My Secret Life

By: Lori Wilde


KATIE WINFIELD plotted the seduction with military precision.

Exactitude wasn’t her typical modus operandi. On the contrary, she was usually quite spontaneous and, in fact, had a reputation as something of a free spirit. But she and Richard had been flirting for weeks with no forward motion in their relationship. Tonight would thrust them toward a whole new level of intimacy.

Embracing the advance planning she normally eschewed, Katie picked up a pencil and ticked off the items on her To Do list.

Facial and pedicure. Check.

Sexy French-maid costume. Check.

Tantalizing new perfume. Check.

Catch-me, do-me stilettos. Check.

Auburn wig. Check.

Black silk stockings. Check.

Push-up bra. Check.

Erotic face mask. Check.

Lots and lots of condoms. Check.

Just reading over the list made her feel all warm and tingly and soft inside. This evening-during the ultraposh Boston Ladies League charity costume ball thrown annually on the Friday before Labor Day weekend-she intended on bedazzling the pants off Richard Montgomery Hancock the III.

Katie had spent her lunch hour shopping. She’d just returned to work fifteen minutes late and out of breath. Furtively, she kicked the loot farther underneath her desk, and then darted a glance over her shoulder to see if her boss had noticed her tardiness.

“What didja buy?” asked her office mate, Tanisha Taylor, as she sauntered through the door, grande soy latte in hand.

Katie shrugged. “Nothing much.”

At five-nine, Tanisha towered over Katie’s own five feet three inches. They were both twenty-four and they’d started working as graphic artists at Sharper Designs on the very same day ten months earlier. It was the longest Katie had ever worked anywhere and she was starting to feel the strain of being in one place too long.

With her radiant, caramel complexion and deep chocolate-brown eyes, Tanisha was drop-dead beautiful. She wore her hair in a tightly braided shoulder-length style that made her narrow face look even thinner. She possessed the lean muscular build of a dancer, quite the opposite of Katie’s well-rounded, non-athletic figure. They made for an unusual looking pair.

Today her coworker was dressed in a lavender blouse made of pure silk that she wore tucked into a pair of straight-legged, black slacks and sensible black flats. But Katie knew from the wild nights they’d recently spent closing down bars that beneath the buttoned-down attire lurked the adventuresome soul of a Nubian goddess.

Tanisha spied the red-and-black striped bag from Fetching Fantasies and dove for it before Katie could block her. Tanisha set down her latte, perched on the edge of Katie’s desk and peeked inside the bag.

“Oo-la-la, what have we here? Parlez-vous français?” she teased.

Katie snatched the bag away and clutched it to her chest. “Just a costume for the Ladies League masquerade party. No biggie.”

Tanisha grinned. “You are going to be the hussy of the ball in that getup.”

“That’s the general idea.”

“Spill it. Who’ve you got lined up in your crosshairs?”

Returning Tanisha’s sly grin, Katie slowly shook her head.

“Don’t give me that. I know you’ve got something up your sleeve.”

Katie tilted her head, lowered her eyelashes and slanted Tanisha a sideways glance. “Do you know Richard Hancock?”

“Everyone in town knows Richard. What are you trying to do? Ruffle all the blue-blood feathers in Boston?”

That comment pulled her up short. Why did she suddenly feel as if her conscience were the target and Tanisha’s accusation a straight flying arrow?


“What makes you say that?”

“Why else would you want to hook up with Richard ‘The Dick’ Hancock? He’s sooo not your type.” Tanisha hopped off Katie’s desk and plopped down in front of her drafting board.

“What do you mean? Richard is a very handsome guy.”

“I’m not talking about his looks.”

“What’s wrong with Richard?”

“Nothing is wrong with Richard. What’s wrong is that you’re plotting to seduce him at the Ladies League ball.” Tanisha clicked her tongue.

“What’s so bad about that?”

“Face it, Katie. You’ve got a knack for causing a stir.”

“I don’t.”

“You do.”

“How so?”

“Who got caught kissing the CEO’s son under the mistletoe at the office Christmas party, hmm?”

“Hey,” Katie said defensively. “How was I supposed to know he’d just gotten engaged?”

“That’s my point, K. You don’t always take the time to ask the right questions and it often lands you in hot water. Subconsciously, I think you enjoy causing a scandal.”