“Do you consider yourself a Sex Goddess?”
Reese Regan looked up at one of the most influential women in Chicago and said, “Excuse me?”
Halie McCormack tucked a lock of platinum hair behind her ear. “Do you consider yourself a
Was that a trick question?
Reese chewed on her lip. Was there a right way to answer that question when it was asked by
the president and founder of Sex Goddess, Inc.? “I—I don’t know.”
Halie smirked. “Try it on for size.”
She tapped the brochure in Reese’s hand. “The first step of my program is the only step that is
the same for everyone. Say it out loud.”
Reese squirmed. Do I have to? Probably, if she didn’t want to alienate the woman who held in
her manicured hands the success of the WJRK Charity Masquerade Ball.
“I am a Sex Goddess,” Reese said. Wouldn’t it being nice if saying something like that made it
true? I am a Sex Goddess or I am a size six. Or, heck, how about I am a size six Sex Goddess heiress
with an inheritance the size of Texas.
“Say it like you mean it,” Halie said. “Saying it doesn’t help if you don’t believe it. Try again.”
Halie’s office grew twenty degrees warmer. Heat crept into Reese’s cheeks, and a drop of
perspiration trickled down her leg. Oh yeah, she was feeling super sexy.
The programs at Sex Goddess, Inc. were the latest “It Girl” trend in the Chicago area. It was
Reese’s job to get the company involved in WJRK’s next big event—even if it meant doing a pole
dance in the middle of a business meeting.
“Sorry. I wasn’t expecting—” She wasn’t expecting this business meeting to become Sex
Halie grinned. “It makes you uncomfortable to say it out loud, doesn’t it?”
“Oh, no.” Why would it make her uncomfortable? It was only completely awkward. “You just
surprised me. I mean, I’m here professionally, and it didn’t seem very professional to—” She stopped
at Halie’s eyebrow raise. “Yes, it made me uncomfortable. Sorry.”
Halie shook her head as she walked behind her desk. At nearly six feet tall—five foot nine of
which was leg—she moved with the grace of a dancer as she lowered herself into her chair. “Do you
realize you’ve apologized twice in the last sixty seconds?”
“I’m sor—” Crap on a cracker.
Halie chuckled. “You have nothing to apologize for. It’s my job to point that out. Most women
have had their inner Sex Goddesses drowned by society and the pressure of being everything to
Reese nodded. Probably better that than explain she’d never had an inner Sex Goddess to drown.
If she had, it had been a suicide drowning. The note left behind probably read, “Too inconsequential
to go on...”
“Tell me about your goals, Reese.”
Reese forced a smile and took a seat. She was going to be here awhile. This was supposed to be
easy—a quick chat to iron out an agreement between Sex Goddess, Inc. and the radio station. But no.
Back to square one.
“Each year WJRK holds a charity masquerade ball on New Year’s Eve. This year, we’re raising
money to support the woman’s shelter, Almost Home, hoping to raise enough to build a much-needed
addition. Sex Goddess, Inc.’s sponsorship of the event would go a long way to help us get there.”
Halie nodded. “Very noble, but what about a personal goal?”
Reese stared at the woman—a model-gorgeous trust-fund baby with a Bentley and boyfriend
who played for the Chicago Bears. Had she ever had to set a personal goal in her whole life?
“Something totally unrelated to your work. A goal that Reese wants for Reese.”
Halie had done this during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Question after probing question
until Oprah had fat crocodile tears streaming down her face. “But who is Oprah Winfrey?”
Reese needed a personal goal. Fast. “I’d like to lose fifteen pounds,” she said, and—
remembering Halie’s earlier comment—she tried to sound like she meant it.
Halie frowned and rubbed the back of her neck. “This is the problem with our society. Women
think their self worth lies in the size of their jeans or some arbitrary number on the scale.”
“You’re right.” Reese should have seen this coming. After all, she had the inside track on the
Sex Goddess, Inc. founder. Halie wasn’t going to let her out of the office until she embraced her
oversized rear and declared size fourteen was the new six. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m not sure what you
“Huh. Your sister was right.”
Maybe inside tracks weren’t all they were chalked up to be. “My sister?”
“I’m going to be honest with you,” Halie said. “You know Tricia’s a good friend of mine, and
we talk about you sometimes. I want to help.”
“You can help me—by sponsoring this auction.”
Halie propped her chin on her fist. “When was the last time you had sex, Reese?”
Wow. She straightened. The words begging to fly off her tongue weren’t just colorful, they were
DayGlo. “I’d rather not discuss this.”
“I’d rather not ignore it. I’m not prying. I’m helping.”
Right. “I apologize that my sister bothered you with details from my personal life,” she said,
searching the conversation for the nearest exit.
“There you go with the apologies again. Do you ever wonder why you do that?”
Reese pushed forward. “I’m really counting on your support for the masquerade ball. What can
we do to give Sex Goddess, Inc. the recognition it deserves during the event?”
Halie dropped her hands to the desk and clicked her nails. “Listen, I’ll sponsor your event.”
The relief that pumped over Reese was better than sex.
“But I didn’t get into this business for the money.”
Better than sex but just as short-lived.
“I want to help people, and after talking to your sister, I want to help you.” Halie pushed out of
her chair. “I don’t push my program on anyone, but I’d like you to consider it.”
Not a chance, lady. But she said, “Sure.”
Halie offered her hand.
Reese stood and took it. “Thank you very much, Halie. This is such a good cause.”
“Think about the program. Think about what Reese needs.”
“Of course. I’ll think about it.” The lie was so monumental, she was surprised God didn’t strike
“What is there to think about?”
My self-respect? My pride? “This is just unexpected. May I call you Monday morning?”
“I’ll look forward to it.”
Grabbing for her purse, Reese moved toward the door as fast as she could without running.
She turned slowly. “Yes?”
Halie handed her an envelope. “The first step is in there, followed by instructions of how to get
Eat a bucket of snails, run the Miracle Mile in nothing but body glitter, hang from her
toenails over a pit of poisonous vipers—the beginning of a very long list of activities she’d find
more enjoyable than completing Sex Goddess 101.
“It’s your choice,” Halie said, “but imagine how different your life would be if you believed you
were worthy of all you desire.”
With a sharp nod, Reese shoved the envelope in her purse and hurried out of the office and
toward her car. The only rusted nineties-model sedan in the lot, it was easy to spot.
“Oh. My. God,” she muttered, collapsing into the driver’s seat. She yanked her cell phone from
her purse and pressed the speed dial for her best friend.
“Reese! How’d the meeting go?” Mason asked. Her normal perky voice cracked into the exterior
of Reese’s foul mood, but not much.
“I’m going to kill my sister!” She strangled the steering wheel only because Tricia’s neck wasn’t
Mason laughed. “What’d she do this time? Steal all your sweats and replace them with silky
“Good guess. Try again.”
“Hmm...She scheduled you for a boob job without your knowledge?”
“You’re getting warmer.”
“I can’t handle the anticipation.”
Outside her window, Sex Goddess, Inc. headquarters loomed over her. Taunting. Today should
have been easy, but her sister had turned it into a nightmare. “Apparently, during one of their Girls’
Nights, Trish took it upon herself to share her concerns about my sex life—” or lack thereof “—with
Halie McCormack, and Halie just used our meeting as an opportunity to recruit me into her program.”
“Mason? Did you hear me?”
“Sex Goddess, Inc. Halie McCormack? As in, the one who you needed for your most important
project of the year?”
“Bingo.” Reese growled and squeezed the steering wheel. “I’m mortified.”