Audra Marino has a problem, and it’s not a common problem like no money or shitty job. Her job is actually okay, but she’s not sure how long she’ll have it after what she did this stormy afternoon. It wasn’t only that she let her water fetish seduce her into slaking her desire while at work. The big problem is that there were witnesses–her sexy producer, Jackson, and the equally hot intern, Lucas. Then there’s the pesky detail that she’s a disk jockey at a Christian Rock radio station.
Jackson wouldn’t mind getting to know Audra better, but she doesn’t want a relationship. When she suggests a friend-with-benefits arrangement, he takes it, hoping to change her mind about the “friends” part. Now he just has to convince her to take a chance on him, despite the competition from Lucas, before Audra gets a job on the other side of the country.
Theme song: Only Happy When it Rains by Garbage
Living in Florida, when even the thought of water turned you on, sucked ass. Easy enough to avoid the beach, lakes, and rivers, but there was no dodging the daily afternoon thunderstorms in the summer.
Audra Marino punched the touch screen monitor to start the next song and glanced outside. The wind had picked up in the last half hour, and the sky had darkened enough that she considered turning on the lights in the studio. Her booth wasn’t as large as the one for the morning show down the hall, but it was big enough for several guests. There never were any, mostly because she was on air from two until six every weekday and people didn’t listen to the radio for celebrity interviews while they were at work. Her job expectations were simple—play songs, commercials, a little chatter in between, and sign off.
A strong Catholic upbringing came in handy when the station required her to praise God’s name twice an hour. Too bad she didn’t go to church anymore. Or read the Bible. Or do anything else the station manager thought she did. What she wouldn’t give to be working at a station that played music she actually wanted to listen to. Taking her headphones off, she closed her eyes and rehearsed what she planned to say at the next break.
Don’t forget—this weekend, the Ormond—
Staccato raindrops hit the window. Tap. Tap tap. Tap. Tap.
She squeezed her eyes tighter, and crossed her legs. She could ignore the storm. She would ignore it.
Don’t forget—this weekend, the Ormond Beach Christian Coalition is holding an infor—
A rumble of thunder joined nature’s jam session. The storm apparently didn’t want to be ignored. The wall clock showed four-fifteen. No chance the rain would hold off another two hours. With any luck, though, it would only last five minutes. Resisting the siren call should be easy.
Funny how the definition of “easy” changes over prolonged periods of time.
Twenty minutes later, dark clouds barreled overhead, unleashing buckets of water. Strobe-effect lightning beckoned her gaze. Thunder vibrated the building. Audra’s body warmed.
Wind slammed fat raindrops into the glass—her only barrier from complete loss of control—and she made the mistake of looking. Rivulets slid down the window. Her nerves reacted as though the water flowed along her skin. Tingles began at her fingertips and toes and raced inward, colliding at her core.
She shook her head and refocused on the song list on her computer. Another crack of thunder. Her heart increased its tempo. The raging storm commanded her attention as she hastily set up a three-track run and rose from her chair.
I’m only stretching. Yet, even as she thought it, her feet inched toward the window until her toes nudged the wall. Her heated breath fogged the pane. With shaky fingertips, she traced the path of a raindrop on the other side of the glass. Smooth and cool, like ice. Heat from her hand steamed the window to leave ghostly markings, disappearing almost as soon as they appeared. Her desire built, each new wave growing and overtaking the previous.
The storm’s intensity grew, with another burst of drops pelting the glass. A wicked idea entered her mind, and she calculated the amount of time before the song set ended. Between the darkness outside and the lush trees blocking the street, she was hidden from view. A quick glance behind her showed the blinds between her and the producer’s booth were closed. Utter privacy. But for how long?
She imagined the rain hitting her bare skin, trickling down her body. Desire shot through her like lightning, a quick flash of heat simmering to a slow, burning ache. She trailed her fingers along her arm, following the imagined path.
Temptation coaxed her to do the unthinkable. To risk her job. Unfortunately, her body had already begun responding to the images of water licking her, caressing her. A dull throb pulsed in her clit. Her breasts tightened. Her breathing became shallow. Common sense screamed at her to come to her senses. The damned devil on her other shoulder encouraged her with erotic beats of sensation down her limbs.
Lightning lit the sky and thunder chased it, the forked image burned into her vision. She had to make a decision. With an increase in the storm’s intensity, her rational thoughts slipped and she peeked at the producer’s booth again. It was wrong on so many levels. She knew it. And yet, the forbidden aspect added another level of temptation. Assured of temporary privacy, the devil won the battle.
She slid her free hand down her neck, grazing her nipples once, twice, before tweaking them to the edge of pain. The pressure increased her urgency and she moved her fingers to the waistband of her capris, flicking the button loose in a quick, practiced maneuver. The elastic on her thong gave little resistance as she pushed it aside and stroked herself. Knees buckling, she swiveled her hips and leaned against the window, perching her ass on the narrow ledge. Cold seeped through her thin cotton shirt into her shoulders and the vibration of the raindrops spiked her arousal.
Audra let her head fall back and pressed her fingertips tight against her core. So close. Legs spread for better access, she shoved three fingers deep inside, in and out. Lightning flashed and she pinched her clit. Her orgasm rolled over her as thunder rattled the windows.
Letting her arms fall to her sides, she slumped against the pane, satisfied.
A low whistle jerked her out of the afterglow. Her eyes snapped open.
Her producer, Jackson, and Lucas, the new intern, watched her from the producer’s booth. Jackson’s gaze traveled over her as solidly as if his hands were doing the exploring. It might have been hot, if not for the mortification scorching her cheeks. She worked at fucking Christian Rock Radio, and the station manager was as preachy as they came. You did not masturbate in the middle of a set. Hell, if Harold had his way, no one would masturbate anywhere. Ever.
She couldn’t move, and expected either Jackson or Lucas to run down the hall, crying any number of insults and slurs about the Jezebel in the building. She didn’t know them all that well, and had no idea how to react. Her gaze bounced from one to the other, worried that if she moved any more than that, it would snap them out of whatever stupor they seemed to be in and remind them to call security.
“That was the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.” Lucas’ voice through the intercom scraped against her frayed nerves.
“Come again?” She eyed them warily. Sexy? That almost gave her hope that she would still have a job tomorrow. But she couldn’t bring herself to trust it.
He smiled. “Please.”
The two men exchanged a glance, then Jackson pointed to her desk. “Get another set going or you’re going to have dead time.”
His order was all she needed for her limbs to move again. She buttoned her pants and jumped into her chair, rolling a few feet to her computer. Without paying attention, she punched the screen with her left hand and wiped her other on her lap. Harold stressed the importance of having something playing at all hours, though dead air was the least of her worries at the moment.
The two men mumbled, but other than the harsh tones, she was unable to make out any words. And then, “Don’t be an asshole.”
At that, she glanced up. Jackson glared at Lucas, and then shot her a look of…concern? He didn’t give her much time to analyze his expression because he dropped the blinds immediately after. She buried her head in her forearms and the lingering smell of her release on her hand only served as a reminder of her poor judgment. When her elbows knocked into the keyboard and it clattered to the floor, she ignored it. Cheeks heated, heart thumping, the blood rushing through her ears drowned out every other sound. Mortified did not begin to describe her feelings right now. And waiting to hear if she was fired made it even worse. She lifted her head a few inches and dropped it down, several times. What. Had. She. Been. Thinking?
She hadn’t lost control like this in years. The reality of the situation sunk to the bottom of her toes like an anchor.
The knob to her only exit rattled. Here it comes.
She gathered her courage and straightened to face her accusers, only to find the janitor standing in the doorway. Geez, the place was essentially abandoned ten minutes ago, and now they were coming from everywhere. She plopped back down, the energy to do anything else drained from her. The janitor silently collected her trash and turned his back on her. Judging her. She shook her head. There was no way he could be judging her, because he didn’t know what she’d been doing in this room not ten minutes earlier. But Jackson and Lucas did. She glanced at the closed blinds, wondering what the two men who’d witnessed her lewd behavior were doing.
Her clothes suddenly felt too constricting and she yanked the hem of her shirt down as though she could cover more of herself. Why couldn’t there be earthquakes in Florida. Better yet, a sinkhole. Right now would be a fabulous time for a sinkhole to miraculously open up and swallow her whole. How could she let this happen? Again.
The rain slowed over the next hour, with only occasional thunder grumbling in the distance, and Audra got through the rest of her shift on autopilot. Her mind was too preoccupied thinking about where she might find another job that paid as well as the station. She couldn’t afford to be unemployed. For one, she would have to move back to her parents’ house like her brother Tony, and that was unacceptable. And her current job barely covered the monthly debt she’d been drowning in since one of her exes tanked her credit a few years ago. The
Late-afternoon sunlight filtered through the droplets, shining into the studio like some divine spotlight. She watched the clock tick the slowest minutes in history until her shift ended, and Dave, the super cheery evening dee-jay sauntered in.
“God bless you,” he said in greeting, as he did every day.
Today, she actually appreciated it, though it was more likely God would be damning her.
“Have a good one, Dave,” she forced herself to say as she gathered her purse. Palming her keys, she hurried out of the studio with her head down.
The door to the producer’s office opened without warning. “Audrey, wait.”
She groaned, not bothering to correct Lucas’ mistake. His hand grasped her elbow and glided down to her wrist as if she needed to be restrained. All she wanted was to go home and never come back. It would be a whole lot less awkward for everyone involved.
“It’s Audra,” Jackson whispered, stepping into the hallway with them. She would have said thank you, if she trusted her heart not to flee through her mouth. Even so, it felt like it was trying to break through her ribs.
They escorted her to a small office near the exec’s wing. The room wasn’t large, having space for a table and six chairs, with a sideboard along one wall to hold drinks. Like everything else in the building, it had been designed by someone who believed all corporate offices should have blue carpeting, mahogany furniture, black leather roller-chairs, and a random landscape photo gracing the wall. They even had a fake Ficus tree in the corner.
It only took a moment to figure out why they brought her here. Blue carpeting or cement floors—it didn’t matter. Holding cells were holding cells. Now to wait for the station manager. Except, no one left to get him. In fact, they both stayed, leaning against the thick wooden door after flicking the lights on.
“This room is more private than the studio,” Jackson said.
“And we need privacy for…?” She was tired of being on edge. Just get the reckoning over with.
Jackson stepped forward, backing her into one of the chairs. She landed with a whoosh as the padding adjusted to her weight, and he settled his hands on the armrests. Trapped.
Spicy, masculine cologne wafted over her. “Conversation.”
Yeah, and she was the Queen of England.
He chuckled. “You don’t believe me? I suppose we could get Harold instead.”
“Why haven’t you?”
“Why would I?” Leaning closer, his lips brushed her ear and he whispered, “The memory of you fingering yourself is going to disrupt my sleep for weeks, while I dream about you coming around my cock. I can’t wait to see what you’ll do tomorrow.”
Her jaw dropped while she searched his face for sincerity.
“Fuck me, if that doesn’t look like an invitation,” he growled, pushing away from her.
She snapped her mouth shut. Tingles in her breasts and crotch meant her body didn’t give a shit if he wasn’t serious. Jackson was attractive. Thirty-five, maybe forty, he sported a tan, a little stubble on his jaw, and espresso-brown eyes to match his dark hair. She’d noticed him before, but avoided him because he was just the type of guy she liked, and that made him dangerous. In the last several months, she’d toyed with the idea of swearing off men altogether.
Plus, she’d wanted to keep a low profile in the new religious environment. The fact that she wasn’t the most spiritual person didn’t help matters. Her focus had been on avoiding the yearly layoffs, rather than getting Employee of the Year. So much for that plan.
“What do you want?” she asked, hating the quiver in her voice but being unable to control it.
“To know whether you need any additional help,” Lucas drawled. “Some extra hands, if you will.” He chuckled at his joke.
She raised an eyebrow at him. Seriously? They weren’t going to turn her in?
Laughter—the maniacal kind—bubbled to the surface, but she managed to keep it from escaping. Relief siphoned all the tension from her muscles and she mentally thanked God she was already sitting so she didn’t collapse.
Then his words truly registered and she gave Lucas another look. Blond, athletic, and young. She’d never thought of herself as a cougar, but she couldn’t deny he was hot. Lucas had blue eyes framed by a baby face that belonged in a Hollister catalog. His arms were crossed over his broad chest, but the lazy pose only affected the top half of his body. The lower half stood at attention, spiking the front of his khakis impressively. She’d bet he had the strength to lift her right out of her chair and plaster her against the wall, wrapping her legs around his…
What the fuck was she doing now? She needed to get the hell out of there, not start fantasizing. Honest to God, her common sense had gushed through an open wound and she couldn’t halt the bleed-out.
“Sorry, but I don’t date coworkers.” False bravado rang in her voice, and she silently added, or anyone.
Lucas nailed her with a panty-melting stare. “Who said anything about dating?”
“Whatever.” Common sense screamed to get out, but a small, irritatingly persistent voice wondered what it would be like to play the sex kitten and invite them both home. Damn, she needed to get laid, but work was probably not the best place to find a partner, no matter how seductive the options.
She brushed past Jackson, trying not to notice how muscular his chest was, or how large his hands were as he held the door open for her. And she would not imagine what it would feel like for him to run those hands over her chest. She swallowed and made her way to the parking garage. Men were not to be trusted. Too many of them had fucked her over.
But could she trust these two to keep her secret? And did she really want to walk away from their offer?