smiled against my temple. "At least grab my ass."
His arms tightened around me and my entire body pressed into his—separated by only the thin layer of gunmetal jersey and my flesh-tone thong. I felt every inch of his muscular form. My goosebumps got goosebumps.
I gathered every last ounce of courage and raised my hands to his hips. Resting just below his belt. Slowly, I started to slide them back—
"May I have everyone's attention please," Jawbreaker's booming voice thankfully stopped me before I lost all sense of public propriety. "If you would all adjourn to the dining room, dinner is ready."
The dozens of other people in the room—none of whom I had noticed in my fixation on Phelps and the KYs—started shuffling off in the direction of the palatial dining room.
Phelps held me captive.
"Grab my ass," he demanded.
"No," I countered, watching warily as the KYs slithered out of the room. "We have to go in to dinner."
"Grab my ass," he commanded.
"Phelps, really. No one's even here—"
"If you want this scam to work," he interrupted, "we have to act like a couple in love, right?"
I nodded—anything to get him to release me from the captivity of his arms and his attraction. His sweet compliments were weakening me, and he was starting to look far too Bubblicious for my health.
"I can tell you right now, I'm a very physical person and it's not going to look the part if we're not comfortable with each other's bodies." He sounded so logical. So clinical. So businesslike. "Suck it up and grab my ass."
I was almost relieved by the return of the smart-ass.
Reaching around with both hands, I forcibly grabbed his cheeks—"How's that?"—and clenched.
Unfortunately, so did he.
My mind, which had not yet had the opportunity to appraise his derriere, came up with a very vivid image of the flesh in my palms. Holy Hot Tamales!
As if caught suddenly holding a flaming pineapple, I released him and stepped back. Two steps.
"Perfect," he drawled. "Now let's go in to dinner."
He held out one perfectly angled arm which I took out of habit. But my mind burned with the memory of his tight behind. And fantasizing about seeing it in the flesh— er, in person very soon.
I might have walked into the dining room with my shoulders drooped in resignation if he hadn't pinched my butt again.
The hallmark of the first night of the Summer Sail Away is the beach bonfire. Twenty foot flames I was sure could be seen all the way from the Montauk lighthouse, generous amounts of champagne, and a club DJ spinning techno, jazz, and dance music.
Though I would have loved nothing more than to doff my heels and wade into the moonlit surf, I had to use this opportunity to network. Only about one-third of the guests were here, and I had better odds at face time than I would for the next two days.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Phelps dancing with one of the VPs wives. Typical middle-aged, upper class housewife, starved for the thrill of dancing with a gorgeous man young enough to be her son.
For an instant, I saw a reflection of what my life might have been if I hadn't found Gavin between his secretary's thighs.
I shuddered at the thought and again counted my blessings that I got to the sour center of that sucker before the wedding.
Too many women don't find out until it's too late for even pre-nups to help.
Turning from the sight of my future in an alternate universe, I found my first target. Alberto Vermicelli, VP of European Sales.
In the ten-year plan I devised when I came on board at Ferrero, his job was year nine. Currently in year six, I should already have Jawbreaker's job—or at least be junior VP of Something—but I hoped to make that goal soon.
Pulling off my heels to make my way across the sand, I let them dangle from one hand as I approached Alberto.
"Alberto, how nice to see you." I kissed both his cheeks in the Italian tradition and he took my hands in his.
" Caro , I am so happy you are here." He
Linda Evans Shepherd and Eva Marie Everson