His for the Week

By: Alice Gaines

For Club 61. Keep the funk alive!

Chapter One

The guy hadn’t shown up yet, and Rae’s palms were already sweating. She checked her phone again—10:13 a.m. He normally walked through the doors of Sufficient Grounds at 10:15, 10:20 at the latest. Not that she set her schedule to coincide with his. But by nine thirty, the crush of people and phones at her job, Urban Life magazine, got oppressive enough to drive her to the coffee shop to get work done. And Mr. Wonderful, a.k.a. Hook-up Man/Friend with Benefits—in her fantasies and her column—usually appeared right after she’d settled in with her laptop.

She’d been using her coffee crush as inspiration for her columns, since while “Désirée Knight” had a hot sex life, Rae did not. And now she’d gotten herself into quite the pickle…

Today, he could either prove her savior or the greatest embarrassment of her life. Or she’d chicken out completely and find herself back at square one—needing a date for a week at the new sex resort, Eros’ Retreat. To bolster her courage—and to pass the minutes without checking her phone every thirty seconds—she re-reread her latest Single and Sexy column.

There are lots of benefits to being unattached. The two of you can satisfy each other in bed, either according to a schedule or spontaneously, when the mood strikes. Then you can part ways until the urge hits again. You don’t have to like his taste in food or music. He doesn’t have to put up with your mother’s meddling.

And Rae’s mom loved to meddle, insisting Rae fall in love as Mom had so many times. No thanks.

It was 10:19, and he still wasn’t here. Maybe he wouldn’t show and the butterflies in her stomach would go on hiatus until tomorrow morning. Then her phone rang, and Rae nearly jumped out of her skin. She checked the display to see it was her friend Carla.

“Thanks for finally calling me back,” Rae said.

“I had an early client,” Carla said at the other end. “What was so urgent?”

“I needed to get glammed up for a very important…um…meeting.” Normally when Rae needed to appear as Désirée, her alter ego for her column, Carla was the one who helped transform her.

“You never get the treatment before a meeting at the magazine.”

“It’s not a business meeting. It’s more like…” How did you describe having to ask a perfect stranger—the man of your hottest fantasies—to spend a week with you at a sex resort? How had she gotten herself into this mess?

Because she had a chance to write a feature article for the magazine, not just a sex advice column. Her first opportunity to be taken seriously as a journalist. And she had to ask said perfect stranger to help. Today. If he ever showed up.

“Rae? Rae?” Carla said. “Are you still there?”


“Are you going to tell me what this is all about?”

“You know the guy I’ve been lusting over in the coffee shop, right?”

“Nate,” Carla said.

She’d heard the barista call out his name so many times she heard it in her dreams now. “Yeah, Nate. I needed to put on my Désirée costume so I could finally meet him.”

“Hot damn,” Carla said. “About effing time.”

“Don’t start doing the happy dance, yet. I’m not sure I can face him unless I’m Désirée.”

“You are Désirée Knight, the famous sex columnist,” Carla said. “Rae’s your nickname.”

They’d leave aside the famous bit for now. Désirée Knight was glamorous, flirtatious, and even outrageous. Everything Rae Knight was not. Sure, they occupied the same body, although they looked very different in it, but Désirée could pull off things Rae would never attempt. Exactly like her mission for this morning.

“So I had to do my own makeup this morning and try to face him,” Rae said.

“You’re beautiful, anyway, Rae. He must have noticed you already.”

“Not that I’ve been aware.”

“That can’t be true.”

Maybe because she hid behind her laptop every morning, only taking tiny glimpses at him. If he’d ever caught her at it, he hadn’t given any indication. He could probably have any woman he wanted and wouldn’t notice someone with plain brown hair pulled back in a scrunchy, no makeup, and clothes one could most charitably call “comfortable.”

“I’m pretty good at fading into the woodwork,” Rae said.

“Well, stop. It’s about time you got laid.”