Friday, July 17, 2009


Buy Fanning Old Flames

“Talk about a meat market.”

Lauren couldn’t agree more with her friend.
Pheromones and cigarette smoke clouded the air in the dark dance club. Kanye West thumped stronger virtues in a DJ remix, singles drank and mingled, and an appletini sloshed over her arm as a suspiciously underage girl giggled past. Grabbing the cocktail napkin under her glass, Lauren dabbed at the sticky liquor and watched with disgust as a businessman with a hideous comb-over attempted full-body contact with a waitress. The waitress shimmied sideways, tray held high to avoid Appletini Girl, who grappled her way on top of a round table and danced while several young studs looked up her micro-mini from below.
It was a fuck fest waiting to happen.
With an eye on her business partner, Lauren leaned close to be heard above the din.

“I can’t believe you made me come here, Pam. I was all for staying back in my room and ordering room service.”

Pam snorted, “Face it, honey. You need me.”


“Meaning it’s time for you to live a little. We’re in a foreign city where nobody knows us. No offense, but we both know you haven’t gotten laid in the two years since your divorce.”

Lauren sipped a dry Shiraz and knew her friend was right. Pam could be blunt but didn’t have an insulting bone in her body. Hell, a part of her even agreed, though she hated to admit it.

It had been way too long.

“What makes you think I haven’t had any sex?”

“Oh, please—I spend more time with you than with my husband. You and I have no secrets.”

Given their partnership and frequent trips for their antique acquisition business, Lauren couldn’t argue with that. Married for ten years, Pam balanced family and career well. Lauren’s five year marriage hadn’t fared so well. Jacob had been a faithless ass, and she’d been lucky not to end up with a disease since he’d taken great pleasure in screwing anything that stood still long enough to let him. Pam had helped her pick up the pieces and move on after the divorce, and Lauren knew she had her best interests at heart. She only wished those interests didn’t include dance clubs.

Shifting on the hard stool, she watched the bar scene with growing impatience. More hands groped more asses than she cared to count. And she must be getting old because the music didn’t entertain, it only served to annoy. Ten floors up, her suite beckoned, along with a hot bath and room service. Crowds, heat and noise weren’t her speed anymore.

With an apologetic glance at Pam, she slid from the stool. “I’m calling it quits. I’m really not into being here.”

A hand from behind startled her as it slipped around her elbow and forced her to turn. Oh, no. So close to bailing on the place, there was no way she’d let some Romeo corner her now.

“Excuse me. I know you.” The deep voice was pure Canadian, with a rich, melodic Ottawan accent.

She made a careless, cursory scan of the man’s face before taking note of the petite blonde on his arm. Why would the guy hit on her with a clinging vine attached to him? Her eyes settled on his torso. A black wool overcoat couldn’t conceal the width and breadth of a fine chest.

With some regret, she shook her head. “No, I don’t think so.”

He tugged again, setting off an inner alarm. “Look again.”

She didn’t know a soul in Ottawa except for the art dealers she’d had contact with over the last couple of days. He appeared near her age, tall, broad shouldered, with longish brown hair that curled at the ends. Warm brown eyes stared back at her, and he had a tiny mole beside his mouth. With a nasty glare, she started to push by him. “I’m sorry, I—“

The scar. A jagged white line resembling a lightening bold cut across his eyebrow. She would never forget it, especially since she’d caused it. When boat propeller met face, lack of recall was not an option.

“Oh, my God.” Her heart tripped, and her mouth went dry. “Seth Fleming?” She laid a shaky hand on his chest. After so many years of wondering what had happened to him, here he was, no longer the boy she remembered, but a man. A big, sexy man.

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