Authors: Jeana E. Mann
A Felony Romance Novel
Jeana E. Mann
Published by Ishkadiddle Publishing
Copyright 2013. Jeana E. Mann Author.
Cover by SelfPubBookCovers.com/calsharp
E BOOK ISBN: 978-0-9897714-0-5
PRINT ISBN: 978-0-9897714-1-2
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All characters and events in this book are fiction and figments of the author’s imagination. Any similarity to real persons, alive or deceased, is purely coincidental.
A few minutes past midnight on a hot June night, Ally Taylor turned out the lights of her office at Reyes Corporation, caught a cab to the seamier side of town, and slid onto a barstool at Felony. A notorious underground club with a reputation for heavy metal music and brawling, Felony was her favorite guilty pleasure after a week of stuffy boardroom meetings, financial statements, and patronizing compliments from men in conservative blue suits. Nothing took her further from oppressive corporate life than this edgy bar tucked down an alley like the city’s dirty secret. Its eclectic mix of leather-clad bikers and metal heads appealed to her secret desire to be someone – anyone – other than the boring accountant that she was.
She watched with envy as dancers bobbed and swayed to the raging music like an undulating wave in an angry sea. Pungent odors of sweat and incense mingled with the less obtrusive smells of whiskey and flash pots from the stage. Laser lights and strobes flashed like lightning in time to the thunder of heavy bass and drums. The whole place thrummed with energy as if on the brink of an explosion.
Any other time, she might have felt out of place in her conservative cream silk blouse and knee-length taupe skirt amidst all of the metal-studded leather and ripped denim. The women frowned at her attire while the men gave her a wide berth as if she might burst into religious sermon if they came too close. With a resigned shrug, she raised a hand to pat the sleek French twist in her hair lest one of the unruly locks escape its prison. Satisfied that every hair held its place, she turned her gaze to the crowd around her.
“Hey there, pretty girl.” One of the bartenders set a gin and tonic with two slices of lime in front of her before she had spoken a word. She tried to hand him a ten dollar bill but he waved it away with a shrug and a wink. “Your drinks are on the house tonight.”
As he returned to the other end of the bar, her gaze followed him. This particular broad-shouldered bartender was the reason most females came to Felony, and she was no exception. His name was Jack. They had a passing acquaintance limited to brief discussions of the weather and sports, mingled with occasional flirtatious remarks. Although she had a huge crush on him, she’d never admitted it to anyone including herself. Jack represented everything that was absent from her life; spontaneity, promiscuity…
. He was the green grass on the other side of her self-imposed fence, a temptation that she coveted but would never taste.
A pang of guilt made her look away from the sexy bartender. It was hard to forget that she’d been in love…or
t she was in love… with someone else a week ago. Had it really been love if the other person didn’t love her back? She bit her lower lip in contemplation of the question that had kept her awake every night since she’d found Brian in Becca’s arms. If she had truly been in love, she wouldn’t be sitting here in this bar, lusting after another man. Yet here she was, seven days later, secretly stalking a man who didn’t even know her name.
To distract herself from this unresolved cycle of contemplation, she concentrated on Jack and the endless parade of women who perched on the barstool at the end of the counter – or Jack’s Seat of Shame as she called it. Women smiled and flirted in a desperate attempt to catch his eye. His gaze wandered over all of them as he leaned across the opposite end of the bar, knee deep in conversation with a leggy redhead. A cute blond with a bouncing ponytail waited on deck at the periphery of the bar area, ready to pounce at the first sign of opportunity. From the looks of things, Miss Ponytail wouldn’t have to wait long.
Things weren’t going too well for the redhead. She cried and gestured emphatically from her barstool. Jack’s shoulders rose in an unsympathetic shrug as he turned to leave. The girl grabbed at his sleeve in a desperate attempt to pull him back, but he slid away without comment. A tear-streaked pout marred the pretty face as Jack went about the business of wiping down the oak countertop without a backward glance. When he failed to return after a few minutes, the redhead bolted toward the bathroom with a loud sob.
“What was that about?” Ally asked Jack as he replaced her drink a few minutes later.
The tip of his unlit cigarette bobbed up and down with his words as it dangled from between his lips. “We had a misunderstanding.”
Jack was a self-admitted asshole but his beauty made his actions more tolerable. Not that a handsome face and rocking body excused a man from common decency, but in his case it certainly blurred the lines of acceptance. His sexy just-tumbled-out-of-bed look might not work for some guys, but Jack wore it like an old pair of jeans. It was so distracting that she could barely concentrate on his words. Their eyes met and his perfect lips curved into a perfect smile that had her stomach doing somersaults. Dark eyes held the promise of something sensual and forbidden, as if he just finished doing nasty and unspeakable things to a willing female, and they had both enjoyed every minute of it. She shivered and shook her head to dispel the image of Jack’s naked body among her twisted silk bed sheets.
Damn, but he’s fine.
Her gaze flickered up to meet his again and found him watching her with amusement.
“What kind of misunderstanding?” She squirmed on her barstool, unnerved by the strength of her attraction to him so soon after The Breakup.
“I’m not in love with her and she can’t understand why.” The brutal honesty and total lack of remorse in his confession was intriguing and perversely attractive. “And I suppose sleeping with her mother didn’t help.”
“Seriously? You slept with her mother? At the same time? That’s disgusting.” She tossed back her drink and shoved the glass forward for a refill. It sounded like something her own mother would do, a thought which conjured up a whole other set of unresolved issues that she’d rather ignore. “How’s that working out for you?”
He stopped his work to grin up at her. “Pretty well up until tonight. And just so you know, I didn’t sleep with both of them at the same time.”
“What makes a guy do something like that? I mean, really, I’d like to know. Don’t you have any morals?” Bitterness tinged her words. It wasn’t like her to say such things to someone she didn’t know, or someone she
know for that matter, but fresh from The Breakup with an adulterous fiancé, she was truly curious. Jack seemed to appreciate her candor and stopped what he was doing to lean an elbow on the counter in front of her.
“Hey, I had no idea they were related. The mother knew all along but never said anything until we got caught. If you ask me,
the one with issues.” He jerked his head in the direction of the ladies room. “Red can’t let it go. Says she loves me.” He snorted and shuddered as if the idea made his skin crawl. “I was perfectly clear from the start that I had no interest in any kind of relationship outside of the sexual kind.”
“Oh, you’re one of
guys.” She let the gin slide down her throat, savoring the burn and the ensuing warmth it left in its wake.
“Absolutely. Neat and tidy that way.” One of his long fingers tapped the back of her hand as it held her glass. “You should try it sometime.”
Not one for taking chances, the idea went against everything she believed, but a second look at his muscular perfection suggested that he was probably worth the risk. A quick mental flash of Jack’s naked body pressed against hers, writhing in ecstasy, brought a flush of embarrassment to her cheeks. His no-holds-barred view of life intrigued and horrified her conservative sensibilities.
Jack grinned, revealing a delicious dimple on each side of his mouth, as if he could read her mind. He couldn’t possibly know her thoughts could he? The heat grew in her cheeks. She snapped her gaping mouth shut. The ice in the gin and tonic jingled against the glass as she stirred it with a little too much enthusiasm and breathed a sigh of relief when his attention snagged on Miss Ponytail.
A girl with a spiked blue crew cut and a butterfly tattoo on the nape of her neck sidled up to the bar beside Ally. The girl stared at Jack as he walked past, uninhibited lust plain in her gaze. It seemed no one was immune to him.
Ally’s gaze slid back to Jack from underneath the veil of her lashes. Miss Ponytail seemed thrilled at his presence. Oblivious to the girl, he stared at Ally. His gaze swept from her head to her toes and back up again, lingering too long at breast and thigh…probably amused by her conservative outfit. She ran a finger inside her collar to release some of the heat building inside her. The tattooed girl smiled at her in sympathy. It took a minute for Ally to realize the girl was talking to her. Something about Jack’s preference for kink and threesomes.
What kind of guy sleeps with two women at once?
She shuddered at the thought of lying naked in bed next to another woman whose body would undoubtedly put her own plentiful curves to shame. She had never undressed in front of her ex-fiancé unless the lights were out and her cellulite safely hidden from view.
The sexy devil at the end of the bar nodded and smiled as if confirming the tattooed girl’s confession. How was it possible for him to be ten feet away yet feel as if he was inside her head? He licked his lips as if he was ready to devour her, as if she was some kind of tasty treat. That kind of raw sexuality unnerved her, disturbed her deep down, as if just by looking at him she had committed an unforgivable sin and liked it.
She needed to get away from him, needed a minute to shake off the illicit thoughts that he inspired. Thinking to flee towards the sanctuary of the ladies room, she twirled around on her barstool and came knee to thigh with the object of her distress. Jack was there, uncomfortably close.
“Where’s your boyfriend?” She tipped her head back to see his face. His denim clad leg rubbed against her bare thigh as he slid into the seat beside her.
“We broke up last week.” The words escaped before she could stop them. The last thing she wanted was sympathy from the likes of him.
“It’s about freaking time. Always thought he was a douche bag. What happened?”
“I walked in on him doing my roommate – in my house – on my birthday.” She stared at him, daring him to make a smart-ass comment.