lean waist and long legs. Standing there, he appeared to be in
charge of his surroundings, not giving a second thought to being in a
ladies' bathroom with the door locked and a woman he didn't know. He
didn't smile or say a word, though his gaze seemed to draw her to him.
But after another second, his eyes narrowed fractionally
and he gave a barely perceptible shake of his head before he focused on
her scrapes.
"Let me look at your hands."
He didn't wait for her to agree. He took each wrist, peeling the
shredded gloves away finger by finger. This time she knew she sucked in
her breath when his hands, large and tanned, cradled hers, pale in
comparison.
Fortunately, the gloves had protected her palms. Her forearms hadn't
been as lucky.
"These have got to hurt," he said, studying them.
Once he said it, she was reminded that they did.
He took one of the fancy paper towels, soaking it with warm water, the
hotel monogram going dark as it got wet. Despite his commanding size,
his touch was gentle as he cleaned the blood and grit away. The sting
was blocked out by the sizzle of sensation this hard-chiseled man
caused. She watched him as he concentrated on the job—the way his head
tilted so he could get a better view.
She was aware of every breath he took, the sound like a caress against
her ear. He cradled her arm as he cleaned her wounds. She couldn't
remember the last time she had been touched—by anyone. She grew
light-headed and she swayed.
He glanced up. "How are you doing?"
"Fine," she whispered.
Better than fine. She felt strange, hot tears of yearning burning in
her eyes as he nodded his head in approval and moved on to her knees.
But the torn stockings were in the way. Without hesitation, he reached
under her dress. She gasped. Like a lover's, his strong hands brushed
against her legs. Her breath shuddered through her body, feelings that
had nothing to do with wounds or healing settling low until she felt
the need to press her knees together. But she couldn't because his
forearm and hand was in the way. Her head swam at the feel of his
fingers finding the tops of her ruined thigh-highs—first one, his hands
so close to the juncture between her legs, then the other, as he
whisked them down and tossed them in the trash.
The act wasn't intended to be sexual, but when the only physical
attention she had received in ages had happened when she got a
manicure, this man's touch made her world tilt even more. It was the
sort of feeling, she realized, she had waited a lifetime for. Intense.
Like a dream you don't want to wake up from.
She had hammered her life into the contours she deemed acceptable. But
the reality of whom she had become made her wonder at the price she had
paid.
Feeling this man's hands on her thighs, even innocently, made something
flare.
Rebellion against everything she believed to be proper?
Imprudence?
No, she realized. Nothing so complicated. It was hot, simple, and
unrestrained desire.
But she wasn't about to give in to something like that, least of all
with a stranger. She was smart. She
was sensible.
"I could have done that," she stated over the rapid dance in her chest,
her eyes shifting nervously as
she tried to find someplace to look besides the silky waves of his hair.
"No need now."
He concentrated on her knee. She tried to find the old Chloe, the one
she knew, the one who would demand that he take his hands off her.
"I was trying to sound intimidating," she said.
He glanced up at her, one dark brow rising. "I guess it was the squeak
in your voice that threw me."
"I did not squeak!"
"You did."
Her mouth fell open. "This really isn't going as it should."
"I didn't realize there was a certain way to do this."
"There is."
"I must have missed that day at school."
"Funny."
He smiled then—for the first time, she realized—and her breath caught a
little more. It was amazing,
like the sun coming through a dark, stormy sky. Then he straightened.
"There. One knee done."
Sure enough, one side was cleaned. It still looked horrible, but the
grit was gone.
"Are you a doctor?"
"No."
"A paramedic?"
"Not that either."
"Then you just go around saving damsels in distress?"
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