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Copyright © LYLA SINCLAIR, 2011

All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

I shouldn’t have shown up early. Being compulsively early yet impatient is a bad combination on a normal day, but today…

I glanced around again as I sat in the fake foyer in the fake house at Fantasm Fantasy Fulfillment. This was just one of several retired sound stages purchased by a set designer and a costume designer, who’d turned them into the ultimate—and most discreet—fantasy-fulfillment house in the country. A place where someone like Celeste Phillips would never, ever be found.

Except I didn’t come here to be Celeste, because Celeste was a women who never got what she really needed, sexually speaking. But since I held an important position at Murray Training Inc., a company that provided corporate and collegiate trainings such as “Make Your Work Place a Sexual Harassment Free Zone,” and “No Always Means No,” I couldn’t afford a reputation as any sort of sexual deviant. Maybe if I were a man…but I wasn’t.

I looked down at my naked legs protruding from my tiny denim shorts. My thighs were jiggling up and down nervously in a way my coworkers had never, ever seen. In fact, my coworkers had no reason to be sure I even had legs above my knees since I generally wore suits with below-knee-length skirts. These “booty” shorts and the sleeveless button-down shirt with tiny yellow flowers scattered over it were the work of the Fantasm staff.

I pressed down on my thighs to make the shaking stop. Too bad there wasn’t an equally simple remedy for the galloping in my chest.

Yes, it was crazy to be here, but when a woman reaches her mid-forties and still hasn’t had a truly wild and satisfying sexual experience, she can get a little desperate. Besides, clients were screened very carefully at Fantasm with lengthy questionnaires to ensure there was virtually no chance they’d run in to each other in the real world.

I glanced up at a clock shaped like a fish—probably a bass, though I was hardly a fisherman. Nice touch, though, considering the type of guy my partner in this charade would be portraying. I wondered if he’d bothered to learn all the lines the way I wrote them. I didn’t need to memorize them myself. I’d been replaying this scene exactly the same way in my mind for years.

But when the clock struck eight, I was overcome by sudden terror. What if I wasn’t attracted to him? What if I didn’t truly want what I’d fantasized about all this time? What if he recognized me from the tiny picture BusinessWeek ran next to the article I’d written for them five years ago?

I stood up, ready to bolt. But before I could move any farther, the doorknob turned, the door opened, and he was there.

I gasped.

He was way more than I’d expected, with his broad shoulders and thick biceps. He was obviously in some manly profession. Construction worker? Fireman? Yet his stance said he was used to giving orders. Arousal began pulsing at the base of my throat before it snaked through my body.

“Hi,” he said in a gentle voice that seemed at odds with his in-your-face physique. “Jenny?” We were using fake names, but it was definitely a smart move on his part to make sure he was in the right sound stage before proceeding.

“Yeah.” My voice came out in a whisper. I cleared my throat. “Yes.” I swallowed hard, feeling as if I couldn’t quite catch my breath.

I had to hand it to the Fantasm people. The mirrored sunglasses and uniform were a nice touch. But as he stood silently watching me, my heart raced and I felt the need to fidget. For the first time in many years, I didn’t have my corporate wardrobe to protect me. I suddenly felt downright silly and wanted to rip the childish ponytail from my shoulder-length brown hair. It was probably just making me look older anyway.

God, he was hot though. And young. Definitely younger than I was by a good ten, fifteen years? I hoped it wasn’t more than that. But why was he just standing there staring? Did he want to back out of this now that he’d seen me?

I finally remembered the first line was mine. I cleared my throat.

“Um, thanks for picking me to clean your house for you, Warden,” I said. “It’s nice to get out for a while…and nice to be back in my own clothes.” Ha! These were about as far from my real clothes as you could get.

“No problem, Jenny. You earned it with your good behavior.” He pulled off his sunglasses and I almost melted into the floor.

His eyes were a steely blue-gray, like his uniform. He looked exactly like the kind of man who would do to a woman what I’d needed done to me for a long, long time now.

Then the reality of it hit me. I was looking at the only other person in the world who was privy to the content of my most lurid, most inappropriate, most politically incorrect fantasy. Why in the world had I instigated this?

He ushered me in, and I walked on shaky legs into the living area. Did I want to stop this before it went too far? I could see the outline of his pecs through his very fitted shirt… No. I didn’t want to stop.

“Wow, this is a nice place. Where do you want me to start?” I asked, already knowing his answer.

“Back there, in the bedroom,” he replied.

I walked through the “house”, trying to keep an unsuspecting expression on my face, but I could feel my panties getting damp already. When I got to the bedroom, I turned all the way around as though I hadn’t seen it before. In reality I’d checked the place out before he arrived and knew there were five kinds of condoms and three kinds of lube in the drawers next to the bed, along with something special required especially for my fantasy.

“But it’s so clean already,” I exclaimed, a lump forming in my throat.

He waited until I looked back at him, then he slowly closed the door and turned the lock.

“Why are you locking the door?” I asked, genuinely nervous now that I realized I was locked in a room with a man I’d never met before in my life.

“You didn’t really think you were coming here to clean my house, did you, Jenny? I’m sure some of the other ladies have filled you in.”

He was getting it just right. Heat fanned out from my middle to my extremities. “No, I—”

“Take off your clothes,” he commanded as he began unbuttoning his shirt.