For six years, student-worker-turned-librarian Audrey has peered through the bookshelves, watching the wild encounters in the third-floor reference section of the university library. She's not proud of her little hobby, but it's the closest she can come to an erotic experience since extreme shyness prevents her from making eye contact with others, much less anything else.
Until the day she's found out and blackmailed.
Audrey thinks she's going to an apartment to watch clandestinely, but once there is shocked to learn she's meant to be the participant instead of the voyeur. Can she let go of her restraint long enough to enjoy a real night of pleasure with an actual man? And could this wild encounter somehow lead to a relationship of her own?
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Checking Out Audrey by Lyla Sinclair
As much as I hated to admit it, my "duties" on the third floor of the library were a part of why I hadn't sought a job in my chosen field after graduating with a communications degree a couple of years before. Instead, I'd taken the full-time job the library offered, turning what was supposed to be a part-time college gig into a career, of sorts.
Not that I'd have done much better if I could have torn myself away from my lurid little hobby. As a senior who'd gone through high school virtually unnoticed, I'd decided the change of scenery at a university would "fix" me, and my extreme shyness would magically evaporate. I chose the communications major, with the totally unrealistic expectations of becoming a news writer or reporter...or even an anchorwoman.
If anything, my college experience had made my problem worse. When I started my freshman year, the university was out of dorm space, so I took an apartment alone--the same apartment I lived in four years later when I officially became a librarian. The same one I lived in now, as a matter of fact.
I still couldn't look people in the eye for more than a split second. I still couldn't hold the simplest of conversations, especially with a guy, without going completely blank. Just the thought of job interviews--eye contact, putting your best foot forward, thinking clearly while someone questioned and judged you--was unfathomable to me.
* * * * *
Those same thoughts were going round and round in my head the next day as I scanned bar codes for students who were checking out books.
Without looking up, I took the next book handed to me.
"Your hair looks nice like that."
I glanced up into brown eyes with flecks of gold that I could swear were sparkling flirtatiously at me. Perfect white teeth, which stood out brilliantly against his olive complexion, smiled down at me. He was a bronzed god. Tall, dark, handsome...and he was looking at me as if he knew me. Or wanted to know me.
My eyes lowered immediately but I'd suddenly forgotten which button to push before I scanned.
"You usually wear it pulled back, don't you?"
I could swear my heart stopped dead in my chest. I considered asking for CPR but was completely tongue-tied. Had he really been noticing how I wore my hair?
"Like in a bun or something?" he tried again.
That morning I'd been in a hurry and rushed out of my apartment without anything to make a ponytail or bun with. But how did he know? I didn't recognize him. But I guess when you go through life with your head down, there are a lot of things you miss.
"Mm-hm," I replied, trying to seem busy and efficient instead of painfully shy. I stared down at his library card.
"I know it looks like a mouthful, but everybody just calls me Max," he said. I looked up at him again. He had a sheepish grin on his face, but I knew that he knew it was totally charming and nearly irresistible. I felt my face turning pink, so I lowered my head and began scanning his books. "My parents just got a little carried away...with the name I mean..."
"All done," I said, and glanced toward the next person in line so Max would take the hint.
"Since you know my name, it'd be only fair if I knew yours...don't you think?" he asked.
"Audrey Simms," I murmured without looking up. I grabbed the next library card that was being held out toward me and continued working.
As I felt him move away, I wished with all my heart I could respond in kind to his interest in me. But then I reminded myself that a person had to walk before they could run and my two--mostly clothed and fumbling--sexual experiences in the backseat of cars in high school barely counted as crawling. I certainly didn't qualify for this guy. First, he was Latin for God's sake, and they're famous the world over as lovers. Okay, that might be a stereotype, but what if it was one with a basis in fact? I couldn't take that chance.
And second, his name was Maximiliano, which I was pretty sure was from the Latin "maximus" meaning "the greatest". I've always held a strong belief that people tend to live up to their names--self-fulfilling prophecies and all that. I could only imagine the wild, passionate abandon this guy would expect in bed.
I decided that even if my life changed drastically that very day, it would take me years--maybe decades--before I'd qualify for a Maximiliano Fernandez.
How tempting he was, though, with the twinkling eyes and the smooth voice, and did I see dimples?
Maybe if I start with Cheech Marin and work my way up...
But my life didn't change drastically that day. It was the same lonely day, followed by the same depressing night that I'd experienced hundreds of times over the past six years.
A week later, though, I was confronted with something so shocking, so unthinkable, so lurid...well, let's just say things changed all right. Boy, did they change.