All’s Fair in Lust & War

man and woman kissing passionately in bed characters from All's Fair in Lust & War


Mark awoke slowly, his mouth fuzzy and his limbs strangely heavy. He rolled over, expecting to see…who? Certainly not the empty pillow that greeted him.

Head spinning slightly, he lifted himself up on his elbow to look around the room. He was in his hotel room, right? Seeing his laptop on the desk, he decided it was probably safe to assume he was still in Vegas and hadn’t hopped on a plane to Bangladesh or something.

He kept his gaze moving, noting two wine glasses, a knocked-over bottle of red wine—damn, he hoped they didn’t charge him for that stain on the carpet—and there, by the heavy hotel room door, a pair of cheetah print stilettos.

Suddenly memory came rushing back.

Walking down to the AdWorld closing party. Seeing the pretty blond in the tight red dress giggling into her phone. Feeling compelled to talk to her. And then—wham! Being hit in the gut by a lightning bolt of lust when she turned to grin up at him with her sparkling green eyes.

He would have done anything to get closer to her. To get to know her.

Which was probably why he’d found himself doing something totally out of character.

“I’m Mark,” he’d said, taking her hand in his and grazing her knuckles with his lips. “May I have the honor of escorting you this evening, my lady?”

She’d swallowed loudly, and he’d seen the desire sparking in her eyes.

Nonetheless, she’d been as cool as ice when she’d answered him. “I’d love that. Shall we?”

He’d held out his arm for her to take and together they stepped through the ballroom doors into the strobe-lit party beyond.

That had been followed by copious drinking, he was sure. His mind showed him an image of her gazing at him uncertainly before raising a tequila glass.

“Let’s toast,” she’d said. “To one wild night.”

“To one wild, scandalous night,” he’d answered.

And there’d been dancing. He remembered how she’d laughed as she spun away, then melted when he drew her close again. And how sweet her lips had tasted when he’d pulled her in for a kiss…

The first of many kisses.

Eventually she’d clung to him and said, “Mark, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I need you. Take me back to your room?”

What had followed had been one of the most…no, the hottest night of his life.


She’d been so hot, so willing to do anything… And when they’d finished she’d rolled over and said, “Wanna do it again?”

His answer had been, “Hell, yes.”


But what was her name again?

Just then the bathroom door opened and she stepped out, engulfed in the hotel-issue robe, her long blond hair dripping down her back. She looked at him and smiled, green eyes sparkling.

The lightning bolt hit home again.

“Becky,” he said. Her name was Becky.

“Hey, gorgeous,” she said.

“Hey, yourself. What are you doing up so early?”

“Oh,” she said, a momentary frown crossing her small face. “My flight leaves in a few hours, and I’ve got some work to do this morning. I figured I should probably get a move on.”

“Ah,” he said, overcome with an inexplicable sense of disappointment. “I thought maybe we could go get some breakfast. Or, you know, have breakfast in bed.” Which, honestly, had been the last thing on his mind until she’d emerged from the bathroom. But once he’d seen her he’d been able to think of nothing he’d rather do other than peel that giant robe off her tiny frame.

She gave him a pained smile and perched on the edge of the bed.

“I’d love to, but you know how it goes. Duty calls.”

Reading her tense body language, Mark realized it was no use. He also knew he wasn’t ready to let her go yet. “All right. I understand,” he said slowly, seeking a conversational gambit that would keep her talking. “You know, we never even talked about our jobs. What do you do?”

“I’m a copywriter. For an agency in New York—SBD,” she said slowly.

“Really? What a coincidence. I’m starting a new gig—”

Gently, she placed her hand over his mouth. “You know what? Don’t tell me about you. Last night was—well, it was magical, but I’m not looking to start a relationship. Even a casual one. If you don’t mind, I’d just like to think of you as Mark the Magic Man from Las Vegas…not a real person I might run into at the supermarket.”

Wow. That was a first. Usually it was him trying to duck out while a girl tried to pry information out of him. He wasn’t so sure he liked being on this end of things. But his pride wouldn’t allow him to admit that to her.

“Hmm,” he said. “I kind of like being a Magic Man. Maybe I should go into business.”

She threw her head back and laughed, and suddenly the tension eased. Then she leaned forward and kissed him. Hard.

“Thank you for last night. Believe me when I tell you it’s one I’ll never forget.”

He smiled. “Me neither,” he said. And he meant it.

Moments later Becky finished getting dressed and, holding her heels in one hand, she blew him a kiss.


“Bye, Magic Man.”

“Bye, Gorgeous Girl.”

And then she was gone.

“Until tomorrow, then,” he said to himself.


Reaching for his iPad, he loaded up the search engine. It was time to look up his gorgeous new co-worker.

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