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Authors: Melanie Shawn

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BOOK: Scandalous
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“Duly noted,” Cristal said dryly.

“And, just to be clear...” Raiza continued, “by 'take advantage' I DO mean have hot monkey sex in every room of this house.”

With that last statement, she gave Cristal a quick hug and disappeared down the walkway.

Cristal closed the door and turned around to lean her back against it. She wasn’t sure if this assignment was going to last for a few days or a few weeks. But she was sure that even
thinking
about having hot monkey sex with Dominic was not going to make it go by any faster.

 

Chapter Four

Dominic sat next to Cristal on the couch, the two of them facing Red. She had barely spoken to him since he had gotten home that night. Besides letting him know that Red was coming over, he had basically been getting the silent treatment.

As he watched her interact with Red, he felt a twinge of jealousy. Not because he thought for even a single minute that there was anything going on between the two of them, but just because of how relaxed she was around him. She was open and funny. They had been cracking each other up since Red had arrived over a half an hour ago.

God, he'd kill to have that kind of easy rapport with Cristal! It only irritated him to see her share it with someone else.

“OK, yeah,” he jumped in, “So, not to rush this along or anything, but what’s going on? Why the sudden need for a face to face?”

Both Cristal and Red looked at him strangely. He knew he probably sounded cranky but, guess what? He
was
cranky, and they weren’t helping his mood.

“Right...well, I guess we should get down to it then,” Red said, nodding, then continued, “Look. I know that I've been talking about retiring for a while now, and I've talked to you both about the possibility of selling when the time is right. So, just to be fair, I wanted you both to hear it from me at the same time: I think that time has come. Are either of you still interested in buying?”

“Yes!” They both replied, eagerly and in unison.

Red, who was in his late sixties, was a very fit man whose only real sign of age was his white hair. He had been nicknamed 'Red' because in his youth he had sported a head full of bright red hair. From the pictures Dominic had seen, his hair had turned to a dark auburn when he was a young man...but like all great nicknames, the moniker had stuck to him longer than the attribute it was based on had.

Red sat in front of them both now, smiling happily. Dominic could see that – although it irritated him and he was
sure
it frustrated Cristal that the two of them were now going to be in a bidding war – the news that they would be vying for the company was nothing short of music to Red's ears.

“Alright, well, that’s good to hear,” Red enthused, grinning ear to ear, “I don’t want some stranger coming in, and I wasn’t sure if either of you was still interested…”

“I’m
more
than interested,’’ Cristal interrupted, “I’ll have an offer on your desk first thing in the morning.”

“Same here,” Dominic quickly interjected. As the words came out of his mouth, he could practically hear Cristal taunting him, calling him a copy-cat. But he didn’t care. He wanted Red to know how serious he was about this. He loved working for Red, but if that was no longer going to be an option, he sure as hell didn’t want to work for anyone else.

Even Cristal’s fine ass.

He respected the hell out of Red and had no problems taking orders from him. But normally Dominic didn’t do real well with authority. This partially explained why he had ultimately had to part ways with the military. Of course, a man of his skills, they had done everything they could to hang onto him. But, in the end, he just couldn't stomach swallowing all that mindless authority anymore.

Now, he would possibly have the opportunity to be his own boss entirely. It was almost too good to be true. Not only that, he knew he'd be good at it. Damn good. He was certain that, given the opportunity, he could pick up where Red was leaving off and continue to grow the business at a steady clip.

Taking his comment as some kind of a challenge, Cristal quickly came back with, “I can have an offer to you tonight.”

Red smiled, clearly amused, “Now, now, that’s not necessary. The sale isn’t going to happen that quickly. Besides, you're going to be on assignment tonight.”

“What? Do I have a meet time with the Congressman already?” Cristal sounded alarmed.

“No, no, not that case. This is just a PB&J. Husband suspects wife of indecent activity with co-worker. We’ve had eyes on her for a few days now and know she is meeting said ‘co-worker’ at The Cheesecake Factory tonight. Since you're both already playing man and wife, you can kill two birds with one stone. Cristal, if you're being followed, all the better. You'll be seen having dinner with your husband, and you two might be able to get what we need on the wife at the same time.”

Dominic nodded. He was fine with a PB&J, which was PI jargon for a basic, straightforward investigation - Peanut Butter and Jelly. You didn’t get much blander than that. Also, it was pretty standard procedure to use a man and woman for cases like this because you could blend more easily as a couple. Particularly in a restaurant setting, singles stood out. Only groups and couples could blend in.

Dominic smiled to himself. This new assignment would also mean that Cristal would have to be in the same vicinity with him for the entire evening. No hiding in her room. He knew for a fact that she was up this morning before he left for work. He could sense her in there, listening to his movements, waiting for him to leave.

Well, tonight she would
have
to talk to him…he hoped.

 

--- ~ ---

 

The Cheesecake Factory was packed, and Cristal was currently standing with her back pressed tightly up against Dominic’s hard body. He rested his hand possessively at her waist. When he had first placed it there, she had tried to raise an objection. He had squelched that by leaning down and whispering in her ear, reminding her seductively that she was his wife.

Cristal had dropped the protest at that point, not so much because she agreed with Dominic's reasoning, but because her breath had caught in her throat and she simply couldn't speak.

As if this situation wasn’t bad enough, she was also trying to deal with the fact that when, for a brief moment, she thought that she would be meeting up with the Congressman tonight, and therefore ending this assignment...she had felt like her stomach had dropped down to her toes.

The panic that had gripped her when Red announced that she would be out on assignment tonight was only lessened by hearing that this was an entirely different case. Not only that, but she felt her heart jump at the thought of going out on a ‘date’ with Dominic.

What. The. Hell.

This was getting
entirely
out of hand. She needed to get back to her comfort zone of being in control…quick. She was not handling these mood swings well. She felt fidgety and frustrated.

OK. What were the facts? She dealt well with facts.

Fact number one. She was really enjoying the feeling of being this close to Dominic.

Which sucked.

Fact number two. She would have been very disappointed if this assignment had ended tonight.

Also...not great news.

Fact number three. The one night she had spent with Dominic was INCREDIBLE.

Alrighty then, no need to dwell on fact number three, moving along.

Fact number four. She needed to talk to Dominic.

Well, crap.

She figured that tonight was as good a night as any since she had to be seated across from him while they staked out their target. Might as well fill that time doing something useful.

Cristal scanned the room once more and saw that the woman who they were here watching had not yet met up with her ‘co-worker.’

Dominic leaned in again and whispered, tightness and intensity coming through his low voice, “If you keep rubbing against me like that, we’re not going to make it through dinner.”

Cristal stilled. She hadn’t even realized that she had been moving. Now that she was aware of it, though, she felt Dominic’s hard length against her backside.

Mmmmm....

She remembered every inch of it.

She felt herself start to move again, slowly, sensually, against the deliciously rock solid shaft.

“If you do that one more time,” Dominic said, his voice a ragged whisper and his fingers digging into her hips, “when we get home, I’m going to bend you over the couch, pull
that dress up over your perfect ass, slide your panties down those sexy legs, and then bury myself deep inside of you until you beg for mercy.”

She felt her knees weaken and her belly tighten. Parting her lips, she took in a much needed breath. Oxygen, she told herself, I just need oxygen.

Her body melted against him and she felt a vibration against her back. It took her a moment to register that it was the pager.

“Table’s ready,” Dominic gruffly announced.

Making their way to turn in their pager, Cristal saw that Miss Infidelity’s dinner companion had arrived, and they were already getting up close and personal. Kissing in the foyer. With tongue. Classy.

She retrieved her cell and, pretending to text, snapped several pictures of the offending tongue and its owner.

Cristal scolded herself, knowing that if they hadn’t been alerted that their table was ready, she probably would not have noticed that the 'co-worker' had arrived at the restaurant. Damn! She was
never
easily distracted. She couldn’t believe that, even for a moment, she had forgotten that she was on the job.

That would not happen again.

It
could
not happen again.

 

Chapter Five

As Dominic and Cristal were escorted to their table by a bubbly blond waitress, Dominic tried desperately to get his body under control. Walking around with a hard on in a crowded restaurant was as uncomfortable as it was inappropriate. His valiant efforts paid off. He had just managed to lower the flagpole when they arrived at their designated table.

Cristal slid into the booth, giving him an incredible view of her perfect heart-shaped rear. He closed his eyes, trying in vain to erase the image from his mind. No luck.

Desire quickly returned, flooding through his system like lava in his veins. His fingers itched to touch her, and he tightened his hands into fists. All of his blood was racing to his groin.

Damn man! Come on, you're not some horny teenager, he chided himself. You're a professional. Get a grip.

Shaking his head, he took his place in the booth across from Cristal.

This view of her was not any less appealing, he found. Her silky brown hair fell in a perfect wave across her milky smooth shoulder. Her full lips screamed for attention, and they were certainly getting it from him. He wanted to crush her against his chest and press his lips to her luscious, plump ones. He eyed her pouty lower lip and imagined tracing his tongue along it, and then lightly nipping it with his teeth.

“Well, they’re not wasting any time,” Cristal said, excitement lacing her voice. Her body tensed like that of a bird of prey who had a quarry in its sights.

She pulled out her phone and began to nonchalantly pretend to text as she actually snapped photos and took video clips of the woman they had been hired to follow.

“You have a visual?” Dominic asked, all business, and worked to keep his tone neutral. He didn't want it infused with the sexual charge he was currently battling. He didn't want her to realize the power she had over him.

“Affirmative,” Cristal said triumphantly, and placed her phone flat on the table, sliding it over to him.

Dominic glanced down and saw the photo. It showed their mark, seated in a secluded booth and engaged in a full lip lock with her “co-worker.”

“It still blows my mind that people who are messing around go to public places. Sure, it makes our job easier, but come on...The Cheesecake Factory? Why would you risk it?” Cristal shook her head as she pulled her phone back, ready to record any further transgressions for posterity.

“I think sometimes the danger of being caught adds to the heat, the drama. It's usually not about anything more than excitement,” Dominic said. He shook his head. He had always thought that if you needed to go outside your relationship to get your kicks, it was time to find a new relationship. But if people did that...well, then half of his income would disappear, so que sera sera.

The waitress came and took their orders. It was clear during the process that she only had eyes for Dominic – quite literally. She looked at him even while Cristal gave her order, and directed questions about Cristal's salad to Dominic.

Dominic, who was used to such attention just as he assumed Cristal must be used to it from members of the opposite sex, found the whole encounter amusing. He barely gave it a second thought.

What did catch his attention, however, was the sudden stiffening of Cristal's posture.

BOOK: Scandalous
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