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Authors: Ava McKnight

Tags: #Erotica

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BOOK: Right Moves
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Taylor, Giselle and Cherish, however, did. They were three attractive, intelligent women caught in the mousetrap, wishing they were socialites like our readers, but not having been born or married into families that held the coveted key to the society door.

I, on the other hand, had been born into the upper echelon and held my own key, though I very rarely used it. The Richie Rich types had never appealed to me. That, of course, made it ironic that I tripped over my own tongue when it came to Jack Reed. Then again… He didn’t really fit the Richie Rich image any more than I did. Well, he did have a house in Troon North, I’d just learned. That screamed status without saying a word. And yes, his athletic club was like the Taj Mahal of workout facilities. But the man himself was…down to earth. Vibrant. Passionate. Determined. Sweet.

I grinned as I thought of how he’d invited me to his party. A cocky millionaire would not have been the least bit tentative. Nor would he have needed me to clarify whether I’d attend his soiree in a professional or a personal capacity. He’d have assumed I’d be there only for him. I’d grown up with enough of that kind to know this.

Without having anyone to share my delight over my impending social engagement, I forced myself to continue working. A giddy smile refused to leave my lips, though, and I stopped typing every ten minutes or so to marvel over the fact that Jack Reed had asked me out…and to pat myself on the back for actually having the guts to accept his invitation.

Chapter Two


Four days was not enough time to gain ten pounds. I realized most women would not empathize with me, but as I stood in front of the full-length mirror in my bathroom, I wished a five-thousand-calorie-a-day diet wouldn’t make me hurl, because I could use some help in the bust and butt areas. I wasn’t exactly flat in front or back. But both features were more pebbles in the road than speed bumps. Even at thirty, I was afraid I was too cutesy Taylor Swift when I wanted to be sexy Sofia Vergara.

Surveying myself from every angle, I decided black pants and a satin blouse in pewter didn’t help my plight any more than a skirt would, so I stripped off the outfit and went straight for the navy-colored dress I’d worn to a fundraiser at the Botanical Gardens last year. The thin straps were made of dazzling crystals and the bodice was fitted, yet modestly cut. The hem of the skirt sat just above my knobby knees, concealing enough of my thighs to keep me from feeling too self-conscious. What made the dress so spectacular was the dip in the back. The material draped along my waist, exposing my shoulder blades and spine.

I knew it wouldn’t be too excessive for Jack’s party, given the location and guest list, but I suffered a few moments of doubt as I pondered the message a dress like this sent out on such an occasion. As I contemplated this, I realized I wanted the dress to send a message. No… I
it to send a message, because there was absolutely no way in hell I could do it myself. And the truth was, I wanted Jack to find me alluring. I wanted him to make a move on me.

The honesty of those sentiments propelled me into a mini panic attack that I had to ride out before I could slip into my shoes, lest I fall right out of the three-inch heels. I rushed into the bathroom and sat at the vanity, wishing I had a paper bag to breathe into as I started to hyperventilate. Even applying my lip gloss was a challenge as my hand shook.

I had very little experience with dating and even less experience with sex. The most action I’d gotten was when Michael Hadley, the boy my father had hoped I’d eventually marry, had rented
Eyes Wide Shut
and fingered my pussy during a particularly arousing scene and had then made love to me as the eroticism on screen had escalated. I’d been twenty-one and had responded in a very enthusiastic way. But then the usual doom and gloom of emotional attachments had cast its shadow on me, and I’d not returned his calls the next couple of days. He’d given up and had called Shelby Tyson a month or so later. They were currently expecting their third child, and Michael was hopelessly devoted to his family.

I’d missed a good one, no doubt about it. A huge part of me didn’t want to miss another one, and Jack Reed felt like my second chance. I still wanted to believe in the notion of
the one
. Not that I’d had enough time with Jack at this point to think of him in those terms. But I wanted to keep the option open. I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity and see what transpired.

Unfortunately, I still feared that even finding
the one
wouldn’t keep him from inevitably leaving me.

Of course, I hated that thought as it popped into my head. Negativity begets negativity, and I preferred to run in the opposite direction.

In order to calm my nerves, I resigned myself to accepting I was making way too much out of a first date with Jack. But the thing was…I’d known other men over the years who’d wanted to ask me out, yet who had easily read the silent signals that told them I didn’t want them to. I suspected there’d been no such signal resonating from me when I’d met Jack, and that’s what had encouraged him. I wanted to continue encouraging him—and maybe leave my negativity behind me for good.

So I didn’t change the dress. With a somewhat steadier hand, I glided the wand of neutral-colored gloss over my lips, pinned my long strawberry-blonde hair at the nape of my neck, leaving a few loosely curled tendrils here and there, and tucked the essentials into my small clutch. Then I dug the silver strappy sandals I hadn’t worn since last year out of the closet and slipped into them. I was ready when the driver arrived and rang the bell, and I let exhilaration over seeing Jack push out insecure thoughts about me not being enough for him.

The drive to Jack’s wasn’t a lengthy one, since I lived below the elevated Troon North area in Grayhawk Estates. The house the Town Car pulled in front of was a phenomenal one, made primarily of glass with medium-colored wood accents. It was stunning and my nerves kicked into high gear again as I ascended the steps to the wide, open deck. The sudden return of my tension and apprehension confirmed I had more of a thing for Jack than casual interest. This was not the kind of place to intimidate me, breathtaking though it was. But it was Jack’s house and that was what made my knees nearly knock together.

I fought the natural compulsion to nibble my lower lip as I pressed the buzzer alongside the glass door. Behind the immaculate panes, I saw guests mingling beneath the elaborate chandeliers. The decor was crisp and clean, with white furniture to complement the polished hardwood floors. A wide suspended split staircase led to the second floor. I could see through the living room all the way out to the back deck. The house would have seemed monumentally short on privacy were it not set in such a secluded and prestigious area, and gated with a security code for access.

A server carrying a tray with three glasses of champagne balanced on it opened the door and greeted me with a crystal flute.

I accepted the offering as I stepped inside. I spotted Jack immediately, engrossed in conversation with a few notables from the Phoenix Cardinals. I caught his eye and he grinned, lifting his chin in acknowledgement. I gave a quick wave of my fingers as my stomach fluttered and a smile became permanently tattooed on my lips.

I turned away so he could finish his conversation without feeling obligated to leave his guests and come rushing over to me. There were plenty of hors d’oeuvres being passed around, so I lifted a toothpick speared through duck rumaki from a silver tray and wandered about, taking the place in. I stopped at a media center tucked into one of the far corners and my eyes narrowed on a stack of magazines. Upon closer inspection, I discovered Jack had collected about two years’ worth of
Scottsdale Live
magazine, which would date right around the time I’d started writing for the monthly publication.


His voice came from behind me and I jumped at the sound of it. Glancing over my shoulder, still wearing that ridiculous smile, I said, “Yes, you are. What are you doing with all these magazines?”

“I confess, I’m a huge fan. Gwen brought an issue into the gym ten or twelve months ago and I read one of your features. I liked it so much, I ordered back copies of all your work. Well,” he admitted with a coy grin, “your picture at the end of each story was a big draw too.”

I stared at him a moment, shocked. Through the lust-induced haze immediately created from his close proximity, I managed to latch on to a small nugget.

“Ten or twelve months ago?” I asked. “And you just called me last week to work on an article?”

“What can I say?” He gave a slight shrug that was both modest and charming. “I’m one of those deliberators. You know, the type who has to chew on something for months on end before I’ll act. That’s why it took so long to get my ass off the bench and work out so I could play ball. It’s why I waited until a year and a half ago to open ProAth, when I’d dreamed of doing it when I was twenty. It’s the reason I just had this house built, when I knew years ago where I wanted to live and what I wanted the house to look like. The moment has to be right for me.”

“So… You were deliberating over me?” I wasn’t sure how to take that, exactly, but my heart seemed to find it a beautiful sentiment, because it beat a bit stronger, causing my pulse to race.

Jack took my empty champagne glass from me and the now bare toothpick and set them on a side table. His warm hands engulfed the one of mine that had previously held the flute and he said, his jewel-toned eyes sparkling under the soft lighting, “The thing is, it takes me a really long time to make up my mind about something. But once I do… I’m all about getting the ball rolling.”


I was fairly close to melting at his feet.

He leaned toward me and I got another intoxicating sniff of his cologne and male heat. As he whispered in my ear, a tremor rippled through my body. “You don’t have to say anything. Just let me show you around, okay?”

I nodded. It wasn’t that I was totally at a loss for words. I simply didn’t want to ruin such a perfect moment, and I was innately inclined to do such when thrown for a loop. So I let him wrap my fingers around the hard biceps of one of his arms. He covered my hand with his again as it gripped his muscles and we were off, touring his magnificent home. The gourmet kitchen was to die for, though he admitted lacking culinary skills. Cooking classes were on his to-do list.

The living room was a vast, open expanse of hardwood floor and strategically placed furniture. With a self-deprecating laugh, he said, “Way over the top, isn’t it?”

“Yes. But I like it.”

He introduced me to his friends and clients, all of them quite obviously big fans of his. That wasn’t a surprise to me, but it was nice to see how favorably people responded to Jack. He was just as courteous and respectful in turn, and I liked him even more for his social grace.

We wound our way through the partygoers and strolled out to the enormous back terrace.

“This is what I wanted to show you most,” he told me.

He led me across the redwood deck—where patio furniture, an outdoor kitchen and a large fire pit were in high demand—to the glass-and-steel railing that encompassed the deck. Miles and miles of city lights stretched before us, but we were surrounded on the sides and behind us by mountains.

It was a heart-stopping vision.

A bit awestruck, I jokingly said, “I thought the Four Seasons Resort had the corner market on this view.”

“They allowed me a little slice of their pie.”

I admired the sights around me while he seemed to admire
. Though plenty of people milled about and jazz music filled the desert night air, I felt like I had Jack all to myself. He disentangled himself from me, but stood close by at the railing, so our bodies touched. He placed his hand at the small of my back, an intimate gesture, especially given all the bare skin, though his hand lingered just below the drape of material. His gaze was solely on me, as though he saw no one else. In that moment, I fell a little bit in love with the enigmatic Jack Reed.

The city lights twinkled below us and a warm spring breeze ruffled his already sexily mussed blond hair and billowed the crisp white dress shirt he’d paired with black pants. When his fingers on my back moved upward to the exposed skin, an electric current ran through every inch of me. His fingertips lightly grazed my spine and I swayed under the spell he cast. He leaned in close to me, his chest pressed to my shoulder to steady me.

“There’s a view similar to this I’d like to show you. It’s even prettier. Being a nature buff, I think you’ll enjoy it.”

He knew things about me and it made me smile up at him. He’d obviously taken the time to read my bio in the magazine.

“Okay,” I said.

He hesitated a moment, then added, “It’s upstairs.”

Meaning we’d be leaving the party for a more private and intimate setting. This gave me pause as well. I continued to gaze up at him, seeing as much respect for me in his green eyes as desire. The latter sent a wicked thrill through my body, while the former eased my tension a bit. He wasn’t coaxing me upstairs to his bedroom. He wanted to show me the view from the second level and I knew it would be a stellar one.

I was, however, forced to question whether I
Jack to coax me into his bedroom. Into his bed, to be exact.

Yes, I’d thought earlier that the dress might inspire him to make a move on me. Give him the green light, as it were. But had I really considered what that would mean in the grand scheme of things? Probably not. The reality was a little more nerve-racking than I’d expected.

Yet at the same time… I couldn’t deny all those desires I’d acknowledged earlier. In fact, I wanted Jack even more now.

So I threw caution to the wind.

“Show me another view.”

He grinned at me as he offered his arm again. We took the suspended stairs to the second level and I purposely did not look around to see who watched us wander off together. I suspected discretion was the order of the day here, given the celebrity status involved. But I also knew some might assume Jack and I intended to hook up.

He showed me the two guest suites upstairs, each one bigger than my first condo. Then we entered his room, minimally decorated with a long dresser along the back wall where an oversized archway led to the master bath. A king bed with an intricate wood frame and low headboard sat in the middle of the room, a matching nightstand next to it. The bed faced the wall of windows. Jack flipped a switch and I discovered the windows were double-paned sheets of glass with a waterfall encased within, and a fire feature that created a long line of two-foot-tall flames that ran the width of the wall, stopping short of the glass door Jack held opened for me.

I followed him outside, glancing over my shoulder to see the flickering flames illuminate the water sluicing down the pane behind it. Sofas sat in front of the wall, if one preferred that view. It was spectacular, to be sure. But when I turned back to the sight before me on Jack’s enormous observation deck, I lost my breath.

BOOK: Right Moves
12.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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