OPEN IN PRIVATE is available from The Wilder Roses (the Scarlet Rose line of erotic romance from The Wild Rose Press) www.wilderroses.com and other online venues in various ebook formats.
As a personal shopper, Charlene Vance values her professional association with long time client Parker Simmons. But at the meeting to discuss the list for this year's Christmas purchases, she learns that Parker is divorced and the ex-wife is off his list. When lunch leads to dessert between the sheets, Charlene is eager to move their relationship beyond good business and incredible sex.
Parker Simmons doesn't want anything more permanent than what's on the menu for today. But Charlene's enthusiasm to experiment in bed satisfies his darker appetites and suddenly he's craving more. Parker might need her help with holiday gift ideas but he's got his own shopping agenda. On his list? Gifts only for Charlene -- to open in private.
Read excerpt #1 PG (Publisher's excerpt)
Read excerpt #2 R Adult-rated (first kiss)
Read excerpt #3 G (her fears)
Read excerpt #4 PG (after thoughts)
Read excerpt #5 R-rated (one step at a time)
Read excerpt #6 G-rated (why are you here?)
Excerpt #1 PG (Publisher's excerpt)
"Everything looks so good. I think I'll have the shrimp salad." Carli closed her menu and set it on the table.
Everything looks good to me, too, and I don't mean the food. "I'm going to have the chicken carbonara... and a glass of wine with my lunch. Would you join me?"
"Well, I usually don't drink during business meetings, but yes," she extended a sparkling smile, "I'd like that. A chardonnay."
He placed their lunch order with the waiter, then returned his attention to her. "We've had a very nice business relationship for five years. You obviously know a lot about me from doing my shopping, but I don't really know that much about you personally, other than you have great taste, are very intelligent, and have a good sense of humor."
The waiter arrived with the bottle of wine Parker had ordered. After opening the bottle, he poured each of them a glass, put the bottle in the ice bucket, and left.
Parker raised his glass toward Carli in a toast. "Here's to another successful Christmas holiday season." He tilted his head and raised a questioning eyebrow. "And perhaps to an even closer working relationship?" Maybe something hot and naked in a big bed?
"I'd like that, too."
Excerpt #2 R-rated (first kiss)
He took the last swallow of his champagne, then set the empty glass on the coffee table.
She picked up the glass as she rose to her feet. "I'll get you a refill."
He grabbed her hand to stop her. "Maybe later."
He pulled her down onto the sofa, their bodies almost touching. A tremor of anticipation rippled through her reality and settled in her pussy. Was he making a move on her? If not, then why not? Did she dare become the aggressor?
The spontaneous thought shocked her. Was she really that horny or was it specifically Parker Simmons who had her blood pulsing? Sexual tension had been leaping between them all evening. She had caught him staring at her on a couple of occasions in a very non-platonic way. Reality or only her wishful thinking?
Then all speculation came to a screeching halt when he leaned closer. The moment his mouth touched her lips, hot sexual energy surged through her body, replacing the speculation and anticipation. Her pussy tingled. A shortness of breath caught in her lungs. The magnitude of his mesmerizing presence enveloped her like a sensual cloak... a sensual cloak plugged into an electrical outlet.
A searing arc of excitement sizzled between them, followed by a sexual intensity that told her, client or not, she wanted him in a way so much more intimate than she had even wanted another man. She wanted him in every way possible. And she wanted him now.
Excerpt #3 G-rated (her fears)
All her insecurities from the past returned with a vengeance, everything that plagued her following her divorce came rushing back. Would he think less of her for instantly jumping into bed with him? Would she be able to satisfy the needs and desires of such a dynamic man? Would he be disappointed in her as a lover? And the reality constantly lurking in the back of her mind... could her actions tonight have an adverse impact on their future business relationship?
Then another reality intruded into her apprehension, one that overruled her concerns. He was a man who could be trustedâ€”an honorable man. Exactly the type of man with whom she wanted to spend her life.
She had secretly lusted after Parker Simmons for a long time, too long to allow this opportunity to be denied.
Excerpt #4 PG-rated (after thoughts)
She had been through a divorce and remembered all the uncertainty and anxiety of rejoining the dating scene. Her biggest concern at the time had centered on ending up in another bad relationship in her effort to fill that recently created void in her life and chase away the loneliness. Could that also be a concern for Parker? Would it be inappropriate for her to bring it up? When she arrived at Parker's office at eleven o'clock that morning, it never entered her mind he would be in her bed that night. Had he been as surprised as she was by the sequence of events?
He interrupted her thought when he slipped back into bed and wrapped his arms around her. She shivered slightly as she ran her hand across his chest. "You let in the cold air." She pulled the blanket up around her shoulders.
A teasing grin tugged at the corners of his mouth. "I'm sure I can help you with that." He brushed a sexy kiss across her lips.
She dropped her voice to a sensual whisper. "What did you have in mind?"
Excerpt #5 R-rated (one step at a time)
He rubbed his hand across the back of his neck as he stood up. "I'm sorry. I seem to be totally fucking this up." He picked up his jacket from where he had draped it across the back of a chair the night before and withdrew an envelope from the inside pocket. He held it out to her.
"I went over the Christmas list you gave me and made all the appropriate changes. Here's this year's revised holiday shopping list."
Carli took the envelope from his hand. "Thank you." She whispered the words as she closed her eyes for a moment in an attempt to clear her mind. She had never been involved in a more confusing or convoluted conversation, at least not in the last seven years since her divorce.
Parker had just given her the go ahead on Christmas, so he obviously didn't intend to terminate their business arrangement. But what about the fact that they had spent an incredible night engaged in hot sex followed the next morning by uncertainty and awkwardness? How did that factor into things?
"I, uh, I think it might be better if I didn't stay for breakfast. Apparently my actions and words have upset you even though that was the farthest thing from my intention." He stared at the floor, his brow wrinkled in concentration as if he were trying to decide what to say. "We seem to be veering off in a wrong direction."
She felt her eyes widen in surprise, the same shock that ran rampant through her reality. "What do you mean?"
"Maybe it would be better if we stepped back for a little bit and took a fresh look at what's going on." He placed a tender kiss on her lips, allowing the physical contact to linger for a moment. "I'll call you."
She watched in stunned silence as he walked out the front door. She heard his car start, but it seemed like several minutes before she heard him drive away. Almost as if he had sat there for a while considering his options.
Excerpt #6 G-rated (why are you here?)
The doorbell stopped her half way across the room. A wave of irritation rippled through her in response to the unwanted interruption. She was in no mood for company, especially her neighbor two doors down the street who seemed to always be out of something and needed to borrow from her just until she could get to the store. There had been so many times Carli wanted to suggest that she go to the store now. Or better yet, tell her next time to make sure she had all the ingredients before she started cooking something. And today was definitely one of those times.
She took a calming breath to settle her annoyance, then opened the door.
Shock... elation... anger. She stared in stunned silence when her gaze landed on Parker. Frozen to the spot, unable to move, incapable of doing anything other than continuing to stare. Confusion ran rampant. Her heartbeat jumped into high gear. She experienced a shortness of breath. Was it possible for him to be even more desirable than when she last saw him a week ago?
"May I come in?" He flashed a sexy smile even though his eyes held a degree of uncertainty, something akin to hesitation. In spite of that, the sound of his smooth voice lulled her into a state of compliance. She stepped aside and motioned him in.
Parker closed the door behind him. He immediately noticed her nervousness, a condition matching his own anxiety. So many times during the last week, he had started toward her house, then changed his mind. He wanted the feel of her body next to his, to have her folded in his embrace, to taste her lips. But instead, he had settled for phoning her twice and not saying anything relevant. And now, he fought his urge to pull her into his arms and claim her mouth as his with an all-consuming kiss.
"I'm, uh, surprised to see you. Why are you here?" Her voice carried a full measure of apprehension.