Excerpt

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Chapter 1
Mia.

The ache blooming in Mia’s depths had become such a relentless presence in her life—a bone-deep ache meant to remind her each morning as she woke of the hell that she would soon come to endure again. As she removed the covers from her bruised body, she took in her flesh. Black and blue bruises dotted her legs and thighs, morphing into faded marks; a red and raw bracelet of rope burns circled her ankles. An ache developed in her chest as she took in the state of her body. However, Mia didn’t have time to think of the misery that had become her life. Glancing at the clock that read six a.m., she knew she had a limited amount of time to shower, dress, and get breakfast ready.

Standing, Mia limped to the restroom and showered, tracing the bandage covering the stitches on her side as she lathered as best as she could. She closed her eyes as she placed a hand on her quivering stomach and slowly lowered her hand to clean between her legs. He left his marks on her again, but this time it wasn’t the usual bite, bruise, or cut. This time, he actually lost control and came inside of her, leaving her filled with his seed. The expression of pure ecstasy on his face as he consumed her had astonished her. Nothing she did ever pleased him, not even while he raped her, but last night was different. The tides had changed, and with the metamorphosis came a darkness she sensed she wouldn’t survive. His anger, loathing, and hate were the only emotions she’d wrought from him and nothing more.

Last night, the glint in his eyes as he pushed inside of her body made her stomach clench. She was never allowed to close her eyes because doing so always elicited his large hands around her neck until she passed out. At first, itbeen a mercy on his end to take her away from her suffering, but soon he realized his error of permitting her the unconscious reprieve, and the last time, she woke up covered in even more bruises. So, no, nothing she ever did elicited anything but pure rage from him … except the horror in her eyes as he came inside of her. Pure unadulterated fear had lanced through her at the thought of carrying his child.

There were things that used to horrify Mia. In the past, reading the newspaper or watching the news about missing women, Mia felt empathy for the victims, but it’d never been more than a glancing emotion. The possibility of seeing her face on CNN had never made it into the realm of possibility for Mia. No, she didn’t think herself invincible, but out of reach and safe. After the first abduction, that small world had shattered and her old life became shards of glass, too sharp and small to place back together. She’d awaited rescue to no avail. No one was coming for her, they mocked. She was so green, naïve, and fearless. That was until the first rape.

She’d feared rape and death. No woman, no matter how brave, lived without the fear of rape. Perhaps there were some who prepared for the likelihood of it happening, so their fear would lessen, but Mia had never been one of those women. And maybe, this was why she became such an easy target. After months in a shack, used and abused, death and rape had no longer become a fear, but the norm. Soon, her worst enemy became time. How much longer would they let her live? When would they tire of her, and when they did, where would they dispose of her body? Would her family claim her bones or would they see her ravished body? How would it embarrass her father?

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Take a peek at Teal and Trent

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SUGGESTED READING ORDER:

The Love Against the Odds books are written as standalone, bwwm/interracial romances. However, your enjoyment may be enhanced if you follow this order:

Incarcerated: Letters from Inmate 92510 Katie & Logan 1
Inevitable: Love and War Teal & Trent 1
Indelible: Beneath His Ink Teal & Trent 2
Rogue in Love: Lex and Thea | standalone novella
Open Wounds: Abel and Hope | standalone novella
Indebted: Til' Death Do Us Part Teal & Trent 3


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“If you do this . . .” Taking in a deep breath she paused, as if needing strength to continue. Trent remained silent, waiting as she gathered the nerve to tell him to go and fuck himself. “If you do this, I can’t be here when you come back. Emma and I—we can’t be a part of this life.”

Her fatalistic tone scared the hell out of him, and Trent knew this wasn’t some exaggerated threat. He made to speak, to remind her that he was doing this for his family, but Ace, who’d been unusually quiet, grunted from behind him.

“Looks like you got a choice to make, Marine.” He stepped out of the house, eyes narrowing as he took in the scene. “Walk away from her . . .” The sound of his boots hitting the porch grew louder, and one of the men lit a cigarette, while the other cocked his weapon. “Or you can walk away from me.”

The not-so-veiled threat reminded Trent that when this was over, Ace would pay. He swallowed hard before he looked back to Teal.

But Ace wasn’t done. “Don’t make the wrong choice, because if you think I’ve been an asshole to her before, well then Marine, you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

Trent glanced around, taking in Mutt’s restless movements, and Gator’s gun, cocked and loaded.

            He closed the little distance between him and Teal, and leaned down and kissed her lips. The taste of her so familiar and sweet, his body yearned for more.

Holding back, he moved away and side stepped, making room for her to go back in the house. “You may want to pack some shit up for you and Emma Mae.”

Teal closed her eyes for the briefest of moments and swayed, before opening them and turning away. The cold hollow sound of her voice punched Trent in the gut. “There’s nothing left for us in that house; nothing that can’t be replaced.”

Those words wounded him more than any bullet ever had, pained him more than the sight of her walking away, because she was right. There wasn’t anything in that home she couldn’t replace, including him.

He watched the taillights as they disappeared into the night, his gut churning until finally, his body went numb.

            Mutt slapped Trent on the back, then draped an arm over his shoulder. “She’ll come back. They always do.”

Trent turned and eyed the man. He hadn’t expected the candor of his voice, nor the look of understanding in his eyes when his gaze met his. But just as fast as it been there, it was gone, along with the weight of his arm.

            “Fuck yeah, even when you tell them bitches to stay gone.” Gator shoved his gun back in his pants and clapped his hands together. “Let’s get this shit on the road, shall we?” He shoulder-bumped Trent as he pushed past him.

            Trent growled. “You motherfuckers want to act like you didn’t cost me the one thing—”

            “No, no.” Ace’s voice was low and menacing. “Dipping your dick in that blonde chick when you knew she wasn’t worth more than a one-time fuck. That’s what cost you.” Ace pointed to the direction Teal had driven off in. “You want that woman back? You shore up your past and get your fucking shit in order.”

Trent felt his hand grip his gun, and before he knew it, his gun was drawn and pointed in Ace’s mean-looking mug. The reason Ace had a gun in his face wasn’t because he’d called in his boon, it was because Trent knew he was right. Shayla had been trouble from the second she’d sauntered her ass up to him. The problem was, he hadn’t cared. He’d had an image to uphold, and a blonde bombshell on his arm added to the picture, no matter how much of a pain in the ass she’d been.

            “Shit, man,” Gator’s slow southern drawl held a warning Trent wasn’t sure he’d heed. “Calm down, Marine.”

He heard the boots moving to attention, and the guns being pulled from leathers. Though his mind told him that even with his three weapons, he was outgunned and outnumbered, he couldn’t find the fucking sense to lower the gun.

Ace’s lips curved into a knowing smile. He knew—hell, everyone knew—that Trent was fucked six ways till Sunday if he pulled the trigger.

Trent moved the gun what seemed to be a millimeter away from his mark, his aim somewhere off in the distance, and pulled the trigger. The sound of the bullet exploding from the muzzle shocked him out of his rage, and reminded him of what he had to lose had he shot Ace.

            Ace smiled and strode to Trent, gun in hand. Though his gait flowed like water, slow, sure, and steady, a tumultuous storm raged behind his eyes. “Marine, I’m gonna give you that one, seeing as how your lady friend broke your heart and all.”

Trent felt his temper boiling up again, his aversion to this man and infuriation at his own situation, pulled bile from his gut and pushed it up his throat. Still, the only fear Trent felt was at the loss of his wife and child.

 He closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths to calm his raging nerves. He couldn’t allow himself to get killed, whether he was coming back to an empty home or not.

“But the next time you aim that mother fucker at me . . .” Ace eyed Trent with the devious smile of a man who feared nothing—a man with nothing to lose. “You better pull that goddamned trigger.”

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Teal and Trent - Teaser

SEPTEMBER 28th 2017

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Months after opening up his heart – and his past – Trent is looking forward to a future with his new bride and daughter. He’s recovered from the near-fatal shooting, hopes to purchase a farm for his beloved Teal, and is building a life free from the horrors of his past.

But the past has a bad habit of never staying buried, and now it’s coming after his entire family. Because Trent didn’t reveal all his secrets to Teal, and the deepest, darkest secret he’d always kept just out of reach is about to break the surface.

An old debt is being called in, one that will pull Trent back into the world of sex, lies, and murder he’s fought so hard to escape. And in the wake of devastating betrayals, he’ll discover who is truly loyal to him, as he agrees to pay that debt with an unforgivable crime.

Trent will stop at nothing to keep Teal and his daughter safe. Even if that means losing them forever.

Meet Ace, Gator, and Mutt from the First Sons of the Revolution MC, and enjoy the first chapter and first look at the spin-off featuring the badass, no-shit-taking men from Blackwater Rising!


Sensing Teal’s stress, he moved closer, wrapping her in his embrace as she pulled the phone to her ear and spoke. “Mother?” Her tone held no warmth, but the chilling air one would offer an unwanted guest or stranger. Though, behind the chill lay anger—sharp and deep-seated hate. Her ridged form melded easily into his, accepting the soothing embrace he offered.

Later, he’d ask why she still hadn’t told her mother the news about their marriage. Thinking on it now, it felt good to throw that in the woman’s face. Fuck, his mother-in-law was a straight up bitch.

His wife gripped the phone hard enough to crush it, her anxiety evident in her tense posture and attitude. Trent knew the fear a parent could wrought in a child. He knew the sense of fear his stepfather had placed in him with each swipe of the belt or cigarette burn. But for Teal, he sensed a different brand of fear. The kind of fear Trent had faced every day in his life—the fear of disappointing everyone around you.

            Trent massaged her shoulders, squeezing the tense muscles. The acrid stench of entrenched mother-daughter dysfunction settled in the air.

She sighed heavily. “I’m sorry.” Her tone brokering not a hint of apology. “The condo has new occupants now. You cannot stay there.” Trent had never heard hide nor hair from Teal’s mother in the time they’d been together. Though he had no example of the actions of a good mother, Trent knew that a mother who gave at least one fuck about her kid would pick up the phone in a year.

Teal had promised to inform her mother about their nuptials, but it’d seemed she failed to do so.

“Now isn’t a good time. We have—”

Trent glanced down at her silence.

Teal pinched the bridge of her nose and sighed. “We don’t have room.” She stopped again, her body tensed.

Trent pulled back. Not even thinking to lower his voice, he asked, “What the hell does she want?” Annoyance flared to life when she ignored him and continued to speak, or rather be spoken to.

He recalled every memory of Teal’s references to her mother. Not a damned one of them gave him the cozy-grandma feel he’d hoped Emma Mae would experience. Between his own human incubator and Teal’s mother, Emma Mae didn’t stand a chance. But that was where he and Teal came in. It was their job to offer their daughter what no one had ever been able to offer them—unconditional love and protection.

Teal glanced up, ire burning bright in her eyes as her mother spoke, knowing whatever was being said would be something he’d loathe. What the fuck was going on in that conversation?

Teal shook her head. “Maybe for a day or two, but that’s all.”

            Teal threw her head back and sighed. “Mother, I am not jobless—per se.” Her harsh tone withered, transforming into one of uncertainty. She bit her lip. Finally, sick of not being able to hear both sides of the conversation, Trent pulled the phone from Teal’s hands and place the call on speaker.

            Preoccupied with the stress wrought by an overbearing mother, Teal didn’t complain. She merely sagged against the counter, her body shaking in anger as her mother spoke. “And, if you don’t have a job, it isn’t like you can’t accommodate your sister and I. Teal, always so damned head strong, even when you are in the wrong.” A strained sigh sounded through the line. “Despite our commonalties—”

“We couldn’t be more different.” Teal finished.

“Absolutely.”

Trent’s eyes narrowed at the woman’s words. He couldn’t have this nonsense in his house for a few reasons. The first being, Teal’s reaction to her mother’s phone call alone. It spoke volumes to the stress that having her in his home would cause his wife and child. Shit was already tense over that email and his endless hours of overtime.

Hell, he knew Teal wanted to take the job, even after her promise to stay at home with Emma for a year. He needed to nip this shit in the bud, and fast.

            “I just don’t think it is a good time now,” Teal said. “I have too much going on, and with the baby—” She placed her head in her hands as if she’d already admitted defeat to the request.

            A loud huff sounded. “You want to tell me what is really going on over there? And what damned baby are you talking about? Why is it Katie—a child who is not my own—the only one willing to talk to me about what is going on? Teal, what the hell have you done to your life?”

At that, Trent snatched the phone and ended the call. Thinking better of it, he turned the device off. He then turned and gripped the counter, using it to hold him up. “What the fuck was that about?” The anger he felt wasn’t directed at Teal, but at her mother.

            Placing her head in her hands, she turned to him. “I haven’t told her anything about our life yet.” Sheepishly, she looked up at him.

            Trent shrugged. “And why would you?”

Teal’s stressful gaze turned to one of confusion. Her dark eyes tracked over his face, no doubt in search of answers. Trent reached up and caressed her cheek. She leaned into him, causing his chest to expand at her acceptance of the comfort he had to offer. She always made his chest tighten with pride and his heart accelerate with need. Each touch felt more intense than the next.

He couldn’t let her feel bad about this. “Baby, since you’ve been with me, she’s called you how many times? She didn’t even know what was happening in your life until she needed a fucking place to stay.” He waited before he spoke again. Waited for the Teal he knew, the Teal she hid from the world to surface from behind that tough as nails exterior. “When you needed her most, where was she? You did shit on your own until you met me, and now we do things together, as a family.”

            Teal nodded. “I know, but you know just as well as I do how a mother can fuck with your mind.”

            He chuckled. “Don’t bring me into this.”

            Teal slapped his chest. “You know what I mean, Trent.”

And he did, he just didn’t want to get in to the heavy why of it. His past and her present were far from his mind when Teal pulled back to stretch. Arms raised over her head, her chest thrust out, pushing her heavy breasts front and center. Trent started to reach out and she batted his hand away.

“Explain something to me?”

Trent cocked a brow. “What?”

“How do you . . .” She bit her lip, struggling with what she wanted to say. “How did you get over having shitty parents?”

Okay, that took him right out of the nice haze the sight of her breast had put him in. Cock soft and a churning feeling in his gut, Trent took a receding step back.

Teal reached for him. “Hey, sorry. I know we don’t talk about this. I just—I guess I am just wondering how you dealt with it.”

He sighed. This was what he loved and hated about Teal. She took from him, things he’d never offered a soul—the truth about how his past had molded him.

“My mother is a completely different beast than yours. Polar opposites to be exact.” The vault of long repressed memories opened and his head filled with the pain and suffering of the past. “Where your mother forced the importance of a good education on you, mine reminded me that I was the reason she’d dropped out of high school.”

Trent shrugged, as if learning his mother despising him hadn’t carved a valley in his heart. Teal’s soft hand on his cheek jolted him from his thoughts and he focused on forgetting the fear, the past, the anger, and the lies. And now, all that was left was Teal and Trent, two souls who’d crashed into one another leaving a maelstrom in their wake.

“My mother played a role,” Teal said. “She was cruel and kind. You never really knew which monster you’d wake up to in the morning.”

“But she offered you kindness?” Trent had wished his mother knew the definition of the word.

Teal shook her head. “Not in the way you think. I’d have preferred her cruelty.”

Confused, Trent lifted her chin to meet her gaze. “Why?” Was the only word he could speak. He’d known the cruelty of his mother and felt it at his father’s hands. He couldn’t fathom anyone wanting such pain and suffering in their lives.

“Because, at least then, I knew where I stood. The mood swings and the mind games fucked me up. Every morning my sister and I would sit at the breakfast table waiting for my mother to come around the corner.”

Trent placed his hands over Teal’s arms and caressed her smooth skin as she spoke.

“It was misery waiting. My stomach would be in knots and my head dizzy.”

“But she never beat you?” Trent asked.

“No. But sometimes I wonder if it would have been better if she had hit us. Physical wounds heal, but the mental breakdown she put us through . . .”

Trent felt the goosebumps on her skin, along with a shudder that rolled through her body. He eased her closer. If he could, he would protect her from her past and the pain that littered her memories. “Any kind of abuse can leave emotional scarring, Teal. I don’t wish that on you or anyone else. This is why we took Emma Mae.” Placing his hands on either side of her, he said, “Do you want your mother in your life?”

She peeked up at him. “I’ve worked very hard to keep her away from me.” She glanced away, and tears filled her eyes.

He hated her tears, but he told himself that he would be the only person who ever saw them, and the one person to always soothe them.

The room seemed to almost darken and center on her; the only illumination, a greenish glow from the overhead microwave clock. The wind danced around outside the house slapping against the shutters sending falling swirls of dust up and into the black night sky. Trent sensed all of this, knew it like the back of his hand.

Indebted: Til Death Do Us Part Teaser

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“Blackwater Sheriff Henry Olgove reveals to NDC27 affiliate of CGFA-TV, the body found Sunday night in East Blackwater, approximately five miles from the notorious motorcycle club hangout, is believed to be that of missing teen, Amber Tonwlyn-Havers, daughter of Congressman Alexander Tonwlyn-Havers. Amber was last seen Saturday by witnesses, around 2:00 AM, leaving a house party in downtown City Central, alone. She was thought to have gone to a party in the neighboring city of Treville.

“Congressman Havers has not been available for comment, though his publicist asks that the family’s privacy be respected in their time of mourning. In other news, tensions rise in Blackwater as one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter organization plans a protest of the death of African American teen, Anthony Smiddle. The standoff between the KKK and Black Lives Matter protesters has police stretched thin.”

                                                                                               

            Teal turned off the television, then placed the remote control down. Leaning back, she closed her eyes and took in a few deep, calming breaths. There were things friends and family admitted to you about becoming a mother. There were the things you wanted to hear, the things you enjoyed hearing and then there was the truth. It was a rare thing for a parent to speak of the debilitating fear and uncertainty that came with becoming a parent. The indecision and then the apprehension in every decision made, small or large.

While Trent’s upbringing made Teal cringe, she also knew that her own past hadn’t been much better. Yes, Teal had grown up in a seemingly good home, and her family’s money had afforded her a great education and kept her fed and somewhat content, there was more to growing up in a good home than money and a full stomach. Irrational as it may seem, Teal wanted to shelter Emma, but would she truly need it? Would she need an overbearing mother? Hell, would Teal become her mother?

What the fuck was going on in the world today? Things were recently changed in Teal’s life, with a husband and a child to care for, and her ever-growing fear of raising Emma in a world full of dangers she couldn’t possibly protect her from was starting to weigh on her. Was this what motherhood would continually be like? Undying love and fierce protection, followed by the crippling fear of threats of the unknown?

Placing a hand over her stomach, Teal sighed. Trent mentioned wanting another child, while her inner voice told her now was not the time. Hell, she’d just be honest and admit she wasn’t sure she wanted another child—ever. She tilted her head to the side and watched as Emma shifted on Trent’s chest. Teal often found herself counting ten little pink fingers and toes, kissing cherub soft baby cheeks and caressing her daughter’s blonde curls.

Her daughter was the exact opposite of her physically, but Teal never once worried about their differences. She sensed Emma’s trust and love in her and Teal was dead set on never letting her down. As Teal slightly moved and stretched her stiff legs on Trent’s lap she shifted her husband and daughter just a bit.

            Trent’s eyes popped open, his hand tightening over Emma’s back. “What’s going on?” His groggy voice woke Emma from her sleep. She released a sleepy coo that melted Teal’s heart.

            Teal moved her legs from Trent’s lap, leaned forward and gently pulled Emma from Trent’s arms. “I thought you were just resting your eyes?” she admonished softly, giving him a sweet smile. Teal softly patted Emma’s butt, helping to calm her back to sleep. The sweet baby lay her head on Teal’s chest and began to snore once again.

            Trent stretched his arm over his head and yawned. “I was, baby.” He sat up and glanced over to her. Teal noticed how he still favored his right arm for most things. While his physical therapy had ended, Trent still had trouble controlling his arm and certain movements.

            “Oh, okay. I guess your snoring was just to trick Emma to sleep?”

Trent sat up and placed a hand on sleeping Emma’s back. His large hand made the little girl seem even tinier by comparison. Born a preemie, Emma had constantly fought to maintain a normal weight, and now at nine months and fourteen pounds, she was just barely fitting into the six to nine-month clothes gifted to her from Teal and Trent’s friends.

Teal placed a kiss over Emma’s curling blonde tresses, and caressed Trent’s hand. Her life in Kentucky had proven easy-going at first, but recently, she’d felt restless and anxious. The South proved to be just as tense as she’d expected, with the Black Lives Matter and KKK acting out for various reasons. Teal wasn’t sure she felt safe, and this was after she’d just stopped waking up from nightmares where Jake had made good on his threat to rape her.

            Trent leaned in and kissed Teal’s cheek. “And my plan worked.” He pulled his hand away and stood. “Want me to take her to bed?”

            Teal squeezed Emma once again, as she didn’t want to let the warm bundle of baby go. “Sure, make sure all those stuffed animals are out of the crib before you place her in there.” She handed Emma to Trent and went into the kitchen to pull a bottle of water from the fridge.

It was a Friday night, and once again, Trent had fallen asleep on the couch while Emma napped in his lap, and Teal had flipped through the channels, hoping to find something to keep her mind off their issues with Harper and Markus.

Teal had learned that it was best to talk to Trent about stressful things at certain times, like directly after she’d sucked every bit of come out of his quivering body; however, after a long stressful day, now was not that time. Teal treaded to her office and retrieved her laptop from the dresser.

Back in the living room, she sat down and opened her emails to see a few from Jan Erik, past co-workers, and Summer. The header in the email from Summer caught her attention. Teal’s brow furrowed in confusion as she read aloud, “Help wanted.” Clicking the email, Teal read its contents. As she did, her heart flittered in her chest and her excitement grew. In her eagerness, Teal let out a light squeal. “A job opening?”

            “Hey, where are Emma’s fluffy blue socks?” Trent broke Teal’s concentration.

She glanced up to see Trent with a handful of tiny socks in his palm, and a flustered expression on his face. Pointing to the bedroom, she said, “They are in the—”

            “What were you just saying? Something about a job opening?” he interrupted her as he motioned to her laptop. “What job opening and where? More importantly, for who?”

Teal gauged his reaction carefully. While she had hoped the night would end without any heavy discussions, the second Trent dropped the socks on the couch and sat beside her, she knew there would be no putting it off.

            Teal turned the laptop to face Trent. “I’m not sure yet. I just received the email from Summer.”

            Trent pulled the laptop from her hands and placed it on his lap. “The chick that tried to help Shayla?” he asked, skimming over the email. “Why is she offering you a job at something called Safe Haven?” He gripped the laptop, his flustered expression changing into one Teal had become very familiar with. His veiled anger didn’t intimidate her though, it irritated her.

            Teal rolled her eyes at the question. “How the hell am I supposed to know? You are the one reading the email.”

She and Trent had agreed she would spend the first year at home with Emma. And at the time, when everything was new, and Trent was home with her, recovering, she’d meant it. However, now, it was a completely different story. Teal felt cut off from the world, and it seemed her job had gone from an administrative assistant with a degree, to Emma’s mom. Not that Teal minded being a mother—in her mind, she thought she’d done well. It was that Teal never expected to have her identity stolen from her.

Perhaps, if Teal had had three toddlers running around the house, she wouldn’t feel the same, but one infant who barely made a peep? She found herself sitting on the back porch with more time on her hands than she’d expected. And to top it off, Teal’s friends were all in Vermont, and were career-oriented women who despite being married, and settled, hadn't had children yet. Then there was Katie, who was on her third book tour and in talks with her agent about film rights to her novel.

Teal had never felt so alone, yet surrounded by a loving family. To make matters worse, even though they’d won the civil suit against Jake, lawyers had stated it would take time to actually get the money he owed—if they ever got a cent. So, Trent still worked massive amounts of overtime to add back some of the money to his savings that the medical and lawyer bills had created.

Teal hoped once the money from Jake came in, Trent would stop working himself to death. But that wasn’t all. Katie and Logan were miles away, with a growing business and baby girls, and Violet, her new local friend, was now the CEO of a company, so gone were the days in which she came over for hours on end. Like a fool, Teal had fancied herself a true Southern Belle, sipping mint juleps, and gossiping while watching Emma play.

Months after opening up his heart – and his past – Trent is looking forward to a future with his new bride and daughter. He’s recovered from the near-fatal shooting, hopes to purchase a farm for his beloved Teal, and is building a life free from the horrors of his past.

But the past has a bad habit of never staying buried, and now it’s coming after his entire family. Because Trent didn’t reveal all his secrets to Teal, and the deepest, darkest secret he’d always kept just out of reach is about to break the surface.

An old debt is being called in, one that will pull Trent back into the world of sex, lies, and murder he’s fought so hard to escape. And in the wake of devastating betrayals, he’ll discover who is truly loyal to him, as he agrees to pay that debt with an unforgivable crime.

SEPTEMBER 28th, 2017

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Trent will stop at nothing to keep Teal and his daughter safe. Even if that means losing them forever.

Meet Ace, Gator, and Mutt from the First Sons of the Revolution MC, and enjoy the first chapter and first look at the spin-off featuring the badass, no-shit-taking men from Blackwater Rising!

Indebted - Teaser

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Trent walked into the Devil’s Bastard, the sound of men cussing and laughing overwhelmed the air as his booted feet pounded the pavement to the back room, where he and his men normally sat, pounding beers, and watching ass. Grunts and head nods greeted him as he made his way further into the club. He ignored them all, making a bee-line to the back. He glanced in the back room to see Jason, Mark, and Dillon all throwing back a shot of what looked like whiskey.

            “Hey!” Trent called to the only waitress behind the bar. It was noon and Sam was the only one working. “Get me a double of what they got, and keep ‘em coming, till I say otherwise.”

Sam nodded and busied herself behind the bar, while Trent sat down at the table nearest the back exit.

            Dillon thrusted a fist in the air and hooted. “Fuck yeah.” Leaning back too far, the man nearly toppled out of his chair. Reaching out, he righted himself, just before his ass met the floor. “Man, what are you doing here so early? Ain’t you got work or some shit?”

Normally, Trent couldn’t stand Dillon, as he was always ready to start shit. But today, he was glad as fuck he’d run into him. It’d only take beer, or the promise of some ass, to get him to do any kind of favor.

Sam sat the shot glass down on a paper napkin.

            Trent glanced up at her. “Y’all getting fancy around here?” He picked up the double and slammed it back. “Another.”

            Sam smiled, her crooked teeth on display. “Nah, nothing like that. You starting a tab, Reed?” Her playful tone had dissipated the second Dillon showed interest.

            “Yeah, start one up for me.”

            “Me, too,” Dillon added.

            Sam flicked him the bird. “Hell no. Pay as you go.” The group laughed and Dillon sat back in his chair, looking like someone had kicked his puppy.

            Jason took a long swig of beer, then placed the bottle on the table. “What brings you in here this early?” Trent knew he would be a hard sell. The swastika tat on his chest and KKK inked on his knuckles, along with the fact he’d been in jail for numerous hate crimes, told Trent convincing him to rescue a little Spanish teen would be close to impossible.

            Trent took in the man’s ice blue gaze and cruel smirk, and shrugged. “Just trying to pick up a few fellows for a job I got contracted for.” He had to make sure to not tell the men he owed the FSMC a favor. Hell, that would send even the dumbest man running from the room. “I need men not afraid of the law.” Trent didn’t bother lowering his voice. He’d scoped the place out the second he walked in and knew every damn drunk in the bar.

Jason quirked a brow, but didn’t say a word.

            Dillon’s grease-stained hand flew up. “Ooh! Pick me.” Trent’s eyes went to the man as he waved it left and right, wiggling in his chair like the ace student in the class dead set on fucking up the grading curve.

            “Put your damned hand down,” Trent muttered. “You know I got your ass. A bottle of whiskey, and a hand job over at the titty bar you love so much.”

Dillon whooped and hollered, before heading to the restrooms in the back. Sam made her way over and sat another shot glass in front of Trent.

            Mark motioned to the glass as Trent tipped it back. “You ain’t never been one to drink this early.” His lazy drawl came out a bit slurred. Mark drank at any time of the day. The man’s large size gave him more leeway in that area; while most men hovered around the two hundred mark, Big Mark was pushing three-twenty. His weight wasn’t sloppy, either. Mark held his weight in his legs, chest and arms, and power lifted daily.

            “Celebrating,” Trent lied.

            “How much you paying?” Jason asked.

            “A grand each.” Trent placed the shot glass on the table.

            “BYOG?” Mark asked.

“Yeah, but I got you on ammo,” he said, knowing that’d sweeten the deal. This way, all the money went to the men, and nothing was wasted on supplies.

            Jason was the first to agree. “I’m in. How soon?”

Before answering, Trent looked to Mark who nodded. “Tomorrow.”

Sam placed down another shot.

            Mark motioned to his glass and she moved to refill it. “Who we riding with, and what is the job?” Sam picked up his cup and headed back behind the bar.

            Trent was only mildly surprised that the men waited until now to ask about the actual job, however, Trent had never really been into anything too heavy in his life, so perhaps they weren’t worried by that account.

            Trent downed the shot and placed the glass on the table. “I got three friends riding along. Mutt, Ace, and Gator from Blackwater.”

Jason sat back, his beer sloshing over the rim of his cup onto his hand.

            “Brothers from Blackwater?” Dillon stumbled from the bathroom, his hands fumbling over his fly. “Them dudes . . .” He whistled, then sat—or rather, fell drunkenly—into his seat. “Well, I’m still in, but I want a happy ending,” he added, as if this were some sort of negotiation.

            Trent grunted his approval. “You all in?” He lifted the next shot and threw it back. His head began to cloud, and his body loosened—the liquor having its intended effect. Eyeing each man, he knew the second they decided to ride with him.

As each man said yes, Trent imagined the group of men heading down to Blackwater. Trent was not fucking naïve. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he would be expected to kill tomorrow night. Keeping himself alive was his main goal, but Trent also thought to the young girl caught in the crossfires of a vengeful gang and her corrupt father.

            He stood on loose legs; he needed to check with Reno—an old buddy—to see if he would join. “Meet me at my house, tomorrow night. I’ll go over the plans with you there.” Trent wasn’t too concerned with the police in this situation, seeing as how the FSMC had most of them on their payroll, and wouldn’t dare show up to an MC shoot out.

As he headed out the door, he pulled a fifty from his wallet. Placing it on the bar, he pushed it over to Sam. He wouldn’t leave that shit anywhere near Dillon, as the bastard would end up drinking it.

            “Thanks, Trent.” Sam smiled. “And thanks for watching Rain for me last week.” Her sad smile pulled at his chest. She was a good girl, stuck in a shit town, and he’d often wondered what would have happened between the two of them if he’d known she liked him before Shayla crashed into his life.

            “No problem. Call me if you need me to watch her again,” he said honestly. The two-year-old was cute as a butterfly.

SEPTEMBER 28th 2017

Indebted-ebooksm (1).JPG

Months after opening up his heart – and his past – Trent is looking forward to a future with his new bride and daughter. He’s recovered from the near-fatal shooting, hopes to purchase a farm for his beloved Teal, and is building a life free from the horrors of his past.

But the past has a bad habit of never staying buried, and now it’s coming after his entire family. Because Trent didn’t reveal all his secrets to Teal, and the deepest, darkest secret he’d always kept just out of reach is about to break the surface.

An old debt is being called in, one that will pull Trent back into the world of sex, lies, and murder he’s fought so hard to escape. And in the wake of devastating betrayals, he’ll discover who is truly loyal to him, as he agrees to pay that debt with an unforgivable crime.

Trent will stop at nothing to keep Teal and his daughter safe. Even if that means losing them forever.

Meet Ace, Gator, and Mutt from the First Sons of the Revolution MC, and enjoy the first chapter and first look at the spin-off featuring the badass, no-shit-taking men from Blackwater Rising!

 

#coverreveal - Indebted: 'Til Death Do Us Part

The second I heard the rumble of the motorcycles hauling ass down my street, I knew my past had officially come back to fuck me in the ass—hard and deep.

Months after opening up his heart – and his past – Trent is looking forward to a future with his new bride and daughter. He’s recovered from the near-fatal shooting, hopes to purchase a farm for his beloved Teal, and is building a life free from the horrors of his past.

But the past has a bad habit of never staying buried, and now it’s coming after his entire family. Because Trent didn’t reveal all his secrets to Teal, and the deepest, darkest secret he’d always kept just out of reach is about to break the surface.

An old debt is being called in, one that will pull Trent back into the world of sex, lies, and murder he’s fought so hard to escape. And in the wake of devastating betrayals, he’ll discover who is truly loyal to him, as he agrees to pay that debt with an unforgivable crime.

Trent will stop at nothing to keep Teal and his daughter safe. Even if that means losing them forever.

Meet Ace, Gator, and Mutt from the First Sons of the Revolution MC, and enjoy the first chapter and first look at the spin-off featuring the badass, no-shit-taking men from Blackwater!

Indebted-FINAL_wrap.jpg


A lightning bolt of pain rocketed through Trent’s neck and out the other side. He grasped the bleeding wound and fell to one knee, keeping a hard grip on his weapon. Having been shot before, he easily ascertained the severity of the situation, or lack thereof. Shayla’s screams caused a sharp pain to radiate in his ear, adding to the nauseating sensations mixing in his gut.

“It’s just a fucking flesh wound, woman,” he rasped.

Shayla’s screams became blunt and muted, but no less hysterical.

“Calm the fuck down.” The bullet had only grazed his neck, causing a deep enough wound to freak Shayla the hell out. He felt her hands on his neck, attempting to staunch the bleeding. Even as she tried to save his life, Trent wanted to wrap his bloody hands around her neck for getting them into this shit in the first place.

By now, he was positive neither of them were going to die, at least not tonight. Ace and his boys wanted something from Trent, or he and Shayla would be in a hole in his backyard by now.

He pushed Shayla away, and in a calm voice said, “Go get my kit.”

Standing up, Shayla turned and faced the men surrounding them. Unable to get past the wall of armed men, she turned her questioning gaze back to his.

“Let her the fuck by,” Trent croaked, his voice sounding craggy and broken. He felt like a pussy ass fool for letting these men get the jump on him without even getting off a warning shot. Trent caught Ace’s almost indiscernible nod, then watched as Gator turn sideways, leaving a few inches for Shayla to squeeze by.

Ace reached out and grabbed her arm before she made it out the door. “Where is this kit?” he asked, not taking his eyes off Trent kneeling before him.

He motioned to the door. “Hallway bathroom.”

Ace nodded and turned to Shayla. “Don’t make me fuck you up. I don’t like hitting women, but that don’t mean I won’t.”

Shayla nodded. Trent knew she was used to getting slapped around, but the fear in her eyes told him she wouldn’t do anything stupid enough to warrant Ace’s wrath. At this point, neither would he. There was a time when the battle was lost and you had to retreat to find a way out alive. Shayla and Trent were at that point.

“Good girl,” Ace muttered as he let her go. “Follow her, Mutt.” He spoke to the man who’d shot Trent. Crossing his arms over his chest, Ace watched as the two walked down the hall, then turned back. “I meant for that to go much smoother, but ol’ Mutt back there is always quick on the trigger.”

Silence blanketed the room, until Shayla came back with the kit. Lifting up from his kneeling position, Trent sat on the corner of his bed and motioned for her to lay the box down beside him. Opening the box, he pulled some gauze out.

Shayla moved to the other side of the bed and crawled over to Trent. He stopped fussing with the wound as her expert hands took over cleaning and prepping it for bandages. Realizing the gun was still in his hand, Trent lowered it to his lap. He was not giving up his weapon. They fucking owed him as much.

“Why are we still alive?” He made eye contact with the leader.

Ace holstered his weapon. “See this?” He pointed to his vest, the words Ace in the Hole scrolled across the aged leather in antiquated white stitching. A few more patches caught Trent’s eyes, but he kept going back to the phrase.

“You already told me about that.” Trent kept his voice calm, making sure he didn’t rile them up anymore. Getting shot fucking hurt, and not even Shayla’s magic touch was soft enough to ease the burning trail of fire tearing through his neck.

Ace reached into his back pocket causing Trent to tense. He pulled out a lighter and a worn out pack of cigarettes. “Calm down, Marine.” He looked to Mutt as he lit up. “Damn, I said no bloodshed, motherfucker. Now you got him all anxious and shit.”

Mutt shrugged and stroked his beard, his ice-cold eyes boring into Trent’s. “They weren’t scared enough.”

“You are one mean ass dude.” Ace’s chuckle told Trent the guy didn’t give a fuck that he’d been shot.

He held tight to his gun, not sure if the ‘no bloodshed rule’ was still in effect.

“Anyway, I am the man you call in for jobs you don’t have the stomach to do yourself. And maybe in my old age, my stomach ain’t what it used to be.” He took a long draw from his cigarette and released the smoke.

Shayla finished wrapping Trent’s wound and scooted behind him. The motion drew Ace’s eyes to her.

He addressed Trent. “I am gonna ask you a question.”

As if on cue, Gator and Mutt raised their weapons and aimed at her. Her gasp and shudder had Trent reaching around and pulling her closer to his back.

“The answer decides whether you two live or die.” His voice lowered to a whisper. “No more games.” Shaking his head, he knelt down, both elbows propped on his knees. He reached out and traced his thumb through Trent’s blood in the ground. “You love her?”

Trent had never explored the idea of loving Shayla, because he was sure she didn’t know how to be loved. He offered her shelter, affection, and security, and she had proven time and time again that it wasn’t enough. In his eyes, to offer those things was to offer love. So, in his own way, yes, he did love her.

Trent straightened and answered as honestly as he could. “As much as a man can love a thorn in his side that makes him come like a jet rocket.”

Gator burst into laughter, and lowered his gun. Mutt, on the other hand, rolled his eyes, and never once faltered or lowered his weapon.

A whisper of a smile played over Ace’s lips. “You know. That woman is going to get you killed one day.” He stood and wiped his hand on his leather pants. “But not today.” Trent almost released his breath, until Ace continued. “Provided you do me two favors.”

“Fucking two?” Trent’s hand tightened on his gun as the words burst from him. These were not men you wanted to owe one debt to let alone two.

“Marine.” Mutt’s tone implied it was a reprimand, his eyes on the gun in Trent’s possession. With a menacing step forward, he aimed his gun at the hand holding it.

Ace continued, his conversational tone easing a bit of the tension, at least until Trent heard what he was saying. “The hit was placed for you and her. And since I am sparing both of your lives, you owe me two debts.” He looked down, staring pensively at his gun. “Or I can kill her, and you’ll owe me just one.” His indifferent tone reminded Trent of who the fuck he was dealing with.

Trent glanced between Ace and his buddies. “What’s the first favor?” He wanted to make it out of this alive, and as much as he abhorred the idea of owing them a damned thing, Trent knew he didn’t have a choice.

Gator rubbed his hands together conspiratorially, a wide grin spreading across his face. “Murder and mayhem.”

Shayla’s grip on Trent tightened. He slightly leaned back into her, offering his presence as some form of support. The men spread out around them.

“Hand me the gun.” Ace’s tone brokered no room for argument.

Reluctantly, Trent handed him the gun and sat back, waiting for whatever the fuck was going to come next. What he wasn’t expecting, were the words that came from Mutt’s mouth, or the sincerity that flowed with them.

“We got a search and rescue mission, a little girl needs saving. And,” he motion to himself and his buddies, “we are the bastards stupid enough to be heading up that shit.”

Live Reading with Joe Hempel

Hey readers and listeners, tonight 8.12.17, Joe Hempel will do a LIVE recording of a chapter Open Wounds in his page. Come and join us! 9-930!!

Open Wounds: Hope & Abel, a Love Against the Odds AWWM Novella

If you could see your life from inception to death, would you change things or would you let your death play out as fate intended?

Abel is in search of only two things: a stable job and a safe place to lay his head at night after a mistake that cost him eighteen months of his life. As if fate had plans made only for him, Abel is offered a complicated job, and a chance to redeem himself to his old boss. 
And then he meets her …
And Abel adds another item to his list—Hope.

At twenty-six, Hope has only ever slept with one man, and at her boss’s unsolicited advice, Hope plans to forget the abuse and degradation she suffered at her ex’s hand by seducing and bedding the next man she meets. Unfortunately, after Hope finds a promise of death at her doorstep, her plans are derailed and her only chance at staying alive rests on the dedication of her new bodyguard and her own sheer will to live the life she deserves.

#CoverReveal - Whiskey-Eyed Woman by @ardentaislinn

Whiskey-Eyed Woman
Aislinn Kearns
(Soldiering On #5)
Publication date: August 18th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

The final Soldiering On book

They’ve been dancing around each other since they started Soldiering On. Now, Duncan and Mandy will have to work together if they are going to get out of this alive…

Former Sergeant Major Duncan Pierce has wanted Mandy since the moment they first met, but she deserves better than a beat up old soldier. Then, a bomb planted in their office goes off, and they narrowly escape the deadly situation with their lives. Faking their own death to buy some time, they are forced to hide out together while theyplan to finally bring down the arch-enemy that has nearly destroyed them.

But in such close proximity, their powerful sexual chemistry is sure to combust…

Mandy’s sick of Duncan seeing her as the untouchable princess she’s not. When they arrive at the safe house, she’s determined to get him to see the real her. But first they have to deal with a man who wants them dead and buried, once and for all.

Goodreads / Amazon

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!
Book #1 in the series, Station Alpha, is on sale for just $0.99 right now!

EXCERPT:

“There’s a slight issue with the sleeping arrangements,” Duncan told her as he leaned past her to flick the light in the living room off.

“What’s that?” she asked, sounding a little breathless even to her own ears. Moonlight filtered in through the gauzy curtain, weaving an intimate enchantment between them.

He leaned down, and for a brief moment, Mandy thought—hoped—he’d kiss her. Instead, he rubbed his thigh with a wince. He’d pushed his leg too hard today, with the long walk and crouching. She wondered how he’d react if she offered to massage it for him, then decided she wasn’t up to facing the rejection.

“There’s only one bed…” His eyes locked onto hers as he said the words, his gaze heating.

Now she really did lose her breath, as all of it left her in a rush. The images the simple words conjured, of the two of them sharing a bed and all that might entail, crowded her mind. The hot slide of their naked bodies, mingling breaths, mind-blowing pleasure. It overwhelmed her.

“…So I’m going to sleep on the couch,” he continued.

Mandy blinked as the words penetrated her brain. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she muttered. She glanced at the two-person couch, then his 6’4” frame. “You’ll never fit.”

“Nevertheless, I’m not letting you sleep in an uncomfortable place tonight.”

Mandy narrowed her eyes. Before she could think twice, she blurted out a suggestion. “We can share.”

Even in the dim light, with his dark skin, she could see him blanch. He stumbled back and away from her.

“That’s a terrible idea,” he told her bluntly.

“Why?” she asked.

She wanted him to say it, once and for all. Did he hate her? Did he want her? Some days she suspected it was both. But she wanted to be sure, so she could finally deal with these feelings she had for him, once and for all.

“I can’t…I just…No.”

“Then I’ll take the couch,” she said, setting her shoulders.

“No,” he said again, his eyes narrowing in challenge.

“Then we’re at a standoff.”

They eyed each other for a long moment.

Mandy shifted, wanting to win this battle, even if she didn’t actually want to share a bed with him. God knows what her subconscious would do in her sleep, but it would probably be incredibly inappropriate between work colleagues.

“I won’t touch you, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

He choked, scandalised, and Mandy grinned.

“This is a terrible idea,” he muttered to himself. Victory was hers.

Author Bio:

Aislinn is an Aussie girl that loves to travel and see the world. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in English and History, which she loved, and then went on to do a Masters in an unrelated field. She now largely pretends that last degree never happened.

She is the author of the 'Soldiering On' books, a Romantic Suspense series featuring former military heroes and heroines. She enjoys reading, writing, travelling, watching action movies (particularly if they have a romance!), and fantasising about her future cottage in a forest. Now that she's published, her next life dream is to own a dog.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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Open Wounds | Excerpt

When the passion burned hot, triggering a primal response, their only choice was to explore it.

Open Wounds

Abel had been shot before. He’d been stabbed and knocked out, but he’d never been tasered, and that shit hurt like hell. He sat back in the chair in the darkened room waiting . . . Fucking waiting for Gator, or whatever the fuck his name was, to finish up in the other room.

When Abel had regained consciousness, and found Hope missing he’d done the only thing he could, and the one thing he couldn’t afford—calling Gator from the Blackwater Renegades MC. These were not men you wanted to be in debt with, but the panic in his chest and the fear in his heart led him into the lion’s den.

His leg bounced nervously under the table and he itched to palm his gun. Of course, that was the first thing he’d been forced to hand over once he walked into the clubhouse. Rough hands had patted him down, paying no regard to his injuries. A door flew open and the sound of loud music and squealing women spilled into the room.

Gator strolled in, leather pants, naked chest under his leather vest, and fucking barefoot. He glared at Abel as if he’d just pissed in his cheerios. Common sense be damned, Abel didn’t have time for another macho-man stare-down. He needed to get to Hope.

            “Well?” The word flew from him like a bark from a caged dog. “Did you find him?”

            Gator lifted his lip in an answering snarl. His sharpened teeth glistened in the dark room, and the noise rumbling out of his chest reminded Abel that he was not in Kansas any longer. This was Renegade terrain, and submitting to the VP of the MC came with the territory.

Abel grudgingly lowered his tone. “My woman’s in trouble. I don’t have a lot of time. Tell me what you want in turn for the information I need, and it is yours.” Abel didn’t give a damn what they would ask of him, as long as it brought him to Hope. He’d failed to keep her safe. He’d been too busy wanting to touch her that he hadn't noticed the headlights in the rearview mirror. Stupid.

            Gator glared a moment longer before moving to the bar. “Need a drink?”

Abel gritted his teeth. I don’t want a fucking drink, asshole. “No, man. Just the info.”

Gator lifted the bottle and brought it over to the table. Placing a glass down in front of Abel, he poured slowly. Abel vowed if anything happened to Hope while they sat there drinking, he would burn the fucking clubhouse to the ground. He glanced at his watch. Hope had been missing a total of three hours. For one of those hours, Abel had been sitting here—waiting like a goddamned fool. Thinking better of wasting more time with Gator, he made to stand, but the man’s next words halted him in his tracks.

            “We have your woman.” He said the words as if he were talking about finding Abel’s lost dog; unbothered by the fact Abel had sat here for an hour, thinking of ways to commit murder without ending up in jail.

His breath left him in a whoosh, and Abel wasn’t sure, but he thought he might puke. “And?” he asked, trying to hide his fury and concern.

            Gator took a large swig from the bottle of liquor. “The info you gave me was useless. I knew about this man as soon as he crossed county lines. It’s my fucking job to know shit like that.”

Fuck it. Abel lifted the glass and downed the liquid. His throat burned and his gut protested the fiery shit, but he held it down.

            “Where is she?” He stood, leaning over the table. In this moment, Abel didn’t give a damn about titles or authority. He wanted Hope, and he’d find a gun and shoot his way through this cesspool if he had to.

Tomorrow Meet LEX & THEA!

She paused in front of the door, fist raised and ready to knock, when a thought occurred to her. Lex had mentioned he’d seen Abbott earlier, and all of Blackwater knew damned well that on a Saturday night there was only one place to find Abbot and that was at Blackies.

“Shit,” she whispered fiercely as she backed away from the door. If it had been any other bar, she wouldn’t have given a damn, but Blackies? Known for its cheap hookers and cheap booze, it was the one bar not one respectable Blackwater resident would ever show their face. Sure, Blackwater was full of hoodlums and fools, but even most of them steered clear of Blackies. Turning away from the door, Thea made her way to the kitchen.

She yanked open cabinets, rifling through them until she found an old bottle of whiskey. Hunting high and low for shot glasses, she came up empty.

With an annoyed growl, Thea plopped down at the table and opened the bottle. “Fuck it.” A long swig later and Thea found herself sputtering and coughing up a damned lung. Wheezing, Thea thumped her chest until she was able to breathe again. “Shit, that always looked easier in movies.” Wiping her watering eyes, she lifted the bottle again, and this time she took a careful sip; the liquid formed a burning trail down her throat and pooled in her belly.

What the hell was Lex doing at Blackies? If all he wanted was liquor, then he could have ended up at any other bar, why had it been that one? Braving another gulp, Thea closed her eyes and tried to imagine Lex picking up another woman. The thought seared her blood more than the liquor ever could.

Feeling foolish for one, drinking alone, and two, not having the guts to ask Lex the question himself, Thea bounded up, liquor bottle in hand, and stomped down the hallway. This time, without hesitation, she burst into the bathroom only to see Lex, all naked, tatted, two hundred and some pounds of him covered in soap with her little pink razor between his fingers, eyeing it as if it were a snake seconds from striking. Thea couldn’t help but stand frozen in place, viewing him through the see through shower curtain. His tanned and toned ass flex as he turned, confusion marring his now clean, but still hairy face.

Lifting the razor, he asked, “What the fuck am I supposed to do with this?”

Thea covered her mouth, yet was unable to mask her laughter. “What are you trying to do with it? ’Cause I can tell you now that all that hair ain’t gonna do nothing but break that poor little thing.” The pink disposable razor seemed tiny compared to his enormous fingers. Leaning against the doorjamb, Thea watched as suds slid down, leaving a glistening path down his back to slide down the round globes of his ass. She licked her lips when Lex turned to face her. The eagle tattoo on his chest glistened and his ripped abs sparkled as iridescent soapsuds glided down to mingle with the blond curls covering the top of his sex. Before her eyes made it down farther, Lex called her name.

Thea jumped and whiskey sloshed over and down the side of the bottle. “Uh—huh?” Her surprised changed to annoyance when her gaze met his cocky smirk.

What did I come in here for, again? Ah, yes, to scold him about being a dick. Dick, cock … Her mind slipped back into a naughty abyss of Lex’s wet, lathered body. Her eyes made their way south, taking in the sight of a man who prided himself on being fit, but again, he caught her attention before her eyes met his naked sex.

Clearing his throat, he asked, “May I have a modicum of privacy?” His jovial tone added fuel to the fire in her belly.

Privacy? He wants privacy? Hell, no!

Thrusting a finger in his direction while keeping a firm grip on the liquor bottle, Thea grumbled, “Did you and your hooker have privacy at Blackies?”

Lex’s lips parted and his brow dipped in confusion. “Blackies?”

“Oh don’t you play dumb with me.” She sneered. “You said you saw Abbott, yeah?” Liquor burned a hole in her belly, so what better way to relieve the burn than to add to it? She lifted the bottle to her lips, staring at Lex over the brim while she took a healthy gulp. Fighting the urge not to choke she added, “And we all know where Abbott spends his nights, don’t we?”

Lex had the decency to look embarrassed. His face and neck reddened as he averted his gaze.

“Jesus, Lex.” Thea slapped a hand over her forehead and gave him a disparaging glare. “A hooker?”

In a more subdued tone Lex asked, “Close the goddamned door, will ya?”