EXCERPT from A Night of Passion (Clean Romance Edition)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20, 2009
Prue had been sitting at the bar in Hemingway’s Cafe during Happy Hour, contemplating whether to leave or stay when he appeared on the stool beside her and offered to buy her a cocktail. She didn’t usually accept drinks from strange men but tonight would be different. She needed him, needed to feel desired again, needed to be touched in a way she hadn’t been in a long time, even if it was only for the briefest moment. He didn’t give his name nor did he ask for hers, which was fine with her, and after an hour of idle chit chat they ended up in a luxury hotel suite not far from the bar. At least it wasn’t a dive of a motel that would make the experience seem cheap and dirty, and for that she was grateful. She had never done anything like it before―it wasn’t in her nature to pick up men―nor would she do it again.
They had walked the couple of blocks to the hotel in the warm, summer evening air hand in hand, chatting and laughing, although both nervous, like they had known each other for years. Prue was pleased that this man had offered to buy her a drink. She knew tonight would be everything she hoped for.
After a couple of hours making sweet passionate love to each other, he gazed into her eyes and his gentle fingers brushed her long blonde hair from her flushed cheeks. She was beautiful. Lying beside her, he pulled Prue into his arms and kissed her forehead. “I hope it was good for you.”
“It was.” She glanced up into his attractive face and gave a shy smile. “You?”
His smile broadened. “Yes, it was.” He kissed her forehead again. “Very good.”
Prue felt comfortable in his arms. It had been three years since she’d been in a relationship and wondered what it would be like to be with this man. Get to know him. But as they had already agreed it was to be only one night, what hope did she have? She hadn’t given any thought to the possibility that he could be married. Something she didn’t want to think about.
As the thought crossed her mind, he eased her out of his arms and headed to the bathroom. “Won’t be long.”
She heard the shower run and after several minutes he returned wearing a white hotel towel wrapped around his waist. Her eyes followed his lithe muscular frame across the room, and she wished he was hers. He seemed decent, and had been more than attentive during their lovemaking. Not once had she felt like a one night stand. He’d made her feel desired.
He gazed at her lying naked in the bed and smiled. “Can I drop you somewhere?” he asked, zipping his pants and shrugging into his white business shirt.
Prue’s thoughts were pulled back to reality. This was all there would be. They had satisfied their needs and now it was goodbye. “Thanks, but I don’t have far to go.”
He stared at her for several seconds as though he wanted to say something, but then turned around and continued dressing. Within minutes he was ready to leave. He moved across the room to the king-sized bed, leaned in and kissed her on the lips. “It’s been a pleasure. Take care of yourself.”
Prue smiled up at him, tears stinging the backs of her eyes. She wouldn’t cry. She knew what tonight had been, even though now she wished she hadn’t agreed to it. “Yes, it has. You too.”
He picked up his jacket from off the chair and headed to the door. Before leaving he turned around, studied Prue once more, then opened the door and walked out of her life.
© 2016 Maggie Anderson
Bella Luna Books, Australia
New York City, February 2015
Prue Granger stepped into the busy corner deli opposite the broadcast center to pick up a vanilla latte before facing her first day on the job. She had landed the role of personal assistant to Rachelle Reed, one of New York’s top morning talk show hosts, and had recently moved to The Big Apple from Pittsburgh. It was a culture shock, to say the least, but the city had already found a place in her heart.
She had been in a lessor role at WTAE Channel 4, for the past five years, attempting to work her way up the media corporate ladder to become a production manager on their regular morning show, but when the job had been handed to an outsider, Prue knew it was time to look further afield. She was nervous and excited about working with Rachelle as she walked along the sidewalk carrying the container of hot coffee. It was a chilly winter morning and the city was bustling with pedestrians, taxis, cars and couriers making their way to wherever they had to be for the day.
Prue knew this move was a huge opportunity for her and she was going to do everything she could to ensure her success. It was a dream come true. She had been told that a thousand other girls would have killed for the opportunity to work with Rachelle, and Prue realized she would have to step up her game if she wanted to retain the position and move up in the world of television.
She approached the front entrance and gazed up at the large black CBS Broadcast Center sign emblazoned on the side of the stainless steel marquee and sighed. She was here at last and about to start a new phase in her life. One she hoped would take her career to a whole new level.
When she walked over to the revolving door, the glass one beside it swung open and a young man held it for her to step through.
Prue smiled. “Thanks. You’re a gentleman.”
“My pleasure.” He held out his hand. “I’m Gabe Hamilton, welcome to CBS. We’ll be working together on Rachelle’s show.”
How did he know who she was? She shook his hand. “I’m Prue Granger, but you already knew that, didn’t you?”
“Yes… and I’m not psychic.” His smile broadened and he raised his left hand. It contained a blue manila folder with her name on it.
“Oh, of course,” she said, her smile widening.
“Ok, follow me.” He led her along the ground floor corridor lined with lightboxes of current News and TV presenters. “These smiling faces are our news, current affairs and talk show hosts. You’ll see them floating around the building from time to time.” He headed back along the corridor. “The elevator’s this way. Before we get started, you should be aware that Rachelle can be a bit of a diva at times, but you’ll get used to it. She’s a nice enough person until you make a mistake and end up on her wrong side. I guess you could say she’s passionate about her job.”
Prue’s stomach did an uneasy flip flop. “I thought she was meant to be lovely. That’s what I’ve been told.”
“Don’t get me wrong, she is lovely, but she can be dramatic sometimes. When that happens all hell breaks loose. She is, after all, one of the top talk show hosts in New York, in the US for that matter. Goes with the territory.”
Prue was grateful for the heads up. She wanted to make a good impression on the CBS hierarchy and Rachelle Reed. She planned to move up the ladder this time and not be knocked back for someone younger with less experience. “Good to know. Thanks.”
The elevator doors swished open and Prue and Gabe stepped inside. “I’ll show you around and introduce you to the people you’ll be working with. Always a good icebreaker before your first show.”
“Thanks, I really appreciate it.” Prue’s heart did a little shudder. Joining a new team and being the new kid on the block was difficult at best, there was bound to be someone who didn’t like her, but she was determined to make it work.
“We usually record two shows with the same audience and do a seat swap during the break. It’s fairly painless. You’ll need to be here bright and early tomorrow morning for the briefing before the show.”
“Oh, ok, what time?” She glanced at her watch although she didn’t know why.
Prue wanted to show him she was a flexible team player. “Sure, no problem. I can be here.”
“Great.” The elevator stopped and the doors slid open. “Here we are.” He gestured for her to step out. “After you.”
“Thanks.” She stepped into the corridor, Gabe following her.
“Ok, let’s get started.”
After doing the rounds and introductions, Gabe escorted Prue to Rachelle’s dressing room. He knocked.
“Go away.” Came the warning from inside.
“Rachelle, I have Prue Granger with me, your new personal assistant. She would very much like to meet you.” He gave Prue an uncertain smile and mouthed, “This is what I mean.”
The door flew open. “Well why didn’t you say so?” She threw out her hand. “Hi. Nice to meet you.”
Prue reached for Rachelle’s hand but the TV host turned and strutted back to the mirror to check her makeup.
Gabe cleared his throat and motioned for Prue to go in. Prue wasn’t sure she should. She shook her head. “After you,” Gabe said, motioning with his head.
Prue decided to try some reverse psychology. “I can see Rachelle is busy so we can make it another time.”
Rachelle swung around, pursed her lips and gave Prue the once over. “No, it’s fine. Come on in. Better now than never.”
Prue gave Gabe an unsure glance before stepping through the doorway and wondered what she had gotten herself into.
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© 2016 Maggie Anderson
Bella Luna Books, Australia
All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or otherwise, without written permission of the Author.