Jennifer Colgan: The Concubine’s Tale

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    The Concubine’s Tale
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Separated in time. United by forbidden passion… When an ancient papyrus scroll comes up for auction, gallery curator Cait Lang draws the distasteful task of notifying her boss’s favorite client, Grant Pierson. The rare art and antiquities collector’s arrogance grates on her nerves, but most of all she resents her own weakness for his athletic body and deep brown eyes. It’s the hieroglyphic scroll that draws Grant to a private, after-hours showing at the gallery. But the lovely Cait’s narration of the erotically charged story captures his interest. Determined to hear the rest of the tale-and spend more time in Cait’s company-he convinces her to join him for dinner. The intricate, sensual tale transports Cait’s and Grant’s imaginations into the past. And the depictions of sexually charged temple rituals inspire them to explore their own hidden passions-in Cait’s apartment. Even as Grant succumbs to Cait’s charms, the drive to own the scroll hums in the back of his mind. If he isn’t careful, though, he’ll not only lose the chance to hear the end of the story, he’ll lose something more precious. The missing piece of his own life-Cait.

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Jennifer Colgan


The Concubine’s Tale

Warning: This title contains explicit, forbidden sex, ritual sex, a sex god, and naughty hieroglyphics.

For Jillian, thanks for all your encouragement!


Chapter One

Cait Lang tried to ignore the bristle of annoyance that tightened the back of her neck as she dialed the all-too-familiar phone number. She’d put on a bright, compliant smile when her boss, Matthew Greer, asked her to make the call. Back in her office, she’d waited patiently while her assistant, Jeri, finished some filing, before she indulged in a long-suffering sigh and some therapeutic eye-rolling.

Why did Mr. Greer always give that arrogant know-it-all Grant Pierson the right of first refusal on any new piece that came into the gallery? Certainly Madison-Greer had plenty of wealthy, polite clients who deserved a shot at owning a coveted piece of antiquity as much as Grant Pierson did. What bothered Cait most, though, was that she had Grant Pierson’s number memorized.

Not just his number, either. She leaned back in her chair, listened to the electronic trill through the receiver and recalled the chiseled planes of his face, his chocolate brown eyes, and blond, professionally mussed hair that was just the right length for running fingers through in the heat of passion. The gorgeous ones always had a fatal flaw, though, and Grant Pierson’s was his personality. Self-assured to the point of cockiness, the unflappable rare art collector alternately made Cait want to throw herself at him, or throw something heavy at his head. Fortunately for her, the Madison-Greer Gallery had a strict policy about employees dating clients, so the former option was safely out of the question. The latter, however-that nice Etruscan vase that sat in the corner of her little office would make a wonderful projectile, wouldn’t it?

When Pierson’s answering machine picked up, Cait sighed and halted the impatient drumming of her ballpoint pen on the desk. All violent fantasies aside, this was business, and Cait was nothing if not professional. She doubted Pierson even knew how much she resented the special treatment he received, since each time they’d met, she’d followed Mr. Greer’s lead and treated the man like visiting royalty. He’d probably come to expect it now.

She stammered at the beep, realizing she’d daydreamed through his message. “Ah…Mr. Pierson, it’s Cait Lang from Madison-Greer. I’m calling to give you advance notice of a new item we received at the gallery-”

“Pierson here.”

Cait started at the intrusion of his deep voice. He sounded a little breathless, like he’d run to catch the phone. The clock on the wall across from her desk read two p.m. Maybe he’d just returned from a power lunch. Or maybe he was out of breath from an afternoon liaison. That thought sobered her. Why did her angry thoughts about Grant Pierson always turn to sex?

“Good afternoon, Mr. Pierson.” Cait slipped into her game voice and studied her shipping manifest as though it might contain information she hadn’t read a hundred times before.

“Cait. Matthew Greer’s personal assistant?”

Heat gathered beneath the collar of her silk blouse. “Head curator,” she corrected him, keeping her voice even. “I’m calling to let you know about a fascinating new piece we’ve just acquired.”

She heard the crinkle of a deep leather chair and imagined him leaning back and planting his long legs on the edge of his mahogany desk while he loosened his tie. “Hit me.”

Love to. Her fingers played at her collar, and she deftly released one of the tiny pearl buttons of her blouse. Had someone turned off the air conditioning in the gallery offices again?

“It’s a scroll. Papyrus. Circa 1200 BC.”

“Hmm, a scroll.” He sounded bored.

She nodded, directing her gaze at the ceiling once again. “Yes.”

“Where did you acquire it?”

“A private collector obtained the scroll in 1962. It’s going to be auctioned as part of the dissolution of the man’s estate.”

“Museums interested?”

“A few, but I’ve been instructed to let our preferred customers know about it ahead of schedule. You’re first on the list.” As always. Grant Pierson’s private collection of Egyptian art and artifacts was legendary. His ruthlessness in acquiring rare and unusual pieces was surpassed only by his generosity in allowing museums and researchers access to his finds.

“Could I come by and take a look at it?”

“Of course. When is convenient for you?”

“How about this evening, around seven?”

Cait glanced at her day planner. Another late night. Ugh. “Seven. Certainly. I’ll be here.”

“I look forward to it, Cait. Thanks for calling me.”

“I’ll see you at seven.”

When he hung up, Cait took a deep breath. Now she’d have to hang around after closing and wait for him. Why did it have to be tonight, when Mr. Greer was out of town and unable to entertain his favorite client?

“Did I hear you say seven, as in p.m.?” Jeri ducked her head back into Cait’s office and frowned. “I can’t work late tonight.”

Cait gave the younger girl a tight smile. “No problem. I don’t expect you to stay two hours overtime to accommodate Grant Pierson.” She waved her hand, dismissing him as just another eccentric art collector. “I’ll handle him.”

Jeri nodded, and a knowing smile replaced her frown. “I bet you will.”


Grant Pierson considered which held more fascination for him, a Nineteenth Dynasty Egyptian scroll to add to his collection of rare antiquities, or an evening with the undeniably alluring head curator for Madison-Greer.

Among rare works of art, Cait Lang certainly stood out. He pictured her as he’d seen her last, in a severe herringbone suit over the laciest satin chemise. Her legs, in pearl gray hose, seemed to go all the way to Neverland. Her honey-blonde hair begged to be released from a flawless bun at her nape. Her coral-shell lips had shimmered with every clipped word of her conversation. Even her voice was graceful and curvaceous. That sexy purr she adopted when discussing a new artifact always gave him a jolt that lingered long after the conversation ended. He told himself it was just her passion for antiquities that made her powder blue eyes sparkle-a passion they shared.

If it wasn’t for her ice princess attitude and that cool veneer of aloofness she adopted whenever he was around, he might have asked her out, regardless of Madison-Greer’s archaic dating policies.

He hated to admit it, but he liked that diamond-hard exterior. Her professional polish always made him curious as to what lay underneath the buttoned-up, business-woman exterior. Maybe it was time to find out.

He straightened his tie and hit the call button on his phone. “Anna, I’d like reservations for two at Del Monaco’s tonight for eight-thirty.”

“Will do,” his secretary replied.

“And Anna-”

“Yes?”

“Not my usual table. I’d like one in the back tonight.”

“I’ll see what I can do.”

Something out of the way would give them a little privacy, and maybe he could get Cait to come out of her polished shell for a while. He swiveled in his chair to take in the view from his office. A few hours alone with the lovely Ms. Lang would certainly put him in the mood to spend a small fortune on a piece of ancient papyrus.


Cait stared at the scroll and thought of the first pair of hands that might have touched it. Sheathed now in tempered glass, its brittle remnants spread in a broken oval shape, it reminded her of a half-finished jigsaw puzzle. She found it sad that the missing pieces would never come together.

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