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Fantasy vs. Reality by Zenobia Renquist

Fantasy vs. Reality

by Zenobia Renquist

Razor’s Edge Press

eBook BIN: 06172-01982

Stacy hates benefit dinners — fake smiles and empty conversation with people she can barely tolerate. Good thing she has her imagination to keep her occupied with sexual fantasies involving the other guests. And as the night wears on, it gets harder to tell where fantasy ends and reality begins.

Note: This title has no chapter breaks. Please enjoy the first scene.

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Scene One

Company benefit parties should be considered one of the nine circles of hell, reserved for ass-kissers and busy-body, social climbing housewives. Stacy was none of those things, and yet she had been consigned to the punishment anyway.
“It’s one night, Stacy.”
“I know that, Nick.”
“We dodged the first two because of schedule conflicts, but I don’t have an excuse for this one.”
“I know that, Nick.”
“If I wasn’t a division head, I would skip it all together.”
She sighed, not wanting to repeat her comment. She’d been repeating it for the last hour as they drove to the convention hotel where the benefit was taking place.
Nick glanced at her and then turned his gaze back to the road. “The charity this time is big cats. Some tiger preserve or something. You like tigers.”
“Yes, I do.” And so what if she did? That didn’t mean she wanted to spend her night fake-laughing at borderline off-color, humorless jokes so her husband could schmooze with his bosses and make himself look good to get a promotion he’d already earned through hard work. She hated these events with a passion. Pretentious, backstabbing, soul-sucking leeches of society all acting like they gave a damn when all they wanted was a hefty tax write-off.
“Each month is a different theme and different charity.”
“They could save time and headache and just ask everyone for donations at the office.”
“People want to feel like they’re getting something for the money they give. A fancy dinner and spouse auction provides that.”
“Explain this spouse auction thing to me one more time. I’m supposed to stand on stage while your greasy co-workers bid on me for what now?”
“A private dinner and a movie date. The committee prepared private rooms so each spouse and the person who wins the bid can enjoy a fancy dinner together.”
“And the movie?”
He shrugged. “No clue. All I know is you’re not supposed to come out until the movie ends. It’s the only way the committee could think of to keep everyone in the rooms for a decent amount of time. Of course the pair can stay in there longer if they want, but they have to stay at least for the length of the movie.”
“So help me, Nick, if they put in the unabridged Cleopatra movie, there’ll be a few hundred witnesses to testify against me at your murder trial.”
He chuckled. “It won’t be that bad. I heard they’re all new-in-theater movies. Someone knows someone who knows someone, and they got copies of the blockbusters from the studios. Maybe you’ll get the room with that new movie that came out last week, the one with the superheroes that you wanted to see.”
“That would almost make this worth it.”
Nick sighed and shook his head. “Stacy, try to act like you’re enjoying yourself. Just try. Please?”
“I will be the perfect little trophy wife, Nick. Don’t worry.”
“Thank you.”
“You owe me.”
“I’m well aware of that.”
“And don’t expect me to do this again next month.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” He pulled the car into the valet area of the hotel and opened his door.
The second the valet opened Stacy’s door she was smiling and looking excited to be there. She knew how to play this game. Being married to Nick for the last twelve years and putting up with company picnics, galas and fundraisers had perfected her technique. The secret to her success was pretending she was doing something she wanted. It was easy to smile when her mind concocted different scenarios to make the evening more interesting.
Nick offered his arm as they walked into the hotel. After handing over their coats to the clerk and presenting their invitation, they made their way to the table bearing their name cards. Of course Nick was at a head table with the other division chiefs. Stacy thought of unicorns and puppies and anything else happy so her smile stayed in place as she greeted the other wives. She hoped her smile didn’t look as forced as theirs.
“Good of you to make it, Nick.” Tom Delane, another division head, patted Nick’s shoulder and smiled. “We missed you and your lovely wife at the first two. Such a shame you couldn’t make it. Both events were amazing. Everyone had a great time.” Tom turned his attention to Stacy. “And you, Stacy.” He let his gaze roam over her. “That is a stunning ensemble.”
“Thank you. I saw it last week and had to have it. I’m just happy to find an occasion to wear it.” She smoothed one hand over her bare thigh. The champagne-colored, strapless, floor-length evening gown had a slit that stopped where the zipper connected the two halves of the dress at the top of her thigh. It left her entire left leg in the open. The top of the dress was a mock-corset style that cinched her waist and lifted her breasts, making them appear bigger and rounder than they really were.
The illusion was working because Tom’s gaze lingered on her chest. She inhaled, making her breasts strain against the front of the dress so it seemed like her nipples would pop out. They wouldn’t. Stacy had bent over and jumped around when she first tried on the dress to make sure she wouldn’t fall out of it. But watching Tom’s Adam’s apple bob as he swallowed made pretending she was moments from an accident worth it.
Nick slipped his hand around her waist and steered her away. “Honey, there’s a hors d’oeuvres buffet. You missed lunch, right? Go get a snack.”

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