This book begins with a prologue, however, I've selected the first chapter. Please enjoy this tease from the newly released
Ten years had passed since their college graduation. Tired of the typical class reunion socializing, Rachel stepped into the shadows to sip her wine. To most people, being in a room containing several ex-lovers could be a bit of a downer, but enough time had passed and everyone greeted each other like old friends. The evening consisted of meeting spouses, seeing photos of children, and hearing about various occupational paths. Of course, gossip of divorces topped the conversations.
Some were using the opportunity to network for their careers. The school district she worked for had made some drastic cuts, leaving her jobless. All her belongings were in storage, and she lived out of a suitcase while job hunting. Surely there had to be districts looking for an innovative art teacher. A couple of classmates who held positions as principals offered their business cards with the promise to accept her resume.
A loud shout drew her attention. Members of the championship football team were honored guests at her class reunion. Gazing across one of the finest rooms in the Vegas Castillo Hotel, she watched her twin brother, Bill, ham it up with old friends. He wore a permanent smile as he laughed with his long-lost, but not forgotten, teammates. She suspected after being blessed with fatherhood and a job as a corporate lawyer, he didn’t see much of his college buddies. With animated gestures, they were talking about the season of fame. One fellow gently tossed the championship football with the players’ signatures to a couple of guys. What a rough and burly bunch they still were.
She loved her brother but often wondered if she’d made a mistake going to the same college as him. During their four years, she enjoyed the popularity that went along with being the star quarterback’s sister. She’d tolerated the overbearing nature of her twin who criticized her choice of men, even if she dated one of his close friends. Any man he pushed her toward never seemed to satisfy her and became one more in a string of onenight stands.
Lucky for her, he stayed out of her love life after his wedding. Most of the men she knew had married and settled into neat, scheduled lives. So much had changed over time; once lean, vigorous bodies had given in to the softness of sedimentary lifestyles revolving around their budding families.
One man managed to still have his muscular physique and remain as hot as ever; Dustin “Dusty” Stiles, the legendary linebacker who’d led the team in tackles. Back in the day, the girls on campus considered him the epitome of tall, dark, and hunky. From the stares he received as he walked past them, they still deemed him so. He wore his black tie loosened around the open collar of the white dress shirt tapering down to his narrow waist. Black pants covered the world’s perfect butt and thighs. Polished Durango boots with silver tips reflected his cowboy side.
Rachel had managed to dodge him all night. She’d evaded everything regarding him for years. After college, she left Michigan and her family to move to a small town in New York. She didn’t see much of her brother and always avoided discussing news of his friends, especially after what happened with Dusty after Bill’s wedding.
However, any thoughts of him usually accompanied a self-induced orgasm. No other man she’d dated could compare to him. He pushed her to sexual heights not reached since. She loved what he did to her and hated how he used her. Memories of how she gave in to him time and time again still generated pain in her heart. She missed his friendship, his dominant qualities, and his magical touch. He haunted her.
Time had passed. According to the talk of the night, he’d moved to Wyoming for work as an engineer on the wind turbines but ended up making a fortune when oil was discovered on the property he bought. They were different people now, but what if they still had that volatile magnetism between them?
Putting down his signature rum and coke on a nearby table, he unbuttoned the cuffs of his shirt. She watched his hands, remembering how they strummed her body like a guitar. Heat spread down her spine and pooled between her thighs. Standing sideways, he rolled the sleeves, baring his strong forearms; the flash of a watch made her blink. The black cowboy hat he wore shadowed his face, but she swore he sent a fleeting look in her direction. A slow grin appeared on his face. Part of her wished to be the recipient of the smile instead of those he conversed with. He radiated brilliance with perfect teeth, and memories of those lips made her hotter.
Single women flirted with him while several married ones undressed him with their eyes. One of the flirty females took his hat for a moment. He held out his hand and flashed a sharp glance at the woman. With a blush, she complied and gave it back. His dark hair worn cropped close in a military style reflected his assertive and compelling personality. His nose no longer possessed the familiar bump she recalled him having as a result of its being broken twice. She bit her lip and recalled how she spent many quiet moments caressing his nose and face with her fingertips and lips.
Moving around the room with ease and chatting with her brother and friends, he carried an air of dignity. He walked with a slight limp and managed to make that sexy! She thought back to the game that ended his football career. The injury cost him his scholarship and depression knocked on his door, but, with her help, he kept his spirits up. They often studied together, played cards, or just hung out. Time created a wonderful friendship. Funny how simple, sweet sociable chats often ended with him inside her. She warmed with the recollection of sitting naked on his lap while his leg rested in a cast.
Needing a change, she stepped outdoors onto a patio and debated whether to stay at the reunion a while longer or head to her room and call it a night. One of her sorority sisters followed her outside.
“Are you okay?” Brenda asked.
“I’m fine…just needed some air.” Taking a deep breath, she relaxed.
“Too many exes in one room?” She flipped her hair.
“You could say that.”
“You were such a wild child, Rachel Willis.” Leaning against the railing, Brenda took a slow sip of her Long Island Ice Tea. “You had it all…good grades, popularity, and the hot guys. What was it you used to say?”
“Guys were like a box of chocolates, and I simply had to sample them all so I could decide what kind of guy I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.”
“I can’t believe with all that sampling, you didn’t find a favorite flavor.” Brenda raised an eyebrow. “You didn’t sleep with them all, did you?”
“Of course not all of them! But, damn, who could resist popping a guy’s cherry?”
“For sure. Virgin Destroying Squad to the rescue. God we were nuts.” Brenda snorted in an unladylike manner.
“Seriously though, I didn’t have to screw a guy to figure out if I liked him or not. I didn’t enjoy being controlled by those so-called experienced guys with their macho attitudes of possession.” She turned to her friend. “Remember the guy I left at the movie theater? He told me he didn’t want me wearing nail polish! I hadn’t even kissed him, and he went all freaky on me, telling me what to do!”
“He had to hitch a ride back to campus because you had the car.” She laughed. “What a dweeb. Do you know whatever happened to him?”
“I heard he’s on his third wife.”
They paused to share a quick giggle.
“But, if memory serves me, you had a thing for virgins.”
“They were so sweet.” She played coy. “I felt sorry for the cuties coming to college intact. It was my duty to help them out. They will always remember me being their first.”
“You were afraid of being forgotten? Pft.” She waved her hand in dismissal. “Those boys caused your emotional downfall. You used the ability to dominate guys as a way to just get an itch scratched rather than developing a relationship. A guy who knew what he wanted and how to get it would have had you wrapped around his pinky. You should have left the boys alone and focused on the right man.”
“Puh-lease! Not again.” She rolled her eyes. “You’ve been giving me this speech since our senior year.”
“Alright, I’ll lay off the lecture crap. But you know I’m right.” Brenda gave her a quick hug. “I’m so glad you came. I can’t imagine being at a class reunion without you.”
“You had a great idea for these mini-reunions. I didn’t make it to Michigan when they celebrated the real anniversary of the championship game on campus last year. I won’t make it to the official reunion in October. I even missed the mini-reunion in Chicago last month.”
“You’ve had a lot on your plate with losing your job and moving. It surprised me when you said you were coming to Vegas, though.” Brenda winked at her.
“You are such a liar. You were the one who convinced me to try Madame Eve’s service to find that man with experience.” She smirked. “Even my brother and mother are in on this.”
“I’ve been feeling a bit lonely for a year and confided in my mom.” She shifted on her feet to ease a small ache. “Somehow she managed to bring it up to my sister-in-law who told my brother. My brother told mom to tell me to go through Madame Eve’s elite dating service. They were both all over me when I signed up and had a date.”
“They only care about you and want you happy. To be honest, I have faith in her and1Night Stand. Hey, she brought me and my sex god back together. Some things are just meant to be.” Brenda shrugged. “I had no idea she’d have a match for you so quickly, though. How convenient to have your date during our reunion. Say, when are you meeting him?”
“I don’t know. According to a note in my room, he will find me.” She picked up a small bowl of nuts off a nearby table and nibbled on a few. “I don’t know a thing about him. Madame Eve insists he is perfect and told me to trust her on this.”
“Wow! Sounds so hot! What if it’s somebody from our class?” Waving off Rachel’s offer of nuts, she drew her phone out of her purse.
“Eww.” She wrinkled her nose and set the bowl down. “I’m not into married men with beer bellies.”
“Hey, my man is still as buff as the day we graduated.” Holding up her phone, Brenda flashed a photo of a handsome man in swim trunks. “It’s okay. You can peek. Just don’t touch.”
“True, he is a hottie.” Would she ever find the one who would rock her world? “You are so lucky to have your perfect guy.”
“Time to take a selfie. Smile, sister.” Brenda held up her phone, slipped an arm around her waist, and snapped a photo. “Seriously, Rach, why didn’t you ever have a real relationship with any of your flings?”
“The only one who I wanted saw me as nothing more than a friend with benefits. I guess he didn’t care enough to see me more than a fuck buddy.” She glanced over her shoulder to the party behind her.
“Your brother probably scared him off.” After a pause, her friend leaned in to whisper, “That good, huh?”
“Oh lord, try amazing.” She met her friend’s eyes. “He understood exactly what I wanted or needed, even if I didn’t really know myself. He cultivated my unruly ways.”
“Tell me, who was this magnificent farmer who plowed you good?”
Casting her eyes downward, she shook her head. If she put his name on her lips, a rush of emotions would bubble to the already fragile surface.
“Wait a minute, I remember a guy. He’s here tonight, isn’t he?” Brenda grabbed her by the elbow. “It’s Wild Stiles, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” She nodded then took a drink.
“Oh…wow. He’s become super successful. What a catch. He’s looking like a cross between John Cena and a dark-haired Channing Tatum tonight. Total hotness.” Brenda fanned her face. “And here you are, still waiting for your 1Night Stand man to show up, tame you, and capture your heart. He’ll have some B…I…G shoes to fill.” She let out a whistle. “I’m sure the man capable of tying you down, in more ways than one, will find you. Maybe it’ll be tonight. If Madame Eve’s man doesn’t turn out, I think you should consider swallowing your pride and have Mr. Orgasm for breakfast. He might be the only one to pacify you after this dry spell you’ve had.”
“Brenda, you’ve had too much to drink.” She laughed and pointed at her friend’s empty glass. “The past is in the past. Besides, I don’t know if there is anyone who can, as you say it, tame me.”
“Whatever.” She waved a hand in the air. “I’m off to find my man and hit the dance floor. I’ll catch you later.” Brenda left her to wallow in her own thoughts. Pulling the thin strap of her small purse across her chest, she stopped at the railing to watch the fountains in the courtyard and recollect the last ten years. She kept in touch with few of her old friends, preferring to spend time with new acquaintances. After graduation, she took a teaching position in the Appalachian Mountains. Working with kids made her happy, and she’d found a guy who took her mind off Dustin for a while. They experimented with bondage in the bedroom and even went to a BDSM club a couple times. Sadly, one evening, he turned into a disillusioned self-proclaimed king of kink. Not comfortable with the role he wanted her to play in his messed-up fantasies, she ended the relationship.
I was so stupid. I should have avoided anyone who resembled him. What is it about that man that stays under my skin?
Three years had passed since the failed relationship. In the meantime, her life continued in a strict management of time. She gave up any semblance of a social existence and returned to school, expecting a master’s degree would cement her teaching position. Unfortunately, it hadn’t. She closed her eyes and set her determination to focus on the future. She needed to find a new job and start living again. At the moment, her carefully controlled life remained packed away in cardboard boxes. She would have to be content with her battery-operated boyfriend for a while.
Opening her eyes, she watched the fountains dance. A laughing couple walked past, arm in arm. They stopped for a moment, and the woman placed her hand on her rounded belly. The man positioned his hand on hers, and they shared a smile. A pang of jealousy reminded Rachel of a forgotten dream involving a good man and family. She wished for what they had. She deserved love, security, and good old-fashioned human companionship. Maybe her taste in men held her back. She shook her head when the image of Dustin appeared. No more bad boys!
Before her world collapsed, she’d sought release from her loneliness and reached out to Madame Eve’s dating service as Brenda recommended. The forms she filled out for 1Night Stand contained enough information to give her a night with a hot stud. Why did Madame Eve have to find a guy now? The timing couldn’t be worse to start a relationship. Maybe the guy would be a no-show.