Hot Excerpt from “Winner Takes All”

Heat up your Sunday night with this steamy excerpt from Winner Takes All, by Gemma Stone! Want to read the whole story? Click here to purchase your copy.

“It’s really very simple,” continued Dan. “As you see, there’s a deck of cards on the table. It’s a standard 52-card deck, with the usual four suits, and it’s been properly shuffled, so no cheating. Whenever we like, we each take a card in turn and reveal it. If it’s a simple number, you can tell your colleagues about anything you like; work, the weather, your favourite soap opera, or whatever. But if it’s a King, Queen, Jack, or an Ace, you have to reveal something intimate about yourself that no one would ever guess; what’s your sexiest item of clothing, who was your favourite teenage crush, who you’d love to go to bed with, your favourite sexual position, and so on.”

Katrina looked taken aback, but didn’t try to stop things. Stephanie shot her a look that said “don’t worry”, and she seemed to relax. The agency needed a unified team, and even an unorthodox approach was good if it would bring staff together.

“And the Jokers?” asked Stephanie.

“Ah,” said Dan. “If you pick one of those two up, anyone in the room gets to ask you something they really want to know about you and you must answer it truthfully. There’s no hiding in this game.”

Stephanie breathed in hard. She’d never tried this type of introductory welcome before, but she was up for anything.

“Now what?”

“Now we continue to enjoy our food and drink. We can turn over the cards whenever we wish, and we’ll go round the table clockwise. There are 26 of us here, so we’ll each have to take two cards throughout the evening.”

There was a quiet hush in the room as the staff decided whether to turn their first card over sooner or later. No one wanted to make the first move.

After a short time, curiosity got the better of Katrina. She reached out, took a card off the top of the deck, and flipped it over onto the table. It was the Queen of Diamonds.

“That seems appropriate,” said Jess. “So Katrina, what do you want to tell us about?”

Katrina took a deep breath. She couldn’t dodge the bullet. Not now, not in front of all her staff.

“I lost my virginity in the back of a school bus when I was sixteen…”

There was a stunned but appreciative silence in the room. She was the boss; she hadn’t backed out and had rolled with the luck of the game. With her explicit revelation, she’d won the admiration of her team.

“I’m next,” said Dan. He lifted a numbered card, and breathed a sigh of relief. He was off the hook for now, and talked about his favourite football team.

“Hmm, a typical boy thing,” said Katrina.

With the ice broken, others began to take their cards in quick succession. There were a few lacklustre revelations, as well as some more interesting and explicit ones when a face or ace card was drawn.

As it came to Stephanie’s turn to reveal her first card she could feel her heart rate quicken, the blood pumping faster through her veins. Looking across the room at Jess, she could feel her eyes running across her body, mentally undressing her. She breathed hard and flipped the card over on to the table top.

“The Queen of Hearts,” breathed Jess, as she flashed Stephanie a knowing smile and licked her lips. “Are you trying to tell me something?”

“OK, well … something revealing.” Stephanie thought for a moment. “When I was younger, I fancied the lead singer of a boy band. I finally got a passionate embrace and kiss on the lips from him backstage after a concert.”

She could breathe again. Her turn was over, at least for now.

I just hope that Jess has to reveal an intimate secret when it comes to taking her cards, thought Stephanie.

Adam had remained quiet throughout the process. His piercing blue eyes sought Stephanie’s across the room and, as they made contact, Stephanie smiled and tried to boost his confidence. You’re reliable and a great project manager, thought Stephanie. I can relate to you as a professional. I also know women find you very attractive. I’m just not sure … how would I feel if you asked me to sleep with you? Are you really a virile young cock, waiting to be ridden?

“It’s a Joker,” shouted Dan as Adam turned over his card. “This is where the rules change. Anyone in the room can ask you anything they want to know and you have to answer them.”

“Why do all my girlfriends want to go to bed with you?” blurted out Stephanie, trying to save Adam by speaking first, though in her haste not engaging her brain fast enough.

Adam looked desperate. “I, er, well, that is…”

“I think it’s that designer stubble,” interrupted Jess. “I’ve heard that most girls find it a great turn-on. Isn’t that right, Stephanie?”

Jess raised her eyebrow, and had a knowing glint in her eye. She has saved Adam from the loaded grenade Stephanie had inadvertently lobbed, but it had just been passed back to Stephanie with the pin still out.

“I’m sure you’re correct, Jess. Maybe one day I’ll have to get close enough to find out.”

Stephanie smiled again, pretending to make light of her answer. In that brief moment, there had been a sexual frisson between the three of them, and she could feel her heart pounding faster still.

I think that’s defused the situation. Why ever did I say that? Am I really hoping to find out?

The game continued as Jess picked up an Ace.

She thought for a moment, and fixed her eyes on Stephanie’s. They were soulful, warm, and inviting.

Stephanie’s heart skipped a beat and she began to feel a more powerful tingle of anticipation between her thighs. At that moment an absolute current of pure and dangerous electricity buzzed between them. It would just take one spark to set something ablaze.

“I once had a boyfriend who was abusive to me. I walked out of the relationship, and that experience shaped me in so many other ways. That’s when I became a lesbian.”

A ripple of murmuring ran through the assembled staff.

Katrina breathed a sigh of relief. Jess wouldn’t be bed-hopping with all the male staff after all. Only the girls needed to worry.

Jess seemed to relax more after her first revelation, and the game continued for another hour. Adam and Jess turned over numbered cards on their second play, and finally there was just one card left face down on the table. Stephanie had been enjoying the entertainment unfolding with others. Now though, it was her turn to take a final card and as only one joker had been revealed so far, there were no surprises as to what the remaining one would be.

Stephanie looked at Jess with a worried expression and swallowed hard, but knew she had to continue. She shook back her mane of golden hair.

“I don’t think I even need to turn it over,” said Stephanie. “It’s time for someone to ask me a question and I have to give them my honest answer.”

There was no hesitation before Jess dived in. “Do you find me sexually attractive, Stephanie?”

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