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My Best Friend's Stepfather #1(7)

By:Opal Carew



“What am I doing, Jess?” Ashley lamented over her steaming drink. “I mean, you’re right. If I’m not careful, that’s where this will lead.”

Jess shrugged and sipped her coffee. “So why be careful? Why not seize the moment? He’s handsome, worldly, and soooo sexy. And you’re in this ideal situation where he’ll take total control. That is so hot. You can’t tell me that doesn’t turn you on.”

Ashley compressed her lips. “It does.” She gazed straight at her friend. “Oh, God, does it ever. But how can I do that?”

“You just let him take the lead. It certainly sounds like the attraction is mutual.”

“But I mean … he’s our best friend’s stepfather. And you remember how devastated Helen was when he split with her mother.”

Helen had adored Dare. She’d loved that all the girls at school practically swooned over him, but more, she loved the stability he brought to her family. She had been without a father for a long time and when he came into the picture, she’d confessed to Ashley that she felt more secure. Ashley didn’t know what the problem was—probably financial issues—because Helen always had to go home right after school to do chores. Ashley assumed it was because her mother worked late to make extra money.

“Yeah, sure, but that was years ago,” Jessica said, “and, to be frank, it’s not like Helen has kept up her friendship with us. We haven’t heard from her in years.”

When Helen’s mom and Dare had divorced—the summer after graduation—Helen had dropped out of sight. She’d simply disappeared. At first, Ashley and Jessica thought she’d gone on a trip to Europe, but she’d never sent a single postcard. Then they’d heard she hadn’t gone to college that fall. It was strange, since Helen had been a straight A student, and loved school.

There were all kinds of crazy rumors. Even that she’d gotten pregnant and gone away while she had the baby, then put it up for adoption. But that didn’t explain why she wouldn’t tell Ashley and Jessica about it. They’d been so close.

Ashley had always worried about her friend, but after the divorce, Helen’s mother had moved to Cambria, a small town about a hundred miles south of Autumn’s Ridge, and Dare had moved to New York, so she’d had no way to contact any of them.

“That doesn’t mean we’re not friends anymore,” Ashley said.

Jessica raised an eyebrow. “Doesn’t it?” She leaned forward. “Look, Ashley, I’m all for being loyal to a friend, but Helen walked away from us, not the other way around. As much as I loved her, we both have to face the fact that she’s not our friend anymore.” She squeezed Ashley’s hand. “So don’t you dare give up an opportunity of a lifetime for someone who can’t even be bothered to keep in touch.”



Wear something sexy.

Ashley couldn’t believe she was dressing up in a sexy outfit to go see the man who was once her best friend’s stepfather. She gulped as she stared at herself in the mirror. She couldn’t believe Dare—the sexy, enigmatic man who had haunted her teenage fantasies—was now playing the role of Dom to her sub.

She inspected the black wrap-style dress she’d just put on. The black front-clasp, underwire bra she wore hiked her bosom up, showing deep cleavage in the V-neckline of her dress. She wore a thong and black garter belt to hold up her sexy black stockings. Not that she expected Dare to see any of that. Asking her to wear something sexy was part of keeping her on edge. Unsure what to expect.

And it was working like a charm.

She glanced at her watch. He’d said to arrive at eight, so she needed to leave very soon.

Tonight wouldn’t get sexual. Her thoughts stirred back to the kiss they’d shared last night. The feel of his lips on hers, the taste of him on her tongue. He hadn’t made a move on her, simply told her to kiss him. She had been the one who’d gotten carried away.

God, he was such a sexy man. Her heart still fluttered at the memory of being in his arms. And last night, after she’d gone to bed, she’d been filled with wicked thoughts, and steamy dreams had filled her sleep time.

But in the light of morning, she’d scolded herself. She needed to maintain her focus. This was about researching an article, not about submitting to either her desire for the man, or to his sexy dominant nature. In fact, he was probably pushing her with the sexual aspect to force her to remember that she had control. Her cheeks flushed. In fact, maybe he’d been shocked at her wantonness in kissing him.

Not that Darien Gallagher was a man who was easily shocked.

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