Power. Wealth. Respect.
The members of the Boardroom share these things—and more.
Copyright © 2018 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
Publication Date: 10-15-2018
Digital ISBN: 9781488097164
Genre: Erotic Romance
Length: Short Story, 13,000 words
Series: The Boardroom
STORY SIX: FREE TRADE
A room full of people. A bowl of names. A night of chance—until a trade is made.
Drake Hanson has it all—success, wealth and the freedom to experience every sexual indulgence imaginable in the Boardroom. The open, uninhibited sex with anonymous partners suited him just fine—until he got a taste of something better.
Shelly Carrigan revels in the freedom of the Boardroom. It’s her escape—a place she can indulge her sexual needs without judgment. But her attraction to Drake is starting to affect her experience. No matter her partner, the only hands she feels on her body are his.
Tonight, when names are drawn, Drake will make a trade. He’ll break the rules of the Boardroom to get what he wants.
One way or another, he’ll have Shelly—this time for more than a night.
“Steamy scenes and an incredible chemistry made this novella a great, short read.”
– 4.5 stars, Wicked Reads
“Sexually super charged, Free Trade hits all those boxes with such a well written short story!”
– 4 stars, Deb Goodreads Review
Copyright © 2018 by Lynda Aicher. Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.
Shelly Carrigan tossed her name into the bowl with a flick of her wrist, the roulette of possible partners an added enticement to the sensual game. Who would she get tonight?
A scan of the boardroom provided a number of interesting possibilities. Each one could give her something different. Yes, a fuck was a fuck, but no fuck was the same. She’d been with every man in the room at least once, a few of the women too. She wasn’t picky when it came to sexual pleasure, just as long as she left satisfied.
That was the whole point of the Boardroom. The private sex group had been her primary source of sexual release over the last few years as she focused on building her name in the competitive San Francisco real estate market. The proven “not what you know but who” had landed her more deals and exclusive advantages than she could count, including entry into the Boardroom.
Networking, charm and street smarts had pulled her from the scrap pile of wasted potential. Her smile grew as she thought of how far her determination had gotten her. She rubbed elbows with the Bay Area elite, along with the inconspicuously wealthy, on a daily basis. She could name-drop like a pro—if she chose to be that crass, which she didn’t.
The secret of amplifying connections was to keep every single one private. She had a treasure trove of knowledge locked tight behind her lips. Like how the handsome guy across the room had a BDSM dungeon in his basement that he rented out to people in the lifestyle. Or how the studious-looking man at the end of the table had a rooftop fuck nest in Pacific Heights.
“Hey,” Lori said at her side, her smirk containing secrets of her own. “Cute dress.”
Shelly glanced down at the silky baby-doll number she’d purchased for nights like these. “Easy on and off.”
She shrugged off the compliment. Her appearance was part of the image that kept her at the top in a field based on first impressions. Platitudes never reached beneath her insulating shell since she’d learned how fleeting they could be, a life lesson she’d acquired in grade school.
“You look ready to attack,” she commented. Lori possessed a predatory air that could be attributed to her legal profession. Could be, but Shelly doubted it.
Lori flashed a devious grin, which pulled a chuckle from Shelly. “Looks don’t lie.” She had a rougher charm that work for her. “Truthfully, I have an urge to give a lucky guy the blow job of his life tonight.”
Her voice carried through the room, attracting the interest of many as she folded a piece of paper and dropped it into the bowl. Her sultry appraisal of the men backed up her bold declaration.
Shelly watched the display with a mix of envy and appreciation. She knew how to scramble for what she wanted. She could negotiate amazing deals for her clients and work sixty-hour weeks finding the best properties. She was a master in the art of persuasion, spin and biting her tongue, but stating her sexual wants was outside her skill set. She could smile, react, encourage, even beg, but that was as close as she could come.
There was no explanation for it. She’d tried to be everything Lori was, only to choke on the words. Some would see it as a weakness, and she had a hard time disagreeing with them, especially given the very nature of the Boardroom. She owned her sexuality, and in doing so, she accepted her desire to be…controlled. No, that wasn’t it.
She didn’t want to be told what to do or forced to accept whatever the guy wanted. That wasn’t her kink. Maybe she’d simply never been comfortable enough to make her wishes known. Or maybe she just wanted a man who could read her mind and give her what she wanted without her having to say it.
A sexual mind reader.
She muffled her laugh behind her hand and quickly cleared her throat. God, she really needed the night to start if only to distract her from wishes that were impossible to fulfill.
The Boardroom gave her control over the scenes she signed up for. She could say no to anything, which provided the freedom to explore. After years of discovery, she’d fine-tuned her desires to a range of good, great and outstanding, and there was only one man who consistently reached the outstanding scale without a single direction from her: Drake Hanson.
The air seemed to drain from the room a moment later when Drake strode in on the same intent he tackled life with. Hard by some standards, gruff by others, he took what he wanted, gave where he needed, all while playing by his own rules. A self-made man who’d ridden to success on the internet startup wave by being three steps ahead of his competitors, he continued to challenge norms, staying relevant in a saturated technology market.
She respected that, respected him. Everything he had was due to his own hard work. He wasn’t that different from her on that point.
He greeted the men with firm handshakes, the women with nods accompanied by a side smile. Her breath stuck when he got to her. His chin lifted a notch, his smile falling as a dark heat took over, one that seared her from across the room and left her struggling to respond.
She swallowed the longing that never failed to hit when he was around. He was just another partner. A Boardroom member who came to scenes for a fuck and nothing more. Just like her. Just like everyone in the room.
And she wanted him to fuck her so badly.