I stopped myself from swinging open the car door just in time as a super-hot, incredibly ripped man slipped by. Where have you been all my life, I thought to myself lecherously, smiling. I looked at his tight ass appreciatively, then cocked my head as he approached the door of the studio I was about to enter. Very interesting. It had to be Jake — no, it was Jake. He was unlocking the door with a set of keys. This was the personal trainer my friends had recommended. I made a mental note to call and thank them.
It had to have been a week ago, maybe two. We all met up for a girl’s night on the town and settled into a corner couch in the club. There were already too many cocktails sloshing in our bellies by the time I started bemoaning my latest ex.
“He actually told me I was getting flabby,” I yelled over the dance music.
The girls gave a collective, scandalized gasp. “That’s why he’s the ex, honey,” Annie shouted.
“I’m not getting flabby, am I?” I asked, standing up and poking my stomach. “God knows I’ve been drinking enough.”
Rachel reached over and yanked me back down on the couch. “Sit down. Jesus, Kim,” she laughed. “You are not and never will be flabby.”
“Are you sure?” I wailed, waggling my arms and pinching the backs of them. “Look at this!”
“If you’re so insecure, you could always get a personal trainer,” Annie called, sipping her martini.
Rachel got a positively wicked look. “I think you will get a personal trainer,” she said.
“I am flabby?” I asked, despondent.
“Of course not,” Rachel said. “But I think this personal trainer will work wonders for your fitness regimen and your attitude. It did for me.”
“I didn’t know you had a personal trainer,” I said.
“Well, I did. His name is Jake. He got me to where I needed to be, and then I ended our contract.” At this, Annie tittered.
“How did I not know this?” I exclaimed.
“I’m sorry, Kim,” Rachel said. “You’ve been so wrapped up in your relationship drama.”
“Ugh,” I agreed, throwing back more of my bourbon and Coke. “Tell me more about this Jake.”
“No can do, honey,” Annie hollered. “She was sworn to secrecy.”
“What?” I peered at Rachel. “This sounds like trouble.”
“Only the best kind of trouble, I can assure you,” Rachel said, preening. “Jake has ‘special methods.’ You have to trust him or you’ll get nothing out of your workouts.”
“Rachel, this sounds super fishy,” I said.
“Trust him,” she repeated. “If you complete the program, it’ll be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.”
“Kim, I swear to God, if you say one more thing that isn’t ‘give me his card,’ I’m not going to give you his card.”
I grinned. “Give me his card, then.”
“You won’t be disappointed,” Rachel said earnestly, pressing a business card into my palm.
And I wasn’t — not at first sight, anyway. Jake opened the studio door and walked inside. I rummaged through my purse until I found my lipstick and applied it, using the rear-view mirror as a guide. I had to grin sheepishly at myself. Wearing makeup to work out? Seriously? I wasn’t going to fool myself, though. My tank top, yoga pants, even my shoes were new.
I forced myself out of the car, surprised at my anxiety. Rachel hadn’t played Jake up at all — she’d barely told me anything about her experience. Maybe I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect.
Pushing open the door to the studio lobby, I smiled winningly at Jake, who looked up from behind a computer.
“You must be Kim,” he said, standing up and holding out his hand.
I took it. “Yes. And you’re Jake.” His grip was very firm.
He nodded. “Follow me.”
We stepped through a door and into the gleaming workout studio. There was state-of-the-art equipment scattered everywhere. Jake was more than well equipped. I counted three cardio machines, multitudes of medicine balls, free weights along with weight machines, and more. Everything was spotless, modern, and capable. I felt better already.
“Take off your clothes,” Jake said abruptly.
I knew I didn’t hear that right. “Excuse me?”
“You can take off your clothes, or you can end our contract,” Jake said. “Removing your clothes removes the barrier between you and your fitness goals.”
I raised an eyebrow.
“It’s symbolic but effective,” Jake continued. “If you trust me, you’ll get the best workout of your life. But you have to do everything I say exactly.”
I looked at my reflection in the mirrored walls. My friends were scandalous, but they weren’t cruel. If they vouched for Jake, I could trust them. Plus, he was hot.
“The only reason I’m doing this is because you come highly recommended,” I said haughtily, toeing off my shoes and peeling my tank top over my head.
“Of course,” Jake said. “I’m the best.” As I stepped out of my yoga pants, I noted that he said it without ego, as if he were just stating a fact. I glanced over my shoulder to check out my butt in the mirror. Not bad.
“Let’s get down to business,” Jake said after I had stuffed my clothes into a cubby. “We’re going to hit every exercise in this room, and you’re going to max out. I want to find out what you can do so I can assess your level of fitness.”
We commenced with a grueling routine. For what it was worth, my nudity became a non-issue almost immediately. Jake had me doing more squats, lunges, sit-ups, and push-ups than I could count. I hoped he was keeping track of the reps.
Before I knew it, the punishing circuit had the sweat pouring off my body. I was panting for breath, struggling to push myself off the pads for one last push-up. The only difference with this workout was the feeling of my nipples against the cold mats. It was thrilling.
I found myself doing things I didn’t know I was capable of. On the pull-up machine — I had to kneel on a pad and pull myself up, aided with a weighted counter pulley — I impressed myself with ten whole reps. Maybe Jake’s mumbo jumbo about the clothes and barrier thing had some kernel of truth in it. I took a second to gaze at him in the mirror. Or maybe I was just working harder to impress Jake.
I stared at myself. Sweat ran in rivulets down my flushed, naked body. This was the best workout I’ve ever had in my life. I just usually wasn’t so turned on at the gym. Jake was directing everything I did, correcting my form constantly. I loved it. I loved every second of obeying his commands. What did that say about me?
“Focus, Kim,” Jake snapped, bringing me back to the workout. “Let’s finish with cardio.”
I left wet footprints across the mat as I followed him across the studio to the treadmill. “I’m worn out,” I said, and it wasn’t a lie. My bare chest heaved, trying to get more air into my lungs.
“Complaining earns more reps,” Jake warned. I zipped my mouth and climbed onto the treadmill. “I’m going to control the speed,” Jake explained. “All you have to do is focus on running. Once you can’t give anymore, tell me and I’ll crank it down.”