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Thrice Shy [MultiFormat]
eBook by Frances Pauli

eBook Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica/Romance
eBook Description: Jane Johnston has always nursed her crush on the boss in silence. Then a rare invitation to the company conference drops a golden opportunity in her lap. She's got the dress, she's got a plan, but when she gets lost along the way, a roadside attraction leads her to a sexy Vampire who thinks Jane is the answer to his prayers. When he shows up at the conference hotel, all her plans go right out the window. Will Jane choose the man she's always wanted, or the one who claims to own her soul?

eBook Publisher: eXtasy eBooks/eXtasy Books, Published: 2011, 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2011

2 Reader Ratings:
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Chapter One

* * * *

The last rest stop passed fifteen miles before the coffee kicked in. Jane ground her teeth together and watched endless acres of dusty nothing slide by. No hope of a bathroom...not along this stretch. She'd be lucky to find a bush large enough to use as a shield. A roadside sign declared that the next services could be found forty miles ahead. Great. She was going to pee in her pants. She dug her fingers into the steering wheel and prayed for strength. Not behind a bush, please, and not on the boss' upholstery.

Jane shivered at the thought of Rodney Grant, regional manager and her direct supervisor. It didn't exactly help her bladder dilemma. She shifted in her seat and focused on the road and the mileposts passing at a crawl. He just had that polished, confident attitude that made her all fluttery and lightheaded. The eyes didn't hurt either--deep blue and full of collected power. His dark, soft hair added the final touch...the nail in her coffin.

Unfortunately, his professional status also meant Jane, as his employee, suffered from a serious case of the invisibles. She sighed and squinted at a billboard on the horizon. Maybe the conference this weekend would offer a chance to change that.

Junior sales reps rarely attended, but Rodney needed someone to bring his car along, and Jane had jumped at the opportunity. Her track record screamed reliable. The boss had noticed at least that much about her. Now if the slinky red number she'd dropped a whole paycheck on could just get him to notice her a little bit more. If she didn't pee in his car, that was, if she could survive a stupid, three hour drive through the hick-infested, agricultural boonies.

The billboard neared. Jane squinted through the dusty windshield and made out the enormous words....Halloween Corn Maze. Great, a celebration of rural idiocy. Still, she'd bet good money they had a bathroom. Saved by the holiday. She noted the exit number and stomped on the gas pedal.

"That's a bathroom?" Jane stared at the shack and shook her head. She'd have been better off trying a bush. The wood slats had warped until she could see daylight peeking through the outhouse walls.

"Yep." The maze employee, a kid from the local high school by the look of him, nodded, scratched his head and then looked up at the sky. "Looks a bit stormy." He announced it as if she couldn't see for herself. "I'd use it quick 'fore the wind hits. The hinges are startin' to give."

"Excuse me?" She didn't care for the sound of that at all. Not that she could afford to be choosy. She raced for the rickety potty and spent the entire time inside holding her breath and praying the storm didn't turn up a notch and tear the ramshackle building to bits.

She managed to survive the ordeal, but the wind had kicked in by the time she returned to the car. Jane popped the trunk and snapped open her suitcase. She had a new bottle of Chanel in the side pocket that should alleviate any trace of eau de hick toilet.

Black clouds boiled on the horizon, threatening rain and lightning. Jane shivered and dug through her unmentionables for perfume that had somehow managed to hide in the tiny compartment. The wind gusted and spawned goose bumps along her bare arms. She peeked through the back window at her jacket draped across the seat.

The wall of dried corn stalks rattled beside the parking lot. The wind sent the maze into a noisy ripple of desiccated foliage. She'd almost forgotten the damned thing was there. Her fingers found the Chanel, and she plucked it from amidst her undies and went to work spritzing. The red dress lay across the top of her business clothing. She'd stuffed a brand new silk camisole underneath it, and tucked matching, strappy heels into her smaller overnight bag.

Another gust set her expensive dress dancing. Jane snatched it before it took flight, but the camisole broke free, sailing like some naughty, red flag across the lot. She watched it go for a second, but the damn thing had cost almost as much as the shoes. She sighed, slammed the trunk shut, and took off after her unmentionables.

The garment fluttered beside the cornfield, and Jane thought for a second that she'd reach it in time. Then the wind howled again and the camisole dove as if possessed into the nearest maze entrance. She ran after it and felt dry leaves brushing her arms. She rounded the first corner, ignoring the shouts behind her, the stupid kid hollering.

"Hey, lady! You didn't pay!"

Jane caught a glimpse of red and followed it right at a branch in the path. She could still hear the kid.

"We're closing for the night, dang it."

The path forked again. She stared down each option. Left? Right? No trace of her camisole either way. Jane frowned. She could wear the dress without it. She might suffer a peeking bra strap, but she'd survive it. There might even be a place to shop near the hotel. The corn rattled as the storm front surged overhead. She could just buy another one, maybe not silk, but still.

The sky hung blue-black over the crop, and the single light above the parking lot only reached a short distance beyond where she stood. Jane shook her head. She could definitely do without the thing. She turned back toward the entrance. The corn stalks shuddered in the storm's assault. Thank God she hadn't gone far. It looked like the damned weather was almost on top of them.

She reached the next branch and turned left, then stopped and frowned. She should have been able to see the gravel from there. She blinked and shook her head. The trail looked a lot longer than she remembered. She stared down it. It could just be a trick of the light, but she hadn't gone more than four of five steps. She turned around and looked the other way. A dark path stretched between corn rows in either direction. Overhead, the sky frothed with clouds. The parking lot light flickered. She stood maybe ten feet from her stupid car, for God's sake.

She shook her head again. She'd turned right on the way in for certain. The left path had to lead back out. Her feet crunched against the corn stubble. She snorted. If necessary, she could just push right through the bloody wall. There really wasn't anything to worry about.

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