Michael recognized Krista Maxwell right away when she strutted into Lyrics with her entourage. Her unmistakable flowing ebony tresses, full lips and forty-four-inch legs had catapulted her to worldwide supermodel status. The twenty-six-year-old dark, exotic beauty often likened to Angelina Jolie, also had a reputation for being extremely wild.
Her personal assistant had arranged with Troy, his manager, to hold a party at the club. Michael hadn’t met her in person yet. Now Troy was on vacation, and he and Rita, the hostess, had to handle greeting and seating guests in the filled to capacity club. They didn’t have a free moment to breathe.
Michael went through his usual charming host routine as they greeted the supermodel’s arriving party, and for the next two hours, he and Rita catered to the group’s every need. A successful celebrity event could put a nightclub on the map and add thousands of dollars to its monthly income statement. The chef received kudos for his excellent presentation of the menu selections. In the short span of time, the famous fashionista’s party had devoured three bottles of Cristal, two fifths of Absolut, a couple of bottles of Courvoisier, miscellaneous mixed drinks and wine. The bar tab ran well over two thousand dollars in addition to the cost of their meals.
Michael’s busyness came to a screeching halt when Krista sashayed onto the dance floor alone. Krista had consumed a little too much Cristal and, when she realized Michael was watching her, she performed what he could only compare to a pole dance minus the stainless steel. In a backless mini-dress that didn’t amount to much more than a handkerchief, she licked her lips and ran her hands through her tousled hair as her breasts rose and fell in rhythm to the thumping bass. He actually stopped breathing; hypnotized by the way she writhed and twisted with her gaze locked to his. Michael remained transfixed, frozen in place until the music ended. He rubbed the back of his neck and self-consciously wiped away the sweat that drenched his neck. The instant he got his feet to move, he rushed back to his office hoping none of his staff or guests noticed how aroused he’d become.
In the cool, quiet privacy, he shut the door, fell back against it and tried to close out the images swirling in his mind. The deep breath he took did little to slow his thundering heartbeat. Krista’s little performance was the most erotic thing he’d seen since the exotic dancer Troy had hired to perform at his bachelor party. Even though his best friend knew better than anyone that Michael’s new beliefs conflicted with the traditional bachelor party festivities, as the best man, Troy had arranged the kind of party he himself wanted.
An involuntary smile eased onto his face before his thoughts could develop into a full-blown lewd fantasy, a sick feeling of guilt forced them down.
“What’s wrong with you? That girl just had too much to drink. She wasn’t coming on to you. Even if she were, it wouldn’t make any difference. You’re a married man.
Eventually, Michael raised himself off the door, walked over to his desk and shuffled through a stack of bills. His eyes focused on the papers, yet his mind’s eye could still see Krista’s perfectly proportioned body undulating to the music. Her beautiful face with those famous glossy lips beckoned him. Like someone trying to dislodge sleep after a long nap, he scrubbed his face this time speaking to himself aloud. “Get a grip. You’ve got work to do.”
The Maxwell entourage partied hard until right before closing when Rita buzzed him on the interoffice phone and said that Krista’s personal assistant wanted to speak with him.
“Okay, send her back.” He glanced down, checked himself then reopened the office door.
A few seconds later, a tiny, plain woman appeared in the doorway.
“Mr. Reese?” She peered through stylish eyeglasses that seemed to contradict her drab appearance. “Ms. Maxwell would like to personally thank you for the superb service we received tonight.”
His first thought was the woman seemed out of place among her glitzy companions then he thought, Krista probably told her which glasses to buy. Michael chuckled within himself at the thought before he swallowed hard and steeled himself to face the woman the media often referred to as the world’s most beautiful woman. “After you.” He extended his hand toward the door.
When they reached the VIP section of the club, Krista was perched on the edge of one of the tables with her arms and legs crossed as if she were about to hold court. Her flawless face brightened as he approached, and she stood to meet him eye-to-eye in her stilettos.
“Mr. Reese, I wanted to personally thank you for the excellent service you and your staff gave us tonight,” the statuesque beauty gushed, moving into his personal space. The fragrance she wore had a commanding sensuality: sexy, grand yet feminine with a hint of mystery. The scent of a self-assured woman. “Is it all right if I call you Michael?”
He smiled, and his eyes roamed over Krista’s figure. “If you’re satisfied with everything, you can call me whatever you like, Ms. Maxwell.”
She uttered a seductive giggle then squeezed his forearm with a hungry look in her dark eyes that said she wanted to devour him. “And you have to call me Krista. This is a beautiful club, Michael. You can be sure we’ll be back.”
Krista slipped a folded piece of paper into his palm, closed his fingers around it and held his hand for a second.
Probably a spectacular tip for the staff, Michael thought before Krista turned, waved to her associates to follow her and sauntered away with an enticing sway of her hips that commanded his attention until she’d gone out the front door.
A check with a couple of zeros was what he expected to see when he returned to the office and unfolded the paper in his hand. Instead, he found a note with her phone number and a quickly scribbled message. I’ll be here on the Island for a month. I want to see you. Krista. His hand closed around the paper again only this time he squeezed it until it formed a tight, crumpled ball in his palm. Right before he tossed it into the wastebasket, a strange twitch of longing swept through his body. It wasn’t so much a sexual longing as it was a masculine desire for possession. Possession of the woman every red-blooded American male desired. As if on its own accord, his hand drew back, and he stared at the note again before he tucked it in the back of his desk calendar.
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