When a man tells you who he is, believe him
Billionaire entertainment investor and resolute bachelor Derek Damon Wright learned at a young age women were trouble. He’s unprepared for dancer Samantha Rose who walks into his thirteenth, Washington DC nightclub opening with an authenticity and passion for life that quickly rocks his jaded, albeit privileged, world.
Samantha, an aerial artist and dance studio owner, hasn’t been lucky in love, and falling for the charismatic and Dominant Derek won’t draw her closer to her greatest dream ofhaving a baby. Yet she’s helpless to resist his charm and sophisticated world of private jets, Caribbean islands and the sexual pleasures of dominance and submission.
As their whirlwind romance progresses, past mistakes rise up to threaten their future. Only when they rely on each other for safe haven do they find the answer to their dreams
Available at these online retailers
“Derek, oh, good you’re here. I meant to tell you earlier,” his assistant said. “Cirque canceled at the last minute and Sam from Aerobesque Studios is filling in. I promise—”
Jesus. That woman is going to splat to her death on my club’s hardwood floor before the doors even open tonight. That was Derek Damon Wright’s first thought as he threw up his hand to silence his assistant. Twenty feet above his elevated dance floor a lithe female figure dangled precariously upside down in a graceful arch from a silver hoop, her arms stretched for the ground. Nothing like killing all the nerve endings on the back of your knees . . .
As she spun, a spill of hair swung in a chestnut aura around her head and shoulders while a flutter of skirting revealed tiny booty shorts that outlined the most perfect ass he’d seen in a while—and that was his second thought.
In a balletic motion, the dancer swung herself upright to sitting, while her curtain of hair cascaded down her back to frame that perfect ass.
She craned her head upward. “The lyra is still a little loose.”
His engineer scrambled on the catwalk above the rigging to check the connection point of that hoop thing she’d called a “lyra.” Learned something new every day.
He watched nervously as Stan spider-crawled along the dimly lit girders fifty feet in the air. Fuck . . . get it right, Stan. While the dancer seemed nonchalant about the rigging, he couldn’t afford to be. Jesus, don’t let her kill herself. The last thing he needed was a near death on opening night.
Stan finished his fiddling and gave her a thumbs-up. The dancer stretched into a split with one foot on the lyra and the other pointed toward the floor. Nice stretch. Great legs, too, he thought, which should have turned him back to his office. He hadn’t expected to find this woman spinning and disregarding gravity when he popped downstairs to check on a liquor shipment.
She tucked her body backward and slammed her too-good-to-be-real ass onto the metal tubing. At the rate she was going, she’d have bruises all over tomorrow.
His imagination erupted into visions of securing her to the hoop in a four-point bond. His hands began to itch like they did when they hadn’t held rope in a while. His all-work-and-no-play the last few months had officially caught up with him.
He should go. He didn’t need distractions on opening night, especially those of the female variety, but he couldn’t tear his eyes away. Whether it was his club owner reaction in the face of an impending death or a purely male admiration for a beautiful female he couldn’t have said.
Her bare feet made a delicate thump on to the floor as she disengaged herself from the lyra. She squinted up at Stan. “Good to go. Silks?”
A long swath of purple fabric snaked to the ground in a hiss. Enough parachute material to wrap around his Ferrari—twice—swayed from the girders and pooled on the floor. After grasping the twin pieces and tugging as if checking their security, she hoisted herself upward in an effortless hand-over-hand. She captured the silks between her two feet and pushed herself higher. Her tight ass didn’t show an ounce of jiggle. He would have known given the amount of female flesh he’d had the privilege of enjoying over the years.
Great, she climbed higher. He couldn’t leave now.
When she slipped on the fabric and cried out, he rushed forward shucking his Tom Ford suit jacket as if it were made of day old newspapers and grasped the swaying fabric. “You okay?”
“I’m fine.” She grinned down at him. Dancers all came from the same beautiful gene pool. However, this one? Her smile alone would open a thousand doors.
“I see you’re not afraid of heights,” he said.
“Not anymore.” She tilted backward and her legs spread into an upside down Vee. His hold tightened on the fabric. She was at least twenty-five feet in the air. After securing one leg in a manner he couldn’t decipher, she wrapped more material around her waist, then again pulled it over her knee and ankle.
“Step back or take your chances.” Even upside down, her smile held something unique, as if she meant what she said.
Given he left little to chance, he stepped backward a tad. Before he could calculate descent of drop, and if he’d break one arm or both when trying to save her, she launched into a full-body, barrel roll toward the floor. He bolted backward. His heart had to be on the outside of his chest by the time she halted her spin and bounced mere inches above the hard surface.
He masked his shock. What he’d just witnessed was dangerous as hell. God, what it would be like to take a woman with such body confidence and rig her up?
Floating in a flat spin four inches above the floor, her long, glossy hair brushed the surface, more mesmerizing than the many feet of lilac silk shimmering in the light.
His assistant’s clapping gave his heart another jolt. He’d completely forgotten Jills was standing behind him. Yet another clue his head wasn’t completely in the game for tonight’s opening.
“The press is going to love that. Can I get a quick pic? Send it off to Channel Nine?” Jills raised her cell phone and the telltale click of the phone camera going off in rapid succession broke through his oh-so-fun vision of the dancer bound and spinning—fully nude. Did she have tan lines?
The dancer righted herself and hopped two steps to remove a piece of silk wound around one ankle. “No photography flashes. If one goes off . . .” She shrugged apologetically.
Derek placed his hand over Jills’ furiously working fingers. “Keep photographers outside, Jills. Red carpet them, but only let them in after the show, private seating in booth three.”
Jills let out a disappointed sigh. “Consider it done.”
He cocked his head toward the dancer. “You’ve been doing this for a while. If something is important for your safety, consider it handled.”
“Thank you.” She stepped forward and offered her hand. “I’m Sam Rose.” He returned her handshake noting the calluses on her palm that contrasted sharply with the smooth skin on the back of her hand.
“Derek Wright. Sam is short for Samantha, I presume?”
“Oh, just Sam.” Her tiny skirt swished when she stepped down the three steps to the main floor. Her spill of long honey-brown hair swung in time with her movements, a lovely affirmation of her femininity. Too many Washington D.C. women wore bobs to deny their gender and sexuality. He joined Samantha who stared at the mural on the wall behind the dance floor.
“This is big. Is that a depiction of the Arctic?”
“But those are glaciers.”
“Yes, Greenland is iced over. Iceland is green.”
“Oh, yeah, I remember that now.” She beamed.
She gazed around the club lit with colored lights that washed it in a blue cast. His designers used lights to create an atmosphere of a high-end ice cave. The ambiance fit his mood of late.
One of his lighting people—a new guy—whistled from the rafters, and a swell of white light cascaded over them both.
“You need a spotlight, baby.” The guy winked down at her.
Derek shot his gaze upward. “Her name is Miss Rose. Make sure she gets good lighting, and without the commentary. You know better than that.”
The man gave him a salute. “Sure thing, boss man.”
Her eyes widened. “Oh, God, you’re the club owner? Mr. Wright? I’m sorry. I didn’t recognize you.” Color tinged high on her cheeks. “I thought you were in PR or modeling for the Viking atmosphere.”
Public relations? Kill him now. “You haven’t been to one of my clubs? Strikers, Torrid?” Normally, his clubs were restricted to elite clientele, but on looks alone, any of his doormen would usher in this woman without hesitation.
She shook her head.
“How many club performances have you done, Samantha?” He’d never call her Sam. No woman who looked like her and who could spin and fall so adeptly and gracefully should have a man’s name.
“Oh, plenty.” Jills had sidled up to them.
Samantha sent her a warm smile. “Some. You’re our first high end club. But we’ve done charity performances at the New Theatre on U Street and in our studio.”
He dipped his chin toward her. “I’m flattered to be your professional debut.”
“Thank you, and don’t worry—”
“I’m not worried, Samantha.”
Okay, her smile was a lethal weapon. Was she single?
His number one rule smacked him upside the head in answer. After one negative experience ending in exorbitant legal fees to defend his good name, he never again became involved with someone who worked for him. Now he had a penchant for taping his business dealings in his office to prove his business-only behavior.
Of course, that didn’t mean he couldn’t admire the beauty before him and let his imagination have a little fun.
“Holy shit.” A female voice harpooned across the room. “It’s fucking huge.”
“That’s what she said.” Jills chirped. She and Samantha glanced at one another and burst out laughing.
“Uh, that’s Cindy. She’s dancing with me,” Samantha said.
“I guess it’s good we play loud music.” Given the pair of lungs he’d just encountered, he’d be fined for profanity if not. The woman had a mouth the FCC down the street could hear.
“That wouldn’t matter.” Sam laughed. “But she’s the best. Really. Don’t worry—”
“Not worried, Samantha.” No matter what she preferred, this lady was a three-syllable woman.
“You’re not worried a lot, are you?”
Was he? He reluctantly turned away from her contagious smile to face Cindy.
“It’s about effing time we danced somewhere good.” She righted a rolling suitcase in front of him. “Hi. This club is uh-mazing. Club Frost, huh? Yeah, I can see it. You’re not worried those white leather couches are going to get dirty?”
“No, not worried, and thank you. I’m Derek. Club owner.”
“Cindy. Dancer. Aerial Artist. Single.”
Her grip, as well as her language, rivaled a sailor on shore leave. Yet she also was a looker. His patrons would appreciate that perfect dark skin and bright hazel eyes not to mention biceps that promised great capability.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Cindy.”
“Cin, don’t you want to practice?” Samantha pulled her toward the silks. He could overhear her hushed whispers. Are you crazy and I can’t believe you said that reached his ears.
He let out a low chuckle.
“You have no idea the effect you have on women, do you?” Jills waved her hand at him. “That blond Greek god thing plus the good breeding and manners. You’re like—”
“No one.” He sent his gaze back to the two women now tittering around the silks. “Like no one. But they’re . . .” He nodded his head to the two women. “. . . something.” The “something” bothered him, but the feeling would wear off. It always did where women were concerned.
“I knew you’d like her. Sam empowers women through dance. When you think you can’t, she shows you that you can. That’s why I thought she’d be perfect for you.”
“I’m a woman who requires empowerment?”
“No, a perfect gentleman. Too perfect.” She grinned over at him. “I’ll show them the dressing room.”
“No, I’ll do it.” He was an unwilling partner in Jills’ never-ending endeavors to fix him up. Courtesy was courtesy, however. He’d show the dance team where they could prepare for their performance. As most women usually did, they’d brought a lot of stuff. Letting someone weaker than him lug half their body weight when he could help would be poor manners.
Hoping his dance floor wasn’t the scene of grisly near-death later, he strode to where the two women stood. He should insist on gymnastic mats for these ladies despite Samantha’s stellar demonstration. Danger wasn’t on his to-do list.
“Ladies, let me show you where you can get ready.”
Samantha responded with one of her killer smiles. Perhaps he should reassess his rule about mixing business and pleasure. He could do endless things with thirty feet of parachute silk.