Sweet Sinful Nights(7)

By: Lauren Blakely

Brent was an asshole, and the way things had ended between them was entirely his fault. He’d had the choice to have both her and work, but he’d picked work and ditched her. Case closed, in a classic stone cold fucking of her heart. Maybe that was why she couldn’t deny her delight in the wild goose hunt he’d taken himself on via Facebook. He might have found Shannon Paige-Prince and been checking out her profile, but she wasn’t that person anymore, and she barely maintained that page. Hell, she didn’t maintain any profile because she didn’t want to be known, or to be found. She preferred her new name, and new life, and living it off the Internet.

When she’d started her company four years ago, after amassing several high-profile choreography jobs following West Side Story, she’d already switched her hair color from bright blond to dark brown. Next, she’d jettisoned the last name she had growing up. She’d needed a sleeker and sexier name. Companies wanted to hire Shay Sloan more than Shannon Paige-Prince. But she also didn’t want to see that look, that furrow of the brow that came when someone heard her last name. “Are you one of the Paige-Princes of...”


Those questions needed to be cut off at the knees.

She’d taken her cues from Michael, her oldest brother. They all had. They always did. He’d been the first among them to change his last name to Sloan, and had suggested they all do the same. Sloan was an everyman name. It had no history, no notoriety. They could slip easily through this town and live free of all those questions from people who remembered who they had been long ago. With new names, their old life faded away, receded far into the rearview mirror.

“Anyway, Shay.” Her twin brother lingered on her business name, mocking her playfully as he said it. “The guy you hate won’t be there.”

“I don’t hate Brent,” she said quickly. But she did. Oh, how she did some days. She hated him with all she had.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. And no, I didn’t tell James you were engaged to King Schmuck back in college.” But even those words and the weight of their promise— engaged—seemed like a terrible understatement of what she and Brent had shared. They were everything to each other. “It’s just not germane to the business deal we’re striking. It’s a private matter. Like a million other things that are private.”

“A million things,” she echoed. Things the four siblings would take to the grave.

“Then let’s go to this meeting tonight and seal the deal to bring the hottest dance show around to the hottest clubs worldwide,” he said, holding up his fist.

She banged her fist to his. “See you in three hours.”

Shannon left their offices and headed to her nearby home, driving past a billboard of The Wynn, the place that had put Shay Productions on the map three years ago when she’d choreographed a sultry extravaganza of the senses for the theater housed inside that upscale hotel. The show has been called “lush, sensual, and a feast for both the eyes and the loins.” That production had enabled her to quickly build her business, to take her routines and choreography well beyond one stage and on to worldwide venues.

She’d come far from West Side Story, but that first gig after college had led to the next one, then the next one, then to this.

She turned onto her block, a trendy street not far from the Strip, with an organic breakfast cafe and a hipster coffee shop, then pulled into the parking lot at her condo. As she locked the car door, she reminded herself that if she’d chased Brent to Los Angeles, she might never have had the chance to become who she was today. Her career had given her freedom and distance from the past, and that was a dream come true.

On the way upstairs she snagged her mail, slapping it on the kitchen table to look at later. She showered, blow-dried her hair, and applied fresh makeup, twisting her long chestnut hair into a neat updo. She slipped into a sleek black dress that zipped up the side—the whole damn side from hem to sleeve—then into a pair of four-inch red suede shoes that tied up her ankles and to her calves. Vegas nights could be chilly, so she grabbed a shimmery, silver wrap for her shoulders.

She looked the part. She needed to look the part. She might not be the one on stage, but she still looked like a dancer.

Hell, she still was a dancer, even if she’d never dance again the way she wanted to.

But she’d gotten over her injury.

She’d gotten over her loss.

She’d gotten over Brent.

She knew how to get over stuff. She’d done it since she was thirteen.


One thousand feet.

That was when the plane started getting service again, so Brent tapped the screen on his phone, ready for the barrage of messages to load. Wireless had been down on the return flight from Saint Bart’s, and he was antsy to know what he’d missed. Edge had been expanding rapidly in the last year, so these days his company was like a busy airport with jets lined up, taking off and landing every fifteen minutes.

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