Friday, May 25, 2018

The Hottest Moment in the Fifty Shades Freed Movie




After my last rather heavy and serious post, I thought I'd lighten things up around here. I was trying to think of a suitable topic and happened to be watching the unrated version of Fifty Shade Freed. Then the perfect subject hit me: what I considered the hottest moment in the movie. I think many people might be surprised. And no, it's not when they get frisky with Ben & Jerry's.

First off, I am an unabashed Fifty Shades fan—the books, not the movies. And those of you that are groaning or appalled can bite me. Really, please do, I'll enjoy it. But seriously, despite all the criticism about the poor quality of the writing, the whole BDSM controversy, and the claims that it glamorizes the abuse of women, I found it highly entertaining and enjoyable. It's the chemistry between Anna and Christian that gets me every time.

Fifty Shades isn't about BDSM; that's a red herring. It's about a broken, damaged man finding a woman who shows him how to embrace love. And who can't get behind that? Yes, he makes mistakes getting there—namely pushing his desires on Anna instead of exploring where her innate sexuality led. That's what a proper Dom would do. I don't think anyone in the community would consider Anna and Christian a good example of a healthy Dom/sub relationship. At least, not at the beginning.

The whole point is that he's flawed and his path to redemption is the heart of good storytelling. Well-written characters, like people, are imperfect and make mistakes. In romances, they learn from them, evolve, and ultimately live happily ever after. That reassurance is why I love the genre above all others. Don't get me wrong, I read a wide variety of things, but you can't beat a good romance to escape gritty reality for a while.

By the way, good Dominants are human and make mistakes too. There's a good podcast about this topic by Kayla Lords on Loving BDSM. You can check it out here.

I also really enjoyed the way E. L. James turned the Twilight series into an erotic romance. That was the initial reason I read it. Yes, I was curious about what was causing so much fuss. But when I heard that Fifty Shades started out as Twilight fan fiction, I had to see how she managed that without being sued for copyright infringement.

And yes, I was a fan of the Twilight series too—you can keep groaning, I really don't care—mainly for the same reason I love Fifty Shades. There's nothing better than palpable chemistry between characters. And the banter between Bella and Edward was addictive.

Anyway, back to the movie. Let's face it, the movies were never going to do the books justice. Movie adaptations rarely do. The one notable exception I can think of is The Da Vinci Code. That was way better as a movie. Frankly, I found the book little more than a dissertation disguised as a novel.

Still, I wanted to see how well the books were translated into mainstream movies. Of all of them, I think Fifty Shades Darker comes the closest to capturing the essence of the book. The pool table scene being a good example—although, I dearly missed the part where he spanks her with a ruler. Sigh, I would have loved to see that.

I admit that I was one of those people who wasn't happy about Jamie Dornan being cast as Christian Grey. But he's grown on me over the years. I really enjoyed him as the kinky serial killer in The Fall. It's available for binge watching on Netflix. Fair warning: if you haven't seen the series, it's not for the faint of heart.

Which brings us to what I consider the hottest moment in Fifty Shade Freed. It's the scene in Aspen when Jamie Dornan is playing the piano and singing. Oh. My. God. His hotness quotient went up exponentially after I saw that scene. Okay, I have a thing for musicians—or rather, male musicians with panty-melting voices. I never really understood the whole women throwing their panties at musicians thing—Tom Jones, for example. Now I get it. If you cream them, you should have them.

I don't really know if that was him playing the piano, but it was definitely Jamie Dornan singing Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed." I had no clue that he could sing. Apparently, he was in a boy band in his youth. Go figure.

In my opinion, the movie studio could have saved a lot of money and hassle with the ratings board if they just had Jamie Dornan singing for the whole two hours. Of course, him being naked while singing would have been even better. Full frontal would probably be asking too much, but hey, a girl can dream.

Here's the all too short clip for your viewing pleasure.



All the best,
Ria ;)
Twitter: @RiaRestrepo

Saturday, May 12, 2018

On Grief, Guilt, and Not Writing




I know I'm probably the most inconsistent blogger in the universe. New Year's resolutions aren't really my thing, but this year I made several writing-related goals for myself. One of which was to post once a week to this blog. So far, nada. I haven't been able to get my act together before now. Mother's Day seemed an appropriate time to change that.

The main reason I haven't posted is because I knew I had to write this post and I knew writing it was going to be excruciating on a number of levels. I've started and stopped writing it too many times to count. Next to procrastination, avoidance is one of my favorite pastimes. But the only way to try to get over this is to get through it, so here I go.

On Christmas Eve 2015, my mother passed away. She'd had numerous health problems for a long time—primarily diabetes and heart disease. So her health had been declining for a while, but she was really bad the last couple of years.

My parents had tried to have other children, but one of my mother's health issues made it necessary for her to have a complete hysterectomy when she was in her early thirties. I was about ten at the time. So, as an only child, I was very close to my mother. We were more like sisters in a lot of ways. People always commented about how much we looked alike. But where I was quiet, reserved, and introverted, Mom was outgoing, vivacious, and bold. She was the cool mom and active in many of my school functions.

It was heartbreaking to watch my vibrant mother be sidelined by illness, especially knowing how much she hated not being able to do everything she wanted to do. Between pain from diabetic neuropathy and weakness from heart disease, she had to curtail many of the things she loved to do. To the point that I needed to be her primary caretaker while my father was at work.

In the last couple of years of her life, she really had to have someone with her at all times. Her blood sugar levels crashed unpredictably, she was unsteady on her feet, and she was on painkillers that left her incoherent and sometimes caused hallucinations. Although I didn't want her to be in pain, I was very concerned about what the pain medicine was doing to her.

She wasn't abusing the medication; she was actually taking less then what the doctors prescribed, but she seemed to be declining rapidly. She could barely walk towards the end and had several bad falls despite our best efforts. She was seeing doctors regularly and had been to the hospital a couple of times, because of the falls.

In the weeks before her death, I was increasingly worried that something was seriously wrong, because she was quite obviously retaining a lot of water. I brought it up numerous times, but it wasn't ever pursued to my satisfaction and my mother refused to push the issue. Understandably, she hated going to doctors, hospitals, and being subjected to one test after another. She just wanted to get in and out as quickly as possible.

As often happens with adult children and their aging parents, our roles became reversed and neither of us dealt with it very well. I resented that she wasn't taking my concerns seriously and, shamefully, I felt like she was just giving up. My mother hated being so dependent and became very irritated when I took charge. Things always had to be her way and me questioning her, suggesting what I thought were better solutions, or being pushy about doing things my way didn't sit well with Mom.

Stubbornness is a trait we both shared, so in those last few weeks we were butting heads a lot—something I deeply regret to this day. However, when push came to shove, I tended to let things go to keep the peace—which is an even greater source of regret. Maybe if I'd been pushier, stood my ground, been a bigger bitch, they would have caught the problem sooner and she'd still be alive.

The Friday before Christmas, I went to wake her up to get her ready for a doctor's appointment. She was hard to rouse and incoherent. I persisted trying to get her to wake up, but when she talked she wasn't making any sense. She had this slight smile, though, so at first I thought she was messy around with me. Mom had a wicked sense of humor. But I wasn't sure, so I threatened to get my father to take her to the hospital.

Like I said, she hated going to the hospital, so if anything could snap her out of it that should have. But all I could make out was, "No hospital." Nothing else made sense. So I got my father who had been working in his office. When he came, he didn't have any luck getting her coherent either, so we called an ambulance.

It turned out that she was suffering from sepsis, a severe blood infection, and she was put in the ICU. To this day, we still don't know what initially caused the infection. But I suspect the pain medicine concealed the symptoms of an infection until it was too far along. Initially, they thought that she would recover with treatment. They were even planning to send her to a rehabilitation facility to try to get her walking more stably.

Unfortunately, the day before Christmas, her organs started shutting down. We were told there was nothing more they could do for her, but make her comfortable. She died the next day.

Needless to say, my grief and guilt were acute.

Grief, because I lost my mother, my best friend. I'd never talk her again. Never be embarrassed by some ribald comment she made in public. Never laugh together at some silly rom-com or make snarky comments about some notable figure's stupidity. She wouldn't be there to share in my successes. I wouldn't have her shoulder to cry on when life was fucking unfair. And she wouldn't be there to kick my ass and tell me to stop feeling sorry for myself, to tear it up and let it go.

Guilt, because our relationship had been somewhat strained in her last weeks because of my pushiness. And because I didn't do more to keep her alive. I know it's egotistical to think I could've stopped her from dying when she did. But the idea that if I'd been more persistent, she could have lived months, years longer, still eats away at me sometimes. I know she'd be pissed at me for that too.

Some of you might be wondering what all this has to do with me not writing. After all, writers throughout history have channeled their pain, grief, sadness, depression, and every other negative human emotion, into brilliant masterpieces. That's kind of hard to do when you write romance and erotica—at least it is for me. Yes, I could have tried writing another genre, but I didn't. Staring at the blank computer screen and that annoying, incessantly flashing cursor just gave my mind the opportunity to go down dark paths better left unexplored.

So I avoided the problem altogether. I filled my days with unimportant busy work. I cooked, I cleaned, I did the laundry, I reorganized my closet, and so on. I lost myself in books, TV shows, and movies—only romances or comedies, so I was guaranteed a happy ending. I even played video games.

I avoided my computer for days, weeks at a time. I didn't even write reviews for all the books I was reading, which I also felt guilty about. As a writer, I know how important reviews are for sales. I pledged to myself that I'd eventually go back and write reviews for all those books I enjoyed and helped me escape my misery.

What changed, you ask? Well, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) came around again. The first time I got up the nerve to try NaNoWriMo was the November before my mother died. Even with everything that was going on, I still nearly managed to meet the fifty-thousand word goal. In the wake of my mother's death, that book went unfinished.

With NaNoWriMo 2016 quickly approaching, I decided to put on my big-girl panties, picked something from my idea file, and went to work. I think the breakneck pace and "don't think about it, just write" approach to NaNoWriMo greatly helped and I completed the fifty-thousand-words-in-thirty-days challenge.

Then on December 1st, with the book still unfished, I stopped writing. I'm sure you're wondering why? I was on a roll; I should have just finished the damn book, right? I've asked myself that question numerous times. Even though I was always great at starting things, but not so great at finishing them, it is much worse now.

After a lot of introspection, I think it's self-sabotage because of guilt. I know, there's that nasty word again. See, I suddenly had a lot of time of my hands to spend on writing. And the reason I had that time was because I was no longer taking care of my mother. I'm sure you can guess where I'm going with this.

Of course, my mother would be madder than hell that I was using her death as an excuse for not writing. I can hear her in my head berating me about wasting my talent and letting opportunities pass me by.

It's not that I haven't tried. I've kept an eye on calls for submissions, trying to think up ideas for them, even starting stories I'm excited about. But inevitably, the self-doubt starts creeping in—this sucks, I suck, no one's going to want to read this, it's the stupidest idea ever, and so forth, ad nauseam. I know this isn't unusual among writers, but it had become debilitating to the point that I couldn't finish anything and I was watching submission deadlines pass me by.

Come NaNoWriMo 2017, I started working on yet another novel. I completed the challenge and kept writing into December for a while, but ultimately stopped again. What can I say? I come from a long line of Catholics on both sides of my family and guilt runs thick and heavy in my blood.

As I mentioned earlier, at the New Year, I set a bunch of writing goals for myself—most of which I haven't met, but I'm working on it. Since I'm a romance writer at heart and like to end things on a positive note, I'll tell you that a few weeks ago, I did manage to finish a short story I'd been working on and submitted it. Naturally, I'll be overjoyed if it's accepted, but even if it's not, it's still a baby step in the right direction. I've also managed to write a few reviews. I finished this blog post, as well, so that's progress too.

Now, if I can just finish one of my mostly written manuscripts and get it submitted to a publisher, maybe it'll be published and I can dedicate it to my mom.

All the best,
Ria
Twitter: @RiaRestrepo

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Review: Highland Pursuits by Emmanuelle de Maupassant

Until now, I've only featured my own work on this blog. To increase activity and support writers I admire, I've decided to feature the work of others from time to time.

My first guest is the very talented Emmanuelle de Maupassant, who has just released a new historical romance novella called Highland Pursuits.




I first had the pleasure of reading Emmanuelle de Maupassant's "Highland Pursuits" as a short erotic story that appeared in the Because Beards anthology to benefit The Movember Foundation, a charity supporting prostate cancer research and treatment.

Although I really enjoyed the story, it felt a little unfinished, so I was excited that Emmanuelle developed it into a novella. According to Emmanuelle, this longer, novella, length offers more scope to explore the wonderful characters' eye-popping shenanigans. Hamish and Ophelia were in her dreams for many weeks, as she wrote this story.



While the earlier version was more erotic in nature, this version focuses more on romance with a delicious sensuality. Truth be told, while I appreciated the titillating nature of the original story, the novella is more in line with my romantic sensibilities.



Set in 1920s Great Britain, Highland Pursuits immerses the reader in the period with rich language, vivid descriptions, and a dry wit reminiscent of Jane Austen. Like Austen's Elizabeth Bennet, Lady Ophelia Finchingfield is not in want of a husband -- at least not one who's a sloppy kisser. After refusing the hand of a respectable suitor, Lady Ophelia's mother cuts short her debutante season and ships her off to Scotland to stay with her grandmother until she comes to her senses.

Regardless of her mother's intentions, Ophelia sees the banishment as an adventure and an opportunity to freely explore her sexuality. Perhaps she'll encounter a passionate poet or lusty artist in the highlands -- or maybe a bearded estate manager, rough in look and manner. Hamish may make a poor first impression, but Ophelia soon finds herself intrigued by the surly Scot in more ways than one.


Highland Pursuits is lushly written with a charming voice that captivates, enticing readers to follow Ophelia's alluring sexual awakening. The addition of secondary characters to the novella enhances the story with an amusing upstairs-downstairs appeal. Like most comedy of manners, misunderstandings abound. Between sleazy advances from the lecherous Comte de Montefiore and the intrusion of Hamish's would-be fiancée Felicité, Ophelia's journey to self-discovery is tempestuous and often droll. While still somewhat abrupt, the ending is very satisfying and Ophelia's happy ending seems well in hand. Overall, I'd highly recommend Highland Pursuits to fans of scintillating historical romances.


In honor of Highland Pursuits release, Emmanuelle is not only offering three signed paperback copies via Goodreads, but also has her entire catalog on sale for $.99 from March 1st thru March 8th.

To enter the giveaway, click here.

You can buy Highland Pursuits here:



Emmanuelle's other books:


Other links for Emmanuelle de Maupassant:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Facebook Fiasco

It has been a while since my last post, but I intend to post more frequently from now on. There's been a lot going on in my personal life, not the least of which was my mother passing away last Christmas Eve. I'll have a post about that soon as it relates to my lack of activity.

Anyway, after Hurricane Matthew sideswiped Florida and the electricity, phones, Internet, and satellite TV were back up and running, I decided to resume my social media activities, including Facebook. I'd shared a number of posts -- most were promos for other people's work. There were some enticing pictures from my Tumblr account that I shared, but I was very careful that they didn't show any naughty bits.

I'd been put in "Facebook jail" a couple of times, because I'd linked my Twitter and Facebook accounts and a few nipples slipped through. I didn't want that to happen again, so I'd disconnected the accounts and have been very careful ever since. I've even gone so far as to not share links to friends blog posts that displayed a potentially too provocative picture when it was previewed. That made it difficult to share some Masturbation Monday posts, which was a crying shame.

So imagine my surprise when I tried to log on to Facebook last Sunday and my account was locked down. At first, it gave me the dreaded message saying they'd removed some pictures from my Timeline for violating their policies and I was being suspended from posting for seven days. Cursing a blue streak, I vowed to never post another freakin' picture on Facebook.

As I continued jumping through hoops to gain access to my account, I was asked to review pictures I'd uploaded and delete anything objectionable. The two pictures they asked me to review were both JPEGs I'd posted for Labor Day. One just said "Labor Day" with the American flag and the other had the iconic image of Rosie the Riveter -- fully clothed, I might add. Both images are below.




I can't imagine why either image would be objectionable, unless you're anti-feminist, misogynistic, or anti-America. As far as I'm aware, none of those things are acceptable reasons for Facebook to ban a picture, so I chose not to delete either image.

Then, Facebook security said that under their "Real Name" policy, I had to either delete my account if it wasn't under the name I use in real life or provide a photo ID that proved it was my legal name. That brought on a whole new round of cursing.

As a writer of erotica, I choose to use a pen name to protect my privacy and so my extended family remains in blissful ignorance about my dirty little secret. It's not that I'm ashamed about writing erotica; it's just that I don't want to hear a lot of crap about it and I don't want every horny Tom, Dick, or Harry showing up at my doorstep.

Therefore, all my social media accounts have been under my pen name. I didn't know that Facebook would have a problem with this until recently. Sorry, I didn't read the lengthy "Terms of Agreement" -- how many people actually do -- so I didn't realize this was going to be an issue.

After all, I know a lot of people that use something other than their legal name on Facebook for a number of very valid reasons. Some are other writers like myself who need or want to separate their everyday life from their writing life, some just want to socialize while protecting their identities, some are victims of bullying and stalkers, some are expressing their true selves but were legally born as someone else, and some for a whole host of reasons that don't hurt or infringe on anyone else.

Ironically, Facebook's "Real Name" policy was apparently enacted to protect its users, but in many cases it's doing exactly the opposite. Even more ironic is that users can be reported anonymously, setting this whole aggravating process in motion. How is that right or fair? But life is rarely fair, is it?

So someone obviously reported me and set Facebook on my ass. Why? Are they offended by erotica? Was my profile picture too titillating? Were they offended by the link to the People Magazine article I posted about one of their writers being groped by Trump? Or that I said that as a woman who has been groped without my consent (not by Trump), I could understand why Natasha Stoynoff didn't come forward at the time and make a big stink about it? Was it because I wrote that the whole thing had a ring of truth in it that sickened me and that I believed her? Oddly, I did that the day before my account was locked down. As the song goes, "Things that Make You Go Hmmmm . . . "

It doesn't matter. The end result is the same, but I'd love to know who and why.

After my account was locked down, I searched online and found several writers who have had the same problem. One finally managed to get around Facebook with some fancy footwork, but I don't have the time, energy, or means to do what that writer did to get her account back.

For a few hours, I'd resigned myself to not using Facebook anymore. But then, I thought about all the stuff I'd be missing: networking with other writers, participating with groups, events, giveaways, etc., and just socializing with like-minded folks. So I decided to use the Facebook account I had under my legal name, which I hardly ever used, and created a new Author Page for Ria Restrepo. I don't think that violates the rules in any way, but again, I've not read all the fine print.

This is a tricky situation for me, because although I've avoided publicly revealing a connection between my legal name and pen name, I am sure some enterprising person could figure it out. And please, that's not an invitation to do so.

There are limitations to doing this as well. Now, extended family and everyday life acquaintances can see I'm friends with some colorful individuals and possibly get the idea that I'm more "interesting" than they thought. While fans and the public at large can like my Author Page and follow me, they can't "Friend" me unless they know my legal name. I've sent friend requests to all the previous friends I could remember, but I had over four hundred, so I'm missing quite a few. I've trusted a handful of folks to quietly spread the word, which I've found unnerving because I'm outing myself to a certain extent. While many have found me on the new account, some haven't.

If you were Facebook friends with Ria Restrepo and were wondering where I disappeared to, now you know. My new Author Page is here. I'm keeping all the erotic stuff on the Author Page, while sharing more everyday non-erotic stuff on the primary page under my legal name. I'd greatly appreciate it if you could like my Author Page. I'll happily return the favor -- unless you represent something I find truly abhorrent. If you'd like to be "Friends," send me a message from my Author Page and I'll send you a friend request from my primary page. Please, this is not an invitation to hit on me or try to "hook up."

As for the troglodyte that reported me to Facebook, I hope it gave you the sense of power and satisfaction you crave. I'm all for getting people off. It's just a shame that my desire to entertain inspires some people to be petty and vindictive.   


All the best,

Ria Restrepo

Thursday, March 31, 2016

My First Time

About a month ago, the lovely and talented Kay Jaybee asked me to participate in her ongoing interview series "My First Time," featuring writers talking about writing and publishing erotica. Of course, I was honored and thrilled to take part and share some insights into me and my writing that I've never revealed before. You can read all the juicy details here! Go on, click the link. I know you want to!


Monday, March 14, 2016

Follow Me on Bloglovin!

I recently joined Bloglovin and hope to post more frequently in the future. Want to keep up with all the naughtiness? Follow my blog with Bloglovin!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Best Women's Erotica of the Year!

I'm terribly late in writing a post about this, but when I received the official go-ahead, I came down with a nasty stomach flu -- not pretty -- and then I became absorbed in NaNoWriMo. I'll have more on my NaNoWriMo participation in a later post. Right now, it's time for the big announcement!

I'm so incredibly honored to announce that my short erotic story "Restitution" has been selected for Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1! It's edited by the amazing Rachel Kramer Bussel and published by Cleis Press. You can read the official announcement here and see the table of contents.

There's a very talented line-up of writers in this anthology, including a couple I've had the pleasure of appearing with before in Spy Games: Thrilling Spy Erotica (Jessica Taylor) and the upcoming Prompted (Tabitha Rayne). I'm so excited I don't know what to do with myself and can't wait for the January 12th, 2016 release! You can take a peek at the sexy cover below.

You can keep up with all the news about Best Women's Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 on Tumblr, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter. And of course, you can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Tumblr (NSFW).


Best Women's Erotica of the Year


All the best,
Ria ;)
www.riarestrepo.com

 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Kinda Sexy -- My #Lippie Entry

The awesome Charlie Powell created the #Lippie contest to benefit Refuge. Each contest entry is inspired by a MAC lipstick color. You can read all the great entries here. I thought this sounded like a lot of fun for a good cause, so I decided to join in. My color, as selected by Charlie Powell, is "Kinda Sexy." I'm kind of cutting it close, but here is my "Kinda Sexy" entry. I hope you enjoy it!





Kinda Sexy

Copyright ©2015 by Ria Restrepo. All rights reserved.


"You know what you need?" 

"Better taste in men?" Viv said and tossed back a shot of tequila.

Kate rolled her eyes, then downed her own shot. "Obviously, but you need something more than that."

"Bigger tits?"

"Your tits are perfect." She motioned to the bartender for another round. "No, you need a mantra."

They'd been pounding tequila for the last half hour, so Viv wasn't sure she'd heard her best friend correctly. "A mantra?"

Frankly, Viv didn't think she needed anything with the word "man" in it—not after she was dumped by her boyfriend for a walking set of breast implants named Candy. Really? Candy? But since Kate was good enough to commiserate over drinks after a long workday, when she should be home with her husband and little girl…well, Viv could hear her out.

"Yeah," Kate continued once their drinks arrived, "every time you find yourself being responsible instead of following your bliss—or choosing a sensible guy instead of one who makes your knees weak—you say, 'Fuck it, I'm kinda sexy!'"

Viv traced her finger around the rim of her shot glass. "Greg made my knees weak."

Kate snorted. "His steady job, health plan, 401K, and stock portfolio made your knees weak."

"Geez, Kate, you make me sound like a gold digger." She drank her shot and slammed the glass down onto the bar. "I have most of those things myself. I didn't need him for that. It would just be nice to find someone serious to make a life with."

"I know, honey." Kate patted her hand, then scrambled to retrieved her chirping cell phone. After reading a text message, she said, "Ian's here already. Come on, we'll take you home. You're in no condition to drive."

"That's okay, I'm not ready to go just yet."

Kate gave her a long hard look, then sighed. "Okay, but take a cab home. Have fun, but don't drink too much more. Oh, and don't take drinks from strangers."

This time Viv rolled her eyes. "Yes, mother."

Kate grinned. "Let your freak flag fly a bit—remember the mantra!"

"I know, 'Fuck it, I'm kinda sexy!'"

"Good girl!" She finished her shot, kissed Viv's cheek, then headed out of the hotel bar.

Viv watched Kate cross the lobby and disappear out the front doors. The high-rise hotel was across the street from the office building where they both worked, so hitting the ground-floor bar after work was a no-brainer. It was happy hour and buzzing with urban professionals who worked in downtown Miami.

Turning back to the bar, Viv noticed her reflection in the mirror. She looked every bit the buttoned up financial analyst she was—not that there was anything wrong with that. But as she chewed on what Kate said, Viv thought it couldn't hurt to loosen up a bit. Maybe she'd find a cute guy to flirt with for a while and get her mind off of Greg.

"Fuck it, I'm kinda sexy!" she told her reflection.

Literally letting her hair down, Viv removed the pins holding it in place and shook it loose until the chocolate waves tumbled down around her shoulders. She grabbed some lip gloss from her purse and applied a fresh coat. Then she unbuttoned the top button of her blouse, then another, and yet another. Leaning forward a bit, she checked out her cleavage in the mirror. Okay, she wasn't as stacked as Candy, but her breasts were decent.

"Your friend is right," a deep silky voice said, making Viv's gaze jerk up to the tall, dark, and mouthwatering man looking back at her in the mirror.

Viv cleared her throat. "About the mantra?"

He slowly shook his head from side to side, never losing eye contact. "No, your tits are perfect."

She'd been aiming for cute, but landed drop-dead gorgeous. It would've been impressive, but this guy had "love 'em and leave 'em" written all over him. Then Viv remembered she was only looking for Mr. Right Now. 

Fuck it, I'm kinda sexy! 

Viv was about to invite him to sit down when a familiar girlish squeal drew her attention to the bar entrance. "Shit!"

"Something wrong?" he asked, sounding genuinely concerned.

Sensible Viv would've ducked out the back way and avoided any potential scene, but fueled by tequila, she was in a "fuck it" kind of mood.

"Maybe you could help me out with something," Viv said, leaning in and putting her hand on his arm.

The corner of his mouth curved up dangerously. "I'm always at the service of a beautiful lady."

Oh, she bet he was!

"My ex-boyfriend just walked in with the trophy skank he dumped me for."

He nodded his head. "Ah, and you don't want to be caught drinking alone at a bar."

"Exactly."

His grin turned deadly. "I've got this."

Viv had one second to rethink her decision before he pulled her off the barstool and into his arms.

His warm breath teasing her ear, he whispered, "Throw your head back and laugh."

She did, then gasped when his lips trailed down her throat to her décolletage. He planted a soft kiss there, then made his way back up to her other ear. "Moan for me, baby. My name's Rick, by the way."

"Oh Rick, that feels so good," she honestly moaned as he nibbled on her earlobe.

"He's watching us and he doesn't look happy."

"Fuck it, I'm kinda sexy!" Viv launched herself at Rick, thrusting her fingers into his thick black hair as she captured his wicked mouth with her own.

Rick staggered back a step and landed on a neighboring barstool, obviously surprised by her sudden attack. He quickly recovered, grabbed hold of her hips, and pulled her close so she was straddling his long, hard thigh. His lips were supple but firm as he took over the kiss, turning her impetuousness into something deliciously languid.

As his tongue caressed the seam of her lips, Viv forgot everything—where they were, who she was, why she was kissing him in the first place. The world simplified and she surrendered to the moment. Opening her mouth, she met his tongue with hers and tasted him for the first time.

A thousand times more intoxicating than the tequila she'd drunk earlier, Rick made her whole body dissolve and melt into him as his mouth claimed hers. His hands had unyielding possession of her ass and were rocking her hips forward against his thigh. Her skirt had worked its way up so that only her drenched panties and his slacks separated her needy sex from his flesh.

God, if he kept it up, Viv was going to…oh yes, just one more thrust against her clit…

"Jesus, Vivian, when did you become such a slut!"

Greg's indignant interruption wasn't as bad as having cold water thrown on her, but it was damn close.

Wrenching her mouth from Rick's, Viv gave Greg a lazy smile. "Guess I just needed to find a real man to bring it out in me."

"Come on, baby," Candy simpered, "you don't need her. You've got me now."

Rick reached up and fondled one of Viv's breasts. "Personally, I prefer the real thing over inflatables any day."

"Why you—"

Before Candy could lunge at Rick, Greg grabbed her and started hauling her out of the bar. "Let's go, Candy! Good riddance!"

"Candy? Really?" Rick asked.

Viv laughed, then groaned and let her forehead fall onto Rick's shoulder. "God, I can't believe I did that. We're lucky they didn't throw us out for making such a display."

"They wouldn't do that."

Looking up at Rick, Viv asked, "Why not?"

"Because I own the place." Then he added, "Well, the whole building, actually."

Viv could only gape at him as she absorbed that information.

Rick flashed her a panty-scorching smile. "Why don't we go up to my penthouse and finish what we started?" 

Fuck it, I'm kinda sexy! 

Once Rick got her into the elevator, he pinned her up against the back wall with his rock-hard body. "For the record, you're not kinda sexy. You're damn sexy!"

As he reclaimed her mouth and began turning her back into a quivering mass of girly goo, Viv thought, "Damn, maybe he's Mr. Right, after all."



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