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Caught up in a game of Truth or Dare, Laura finds herself in a nightclub, dressed in next to nothing clothes, and nervously awaiting her turn to perform in a pole dancing contest, when her old boyfriend, handsome Mark Cantrell appears on the stage with his new bride. Upset by long buried emotions, Laura wants to run for home, however, jealously roots her in place.
When a twist is thrown into the competition and she has to have a man to perform with her, she feels relieved she’ll not go on, until Mark volunteers to be her partner. Unable to decline, and spellbound by his sexy moves, Laura puts her all into the sexy routine. Then it ends, and embarrassment overwhelms her.
Attempting to flee the nightclub and rush to the sanctity of home, she is surprised by Mark’s offer to drive her, abandoning his wife into his brother’s care. Desperate to feel loved, she accepts, and then struggles with the right and wrong of her plan to seduce a married man.
In the end, Laura loses the battle with her conscience, hoping she can live with the guilt come morning as she welcomes Mark into her bed for a passionate night of sex.
Bev handed me a bottle of beer. “You better drink this, Laura.”
Were her instincts just as wired to what was about to happen as mine were? She had glasses on, maybe her eyesight was better. Could she see the faces in the darkness at the back of the stage.
“Mark has been living way out west for several years—” Paul continued, nailing down my suspicions.
“Six,” I muttered, rounding to the nearest year, even though I knew how many months and days as well.
“He went to college out there and liked it so much, he stayed,” Paul added.
“Did you know he was going to be here?” I asked Bev, never looking away from the stage.
“I swear, Laura, I had no idea.” She grabbed my arm. “Is that his wife?”
I leaned back against the bar for support. In silence, I stared at the couple emerging from the shadows. My gaze locked onto the girl first. Five-foot tall, if even that. She wasn’t what I expected. Her petite frame had the slender lines of a dancer. Trim legs, narrow torso, somewhat flat-chested. Mark always said he liked my curves and my full breasts. Now I wondered what to trust of our past together.
Avoiding Mark, I tried to continue concentrating on the female leaching onto his arm. It didn’t work. I had to look, to find out if he had changed. Slowly, from head to toe, I devoured the sight of him. Under the sultry lighting, he looked good—too sexy for the girl with the pixie haircut.
His dark brown hair was shorter, his moustache gone, but he had a scruffy shadow of whiskers that showed he hadn’t shaved for several days. In black slacks and a gray striped dress shirt, he had the look of a successful executive of…something. I wished I knew what profession had attracted him after college. He had majored in business management and finance, but he didn’t know where that would take him. I had stuck to my goal and worked in real estate development.
My attention, drawn back to the girl who should have been me with Mark, I watched Meg. Her simple routine consisted of some twirls and prancing and Mark’s movements flowed naturally with hers. He was always a terrific dancer. His different grips on her became more sexually explicit. The motion of him humping her ass and his air caresses gliding a mere inch from her body was hard to watch. Then he put his hands on Meg’s hips and playfully pretended to tug her from the pole. Their act was good, but her laughter was too high-pitched. It made me cringe. It made men in the crowd hoot with pleasure.
Twinges of jealousy inside me worsened. Mark always said he hated girls who giggled too loud. When had that changed? Were we never right for each other?
The playful performance between Mark and his wife became too much to bear. I spun around to rip up the entry form. No way was I going on that stage and humiliate myself in front of his diminutive doll-like bride.
I slapped my hand down on the wood surface as if I were blind to seeing a sheet of paper. “Where is it?” I cried weakly, looking up and down the bar, spotting nothing except beer bottles and drinking glasses on small white napkins.
“What are you looking for?” Bev asked.
“That entry sheet. I’ve change my mind.”
“You can’t change your mind. They’ve already taken that paper away and given it to Paul to make the announcements.”
A round of loud howling and hollering forced me to glance at the stage. Meg’s beaming smile showed how well she felt she had performed. In my mind, she was already a winner.
“Here, drink this.” Bev shoved a small glass into my hand.
I gulped down the whiskey shot while looking at Mark. He had that “aw shucks, anyone could have done it” expression he had always had after an amazing catch during a high school football game.
Then his gaze landed on me. His expression changed.
Turn away. Turn away. Turn away. I couldn’t.
Trapped by the happy twinkle in his blues eyes and a smile that seemed meant for only me, I stood helpless. That old feeling of love had me in its clutches. Was Mark experiencing the same sort of déjà vu? He stared at me with a similar spellbound stillness like an animal trapped by the lights of oncoming traffic. Then he went further with his intense look. He stripped me naked, not literally, but thoroughly. His gaze rolled downward as he traced the rim of his lips with his tongue. He paused at my breasts. Did he see my nipples harden, denting out the fabric of my bikini top? I put a hand to my chest as I took a deep breath. The feel of my denim jacket reminded me he couldn’t see what I was wearing underneath. It didn’t mean I hadn’t imagined the feel of his tongue pressed against my breast, massaging the ache in the stiffened tips.
Trembling, I squeezed my knees together to fend off the sharp twitches releasing moisture and damping my panties. It was awful the way he had the capability to stir an orgasm from me with his lustful perusal of my body.
“Do you see the way he’s eyeing you?” Bev whispered. “That’s not the kind of look a married man gives another woman if he’s in love with his wife.”
I had noticed. My heart rate had elevated several notches. I struggled to breathe evenly. More importantly, I tried to remember how to act normal. “Who?” I asked, pretending ignorance might get a grip on my sanity.
The cheering of the crowd died down to idle chatter, yet Mark and Meg remained on the stage. Meg finally took the initiative and grabbed Mark’s arm, attempting to pull him away. He didn’t go quite so willingly. He stumbled back, keeping eye contact with me. Meg didn’t seem to notice. I could see how she probably though his reluctance was a form of stage fright or something.
“I can’t do it, Bev.”
“Yes, you can. You have to. You have to show up that mousy wife of his and make him regret he didn’t come back to town for you.”
Bev rubbed my arm reassuringly. Here I had thought she had believed I didn’t think of Mark anymore. Her words broke that illusion. I wanted to thank her for playing along with my need to bury my head in the sand about my feelings for him. However, I had to face my current dilemma.
Running from the place seemed a good idea right then. But a part of me agreed with Bev. It was because Mark had showed interest that I didn’t bolt. I needed to get up on that stage and flaunt my assets—show him what he was missing. Make him hurt, as I was hurting.