- Author: Lynne Connolly
- Series: Symbiotics
- Genre:Mystery & Suspense, Menage & Polyamory, Contemporary
- Cover Artist: Ginny Glass
- Prev Book:Symbiotics 3: Unlaced
- Next Book:Symbiotics 1: Texas Heat
Joining the Mile High Club seemed like a fun thing to do, but Yolanda Latimer has more than a scandal to face when she falls to earth. The only person who can help her is the man who witnessed her tryst, and somehow turned her on without touching her.
Introducing Yolanda to the wilder side of sex is sheer delight for mentor Lawrence Cavendish, but his gorgeous pupil gets far deeper under his skin than he planned for, and soon he’s involved in her real life dilemma. His sex life is all he allows to remain from his previous existence in a dark and dangerous world, where every day could have been his last. Yolanda unwittingly pulls him back in, threatening a life he loves and devastating public exposure as a fraud. Even she won’t want him when she finds out his true nature.
Unless they find the man who is blackmailing Yolanda, she’s washed up, her precious job and her reputation gone forever. Only Lawrence has the contacts that can flush her blackmailer from the seamy undergrowth of the criminal underworld, and to do it he has to risk everything he’s won over the years. Even her love.
- Note:This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: anal play, exhibitionism/voyeurism.
Leaving home for the first time in years was something she’d anticipated with unshadowed enthusiasm, but right now an urge compelled her to rush off the plane and back to her cozy apartment in Dallas and the comfort of a job she did well. She tightened the grip of her hands on the arms of her seat. Last-minute panic, that was all.
All new, all change. Away from bad boyfriends, good girlfriends, and over to London. According to her brother Vin, who’d spent some time running the European branch of the company they both worked for, the sun paid infrequent and halfhearted visits to England. She’d surely miss that, but not the huge bugs or summertime, when the heat made going outdoors intolerable.
She checked the briefcase on the seat next to her. A security guy was supposed to arrive, but he hadn’t shown. Unusual for their regular company, but she’d be fine. At Heathrow, she’d hand the case over to Jim Goddard and Charlie Woodhouse from Symbiotics, who were meeting her. Crazy guy, Jim; a mad talent, designing motherboards and stuff that were way ahead of the market. He’d come over to visit the R and D unit in Houston once he’d gotten the job of design director, and gone home as pale as when he’d arrived, spending all his time in the labs. She loved enthusiasts, but even techies played sometime. Or so she’d thought. She’d only met Charlie once when he’d visited Houston for a director’s meeting at the time the company had gone public. He’d intimidated her. Perfect Brit, impeccable manners, and highborn. Stunningly handsome, but with a cool, standoffish air that put her off.
Glancing around now, she could see only one other passenger. First class made for spacious seating and occasionally weird layouts. This plane had double seats on her side and single on the other, with tables to one side that could swing out of the way if not required. She’d opted for club, but her mother had insisted on first for her baby. Yolanda grimaced. Since her messy breakup last year, her mother had clucked around her like a hen, but Yolanda put up with it. In the end Dallas wasn’t far enough away.
The other passenger was busy working on his laptop. She couldn’t see him properly, as his dark hair, longer at the top, fell half across his face. In any case, he didn’t seem inclined to notice her. He filled out the seat nicely, but he didn’t look in her direction. That was fine; she’d relax, take a nap, and arrive in London relatively refreshed.
The floor vibrated as someone walked up the central aisle. She looked up to face a man standing in front of her, sunglasses in hand. “Yolanda Latimer?” he asked.
Her libido purred. Very nice. Forcing it down, she nodded, wary because of the briefcase. He reached into an inner pocket of his jacket and got out a laminated ID card. “Sorry I’m late. Your regular guy couldn’t make it, so I’m standing in. I hope that’s okay.”
She glanced at the card in his hand and recognized the logo and insignia of Symbiotics’ regular security company. “So what happened to…?” She deliberately left the name hanging, as another test for him.
“Caleb Kincaid. I’m Nate Thompson, drafted in at the last minute.” He gave a wry grin. “Sorry. Caleb’s sick, but he didn’t call in until the last minute.”
He had the creds, and she knew the name of the guy who should have been here, so it was probably fine. Anyway, they weren’t going anywhere but up. No stops. “You know what you’re here for?”
He nodded to the case. “Primarily to see that gets to its destination.”
“Okay,” she said. “Good to meet you, Nate.”
She undid its safety belt and handed the case to him. Black with silver trim, hard-bodied, with a simple combination lock, but it was fine. If anyone didn’t know the combination, or they did but didn’t use the grip on the handle at the same time, a stronger lock would come into play, and the thief would need explosives or an industrial drill to get into it. Only two people knew how to override all that, and she wasn’t one of them. Pretty nifty piece of equipment. If Nate was Caleb’s replacement, he’d know the combination. If not, he’d have a problem if he tried to break into the case.
While he put the case away in the overhead locker, she had the chance to study the man she’d spend the next eleven or so hours with. This guy had a Daniel Craig vibe going. Dirty blond hair, blue eyes—admittedly not as blue as the actor’s—but a frame as well ripped. Daniel Craig dialed down a notch, maybe. Approachable. The characters the actor played would be hell to live with in reality, but Nate had a nice smile. He stripped off his jacket and stowed it away with the briefcase in the overhead locker, revealing a plain white shirt that did a good job of delineating the six-pack beneath. Security men always had a source of conservative business casuals in neutral colors, duty wear when they weren’t rocking the Men in Black outfit or the tux with extra room built in for the gun.
Come to think of it, that jacket was on the roomy side. She’d bet he usually packed a weapon, but they weren’t allowed on planes or at their destination either. London was hell on firearms. Since Yolanda enjoyed an afternoon on the range with her favorite Colt, she already knew she’d miss that, but she guessed she’d find plenty other things to do.
Nate lifted his sports bag that must be his personal luggage and stepped across her to get to his window seat. She liked the extra space, even in first class, that the aisle seats afforded. Added to that, she got a nice close-up of his crotch as he went past her—strong groin and an interesting bulge behind the fly. Not that she was ogling or anything. Oh shit, a girl could ogle, couldn’t she? As long as the guy she did it to didn’t catch her at it.
Like now. His blue-gray gaze was knowing as he smiled at her when he sat. “Nice to meet you, Yolanda,” he murmured. “I’m looking forward to an interesting flight.”
Flirting. She could do that too. She waited on events.
“So is it the briefcase or you I’m really supposed to watch?” Nate asked. His eyes were warm with appreciation as he moved closer. He smelled of expensive aftershave, a scent she recognized as belonging to her ex. A moment’s distaste, then she got over it. A lot of men wore that particular brand. Her problem that she thought of confined spaces when she smelled it.
She sighed and spread her hands. “What can I say? I’m a helpless little marketing executive who can’t manage a solo flight on her own.”
He laughed. “Point taken. I just want to check my instructions with you, since I was briefed too damned fast. I get a cab, take you to the house where you’re staying, and the briefcase to Symbiotics’ headquarters in the City. That right?”
She shook her head. “Not quite. I can get my own cab, and someone’s meeting us at the airport. We’ll hand over the case then.”
He frowned. “Is it safe?”
She liked that he was considering the security angle. “Perfectly. I know the man meeting us.”
He flashed a grin. It looked good on him. “Best security there is, to know the person.” His smile disappeared. “Sorry, we shouldn’t have left it so late to arrange a substitute. Someone should have checked on Caleb when he didn’t show this morning.”
And it was. Nate seemed competent, and he was a lot better looking than the middle-aged Caleb. Not necessary, but definitely a bonus.
The plane took off smoothly and on time, and she lazily watched the security video until the flight attendants brought the first serving of drinks and snacks.
She took a sip of her soda. “I’m sorry if the late plans stopped you doing anything else.”
“I’m not sorry. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing right now.” This time she couldn’t mistake his meaning. His smile grew even warmer, more intimate than before.
“Flattery will get you everywhere.”
Now he gave her a look as sultry as Bond. “Promise?”
“About the flattery? Absolutely.” She liked the teasing smile. They chatted about inconsequential things for a while. She found him to be a charming companion, if a little too eager to please at times. He flirted, but nothing uncomfortable, and she began to enjoy the flight.
A couple of hours later, after they’d eaten dinner, Nate flicked through the options on the TV. “Not very exciting,” he said. “All PG.” He got out a state-of-the-art laptop with the Symbiotics logo on the lid and booted it up. She found her e-reader.
“Seen this one?” he asked her, tilting the screen so she could see. She saw the credits for a recent release.
“No. I meant to catch it when it came out, but I didn’t have time.” She’d had no time for anything but work recently, but the movie had looked good.
“Shall we watch it together?”
“I’d like that.” Certainly more appealing than the book she was reading, which wasn’t holding her interest one bit. Scrabbling in her bag, she located her earbuds and popped them in, glad to discover he’d had the forethought to bring a splitter for the headphone outlet.
They watched the raunchy comedy together. Soon after the movie started, the flight attendants dimmed the lights in the main cabin, leaving the passengers to rely on their reading lights. More intimate. The first time Yolanda laughed, she glanced at Nate, a little embarrassed that she’d laughed so loud when other passengers might want to rest.
She checked with the only other passenger she could see. The dark-haired man across the aisle had a blanket spread over him and appeared completely asleep.
Nate put his hand over hers, smiling in understanding, but he didn’t remove it immediately. She didn’t mind. She’d put her love life on hold for the past—shit, how long? Work had taken all her energy, the major campaign she was masterminding vital to Symbiotics’ continued success. Gazing at Nate now, she shoved all thoughts of that campaign firmly to the back of her mind. Desire, acknowledged and welcomed, blossomed. Inside her, something came alive, something she’d deliberately put to sleep for the last twelve months. Her libido stretched and smiled.
Having the same sense of humor helped to soften the atmosphere between them as they enjoyed the film, laughing at the same moments. Yolanda shed her jacket, and he helped, his touch not impersonal. He lingered a few seconds too long, and Yolanda felt flattered and appreciated. She’d hardly bothered with her appearance, except to ensure she was neat. And to have her long blonde locks sheared to a snappy bob. Nate didn’t seem too concerned about that. From his little touches and leaning toward her to make comments, she knew for sure he liked her. More than liked. She remembered the flirting and the sheer enjoyment pre-Zane, so long ago, it seemed. She relaxed into Nate, let him lead the way. Occasionally she felt his breath against her neck when he moved closer. She barely resisted the temptation to lean back against him, but waited for more of this delicious teasing. He didn’t disappoint.
Toward the end of the movie the director ran out of ideas and instead got the hero and heroine naked. With the shedding of first garment, heat rose to Yolanda’s skin, especially when she realized they weren’t fading to black. The male star, who had a body to die for, wasn’t shy at showing it off, and the woman, or her body double, was even more of an exhibitionist. Goose bumps prickled over Yolanda’s skin. What would it feel like to strip in front of a film crew and then know that thousands of people would see you? She’d never use a body double if she had a role like that—at least in her dreams she wouldn’t. Warmth heated her, and her panties dampened.
The stars spent most of the last half hour in bed, boinking their way toward the big finale. As the movie went on, Nate got closer to Yolanda, and once he pushed up the wide armrest between them, Yolanda had no reason not to let him put his arm around her. He made for a much more comfortable viewing, snuggled into his big body. When he drew her closer, he murmured, “You get the best view from here.”
She certainly had a good view of his crotch when he moved to adjust his position. Bigger than the male lead in the film. Teasing and the closeness of their bodies, together with the way she could sneak sly glances at the junction between his legs, made the film better and would certainly serve her fantasies. She wondered how he’d look naked. Impressive, she’d bet. She let her mind wander, let Nate take the place of the male lead, his dirty blond hair replacing the dark, his broader chest instead of the hero’s lithe, athletic build.
She grew more aware of his hard male body through the course of the film, and then the fuckfest at the end turned her mind to fantasies of sex. Totally wrong, but hey, whatever. She could dream, and if she fell asleep in his arms, it would enhance her dreams. Dreams of running her hands over his chest, stroking his biceps, opening herself to him, all on camera, like the female lead, but showing more. Much more.
The thought made her groan. She turned it into a not very convincing cough.
Sick of her mother’s constant matchmaking, she thought, Why not? She’d gone too long without sex, and she could have something quick and hot with this man, enough to last her for a while. She wouldn’t see Nate again once they reached London, so this would be a no-strings-attached, fun encounter. Yolanda decided to let nature take its course. If Nate was willing, then so was she. A night or two once they got to London, and then parting, never to meet again. The thought of a quick fuck with a hot man made her body heat and her panties dampen further.
When the film ended, she didn’t move away. The flight attendants had left them to sleep, and after Nate closed his laptop and put it aside, she decided to take the example of the guy across the aisle and get some shut-eye, but maybe snuggle a little, give Nate something to think about.
She glanced at the dark-haired man, who’d settled for sleep soon after dinner and didn’t show any sign of waking. His hair gleamed in the dim lighting, and his strong chin sank forward as he slept, the blanket creeping off some of his top half, enough for her to get a glimpse of his bare throat beneath the open neck of his shirt. Why did she find men’s throats so appealing? Because they were vulnerable, maybe, or because that glimpse of bare flesh invited further exploration.
Would she like being taken by both men, passed from one to another when they felt like it? That guy’s dark hair and leaner figure would be a perfect foil for Nate’s more compact, powerful form.
As she reclined her seat and grabbed her blanket, Nate did the same. He curled his arm around her waist and spooned her into his body, making her aware he wanted her too. He didn’t attempt to hide his erection, and she enjoyed the intimacy in this public place. What had gotten into her? Stress from the campaign she’d designed, so important to the company she worked for? Or something she’d hidden for so long it was only just now emerging?
“How well do you want me to guard you?” he murmured into her ear, his breath hot.
She snuggled back. “I’m precious cargo.” She gave a little laugh, but this time he didn’t join in.
A feathery kiss brushed the back of her neck. She made a little sound in her throat that she knew men liked, a kind of oomph noise without opening her mouth. He moved his arm, spread his fingers wide over her stomach, and then inched up. Would she let him? Hell, why not?
Five minutes or so later, he slid his hand up her torso. When his hand covered her breast, she sighed with pleasure. Her nipple tingled and hardened against his palm, only the thin fabric of her bra separating his skin from hers.
In this position she could pretend to be asleep. That might be fun, passively letting him do what he wanted. She could drift off in his arms dreaming her fantasies, of him first and then the other guy across the aisle. Change seats, change men. Present her ass to one, her mouth to the other. She could see it in her mind’s eye, an airline whore, as much part of the service as the attendants and the pilots. Passed around as needed. Shit, that was hot.
He cupped a breast, massaged it, and tweaked her nipple. She always enjoyed having her breasts played with, and in this situation, she grew even more responsive than usual. Yolanda let her imagination take hold. What if she were that airline whore, waiting for any stranger to take her when he wanted? Nate counted as a stranger, after all. Four hours’ acquaintance hardly made them best buddies.
She could be lying under the blanket with nothing on, and nobody would know, except the men who came to fuck her. She’d never see their faces, never know what they felt like, except their chests pressed against her back and their cocks deep in her pussy. One after the other, uncaring of her response, only working toward their own climax. She shifted, trying to get more comfortable. Time to end the fantasy until she had more privacy.
His voice sounded low, almost not there at all. “Ever joined the mile-high club?”
Copyright © Lynne Connolly
- A Great Hot Story! Review by Nona
Lawrence is an incredible hero who is drawn to Yolanda and wants to "tutor" her to explore her sexual side. She comes to need his help in more ways than one when the mile high guy threatens to destroy everything she's worked for.
I loved how Lawrence wanted to protect her, even from himself when his past begins to emerge. And I really enjoyed the secondary characters, Yolanda's co-worker Jim and Larwrence's brother Mick. Oh please will we see more of them in the future?
Stripped Bare is a very sexy and romantic book featuring a heroine trying to clean up her mistakes and a very unusual but fascinating hero. (Posted on 8/26/12)
We Also Recommend...
Someone is killing vampires with a new drug and the only people who can discover the source are Svetlana Yevchenko, top model, and Jasper, head and chief designer of the House of Lebec -- as well a...
Kai had just about given up on love -- until he met sexy merman Tyler and Tyler's wife Zoe. The three heat Kai's hot tub to scorching together, but now Kai's seen something he wants and he plans to...
Cerys is happy working in the bar in her hometown of Llandudno, Wales. Nobody knows her secret until she meets dark, brooding Rhodri Tryfanwy. He knows her at once, because he’s like her. Vam...
New city, new job, new life: Silje Nordstrom, a Norwegian cat shape-shifter, is starting over. Except that she's still working for Department 57, the covert government agency for Talents -- just in...