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Authors: Lauren Jameson

Surrender to Temptation

BOOK: Surrender to Temptation
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Lauren Jameson




Published by the Penguin Group

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First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Surrender to Temptation copyright © Lauren Jameson, 2013

Excerpt from
copyright © Lauren Hawkeye, 2013

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Jameson, Lauren.

Surrender to temptation/Lauren Jameson.

p. cm.

ISBN 978-0-698-18019-2

I. Title.

PS3610.A464S88 2014




This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are 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.




Title page

Copyright page
































Excerpt from BREATHE

About the Author

This one is for Deidre. I'd like to be her someday.




ll I wanted was to feel sexy.

Grimacing, I pulled the confection of openwork silk off of my shoulders and down. What had I been thinking? A girl with some curves—namely me—couldn't wear ruffles. This whole endeavor was a terrible idea.

My bangs were sticking to my forehead with sweat as I tugged the lingerie back over my head. I contemplated dropping it to the ground and stomping on it in frustration, but repressed the urge and hung it back up, nice and neat, on its plastic hanger.

That was what I always did, after all—shoved my real feelings away, smiling prettily when I wanted to scream.

Frustrated and close to tears, I eyed the last item that I'd brought with me into the dressing room at Magnifique, the fancy lingerie boutique that I'd passed by on my way to work every single day for the last year. It was also lace, but instead of being heavily ruffled and made for a woman with the build of Barbie, it was a deep indigo, made of soft silk, and sophisticated instead of cute. It would skim the body and accentuate curves.

This one had to work. It just had to. How was I ever going to convince my ever so proper boyfriend to make love to me in a position other than missionary if I couldn't find something to entice him with?

Inhaling deeply and avoiding the sight of my naked flesh in the mirror, I tugged the slip off of its hanger and over my head. It felt lovely, the material moving in a sensual glide over my skin.

With my eyes squeezed shut, I turned back toward the mirror, sucked in my tummy, and, after a lengthy internal pep talk, peeked at the reflection staring back at me.

“Oh.” The woman in the mirror smiled with surprise and pleasure at the same time that I did. Smoothing a hand over the length of my now-messy blond ponytail, I scanned the image nervously, looking for the flaws that I saw every day—the swell of my stomach, the slightly too-heavy breasts, the hips that were a hint too wide.

I saw none of it. The incredibly sheer lace kissed my curves rather than clinging to them, and this made my waist, my belly, and hips all look just right. My breasts rose enticingly out of the low neckline, and the hem of the little slip hit midthigh, covering my butt yet hinting at more.

I looked . . . well, I looked hot.

It was a strange sensation.

Before I could convince myself otherwise, I stripped off the slip and put my office clothes back on. The knee-length skirt, blouse, and cardigan sweater were all solid black—bright colors made me feel fat. The monochromatic look worked just fine for the office, however—Cambridge-Neilson and Sons, the law firm where I was an administrative assistant.

The law firm where my boyfriend, Tom, was a junior partner. The slip that I was buying was in an effort to please him.
, I corrected myself as I brought it nervously to the front counter; it was about pleasing
. About looking—and feeling, I supposed—sexy enough to entice Tom into being a little more adventurous in the bedroom.

To possibly, maybe, encourage him to do some of the deliciously naughty things that I thought about nearly all of the time. Dreamt about, too.

“Your total comes to two hundred dollars and seventy cents.” I'd been playing it cool until that moment, acting like I bought expensive lingerie all the time, but the sum that the tall, slender brunette salesgirl announced very nearly made me choke.

Two hundred
? For that little scrap of lace?

I couldn't afford it. I should have just let it be. Did I really want to spend that much in order to please Tom?

The salesgirl, whose nametag read
in swirling cursive, saw my wistful glance at the swath of midnight blue that she was wrapping in silver tissue. I forgave her the stylish boots and fresh salon haircut when she gave me a kind smile and said, “It's expensive, but we're all worth it, aren't we?”

I thought of how I looked in the slip, and then thought of someone looking at me as I wore it. Of his dark eyes taking in the way the blue set off the pale cream of my skin, of the way my nipples flushed through the soft lace.

Yes. I had to have it.

“It's fine. I'll put it on credit.” Rummaging through my large leather satchel, I finally found my wallet. It caught on a cardboard envelope as I pulled it out, and the print that I had just picked up from the photography place next door slipped out and onto the counter.

Bernadette glanced over, and I saw her study it for a moment longer than necessary. “He looks familiar.”

I turned to study the picture, too. It was of Tom and me, posing rather seriously at the beach. It had been a rare, unplanned moment in our courtship, on a business trip to Los Angeles, when I had begged him to pull over the car so that we could watch the sunset. Surprisingly, he had agreed. With the sun setting in a riot of glowing shades behind us, and the angle clearly showing that the picture had been taken by one of us with a cell phone camera, it should have been a romantic shot. Instead, we looked so incredibly austere, so at odds with the sunset and the ocean, that the whole thing seemed rather silly.

Still, it was the best picture that I had of us together. I was going to frame it and keep it on my desk at work. We had been dating for over a year, after all.

“Hmm.” Before I could reply, Bernadette snapped her fingers, even as she expertly nipped my credit card from my fingers and ran it through her point-of-sale machine. “Yesterday! He was in yesterday. Big spender.” When she caught what I'm sure was my surprised expression, she clapped a hand over her mouth and giggled sheepishly.

“I probably shouldn't have said that. Now I've ruined whatever surprise he had for you.”

“Surprise. Right.” Brow furrowed, I took the candy-pink-and-cream-striped bag that she handed me, nodding my thanks before walking away.

I was quite certain that she was mistaken. I would have let it go at that, but the woman's statement niggled at my mind all the way back to work, and then as I sat at my desk, slowly pecking away at the handwritten letter that one of the lawyers needed typed up.

Never had Tom bought me expensive lingerie. He'd never bought me candy or flowers, either, for that matter. He just wasn't that type of guy and, foolishly, early on in our relationship, I had told him that grand gestures weren't important to me.

I hadn't lied—they weren't important, exactly. But some soft inner part of my heart still craved some kind of sweet gesture from time to time—something that told me I was being thought of when I wasn't there.

I was fairly certain that I wouldn't ever receive one of these gestures from Tom. Yes, Bernadette was mistaken.

But another thought formed in my mind as I worked my way through the afternoon. What if . . . what if . . .

No. Tom wouldn't do that. Tom loved me.

“Hi, Devon.” One of the senior lawyers chose that moment to walk by. Though quite possibly paranoid, I was convinced that she gave me a pitying glance, barely masked by her small smile. That was what settled my mind.

Begging off early with the excuse of a headache, I hurried down to my car.

I would just go home—the home that I had not yet moved into, actually—and see Tom. Once I saw him, all of this silliness would fly out the window, I was sure.

And, I thought as I looked sideways at the Magnifique bag on my passenger's seat, maybe I could model my new slip for him.

•   •   •

almost felt as if I should ring the doorbell. Tom had given me a key the previous week, after we had decided that my moving my meager belongings into his place was a sensible idea, but I hadn't yet used it. I suspected that I'd been clinging to my independence—I loved my little studio apartment, the one that I'd already given notice on, but Tom had pointed out that it wasn't nearly big enough for two people. Plus, his was closer to the office.

A shorter commute just made sense, after all, even to me. Sleeping in two separate rooms when we weren't having sex did not make sense, and never would, no matter how many times Tom told me that it would provide a better sleep for both of us. The mere thought made me grind my teeth together.

I would rather have a less than perfect night's sleep, my partner by my side, than the alternative—sleeping down the hall from each other like a couple that had been married for far too long.

I wasn't going to give in on that issue.

Sighing heavily, I again squelched the urge to knock at this place that was now supposed to be my home, and instead turned my key in the deadbolt. I had to fiddle with it, the way you do with new keys, before the lock gave way.

“Hello?” I didn't raise my voice. The apartment was dim, quiet, and though I hadn't expected his presence—he was at a lunch meeting—I almost felt relieved that he wasn't home, that I didn't have to ask the difficult question.

I could take a few minutes to orient myself. Maybe sit down and think of some ways to brighten the utilitarian bachelor apartment up, so that it felt warmer and more welcoming to me.

Before I was even out of the entryway I heard it. Faint at first, but growing steadily louder, and unmistakably coming from the direction of the bedroom.

“Oh. Ohhhh.”

Confused, I cocked my head at the sound of the female voice and took a few steps down the hall. Then, when Tom's voice joined into the chorus of sex sounds, my mouth fell open, and I felt as if I'd been punched in the stomach.

Tom was indeed home. He was home, and unless I was very much mistaken, he was having sex with another woman, in the bedroom where I, his longtime girlfriend, was rarely permitted to sleep.

Bernadette had been right.

Adrenaline shot through my veins and made me feel sick. Suddenly intent on ferreting out that second piece of evidence to back up the riot of feelings that was surging through me, I scanned the apartment until I saw it, wadded up on the floor beside the couch.

A bag from Magnifique, the tissue paper ripped by eager fingers. Feeling as if I were going to throw up, I picked up the bag and shook it out.

Whatever Tom had purchased the day before was gone—probably on the floor of his bedroom—but the receipt was still there.

Four hundred and twenty-three dollars for a bustier, garter belt, and stockings, all size extra small.

Extra small. Well, that definitely wasn't me. Tears of humiliation sprang to my eyes and clouded my throat as I stared at the area of carpet around the discarded bag. There, right out in the open, were more details that I couldn't ignore. A single, nude-colored pump, with
stitched into the sole. Two wineglasses, a film of red still coating the bottom.

That was it. I was done.

For a moment I thought that I might fling open the door to the bedroom, might confront them both and be self-righteous in my indignation.

I couldn't gather up the courage. No. I knew myself, and I knew that I was more the kind of woman to apologize for disturbing them than to rain hell on their cheating heads. I had been raised that way, to be proper and polite at all times, and it was a tough habit to shake.

In the end, with rage and unfairness and humiliation all warring through me, too many emotions to deal with, I did the only thing that I could think of.

I scribbled a note that said—very properly, of course—my good-byes, and left.

BOOK: Surrender to Temptation
4.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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