Home > Nights with Him (Seductive Nights #4)(2)

Nights with Him (Seductive Nights #4)(2)
Author: Lauren Blakely

Michelle reached for a tissue from the box next to her, handed it to her twice-weekly client, and waited as she dabbed away the evidence of her sadness. Shayla sunk lower in the couch, framed behind her by abstract prints on the wall of the Lexington Avenue offices where Michelle ran her psychology practice. “What is it that bothers you most? Is it that he slept with another woman? Or that he slept with her someplace where you did in the past? Or is it something else?”

Shayla bit her lip and looked away, perhaps not wanting to deal with the something else possibility that had brought her here in the first place. Not that it was her fault that her husband had a dick that needed to be locked up and sent straight to jail for its one eye that wandered ALL. THE. TIME.

Shayla faced a different set of challenges, and that’s what Michelle needed to help her with. She gently prodded her client, who sat frozen like a statue, her jaw set hard, as if she needed to hold all her fears inside. “Or is it because you think it’s your fault that he isn’t faithful?” Michelle asked cautiously.

“It is my fault,” Shayla squeaked out, insistent. “I haven’t wanted to have sex ever since we had kids.”

“And you think that makes it your fault that he’s cheating on you?”

“Isn’t it?”

Michelle shook her head. “Of course it’s not. He’s responsible for his actions, and only you can decide if you want to hold him accountable for them. But we also need to keep getting at the root of the why for you. We spend a lot of time focusing on him and his actions, but we need to dive into why you don’t want to have sex with him. Because you lost interest well before he started cheating on you,” she said. That’s why Shayla was here, to focus on her own intimacy issues, since that was Michelle’s specialty—helping patients work through relationship challenges and fears of closeness. Shayla’s were compounded because her husband was an ass. But first things first. There would be time to deal with him later.

“Let’s talk about why . . .”

Forty-five minutes later, Michelle flashed a small smile at Shayla, pleased that her client was making a modicum of progress. Some days, progress was glacial, and sometimes it was cheetah fast. All that mattered was that Shayla seemed to be moving forward. Michelle said goodbye to her, then checked her schedule for tomorrow on her laptop. It would be another full day, with a new patient appointment, too. The evening ahead of her was packed as well—she had a presentation to give at a sexuality conference, sharing some of her findings with other psychotherapists on sex and love addiction. She had experience in that area, having helped guide several patients through the throes of addiction and into recovery, and the president of the New York Chapter of the Association of Intimate Relationship Psychologists had invited her. Carla Kimberly had been a mentor to her over the years, and had referred patients to Michelle, so it was a double honor to have been asked to speak tonight.

She smoothed a hand over her pencil skirt, adjusted the collar on her crisp white blouse, and changed from flats to her black pumps. She grabbed her work phone from the clutter of papers on her desk, but the battery was almost drained.

Crap.

Having two phones, an iPad and a laptop turned into a juggling act when it came to keeping them all charged. She forwarded the work phone to her personal cell in case her service called. On the way out, she stopped in the office bathroom to brush her teeth and touch up her lipstick.

There. Now she was ready for a quickie meeting at The Pierson.

She laughed to herself. Quickie. Too bad she wasn’t having a quickie of another kind. It had been a while since she’d had one of those. She’d dated an actor for a few weeks in late spring, and she replayed some of her dates with Liam fondly. He’d been outgoing, gorgeous and quite capable with his hands, so they’d done plenty, but nothing close to a quickie.

The problem was even when she’d been pressed up against Liam, she’d been thinking of Clay. Her very good friend who also happened to be the man she’d been madly in love with for ten years. Clay, the gorgeous, sexy, smart entertainment lawyer, and best friend of her brother.

Oh, but there was one teeny, tiny little problem with that overflow of feelings she had for Clay. He didn’t love her, and hadn’t even known how she felt about him. To add insult to injury, he was happily in love with another woman. A month ago, he’d gone and married that woman in Vegas.

Yep, Michelle Milo, one of Manhattan’s most sought-after shrinks, a true specialist in intimacy and well known for helping to heal heartache, was the poster child for unrequited love. Might as well slap a big L on her forehead. God, she was an idiot, and the definition of an oxymoron—she spent her days advising others, and her nights longing for someone she couldn’t have.

She was doing her best to move on and push Clay far out of her heart. Like, ideally, into another galaxy. She’d been taking her medicine for the last few months, blasting loud anti-love songs in her apartment from her favorite musician Jane Black, trying out bowling with some of her colleagues, dabbling in Spanish lessons, and finally training for a 10K marathon she finished last month. She’d never been a fan of running, but it was growing on her solely because the relentless pound of her feet against concrete was starting to numb her feelings for her good friend.

The best method for moving on, though, was work, and she loved her job more than anything in the world. Burying herself in other people’s woes was her deepest passion; the chance to help someone else change and become healthier her greatest joy. She headed off to the conference, eager to dive into work for the rest of the night as she shared some of her findings at the meeting.

The Pierson was only a few blocks away so she arrived ten minutes later at the swank hotel, one of those upscale establishments that doubled as a den for both sin and business with its lobby bar boasting blue neon lighting, its drinks in toweringly tall and thin glasses, and hip music playing in the background.

As she waited for the elevator she couldn’t help but notice a smoking-hot man in the hotel bar, chatting animatedly with others at his table. She catalogued his features quickly—broad chest, dark hair with the slightest wave, crystal-blue eyes like the ocean, and a smile that was quite simply . . . beguiling.

Perhaps she lingered too long, or perhaps she lingered just the right amount of time, because he glanced across the open lobby bar, past the other tables, and his gaze seemed to land on her.

At least, she wanted to believe it had as she stepped inside the elevator and the doors closed. She’d try to remember his face for later. It could never hurt to put a face to a fantasy when one was alone in bed with her toys.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

ONE NIGHT WITH HER

Favorite Parts

 

 

They hadn’t asked to see The Wild One, but there’d been no need to see it.

Henry’s partner in business and love, Marquita, had proudly boasted about the windows that had nearly shattered in her apartment building when she’d used The Wild One last week. Jack simply smiled and said, “I’m pleased that you were pleased.”

“So pleased,” she’d reiterated, then planted a kiss on Henry’s cheek, one that suggested there’d be much more than kissing going on between them later tonight. That was one of the perks, so to speak, about working in this line of business. Not watching business associates lock lips, but rather, that the people he dealt with didn’t have too many sexual hang-ups. Of course, he ran into plenty of over-sharers too. Some folks assumed if you peddled sex toys, it meant you wanted to hear about every single thing someone did with one, and Jack most decidedly did not want to be told about every escapade. But hey, it came with the territory. Besides, he was used to it with these two—they’d been business partners and friends since Jack and Casey had started Joy Delivered. They were like family.

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