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Ahead of the Curve

The Secret Library

Edited by Gwennan Thomas By Charlotte Stein, Maxine Marsh and Kay Jaybee

Ahead of the Curve
EPUB, 249 pages ebook Online Price:
ISBN: 9781909520141
Imprint: Xcite Books
Published: 14th February 2013

Category: Romance, The Secret Library

Rating: 0 vote(s).

Ahead of the Curve by Charlotte Stein

When Judy Myers is offered a relaxing vacation to get away from her latest heartbreak, she can’t say no. A cruise on her brother’s yacht sounds like heaven...until she realises her brother’s best friend has been invited along for the ride. Steven Stark is big, he’s loud, and he’s obviously not interested in the plump, plain little sister he used to tease unmercifully. In fact, he’s still quite happy to tease her – until she turns the tables on him. Now Steven can’t seem to keep his thoughts, or his hands, to himself. And worse, Judy’s not sure she can resist the attraction she’s kept buried for so many years. Being trapped on a boat isn’t the best place to be, when you’re suddenly thrown a hunky curveball.

It Takes a Thief by Maxine Marsh

Robin is a feisty retired car thief who now makes a legitimate living recovering stolen luxury vehicles. She’s looking to impress her newest client, a very wealthy and very powerful Miami executive, until she realises that the man who stole his car is her ex-flame and partner in crime, Jessie. Jessie’s the best in the business, and has been holding a grudge ever since she left him a year ago when he wouldn’t agree to go straight. Even while dealing with unresolved feelings and an attraction that burns hotter than oil, Robin is determined to track down the car that’s come in between her and her old lover, and to prove once and for all that she’s the better thief.

Digging Deep by Kay Jaybee

As site supervisor on an archaeological dig, in the grounds of the Ancient Roman city of Lepti Minus in Tunisia, Dr Beth Andrew’s hands are well and truly full. Her first foreign excavation, which she co-runs with the American archaeologist Dr Harrison Harris, gets off to a shaky start due to the jealous interference of Harris’s ex, and an overzealous student... Love and lust really can cloud even the cleverest person’s judgement!

The trouble with this holiday is the heat. I just didn’t think of the heat. It’s unrelenting and raw, turning everything a blinding white while it roasts me to an embarrassing shade of red. I step out in it for two seconds and my shoulders lose a layer of skin. I can’t lie out on the slippery surface of my brother’s yacht, because the heat tries to eat me. But I can’t go below deck either, because down there it’s a suffocating, stifling cave.

Even at night, I have the urge to lie on top of the covers, stark naked. Only I can’t, I can’t, because of the other trouble with this terrible holiday: Steven bloody Stark, and the fact that his door is three feet from my bed. He could open it at any time and find me like a great unclothed wedge of flesh, sprawled out on top of my duvet. He wouldn’t even have to go through another door to stumble across me, seeing as how my room doesn’t have one.

I don’t actually have a room, at all. I just have this open space between the kitchenette and my brother’s boudoir, and when I’m done sleeping my bed turns into a table. My wardrobe is more typically known as a suitcase, and every night I doze off to the scent of whatever we cooked three hours prior, for dinner.

I really don’t need to be told that this was the worst idea in the history of the world.

Though, in my defence, it sounded nice when my brother and his wife invited me. They didn’t even turn it into one of Jason’s patronising “so you won’t be alone” sorts of sermons. He’d made it sound, instead, like something that would take my mind off things – help me get over yet another failed relationship.

And in all fairness, it has achieved this. I’m no longer thinking about Frank, at all. I can barely remember his face, in fact – though I’ll admit that probably has more to do with the Mediterranean heat and its ability to melt my brain, than anything else.

Not to mention the effect of Steven Stark, and his ability to be absolutely everywhere, all at once. I turn around and he’s right there, like the Incredible Hulk. Only bigger. Oh God, he’s so big that his presence everywhere is practically a law of physics. He has to be in ten places at once, just to cram in his massive pecs.

Because honestly, I’ve never seen pecs like his in all my days. I almost asked my brother about it, once – after we’d had that pool party and Steven had turned up wearing a T-shirt so tight it almost qualified as a secondary layer of skin. But of course, I’d chickened out at the last minute. What sort of person asks their brother about his best friend’s manboobs? Not a normal person, that’s for sure.

And besides … What did I really think he was going to say? “Ah well, he developed those rock hard bosoms with a strict regimen of daily squeezings?”That’s just me, hoping for something daft, in my head. When really it’s something awesome and sweaty and sexy, like 17,000 push-ups using just one hand.

He probably does them half-naked. He probably does them half-naked, while covered in baby oil. And then when he’s done, he goes out to a nightclub and laughs at girls like me, for being so fat and awful and useless – because that’s the other problem with being in close proximity to Steven Stark. It’s not just his size, or his fast-talking-always-moving mouth. It’s not just his face, which tends to haunt my dreams a bit.

It’s his ability to make me feel like nothing. Like less than nothing.

And he just does it so effortlessly too. I’m there, busy minding my own business, book in hand. I’m not even paying attention to the conversation going on next to me, in all honesty. I’m still mad at my brother for springing a surprise Steven on me, for reasons I really don’t want him to go into.

So I’m doing my best to keep to myself. I’ve reduced my presence down to almost nothing, in fact. You’d barely know I was there, if it were not for the half-eaten slice of pizza on my plate and the two-thirds of a bottle of wine that’s now missing, thanks to me. I’m slightly woozy and nicely relaxed, when Steven blunders in with his size 57s.

‘So I picked up this cute little fat chick,’ he says.

And suddenly every inch of skin on my body is prickling and bristling. My armpits feel like an alarm has gone off inside them, and the already unbearable heat intensifies. If it gets any hotter, my face is going to melt right off the bone beneath – and all because he said that one magical word.

Fat, I think, and then I’m picturing myself beneath it in Steven Stark’s dictionary. I’d definitely qualify as that very thing – it can’t be denied. Anything over a size two would likely make the grade, in his eyes, and I passed that stage around 12 levels ago. You could times his ideal size by seven and still not get where I’m at.

So of course this story is going to apply to me. I can feel how much it’s going to apply to me. It might even be aimed in my direction – you know, like one of those helpful passive-aggressive tossers who talks loudly about Weight Watchers around you in the hopes you’ll get the hint.

Charlotte Stein has written over thirty short stories, novellas and novels, including entries in The Mammoth Book of Hot Romance and Best New Erotica 10. Her collection of short stories was named one of the best erotic romances of 2009 by Michelle Buonfiglio, and her first novel, Control, was recently called "...a non-stop crazy hot sex book". When not writing non-stop crazy hot sex books, she can be found eating jelly turtles, watching terrible sitcoms and occasionally lusting after hunks. She lives in West Yorkshire with her husband and their imaginary dog, and can be found here:

Kay Jaybee is the author of the erotic e-novel’s Not Her Type: Erotic Adventures With A Delivery Driver (OC Press, 2011) and The Perfect Submissive (Xcite 2011), and the e-anthologies Yes Ma’am (Xcite, 2011), Quick Kink One and Quick Kink Two (Xcite e-books, 2010). She also wrote the sexy anthology The Collector (Austin & Macauley, 2008), which features the adventures of a writer, forever in the pursuit of tales of sexual adventure.
As well as being a regular contributor to , Kay has a large number of stories published in anthologies edited by Xcite Books, Xcite e-books, Cleis Press, Black Lace, Mammoth Books, Penguin, Seal, Sweetmeats Press, and Forum and Foreplay Magazines. Website link is  Twitter link is kay_jaybee


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