Authors: Christelle Mirin
Bonding Camp 4
The Ties That Bond
Rhonda Rhodes loves her single life and enjoys participating in the bonding camps the firm holds at their upstate retreat. Taking the weekend off, she travels to the compound only to be surprised to meet one of the firm’s associates she hasn’t met before, Jack Cragen. Their first meeting is very exposing, but Rhonda soon finds there’s something about this man, a connection she’s never felt for anyone before, that goes straight to her soul.
When Jack meets Rhonda leisurely soaking in the hot tub at the compound, he’s struck by her outgoing personality. Inviting Morgan and Rodgers to join them, Jack and Rhonda get to know each other intimately.
Rhonda and Jack find they have a bond, one strong enough to last a lifetime. As they quickly find the one thing that had been missing in their life, they fall in love deeply and Rhonda finds out what the ties are that bond one person to another.
Contemporary, Ménage a Trois/Quatre
Bonding Camp 4
MENAGE AND MORE
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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IMPRINT: Ménage and More
THE TIES THAT BOND
E-book ISBN: 978-1-61926-888-3
First E-book Publication: July 2012
Cover design by Jinger Heaston
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The Ties That Bond
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THE TIES THAT BOND
Bonding Camp 4
Copyright © 2012
“How does that feel?”
Rhonda groaned in delight and smiled, keeping her eyes closed as she stretched on the massage table, the scent of lavender filling her nostrils. “It feels wonderful, Missy. Thanks so much.” She opened her eyes and pushed up with her hands.
“If you like, I could do a bit more for you,” Missy said, leaning down to her face level and giving her a wink.
Rhonda chuckled. “You know I’m only into men, Missy. But if I was interested in women, you would be the first one I’d hit on.” She rose to a sitting position, her legs dangling off the side of the massage table. “Do you know how many are expected this weekend?” she asked, pulling up the large, fluffy towel to cover herself. It was late Friday night, the whole weekend ahead of her. Starting it off with a massage was perfect. Next was a nice soak and a glass of wine then off for some much needed sleep.
It had been a busy week at the firm, and she was sure some of the members would escape to this paradise in the woods of upstate New York. The compound the firm owned was great for weekend getaways and for corporate bonding camps. Private and secluded, no one who spent any time here needed to worry about being seen or found. That’s why she was here this weekend. She had needed to get away from the busy office and her duties as the executive secretary to the partners. Sometimes, she just wanted to let down her hair—literally.
“I’m not sure how many are booked for this weekend,” Missy said, toweling the massage oils from her hands. “I think Morgan and Grace will be here. And of course, me and Rodgers. Rachel is off this weekend and spending it in town with her new beau.” Missy grinned.
Rhonda slid off the edge off the massage table, slinging the long train of the towel behind her. “I heard about Rachel and Joe. He’s a nice boy. I liked him from day one.” She shuffled over to the small fridge and pulled out a bottle of water. “They make a nice couple.”
Missy picked up the used towels, bundling them in her arms. “They do.” She hugged the soiled towels to her stomach. “When are you going to find your perfect mate, Rhonda?”
Rhonda almost choked on the mouthful of water she struggled to swallow. Coughing, she swiped the back of her hand over her mouth. “You’re too funny. I gave up on finding Mr. Right a long time ago. I’ve just never really felt connected to anyone.” She shrugged. “You know, you need to be…what’s the word?”
Rhonda snapped her fingers. “Exactly. You’d think I would come up with that word, being here and all.” She took another long drink of the water, finishing the bottle. She tossed it in the trash can at the side of the fridge and whipped the huge towel from around her, handing it to Missy. “Here you go.” She padded over to the small closet and pulled out a thick white robe. Wrapping it around herself, she tied the belt tightly. “I’m heading for the pool house. I’m going to have a soak in the hot tub before bed.”
Missy shoved the used towels into a tall wicker hamper. “Don’t fall asleep in there,” she warned. “You’re pretty relaxed from the massage, and I’d hate for you to boil yourself in the hot tub if you happened to doze off.”
“Don’t worry,” Rhonda said, slipping her feet into some flip-flops. “I’ll be fine.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow then,” Missy called after her.
“Good night.” Rhonda exited the spa and made her way through the silent building into the pool area. The lighting was dim, the bluish glow coming from beneath the water of the swimming pool. The smell of chlorine floated through the air, obvious but not too strong. The hot tub was at the far end of the building, past the pool. She stopped by a long, narrow table that was butted up against one wall and grabbed two nicely folded towels. Tucking them under her arm, she padded across the tile floor, admiring the clear sparkling water of the pool as she passed by.
She loved it here at the compound and came to spend some time every chance she got. When she was here, she felt fully alive, able to let herself go any way she pleased. And everyone here loved pleasing everyone else. Rhonda smiled, slipping her robe off and laying it, along with the two towels, on one of the chairs near the hot tub. She kicked her flip-flops underneath the chair and turned toward the gurgling, warm water.
Kneeling down, she dipped her foot into the water. “Mmm,” she murmured, sliding her whole body into the gurgling liquid. Warmth wrapped around her naked body. She reached over and hit the button to start the jets and settled into the lounge chair formed in the side of the hot tub. Bubbles swirled around her, caressing her skin like a million butterfly kisses. Rhonda closed her eyes and laid her head back, not caring that the hair at the nape of her neck was getting damp. The heat from the water began to infuse her already-relaxed muscles. All she needed now was a glass of wine and maybe a man to keep her company.
Rhonda let her mind drift. She wished she knew who was going to be here this weekend. There was no bonding camp scheduled. She was the one who did the scheduling, and they didn’t have another one coming up for a few weeks. Rhonda truly enjoyed working for Cane, Moss, and White, the law firm. The partners were amazing to work for, and the philosophy of bonding camp seemed to work. Their firm fully understood each other and shared a bond she’d never seen before. With each new associate, one of the partners would schedule a bonding camp session to get the newly hired person comfortable with everyone at the firm. Sometimes, they couldn’t schedule it right away, but they did as soon as they could. All the partners didn’t attend at the same time either. But it didn’t matter. They had never had anyone shy away from the chance to go to bonding camp, not anyone who wanted to work for them anyway.
She had found out, though, that if a certain person was uncomfortable with engaging in bonding camp, the firm didn’t force them. They gave them a certain length of time, negotiated in the contract of course, and if at the end of that time the new associate still didn’t want to attend bonding camp, they were given the option of working in the research department of the firm or taking a reasonable severance package. It wasn’t that the firm was very insistent about bonding. It was because they wanted to present a solidly tuned front in the courtroom, and bonding camp was what they’d found to make it happen. The partners were always fair, and when an associate came to work for them, as long as they did their job, they were paid accordingly and treated as well as the others, even if they didn’t attend bonding camp. Rhonda had only known of two people in the five years she’d had this job who had not attended.
“Stop thinking about work,” she murmured, letting her arms float up on the top of the water as the bubbles tickled them.
“You shouldn’t think too much about work when you’re here,” a very deep male voice commented.
Rhonda didn’t recognize the voice. She opened her eyes and sat up a bit. “Uh, hello? Can I help you?” She’d never seen this man, and here she was, naked and at a disadvantage. She wasn’t scared or embarrassed, only for the fact that anyone who was on this compound was associated with the firm, and that made her feel safe.
“Mind if I share your hot tub?” He held each end of a towel he had draped around his neck and gave her a wide smile. He did have a pair of swim trunks on, but still, he was a very handsome man.
“If you don’t mind sharing with a naked woman,” she said, smiling back at him.
“Are you kidding?” He laughed and tossed his towel on one of the chairs at the edge of the tub. “How about I get naked, too. Just so you don’t feel at a disadvantage?” He cocked his head.
Rhonda waved a hand at him. “Be my guest.”
This could become interesting.
She watched as he slid the black swim trunks down his sculpted thighs. He was easy on the eyes. That was for sure. His tousled, brown hair, cut just above the ears, and solid jawline accented green eyes that almost glowed with intelligence. His chest was wide and his abs toned. His biceps bulged, and there was a tattoo of some sort on one of them, military maybe. He stepped out of his trunks and turned to toss them toward his towel. Rhonda raised a hand to cover her smile when she saw the white skin of his gorgeous butt. It always tickled her a bit to see a man who was tan all over except where his briefs or trunks covered him. A white butt was comical, she thought. But this particular butt was delicious also.