A naughty story about second chances and self-discovery…
Welcome to a game of risk and indiscretion.
The prize: a night of passion.
The price: your silence.
Nothing exciting happens to someone like me. I live between the lines, only dreaming about breaking the rules. My chance at love disappeared the night I left home to escape my old life.
Eight years later, I never expected that “old life” to resurface in my bookstore.
Foster Wagner is the type of man most women would crawl through fire or broken glass to possess. And judging by the way he’s staring, that danger goes both ways.
I’m in trouble.
Mary appears at my office door. “Excuse me, there’s a gentleman up front.”
“Not Mr. Wagner again?”
“No,” she says. “But he’s incredibly well-bred.”
I take a deep breath and follow her, surprised to find yet another suit-clad, demi-god waiting.
“Ms. Covington?” He offers me his business card.
I read it. Dr. Kevin Mallory, MD. “How can I help you?”
“Is there a place we can chat privately?”
I gesture across the room. “We won’t be disturbed over there. Can I get you a cup of coffee or tea?”
“Sure, be right back.” I grab a couple bottles from the mini-fridge in the break room, then join him on the couch.
“Have we met before?” I ask, unsure why he’s here. Staring at his meticulously manicured fingernails and Forzieri dress shoes, I know he isn’t the type of man to frequent my store.
“I’m here in response to your acceptance of our invitation,” he whispers, unscrewing the bottle cap.
I sink deeper into the plush leather, my cheeks burning. “How did you know where to find me?” Is he stalking me? I never imagined a psycho in Armani.
“Ms. Covington, I’m not sure you understand how things work. Invitations for our club are sent to superior candidates. We handpick everyone based on a strict formula. Potential members receive a battery of medical tests, a rigorous psychological exam, and must have excellent personal references and a clean criminal record.” He spreads his legs, resting his palms on his knees. “I’m the first line of defense for eliminating any risks.”
So Katie wasn’t joking. She submitted my name, and someone actually chose me. I’m intrigued and terrified. “Who selected me?”
“That’s classified information, Ms. Covington. Rest assured we have a board of directors like any other business entity. Our decisions aren’t made lightly.”
“I believe you.”
“Good.” He takes a sip of water. “Do you understand what the Lazarus Club is?”
“Similar to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?”
His restrained façade shows signs of cracking, and he actually chuckles. “Not an entirely misplaced comparison.”
I lean closer so there’s no chance of Mary overhearing. “A sex club.”
“Never a sex club, Ms. Covington.” He sets the bottle on the floor. “We’re a social club that offers special accommodations for men and women of certain tastes.”
“Certain tastes,” I repeat, liking what it suggests. “And what made you think of me? Do I strike you as a woman of certain tastes?”
His stare lingers for several seconds. “You’re extremely desirable, Ms. Covington. That’s the first gauge for judgment. We can discuss this in my office this afternoon if you’re available.” He’s all business.
His eyebrows shoot up. “Is there any reason for delay? Are you menstruating or pregnant?”
Did he really just ask me that? I wring my hands, too embarrassed to answer.
“I’ll take your silence as a no.”
“My office address is on the back of the business card I gave you. I’ll see you at two o’clock, but if you need to reschedule, please let my receptionist know as soon as possible.” He stands, smoothing his jacket. “I take physician-patient privilege very seriously. Your medical history will be kept confidential.”
“Thank you for being so poignant, Dr. Mallory.”
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