Kendra learns that her boyfriend thinks she's a cold fish. To make matters worse, he's made plans to go away with one of her coworkers for a long weekend. When a blackout strands her in an elevator with sexy Latin maintenance man Jorge, she sets out to prove she's more hot dish than cold fish.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Blackout by Wynter Daniels
"He told me she was frigid."
Kendra froze in her tracks rather than turning the corner to the water cooler. Hugging a file folder against her chest, she tuned out the ringing of a phone, the drone of a fax machine and all other noises but that awful, shrill voice.
"They dated for three months, one week and two days, and she never gave him any," the unseen woman continued. "No wonder the poor guy was so horny. Can you imagine?"
Blood drained from Kendra's face and her mouth went dry. Tommy had accused her of being frigid just three days ago. Said he'd given her three months, one week and two days.
"I thought you were dating that eminent domain lawyer from the sixth floor," another woman with a deeper voice said.
"We broke up two weeks ago. His kids totally dominated his life. I mean, I know weekend dads have to make things fun for the little buggers, but they were always tagging along on our freaking dates. And then, when I'd spend the night, he'd make me sneak out before sunrise. I started wondering if he was a vampire or something."
Deep Voice let out a hacking laugh. The water cooler bubbled.
"Back to what I was saying. So, Tommy like practically attacked me the moment he came inside my apartment after our first date. He had that octopus syndrome, eight groping hands."
Could she be making it up? Not a chance. Not when she'd parroted Tommy's exact words.
"What did you do?"
"Well, normally, I make them wait 'til the second date, buy me a couple of meals first. Only I felt so sorry for him when he told me how she'd deprived him for so long."
Kendra bit back tears. How dare he share intimate details of their relationship?
"I figured she was like that," Deep Voice said. "She's a cold fish. Why would she be any different with a guy?"
"True. Listen, don't tell anyone what I said. He'd totally kill me. They haven't officially broken up yet. He's taking me away for the weekend."
"Already? Lucky you."
Footsteps receded. Their voices grew fainter, then disappeared.
Kendra's head pounded, and her blood ran ice cold. Leaning against the wall, she took a deep breath and squeezed her eyes shut. How decent of Tommy to tell her he was ending things between them before he started balling someone else.
Something clanged down the hall, startling her. She turned her head and peered to the left to see a man in a navy-colored maintenance uniform setting up a ladder. He climbed the first few rungs then pulled down the cover over a flickering fluorescent light. When he started down, he caught her staring. "You okay, ma'am?"
She nodded and turned her back. A cold fish? Was that what people thought of her? Must be what they called someone dedicated to her career. Frigid, Tommy had said. Only inexperienced. But how could she tell him she'd only had a few lovers? He'd have thought her some kind of freak.
Her boss, Jim Simon rounded the corner and smiled at her. "Still here?" He twisted his left wrist to glance at his watch and shook his head. "Go home. It's a holiday weekend and it's after five. You don't have to impress the boss. He knows you're hard-working." Winking at her, he loosened his tie. "Everyone's gone or on their way out."
Gathering her composure, Kendra gave him a quick nod. "I'm finishing a few things up. Then I'll go. I promise." It wasn't as if she had plans for Memorial Day weekend anyway. Tommy had told her he was going to West Palm Beach to visit his family. Apparently the lying dog had found someone else to accompany him. Or perhaps he'd only used his family as an excuse. The girl from the water cooler hadn't mentioned their plans having a thing to do with his family.
"Don't be too long," Jim ordered. "The traffic is already awful. Everyone seems to be leaving the city. Carol and I are off to the Keys. Got any special plans?"
Blood drained from her face. How could she admit she had no one to see and nothing to do? That she had no life. "I'll be with some friends, staying local, maybe...having a barbeque."
"Good, good. Enjoy yourself. You need to get out more." He waved, then continued past.
"Have fun," she called. She wasn't going anywhere but to her Miami Beach condo. Probably rent a few movies, eat ice cream out of the carton. Pathetic. Hurt and anger swirled in her gut as she thought about Tommy and the other woman, a woman who apparently worked for the company. God, he's lazy. And thoughtless. Couldn't the louse have plucked his new girlfriend from somewhere else? Anywhere else?
Rubbing the bridge of her nose, she considered calling him. Telling him what a jackass he was. But why bother? He had to know. Yelling at him wouldn't make her feel any better. Drawing a deep breath, she rounded the corner to the copy room. She opened her file and plucked out the contents. Then she went to a copier, set the papers in the feeder and hit start.
As the machine made its mechanical clunks and hums, she wondered what she could do to occupy her time for the next three days. Miami Beach would be awash with elderly bathing suit-clad tourists. The younger set would be at South Beach. Young, hot muscular men walking around half naked, showing off their six-packs.
Why should that interest her?
He told me she was frigid.
The words cut through her like an ice pick to the gut. Maybe it was true. The machine ground to a halt. She picked up the copies and originals and stuffed them all into the folder.
A cold fish.
What did they know? She could be just as wild and passionate as the next girl. Couldn't she? Racking her brain, she tried to remember a time when she'd cut loose, really let go. There were a few times in college when she'd gone dancing with her sorority sisters. Only she hadn't done much dancing. She didn't want to look foolish, so she'd stayed on the sidelines, the eternal wallflower.
On her way back to her office, she passed the maintenance guy again, still fiddling with the lights. He had his back to her, and even through his coveralls, she could tell he had a nice ass.
Why can't I be more sexually aggressive? What's wrong with me? Maybe I need to find some stranger to open up all the tightly fastened knots that keep me so closed to passion.