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SLOW SURRENDER
by Cecilia Tan

Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance, Erotic Romance

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“Ashley, tell me something,” he said, angling his head as if to see me better. “Would you like to try something else new?”

“Something else?” I echoed. “What do you mean?”

“Are you bored? Tired of the rat race? Looking for a little adventure?”

“Well sure, who isn’t?” I said.

He nodded at my automatic response. “Indeed. Ashley, I’m bored. I would like to play a game. And I would like someone to play it with me.”

“I bet you say that to all the girls,” I joked.

His expression darkened, surprising me. “Actually, it takes a very special person to pique my interest.”

He thinks I’m special? I thought.

“If you don’t want to play, that’s fine,” he added. “I’ll leave and never come back if you say no.”

Right about then, my weirdo meter should have been pinging hard. But my inner alarm bells were silent. Maybe because he wasn’t giving off a weird vibe and he seemed sincere about leaving me alone if I didn’t want to play along. And maybe because it was hard to say no to such an attractive man. I decided to test him out a little, though. “I’ll play if you’ll answer a question.”

He smiled. “Name it,” he said, imitating me perfectly.

“Tell me why a wealthy, well-dressed man like yourself is drinking alone.”

“You mean, am I here fleeing a harridan wife or escaping my supermodel girlfriend?”

I shook a finger at him. “No answering a question with a question, mister. That’s rude.”

He flattened a hand against his lapels. “I beg your pardon. You’re right. An honest question deserves an honest answer. The truth is I’ve come to the end of a very long and tiring episode in my business. I’m at loose ends for the first time in a long time, and to celebrate, I wanted to be alone for a while, something I haven’t had a chance to do recently.” He glanced out the window, then turned his full attention back to me. “In fact, I was just working myself up to a promise to spend more time by myself”—he paused and swirled the bourbon in his glass—“when you came along. There, was that a satisfactory answer?”

I smiled. He seemed confident, sophisticated, and eminently reasonable. He seemed real. “Yes, it was. Okay, so what’s the game?”

“The game is very simple. I ask you to do something, and you do it.”