Sunday, June 21, 2009

Executive Decisions: Research Only by Marteeka Karland

Executive Decisions: Research Only
by Marteeka Karland

Cover art by Marteeka Karland
ISBN: 978-1-60521-162-6
Genre(s): Paranormal
Theme(s): Ménage
Series: Executive Decisions
Length: Novella


Aimee has a promising career ahead of her as a science fiction author. Her editor thinks she'd make an even bigger sensation if she sexed her work up a bit. There's only one small problem. Aimee's a virgin.
Darius, owner of Executive Decisions, is completely out of his element when trying to match Aimee with an escort. Not just any man will do, and he wants to make sure he gets it right. The only person he truly trusts with the delicate flower is his best friend and business partner Yusuf Abudallah. Yusuf agrees, but he has reservations. Not about Aimee, but about Darius.
It seems the untouchable Darius Faeman has met his match. But will he realize it before it's too late?


This e-book file contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language which some may find offensive and which is not appropriate for a young audience. Changeling Press E-Books are for sale to adults, only, as defined by the laws of the country in which you made your purchase. Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

"What's the matter with you, Darius? You're wearing out a path in the lovely carpet."
Darius merely growled. He had never been this agitated in Executive Decisions' long history. "Nothing."
His long-time friend and partner, Yusuf Abudallah, pressed on, like he always did when Darius refused to tell him something. "Oh, really? Is that why you look like a cornered jungle cat? You're ready to string someone up, and I just want to make sure I don't need to find another line of work."
"Don't be absurd." Darius knew he sounded harsher than necessary, but he had a problem he couldn't figure out. He'd never been in this position before.
Yusuf placed both palms on Darius's hand-carved mahogany desk. "Then tell me what's wrong."
Darius stopped his pacing and turned to Yusuf. For possibly the first time since they'd met, the Middle Eastern man looked supremely annoyed with him.
"Sorry, I guess I am a bit out of sorts."
"A bit?" Yusuf snorted and pushed away from the desk. He sat in a nearby chair and crossed his legs, his expression one of annoyance. "You're not acting like yourself at all. You're acting like a man in danger of losing something important to him."
"It's not that." Darius waved him off. "I have a client I can't match."
Yusuf narrowed his eyes. "This wouldn't happen to be the writer you mentioned last month, would it?"
"Of course it's the damned writer," Darius snapped. "Who the hell else would it be? I've been obsessing about what to do with her for a fucking month now!" Yusuf raised his eyebrows, but said nothing. Immediately, Darius was sorry he'd let his irritation get the better of him. In all these years he'd been matching people with their true mates, he'd never come across someone he couldn't find another person for.
Until Aimee McAllister.
"I'm sorry, Yusuf." Darius collapsed in the chair behind his desk and thumped his head twice on the pristine top. This was infuriating. "She's expecting to arrive in two days on an island paradise to meet with -- and I quote -- 'one, possibly two, attractive, open-minded men who would be willing to help me research my latest novel.'"
"That doesn't sound too hard." Yusuf narrowed his eyes. "I can think of at least six men I'd consider for that job."
"And you'd be dead wrong. There's a wealth of information she doesn't list on her information sheet that could ruin any chance she has for happiness. All she's thinking about is researching a book. I'm trying to see the bigger picture."
"I've never understood your secret formula, Darius. If another woman came to you with the same info sheet, you'd give her a man -- or couple of men or eight -- to sex her up, put a smile on her face, and send her on her way with exactly what she asked for. Same with the men. What is it about this woman that makes you want to save her soul and help her live her ultimate fantasy?"
"I just know, Yusuf." He sat back and made a sweeping gesture with his hand. "There are times when a man or a woman just needs more than a one-night stand. This is one of those times. I can feel it in my very being as surely as I can feel the changing weather of Mother Nature. This girl needs more than a research partner. She needs a life partner."
"OK. So what are we going to do? We've got two days to figure it out."
"I'll be damned if I know, Yusuf. I simply can't find even one man I'd trust with her. There's no one I trust not to break her heart, or her spirit."
"You make her sound like she's fragile. What is it she didn't tell you that's got you so worked up, Darius?"
"She's a virgin. And I don't mean simply she's never had sex with a man. I mean she's a virgin virgin. Even to the point of she's never been kissed. I don't think she's ever even held hands with a man before."
"Wait a minute. Back up." Yusuf leaned forward, hands on his knees, obviously interested in the problem at hand, but confused. "What kind of book is she researching?"
"Apparently --" Darius crossed his hands over his chest. Even he couldn't believe the situation. "-- she's a science fiction writer trying to turn to something a little more... explicit. She's planning on using Executive Decisions to teach her the physical sensations associated with sex while keeping an emotional detachment."
Yusuf snorted. "Good plan. If she wants to write for a men's magazine. Is she wanting to write pure erotica?"
"I think it's more like erotic romance."
"Without the romance? I guess she doesn't realize the emotional attachment that goes with sex and all things physical."
"I'm guessing not. You see my predicament."
"Absolutely. Tell me something. Is she a good writer?" It was Yusuf's turn to pace now. This was why Darius loved working with the Middle Eastern man. He took this job as seriously as Darius himself.
"I'd say better than average. She has brilliant ideas and her stories and characters are all wonderfully written, but her agent thinks she needs to add some 'spice' to the plot. She thinks a little sex is just what Aimee needs for her books to make the leap from good to fan-fucking-tastic."
"You sound like you agree, but I'm sensing you don't really give a damn."
"I don't."
Darius and Yusuf stared at each other a very long time. They both knew who would be accompanying Aimee to her research retreat.
"I'll pack my bags," Yusuf said without even pretending Darius might mean someone else, "though I'm not sure I agree with you on this one."
That surprised Darius. Few things did that. "What do you mean?"
"I think you've picked the wrong man," Yusuf continued when Darius would have argued with him. "Or at least, I think there is someone better suited for her than I." The younger man stood and left the room before Darius could question him.
Having set his best friend to meet the woman who had haunted his dreams since he'd met her, Darius expected relief from his burden of care. Instead, his stomach gnawed at him. This still wasn't right. He was missing something. Something important.
Something that could very well change someone's life forever.
But whose?

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