I’m happy to announce (officially) that my next book, Unconventional: Business Meets Pleasure, will be available by the end of October. I quietly added the blurb and book cover to this site a couple weeks ago, but if you haven’t checked it out yet, then go now. If you’re looking for more on this story, then you’re in luck. Check out the excerpt after the break.
Excerpt from Unconventional: Business Meets Pleasure
It was on the flight out to the Health & Fitness Convention that I really noticed Linnea Sorenson. I mean, I had always thought that she was attractive in a corporate, pant-suit, take-no-shit-from-anyone kind of way. It was hard not to notice cheekbones like hers, particularly when her light blonde hair was always twisted into a high bun.
Thing was, to me, the attractive executive was more like someone who my parents would have over to dinner than someone I’d hit on at a bar. She attended meetings that lasted all day. She had a wardrobe of tailored blouses and matching accessories. She had a husband and teenage children. She was an Adult, with a capital A.
Me? Well, I’m in my mid twenties. Need I say more? I spent my weekends in bars and clubs. I drank too much, played too hard, and happily paid for it most of the week.
At the back of the plane, watching the slow progression of passengers claim their cramped seats, I saw her, but didn’t recognize her. Not at first. I was too wrapped up in the people watching. This always fascinated me. Most travelers treated the plane like it was their living room. They wore things that I’d never dream of wearing in public. Sweats. Track suits. Pajama bottoms with gray hoodies. There were a few business travelers in their suits, a few people in nothing more offensive than a jacket and jeans. And then there was her.
She was dressed for comfort, like everyone else, but managed to pull it off without looking sloppy. She wore black yoga pants and a loose black top that hung low enough to show off smooth, unblemished shoulders of creamy skin and a suggestion of small, well-formed breasts.
It wasn’t until she was just a few rows down that I recognized her. I kept looking, thinking that this woman merely looked like Linnea, the way certain people look like celebrities at just the right angle in just the right light. She wore her blonde hair in a high ponytail that didn’t seem right for Mrs. Sorenson, had on almost no make-up, and looked shorter than the Director of Marketing. She looked…normal.
Yet I couldn’t deny those cheekbones. It was her. And after two years of working with her without noticing her, I noticed.
“This is a nice surprise. How’s it going, Adam?”
Any doubt that it was her were gone with that Finnish accent. Sweet. Sexy, even. But no nonsense. I wondered if she used the same tone to praise that she did to berate.
“Good to see you, too, Linnea.” Her name felt weird as it rolled off my tongue. Like I should be addressing her as something more respectful: missus or miss. First names felt too familiar.
“This your first time flying to Las Vegas?” she asked.
“My very first. You?”
She lifted her roller bag into the overhead compartment, her voice straining as she replied. “I’ve been to HFC for the past few years.”
Her loose black top rose as she stretched, revealing the delicious expanse of smooth skin. I checked out her ass, not two feet from my face. It was a work of art, round and tight. Encased in skin tight yoga pants, I couldn’t see any panty lines.
She pulled out her phone and speed dialed someone, dismissing me with a smile.
“Honey, I just boarded…yes, I will…” She laughed. “Okay, I’ll keep that in mind. Bye…I love you, too.”
Her husband. I wondered what kind of man she’d married. Someone broad-shouldered and square-jawed, probably, who could give as much as Linnea did. I imagined loud, angry fights and wild make up sex.
She offered me a smile, launching back into our previous conversation like she hadn’t just made a phone call—and I hadn’t just been picturing her having sex.
“This’ll be the first time I’m bringing an on-site tech team, though.” She spoke around the stream of people coming in and settling into their seats. “I’ve asked for one every year since I started, so you guys better not make me look bad.”
She said it with a smile, but I got the feeling that she wasn’t kidding about her expectation. Being on the “tech team,” I’d never had much reason to interact with Mrs. Sorenson, but her reputation as the Director of Ice preceded her.
“Casey and I are the best. You can count on us.”
She didn’t even acknowledge me, like what I’d said was such a given that it wasn’t necessary to be spoken. “Do you know why I’m bringing you?”
“To help man our booth on the showroom floor?”
Linnea shook her head. “Any intern could do that. No, I brought you because of zhu zhu.”
It made me smile to hear someone in senior management use the codename that we developers used. Zhu zhu was our latest (and greatest, in my opinion) software for treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes, and it was our flagship product at HFC.
“So you’re bringing us as a reward?”
The Director of Ice had a musical laugh. “I’m not sure that you’ll think it’s a reward by the end of the week. The days are long and it’s not glamorous work. You’ll probably spend most of the time assisting the sales staff, and any technical issues you will probably be troubleshooting.”
“Is it too late to de-board?”
Linnea smiled, and it did crazy things to those European cheeks of hers. “Like I’d let you.”
Our eyes locked. This woman was used to getting her way. I started to reform my idea of what her husband was like. “So you want me…to stay?”
What are you doing? Flirting with the boss?
Linnea’s gaze lingered, her reply caught on the tip of her pink tongue. What would that feel like, pushing into my mouth? She was probably a hard kisser…
“You think you’re good, but you’re not great. Not yet. I wanted you and Casey there because I wanted the minds behind Zhu Zhu to see how our customers use it. It’s a good product, but not the best. Not yet.”
That prickled. Says her. There was no better product out there. No sense in arguing intricacies like that, though. The captain came on and announced that we were cleared for take-off. She kept watching me as the flight attendant rambled through the emergency procedures. Are you going to say something?
She wasn’t my boss—not technically—but for the next week she’d serve as one. Did I really want to start it off on such a bad note?
Linnea’s stare broke as our flight attendant passed by, checking belts.
“Too late to de-board. Looks like you’re stuck with me.”
“I can think of worse things.”
Linnea laughed at my hammy line and I felt a little disappointed in myself. I was smoother than that. She pulled her copy of US Weekly from the seat pocket in front of her. Our conversation was over. I’d been dismissed.
I watched her on and off through the flight. Her severe demeanor melted as she nodded off, celebrity rag limp in her lap. Like I said before, there was no denying that Linnea Sorenson was a beautiful woman—the same way the pages of Vanity Fair are filled with beautiful women. But she’d always been about as real as one of those glossy pages.
Only sleeping and vulnerable, I saw the woman her husband saw. Or her friends. Or a chick I’d happily take back to my apartment for some fun. Her blouse had slipped off her shoulder, revealing smooth skin and the slim strap of a pale pink bra. She had a tight, athletic body that probably looked fantastic naked.
Director of Ice. Fuck would I love to melt her. Just for one night.
I thought about her conversation with her husband before take-off. I glanced at the large diamond on her left hand. The asshole in me wondered if that guy gave her what she needed, and guessed that he did not. My better half said it didn’t matter—she was another man’s, and that was a barrier I’d never crossed.
We were headed to Las Vegas, city of sin. No sense dwelling on what I could never have. I looked one last time at Linnea, at her bra strap and the way her blonde ponytail followed the pointed ridge of her jaw.
C’est la vie. I think that meant: there were other hotties to be had.