Mmm, two out of three couldn’t stop me going to dinner. There was no denying the dress did suit me and the stockings felt amazing.
I looked at the red shoes sitting on the floor by the sofa. They were bad shoes, sinful shoes, shoes that made you think of stripping naked or pressing the spiked heel onto the chest of a tied-up, aroused man and making him beg for his sexual release. Stolen and Seduced sprang to my mind once more. Oh, I loved that book—the thought of being held captive and handing over all responsibility for my pleasure to someone edgy and dangerous was such a naughty turn-on.
But the shoes were where Dawn had gone too far. They would never work for me.
Slipping my toes into the pliable leather, I was instantly two inches taller. I looked in the mirror and was surprised to see myself more than just stretched. The small of my back had arched inward, which jutted out my breasts slightly. My legs appeared longer, my ankles more elegant. Somehow I was balanced.
I took a tentative step forward and felt the spikes dip into the lush cream carpet. But it was okay, the shoes didn’t nip or rub and were quite secure to walk in. Lifting my right leg, I studied the silver heel. Pointy and glistening, it was a statement stiletto. A stiletto that said, “I can handle what comes my way so don’t start something you can’t finish.” Daisy had said that to Gray in The Barmaid’s Brew.
I gulped as I realized that these shoes made me like Daisy. These shoes said I could handle what came my way. I pushed my hands through my hair. But could I? I wasn’t a busty barmaid with a gutter mouth. I was Ashley Jones, employee of the year at Safe as Houses Chelsea branch and lover of romance books. I couldn’t take what Daisy had taken from Gray. What that guy had done with a whip and a neck-scarf had had me trembling as I’d scrolled down the pages.
There was a sudden sharp bang on the door.
“One minute,” I called. “I’ll be there in one minute, Derek.”
“No rush,” he called back, his voice muffled through the wood.
I stared into my green eyes. The hazel flecks at their base seemed even more pronounced. Must be the wine. Was I really going to do this? Was I really going to wear the dress Dawn had sneakily put in my bag? Could I? My figure looked great, there was no denying it, and the shoes and stockings made me feel sexy and hovering on the edge of confident. The underwear beneath the dress a secret only I knew, a sensual and elegant extension of me.
I swallowed a nervous lump the size of a Christmas tree. I would do this. And if it went horribly wrong I’d blame Dawn.
“Ashley, how are you doing?” Derek called through the door. “Don’t want to miss the pre-dinner champers now do we?”
“Just coming,” I said, grabbing the volume hairspray Dawn had provided. I didn’t read the label, just finger brushed my waves then, flicking my hair around as though I were on some cheesy advert, liberally sprayed the lemon-scented mist. It worked. I suddenly looked as though I had twice my normal amount of hair. Who would have thought that was possible in five seconds?
“Coming,” I called, reaching the makeup bag from the side of the holdall and tottering up close to the mirror. I added a quick flick of powder, a sweep of jet-black Double-Ur-Lash mascara and finally a slick of fire-engine red lipstick—phew! It was so red!
“Coming now, Derek,” I said, shoving the lipstick into my small, black clutch bag and giving my wrists a squirt of my floral perfume, which thankfully Dawn hadn’t removed. I dashed to the door, rubbing my wrists together, and yanked it open.
Derek stood before me, a navy pinstripe suit straining over his generous belly and a green tie dotted with tiny Christmas crackers hanging beneath his double chin.