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Authors: Cathryn Fox

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Dread washed through Jenna.  She narrowed her gaze. “Are you insane?”

“Nope, just a carrier,” Megan said, chuckling.  She poured a glass of wine and held it out to Jenna.  “I don’t think you have a choice.  Guests will be arriving any minute and there is no time to call in another model.” 

Jenna accepted the glass, took a much-needed sip, and with a casual nonchalance that she didn’t feel, said, “Forget it.  I’ll just showcase the pieces from the racks.”

Megan wagged her finger.  “What was that you said earlier, something about an artistic display being more inspiring?  Look at it this way, Jenna.  If the owner/designer won’t wear her own line of clothes, why should they?  Are you going to risk your new line flopping because you don’t want to put that gorgeous body of yours in a negligee?” 

As much as Jenna hated to admit it, Megan was right.  Proper presentation was essential for full effect.  And if she wanted to ensure contacts and create a buzz in the industry before she officially launched…

Jenna suddenly had a light-bulb moment.  “Why don’t you do it for me, Megan?  You get to keep the clothes you wear,” she said, adding incentive. 

“Can’t.  I’m on my period and I’m bloated.”  Megan slunk down lower in her chair and rubbed her stomach for effect. 

Jenna cast Sara a pleading look.  “Sara?” 

Sara threw her arms up in the air.  “Wouldn’t you know it, I have my period, too.  I’d like to help you out, Jenna, but I feel like a big cow.”  She puffed out her cheeks and mimicked Megan’s actions.  “Plus, I really think you’re the best candidate for the job.”

Jenna folded her arms and thinned her lips, casting her friends a sharp glance.  All those Nancy Drew books she’d read as a child only added to her suspicious nature.  She took a moment to connect the dots.  , a sick model.  , both of her friends with their periods.  And , both of them insisting she model the line herself. 

Not that they were responsible for Kate’s sudden bout of food poisoning, but still…

“What are you two up to?”

“Nothing,” they said in unison.  “Nothing at all.”

Megan hopped up.  “Come on, Jenna.  I’ll help you get dressed.” 

“And I’ll read the cue cards while you model the lingerie,” Sara piped in cheerily.

Before Jenna could protest, Megan dragged her into the living room.  “Come on.  It’ll be fun.”

Fun? 

Skating at Rockefeller Center on New Year’s Eve was fun.  Swimming with the dolphins at Sea World was fun.  Reaching an earth-shattering orgasm with a drop dead gorgeous firefighter was fun, not that Jenna knew firsthand, but she could only imagine.  But this…this modeling stint, not so much fun.  Heck, getting struck down by a bolt of lightning actually sounded a hell of a lot more fun to her.

“How about these?” Megan asked, twirling a provocative pair of panties around her finger. 

Jenna held her hands up, palms out.  “Megan, I don’t know about this.” 

“Come on, Jenna.  Just picture the audience naked.  It will relax you.”

Jenna rolled her eyes heavenward and planted her hands on her hips.  “What are you, twelve?”

Ignoring her, Megan said, “Live a little.  Have an adventure.”  She grabbed another pair of skimpy panties.  Her eyes sparkled as she examined them.  “Ooh, how about these?”

“Whoa.  Hold it right there, Megan.  Those panties are far too skimpy for me to parade around in.” 

Megan grins turned wicked.  She held the panties out.  “So you’ll do it then?”

In spite of herself, Jenna laughed.  “Yeah, right after I hang myself.”

 

* * *

 

After giving Nick a lift to the liquor mart, Dean pulled into his friend’s circular driveway and killed the engine.  He reached for his door handle, but a movement behind the big bay window gained his attention and stopped him cold.  The sight of one very curvy, luscious woman - the same woman who’d had his libido in an uproar since she’d arrived in Chicago - drew his focus and rattled him more than dice in a Yahtzee cup. 

Jenna.

His thoughts scattered like dust in the wind and his body grew needy at the mere sight of her.  Earlier in the evening, after catching a glimpse of her lush backside as she leaned over a stack of lingerie, he thought he’d go mad with the need to fuck her.  Ever since he’d set eyes on her, his mind had been swimming with naughty, delicious ideas.  Ideas like how good it would feel to cradle that magnificent ass of hers while she stood before him in one of her most daring, most provocative pieces. 

Dean sucked in a sharp breath and shifted in his seat, his raging hard-on causing him a great deal of discomfort as it fought to break free from its zippered cage. 

Something about Cassie’s friend from Iowa had reminded him that all work and no play had made for some very interesting -and very scandalous - fantasies of late. 

Jesus, what he’d do to see her in that sexy red-hot teddy from her new line.  What was it she called it again?  Oh yeah, the Siren line.  Siren, all right.  One glimpse of that barely there lingerie had all his sirens going off without warning.  He could only imagine how he’d react if he actually saw the little spitfire in that sexy get up.  He’d likely blow a fuse and cause a city-wide blackout. 

Not that he ever expected to see her wearing the red teddy, however.  Jenna had barely spared him a glance since their first meeting.  Not only did she take to him like a cat to water, but she also went out of her way to avoid him whenever possible.  The sexy siren always seemed so agitated when he was around, like his nearness was right up there with a bee swarming by her. 

Dean didn’t ordinarily let his libido rule his actions, but  the thought of seeing that luscious body of hers all decked out in her professional attire, while he imagined, or rather fantasized, about what she wore under it, propelled him into motion. 

He twisted around, reached into the backseat, and grabbed two bottles of wine.  “I’ll help you carry these in.”  Even though Cassie had ushered him out the door earlier, warning him that the show was for married couples and industry professionals only, Megan and Sara seemed to have other plans.  He wasn’t sure what they were up to, or why they’d asked him to stop back later, but he sure as hell wanted to find out. 

Nick shot him a knowing glance and snatched the bottles from his hands.  “If I let you through that door, Cassie will have my balls.”

Dean snorted and slapped Nick on the back.  “I hate to break it to you, Nick, but she already has your balls.”

Nick slapped Dean in return.  “Don’t worry, pal.  Maybe an intelligent, sexy woman will want your balls someday, too.”  The crazy son of a bitch flashed a smart assed grin, his voice full of laughter. 

Dean held his palms up.  “Every girl I’ve ever been with has tried to
crush
my balls.”

Nick’s grin broadened.  “Maybe they just weren’t the right girls for you.” 

“Maybe, maybe not,” Dean said, rolling one shoulder.  “Either way I’m off relationships.”  He ran through his motto.  Keep it light, keep it simple, keep it sexy.  Casual sex he could handle, but relationships, forget about it.

Nick reached for the door handle, but before he climbed from the passenger seat, he said, “One of these days you’ll get it, Dean.  You’ll know what I’m talking about.  The right woman will come along and you’ll be down on your knees in record time.”

Dean had no problem going down on his knees.  In fact he loved going down on his knees.  As long as it had nothing to do with a marriage proposal. 

“You have no idea what you’re talking about,” Dean said, shaking his head adamantly.  “I’d rather take matters into my own hands than be shackled to the old ball and chain.”  Grinning, he rubbed his palms together, emphasizing his point.  “No woman is going to run my life and dictate my every movement.”  He’d had enough of that possessive behavior from Kate Saunders, the model Cassie had set him up with months ago.  Even though they’d broken up, she still hung out at
The Hose
and clung to him like dryer lint.  The truth was he had more important things on his plate, like finishing his psychology thesis if he wanted to move beyond active duty to counseling fellow firefighters injured on the job. 

Nick cast him a skeptical glance and then took note of the time.  “Shit, I gotta go.  We’re running late and I hate for Cassie to worry.”

Groaning, Dean snagged the rest of the bottles from the backseat and murmured, “Talk about pussy-whipped.”  With little time to spare before he made his way to the station, he climbed from the driver’s seat, slipped his keys into his front pocket, and hastily made his way to the back entrance. 

They found Cassie standing at the door anxiously awaiting their arrival.  Once they stepped inside, she quickly grabbed Nick’s hand and ushered him into the living room.  “What took you so long?  The show is almost over and I need your help to pick out the perfect negligee for our wedding night.”  She winked at Nick.  “Not that it’s going to be on long.” 

Over his shoulder, Nick cast Dean a wry grin.  “Now that’s what I’m talking about.”

Dean threw his head back and laughed out loud.  Smart assed son of a bitch! 

After depositing the wine on the counter next to the cheese and fruit trays, Dean popped a strawberry into his mouth and followed Nick into the living room.  When he rounded the corner and took in the vision before him, his brain nearly shut down. 

Sweet Mother of God! 

What he expected to see was Jenna all decked out in her business attire.  What he saw instead left him with the inability to form a coherent thought. 

Scented candles, strategically placed around the room, gave off a soft, romantic glow and set the stage for seduction.  His body began trembling with pent up need as he watched Jenna parade around the room in a sexy red negligee, the same negligee that had been invading his thoughts for the last few hours. 

The silky fabric clung to her flesh like a second skin and showcased her supple figure to perfection.  Unlike the other waif-like girls he’d dated, Jenna was the epitome of lush femininity.  Soft, round and luscious in all the right places.  The kind of woman he could take to his bed and keep there forever.  Now why in the hell had it taken him so long to figure out just how much he loved a curvy woman? 

He bit on his strawberry and momentarily ignored the juice dribbling down his chin.  Craning his neck for a better view of Jenna, he let his gaze wander, taking pleasure in the sight of her luscious, half-naked body.  Wavering candlelight bathed her body in a seductive glow and glistened on her flesh.  Jesus, the woman had a body made for sex. 

With him.

Right here.

Right now.

He swallowed his strawberry and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.  Damn, what he’d do to bite into a ripe berry and drip the sweet nectar all over her perfect body and then lave it clean. 

Rosy nipples puckered beneath the thin fabric and drew his focus.  Suddenly it took effort to think and to breathe.  As he devoured her from afar, a rush of sexual energy hit him so hard he faltered backward.  Shifting his stance he drove his hands into his pockets and leaned against the doorframe.  Without question, she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever set eyes on. 

There was nothing he could do to deter his cock from rising to the occasion.  A low growl of longing crawled out of his throat and gained the crowd’s attention.  Jenna angled her body, her gaze brushing over the room.  When her green eyes locked on his, she stopped mid-stride.  Her mouth formed an O, but no sound came out.  A soft red hue traveled up her neck and colored her cheeks.  For a minute he wondered if that sexy red blush had also reached her nipples.  He licked his lips, his mouth watering to find out. 

Body aching to join with hers, Dean stood there, gauging her reactions, tracking her every movement, thinking about how good she’d feel between his legs. 

They stared at each other for a long moment, and then something in her gave.  Equal amounts of surprise and pleasure raced through him when Jenna swept her gaze down the length of him, her perusal pausing briefly around the vicinity of his crotch.  Holy hell!  Her visual caress ignited his blood to near boiling and threw him off guard.  Jenna had the ability to set him on fire with just one smoldering look.

He was barely able to leash his control when her pretty tongue snaked out to moisten her plump, red painted lips.

Mmmm…more red.  That particular shade was quickly becoming his favorite color. 

Dean pulled in a quick breath as Jenna’s eyes traveled back up to meet his.  In that instant, when their gazes collided, they shared a long heated look, one that screamed of passion, sex, and long, lusty nights. 

Sweat collected on his brow and it took every ounce of strength he possessed not to cross that room and ravish her, caveman-style. 

As sexual awareness leapt between them, Jenna drew her bottom lip between her teeth and folded her arms over her chest, covering her milky cleavage.  Even though her actions said one thing, the unbridled desire burning in the depth of her eyes and the hardening of her nipples told an entirely different story.  An x-rated one to be exact. 

Out of nowhere a burst of possessiveness rocketed through him and shook him to the core.  He cleared his throat, rattled.  Where had that come from?  He hadn’t anticipated how deeply the heat flaring in her eyes would affect him, on all levels.  Suddenly his very well-rehearsed motto ran though his mind, but despite that, every instinct in his body warned him that a night of wild sex with Jenna would be anything but casual. 

As silence stretched on, his gaze left her face, his body registering every delicious detail as he panned her curves.  Chestnut curls were piled high on her head, exposing the length of her long sensuous neck.  Dean dragged in a huge breath.  That was where he wanted his mouth.  Right where her creamy neck melted into her collarbone.  Everything in him ached to touch her, to taste her, to fuck her hot little body. 

His glance traveled lower and settled at the apex between her bare legs, to the thin scrap of material that barely covered her pussy.  He moistened his lips.  His nostrils flared.  His balls tightened and his cock hardened to the point of pain.  He clenched and unclenched his fingers, fighting the natural inclination to cross the room, throw her over his shoulders, and haul her upstairs.  His entire body ached to lay her out buffet-style, tug aside that silky pair of panties, and press his hungry mouth over her pussy until she cried out in euphoria.