Tanya had so much going for her. A successful model, she was lucky to have the world at her feet. Beauty, money and fame – she had it all. Only one thing was missing.
Someone to share it all with.
She wasn’t the romantic type. She wasn’t into fairytale princes or happily ever afters. She simply believed that every woman needed a strong, solid man to stand by her – and warm up her nights – when needed. So despite the fact that her money made her independent, she wasn’t so tough to believe that she didn’t require a man to take care of her. A woman had…needs.
The fact that she could have anyone she wanted wasn’t the issue. Designers, fellow models, billionaires and even presidents wanted to have her in their beds. But Tanya wasn’t settling for just anybody. There had to be something there, that spark to make it all worthwhile. Her last boyfriend had been a hip-hop dancer; a very handsome guy in his early twenties who had given her all she’d wanted as far as companionship and sex went. But then he wanted more; he wanted all of her.
And that she wasn’t willing to give, not yet. So she politely and kindly refused his marriage offer. No one was going to tie her down till she was ready…
There was this fashion fiesta she was attending that evening. For once, she wasn’t working, but was attending as a guest. To escort her for the event was one of her very few close friends, Manolo. Apart from his effeminate ways and terrible practical jokes, he really was a great pal and was fun to have around, especially at such a trying outing. There would be press, lots of photographs, and plenty to drink. Tanya knew that despite the fact that she loved her job, loved the catwalk and the cover photo-shoots, she really was a private person. No one could know how she’d rather be curled up in her old sweats in front of the TV with her cat and a plate of chips and ketchup by her elbow.
That was the real her, not this ultra-glamorous female in the white, low-necked dress hanging from the thinnest of straps, revealing plenty of her honey-brown skin. Even in her medium-heeled pumps, she still stood much taller than many of the men in the room that evening. She caught many admiring glances from them at that moment, and found herself clutching to Manolo’s arm almost protectively.
“Ease up with the fingers, Tee, your nails are digging in,” Manolo whined in his girly voice, blinking at her. “And you can’t ruin the suit, you know, cost a whole arm – and I’m not kidding.”
Laughing, she loosened her hold on the sleeve of his snug-fitting yellow suit. She should have known he’d wear something loud and eye-catching, and she hadn’t been expecting this bright shade but he carried it off well.
“Oh my days,” Manolo gasped beside her, placing his hand on his chest.
Frowning, she followed his gaze to see what her friend was gaping at. She could swear she could almost see the drool slipping from his parted lips. But then she saw where his gaze was trained, and didn’t have to wonder anymore.
This was her fantasy in a suit. Dark wavy hair, chiselled features, and a tall, athletic body that wore his obviously expensive suit perfectly. He was standing in the midst of a few other guests, a glass in his hand which he waved once or twice as he spoke while they listened raptly.
“I want him,” Tanya said suddenly, not knowing she’d spoken aloud till she heard Manolo sigh angrily.
“I saw him first!” he snapped, almost stamping his feet. They shared a look and both smiled. “You really like that hunk of meat, don’t you?” he teased.
“Like is not the word, Manny,” she murmured, not tearing her eyes from the sight of him. If ever she’d thought of what her dream guy would look like, then this would be it. Animal magnetism seemed to ooze from his pores even without him trying. All he had to do was stand there and probably every girl’s panties in the room were getting drenched at the sight of him. He had those dynamic looks that could never tell you what he did; actor, designer, lawyer or politician?
She didn’t care. She just wanted to fuck him.
Shocked at her own crude thoughts, she quickly took a swallow of her champagne. What was wrong with her, panting for some unknown stranger in this way? She never, ever thought or acted like this. And yet, even Manolo seemed to understand, as he patted the hand she had tucked inside the crook of his arm.
“I know how you feel, baby. He wouldn’t even have to say a word and I’ll be bending over for him. However, something tells me you’ll have more of a chance with him, sooo…” He was grinning, his small, white teeth flashing. “I can get someone to introduce us. Is that okay?”
At that, Tanya hesitated. Now that reality had set in, she wasn’t sure she wanted to meet him. Already she was thinking of the many bad, wild things she wanted to do if she had that tall hunky stranger alone in the same room. She wasn’t sure what she was capable of if they finally got to actually talk to each other.
She shook her head vigorously. “Naah, forget it. I’ve found out many times that the fantasy is far better than the real thing. Too many disappointments later, I’m a firm believer that if something looks too good to be true, then it is.”
Manolo let out an impatient sigh, but he didn’t push it. He saw someone he knew wave to him from across the room, and Tanya quickly shooed him off, saying she’d be okay standing alone for a few minutes. Despite herself, her eyes were drawn back to the striking figure standing in the middle of the elegantly decked ballroom. What was it about him that drew her so? Yes, he was handsome, perfectly groomed and all that, but there was more. She just couldn’t figure out yet what it was.
That was the moment he chose to look around, as if conscious of someone looking. Moments later he spotted her, and did a slight double-take. A faint smile lifted the corner of her full lips as she realised: he’d felt it too. There was a tightness in her chest as she saw him turn to his companions to excuse himself, before turning and making his way straight to her.
* * * * *
Marcus had got that prickly feeling at the back of his neck as he’d stood there with a few other guests, friends he knew casually. He hadn’t been sure what it was, but he’d glanced around and then let his gaze fall on the slim, shapely figure standing in the far corner.
Their eyes met and there was that instant connection. She was stunning, with skin a golden shade of caramel. Her hair was fashionably windblown, and pinned in at the sides to give more accent to her fabulous cheekbones. She wore a flowing, Grecian-cut white dress, and he’d never seen a woman wear that colour so well. He knew at once, from her height and the way she stood, loose yet confident, that she was a model. She certainly had the face and body, too.
I want her.
He started a little as that thought flashed through his mind. But it was true; he was drawn to her almost instantly. His acute senses seemed to pick out her scent even from across the room; her essence which twirled and danced his way and made him go rigid with shock at his sudden revelation. There was no doubt in his mind that this was the woman he’d been looking for but never thought he’d find. The one who, with just one look from her smoky brown eyes, could get him hard as a plank and seeking out the nearest, empty closet where he could stick himself deep within her hot cunt. Damn, she was beautiful.
“Excuse me,” he said to the others without thinking about it first. They nodded courteously, and he quickly left the group, walking purposefully to where she stood. Their eyes still held and he could see the apprehension jump into their soft brown depths. Why did she suddenly look so afraid, like she was ready to flee any second?
Not wishing to give her that chance, he strode more quickly, about to reach her when suddenly, at least five or six photographers, the local paparazzi, appeared. She seemed swept off in a tide as they began to question her and snap pictures, even as she tried to move quickly away.
Marcus bit on a muttered curse as she disappeared from view, swallowed up by the crowd of guests. He wanted to go after her, but with so many people, he wasn’t sure how he’d be able to reach her now. He reminded himself then that this was neither the place nor time. With so many nosy photographers and journalists around, he had to be careful not to get splashed on the cover of some trashy magazine the next day.
This wasn’t the last he’d seen of her, he vowed…