Here is the excerpt from Karina Bliss‘ contribution to You Had Me at Christmas. The story is Play.
The cocktail waitress arrived, leggy and blond, with a professional smile that got real when she looked at Jared Walker. Her gaze darted to Kayla, assessing and then dismissive in an unconscious gesture that would have been insulting if Kayla hadn’t become so used to it.
A pretty woman carrying some baby weight was a six, at best, in Hollywood, where even the waitresses—many of them would-be models or actresses—were often eights.
“Welcome to Joy,” The blond angled her body toward Jared. “May I take your order?”
“Your call, Betty.” Jared used the pseudonym Kayla had suggested for their “meeting as strangers” date. Stay…or go?”
She shrugged off her coat. Her husband was good at buying clothes but the dress was tighter than she’d worn since having kids, with a deep cleavage she had to stop herself adjusting. “Let’s have a drink, and see what happens.”
His eyes were hot as he glanced down her dress, and a shiver of anticipation quickened Kayla’s blood. A heady sense of power.
She looked at the waitress, who was clearly revising her grade. “Mulled wine, please.”
“Sure. And for you, sir?”
“Another beer for me, thank you.” The slow curve of his smile was still there as he looked up. The blond sucked in a breath.
“I see you chose one of our craft beers, let me tell you about the others.” As the waitress launched into serious flirt mode, Kayla surreptitiously checked her cell in case the sitter was having trouble settling the kids.
A masculine hand covered the screen. “Remember the rules—cells only for emergencies.” Jared confiscated it. “And give me your wedding ring.”
The waitress blinked.
Kayla tugged it off. “I see you’ve already removed yours,” she commented. The wedding band of cheap, shiny gold—all they could afford then—gleamed as she dropped it into “Bob’s” outstretched palm.
“No ties, no responsibilities and no guilt,” he reminded her. “This evening we’re all about…pleasure.” His pause left no doubt as to what that pleasure entailed. Tangled sheets and tangled bodies.
“I’ll get your drinks,” the waitress murmured.
“Was that wise?” Kayla said, when she’d left. “Your face has been everywhere the past couple of months.”
“I could tell she didn’t recognize me. You look gorgeous,” he added. “I got the size perfectly.”
And wasn’t that like a man. Tight is good, tighter is better. God bless their sexual myopia. “So, Bob.” Channeling a throaty-voiced temptress, Kayla sat back. “Is this the part where you tell me your wife doesn’t understand you?”
“And you tell me your husband takes you for granted.” His tone was wry, and their eyes met in rueful acknowledgment of his earlier slip.
She took pity on him. “Or we can skip that part,” she suggested.
“Let’s skip that part.”
“You’re going to have your work cut out for you, persuading me into an affair, Bob.” She crossed one smooth leg over the other, watching him watch. The light caught the sparkle on her red stilettos—the shoes he’d bought for her when he’d been accepted into Rage. “I’m a happily married woman.”
“Yeah?” He caught the stiletto as it slipped off her dangling foot. “How’s the sex been lately?”