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Something Wild

By:Toni Blake

Something Wild
Toni Blake

       1



Meet me tonight. Ten o'clock. Corner of Fourth and Walnut.

And be ready for anything.

Penny



Penny Halloran released a nervous sigh as she peered down at the note  she'd just penned on a plain white card bearing her business's logo. She  wished she'd had something more romantic to write on, perhaps scented  stationery, something with flowers or hearts. Or maybe something sexier  than that-animal print came to mind, then leather, then lace-but she  doubted stationery had made such leaps yet. She read the words once more  and wrinkled up her nose. What she'd written them on was irrelevant.  What mattered was, could she go through with this?

She wasn't usually an impulsive woman, and if her plan could wait, she'd  let it. This was the sort of thing that needed weeks of preparation to  make sure it came off without a hitch. Even the note seemed lackluster;  she wished she'd had time to think of something more clever, playful.  But it couldn't wait-Martin was going out of town tomorrow, and when he  returned in a week, he expected an answer to his marriage proposal.  Tonight was the night for action.

Swallowing her fears, Penny reached for a stapler and attached the card  to the bag containing Martin's sandwich-ham and Swiss on rye, light  mayo-the same kind he ordered every day. Then she gathered the bag  lunches that had to be delivered to Schuster Software Systems upstairs.  "Be back in five," she said to her sister, Patti, who stood working the  bar of the Two Sisters Restaurant and Pub as the lunch hour started.  Exiting the restaurant into the building's lobby, she headed for the  elevator.

This is really quite simple, she lectured herself as the elevator  climbed toward the eighth floor of the downtown Cincinnati office  building. I'm just going to seduce him, that's all. Nothing to be  nervous about. Men love this sort of thing, or so she'd heard. Martin  will love it, too. And as for why her heart was beating ninety miles an  hour and her stomach felt as if it had been left back on the ground  floor  …  well, that was only because she'd never seduced a man before.  And maybe it was also because Martin's expressions of affection so far  had been  …  less than enthusiastic. Good-night kisses at the door that  often felt more obligatory than passionate. And hand-holding, Martin was  big on hand-holding. But nothing more.

Oddly, that hadn't bothered Penny in the three months they'd been  dating. Martin was everything she wanted in a man-ambitious, dependable,  sensible and smart. Tall and lean with trim brown hair that never  touched his collar, he was even somewhat handsome in a simple yet  classic way. On top of that, he owned his own company, so they shared an  entrepreneurial spirit, too. And at twenty-eight, Penny was mature  enough to know there was more to life than sex. She enjoyed his  companionship; they liked the same movies and had the same tastes in  restaurants, and they loved spending lazy weekend afternoons picnicking  at EdenPark, then meandering through the art museum afterward.

A few days ago, however, Martin had taken her hand in his and said,  "Penny, I'm in my thirties now, and I want children before I'm too old  to enjoy them. I think you and I make a good team. Will you marry me?"  It had been an unexpected turn of events, all things considered. And  although it hadn't been the most romantic proposal in the world, Penny  couldn't deny that Martin was right. They made a good team; they were  well-suited. Still, it was only now, with a marriage proposal on the  table, that she'd come to realize sex was important, and she just didn't  think she could marry him without  …  taking a test drive, so to speak.

In fact, in the three long days since Martin's proposal, Penny had done a  lot of long, hard and rather disturbing thinking about herself.  Disturbing because, not only did sex matter to her, and not only did it  suddenly matter a lot, it was also beginning to matter in ways she'd  never even imagined before.

After several stops to let other passengers on and off, the elevator  finally opened on a crisp, contemporary lobby. Grace Davis, the  receptionist, sat behind her round desk with a phone receiver tucked  beneath her chin. "Mmm-hmm  …  mmm-hmm … " she mumbled. She shoved back a  lock of wispy red hair that had fallen from the bun at her nape, and  rolled her eyes at Penny from behind her small, gold-framed glasses as  if to say the person on the phone wouldn't shut up.

"I'll just go on back," Penny whispered, pointing. Then she padded  toward the hallway that led to the private offices, her heart rising to  her throat. She was about to do this, about to deliver this crazy,  demanding note to sensible, undemanding Martin, who would likely think  she was off her rocker the moment he saw it.

Don't think like that, she commanded herself. You've got to do this. And  maybe he'll even like it. Maybe it will even unleash the animal hidden  inside him. If there was an animal hidden inside him. Oh please, Penny  thought desperately, let there be an animal. Even if it's just a little  one.                       
       
           



       

She prayed she was right because the startling fact Penny had figured  out about herself over the past few days was that an animal lurked  inside her.

Okay, so it was a slightly timid animal at this point. Yet when she'd  realized she might soon commit herself to one man for the rest of her  life, it had dawned on her that not only did she have sexual desires  that were going unfulfilled, but they were sort of wild sexual desires.  Dating a guy without passion  …  that was okay. But when she imagined  getting married, the package came with great sex.

She'd never known that before now, but maybe she'd always just been  waiting, assuming that part of her life-a true, maybe even hedonistic  sexual awakening-would come along later. She'd meet some perfect man who  would set all her inhibitions free and lead her through the thrilling,  reckless affair of a lifetime …

But it hadn't happened yet, and if it was going to happen with Martin,  she would clearly have to give him a push in the right direction. It  would be worth it in the end, she promised herself as she stuck her head  into his corner office to find it blessedly empty. It'll be worth it  tonight when she swept him off his feet and he loved it and she loved it  and a whole new sexual landscape unfurled before them both. Actually,  just thinking of the plan she'd formulated this morning was enough to  leave her mildly aroused. Oh yes, she thought, suddenly imbued with a  sexy new nip of confidence, this was going to be good. This was going to  be very good.

Her heart actually pumped with more excitement than fear as she lowered  the bag onto Martin's desk in the middle of the scattered papers and  folders. Her little surprise would be the perfect thing to take his mind  off business, and it would be a wonderful, even generous way to send  him off to his software conference in Las Vegas.

Turning the note toward the desk chair where he'd see it first thing  upon sitting down, Penny pivoted and scurried from the room. Then she  went about the business of distributing the rest of the sandwiches to  the appointed offices, finishing with the new guy, Ryan. He didn't have a  nameplate outside his door yet, but had been occupying the tiny office  next to the conference room for the past week.

Heading back toward the elevator, Penny re-immersed herself in thoughts  of the night to come. When she returned to the restaurant, she needed to  call the limo service, then break it to Patti that she was leaving  early to shop for something special to wear.

She flinched to a stop just before barreling head-on into the dark suit  and bright tie that suddenly loomed before her. "Oh!" She lifted her  eyes, expecting to find Martin, relieved to see that it was only Ryan,  who was taller and considerably broader in the shoulders than she'd  realized before. "Hi."

"Hi," he replied, although his smile looked a little off-kilter,  questioning, and it didn't take a genius to figure out why; Penny  probably looked as nervous as if she'd just made off with the petty cash  drawer.

"I, uh, was just … " What was she thinking? Was she going to explain that  she was busy preparing to ravish his boss? "Enjoy your lunch," she said  instead, then skirted past him toward the elevators without sparing him  another thought.

She had more important things on her mind, after all. She had a seduction to orchestrate.

* * *

After grabbing a soda from the machine in the break-room, Ryan Pierce  slid into the big leather chair in his new boss's corner office, ready  to get back to work. He wasn't sorry Martin had left town a day earlier  than planned; it meant a quiet first Friday on the job, and it gave Ryan  a lot more space to spread out, not to mention a much better view.

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