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Authors: Rhyannon Byrd

Tags: #Romance, #Erotica, #Contemporary

Against The Wall

BOOK: Against The Wall
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Against the Wall
Against the Wall

Against the Wall

Against the Wall
Prologue

 

The first words to pop into her head were strange ones—a resurrection from the warmth of childhood in an instinctual attempt to find comfort in the decidedly uncomfortable.

I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…

How wonderfully mad to be quoting The Wizard of Oz, she mused—but standing in the doorway of Red’s Bar, Shea Dresden felt a strange affinity with the displaced Dorothy and her little dog. Red’s was definitely a far cry from her usual haunts. Places like the university’s lecture hall and library.

Yeah, okay, so she was a geek. No one knew that better than she. But she was a determined geek, damn it, and no Wicked Witch of the West or burly looking bully was going to send her running before she got what she’d come here for!

Yeah, you go girl, her woman’s pride cheered, and Shea put everything she had into focusing on the rallying war cry, rather than the flurry of nervous energy pumping through her overexcited system. Her body quaked with it, and the smoke-filled air only made the nauseating exhilaration that much worse.

It wasn’t that she couldn’t stand a little smoke. Heck, she smoked sometimes herself, when she got too restless or tense—or just needed an excuse to sit on her balcony listening for her next-door neighbor Ryan. But this wasn’t just a little smoke. The inside of Red’s was dingy gray with the thickness of it, and Shea knew when she left she’d still be able to smell it on her clothes and in her hair.

Not that I’m wearing all that many clothes, she thought with a wry twist of her lips, but then she was here to meet a man.

And not just any man, honey, her incessantly complaining libido chimed in, but Ryan McCall, the sexiest damn thing we’ve ever set eyes on!

Ryan was everything Shea thought a man should be, and gorgeous to boot. Tall, tawny-headed, and ruggedly, insanely, made you want to wrestle him to the nearest bed handsome.

Without a doubt, the quintessential stud.

Shea wanted him unlike anything she’d ever wanted before. Wanted him enough to swallow her stupid pride and do whatever—whatever—it took to get him. She was done accepting his casual brush-offs. Done tiptoeing around that infuriating distance he insisted on maintaining between them.

Tonight, she was ready to get as up close and personal as two people could get. Ready to slip under his guard and batter down his defenses until she’d gotten as far into him as he’d worked his way into her. She wanted it all, every single intoxicating detail that made him so irresistible. Wanted absolute access to every breathtaking inch of skin, muscle, and bone. Wanted to know firsthand how it felt to be at the mercy of all that overwhelmingly raw, masculine power.

That’s why she was here.

“When he wants a woman,” her best friend Hannah had told her, “Ry likes to hang out at Red’s. It’s not that it’s really dangerous or anything, but it definitely caters to a rough and tumble kind of crowd. Let’s just say it’s not the kind of place where you and I would hang out, but Ry does just fine there.”

Shea had wanted to know why someone as gorgeous as Ryan McCall didn’t have a steady girlfriend, when he could so obviously have his choice of any woman he wanted.

And that had been Hannah’s answer.

Red Mackey’s Bar.

Ryan, it seemed, preferred a no-strings-attached brand of sex—and he found it at Red’s.

It was hard to believe the sexy ATF agent resorted to this place for his pleasure, but Hannah had known Ryan forever. If she said he went to Red’s to get laid, then Shea knew it was true. Why he would come here to look for a woman was beyond her, but here she was, ready to do her best to finally get the stud right where she wanted him.

Sure, she didn’t know a whole heck of a lot about playing the part of a hot, willing, available woman, but no way in hell was she letting that hold her back. Tonight, Shea intended to be that woman—the one—the woman, which was why her palms were damp and her stomach was flip-flopping with sexual tension, winding her up tight enough to snap.

It wasn’t that she was afraid. Not of Ryan—not of how she felt about him—and she sure as hell wasn’t afraid of what she wanted from him.

The only thing she feared now was failure—but tonight, it wasn’t going to be an option.

She worried about going through life never craving another human being the way she craved him. But she had it now, that heady, beautiful burn of need spearing through her system, and all she wanted to do was embrace it. Celebrate it. Satisfy it. She wanted to surrender and succumb to it, drowning her senses…drenching them in the ravenous, insatiable, consuming feelings of heart-pounding lust and sexual hunger that this man inspired in her. Wanted to fill up on the dizzying rush of energy that just looking at him pumped through her veins, filling her cells, until she felt packed full of life.

And more than anything in the world, she wanted to be packed full of that beautiful bad boy.

All she had to do was find him. Of course, beneath the eerie, flickering glow of the fluorescent beer signs, that was probably going to be harder than she’d expected.

Damn, and here she’d thought this would be the easy part. It was Friday night, and despite its nitty-gritty interior, Red’s was packed with people. Men and women obviously looking for a place where they could drown their sorrows and hook up with a warm body for the night.

And Shea knew Ryan wasn’t much of a drinker.

She also knew he wasn’t much on relationships either, but she hoped to change that. At least that was the plan. The first part of the plan, though, was to get sex. Lots and lots of hard, heavy, mind-shattering sex—with Ryan.

From the look of the women strutting around, Shea didn’t need to use her Ph.D. to get a fairly good idea of what drew him here week after week. Yep, Hannah had definitely been right on that score. The nervous, excited, kind of sick feeling in her stomach twisted into something sharper—something green and possessive that made her want to corner every woman in the place and demand the nature of their association with her man.

When a heavy-chested redhead with legs that looked longer than Shea’s entire body strolled by, drinks balanced perfectly on a tray in her manicured hand, Shea had the compelling urge to start with her. The redhead looked like just the type of woman she imagined Ryan using for a hard ride to take the edge off. She had the most ridiculous impulse to go and stomp on the woman’s red-painted toes. Too bad she knew she’d never really do such a thing, because thinking of the sexy bar server and Ryan together made the idea sweetly satisfying.

It hit her out of the blue, the overwhelming enormity of what she was trying to accomplish here. The knowledge of what was at stake stormed through her body, leaving an uncomfortable prickling sensation in its wake. Suddenly, she felt incredibly stupid standing there in her new J. Crew summer dress. It was slinky black silk, bought especially for the occasion, along with the matching high-heeled sandals that were slowly killing her poor feet. She’d even left her glossy black curls free to spiral around her face in a style the women’s magazines had said would look both womanly and flirtatious.

Like Dorothy slipping into her ruby slippers, Shea had felt transported to another world as she donned the weapons of her seduction, piece by sensual piece, down to the tiny black thong hidden beneath her dress. She didn’t so much wonder if she could do this, as feel that she had to do this. It was serendipity. Everything in the universe had come together at this specific moment in time to give her this one shot—this one cosmically designed chance to take what she wanted.

And what she wanted was her gorgeous neighbor.

When she’d cast that last glance in the mirror before leaving her apartment, she’d actually thought she stood a chance of attracting Ryan’s attention tonight. Without a doubt, she looked better…sexier than ever before, but now she no longer felt quite so confident.

She’d wanted Ryan to see her as something other than his brainy next-door neighbor—wanted him to see there was so much more to the black-haired little mouse with firm, somewhat smallish breasts and nonexistent hips who he seemed to regard as a quirky nuisance every time she sought him out.

But maybe it wasn’t going to work.

Next to the hourglass figures in Red’s, Shea figured she looked more average than ever. She didn’t even want to think about the sexy redhead, whose figure was the kind Shea had always dreamed of but never developed. When compared to a woman like her—well, she knew it’d be a miracle if he even noticed she had her own set of breasts.

Hey, these babies are just fine, her pride muttered, clearly losing patience with her for faltering, and not getting a move on. They’re cute and perky, and you know the old saying, honey, “Anything more than a handful and you’re risking a tongue sprain!”

She’s right, her cheeky libido echoed, and we want that tongue in prime condition! Have I ever told you girls about that last fantasy I had? The one where he throws me on the bed and shoves that wicked tongue of his straight up my—

Enough, Shea laughed over the sultry feminine voices in her mind, hoping like hell she wasn’t going to need psychiatric help anytime soon. Never would be even better, but she wasn’t holding out much hope at this point.

Or did all women have these strange little conversations in their heads?

Of course they do, drawled her asinine voice of reason. Why else would men find us so difficult to comprehend?

Because they’re always thinking with their little head instead of their big one, smirked her pride, and Shea almost choked on another sudden burst of amusement.

Mmm, I don’t know about that, her libido clucked mischievously. From the look of Ryan’s package, I’d say he’s got a positively huge, um, brain hidden down in those pants of his. More than enough to do any “thinking” that needs to be done, though I’ll be happy to give him any suggestions, should the magnificent stud req—

Cut it out, Shea groaned, biting her tongue to keep from giggling out loud. Her moment of panic had passed, and she was back in action mode, her feminine wiles having effectively done their job and boosted her resolve.

So she didn’t have boobs that spilled out of her neckline.

So what?

Maybe her sex appeal was more subtle than Red’s regulars, maybe her looks didn’t scream Hey buddy, fuck me blind!, but she was going to be damned before she let it stop her tonight. She’d come here to get laid by the only man she’d ever really wanted sinking between her legs, and by God, she wasn’t leaving until she got him!

“But where the hell is he?” she mumbled beneath her breath, squinting into the dim interior while trying to locate Ryan in the shadowed booths and corners. She wasn’t budging until she found him, and from the look of things, she might be using the pepper spray she’d stuffed in her black-beaded handbag long before she did.

The place could’ve given the term “meat market” its name. If the women looked easy, then the men looked like an advertisement for why good girls should stay home at night and let the party girls have all the fun. But screw it. Shea was tired of being good, and there was only one man she wanted to get down and dirty with and that was Ryan.

And if anything, she’d learned enough from the Jimmy debacle to trust her instincts…and hold out for what she really wanted.

Having made it this far, she at least had to find Ryan—had to hope there might be even the smallest chance he’d finally see her as that single, available, very willing woman he was looking for. If he took the bait, she was going to let him do anything he wanted to her, so long as she got a chance to do it all right back.

And although she might lack a lot of hands-on experience, her imagination worked just fine. The decadent thought of having his long, golden body laid out like a feast for her pleasure, his magnificent cock hers to do with as she pleased, had been her private fantasy for weeks now.

But it was time for the fantasy to end.

It was time for her to put her all into it and make a reality of the fact that she wanted to be taken long and hard and deep—and not just for a one-night stand.

Uh-uh. No way. Once she got him, she planned on keeping him.

But there was no need to blurt her intentions right out and scare the blasted man away forever. If the idea of having coffee with her turned him pale, she was pretty sure the idea of commitment would send him running scared. So her plan was really quite simple. As soon as she got his cooperation, she was going to take him to bed and give him everything—her body, heart, and soul—and show him just how much she loved him by giving him the best damn fuck of his life.

These women strutting around with their wealth of sexual expertise might have it on her when it came to time in the field, but none of them could top the fact that when Ryan was breaking her open, filling her up, he was going to be piercing a hell of a lot more than her body—and driving straight to her heart.

She only hoped tonight worked, because this was the last of her and Hannah’s brilliant schemes. Who knew what she’d have to resort to if he turned her down tonight? She’d spent the last three months flirting and smiling with the gorgeous jerk, only to come up empty-handed time and again.

BOOK: Against The Wall
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