Authors: Lia Slater
Deception brings them together. Exposure can
tear them apart...
“I’m not a whore,” she said over her shoulder, suddenly feeling completely naked in more ways than one.
She puffed out a breath, irritated with herself for allowing him to touch her, and for liking it too much to stop. Just how far would she have let him go? How far did she
want it to go? His proposal was annoyingly tempting.
“That’s good because I’m not going to pay you.”
He stood up behind her, dropping his head to right above her neck. His warm, cinnamon breath swept across her bare shoulders. “Just finish the job I already started.”
She spun around and perched her hands on her hips, wanting him to know she wasn’t intimidated by his brashness. With a bravado she didn’t feel, she looked up into his pale blue eyes, swallowed her rising nerves, and said, “Why are you still here?”
He quirked up his mouth in a smirk. “I’m not a man who likes to waste time,
” He said her name with all the falseness they both knew it contained.
“I’m not a woman who jumps on command,” she snapped back. The guy had a lot of nerve.
“No?” His brows squinted together as he lifted the guilty finger and licked it, his tongue consuming the bodily juices that still clung to his skin. Her juices. He winked. “Sure tastes like you do.”
A surge of heat pulsed where his finger had once been, but she did her best to ignore it. “Sorry, sweetie.” She gave him a once-over and desperately tried to look unimpressed. “I don’t fraternize with the customers.”
A sexy grin spread across his face. “Room 112 at the hotel across the street. Come over when you’re done here. You won’t regret it.”
PRAISE FOR AUTHOR
“FATAL EXPOSURE is an exciting read with edge-of-the-seat suspense. Kade is perfectly flawed and the perfect solution to Ava’s troubles. Scorching hot sex, thrilling action and an explosive climax.”
~KyAnn Waters, author of Hot Blooded andExecutive Positions
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
COPYRIGHT © 2009 by Lia Slater
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Contact Information: [email protected] Cover Art by
The Wild Rose Press
PO Box 708
Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708
Visit us at www.thewilderroses.com
First Scarlet Rose Edition, September 2009
Print ISBN 1-60154-681-5
Published in the United States of America
To my husband
for all your support and unconditional love. Special thanks to P and to K.A.
for all your help with this book.
You ladies rock!
Thanks to my editor, Diana,
for coming up with such a fabulous title. And a big shout-out to the sassy,
talented Colorado Vixens.
Ava Lureau snaked her leg around the silver pole, gripped it tightly with one hand, and slowly let her body fall until she twirled around. As she came to a stop, she planted her stilettos firmly onto the stage and whipped back the auburn locks of hair that covered her view of the front door. It swung open and a group of whooping, whistling frat boys barged through, pushing and shoving their way into the club. Two of them began jumping up and down to the beat of the techno music blaring from the speakers.
. Not these guys again.
Ava crawled on her hands and knees toward the man who had been her only audience for the past ten minutes. He hadn’t showed her any dollar bills yet, but he could keep her from having to dance for one of the obnoxious Alpha Betas or whatever the heck they called themselves.
At least Zack hadn’t walked through the door. It had been seven months since she’d packed a single backpack and fled from his Washington, D.C. condo, but his words were still fresh in her mind.
Try to leave me, bitch, and I’ll hunt you down andkill you.
Ava believed him, considering he’d almost taken her life once. After recovering from three broken ribs, too many bruises to count, and a concussion, she decided to take the chance and run like hell. She emptied her measly savings account, paid cash for a bus ticket to
and ended up in Flagstaff, Arizona. Twenty-two hundred miles from home.
She’d gotten off the bus and immediately noticed the strip club. A
sign hung in the window. She’d never once considered taking such a risqué job before, one that forced her to be the center of attention. And she was sure her ex-boyfriend would come to the same conclusion, which made it the perfect choice.
The owner of Hothouse Gentlemen’s Club hadn’t cared that she’d “lost” her identification. The only requirement had been a flash of her breasts, and she was in. And saved from having to let anyone know who she really was, a bookish college student with little to no social life.
A woman on the run.
How would Zack find her if
She learned a long time ago that Zack Moreno wasn’t a man to mess with or to underestimate. He worked for one of the most powerful senators on Capitol Hill. The right hand man who did the dirty work. Work that required a jaded heart and a sick mind—something Ava hadn’t realized until it was too late.
The simple fact that he hadn’t found her yet was a miracle of its own. In the two years she had known him, he’d always needed to have the last word, and she’d always let him. Until now.
She moved along the stage, closer to the tall man with the short dark hair and leather jacket. He appeared to be in his early to mid thirties. Attractive. Strong, stubborn chin and an angular jaw line. Lips that beckoned without saying a word. Brooding eyes. Hmm. How hadn’t she noticed his eyes were an alluring light blue before? Well, now that they were staring at her breasts that swayed with her movements...
Yep, they’re real, bud
. Just not the hair and eyes. But he didn’t need to know that. No one did. It was part of the cover.
His ice cold gaze finally blinked as she lay out on her back in front of him, arching her spine and caressing her breasts.
Her nipples were tightly budded against the cold air that perpetually loomed in the club. That, along with the icy tiled floor underneath her, kept them taut. But she wouldn’t doubt her current customer’s avid attention was the cause of why they tingled and felt heavier than normal.
This guy had been coming in every evening for the past week, mostly sitting a good distance away. And as Ava took in his ruggedly handsome features, she couldn’t help but wonder why. He didn’t look like the type of man who would have a hard time finding a date.
Maybe he was recently divorced? Unhappily married? Looking for a distraction from his mundane world? Who knew?
She continued with her usual routine by sitting up and sweeping her hair back. The wispy tips glided against the man’s broad chest. Then she spread her legs apart in front of him and lifted her ass to sway her hips in the sexy way she’d learned from the other girls. His gaze left her breasts and traveled down to the thin strip of sheer black panty that barely covered her pussy.
For the first time since landing a job in this place, she found herself attracted to one of the patrons. And she had to admit, getting this gorgeous man off would be a huge turn on. Having a little fun, just this once, could be what she needed to forget about her worries, if only for a few minutes. But he seemed so stiff and serious, she couldn’t tell if he liked her or not.
To test it out, she abandoned her routine and spread her legs wider, running her finger from her crotch up to her navel.
His lip twitched.
She swerved her finger over her stomach, between her breasts, to her mouth where she sucked on the tip and then reached out and brushed it across his full lips.
His tongue ran over the damp path she’d left. Ava never gave any particular man this much attention, especially if he wasn’t showing any dough. But this guy’s cut jaw line, piercing blue eyes, and powerful-looking mouth had her more than interested. She knew nothing would happen. Nothing could happen. But he’d make a mighty sweet dream when she hit the sheets tonight...alone.
“Do you want a lap dance?” she asked him, since Poppy had taken the stage behind her and the frat boys were beginning to close in. “Over there?” She pointed to a secluded corner of the club across the sea of clear plastic chairs and lavender laminatecovered tables that were each topped by a faux candle. Tacky to say the least, but once again, she put the thought out of her mind.
Without a word, he stood up to his six and a half foot height and offered her a hand off the stage. A large hand with long callused fingers. Masculine. No wedding ring.
Ava was tempted to curl her smaller hand around his palm, into his embrace, but remembered the house rules. “Sorry, the bouncers will be all over you in two seconds if you touch me.” She slid off the stage on her own. “You go. I’ll follow.”
The mysterious man turned on her order and began walking. The rear view of him didn’t look half bad either. His broad shoulders and wide back put the bouncers to shame. Unfortunately, his black leather blazer covered his ass, but she didn’t imagine it would be disappointing.
He stopped short in front of her and swiveled around. His well-built frame was a good foot higher than her height in heels. And as he stared down at her with a strange intensity, a cold sliver of fear crept down her spine.
Zack was about this tall.
That bastard just wouldn’t get out of her thoughts. No matter how red she dyed her hair, what color of contacts she wore or what job she had...a job she never dreamed she’d have the nerve to do in her previous life.
The mere thought was laughable. She’d been an excellent student, working hard to get her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. And now here she was about to purposely arouse a complete stranger. It was part of the job, but there was something not quite right about this guy. Something unsettling. Before she could get up the nerve to turn and leave the intimidating blue-eyed man, he lowered his body into a chair and tugged off his jacket. His black T-shirt stretched against his muscular chest and ribbed stomach as he leaned back, letting his hands dangle at his side. He cocked his head while his wintry eyes engulfed her like a hunter examining his prey.
Everything about this guy told her to flee, to get the hell away from him and fast. As inconspicuously as possible, she swept a glance around the room, finding the nearest bouncer. Jarred, the two hundred twenty pound mass of muscle, met her gaze and gave her a slight nod. At least she had that.
“What’s your name?” The man’s deep voice drew her back.
Time for the show
She stepped in between his massive legs, bringing her knee up to rest on his thigh. Her hands braced on his stone hard shoulders as she leaned forward and let her lips touch his ear. “Lily,” she answered in the sensual, playful voice used only inside these walls. The musky smell of his aftershave wafted up her nose, relaxing her a little.
“What’s yours?” She pulled back, lightly brushing her mouth across his stubbly cheek.
“Is that your real name?” His voice rumbled across her jaw line, warming her cheek and prickling her skin.
Like she was going to tell him that. She smiled and rested her forehead against his, meeting his stare. “It’s whatever you want it to be.” She ran her fingers over his temple and through the soft curls on his head.
The coldness in his expression began to fade as he edged into her touch.
Not so tough after all
. He was just like any other guy who walked through the door, putty in a woman’s hand. But unlike any other man, he was holding her interest.