The night was good, but Fridays usually were. Also, it must have been payday for a few locals because their cash was slippery and they stayed later than usual. A bachelor party booked her and another girl for a VIP dance with champagne, and that was a great way to cap off a night.
Once the place was closed up and cleaning crews moved in, she scrubbed off her makeup, hung up her wigs on their Styrofoam heads, yanked off the skullcap that kept her hair under control, and pulled on jeans and a sloppy off-the-shoulder, light blue T-shirt. It was funny that she still dressed like she did when she’d been in dance school, but old habits die hard. Plus, it was comfortable.
Bag over her shoulder, Rose headed out into the barroom, looking to see if a bouncer was around to walk her to her car. But the only big, scary body around was wearing a cowboy hat, and she wasn’t sure if that was good luck or bad.
She decided it was good. She liked the cute little dance they had going, even if that was all it was ever going to be. To continue it, she approached him from behind, not hard to do since he was bellied up to the bar, talking to another one of his buddies, and it took him a second to look her way since they were deep in conversation.
But when he did, that smile was warm and genuine, and she couldn’t help returning it with one of her own. “Buy you a drink, English?” he asked, hand up to the bartender.
Oh yeah, he called her English too. “Nah, I’m looking for an escort out to my car, actually.”
He raised an eyebrow, and just like she’d expected, got to his feet. “I’ll get you there safe and sound,” he drawled, immediately heading for the exit to the back alley where the staff parked.
That surprised her a bit, but she gave a smile to the other guy—she was pretty sure he was called Tiny but she had no idea why, the guy was almost as wide in the shoulders as Tank—and scrambled after the large man now holding the door open for her.
“Thanks,” she said lightly, wrapping her arms around her stomach. The air smelled like it could rain soon, and it was definitely a bit cooler than it had been when she arrived at work.
“No problem. Which car is yours?”
This was different. Something was off with him; he wasn’t teasing her or trying to embarrass her. She was disappointed, but she couldn’t demand that he amuse her, either. “The Camry,” she answered, pointing with her keys.
“A Camry?” He drew the name out in distaste, and her heart lightened a bit.
“It runs well,” she argued, heading in the direction of her beloved late-model import. “And it’s good on gas. Especially given its age.”
“You suck at sales because I still ain’t buying it,” he mumbled, and she chuckled.
“Well, I ain’t selling,” she returned with an affected American accent, stopping at the trunk to toss her bag inside. When she slammed the lid closed, he was beside her, and having him close made her heart trip a little. Then she realized he was surveying the parking lot, the cars driving past. A raised shout sounded at the mouth of the alley, likely part of their audience walking their drunk asses home. “Is … is everything all right?”
Her question brought him back, startled. He blinked, then turned that huge smile on her full-force. “Everything’s good, English,” he assured her softly, hand falling onto her shoulder.
Rose couldn’t help it. Her breath caught. His hands were huge, warm, and just as heavy as she’d expected. And dammit, he noticed her reaction.
He tilted his head, his hand moving down to her shoulder blade, effectively turning her his way. She let herself be moved like a puppet.
Not my type, she reminded herself, the mantra repeating itself with frantic rhythm as his free hand cupped her jaw. His smell. Jesus, his smell was something else, too. There was the leather he wore, the beer he’d just finished, but something else as well. It was thick and heady and manly, and even more intense with him this close.
“What are you doing?” she finally whispered, brow furrowing as he stared at her face.
Tank was a good height. He made her feel dainty, which not a lot of guys could do. She was six feet tall and liked wearing heels. But on this man she came up to his chin. In heels. It was overwhelming, but only in the good way.
He didn’t answer her, not exactly. He lowered his face her way, and while she was reminding herself he wasn’t her type and also her boss, her eyes slid closed.
The brush of his lips was impossibly soft. A nuzzling, really. The smell of him ran deep into her nose, into her head, and she returned the kiss with more pressure, running an arm around the back of his neck while her other hand clutched the open edge of his flannel shirt.
It was either the right or the wrong thing to do, hard to say. Because the second her tongue slid into his mouth he groaned, his hand leaving her shoulder to grip low around her back, pulling her hips to his. But that was nothing compared to how he deepened the kiss.
Teeth, lips, tongue, all of it clashing and gripping and sliding and rubbing frantically. In all her life she’d never been kissed stupid. It was like being consumed. He kissed her like he was already fucking her, and her hands gripping him tighter was the only device she had to let him know she liked it.
Release Date: Friday, February 13th