“Thank God, you’re here!” Mikayla exclaimed, reaching out and dragging her friend through the door into her apartment.

“I told you I would be here by five, and it’s only quarter to five now,” Ariel sighed. “Tell me what the latest catastrophe is, and we’ll see what we can do to fix it.”

“I have nothing to wear to this party tonight! The dress I’d planned to wear is all wrong, and I had no time to shop today!” Mikayla stomped into her room and threw her hands up in front of her huge closet, making Ariel roll her eyes in exasperation. “Why can’t we be the same size so you could lend me your turquoise sequined dress?” she wailed.

“The one I’m planning on wearing tonight?” Ariel raised her eyebrows.

“Yes, but if we were the same size you could raid my wardrobe for anything you liked,” she said in a tone that sounded as if this would be a suitable compromise to making her best friend give up her favourite dress.

“I’ll help you find something, then we can have a pre-party drink while we get ready,” Ariel said, holding her tongue about her friend acting like a spoilt brat.

The two girls couldn’t have been more opposite. While Mikayla was as slender as a reed, Ariel was curvaceous, and, while not excessively so, she looked large beside her friend. Mikayla was blonde; Ariel had chestnut brown hair that was tinted with auburn foils to lighten it a little. Mikayla was always over the top and confident with who she was and what she wanted, while Ariel was just starting to grow into the woman she wanted to be, instead of the good girl, the sweet girl, the girl who did everything right and still got blind-sided by life.

She looked into the full-length mirror as she approached Mikayla’s wardrobe and saw the good and sweet country girl staring back at her. Neat and tidy in sensible clothes and shoes, she was the daughter, friend, and co-worker everyone expected her to be in her small hometown. Thank God she had Mikayla to escape to on the weekends. Even if Mikayla was busy, she let Ariel stay at her apartment and have fun away from the pitying looks and kind words of the people back home. Here she could be anyone she wanted to be, no one knew her aside of Mikayla, and her friend not only accepted her need for change but encouraged it whole-heartedly.

Ariel stepped into the wardrobe and began searching through the racks of clothes, helping Mikayla to find the perfect outfit for the party they were attending tonight. As she searched, she began to divest herself of her sensible shoes and jacket. By the time she emerged again, having found something absolutely perfect for her friend, she was in her underwear and keen to wash the country town smell from her body with a quick shower. It was her ritual… arrive, deal with the fashion disaster that always faced her friend, open a bottle of wine and debrief about everything that had happened during the week and then step into the shower to wash it all away. Tonight, though, she had debriefed while in the wardrobe and divested herself of her sensible outfit as well.

The women didn’t feel self-conscious walking around in their underwear as they sipped the wine and chatted. They were close; closer than most friends, they assumed. They’d been through a lot together throughout school and university. While Mikayla had been a fun-time girl and enjoyed every minute of her adolescence, Ariel had been engaged to her high school sweetheart and avoided the big hook up parties and other adventurous freedoms of university life. After graduation, as the wedding loomed, however, her fiancé had become distant and surly, accusing her of looking and acting like a frumpy middle-aged woman before her time and trying to make him that way. He had stood her up, leaving her alone at the altar on what should have been the happiest day of her life.

She’d been heartbroken and humiliated in front of her whole town, or it had seemed that way, and she withdrew from social life almost entirely. It took time, but eventually she realised she had wasted all of her young and carefree years on a man who had never truly loved her. Now she was making up for that lost time. She finished her glass of wine and disappeared into the bathroom to shower and start getting ready. The last vestiges of the regular life… her sad, pitiful life at home on the farm, washed away, and by the time she emerged from the shower she felt more like the weekend warrior woman she became when she was here with Mikayla. Adventurous, fearless and highly experimental, she knew what she wanted from the opposite sex now and how to get it.

She wasn’t after a happily ever after sort of girl anymore. God knows she had learned her lesson the hard way. She wasn’t looking for a boyfriend or contemplating a future bliss that didn’t exist. She wanted nothing more than a good time and all the lovely endorphins that came along with flirting with handsome men and great sex. Once again, she was the opposite of Mikayla in that respect. Her friend had been the fun-time girl while at university and now looked at every man as a prospect for a long-term commitment.

“The transformation you make from good girl to naughty girl always stuns me,” Mikayla laughed. “I don’t know if I will ever get used to it. So what are we looking for tonight? Cheesy pickup lines that make you laugh? Good moves on the dance floor? Tall, dark and dangerous?”

“Can I have all three?” Ariel grinned toothily.

“At once?” Mikayla asked wide-eyed. She knew her friend was going through a prolonged sexual awakening, but three guys at once? That was just too much for her to even think about.

“Oh gosh, I don’t think I could; could I? I mean, I’ve never… I meant, can’t one guy have all three of those qualities?” she laughed merrily and refilled their wine glasses, the thought of multiple partners intriguing her.

“I’ll call us a cab, slowpoke,” Mikayla downed her wine in a series of noisy gulps. “Hurry up with that.”

“Sure,” Ariel said, and, following Mikayla’s lead, gulped down her drink and stepped towards the mirror for a last look. “Welcome back, Ari,” she said to her reflection and smiled as she scooped up her bag ready to party the night away.

“So you’re sneaking me into this party, why?” Ariel asked, happy to be going to a lavish party on a yacht and not minding having to sneak in.

“They were trying to keep the numbers down, so no plus ones were allowed unless a wife or verifiable fiancé,” Mikayla grinned. “And, sorry, honey, but you’re just not my type,” she giggled. “If anyone asks, just be vague, say you’re new or something.”

“Great, I can do the ditzy bimbo act, it’s one of my favourites,” she widened her eyes and looked vapid. “Like, this party is, like, so boring. Wanna find somewhere quiet to get to know each other, like, better?”

Mikayla rolled her eyes and shook her head at her friend and slid into the cab. They laughed throughout the journey there, and even though they were early so Mikayla could help with the set up of the entertainment, as predicted, the party had definitely started, and Mikayla’s friends who were checking the guest list didn’t even question them as they walked up the gangplank onto the yacht. Then Mikayla ran off to ensure everything was running smoothly with the band her PR department had hired, while Ariel went to get a drink.

Ariel sipped at her glass of wine and tried to suppress the urge to wrinkle her nose. Why did all of these corporate celebrations have to use such horrible wine? Surely they could come up with a little extra money to get something decent for this party. This was an investment firm holding this event for their staff, after all. Mikayla had told her the reason the staff were being rewarded, but she couldn’t remember, so she was trying to keep a low profile.

“Don’t like the wine?” a deep voice asked, making her raise her head and a thrill of expectation run down her spine. The man standing opposite her was sex on legs. He wore a suit but no tie, his shirt open at the collar revealing the dark skin and hair of his chest. Her eyes travelled up his fit body to his face and Ariel drew a breath. Handsome didn’t cover what she thought, as his lopsided smile quirked on one side showing a deep dimple there, and his eyes were deep dark pools that held her mesmerised momentarily.

“It’s passable,” she said unconvincingly once she had gathered her wits.

“I’ll make you a deal. I will find you a decent bottle of wine, and you’ll give me your number,” he said it as a statement and smirked. He knew everybody who worked at the firm, and he had never seen her before, so felt unconcerned about possibly flirting with a member of staff, there was no ring on her finger, so no fiancé or husband, so she must be part of the event team or entertainment. Possibly the band’s manager, although she looked too young for that sort of role.

“If you can find me a decent bottle of wine I’ll give you more than my phone number,” Ariel laughed, openly flirting with the sexiest man she had been this close to in a while.

“More?” he cocked his head to the side, his smirk remaining in place.

“Find me a decent bottle of wine, and then you’ll find out,” she purred.

“Challenge accepted,” he grinned and walked back into the salon of the yacht and passed the bar. Ariel watched him go, admiring the width of his shoulders and the tapering of his hips highlighted by the cut of his suit. As far as hookups went, this one was promising, more so than anything else she had seen so far tonight, or the last few weeks, if she was honest.

“Oh my God! You have to help me!” Mikayla raced over, obscuring her view of the man she didn’t even know the name of yet.

“Calm down. What do you need help with? You know I will fix it if I can,” Ariel turned her full attention back to her friend, seeing real panic on her pretty features for a change.

“The singer is yawning in technicolour over the rail. Apparently, he didn’t know he would get seasick when they accepted this gig,” she grimaced. “My team is in charge of pulling this night together, you have to save me… us!”

“I don’t have any magic cures for seasickness. You don’t expect me to sing, do you?” Ariel asked, quirking an eyebrow, finally seeing where this conversation was heading.

“You can’t let me down in front of my boss. Please, you have a better voice than anyone else I know. It will be just like one of our karaoke nights, except with a live band. Once you get everyone interested, we can ask people to volunteer to sing something as a team-building exercise. It will work out great. Please, Ari, you have to help me, please!” She begged, using the name Ariel preferred when in the city, and began to pull her friend away from where she had been standing toward the small band.

“Fine, but just remember, I am more country than most city people like in their music,” Ariel gave in and let her friend introduce her to the band. The band consisted of a guitar, a drummer and a double bass, much like a jazz trio, and Ariel breathed a sigh of relief. The band had been hired to primarily be background noise rather than a show, so they were prepared to do piano lounge or slower numbers that, luckily, Ariel knew most of, and she went through the playlist with the guys before going to visit the bathroom before they began.

Ariel rounded a corner on her way to the bathroom and ran straight into the hard body of the man who had offered her wine earlier and gasped. His hands wrapped around her waist to steady her and she placed both hands on his chest, enjoying the feel of hard muscle beneath his shirt. She slowly looked up at him, their eyes met, and a thrill ran through her.

“I thought you might like a decent glass of wine before you began your first set,” the man said, obviously assuming she was here with the band the whole time. That suited her fine, and she smiled slowly, pleased that Mikayla sneaking her on board wouldn’t be discovered if everyone thought the same.

“Thank you. But could you hold that thought for just a few more minutes? I need to find the bathroom before anything else,” she said breathily, almost against his neck as they stood in such close proximity.

“Let me show you the way,” he offered and stepped back to guide her with a hand in the small of her back.

Ariel didn’t argue and allowed him to guide her further into the yacht and into what must have been the owner’s private quarters. The bathroom was luxurious for being on a ship. She had assumed it would be cramped and small, and was pleasantly surprised. When she came out of the room, the man was waiting for her, just as she had left him, and she took a moment to drink him in again. If she weren’t saving Mikayla, as usual, she would have jumped him right then and there. The man was made for fucking, and he moved as if he did it and everything else well.

“Thank you for waiting, but I am sure I could have found my way back on my own,” she said as coolly as she could manage with all of her hormones raging.

“Ah, but then I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do this,” he moved quickly and wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her against his body and lowering his head to press his lips against hers. Surprised that she didn’t resist and needed no coaxing to kiss him back, he deepened the kiss, enjoying the feel of her breasts against his chest and running his hands down over her curves.

Ariel could have cursed as he released her. A quickie right here, right now with this man would never do, and she hoped he would still be as interested when she had finished the set she had promised to sing while they found some Dramamine or Kwells for the seasick lead singer she was replacing.

“I need to go back,” she said, not hiding her disappointment from the man, showing him she was willing, if not eager for more of his attention.

“I’ll walk you back,” he said in a husky voice. They walked up, but he detoured slightly to the bar and picked up a glass of white wine, handing it to her. “The wine that promised more,” he grinned at her.

“More, indeed,” she grinned after taking a sip. “It’s lovely. Thank you. After the gig?” she asked, indicating the band waiting for her.

“In the break?” he countered.

“Do you really want to rush this?” she indicated the space between them. “Or take your time and savour the experience, because I imagine it will be quite an experience,” she smiled softly, matching the soft lilt of her voice which had dropped in tone with her desire. He moved toward her as if to kiss her again, but instead slid his lips along her cheek.

“We will fuck tonight, that is not in question, whether it’s in the break or after the gig or both will be your choice,” he murmured into her ear. Then stepped back and let her go, and she moved off toward the band, looking over her shoulder with a grin at him.

Her brain seemed to have melted in the short amount of time she had walked away from the band with Mr. Tall-dark-and-dangerous, and she thanked God for her parents love of music and their eclectic tastes as she stepped up to the mic, almost on automatic pilot as the first familiar chords sounded from the band.


Chess watched the woman walk away. She was cocky and confident, just the sort of woman he enjoyed bringing to her knees and making beg for what she truly wanted. It was rare for a woman to challenge him, but he got the feeling this woman was more than just a tease. As he watched her step up to the mic he readjusted his stance yet again as the sight of her running her hand up and down the mic stand did little to ease the hard-on she had already inspired from him.

Her voice was deep and sultry as she took up the jazz feel of each song. He recognised some well-known songs that had been given a jazz style makeover, and in the glittering, turquoise dress she seemed to him like a siren coming from the sea to lure him in. He was not so easily caught, however, and he knew just how to turn the tables on her once he got her alone. He knew he wouldn’t be able to wait for the party to end and the stragglers to leave, and he began to make plans to take her to a nearby hotel where he knew they wouldn’t be disturbed by anything and he could improvise the things he would need to satisfy them both. Women rarely wanted a second date from him, despite his wealth and good looks. His particular form of fucking didn’t appeal to many, and those that loved it never held the challenge he desired. This woman, he thought, could be dangerously different.

He looked up at her as she began to sing a sultry cover of Chris Isaak’s of Wicked Games. It was as if she was speaking directly to his cock like the siren she was, and he groaned as the band stopped to take a break. He approached her and offered her another glass of wine from his own collection, which she gratefully accepted with a sultry smile that made his cock react even more.

“You were a fucking Siren up there. I need to fuck you now!” he murmured close to her ear and wrapped his hand around her wrist as if to drag her away from the party. He had never wanted a woman as badly as he wanted this one, and he hated that his desire showed so openly to anyone bothering to look at him carefully.

“Wait! I can’t just leave,” she argued, keeping her voice down so as not to make a scene and attempting to pull her wrist from his grip.

“How long is the break?” He asked in a low growl, looking around to ensure they weren’t being overheard.

“Twenty, maybe thirty minutes, I guess,” she whispered. They were still standing so close together no one would have noticed the tension between them or overheard the lascivious conversation. She nervously took a gulp of her wine as he stared into her eyes.

“Not ideal, but it will do for a warm-up,” he muttered. It would at least show him if she were all she promised to be as she had stood there singing and luring him in by his cock. “Come with me!” he growled and tugged her away from the bar and the party-goers. He noted the band and the woman from the public relations department watching them, but at this point he didn’t care, he needed some relief. Then reality hit him, and he paused, turning to her. “Are you sleeping with one of the guys in the band? Someone who brought you here tonight?” He eyes bored into hers.

“No, no one,” she whispered, frowning. “Is your girlfriend, fiancé or wife about to follow us and make a scene?”

“Smart mouth!” he said gruffly. “That would be why you don’t have a boyfriend. Men like smart and feisty girls, but they don’t like them to show it so much.”

“That’s because they want to think they’re smarter and in control,” she bit back at the rebuke. “Just like you,” she grimaced as she tugged on her wrist again and his grip tightened.

“Oh, yeah. I also like a woman who can challenge me. It makes…” he held off telling her exactly what he wanted from her. What his particular kink involved. They didn’t have much time right now, and, if this went well, he would have the rest of the night to explore that kink with her.

“It makes what?” she asked.

“It makes for…” he pulled her into the stateroom and slammed the door behind them. Chess pushed her up against a wall, grabbing her other wrist at the same time and pulling her hands over her head where his right hand clenched them both. With his left hand he gripped her throat, pushing her chin up to look at him, leaving her in doubt who was in control of this moment.