Authors: Lacey Alexander
Tags: #Contemporary, #Fiction, #Romance, #General, #Erotic, #Computers, #Erotica, #Programming Languages
An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Adrianna’s Undies Copyright© 2009 Lacey Alexander
Edited by Mary Moran.
Cover art by Syneca.
Electronic book Publication March 2009
The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.
With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.
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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 productions of the authors’ imagination and used fictitiously.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Armani: Giorgio Armani S.P.A.
Bellagio: Bellagio, LLC
: Advance Magazine Publishers Inc.
Jaguar XJS: Jaguar Cars Limited Corporation
Luxor Hotel and Casino: Ramparts, Inc.
Mercedes: DaimlerChrysler AG Corporation
UNLV: University of Nevada
Popsicle: Unilever Supply Chain, Inc.
Vaseline: Unilever Supply Chain, Inc.
On most mornings, as Adrianna Kline drove her Jaguar XJS toward the office, she thought about work. Or sex. They were her two favorite subjects. But on this particular morning when the hot desert summer was beginning to wane, making way for cooler temperatures and even an occasional breeze beneath the bright blue sky, on this particular morning as the words Adrianna, Inc. gleamed at her from the top of the pristine white building in the distance, she found herself thinking about how much she had achieved.
She was the founder and CEO of a major corporation, after all. And given that her product—upscale lingerie—
those two things she loved most, her company and sex, she thought she had a lot to be proud of.
It was her thirty-sixth birthday, so maybe that was the cause of her reflections. Single and childless because she chose to be married to her business, and also because she couldn’t bear the idea of ever letting a man control her, she remained happy with her choices. And satisfied with her accomplishments.
Although lately, she admitted to herself as she pulled into the circular drive fronting the Adrianna, Inc. building, sex had not been in her thoughts, in her life, as much as in the past.
Because I’m thirty-six? Am I losing my sex drive?
She shivered at the thought and pushed it down.
Maybe I’m just bored.
Bored with wild sex? That didn’t make much sense. Adrianna had spent her adult life indulging in every sort of sexual liaison that had caught her fancy—sex with guys, sex with girls, sex with guys and girls together, and she’d played in the BDSM circles for a while too—so how could she possibly be bored with that much variety?
Maybe you’re bored with
Her chest tightened as she pulled the Jag into her reserved parking space near the front door, next to the two spots reserved for visitors. Good God, could that be it? That something about the casual nature of her sex life was no longer enough to fulfill her?
If so, it was a tragic turn of events since she couldn’t imagine herself
having sex that was anything
than casual. She didn’t believe in relationships; they just didn’t fit into her life. Moreover, she believed relationships could only lead to the one thing she abhorred—having someone try to control her. She was an independent woman, a
independent woman, and she planned to keep it that way.
But the sad truth was, as she’d driven toward Adrianna, Inc., as she’d seen the huge silver letters spelling out her name for all to see,
had made her pussy tingle more than thinking about sex did right now.
Although, if thinking about her company excited her, maybe that meant she was fine. A little weird perhaps, but fine. Who cared what kept her satisfied as long as
And still, as her stiletto heels clicked across the concrete and into the new building the company had recently moved into, as the fabric of her expensive cream-colored suit moved and shifted with her body, she felt…troubled. Because sex was a huge part of her identity. She
to want sex. She wanted to
it, as she always had in the past. It was an enormous part of what made her the vibrant, outgoing woman she was.
Stepping onto the elevator by herself—she was late this morning, so the lobby was empty, quiet—she contemplated various past sexual encounters.
Once upon a time she’d had an extremely intense evening with Marc and Diana, both employees, now married. Maybe she should see if they’d be interested in another threesome. But no—in reality, the idea didn’t appeal. She’d gotten to know Diana too well since then, and Diana and Marc seemed very monogamous these days.
And then there was Holly, her lovely blonde receptionist—she and Holly had shared many a naughty dalliance over the years, although not lately. Because Holly had also settled into a relationship with a pleasant young man. And because, again, the notion of bringing Holly into her office for a bit of “afternoon delight” simply no longer left Adrianna feeling titillated.
More bondage and domination maybe? She’d once very much enjoyed playing the dominatrix, loving that blessed sense of power and control it delivered. But even though thoughts of tight leather and harshly delivered commands caused her cunt to ripple lightly now, it also sounded…like work. To find the right partners. She wasn’t sure she had the energy or, given the demands of her job, even the time.
Maybe you’re just getting old.
Ugh, what a horrible thought.
And not one that she had time to ponder further as the elevator dinged, the doors parting on the building’s top floor where her vast office overlooked the suburban Las Vegas landscape.
The first thing she saw was pretty Holly, smiling in greeting but also looking uncertain for some reason. “Morning,” she said, clearly trying to sound cheerful but not quite succeeding.
“What’s wrong?” Adrianna hadn’t been expecting a party—she didn’t advertise her birthday around the office—but she’d hoped the day would at least be a smooth, happy one.
Holly bit her lip. “There’s a guy in your office.”
Adrianna stopped, blinked. “A guy?
guy?” She had no appointments scheduled this morning, and had purposely left the day clear—her little way of silently celebrating the day of her birth.
“He said he’s from a company called Center Corp in Los Angeles and he pretty much insisted on seeing you
on waiting in your office even though I told him you weren’t here yet. He said he was an old friend of yours, but I couldn’t quite tell if this was business or personal. Sorry—he was pushy and didn’t seem to want to take no for an answer.”
Adrianna took a deep breath. “No problem, and not your fault. I have no idea who this is, but I’ll handle it.” She thought vaguely back to the moment she’d parked her car—there
been another car, a Mercedes, in fact, in one of the visitor spaces, but she’d assumed it was for a meeting with someone else in the company’s many departments—not with her.
Center Corp. She turned the words over in her mind as she walked toward the double doors to her office. Why did that name sound familiar? Was it someone Adrianna, Inc. had done business with in the past?
Pushing through the doors, she spotted the back of her visitor’s head—thick brown hair, and he wore an expensive suit; she could tell that even from the back.
But when he turned to face her, her stomach dropped.
“Tristan,” she murmured. Tristan Locke. The only man she had ever loved.
Please don’t let my reaction show on my face.
And exactly what
that reaction? Shock? Definitely. Heartache? Maybe. But she hadn’t felt heartache in a very long time, so she couldn’t be certain. She hadn’t seen him in fifteen years. And she’d never expected to see him again, let alone sitting in her office on her thirty-sixth birthday like some bizarre, unexpected gift.
A slow smile spread across her ex-lover’s handsome face. “Adrianna, you’re even more beautiful than I remember.”
“A little older,” she heard herself say, but instantly regretted the reminder.
“But none the worse for wear—trust me.”
He looked none the worse for wear, either—in fact, he looked even better than he had when they’d attended UNLV together all those years ago. Gone was the cute, lanky, basketball-playing boyfriend of her youth and in his place was an utterly handsome, broad-shouldered, well-dressed professional. But his eyes remained just as green. And just as penetrating too.
Oh God, her heart literally skipped a beat—she felt it. One look into those emerald eyes and she was swept back in time, back to the romance, back to the sex, back to the glorious wonder of all those things they’d explored for the first time together.
Stop it. It was a lifetime ago.
And she’d been the one to end it anyway—she’d wanted things this way, the way they were now. She’d been unwilling to risk living in a man’s shadow, even if it was a man she loved.
A few months after graduation, he’d been offered a high-paying management job in Los Angeles—just as she’d started creating Adrianna, Inc. here in Las Vegas and had found some success, getting a few local boutiques to carry her products. She hadn’t wanted to start over. But mostly, she hadn’t wanted to follow him. Hadn’t wanted to
a woman who followed. She’d wanted to choose her own path, her own destiny—she’d wanted to
it. And so they’d gone their separate ways when she’d stubbornly refused—and even
knew it had been stubborn—to relocate with him.
But it was high time she ceased reminiscing. “What on earth brings you here, Tristan?”
Maybe she should be nicer, smile. But something about this surprise appearance had her guard up. She’d loved him once. But she wasn’t sure she trusted him
. She’d toughened since then. And his eyes sparkled a bit too lecherously.
“Your success,” he replied.
She finally found the presence of mind to walk around her desk and sit down, lowering her briefcase to the floor. She was doing her damnedest to appear unaffected by him.
Once seated, she gave him a good looking over. She’d been right—the suit was top of the line. The red tie said confidence. Everything about him made her feel challenged. “You don’t look like a man who’s down on his luck, so I guess you’re not here for a loan.”
He arched one brow in what appeared to be amusement. “I admire your company, Adrianna.”
“And?” She felt the “
in his words.
“And…I wanted to tell you personally that
company Center Corp is planning to execute a hostile takeover.”
Still, she tried not to look affected, even as the blood drained from her face. Now she knew why the name Center Corp was familiar—it was an L.A.-based conglomerate with a reputation for buying out popular retail chains. They kept the stores intact, as far as she knew—the main difference being that…whoever owned them before no longer did. “Your company,” she asked, “or you? Is this decision yours or someone else’s?”