Chantilly’s Lace

The Zodiac Connection

Rae Monet

 

Prologue

Daily horoscope

At a glance:

Today is your day, Taurus. Go with your instincts, throw away your inhibitions, and you will taste success. Place your responsibilities on the shelf. It's time to relax and enjoy a fantastic evening.

Today:

Ignore your difficult day, Taurus, and spend the evening in a sexy place. You are about to be introduced to the sensual side of the LEO. Treat him well and he will respond accordingly. It’s safe to make him yours. A classy outfit is on the evening's menu. Black is always in style. Listen to your heart, and go with the flow, Taurus. You’re in for an explosive interlude. Know in advance what you want for dessert.

*

Chandra threw the paper on the hotel table in disgust. Last week she’d found her boyfriend of three years packed and ready to shack up with his new, way younger, way prettier girlfriend. She didn’t see any chance in hell of getting past this life event and having an explosive evening. Then her accountant informed her that Chantilly’s Lace, her lingerie company, was on the verge of bankruptcy. To top it off, she’d spent the last three days at the Atlanta apparel conference and hadn’t made one good contact. What a wonderful week it had been.

She picked up the paper again and re-read her daily horoscope. Screw it, she thought as she tossed it down. She was going to hit the bar in her best black dress.

Chapter 1

“You're such a cold fish, Chandra, no man would want you in his bed.”

After downing another drink, Chandra slammed the shot glass onto the bar and grimaced in distaste, more at her own thoughts than the sharp flavor of vodka.

Cold fish.

She shook her head as she surveyed the sultry bar. Subtle neon lights reflected off the mirrored background of bottles and booze. Eve’s Interlude. She chuckled. What an appropriate name to make her fantasies come true. A horoscope message was penned onto the daily specials board, “Take a Leo home with you tonight and enjoy.” Wasn’t that weird, she thought, maybe all the stars were aligned for her and Leo this evening.

The vodka eased through her body, warming her, melting the ice so many men claimed ran through her veins. Brian was right about one thing, though. She had never enjoyed the men in her bed. Never, not once. Making love was a duty. The devilishly handsome man sitting in the booth across from her had caught her eye for the last thirty minutes. Golden-blond hair lay tousled around chiseled, cut features. He continually ran a hand through his hair, disheveling it even more, making her want to smooth it back down, to feel the silky strands caressing her fingers.

Full, kissable lips pursed in concentration as he studied a mound of papers. Broad, obviously muscular shoulders hunched over as he read. The attractiveness of his straight, hawk-like features and dimpled chin had been teasing her since she’d settled onto her stool, reminding her what a failure she was.

He oozed power and control. A lightweight Armani suit rested nicely on his broad body. The size and shape of his shoulders told her he wasn’t a small man, just the opposite, and in good physical condition.

He loosened his tie. Chandra swallowed as she watched the tie slide through his fingers in a waterfall of silk. What would it be like to have him stroke her body with those hands? Sexual awareness jolted through her.

Her brows furrowed at her reaction. What was that?

He sat comfortably. Small round spectacles hid his eyes from her. He was engrossed, reading some type of business document. Three glasses, two empty, one almost gone, crowded the table. He was probably well on his way to feeling no pain.

Chandra smiled at the thought. He glanced up, acknowledging the waiter as he replaced the drink. On several occasions, he even focused on her, as if he couldn’t resist looking.

Chandra reflected back to this morning’s horoscope and the one at the bar. She would meet a hot Leo and have a searing affair. She wondered if he was that man. The notion made her bold enough to move forward with her plan.

Maybe the fates are at work here.

She’d dressed and adorned herself tonight for the purpose of seduction. She’d only needed a target, and now she decided he was it. She needed to make love to a man. To prove her former boyfriend wrong and reclaim the three wasted years from the relationship. She wanted to revenge Brian’s assertion that she was a cold fish and no other man would touch her with a ten-foot pole. When she told Brian she never loved him, he replied she was lucky to have him for the three years they were together. Even though what she said was true, his angry words haunted her.

The blond man glanced her way again. After she’d spent an hour primping in front of the bathroom mirror, she knew exactly what he saw. She wore a black form-fitting velvet evening gown, draping low in the back and front; a classic Audrey Hepburn ensemble. Black thigh-high nylons matched her dress, allowing for an unbroken line from the slit gliding up the length of right leg. Her curly auburn hair was piled on top of her head with coiled wisps escaping onto her face. She’d gone light on the makeup, accenting her light green eyes. The look, alluring yet innocent, had drawn male glances all night. But she’d only looked back at one man.

Tonight she thanked her mother for handing down the generous curves in all the right places, along with unusual green eyes and the dimple in one cheek. She rarely showed that dimple these days…a combination of her failing business and a greedy ex-boyfriend. Not much purpose in smiling. But the man sitting across from her made her want to smile. She licked her lips. He made her hot. She could feel the heat gathering, wet between her thighs.

She hadn’t been wet like this in three years. Maybe never.

Chandra crossed her legs and lazily swiveled on the barstool. She made eye contact with the golden-haired man and he dipped his head, as if embarrassed to be caught staring.

She smiled. It was time to put her plan into action. His glass was almost empty, and after two drinks and a sexy horoscope, she was sufficiently motivated to try to pick him up. To seduce him. She waved the bartender over. She was lovely, with one of those chic model haircuts in a sexy sable color. She had that kind of hair, the kind that made Chandra jealous, the sort you could run your fingers through with ease instead of getting all tangled up in the curls and frizz, like hers. And she was curvy, but it wasn’t a bad curvy; she had a voluptuous-woman line to her hips Chandra couldn’t help envy.

“How long has he been there?” She nodded her head at the blond giant.

“About an hour and a half.” The bartender wiped down a newly washed glass and smiled as she glanced at the man.

“Has anyone joined him?” she asked, still looking at her quarry.

“No, ma’am, nor last night either.” She put down the glass and picked up another.

She raised her eyebrows. Two nights alone, even better. “What’s he drinking?” As she asked, she watched him look up at her, then back down. She had the feeling he guessed she was talking about him.

“Scotch, the best we have, on the rocks. Nothing but the best for him. He’s a nice guy.” She replaced the glass and reached for another.

She nodded. Of course he’d drink their best. He didn’t appear to be a man who would accept anything less. And there was one vote for him already, great.

“Send him over another and let him know it’s from me, but,” she re-crossed her legs to the other side, allowing the side slit to open and reveal a good portion of her leg, “give me one first.”

Following her instructions with a slight grin on her face, the bartender handed her the drink and placed the other on a tray, then started the short trek across the bar. She saw the blond man peek up again, but this time his gaze momentarily stopped at her exposed thigh and leg, then shifted to the approaching bartender.

Chandra smiled. Ah, good, he’s not immune to me. As the bartender stepped toward him, she leaned an arm back along the bar and waited. The bartender presented the drink and pointed to Chandra. The man’s eyes lit up as he glanced at her. She raised her drink in a salute and inclined her head, smiling and showing her dimple. His eyes narrowed slightly. He raised the drink to his lips and took a long swallow, matching hers. Replacing the drink on the table, he tipped his head, acknowledging her gift.

Okay, Chandra thought, time to go in for the kill. She slid off the barstool, allowing her dress to rise a little higher, and strode to his table. He watched her move as if he was calculating each step. Drink in hand, she paused at his table and smiled.

“May I join you?” Her voice came out sultry and sinful; she barely recognized it. This man was really turning her on. Or was it the damn horoscope, driving her to drop all inhibitions?

He didn’t say anything initially, just waved a hand, indicating for her to sit, then he spoke in a sexy, alluring voice, one Chandra wanted to listen to all day. “By all means.”

He had a slight accent, one she couldn’t place, but she adored it. Before she sat, he surveyed her body up and down. Where his eyes grazed, her skin tingled. Easing across from him into the long curved booth, she leaned forward and prepared to shock him.

“What’s your sign?” she asked while she calculated her next move.

“I’m a Leo,” he said, his head tilting to study her. He picked up his drink, slowly raising it to his lips, his eyes never leaving hers.

A Leo, holy shit.

Chandra tried not to appear too stunned. She wasn’t thinking clearly. Picking up a strange man in a bar wasn’t the smartest thing she’d ever done. Her eyes wandered over his expensive suit and the Rolex on his wrist. He definitely had a job. He was obviously a businessman, likely there for the conference, as she was.

She gulped, took a deep breath, and said, “I’d like to seduce you into taking me to your room and making love to me all night long, no questions asked.” She leaned back, waiting for his reaction.

It was instantaneous. His eyes widened as he slammed his glass down. He choked on the gulp of scotch. Coughing, he placed a fisted hand next to his throat and pounded, coughing some more.

She smiled.

His voice was strangled as he asked, “Pardon?”

She eased out of her side of the booth and slid next to him. She inched closer, her hips, thighs and arms touching his. She felt a burning sensation where their bodies met. Boy, she was really on fire for him. Strange, she thought, she had never felt that type of reaction with Brian. Her heartbeat speeded, fluttering against her breast. Her breathing grew rapid and shallow. Maybe this wasn’t going to be so hard after all. So far she was enjoying herself. And the evening was just beginning.

She leaned forward, removed his glasses and placed them on the table. He gawked at her as if she was crazy. She scooted in closer, her breast touching his suit jacket. She smelled his scent, expensive masculine cologne mixed with aged scotch. Heady. She breathed him in. Something strange was happening to her. Her pulse throbbed in her neck and she was beginning to tingle all over. She had never felt this way before, with any man.

His arm inched toward her. Yes. He wanted it as much as she did.

“I don’t think I need to repeat myself,” she whispered in his ear. “You heard me the first time.” Her words exhaled against his ear, and she felt him shiver. She brought her hand up and laid it on the other side of his neck to bring his head down to her mouth. For some reason, she wanted to be connected to him. She felt the rapid beat of his pulse throbbing in unison with hers.

“You have two choices.” She eased her hand from his neck and slowly traveled down to his beating heart. Deftly, she undid one of his shirt buttons and pushed her hand against his well-muscled chest. Nice.

Lust hit her right in her stomach. She sucked in a breath in response to the foreign sensation.

He watched her hand, not moving away. His head came up. His eyes met hers.

“You can say no and I will simply get up and walk out of this bar and never see you again.”

He didn’t speak, but circled his arm around her waist, pulling her against him.

Her heart stopped momentarily. She was drunk with the smell of him. Up close his eyes were a piercing blue and his hair was like golden silk. She badly wanted to rake her hands through it.

“And the other option?” he said in his low, deep voice that set all her nerves endings on edge.

“You can say yes and take me to your room. We can slowly remove each other’s clothes and play as much as we want. We can do it all night, just tonight. First names only, no questions asked.”

“Are you seducing me?”

“I’m trying. How am I doing?” she asked, caressing his chest.

“Very well,” he answered in a low growl. He tightened his arms and tugged her even closer against him, her breast pressing into his chest. His sensual blue gaze caught hers; then studied her face, roving over each feature.

She looked back, her greedy eyes eating him like he was her favorite ice cream, vanilla with chocolate chunks and cherries. He was the most perfect man she had ever seen, and at that moment, she wanted to make love with him very badly.

“Why me?” he asked, his lips closing in on hers.

She set two fingers between their mouths and held them on his lips. She shook her head, indicating he had been bad.

“Rule number one, no questions.” she reminded him.

“And rule two?” he asked, but his tongue reached out to outline her lips, stopping her from talking.

The effect on Chandra was incredible. She wanted to suck his tongue, milk his mouth and take every bit of what he had to offer. She reached her hand up and ran it through the hair at the back of his neck. Yes, as soft and silky as she had imagined. His eyes closed momentarily and then reopened to focus on her.

“Rule number two is one night only. This one night is all I’m offering. Yes or no?” She massaged his neck and he moaned in response.

His hand left her waist and she felt its loss. Did this mean he didn’t want her? Yet his eyes never left hers, a fire smoldering in the blue depths. Before she could say anything, he lifted his hand, lining it up in her eyesight. Between his fingers dangled a white card. His room key.

Her eyes strayed to the card then back to him.

“Yes,” he said. His lips closed in on hers, sealing them together.

The kiss shattered and consumed her, blew up her cozy world. Heat, lust, need, want, all sensations mixed in a jumble of arousal. His lips were gentle to start, then as his arms surrounded her, his kiss became insistent, passionate. His tongue slowly tangled with hers. The taste of scotch flavored his mouth, and he tipped his head to deepen the kiss. Chandra's hands strained in his hair as she pressed her mouth harder against his.

Finally he broke the kiss, his lips still resting against hers. Their breath mingled as they both panted, inhaling and exhaling swiftly. She let her hands travel back to his chest.

They faced each other in the seat. No one could see her exploration, but the thought that they were in a public place, visible to others’ eyes, added danger and excitement to their foreplay.

His eyes shifted, watching her progress. She inched her way down his chest, feeling the firmness of the sculptured muscles beneath his shirt. Her hand turned around. He inhaled sharply. With a smile, she continued her exploration over his stomach and lower. Finally she traced the thick erection that pressed against his slacks. A moan came from deep inside him. She moved lower, cupping him, then stroking up and down his length. He strained against her hand, gently thrusting.

“Keep that up and it will be over sooner than we both desire,” he rumbled, glancing down at her hand.

She laughed softly. “Then we’ll have to start all over again.”

His gaze traveled from her hand to her face. His light blue eyes were almost navy with desire.

“I’ve got a better idea.” Continuing to stroke him, she nodded toward his hand. “Let’s go use that key.”

He stared at his hand holding the key as if he’d gone crazy. Then he grabbed her hand and hauled her out of the booth. As if it were an afterthought, he drew a money clip from his pocket and threw a hundred dollar bill at the bartender.

“Will you grab my stuff and store it at the front desk for me?”

The bartender nodded, smiling at him and Chandra with a knowing look. Chandra imagined the whole world would look and her and this gorgeous man and guess what they were up to.