Yours to Take

By: Cathryn Fox

Chapter One

“Please tell me you’re not serious?”

Jaw slack, and hands planted on the small round table, Rebecca Andrews stared at her three best friends, hardly able to believe what they were suggesting.

Lilliana James closed her palm over Rebecca’s hand and gave a reassuring squeeze. Even though the lights had been dimmed in their favorite New York piano bar, a place where they all convened after a challenging day in the courtroom, Rebecca didn’t miss the sympathy in her friend’s big brown eyes when she said, “Come on, Becs, you know as well as I do that you need a vacation.”

“It’s not a vacation she needs,” Melanie Collins piped in, running her fingers up and down the crystal stemware in a highly suggestive manner that had Rebecca’s thoughts careening in an erotic direction. She smirked and added, “What she needs is to get laid. Plain and simple.”

“Good God,” Rebecca murmured under her breath, hoping like hell no one in the near vicinity could hear her tell-it-like-it-is friend.

“Don’t even try to deny it,” Melanie challenged playfully, her eyes gleaming with mischief.

As their conversation headed south—literally—Rebecca fished her olive out of the martini glass and gestured the bartender for another, having decided then and there that this was the perfect occasion to overturn her two two-drink rule. Hell, who could blame her for wanting to consume copious amounts of alcohol after discovering her well-meaning friends wanted to send her to some sort of sex club on a private island off the coast of Nova Scotia?

She chewed on her olive as her glance went to the tickets on the table—one for a resort called Freedom, the other for the private charter that was scheduled to fly her there first thing tomorrow.

Groaning, she took in the other patrons seated around them, many of whom were colleagues, their identities masked by the lounge’s dark lighting and intimate seating. She leaned forward, desperate to keep this embarrassing conversation private, and arched an accusing brow. “How long have you three been scheming this up, anyway?”

“Just a few weeks now,” Melanie answered.

Rebecca did the mental math, her thoughts rewinding to three weeks ago, then shook her head, suddenly understanding what this was really all about. “Look, Jon didn’t break up with me. I broke up with him.” When her rebuttal was met with silence, she desperately searched for an alliance in the group. Her glance met Sophie’s and she cast her a pleading look.

But Sophie simply shrugged and said, “Just like you broke up with Justin, Matthew, Phillip...”

“And we know, we know,” Melanie said, rolling her eyes. “You just weren’t compatible.”

Rebecca held her hands up, palms out. “Okay, fine. I get it. You’re saying I’m too picky.” She frowned, and added, “It’s just that...well, we weren’t...they weren’t,” she paused, unable to put in to words what she truly felt. How could she explain what was missing from those relationships, when she couldn’t identify it herself?

She took a moment to consider the men from her past. Not only were they successful, kind and generous, they were also deeply considerate lovers. Any woman in her right mind would jump at the chance to date any one of those men. She sighed inwardly. Okay, perhaps the problem really did lie with her, and she was the one who wasn’t in her right mind. But she just couldn’t seem to find a man that suited her.

If only she could figure out what it was that was lacking...

Oddly enough her thoughts drifted back to last year’s trial against Montgomery Charters, specifically to Quinn Montgomery, owner of the airline, and one of the world’s youngest, self-made millionaires. Rebecca always prided herself on being calm, cool and collected, inside the courtroom and out, but there was just something about that man’s steely command that threw her off her game.

Whenever she met those intense black eyes from across the table, eyes that looked like they could see into the depth of her soul, something always compelled her to shy away. She wasn’t sure what it was about the powerful tycoon that had her reacting in such a peculiar way, she only knew that he had the ability to rattle her hard-earned control, and because of it, she needed to keep her distance.

The bartender stepped up to the table with fresh drinks, and as his presence pulled her thoughts back to the conversation at hand, Rebecca shook her head, wondering why she was thinking of the powerful and enigmatic Quinn Montgomery after all this time.

Perhaps it was the fact that her friends had booked her flight through his airline...or perhaps it was something else entirely. Either way, he was a man she never wanted to come up against again, because the next time she wasn’t so sure she could keep her composure.

“It’s just a weekend away to relax, let you hair down.” Melanie waved a dismissive hand like what they were suggesting was nothing more than an innocent day at the spa. Except what they wanted her to do had sex, sin and seduction written all over it. “Maybe at Freedom you’ll learn to relax and stop trying to be in control of everything all the time.”

Rebecca squared her shoulders and tucked a long, loose strand of hair back into the bun piled at the top of her head. “Hey, I don’t always have to be in control of everything.”

Her rebuttal was met with laughter. Okay, so maybe it was true, but it wasn’t her fault. She’d come from nothing and had to work hard to get where she was, and it wasn’t easy to loosen up and let go. Controlling every aspect of her life was how she got to where she was today.

And where is that, some inner voice asked, only to answer with, alone every night, with nothing but a battery-operated friend to keep you warm.

Sophie squeezed her hand and Rebecca looked up to meet a pair of big blue eyes full of genuine concern. “You’ve been so uptight that we just thought you could use a bit of time to yourself.”

Melanie bobbed her head. “And you never know, while you’re away maybe you’ll figure out what it is you’re looking for in a man.”

“At a sex resort?”

“It’s not a sex resort,” Lilliana reassured her. “It’s just a place where single people go to meet others.”

Slipping into lawyer mode, Rebecca challenged, “But when you say others, you mean the opposite sex right? So in my book that’s a sex resort.” Rebecca picked up the ticket and turned it over in her hand, but as she thought about it, really, really thought about what her friend’s were offering her, her body began warming in the most intimate places. She wet her suddenly dry lips, her nipples tightening as she envisioned the salacious activities that undoubtedly took place on the exclusive island.

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