Many might envy Alixandra Quinn. She rubs shoulders with the rich and famous at glitzy society balls and fund-raisers as a photographer for a popular magazine. But, do the envious notice Ali always goes home alone? She has cut herself off from personal relationships and emotional entanglements. It’s a strategy to cope with her past, and for ten years, her strategy has worked.
That is, until she meets Bryce Steede, a young and bold Silicon Valley entrepreneur. When Ali becomes the center of his attention, suddenly her world gets turned upside-down. She may have convinced herself that life is fine the way it is, but he is determined to break down her carefully constructed walls, free her mind and body, and show her pleasures that she couldn’t have imagined.
As Ali navigates through this uncharted journey of self-discovery, she must find the balance between her head and her heart. Is Bryce just another heartache waiting to happen? Will a secret from her past come back to haunt her? Or will Ali make peace with her past and find true happiness . . .
I haven’t heard from Bryce since late Sunday evening, and that was only a text saying he landed. I know he’s a busy man and didn’t get where he is today by keeping everyone up to date on his schedule. He’s seeped into my mind and consumed my thoughts. I find it hard to concentrate on work. On breathing. On . . . being.
“I was just thinking about you,” I say as I answer on the first ring. It’s good to hear his voice.
“I bet not as much as I’ve thought about you,” he answers back.
“Am I on speaker phone?” I can tell because it sounds different.
“Yes, it’s easier this way. You know, to talk. Where are you?”
“Still in bed. I have a few minutes before I have to get up.”
“What a coincidence. I’m in bed, too. Alone.” He sounds frustrated. “I woke up thinking about you.”
I smile at the thought. “You’re on my mind, too. How’s your trip?”
“It’s going well. I was hoping to come back tomorrow, but one of the meetings has been pushed back, so I don’t think that’s possible.” I hear the disappointment in his voice.
“Friday will be here before you know it.” I pretend to be upbeat but I’m as disappointed as he sounds.
“What are your plans for today?” he asks.
“Oh, you know, the typical photo shoot. But this time our subject is cooperative. Those are the ones I like doing best.”
In the sexiest voice I’ve ever heard, he says, “I can be very cooperative. I’ll show you when I get back.”
“Now that should be something to experience.” I know where this conversation is going, and once again, his charisma draws me in. He’s not the only one who’s frustrated.
“I miss you, Ali.”
“I miss you too, Bryce.” I miss him more than I thought I would.
“You do?” he asks, sounding as though he needs reassurance from me.
“Yes. I can’t stop thinking about you. I find it difficult to concentrate on anything else.”
“You’re on my mind from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep. I need you, Ali.” His unfamiliar words startle me.
“You need me?”
“Yes, I do. I want you to be the first thing I see in the mornings.”
“Oh, so that’s all you ‘need’ me for. Of course.” I fail miserably trying to sound upset.
“I thought it was you who only wanted me for my body. I guess we’re at a draw?” he jokes. “No, that’s not all I need or want you for. Would I like us to take it to the next level? Yes, but only when you’re ready. It’s only a small part of the reason I need you. Well, not small.” I know exactly what he’s talking about.
I hear him panting and I’m sure he’s touching himself. I don’t know why, but the thought of him jerking off, while talking to me, turns me on and I feel empowered. I don’t know if it should, but fuck it – I’m not a complete prude. Since I have no frame of reference and it’s my first time doing this, I’ll ‘wing it.’
In a quiet, hushed whisper I reply, “Bryce, I want you.”
“Oooh . . .” he moans out this breathless message.
Electrical shivers run up and down my spine. A pulsing sensation ignites my desire increasing the throb of passion coursing through me, and within an instant, I’m wet. Of it’s own free will, my hand glides beneath my boy shorts, my fingers drawing circles around my clit. A soft moan escapes me, releasing an exaggerated groan from Bryce.
“Imagine my mouth exploring every inch of your body. Feel my warm breath against your skin. I’m brushing my lips down your neck to your chest. With my hand wrapped around your hard cock, I’m stroking you up and down,” I say in a seductive tone.
“Ali,” he breathes my name, barely audible. I would give anything to be with him right now.
In a low husky voice I continue, “Slowly, my mouth glides down your cock, its tip touching the back of my throat. I’m lightly squeezing your balls. Is this what you want? Tell me.”
“Yes, oh god . . . faster. Squeeze my balls,” he groans out.
In a tender but commanding tone, I tell him, “Pinch my nipples, Bryce. Do as I say. Now.” My words push him over the edge.
“Ali . . .” My name is followed by a long, drawn out muffled cry. Hearing him call my name as he comes, is too fucking sexy.
It’s quiet. Did we lose connection? Did he hang up? “Bryce?”
“I’m here.” He’s trying to get his heavy breathing under control.
“I’ve never been awakened like that before,” I say, smiling like a fool.
“You didn’t mind?” His words are clipped but he sounds more like himself.
“Mind? No, I didn’t mind. It’s the first time I’ve had phone sex. I feel like I need a cigarette.” The boisterous laughter from him is contagious and I join in.
“For a first timer, you did an excellent job.” His change in attitude is abrupt. “Friday can’t get here soon enough. I’m serious when I say I need you. I crave you, Ali.”
Swoon. Thud. Yes, that’s my libido jumping from my body ready to catch the next flight to L.A.
That was by far the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard. “I can’t wait to see you either.” My body and mind are finally on the same page and we’re ready. We’ve only had a few dates, but those few times, much to my surprise, have fueled my determination to be with him. I would gladly lie down and offer myself as a sacrifice if it meant his mouth would devour every inch of me. He’s turned my world around 180 degrees. I can give him what he wants, what he needs, what he’s never had. Me.
Natalie Money is a former corporate travel agent, a wife, and a cat wrangler. As far back as she can recall, she has always loved to people watch and make up stories about their lives. After many years of creating and getting to know the characters and their stories in her mind, she has finally decided to bring them to life on paper in her first novel, Closely Guarded Secret.
With her husbands job, they’re known to relocate often, so when people ask where she lives, she describes herself as a World Citizen.