“The string?”

She nods and picks up the red string. “It wraps around the side, after you step into it. Then, tie it on the hip.” She selects pieces that are my size. “Is there anything else you’d like to try?”

I glance around. “I don’t know.” Where’d Marty go?

“Is there something in particular that you’re looking for?” I tell her something sexy and she makes a few more selections for me.

On the way back to the dressing room, I see Marty. He falls in step with me. “Try this one too.” He hands me something blue. I nod and take it.

The salesgirl doesn’t say anything about Marty following me back. I think about that red set and worry about him seeing me in it. I don’t really care about him seeing me in my underwear, but exposed nipples with those bottoms—I don’t know. Gay or not, that’s a little bit overexposed for my preference.

The salesgirl hangs my items in a room and leaves. Marty finds a chair and sits down across from my changing room. “Okay, show me the blue one first.”

That’s the set he picked out. It’s also the one with the most coverage. No problem, although I know Black will shoot down the bottoms. I have to show off my ass from now on. I’m not a virgin anymore.

I slip out of my clothes and pull on a blue satin set. It is pretty, but it’s too plain for this. I crack the door and call Marty over. He slips into the dressing room with me. “Turn around, let me see.” Marty nods as he rubs his chin. “It’s too old school for this, but it is pretty.”

I look at my hips in the mirror. Old school is right. The boobs are kind of pointy. I laugh. “I look like Marilyn Monroe.”

“If they were just a bit pointier, I would have said Madonna.”

“Okay, this one is out.”

Marty cracks the door to step outside. I glance over his shoulder and see a familiar face standing in the store just outside the dressing room. Bright blue eyes catch my gaze. My heart hammers harder.


He holds my gaze for a moment and then blinks like he didn’t just see Marty come out of my dressing room. Marty doesn’t notice him, and I don’t want him to. I try to get rid of Marty quickly. The last thing I want is the two of them fighting back here, and since they both seem to hate each other, it’s pretty much a sure thing.

“Marty, would you mind heading to the second floor to scout out a dress? I’m pretty sure I’m going to want the red panty set and I’m not showing you my ass.”

He chuckles. “Sure, babe. What color?”

“Red.” I blurt it out and shut the door. Marty’s feet disappear from sight. I lean against the door. My shoulders tense as I listen for the altercation, but it doesn’t come.

I sigh and push off the door. I don’t know where Sean went, but at least he had the decency to not make a scene. It probably looked like Marty was doing me in the dressing room. My cheeks burn. I wouldn’t want anyone to think that. Then, I realize that everyone probably thinks that. I’m so slow. I palm my face and shake my head.

Damn it. I’m so stupid. I guess it doesn’t matter, but I don’t want word getting back to Black that I was doing some guy in the dressing room. I need to keep my personal life separate. I wonder if that’s possible as I slip out of the panty set and try on another.

I turn and glance at my hips and then my butt. My boobs look okay, but I don’t like it. I try on the last two normal sets of lingerie. I stare at myself in the mirror wondering if it matters what I wear. Who cares if I like it or not?

I glance at the red set still hanging on the wall.

I slip out of my clothes and reach for it. I step into the string bottoms and tie a bow at my hip.

Seriously? A string doesn’t change the fact that this is commando. The guy is going to get an eyeful as soon as I’m out of my dress. As I’m taking the top off the hanger, the door creaks opens slowly.

“I’m in here.” I can’t decide if I should cover myself or stop the door. My hands wave around like I’m dancing and Sean slips into the room.

“I know.” The grin on his face is so wide. I twitch and cover my breasts with my arm. When I catch myself in the mirror, I groan.

He smirks. “You look like you could use some help.”

“I don’t need your help. Go away.” I want to push him out the door, but then I’d have to flash my boobs at him and I don’t want to. “Scat.”

“Scat? Seriously? You’re going to throw me out, but you let him in?” Sean’s tone is light, playful. He glances around the room and walks over to the things that I’ve already tried on. They are in a pile on the padded bench against the wall.

“He’s gay—”

“Keep telling yourself that—”

“Oh my god. You are unbelievable. You’re jealous of a gay guy.” I tilt my head to the side and give him my best are-you-fucking-serious face, but I’m naked—so he laughs.

“Damn, you’re cute.” Sean takes the red bra from where I dropped it on the floor and looks at it. “I’m not jealous. I just don’t like liars and I don’t want anyone to hurt you. Turn around.”

“Sean—” I try to protest but he turns me toward the mirror. I don’t drop my arm.

“I’ve already seen and had them, Avery. Drop your arm.” Sean is standing behind me with the bra in his hands. I’m stubborn. I feel my spine straightening. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want him here, but part of me does. Part of me likes this. Part of me is obviously defective.

“Fine,” I bite back, “but this didn’t happen. My friends hate your guts and I don’t want Black to know I’ve been talking to you.”

Sean gives me a lopsided grin as he reaches around me and slips the bra on. His fingers brush against my skin as he fastens it in back. Involuntarily, I suck in a sharp breath at the light touch. I’m staring at myself in the mirror, with Sean—who is fully dressed and beyond beautiful—standing behind me. My stomach curls and I feel hot. I glance away, hoping he doesn’t notice, but now I’m noticing everything. I’m breathing too much, too loudly. I don’t know where to put my hands, but they feel stupid dangling at my sides. But the worst part is this bra. The front holds me up and adds a cup size, which makes my taut nipples glaringly obvious.

Sean looks up into the mirror, but he doesn’t step back. I feel his breath on my skin and resist the urge to climb on him. Because that’s what I want to do. With him here, looking at me like that, and standing so close—oh God—I want to touch him and feel his skin under my fingertips. I wish he wasn’t so fucked up. Or maybe, I wish I was more messed up so I could let him do what he wanted, but I can’t. I shiver thinking about it.

I see Sean’s gaze in the mirror. It locks with mine. After a moment, he says, “Is this for a client?”

“Yes.” There’s a lump in my throat that won’t go away. My fingers twitch at my sides. I want to touch him. I wish he’d turn me around, but he doesn’t. Sean stands so close that we should be touching, but we aren’t. Every inch of my skin is sensitive, dying for contact.

“It needs something else.” Sean pulls a bag out of his pocket. He must have purchased something before he came back. “This is what I’d want to see you in.” I take the bag. Sean’s fingers brush against mine. My heart pounds harder. I suck in air like I haven’t taken a breath in five minutes. It’s too loud, too raspy. “Open it.”

I look into the bag. There’s a black box at the bottom. I take it out and open it. Inside are two silver rings shaped in a C. There’s a single crystal on each one. I look up at him.

He smiles at me. “Put them on.”

My stomach flips. His voice is so much deeper. It’s that voice that makes me do stupid things. I take one out of the box and look at it. I’m not sure what it is, but it looks like an earring, so I pull my hair back and go to put it on my ear.

Sean smiles and takes my hand. He steps closer to me, pressing his front against my back. Sean moves my hand to my breast and breathes, “It goes here.”

His hand is on top of mine. I’m staring at him in the mirror, frozen. My brain is ringing warning bells, but I can’t move. After a moment, he turns me toward him and takes the jewelry from me. “Allow me.”

Sean leans closer to me and slides his hand up my waist. He cups the bottom of my breast and slips his hand over my nipple. My back goes ram-rod straight. My voice disappears as a bolt of heat shoots between the V of my legs. Sean rolls my nipple between his fingers, teasing it, before putting the silver C on me. Then, he squeezes it gently and the silver pinches me. I gasp silently as my lips make a little O. Sean watches my expression as he does the same thing to my other nipple. Then, he takes my shoulders and turns me back to the mirror.

“There you go, bestie. A totally fuckable outfit for a fun Friday night.”

My chest swells as it fills with air. It forces my breasts out and the little crystals sparkle. I look in the mirror and love this outfit because he likes it. I can’t speak. I can’t think. I stare at my breasts too long. When my eyes lift to see Sean’s in the mirror, I notice the same dark look he had the other morning.

Sean steps closer to me. His lips are so close to my neck. I tip my head to the side, hoping he’ll kiss me. I want him to touch me, but he doesn’t. I refuse to move. I don’t need him. I can control myself. But, Sean doesn’t leave. He doesn’t talk and his eyes remain hooded, as he drinks in my reflection. Every inch of my body is buzzing. I’m wound so tight that I think I’ll snap. That’s when Sean’s hand slowly drifts up my thigh without touching. I sense the heat from his palm. It makes my skin tingle and ache for his touch. Sean stops just above the bow on my hip. His fingers flick the string. I close my eyes and suck in a shaky breath.

“Ask me,” he breathes. Defiance strums through me. Or maybe it’s pride. Or both. Whatever it is, I say nothing which makes Sean give me the most seductive grin I’ve ever seen. “I know you want it. Ask me, Avery… “