Copyright 2008 Lyrical Press, Inc.
So many men, so little time…Ana's been driven to distraction. First in a series of four collections.
Welcome to the world of Ana Welsh, a thirty-something executive with money, a good career, and good friends. The last piece to the puzzle is a good man. Come along with her through the first three of twelve "episodes" featuring new challenges and often, a new lover.
Meet Miguel, Latino bad-boy and musician who twelve years Ana's junior. Siempre Mia follows the couple as they indulge in a night of glamor, sex, and decadence, but what does Ana do when he starts pressuring her for more than their casual relationship?
In Business with Pleasure, Ana crosses paths with Jonathan Locke, a polished businessman from the UK. He's smart, funny, and has a taste for the finer things…especially Ana. A comedy of errors conspires to keep them from consummating their passion for each other.
The final story, Games People Play, Ana happens into an altercation on the street. Darcy Jameson comes to her aid, strolling in like a hero from a B-movie. This white knight quickly proves to have sexy dark side Ana can't wait to help him explore.
"So what do you do, Ms. Welsh, when you are not working or tending to the lackey of your boss's business partner?"
I laughed. "I wouldn't think of you as a lackey, Mr. Locke. By the way, please, call me Ana. Aren't you one of the officers of Desmond Group? The CIO, correct?"
"Correct. And by all means, call me Jonathan." He lit his cigarette. "But you didn't answer my question, Ana."
"Okay, Jonathan. You know, I'm not sure," I replied. "It's been a while since I've done much else besides be an executive. May I?" I motioned toward his cigarette.
"Please, forgive me. I assumed that you, like many Americans, did not smoke." He explained his oversight and removed the pack of cigarettes from his suit pocket again, offering me one.
"No worries. I don't smoke habitually," I said, extracting one and allowing him to light it. "So the question is what do I do in my free time?" I confirmed.
"Yes." He nodded, leveling his gaze at mine.
"Well, once upon a time, when I had free time, there was a bar I liked to go to after work called Basin Street. It's a jazz club, but sometimes they have other music, too. Anyway, I like the atmosphere of the place."
"Would it be too forward of me to ask if you would like to go there after this boring thing is finished?"
I could feel myself reddening yet again. Going out with him was not at all appropriate, and maintaining our business relationship was of the utmost importance. Jonathan's company held a five-year IT service contract with my employer. He would make several more visits to negotiate further proposals and assist with major upgrades. I couldn't afford any tension to exist between us or worse, for him to expect professional favors of me because of our personal interaction. Not to mention the double standard that exists, governing proper sexual conduct from a woman as opposed to the liberty enjoyed by a man.
These considerations aside, a certain devilishness rose inside me. With his undeniable charm and Guy-Pearce-good-looks, I was a goner. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach at the thought of stepping out with him. Not to mention my part-time boyfriend, Miguel, was on the road again, which left me free to do as I pleased. I'd been lost in these thoughts when I realized I owed him a response.
"Well… it would be too forward," I said.
"Forgive me, I thought it might be-"
"But," I interrupted. "I think I'm okay with too forward." I flashed him a mischievous grin.
"Are you now?" He smiled down at me, moving in a little closer.
"Yes, I think I just might be."
He leaned down, whispering in my ear, "We must explore this inclination."
"Yes, I believe we must." I nodded, grinning.
Taking Off: The Red Shoe Collection
Copyright © 2008 Cindy Jacks
All rights reserved, Freya's Bower.
If any designer could create a pair of high heels with the power to change a woman's life, Beth Levine would top that list. Join the Red Shoes as they travel through five decades, appearing in each owner's life at the time she faces a personal crossroads. Though the heels appear as inactive bystanders in the dramas that unfold, Taking Off: The Red Shoe Collection, just might leave you saying, "It must be the shoes...."
Her roommate, Emma, stood and watched Rowena inspect herself in the mirror and apply one more coat of lipstick.
“Gimme a once over?” Rowena asked.
Emma’s expression of mild annoyance didn’t match her tone. “Sure, sure.”
Rowena twirled in her red taffeta dress replete with crinolines. Em’s obvious jealousy painted her face. And why shouldn’t Emma be envious? Rowena felt like the It girl.
Blowing out a long catcall, Emma nodded in approval. “You look beautiful. A knockout.”
“Tonight’s the night, Em. I can feel it.”
“Well make sure you’re the only one who can feel it, Ro, you hear what I’m saying?”
“I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself. And it’s ‘Sabrina’ tonight,” Ro insisted, “Sabrina Sullivan.” Rowena felt clever for aligning herself with the starlet of the day by using alliteration in her first and last name.
Emma’s gaze walked down ‘Sabrina’s’ ensemble, coming to rest upon a divine pair of stiletto heels in scarlet satin.“Oh my.” Em pointed at the beautiful shoes. “Those must’ve cost you a pretty penny.”
“All in the name of fame and fortune.” Sabrina pursed her lips and held out her daintily clad foot for Emma to inspect further.
Sabrina nodded knowing her friend’s question. “They are. They’re Levines.”
“And where did an unemployed actress get the money to buy a pair of Levines?”
Sabrina shrugged with practiced nonchalance.
Emma shook her head. “Just be careful, young lady. Men don’t give presents like that without expecting something in return.”
“Oh, hush. Drake is just a generous guy.”
“Uh huh.” “And tonight he’s introducing me to the same director that made Marilyn a star,” Sabrina said.
Em’s lack of snide response surprised Sabrina. How many times had the woman lectured her about the evils of the movie industry? Emma loved to call Drake a low-level has-been who preyed on naïve girls. But Sabrina wasn’t naïve. She knew exactly what Drake expected of her and she thought it a small price to pay for fame and fortune. What was the big deal? After all, Sabrina was no virgin.
Of course, Sabrina took Em’s admonitions as sour grapes. At thirty-five, her hopes of stardom were long past her. Sabrina would be damned if she’d end up like that. And she wouldn’t wind up as one of Emma’s cautionary tales either. Smart girls knew how to be discreet and not get into trouble. No way Sabrina was buying a bus ticket back to small town Iowa with a bun in the oven. Oh yes, Sabrina’s course was set. It wouldn’t be so bad. Drake was handsome enough, and he reeked of money, which always turned Sabrina on. And if the director wanted to play too, well, so be it. Nothing was going to stop her tonight.
“I’m leaving, Em,” Sabrina called from the foyer.
“Break a leg, shug.”