Reeling from a disastrous love affair, plus-size model and budding fashion designer Anya Litton needs a temporary refuge, a place to lick her wounds and plan her next career move. At Club Inferno, where seductively chic men and women indulge their most intimate fantasies, she can mix business with unimaginable pleasure. Anya quickly connects with club Dom Clint Reyes, who unleashes Anya’s deepest longings over nights of burning passion.
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Six A.M. was damned early to be at the pool. But it also gave her a moment to get into the lounge chair before Mr. Stripper got there to do laps. She knew his name was Clint, that he taught a pole-dancing class, and that he helped out with the self-defense course taught by Mallory’s fiancé, Max. Anya had on her shades and was sipping water when Clint ambled in. He nodded at her, and she gave him a smile that beckoned him to come over, just like she did every morning. He never did, just dove into the water and started to do laps. Anya pretended to read her book when he swam toward her and ogled his ass when he swam away.
Clint glided through the water like it was effortless. Each stroke of his arm had beads of water sluicing off a defined muscle. She fanned herself with the book. It was silly to just sit here and drool. She should just get up and strike up a conversation. Although, he was exercising. She didn’t want to bother him. Anya bit her lip with indecision before standing up and firmly putting the book down.
Her cell phone rang, echoing off the walls of the pool room.
Who the hell was calling her at this hour?
She lunged for her purse before it could ring a second time. “This is Anya Litton.”
“How’s the diet going?” Trey asked.
“Well, in twenty-four hours the only thing I’ve managed to lose is one whole day.” Anya drank more of her cucumber-infused water. She made a face, wishing it was a mimosa.
“Not good, babe. You’ve got a month.”
“I’ll be fine,” she said. “What the hell are you doing up at this ungodly hour of the morning?”
“No rest for the wicked, sweets. I called to tell you that you’ve got competition.”
“What do you mean?” Anya arched her foot and frowned. She should book a pedicure.
“I’ve heard rumors that they’re looking at Rita Lewis too.”
Of course they are. “She’s in Chicago, isn’t she?” Anya slammed her foot down on the chair. Rita was Lex Luthor to her Superman. She made it a point to know where that bitch was at all times. They’d started out as friends during their Lane Bryant (no relation to Colleen Bryant) photo shoots. Then Anya got the Igigi gig and Rita took it as a personal affront. It didn’t matter that Rita became Kiyonna’s it girl out in California. Anya got a global modeling job before she did. The gloves came off. For example, after Anya dumped Cesare, she figured he’d get married to the countess his mother had chosen for him and she’d never hear about him again. Not so. He got married all right, and Rita climbed into his bed and became his mistress. They were still together as far as she knew.
“She was last seen in Manhattan, stalking your part.”
“Great,” Anya said. “Does she know I’m short-listed for it?”
“Babe, why do you think she’s here? That chick can hold a grudge. She’s had it in for you ever since Milan fashion week 2012.”
“Longer than that.”
“Then you stole the J-Na evening gown shoot from her.”
“I did not. I didn’t even know they were considering her portfolio. She’s worked with them since. It’s not like I blackballed her. I wouldn’t even know how to blackball.”
“Yeah, you’re more the blue ball type of girl.”
“Just because I won’t sleep with you, Trey, doesn’t mean I’m frigid. It means I’ve got good taste. Besides, I have a boyfriend.” Sort of. As soon as I get enough courage to ask him out. Anya watched Clint slice through the water doing his laps and smiled.
“That’s a new one. I thought you still held a torch for the Italian stallion.”
“Ancient history,” Anya said, and got an idea for Fierocity—a Roman-inspired toga dress. She frowned. No, that was dumb. Except maybe for orgy night. At Club Inferno’s last one, Anya had gotten up the nerve to walk the length of the ballroom like it was the runway at Sodom and Gomorrah. It was fantastic, but she’d lost her nerve when a masked gladiator motioned for her to sit on his lap. Come to think of it, that gladiator had had thighs like Clint’s.
“If you say so. I’ll call you tomorrow.”
“Please don’t,” she said, but he had already hung up. “Honestly.” Anya turned off the ringer and dumped the phone back into her purse. Clint had stopped swimming and was sitting in the shallow end, leaning back with his eyes closed. She was about to march over there and start up a conversation when the doors slammed open, and Master Dante and his entourage walked in.
Master Dante was dressed in black leather pants and matching vest. His group consisted of females dressed as acrobats. Or maybe they really were acrobats; you could never tell with Master Dante. When Anya met him, she’d really wanted to call him Dante. But then he turned those emerald-green eyes on her and her spine automatically stiffened. He had a charisma that was so compelling Anya wouldn’t dare call him anything but Master Dante—and she didn’t have a submissive bone in her body.
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