Dark Hunger

Page 11

“Getting started at three a.m. with a guy in my bed is one thing. Prowling the town for pancakes with you? I need three shots of espresso for that.”

Insatiable. The rush of hunger hit Laura like something sexual, a teeming need for a brownie sundae. Breaded, fried shrimp. Mozz sticks. Apple pie.

They turned a corner and – hooray! Jeddy's was open. Josie pointed. “Jeddy's?”

“Good old Jeddy's. Geez, haven't been here in...what?”

“Seven months,” Josie said, a sour expression on her face.

“Seven mo – ” Oh. Yeah. Josie had come here to drown her sorrows after her last fuckbuddy left her. For a guy.

“Let's talk over caramel toffee chocolate chip pancakes. With crushed bacon cooked in.” Josie wiped an imaginary line of drool from the corner of her mouth. Or was that real?

“Only if you add in real whipped cream and homemade chocolate sauce.”

“Deal.” As they approached the door, Laura's hunger pangs sounded like gongs at a Buddhist monastery, the reverberations filling every void.

Except for two.

Read how it all ends in Her Two Billionaires and a Baby! A short preview of how the series of love between Laura, Dylan and Mike all ends:

"How much longer?" Laura asked, her foot bouncing a mile a minute as she sat at the kitchen table, legs crossed, her fingers drumming on the top.

"Thirty seconds," Josie answered. "Twenty less than the last time you asked."

"Shut up." To her surprise, the smartass went quiet. Damn well she better. This was no time for jokes. Josie's fingernails caught Laura's eye. Each was a rotation of a positive and negative pregnancy test. She inhaled sharply.

“Jesus, Josie, your fingernails! Have some compassion!”

“I thought they were cute.” Josie shot Laura a sideways glance and rolled her eyes. “Someone's lost her sense of humor completely.”

“Yeah, well, I must have puked it up along with my lunch. If it means so much to you, go find it in the toilet.”

Ding! The oven timer beeped and Josie met her eyes, both of them scared shitless, Laura moreso. It was her life in the balance, after all, and while her best friend could be the most empathic person on the planet, she couldn't give birth for her.

Laura covered her eyes. "You look. I can't."

"Okay." Silence.

"Josie?" Laura could feel the sandpaper in her voice, could hear her unacknowledged truth, knew exactly what Josie was about to say but needed her to say it. To make it real. Her stomach roiled and that full-body flush – not the good kind – flooded her senses again. She willed herself to take deep breaths. Three of them, to be exact, before Josie finally said:

"It's positive."

Her Two Billionaires and a Baby debuts in late December 2012.

Ready for More?

Her First Billionaire – a sample...

Read how it all starts, with Laura, Dylan – and Mike's entrance at the end – as the two men find their way to bringing Laura into a most unique, and decidedly hot, forever threesome. Here's a sample from Laura and Dylan's story:

“Hot, luscious piece of ass who can suck a golf ball through forty feet of garden hose seeks rippling-ab'd firefighter who has a tongue that thrums like a hummingbird and enjoys painting my toenails and eating Ben & Jerry's out of the carton while watching Mad Men.”

Laura Michaels stared at the online dating site's registration screen and frowned. That's what she really wanted to write. Here was the truth:

“Needy, insecure, overweight twenty-six year old Business Analyst with three cats, a corporate job with pension and no debt seeks Mr. Impossible for way more than friendship and lots of ice cream. I'm desperate for some physical affection and oral sex with a guy who doesn't view it as some sort of favor he's granting me, and then expects to be praised like he cleaned my toilet. One night stands are better than nothing as long as you brush your teeth. Call me!”

Her best friend, Josie Mendham, punched her in the bicep. “You can't say either of those!” Josie was Laura's opposite. Where Laura was 5'6", Josie was barely tall enough to ride roller coasters. Remove the 1 from Laura's size and you still had to go down to 2 to get Josie's. Where Laura had long, curly blonde hair and bright green eyes, Josie was chocolate all around. “Mutt and Jeff” her mom had called them, and they'd been besties since eighth grade.

Which meant Josie knew Laura too well. “You are going to do this, damn it,” she said, wagging a finger in front of Laura's face. “No trying to be perfect. Perfect is the enemy of good enough.”

“I haven't even found Mr. Good Enough!”

“That's because the hundreds of Mr. Good Enoughs have walked past you, Laura, and you're blind to them.” Josie nudged Laura aside and started typing, her long nails burning up the keyboard. How did she do that? Typing on the pads of her fingers seemed impossible, but Josie did it, keeping her manicure intact, little replicas of the famous grey necktie from Fifty Shades of Grey on each nail.

The two had been out at a club the night before and Josie spent the night, waking up chipper and springing this online dating thing on Laura before she'd even had her first cup of coffee. As the machine gurgled and burbled, Laura willed it to hurry. Weighing out her entire dating future in a half-zombie state was not good.

Laura knew she had to lie, but how much was acceptable? Could she shave off a few sizes, or would she need to hack off an imaginary arm and leg to make herself seem “fit” and “athletic”? The drop-down box with its built in descriptors seemed like judgmental torment. No choices were there for “zaftig” or “juicy” or “full figure.”

Being a size 18 with size F breasts wasn't a crime, she knew; in real life she was fashionable and flowing, plump and pleasing, and could arm wrestle most guys into submission, but reducing her accomplishments, personality and, yes, body into a vocabulary designed by some Internet start-up team of nineteen-year-old dropouts from Stanford and Carnegie Mellon made her irrationally angry.

No – rationally angry.

Seeing little choice, she pointed to the boxes on the screen and told Josie, “Pick the word 'fit.' I can deadlift 105 pounds. Which is,” she eyed Josie, “more than you weigh.”

Josie pointedly ignored her, biting her lower lip and deep in concentration. “Voila!” she shouted, her hands spread wide in a grandiose gesture. “There's your ad.”

She announced:

“Luscious, curvy Business Analyst seeks friendship and more. Financially independent and self-assured, I'm a fit woman who wants a man (or, more than one! YOLO!) for stimulating conversation...er, yeah. Conversation. Message me (or massage me!).”

“I can't write that!” Laura groaned. “It makes me look like I want an orgy!” She squinted at the screen. “And what the hell is 'YOLO'?”

“Who doesn't want an orgy?” Josie wiggled her eyebrows lasciviously and stuck out her tongue, waggling it like she was performing a very bad imitation of oral sex. “And YOLO stands for 'you only live once.'”

“Cut it out. You're turning me on. It's been that long since I got some ass, and the last guy used his tongue like he was a Roto Rooter man. Like that.” She pointed at Josie's tongue and bent over, laughing.

And then Josie, with a flourish, pressed the “Submit” button. “Thank you for joining – your profile is now live!” the screen read.

“Oh, shit, Josie, did you just do that?” Laura sputtered, spilling creamy coffee all over her sleeve as she grabbed the mouse. “Fuck!”

“What?” Josie batted her eyelashes. “Live a little. See who replies!” She grabbed her heavy, over-full Vera Bradley purse that they had discovered at a local thrift shop for $3.99 and fingered her car keys. “Gotta go, Laura. And don't you dare delete that.”

Laura laughed. “You know me too well.”

“No shit,” Josie muttered. Her face turned serious. “Really, Laura. You need to get out there. Some guy is being deprived of your awesomeness. And besides, your budget needs the break.”

“My budget?”

“Yeah. What are you spending in batteries for Bob?”

Confused, Laura shook her head. It was like Josie spoke a foreign language sometimes. “Huh?”

“Your battery-operated boyfriend. You know – BOB.” And with that she snickered, running for the door as Laura threw a section of a fashion magazine at her. Josie's evil laughter filled the apartment as she ran down the hallway, the sound fading once she hit the stairwell. “Have a good day at work!” she hollered from the street.

The coffee machine gave its death-rattle gasp that signaled the pot was done, and Laura went to drink it greedily, needing sustenance to kick her brain into gear. Enough caffeine and she could date anyone. Hmm, maybe she should do a search for baristas on that site. Free lattes would be a nice perk.

Dylan Stanwyck couldn't quite believe what he saw when he logged into the online dating site. Four months of weeding through so many crappy profiles had jaded him. Finding the right woman would be like coming across the proverbial needle in a haystack, but in this case he didn't want to face any pricks.

And yes, women could be pricks. So far he had been inundated with requests to chat, and he knew exactly why. Being a firefighter who competed in weightlifting competitions for fun, along with the occasional mini triathlon, made his pictures look quite nice. The problem with the women who were responding to him was that they were also the type to be drawn to appearances only. It seemed so shallow of him to think it, but sometimes being built the way he was could be a curse.

Curse of the Jersey Shore chicks. Because that was the type who seemed to seek him out, like moths to a flame. A trashy, Snooki-like flame of ho-dom. When he would meet up with these women he found himself in some alternate universe, where they licked their lips and offered themselves up in the alley behind the nice tapas restaurant where he liked to take women. A few goat cheese stuffed dates and pitchers of sangria later and he was being humped up against a slimy brick wall next to the trash cans.

And when he turned them down...he still had scars from one woman's long, overdone nails raking his neck as she screeched, "You don't know me!" over and over, requiring police assistance as passersby gawked, took pictures they probably uploaded to Reddit, and mercifully called 911 on his behalf.

So when this new profile for Laura appeared, he peered at the description and leaned back in his chair, taking a deep breath. Cute. But not too cute. A little sassy. He liked sassy. He ran a hand through his thick, wavy hair. Time to get a haircut, dude. You look like a survivalist. And smell like one, too, he thought as he studied her picture and caught a whiff of himself. His morning run was done, 3.8 miles logged on his online fitness program, and he reeked.

She looked like a 1940s pin up girl. A little plumper, with soft curves to her shoulders, a fuzzy, lime-green sweater accentuating her breasts. Her jaw line seemed firm and gentle all at once, and what appeared to be naturally-blonde hair was swept up off her face in a pony tail. His mom would call her a "corn-fed farm girl" and those lips – lush and grinning a half smile that seemed to say "Kiss me, Dylan."

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