Just one night sex love.., p.1
Just One Night: Sex, Love & Stiletto Series, page 1
Just One Night is a work of fiction. Names, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
A Loveswept eBook Original
Copyright © 2014 by Lauren Layne
Excerpt from Wild on You by Tina Wainscott copyright © 2014 by Tina Wainscott.
All Rights Reserved.
Published in the United States by Loveswept, an imprint of Random House, a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company, New York.
LOVESWEPT is a registered trademark and the LOVESWEPT colophon is a trademark of Random House LLC.
eBook ISBN 978-0-345-54727-9
Cover photograph: Claudio Marinesco
This book contains an excerpt from the forthcoming book Wild on You by Tina Wainscott. This excerpt has been set for this edition only and may not reflect the final content of the forthcoming edition.
BY LAUREN LAYNE
After the Kiss
Isn’t She Lovely
Love the One You’re With
Just One Night
For my girlfriends.
All of them.
Other Books by This Author
About the Author
The Editor’s Corner
Excerpt from Wild on You
There comes a time in every single woman’s life when the man who was once eh, not bad gets promoted to good enough.
For Riley McKenna, that moment happened at age twenty-eight at a pretentious new French restaurant in the East Village with weird blue lighting, snooty servers, and entrées the size of a pack of gum. A pack of gum.
Which was sort of par for the course in Riley’s dating world. Guys had quit taking her to comfortable places like McSorley’s or Patsy’s, with their big old pasta dishes, right about the time she’d gotten hired full-time by Stiletto magazine and traded in her hoodies for wrap dresses and platform shoes.
But now was not the time to reminisce about Brooklyn Riley and the big food portions she’d once been served. She was Manhattan Riley.
And Manhattan Riley dated guys like … what was his name?
Steven. Right. Steven Moore. And to be totally fair, Steven Moore was truly, well … not bad.
He was tall. Tall was good. In fact, Steven might be a tad too tall, if a girl was picky. But Riley didn’t have to worry about that now that she’d entered into a self-imposed quit-being-so-judgmental rehab program.
And it was because Riley was done being critical that she could also overlook that his hairline was all wrong for his face shape. As well as the fact that his hair color was a boring, whatever shade of brown.
After all, Steven’s eyes were just fine. Nicely shaped. Granted, he did tend to blink a little too long, but that didn’t bother Riley. Nope. The new easygoing Riley was just fine with that sort of thing.
Too bad nobody was around to take notes on all this fine self-improvement and report back to Riley’s mother. Erin McKenna would have been thrilled to learn that all of her beggars-can’t-be-choosers mating lectures were paying off.
Not that Riley was a beggar. Not even close.
In fact, if one were to read New York’s society pages, which Riley did (religiously), one might even surmise that Riley McKenna was one of the most sought-after women in the city.
Those kind of assumptions happened when your picture appeared with the caption “The country’s hottest sex expert.”
Or at least she liked to think so when she was wearing her highest suede Alexander McQueen platform sandals and skinny jeans that looked like they would require margarine to remove.
As for the sex-expert part …
She was working on that.
Steven ended whatever boring story she’d been struggling to fake interest in and excused himself to the restroom.
Riley discreetly fished her cellphone out of her purse. It was bad form to be on her phone in a restaurant. Especially in a swanky place like this. But it served them right for serving her the pathetic morsel they’d dared to declare a chicken breast. It was a chicken nugget, at best.
The first message was from her mom. How’s your date? Don’t do that thing.
Riley scowled. What thing? Scratch that. She didn’t want to know. And she’d told her sister that teaching their mother to text was a catastrophically bad idea. But then, Meg didn’t have to worry about these types of texts from Erin McKenna, because her older sister was married. Meg must not have a thing.
The next message was from Julie Greene, one of Riley’s best friends and a colleague at Stiletto.
Having a late dinner with Mitchell’s parents tonight. Is my silk turquoise top too slutty?
Mitchell’s parents were from Snobbytown, Connecticut. So everything was probably too slutty. But to be safe …
Dunno. Ask Grace. Her middle name is Decorum.
Julie wrote back immediately.
Grace’s middle name is Elizabeth. And she’s on that weekend getaway with Jake. As much as she talked about that two-person jetted tub, I didn’t want to interrupt.
Right. Riley had pushed Grace’s trip out of her mind to forget about the fact that both of her best friends were in blissfully happy relationships. Julie with a sexy Wall Street guy and Grace Brighton with the city’s sexiest male journalist.
She typed out a quick response to Julie. Go with the black turtleneck. That way his mom can’t accuse you of luring Mitchell in with your boobs.
Julie: Even though I did.
Riley smiled, and after making sure Steven was still in the restroom—what the heck was he doing in there?—she went to the next and last message.
Her stomach flipped, but Riley chalked this up to the Happy Meal–sized dinner. Because after ten very platonic years, there was absolutely no reason why a simple text message from Sam Compton should give her butterflies. No good reason anyway.
Sam: I know it was you.
She rolled her eyes. Typical Sam—vague and grumpy.
Riley: Woah! Is the taciturn-caveman routine back in style? Because nobody told us womenfolk!
Sam: The pamphlets in the glove box. I know you put them there. Probably last week when you tricked me into driving you and the girls to the outlet mall.
She let out a little choked laugh. Oh, those pamphlets. She’d almost forgotten about that spur-of-the-moment stunt.
Riley: I’m a sex columnist. It’s my responsibility to spread the word about safe sex.
Sam: This had nothing to do with safe sex, and everything to do with you making sure I didn’t HAVE any sex.
True, true. The man did know her well.
Riley: Well then clearly Angelica didn’t read the pamphlets. It says VERY clearly that there are multiple treatment options.
Sam: Her name is ANGELA, and she didn’t stick around long enough to read the pamphlets, and I DO NOT HAVE GENITAL WARTS.
She snickered. Riley could just picture him angrily punching the keyboard on his touch screen while cursing her name.
Admittedly, sticking the Dealing with Genital Warts pamphlets she’d swiped from the gyno’s office into his glove box had been a bit juvenile, but it meant he was alone tonight instead of feeling up Angelina.
She couldn’t even bother to hide the grin.
Gotta go, Sammy, she typed as Steven returned to the table. On a date.
Riley dropped the phone back into her purse and beamed at Steven, feeling happier than she had all night.
“Everything all right?” he asked politely.
“Oh, sure,” she said with a wave of her hand. “Just an old friend needing some relationship advice.”
“Well, they’re lucky to have a career relationship expert as a friend, then.”
Riley gave a distant smile as she felt her purse vibrate slightly against her calf. It would be Sam again. Don’t pick up that phone. Do not pick up that phone.
“You know, Steven, would you mind if I check this, just one last time,” she asked, already reaching for the phone. “It’s just he’s so—”
Oops. Steven’s smile had slipped. Crap. She seemed to remember Grace writing an article about this once. No mentioning other guys early on in the dating process.
“Just my brother’s best friend,” she hurried to explain. “We grew up together. Practically siblings.”
They weren’t all lies. Sam really was best friends with her older brother, Liam. And she and Sam had grown up together, if you counted the late-teen years. And as for the siblings part …
She glanced down at his message. A date with whom?
Whom. Damn it. Didn’t he know that there was nothing sexier to a journalist than proper grammar?
Steven. I think this one might be a keeper, she typed back.
She waited. And waited some more, flashing an apologetic smile at an irritated-looking Steven. Come on, Sam. Get jealous. Just a little.
Finally, Sam responded. Can’t wait to meet him. Have fun.
And just like that, Riley deflated. She did this to herself every damn time, holding on to the hope that she and Sam would actually cross that line between bickering and flirting, curiosity and jealousy. Between friends and lovers.
But it had been a decade. Sam had had a freaking decade to stake his claim on her.
He hadn’t. He wouldn’t.
No more waiting, Riley.
She took a deep breath and switched her phone off altogether before giving her date a warm smile. Congratulations on your promotion, Steven Moore. You’ve just become Mr. Good Enough.
She waited for a little thrill of anticipation to shiver down her spine.
Not that she’d been expecting it.
Lucky for both of them, Steven’s personality was slightly more appealing to her than his looks. Slightly. Granted, he didn’t have Sam’s dry humor, or …
Stop it. Sam Compton does not want you.
The thought hurt. The thought had been hurting for years. But the man hadn’t once tried to move them out of the “squabbling sibling” zone they’d been in for more than a decade. And while Riley liked to consider herself bold in most areas of her life, she drew the line at going out on that limb with Sam all by her lonesome.
Her pride had limits. So did her heart.
Steven topped off her wineglass with the last of the rather excellent Chablis he’d ordered. She was more of a whisky girl herself, but fancy white wine did the trick too.
“So you’re good with splitting crème brûlée?” he asked after his ten-minute perusal of the dessert menu.
Good with crème brûlée? Yes. Splitting? Not so much.
“Sounds perfect,” she said, giving him a steamy look.
For a second, Steven looked just the slightest bit dazzled at her smile, and Riley stifled a sigh. Not because the attention wasn’t flattering. It was.
It was also been-there-done-that.
How many dates had she been on just like this one, with the hard-to-get reservations, and the mouse-sized servings, followed by let’s freaking split dessert? Dozens.
Then again, this wasn’t just any date.
This was the fifth date with the same guy.
And every woman knew what that meant. Or at least, every woman who wrote about the dating process for a living knew what it meant.
Hell, Riley wasn’t entirely sure that she or one of her friends hadn’t invented the rule somewhere along the way.
That was one of the unexpected perks—or hazards, depending how you looked at it—of writing for the top-selling women’s magazine in the country: You got to write the rules.
And as one of Stiletto’s primary relationship columnists, Riley had done a fair amount of writing about the fifth date.
Or rather … the after-party of the fifth date.
So yeah. Riley knew what tonight meant, and from the way Steven’s bland gaze kept dropping to her cleavage, so did he.
Again, Riley waited for that tug of anticipation low in her belly.
She gave a mental shrug and took another sip of wine. It had been worth a shot. The night was young. Maybe Mr. Good Enough was just biding his time to light her fire.
Although if that were the case, the man really should have ordered two desserts, because nothing lit Riley’s fire like food, and this uppity place hadn’t even offered a decent bread basket, just a weird little seeded-roll thing the size of a tangerine.
A French restaurant with no French bread was a grand faux pas.
Or was it faux pas grand?
Julie had written an article a couple of years back about how gorging oneself early on in the dating ritual was a Bad Idea. Something about bloating and gluttony and other prehistoric ladies-should-be-ladies nonsense. Julie Greene was a bit of a legend when it came to dating.
But legend or not, Riley was pretty sure her best friend had gotten it wrong on this one. There was something utterly warped about changing one’s eating habits for a man. Any man.
Maybe that’s why Julie’s engaged and you’re not.
Stifling a sigh, Riley dug into the crème brûlée the server placed on the table between them. She took small bites. Not because she wanted to be dainty, but because it was freaking tiny, and she wanted to make it last.
Luckily Steven either didn’t have much of a sweet tooth or figured that hers was bigger than his, because he politely set his own spoon aside after two bites.
Good boy. Her hope for them just hitched up a notch. Sam would have been knocking her spoon out of the way to beat her to the brittle top, which everyone knew was the whole point of crème brûlée. A gentleman, Sam Compton was not.
“So, Riley,” Steven said, watching as she cleaned out the last sugary bits from every cranny of the mini custard pan. “I’ve got to tell you, I’ve done my fair share of dating, but I’ve enjoyed these last couple of weeks with you more than I’ve enjoyed a woman in a long, long time.”
“Me too,” she said instead. Grace had warned her about this earlier. Something-something-something, don’t kick his balls and just be nice.
It all sounded fishy to Riley, but Grace Brighton knew her shit.
If Julie was the dating guru of Stiletto, Grace was the magazine’s Dalai Lama of relationships. There was a kind gentleness to Grace that even a wretched breakup with a cheating bastard hadn’t diminished.
Not that Grace had remained single for long. In fact, she and Jake were probably doing some sort of nauseating just-for-two activity right this very second and actually enjoying it.
Steven was still talking. “I’m not ready for this date to end. How about you?”
Here it was. Tell him you don’t want it to end either. Ask if he wants to go back to your place for a nightcap.
She curved up the corners of her mouth and lowered her eyelids in a way that usually had men panting a little bit. “You want to come back to my place?”
Riley drew the line at using the word nightcap. This wasn’t 1954.
“I’d like that, Riley. Very much.”
Okay then. Even she knew what the husky voice and steamy look meant. His eyes skimmed her body, and his appreciative smile said he liked what he saw.
She resisted the urge to smirk. He hadn’t even seen the good stuff yet. One didn’t write about sex for a living and not learn a thing or two about sexy lingerie.
Words like nightcap may be passé, but the way Riley saw it, garter belts were always in style.
She just wished the big moment wasn’t quite so … imminent.
It was on the tip of her tongue to suggest they get another dessert … or hell, maybe just a repeat of the entire meal so that she’d actually feel full. But their server was already discreetly sliding the bill onto their table.
To her surprise, Steven let her pay for half. She’d offered on previous dates, but he’d always kindly waved away her credit card with a comment about his mother uninviting him at Christmas if she found out that he’d let a woman pay.
She was pleased to see he’d relaxed his stance. Riley was all for gentlemanly gestures on the first date or two, but there was a mighty fine line between chivalry and chauvinism.
However, just when she was about to bump him up from Good Enough to just plain Good, he got, well … prissy.
“Oh man, it’s raining,” Steven said, doing a fussy little dance to avoid a puddle outside the restaurant.
Riley lifted an eye as she pulled her Kate Spade umbrella out of her purse and watched him pointlessly swipe at the water on his shoes.
“These are Italian,” he whined, not noticing her less-than-enamored expression.
Riley understood the reverence for Italian-made goods.
But only as it pertained to food. Pasta, in particular.
by Lauren Layne / Romance have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes