Authors: Sierra Kincade
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #General
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Copyright © 2014 by Sierra Kincade.
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The masseuse / Sierra Kincade.—Heat trade paperback edition.
ISBN 978-0-425-27799-7 (paperback)
1. Masseurs—Fiction. 2. Billionaires—Fiction. I. Title.
Heat trade paperback edition / December 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.
For Jason, who gave me a real-life love story
This story was so fun to write. From the moment the characters popped up in my head, I knew I was in for wild ride. Thank you to the following people for joining me, leading me, and laughing with me on this incredible journey: My agents Danielle Egan-Miller, Joanna MacKenzie, and Abby Saul. Thank you for making this happen. Thank you for all the giggles, the encouragement, and the brainstorming sessions on creative . . . ahem . . . positions and colorful synonyms. You guys are truly the best.
My editor, Leis Pederson, and the whole team at Berkley who have embraced and supported this girl and her naughty book.
My husband, who laughed when he read this, and said, “You can’t even say half these words out loud!” I love you, and every day I’m grateful for our life together.
Three of the greatest beta-reading friends a girl could ask for: Courtney the lawyer, who only once told me during the course of this trilogy that I couldn’t just make up whatever laws I wanted (and then very gently corrected my legal liberties from there on out); Deanna, who has been there every time I needed pity-party ice cream; and Katie, who believed this story was more than my just-for-fun venture that I’d penned between changing diapers. I am lucky to have you all.
And finally, thank you, reader. I hope you enjoy Alec and Anna as much as I have.
chewed the straw sticking out of the plastic lid of my fountain Coke and inspected the sandstone wall, draped with ivy and fragrant white jasmine that curved around the street. It was 4:55 p.m., still over a half hour before my appointment. Typically I showed up a
early to get a feel for the place and set up, but on a first meeting, especially with a client like this, I wasn’t about to be late.
Maxim Stein was the richest man I’d probably ever get my hands on. When his assistant had called my personal cell phone to make the appointment, I’d done my research.
He came from old money, as my dad would have said. An international string of hotels and island resorts. Some professional sports teams scattered throughout the world. When his father died, he branched out into aviation—private jets, specifically. He was now the sole owner of Force, a company that manufactured custom airplanes for an exclusive international clientele.
magazine had called him “a Force to be reckoned with.” Too bad he was fifty and on wife number three.
Twice I’d driven past the guard station, just to make sure I had the address right. I’d never been there, but had lived in Tampa just long enough to know Davis Island was a mile above my pay grade. When I’d told my friend Amy about where I was heading, her eyebrows had disappeared beneath her curtain of platinum blonde bangs. Now I could see why.
With its extravagant bayside mansions and gated communities, Davis Island was a hidden refuge close enough to downtown to be accessible, but far enough away to feel like its own world. And it was a world I’d never experienced before—each multimillion-dollar house I’d passed seemed to come with its own gardener trimming the hedges, a security station at the end of its driveway, and a shiny black SUV with tinted windows. My little red Kia was going to get a complex if we stayed out on the street much longer.
The A/C was probably draining my gas tank, but I didn’t care. It was better than showing up drenched in sweat. I pointed all the vents in my direction and thought about how Baltimore, where I’d lived last, was probably covered in snow by now.
February in Florida was awesome.
Besides the constant buzzing of a lawn mower behind one of these mystery walls, the neighborhood was quiet. With a few minutes to spare, I rested my head back against the seat and closed my eyes.
And was scared half to death when a hard knock came at the passenger-side window.
“Shit!” I grabbed the cup I’d dropped on my lap and stuffed it into the holder before any Coke could spill.
A man was looking through the window at me. My throat tightened; I hadn’t even heard him approach. He stood and walked around the back of the car, placing one hand on the trunk like the damn thing belonged to him. As subtly as I could, I pressed the automatic lock button.
You couldn’t be raised by a cop and not end up at least a little cautious.
The man reappeared on my side and tapped again on the window with his knuckle. With the sun behind him, his face was shadowed, but I could tell he was wearing dark glasses that matched his black slacks and button-up shirt. From my vantage point he looked tall, over six feet.
And built. The way he filled out his shirt didn’t escape me. Lean, hard muscles stretched across his chest and shoulders had me wondering what he looked like beneath the thin, pressed fabric.
I cracked the window.
He chuckled and slid one finger slowly over the glass edge. “Is this supposed to stop me from getting in?”
I retrieved the mace spray from the pocket in the driver-side door and flashed it where he could see.
“No, but this should.”
He laughed a little louder, a deep, smooth sound that made my skin tingle, and then he leaned down, hands resting on top of the car.
We were face-to-face through the glass, and for one drawn-out moment, all I could do was stare. Unruly waves of coffee-colored hair framed an angular jaw that was lined with dark stubble. His nose was the slightest bit crooked, like he’d broken it once, and though his sunglasses hid his eyes, I could feel the heat of his gaze holding me in place. He might have been younger than thirty, but there was a confidence and intensity in the way he moved that seemed older.
He was sexy in an
kind of way.
I was unable to look away from his mouth, curved in a teasing smirk, or from his full lower lip that I had the sudden urge to bite. I could imagine that mouth pressed against my shoulder, following the line of my collar and then lowering. Just the thought of it made my breath catch.
“Maybe this window’s thicker than I thought,” he said, giving the glass a little flick.
“What?” I gripped the wheel and tore my gaze away to look straight ahead. I didn’t know what had gotten into me. Men, even undeniably attractive men like this one, didn’t normally get me going like that. Clearly it had been a while since I’d gotten any.
“I asked if you were lost.” He was smirking again, and I nearly groaned. I’d been so caught up staring that I’d missed what he said.
Across the street, a woman walked her two Maltese. She was probably double his age with a pile of white curls on her head, and was shamelessly staring at his ass as he leaned over my car. He must have heard the dogs yapping, but he didn’t even flinch. It was like he knew she was looking and either didn’t care or was so used to being gawked at, it didn’t even faze him.
Probably the latter.
“No,” I said quickly. “I was just . . .” I pointed down the road, feeling the blush rise in my cheeks. “I have an appointment with someone.”
“In the street.”
Apparently he thought he was funny.
“No,” I said. “In their home.” Not that I needed to explain this to a stranger.
His tongue glided over that bottom lip, and I had to press my thighs together to stifle the sudden need burning low in my belly. He was gorgeous—mesmerizingly so. Never had I had such a reaction to someone before. Usually I was the one making others squirm.
His voice lowered. “When’s your next opening?”
“You don’t even know what I do,” I said suggestively. He wanted to play? Fine. Bring it on.
He kept running his first finger over the top of the window, making me wonder just what else those hands were capable of.
“You’re right,” he said. “But I bet it’s bad.” The growl in his voice sent a heated shiver through me. I rolled down the window another six inches.
“Why would you say that?” I licked my lips.
He leaned closer, like he was about to tell me a secret, and I scooted to the edge of my seat.
“You’re parked in a no-parking zone,” he whispered.
His hand left the window to point at the street sign parallel to my spot. Some cop’s kid I was; I hadn’t even noticed it. With that, he tapped the hood of my car and stood. Whatever chemistry I’d sensed building between us snapped in half.
Who was this guy? Part of the neighborhood watch or something? I fell back in the seat, deflated.
I turned the key in the ignition, and the series of clicks from the engine immediately reminded me that the car was already on. Perfect. I checked to see if he’d noticed, and of course he had. His grin stretched wider.
I gave him a little wave. “Thanks.”
He took a step back as I put the car in drive and eased off the curb. He must have lived in one of the houses in this neighborhood. I was probably blocking his giant SUV from pulling out of his hand-laid cobblestone driveway through some hidden Batman gate.
I asked myself, the sound of his laughter fading behind me
. Nice one, Anna.
Still, I couldn’t help but admire his build in my rearview mirror—long legs; broad, sculpted shoulders. He stood with his arms crossed over his chest right where I’d left him in the middle of the street like he could stop traffic. Hell, he probably could. Maybe he was captain of the neighborhood watch, but he was seriously hot. I was almost sorry when he disappeared from view as I rounded the corner.