The Conference – Dirty Little Affair #2

The-Conference-A-DirtyLittleAffairtoRemember-AnnaLeighKeaton-COVERISBN:  978-1-60088-894-6

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Five months after a sexy weekend during a Midwest snowstorm, Bobby O’Brian and Scarlett Morris wind up in the same hotel lounge in Orlando.

It’s hot, it’s sticky, and the sparks reignite with one glance. Scarlett ditches her meetings, Bobby delays a flight to Atlanta, and they spend two days sightseeing and making love.

Only this time, when their two days are up, Bobby isn’t ready to agree to her terms. This time he’s not willing to say goodbye forever.

Bobby O’Brian slid onto the stool at the bar and ordered a Bud Light. Sweat made his dress shirt stick to his back, and he tried to loosen the kinks from his neck by rubbing it, but that didn’t do much good. He’d stuffed his tie into his pants pocket hours ago, giving up the pretense.

He hated Florida. He hated humidity. He hated attending these stupid conferences to drum up more business. He’d normally send his operations manager, but Joe’s wife was about to pop out a baby, so he didn’t want to stray too far from home.

The lounge in the Hilton where he was staying, a short way down the road from the one where the conference was being held, was cool, and slowly his body temperature seemed to slide back toward normal. It was so bad he’d thought about grabbing a cab for the half-mile walk. He, who at home would run five miles every morning, was going to expire from ninety-five degrees and ninety-eight percent humidity. He missed cool, fresh, damp San Francisco, and he’d been gone only a week so far.

Lifting the icy bottle of Bud, he laid it against his neck and sighed. It was late, and he should head to his room, but he’d bet his last dollar the maid turned off the A/C again so it’d be toasty when he got there, and he’d have to wait for the temp to come down.

He yawned before tipping the bottle and taking a long pull from it, the cold drink so good. “Your kitchen still open?” he asked the bartender when he walked by.

The younger guy nodded and pulled a menu from near the cash register behind the bar. “Back page only after ten.”

“Thanks.” Bobby turned to the back page and was just about to order a burger when a tingle went down his spine and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up.

Slowly, he swiveled on the bar stool and looked into the quiet lounge. A few couples occupied tables. Four women sat in a corner booth, laughing in short bursts every so often.

His heart stuttered when he spotted her.

Her dress was long and loose, thin straps exposing slim shoulders, white with some big bold flowers all over it. She wore sandals, and her hair was pulled back.

She’d come in the far door of the lounge and slid into a vacant table against one wall, pulled a laptop from her bag, opened it, and powered it on then reached into the bag and grabbed a legal pad, pens, and a cell phone.

As he watched, she waved away the waitress and bent forward, writing furiously on the legal pad while glancing at the computer screen that lit her beautiful face, lush lips, and reflected off her stylish, wire-rimmed glasses.

God, how he’d missed her.

Scarlett. Sweet, shy, sexy, sinful Scarlett.

It had been five months since he’d spent the most amazing weekend of his life in bed with the woman. When they’d parted, they agreed it had just been a short interlude; they both had their own lives. But he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her. The way she moaned his name when she was about to come. The way she could blush so prettily then boldly suck his cock. But mostly, the way she made him feel like the most important person in the world…for the short time they’d been together.

Maybe it was their history, the fact that she’d had a serious crush on him when they were in college. Or maybe it was because she was a woman who wanted him only for his body, not his bank account. She’d wanted him when he was a poor guy on scholarship to the University of Minnesota. She’d wanted him before he was “somebody,” and that made him feel…

It made him feel.

His life since his divorce a decade earlier had been a swinging door of beautiful California women. Cold, calculating bombshells who’d cared about what he could buy them rather than what he could give of himself. He’d come to think of that as normal, especially after his wife had cheated on him. But Scarlet had been so different. She was the one who decided their lives were too different and that the weekend they’d shared together was all there would be. It hadn’t been him giving the talk to a woman who thought because he fucked her he was going to give her diamonds and pearls.

Letting Scarlett walk off into that bright, damp, post-snowstorm afternoon had nearly killed him. He’d wondered if he’d ever find anyone like her, someone he might be able to love—to open his heart and give it to. So he’d gone home from Chicago and drowned himself in work, barely coming up for a breath so he was too tired to remember their weekend together. Too exhausted to wake up sweating and hard, needing her soft, sweet body.

And then she walks into the lounge in his hotel in Orlando, Florida, when neither of them lived anywhere near this Godforsaken place. If it wasn’t Fate, what was it?

“Did you want something from the kitchen?” the bartender asked.

Bobby shook his head, not turning around. “No, thanks.” And then, holding his half-empty beer bottle, he got up and slowly made his way across the lounge, to the woman of his dreams, his fantasies, his heart.

He slid into the seat opposite her and just stared. She was so concentrated on whatever she worked on she didn’t even notice him there. Her bottom lip was tucked between her teeth, her eyes flitting back and forth across the screen as she madly scrawled on the legal pad. The other thing in her hand wasn’t a cell phone as he’d thought, but a calculator.

“Hello, Scarlett,” he said softly, intentionally strengthening his Irish brogue she’d loved.

Her head popped up, her big, dark eyes wide behind her glasses. She sucked in a breath and promptly choked.

He laughed and held his beer bottle out to her. She’d done the same thing the first time she’d seen him in the conference room of Cappapelli Manufacturing, the company she worked for.

She grabbed the bottle and tipped it, taking a long drink. A little dribbled down her chin, and it took everything to stay in his seat and not move next to her and lick it away.

“Wha—what are you doing here?” she said, wiping her chin with the back of her hand.

“Attending the conference at the Hyatt. And you? On vacation?”

Her brow furrowed. “No, not vacation.” She set the bottle on the table, away from her computer. “I would not take a vacation to this place in August. And I sure as heck wouldn’t take one with my co-workers. Our all-knowing CEO decided that we needed to take a team-building vacation. One week in this…this ring of hell with all the other VPs of Cappapelli Manufacturing. Really? Standing in line at Disney World in a hundred degrees is going to make me a better team player? It makes me a little homicidal!”

Bobby was a little stunned at her tirade. He’d never seen so much fire in her—outside of the bedroom. And definitely never anger.

Her shoulders slumped. “Sorry. I hate it here. And I have to stay through the end of the week. Boss’ orders.”

“I totally understand. I agree. This place is a ring of hell. Or maybe the armpit.”

A little smile spread over her beautiful lips, but then her eyes softened and she looked at him. Really looked at him. After licking her lips, she whispered, “I never thought I’d see you again.”

“I thought about tracking you down a few times when I was in your area. Had some meetings in Minneapolis in May and Cincinnati in June.”

She didn’t say anything, didn’t ask why. They’d agreed their weekend had been just a weekend. But the fact that they were put together in the same hotel in a place so far from either of their homes…

The waitress came by. “Can I get you anything?”

Scarlett glanced at the waitress then at him.

Bobby said, “Red wine for the lady, and I’ll take another beer.” He held up his mostly empty bottle.

“Wait. It’s too hot for wine. I’ll take a margarita, blended, light on the tequila, please. No salt.”

“Be right up,” she said and walked off.

“Saw you more of a Singapore sling type girl.”

Scarlett chuckled and ducked her head, her cheeks coloring slightly in the dim light. “I don’t like sweet drinks, but I am so hot I can’t seem to cool down.” She looked back up at him. Her lips parted, as if she really wanted to say something, but then she closed her mouth and took a slow, deep breath.

“What are you working on?” he asked to dissipate the slightly awkward silence.

“I’ve got to figure out what’s wrong with a timing piece we’re working on for a key fob for a garage door opener we’re developing.”

“How come you came to the lounge?”

“It’s quiet. I’m rooming with the VP of sales, and she’s on the phone, again, arguing with her husband, or boyfriend, or fiancé or whoever he is… I don’t know, she’s always on her cell, talking too loud or texting with the volume up. The stupid little whistle sound it makes every time she gets a message is going to drive me over the edge real soon, if it’s not the ticking sounds it makes with every keystroke.”

“So your team building is all the VPs from the company?”

She nodded. “Every single one of them. We had a choice between Orlando and Bar Harbor, Maine, on the ocean, where it’s cool and pretty. Disney World was the majority vote…” She curled her lip in disgust.

“The seventh ring of hell.”

“Yep,” she said with a nod.

Silence fell again, and she stared at him, her eyes moving as her gaze roamed over his features.

“You’re wearing your glasses…”

“My allergies are going nuts here. I can’t wear my contacts.”

“They look good on you. Not like the big black-rimmed things you wore in college.”

She did that little blush, head-dip thing that he found so endearing. “Thanks.”

The waitress returned with their drinks, and Scarlett carefully moved her laptop to the side of the table near the wall, away from danger of spillage. She thanked the waitress and took a long sip of her margarita through the straw.

Bobby stared. What else could he do? She was so gorgeous, her lips full and pink. As before in Chicago, she wore no makeup, and her natural beauty made his heart stutter.

She licked her lips and looked back at him. Was that longing he saw in her eyes? A reflection of what was inside of him?

“I don’t have a roommate,” he said, his voice low. Her call, but he wanted her. Bad.

She swallowed, her eye contact steady as she slowly swirled the short straw in her drink. “It’s weird, isn’t it? You and I in the same place, so far away from where either of us lives.”

He nodded. “I was thinking the same thing.”

Glancing down, she leaned forward and took another sip through the straw. Again she licked her lips, and damned if his cock didn’t jump. How many mornings in the last five months had he awakened from a dream of her sucking him off? She did it like a pro. Genteel lady in public; slut in the bedroom. She was the perfect woman.

“It is a coincidence, isn’t it, Bobby?”

He smirked. “Yes, Scarlett. It is. I had no idea you’d be here. I’m not stalking you.”

“I didn’t think so.” She sighed, shrugged, and stared into the lime green of her drink.

“You sound disappointed. Have you thought of me in the last few months?”

She raised her eyes and slowly shook her head in denial.

The grin spread across his face. “I think you’re lying, darlin’.”

That sweet, shy smile, and she dipped her head. “Maybe a time or two.”

He slid out of the seat and moved to her side of the table. She scooted nearer the wall, making room for him as he sat down beside her.

“Just a time or two?” he asked, moving in close to her, breathing in her sweet scent of honey, lemon, and jasmine. Just as he remembered.

Her eyes were big and dark behind her cute little glasses. She nodded. “Just a couple.”

He leaned closer, until his lips were just inches from hers. “Was it in the middle of the night when you were feeling lonely? When you were hot and wet and needy. Is that when you thought about me?”

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