Copyright 2010 Lyla Sinclair

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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are products of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.


Too Innocent: Tied for Two

By Lyla Sinclair


Chapter One

I sat in my car at the end of the pier, a nervous wreck for two good reasons. First, I was about to go to a yacht party given by a man whom I’d lusted after for the last year but I was never brave enough to let him know.

I use the term “lust” because I didn’t feel like I was in love with Eric. There was just something that happened to me every time I was around him. My breathing changed. My body tingled. It was raw physical excitement. Maybe it was because he was movie star gorgeous, with the blonde hair, highlighted by the sun and eyes in Brad Pitt blue. Or maybe it was because he reminded me of the boys back in school who wouldn’t give me the time of day because I wasn’t the right pedigree and my clothes were secondhand.

I really didn’t know him that well.  We were mostly ships that passed in the day, since we visited the same cable companies as reps for different pay movie channels.

I’d even seen him act like an ass a couple of times toward the product trainer that worked for his company, Alexis, although it didn’t seem to faze her one bit. If Eric snapped at her, she’d just raise one eyebrow at him and give him the silent treatment until he settled down.

Alexis was the other reason I was nervous. There was something about the way she looked at me. Her eyes were hazel, but they were shaped like cat eyes, which made her seem aloof and mysterious.

When she watched me, the corners of her mouth turned up ever-so slightly, but I never could figure out what she was thinking. However, her unabashed stare always made me want to fidget. I hoped she wasn’t at the party. As shy as I was, I was still wishing for a chance to hook up with Eric. I wasn’t exactly well-practiced at the art of seduction, so I didn’t want it to happen in front of Alexis.

I adjusted my rearview mirror so I could check myself one more time. The makeup seemed okay. Understated, I hoped.

I opened the car door and stepped out.

The party was supposed to be beach casual, but I wasn’t about to wear a bathing suit to meet a bunch of strangers. I’d bought a pair of dressy-looking tap pant-style shorts, a silk t-shirt, and I was wearing my canvas wedges, which were necessary since I was only five foot two.

As I walked through the parking lot, it struck me that there weren’t many cars around, considering a party was going on. I hoped this wasn’t one of those groups who invited you for seven, but everyone showed up an hour late. That could be uncomfortable, although, maybe it would get me that “alone time” I wanted with Eric.

I found the slip number and looked up at the yacht docked there. It was definitely bigger than most of the boats around it, but not quite the size I would have expected for a party. I could hear music playing, but I couldn’t see anyone on deck. Was I at the right place?

I stood at the foot of the steps. Should I go up?

“What are you waiting for?” A woman’s voice called from above. I knew that voice. It was Alexis. My anxiety instantly tripled. When I looked up, her cat-eyes stared down at me as if daring me to chicken out.

“I wasn’t sure if this was the place,” I said as I walked up. When I got on deck, I saw little sign of a party other than some bottles of wine. “Am I early?” I asked.

“No, you’re right on time,” Alexis said.

The yacht was supposed to belong to Eric’s family, but Alexis acted like she was hosting. Were she and Eric dating? That would suck.

“Where’s the host?” I tried to sound casual.

“Eric! Tanya’s here!” Alexis called.

A few seconds later, Eric came from below. He smiled widely when he saw me and I almost passed out. He was absolutely drop-dead gorgeous in his unbuttoned linen shirt and casual drawstring pants. His chest was tanned and smooth, unless you counted the roller-coaster ride of muscles from the bottom of his ribs to the top of his pants.

He reached for me and gave me a leisurely kiss on the cheek as though we were friends instead of merely acquaintances. The scent of his expensive cologne wafted over me. I wondered how much of my attraction to him was because I needed to prove I could be wanted by this kind of man. How could I be sure with all my childhood issues? I glanced at Alexis to see if she reacted to the kiss, but she was busy pouring wine, seemingly disinterested in what Eric was doing.

“I have to go back down for a few minutes and finish the food,” Eric said. “Alexis can entertain you.”

Alexis handed him a glass of wine. He thanked her and took it with him downstairs. I wished he’d invited me down to help him.

“Sit here with me,” Alexis said. She folded herself gracefully onto the padded bench that ran along the side of the yacht, and rested one arm on the ledge behind her.

I sat down a foot away from her, and she handed me a glass of wine. I wasn’t normally a big drinker, but I had the adolescent feeling that if I didn’t take it, I wouldn’t be one of the cool kids. It was childish to bend to peer-pressure at twenty-three, yet I felt a need to impress Alexis and Eric with my non-existent worldliness.

I knew my need to please and impress others stemmed from being the only poor scholarship kid in a high school full of “richies.” I was rarely invited to their parties and events, and when I was, I felt too subconscious to go. I never had the right clothes like they did—never even knew what the right clothes were—and never knew what to say.

“To new friends,” Alexis said, jarring me out of my memories. She clinked her glass against mine.

We each took a sip and I decided this might not be a bad way to calm my nerves. I took a good-sized swig, then noticed Alexis watching me curiously. I put my glass down on the ledge behind me.

“It’s okay. We have plenty,” she said. Her voice and mannerisms were so smooth. I wished I could be more like that.

“Um…thanks,” I said. I always felt so jittery around people I didn’t know well. I picked the glass up and finished it off.

Alexis smiled like I’d pleased her in some way, then she stood and refilled my glass. When she sat down this time, I noticed her body was nearly touching mine.

“So, are you co-hosting the party tonight?” I wanted to know what was going on between her and Eric before I made a fool out of myself.

“I guess I am,” she said.

“Did you and Eric each invite people you knew? Split the guest list?”

“Well, we were pretty much in agreement about who to invite,” she said.

“People you know from work?” I asked. I wondered if it would make me look bad if my boss knew I attended a party full of employees from our major competition.

Just then, Eric came through the door with a plate of bacon-wrapped shrimp. “I hope you’re not a vegetarian or something,” he said. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just didn’t think of it ahead of time.”

“No, this looks great.” I picked up one of the toothpicks and pulled the shrimp off with my teeth.  I washed it down with more wine.

Now I remembered why I didn’t drink very often. Less than two glasses of wine and my tongue already felt numb. At least I was calmer. I relaxed against the side of the yacht.

Eric pulled up a deck chair. It was positioned in a way so I couldn’t be sure if he was trying to get closer to me or Alexis.

They both watched as I finished the second glass of wine. Even tipsy, I was uncomfortable being the center of their attention.

I looked around. “When are the other guests arriving?” I asked.

“You didn’t tell her?” Eric asked Alexis.

“It hadn’t come up yet,” she answered.

They looked at each other as if waiting for the other to speak. “Tell me what?” I asked.

“There are no other guests,” Eric said. “We wanted to get to know you better.”

For a moment, I was flattered that handsome, suave Eric wanted to know little ol’ me better…until my fuzzy brain realized he said “we.” Did that mean he and Alexis, as a couple, wanted to get to know me as a friend? Or he wanted to get to know me as something more and Alexis wanted to get to know me as a friend? Or…

I looked into Eric’s eyes. Then Alexis’. They both had the same hopeful, seductive look in them. My heart banged against my ribs.

“I’ve been fantasizing about you since I first saw you, Tanya,” Eric said. “And a couple of times, I thought I caught you checking out my ass.”

Luckily, I wasn’t a blusher. I still felt my face flush at the idea that he’d caught me. Although, he’d already admitted to fantasies about me, so there was nothing to be embarrassed about, really.

But why was Alexis here? I looked at her expectantly.

“He needed some help with this fantasy,” she said. “So I offered.”

I wished I hadn’t drunk the wine because I wasn’t at all sure what they were saying, other than I was the object of Eric’s fantasies, which was pretty awesome.

“Oh, if we go out further into the bay, away from the lights, we can see an awesome moonrise tonight,” Eric said. “Are you ready to set sail?”

“It’s not a sailboat, Eric,” Alexis said dryly.

“I know, but it just sounds better than, ‘set the motor,’” Eric replied.

A few minutes later, we were gliding through the water, a soft breeze caressing my skin. With the wine in me and the knowledge that Eric was attracted to me, the ride was a sensual experience. I closed my eyes and imagined the wind was Eric’s hands, sliding over my skin.

“Are you chilly?” Alexis asked. I realized I’d been rubbing my arms as I thought of Eric. She reached over and ran her hands up my arms. It felt odd, but not bad-odd, exactly.

“No,” I said. “I’m fine.”

When Eric got far enough from the shore so the dock lights didn’t impede sky watching, he stopped the motor and dropped anchor. “This is perfect,” he said.

Alexis excused herself and went downstairs. Eric took her place on the cushioned bench.

“The first time I saw you, I started having wild fantasies about the things I wanted to do to you,” Eric said. “And for some reason, they were always on this boat.”

A shiver of excitement rushed through me. “I…um…” Damn, I was so bad at this. “I’ve been attracted to you too,” I managed to say.

He rewarded me with a million-dollar smile. “There’s something about your eyes,” he said. “They’re so big. It’s almost like they’re too innocent for a grown woman. Have you had a lot of boyfriends?”

I wasn’t prepared for that question. I thought about how shy and unimportant I was in high school. Unfortunately, much of that overflowed into college life. The fact was, I’d had very few boyfriends compared to other women my age.

“Not really,” I said honestly. “Maybe I am sort of inexperienced. I mean, not completely…but…” I figured he deserved a heads up, in case he expected me to turn into some sort of hellcat in bed.

“It’s okay,” Eric said. “I’m experienced enough for both of us.”

The air caught in my lungs. I imagined Eric over me, inside me.

“Big brown eyes…” he said wistfully. “And this tiny little body…”

“Tiny?” I said, a bit annoyed. It was a pet peeve from my school days. Several of the popular girls had taken to calling me that. I hated feeling small.

“Petite,” he said, lifting my hand and holding my palm against his much larger one. “I like being a lot bigger than you.” A tiny warning bell went off in the back of my mind at that statement. There was something about the way he said it, but I ignored it. If I got even one night with Eric, it could fill my fantasies for months. And being admired by a guy like him was quite a confidence booster.

He laced his fingers into mine and leaned toward me. When his lips contacted mine, my whole body heated. His tongue circled seductively around my lips, then gently pressed inside. I reveled in the fabulous feel of his tongue caressing mine.

Suddenly, he pressed his hand to the back of my head and deepened the kiss, pushing more fervently into me, holding me captive. A rush of molten desire flowed through me until it turned to a tingle between my thighs. He was even more intoxicating than the wine.

He released me and gazed into my eyes. “Tell me you’ll fulfill my fantasy tonight, Tanya.”

“Yes,” I said, still dazed from the kiss.

He pulled me tight and whispered in my ear. “Tell me you’ll give your beautiful body over to me for my pleasure tonight. Promise me you’ll do anything I ask.”

“Yes,” I murmured, imagining our bodies doing what our mouths had just done. “I promise…anything.”