My Secret Fantasies

By: Joanne Rock


“Is anyone there?” Shaelynn called, knocking on the door of the only house she’d seen after hours of walking through the cold, snowy dark. Her snowmobile had died miles from her hotel, crashing nose-first into a frozen stream. She’d lost her cell phone.

This Colorado getaway had stopped being fun and started being scary when she could no longer feel her toes. She had to get inside and get

“Hello?” She banged on the door again....

MY FINGERS HOVERED over the computer keys as I paused to reread what I’d just written. While my fictional heroine shivered in the mountains, I sat in my vacant L.A. apartment. All my worldly possessions were already packed in the SUV, and I was leaving town tomorrow. For tonight, I deserved a fun distraction. Ever since I’d taken it into my head to write a naughty novel, I’d been having a great time with my characters.

The world of steamy fiction was a vast improvement over my job as a struggling actress—a job I’d finally realized didn’t suit me one bit. And writing was far, far better than my awful experience on a popular reality series that had made me one of the most gossiped-about women in Los Angeles. Most of all, I had the sense that penning this book would finally heal some demons I’d been running from ever since I’d left home at eighteen. Closure on that dark chapter of my life was long overdue—especially since running from it had only made the past implode.

Drumming my fingers lightly along the keys, I forced those thoughts aside to concentrate on what happened next in the story, while on another screen, I waited for a reply on my instant message regarding a piece of property I wanted to see tomorrow. This business deal could give me the time and freedom to finally write my book. I’d scrimped and saved, living like a pauper, to finance the next phase of my life. Now that I’d won that reality game show series, I finally had enough starter money to get to work on my dreams. And not a minute too soon, given how much grief I’d taken because of the show ever since filming ended three weeks ago. Given how much grief a long-lost boyfriend was trying to create for me.

Shuddering, I turned back to the story.

“Is anyone home?” Shaelynn called one last time before she trudged through the knee-deep snow, her legs shaking from exhaustion and cold. Maybe she’d have better luck at the back door.

Shoving through the negligible barrier of an overgrown boxwood hedge, she peered around the back corner of the cabin. Another exterior light burned, just like in front. But inside, the place looked completely dark. Hopelessness threatened to swamp her as she banged on that door, too.

“Help!” she called, her voice echoing in the sharp cold. “Help!” She backed up a step so she could yell at the whole house.

And rammed right into a low wall.

“Oof,” she muttered, slipping. She grabbed on to the structure to keep herself from falling. Only to realize it wasn’t a wall at all. It was a hot tub.

Built into the cabin’s raised deck, the tub had a thick, insulated leather covering. A thin trail of steam wafted from the seam where the cover met the cedar siding.

Heat. Warmth. A guarantee of survival.

All those things awaited her there beneath that tarp. Who would call it trespassing when she was at risk of freezing to death out here?

Mind made up, Shaelynn tugged off her coat and unbuttoned her blouse with stiff, shaking fingers....

I imagined myself there in the crisp, clear air of the Rockies, sliding down among the hot jets of an outdoor spa. It was possible half the fun of this book was the access it gave me to the kind of life I’d always dreamed about. A sensuous life full of great sex was something I’d never quite managed in the real world. Far from it. I’d dropped a few dress sizes since high school, thinking I’d get over some of my insecurities by changing the external stuff. No dice. Now I would tackle those hang-ups through my book, where I could live out a vicarious existence of someone who was hot and sexy.

First fiction. Then real life.

Speaking of which...

Steam wafted up Shaelynn’s cheek like the touch of a phantom lover. After half an hour in the hot tub, she’d finally started to feel warm again. Her toes had quit throbbing. She’d quit jumping at every sound in the woods and had turned the jets on full blast. Now, the heat relaxed her. The pure decadence of being naked beneath the water made her whole body feel deliciously languid.

Tilting her neck back on the headrest, she stared up at the stars and breathed deep.

Until the sound of a dog barking made her sit up.

She listened hard, switching off the pump for the hot tub jets so she could hear better. Had she imagined it?

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