#fantasy #erotic romance #bisexual #menage
Antoinette Travis knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to do exactly what was necessary to make it to the top. Outside of sleeping her way there. And she was certain her rival got the promotion that should have been hers by doing exactly that. Angry at losing the job that would have given her what she wanted, she stalks out of the office and heads for the closest bar, where a deliciously mesmerizing, exotic bartender asks her the one question to which she thinks she knows the answer.
Swept away to a tropical island, sans clothes and stripped of all civilized veneer, she’s offered the opportunity to redefine not only what she wants, but what she truly needs.
Antoinette paced the length of her office like a caged tigress, the interoffice memo crumpled into a small ball cutting into the flesh of her locked fist. She had been passed over yet again for the promotion. Endless nights of work on this last project should have garnered her the recognition she rightly deserved. Dedicating herself to its success, working night and day to see it through to completion before the deadline had all been for nothing. That bitch, Camille, had made the cut and not her.
She’d wanted that promotion—deserved it.
“Antoinette, staff meeting in twenty minutes.”
She whipped around to confront the quivering woman hovering in the open doorway, pinning her in her sights like a doe with no hope of escape. Maggie had been her assistant for the last six months and now stood there wringing her hands together, a worried frown on her face.
Pitiful. How did the woman manage to survive this long in the piranha-infested waters of the business world without being eaten alive?
Antoinette didn’t have much luck keeping assistants for any length of time—Maggie had lasted the longest.
“I’ll be there shortly,” she bit out, spearing her assistant with a hard, icy look that brooked no argument.
She saw Maggie gulp and watched with disdain as she quickly backed out of the office, closing the door softly behind her.
She spun away and continued her prowl of the confining perimeters of her office, arms folded tightly across her breasts, locking in her emotions. Like hell I’ll be at that meeting and fawn over that slut. Lunging around her desk, she yanked open the bottom drawer and reached down to snap up her hand-tooled leather purse, knowing she couldn’t stay in this office another second without blowing wide open. Patience had never been a part of her make up, and what little she did have could currently be counted among the dead.
A new grill had opened around the corner, and right now seemed the perfect opportunity to check out the bar.
The outer office floor was eerily silent as she strode across what felt like a football playing field length of open space to reach the bank of elevators on the other side. Their eyes latched onto her, trailing her as she left, making it feel like she was caught in the rifle crosshairs of a mob of hunters, all aimed at her, waiting for the right moment to drop her in her tracks.
Well, she wasn’t going to give them an opening, that was for sure. Sonofabitch, Camille had probably fucked her way into this promotion. Literally.
Once inside the elevator, she spun around to face the front as the doors slid shut. She released the pent-up breath she’d been holding and her shoulders drooped with the burdensome weight of her failure—yet again. This was the second time she’d been passed over. What was it they’d said after the last time when she’d met with them, demanding to know why? She needed to learn to become more attuned to the other employees? She didn’t bond well with her co-workers, something she needed to work on. What the hell did that mean? She knew how to get the job done. Employees were supposed to follow orders, that’s what they were paid to do, weren’t they? A person shouldn’t have to worry about getting all caught up emotionally, and bonding with them. That was for sentimentalists—definitely not for her.
Reaching the main floor, she stumbled out of the elevator onto the marble reception area and hurried toward the revolving door that would allow her to make a quick escape. And good riddance. It was time to take stock and consider moving on. This company obviously wasn’t going to get her what she wanted. She’d thought it was the type of place that recognized the determination to succeed. But apparently she was wrong. They wanted serendipitous mush, not aggressive balls. When she saw opportunity she grabbed it and ran and it didn’t matter who got in the way. If they weren’t with her, they were the enemy and tromped over to get where she was going. Why is it no one could see what it really took to succeed in the shark-infested waters of success? It was one of the things that had been practically beaten into her and she’d never forgotten it. Eat or be eaten.
Control or be controlled.
Her professor back in college had taught her all about the fine art of negotiation. And she’d paid dearly for that lesson. That was a long time ago and a lot of water under the bridge. No one had ever tried to dominate her since then—she was going to be the one with the power and the money. And then they’d see what she was made of. And she didn’t plan to get there by way of anyone’s bed to do it. She’d been that route once. Never again.
The summer sun seared her skin, yet the midday heat could not rival the blazing, frustrated anger she planned to numb with a few shots of scotch. She slowed her gait as she came closer to her destination and turned as she reached the entrance of the latest renovation on Front Street, peering up at the swirling blue neon sign about the doorway. “DreamTime Bar and Grill.”
She grabbed the thick vertical, gleaming brass handle, yanked the heavy oak door open and stepped inside, bracing herself against the cold shock of the air-conditioned interior. As the door quietly closed behind her, muffling the street noises, she stood for a moment as she allowed her eyes to adjust to the dimly lit interior. Except for the old nineteenth century gaslight-styled lighting fixtures flickering around the mahogany and brass bar, it was very dark, but the subdued lighting guided her path straight to the bar. She bypassed the hostess with a wave of her hand, and headed for an empty barstool. Climbing onto the red leather seat, she plunked her purse onto the counter and surveyed the array of bottles setting on the mirrored glass shelving behind the bar. Eyeing her poison, she then searched for the bartender, who she spotted standing at the other end of the room talking with the only other patron at this hour of the day.
Tapping her well-manicured nails impatiently against the satiny wood surface, she pointedly glared at him. Finally, he must have felt the laser of her stare and slowly turned his head. She almost choked on her own breath as she gulped surprise. It was like colliding with a fierce front of hot tropical wind as his gaze settled on her.
Antoinette wasn’t really into relationships or sex—had never found it that great an experience. But looking at the darkly bronzed, blatantly sexual male on the other side of the bar as his eyes blazed a trail through her sent an odd sense of steamy heat spiraling through her frigid bloodstream.
Quickly, she shifted her gaze and attempted to dispel the desire to shed her clothes right there and beg the delicious specimen reeking male testosterone to fuck her. Some undefined elemental electricity he exuded zapped right into her core, and she quickly came to the conclusion she didn’t like the feeling. Not at all. It was as though he pulled at her control mechanism, sought the combination that unlocked the safe she kept all emotion locked behind. And it was a scary thought that he might actually have the ability to discover the right sequence of numbers to pull that door wide open.
Frantically, she grabbed her purse. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all.
“What can I get you?” His voice was a blend of chocolate silk and chili peppers, making her body tingle and melt all at the same time. She was afraid to look up, to acknowledge him. What if he saw her response to him? Was she going crazy? Had she finally snapped after this last failure at work?
Slowly, she lifted her gaze to encounter— Sonofabitch! She blinked rapidly. His eyes pinned her, appeared to pinpoint every secret trapped inside her. She could feel his clear Mediterranean sea-blue eyes penetrating into her, like a laser beam directed toward her soul. She couldn’t look away, mesmerized by their liquid, rippling depths. An ache began in the pit of her stomach, tentacles of sensual feeling moving outward, downward, stroking from the inside out. His eyes—how strange. The pupils looked silver—silver flames that flickered and beckoned, shining molten pools of seduction. She attempted to speak, but couldn’t find her voice. The pattern of her breaths increased until she was almost hyperventilating.
“What do you want, Antoinette?” How did he know her name? But the longer her gaze locked with his, the less she really cared how he knew. Some unheard command regulated her breathing to slower, long, deep sighs, almost as though he held some sort of hypnotic quality beneath the surface of his sensual tone.
The hard veneer of sophistication and control she always maintained eroded the longer she sat there. The sizzling hot-cold flames of his eyes clawed at the brittle surface, seeking a crack, a way to reach inside and pull out—
She blinked. Then blinked again, trying to dispel the haze of lust that seemed to consume her. She fought it, struggled to run from the foreign feeling of desire burning a hole inside her. Yet she couldn’t seem to move. Her lips felt dry and parched, her throat raw and scratched, as though some long-unquenched thirst harboring inside for longer than she could remember needed to be assuaged, and she circled her tongue along their dry, needy surface.
“I-I don’t know what I want,” she finally managed to stutter out. “Not anymore.”
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