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Rough and TumbleROUGH AND TUMBLE, Book 1 in the Rough and Tumble Series

July 2014

On the dusty outskirts of Vegas, there’s a down and dirty saloon where all sorts of lethally charming—and genuinely dangerous—men carouse to seduce the women who happen to venture inside on their way to and from Sin City.

After Molly Preston flees a dead-end job with a pervy boss, she finds herself in even hotter water after one of her best friends makes the wrong bet in a poker game with a sexy bad boy drifter in a backroom of the Rough & Tumble.

The man’s name is Cash. And he offers Molly an indecent proposal—one hot night with him—that could erase her friend’s debt to him in one fell swoop. She wants to say yes, even if this mysteriously hot man seems just as unsafe as he is tempting.

One night becomes two...then more...and soon Molly is on a road trip in the desert, with a dangerous man who shows her the hedonistic ropes and pushes her to the edges of eroticism. But how far is too far for a woman who needs to find “normal” again?

Available at: Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

 


Excerpt from ROUGH AND TUMBLE

His voice was part gravel, part velvet, and it felt as if it was smoothing up and over Molly’s skin, abrading her, brushing her in places that hadn’t been brushed in . . .

Was a year too awful to admit to?

She was so rattled by him that all she could manage was to give him that I-see-you-but-I’m-not- acknowledging-it look that she’d given the older bikers earlier. Habit. A survival mechanism, because there was no good reason this guy should be talking to her, grinning at her, nodding his chin to the shot of whisky on the bar that he’d obviously ordered.

Cool. No, yikes. Both reactions blasted through her at the same time, and she wasn’t sure if she was actually cooling or yikesing right now. Thanks to her whisky buzz, she stood there deciding.

That only seemed to encourage him. “I noticed you like this stuff, so I took the liberty.”

“I’ve probably had enough,” she said. “But thank you.”

Why wasn’t she moving along?

“You haven’t had the top-shelf brand,” he said.

She had no idea what she’d been drinking, but she shouldn’t be having any part of this so-called improvement.“That’s really very nice of you,” she said. Still standing there. Feet . . . help?

“It’s obvious,” he said, “that you’re not much of a whisky person. Even with your back turned, I could tell you were making faces while you were drinking it, like Jane Austen trying out spiked tea.” He paused. “Or whatever her name was.”

Now she really couldn’t move. Her nethers were too busy getting all warm and tingly again. Had he just made a reference to the Austen? Guys like him weren’t supposed to throw names like that around, even if he’d tried to backtrack.

He lightly kicked at the stool next to him with his weathered biker boot, pushing the seat away from the bar in an invitation to sit. The whisky had hit her enough by now that sitting down and having another one with this total and inappropriate stranger seemed like a not-so-bad idea. She was on vacation, right? When would she ever see him again? Never.

Sounded wonderful to her.

But she’d always believed that when a guy bought you a drink, he was expecting something in return. Drinks are investments—especially if it’s a top-shelf whisky.

When Molly looked back at the Danger Guy, it was like there was a bad-boy magnet inside of her, pulling her toward him and those tempting wide shoulders under that white T-shirt. He had a loose way about him as he lounged there, elbows still braced behind him on the bar.

Should she really offend him by brushing him off? Would he cut her if she did? Was that what bad boys did to their bitches when they displeased them?

He raised an eyebrow, jerked his chin at the stool as he turned around in his seat, reaching into his back jeans pocket to pull out a lighter for the pack of cigarettes in front of him on the bar. She found herself wandering toward the stool, but she didn’t sit down. It was a miracle that her hand didn’t shake as much as the lining of her belly was trembling while she reached for the shot glass. Like a stupendous tool, she sniffed at the whisky.

He laughed, low and rough, as he plucked a cigarette from his pack. “Just drink it.”

Why not? She took a sip, anticipating that lighter fluid taste she’d gagged down earlier. But this experience was so different. This was smooth, and she drank a bit more.

“Tullamore Dew Single Malt,” he said. “The kind you were drinking before wasn’t any better than rotgut. This is aged ten years.”

It sounded expensive, and she had no idea how a guy like him could afford to be buying it for her. She didn’t want to ask. Maybe he’d just come off a successful drug run or . . . Shut up, Molly.

“So you’re a connoisseur,” she said instead, thinking she had to at least be nice for ten minutes before she evacuated. As she should.

“Every once in a while I give in to things that seem out of my league.”

The way he said it made her shift on her feet. It made her realize that she was wearing strappy sandals and new red nail polish in a shade that said, Possible slut alert, if enough whisky is applied. She hoped he didn’t see the goose bumps that’d prickled along her arms.

He took up his lighter, and even though she was trying not to look too much at him, she did take a second to notice that there was an image of Bettie Page on the casing. With her lowered gaze, sassy long Cleopatra ’do, and barely there fifties drag-race-queen attire, she looked like she would’ve been right at home on his lap earlier.

Molly finished up the whisky, nudging the glass away from her. She had an even stronger buzz going, so it might be a good time for a walk outside around the tiny town, ovenlike heat or not.

“Thanks again,” she said. “But I know this seat belongs to someone else, so I’ll leave it for her.” She crinkled her brow. “Or them.”

“They had to run.” He hadn’t lit up the cigarette yet, merely hunching over the bar, giving Molly that damned grin.

“Just like that, they’re gone?” Nice syntax, Yoda.

“They had to get ready for work.”

Doing what? Something that involved poles and horny businessmen? Yeah, Molly had seen Showgirls, so she knew all about that stuff.

He laughed a little, as if he knew what she was thinking. It was unnerving that he could read her like that. Kind of hot, too. Real hot.

He said, “My friends have shifts at the Silver Hills, that casino near the highway exit.”

“I remember seeing it.” She wasn’t sure they had strippers there because it was a casino where a lot of tourist buses seemed to stop. His “friends” were probably waitresses or blackjack dealers, and she felt like a terrible person for assuming otherwise. “Do you work there, too?”

Now that she’d shown a flicker of interest in him, his grin widened. He scanned her with that piercing gaze again, and she thought of how the color of his eyes was like limes that you could pair with the whisky.

Bad Molly. “Never mind,” she said.

“No, I don’t work there.” He shrugged. “I’ve got a job that’s a little less . . . structured.”

At that moment, one of the old Fonzies from the end of the bar walked by them on his way to the restroom, and her . . . whatever he was . . . jerked his chin at him in greeting. It was sexier than anything. Why’d he have to be like that?

The old biker winked at Molly before he went into the men’s room.

Her hot guy laughed. “Don’t worry. Dustin doesn’t mean anything by it.”

“What?” She would simply pretend she hadn’t seen that insinuating wink. This place was full of them. First the bartender, now Fonzie…

Mr. Hotness narrowed his gaze at Molly and leaned closer. The smell of leather crept into her nose, tickling, nearly making her shiver with pent-up delight.

“The guy knows you’re just having a drink with me, that’s all,” he said.

Was he implying that she might’ve minced over here for more than a drink?

“A drink’s all I have time for.”

He gave Molly a squinting sidelong look, then eased the cigarette into the corner of his mouth, talking around it. “Of course your time’s limited. You’re a tourist, like one of them.” He gestured with his lighter toward the button-down crowd at the other end of the bar. “Those types come in here all the time, just to take a look around at the local color and to say they’ve been in a biker bar. Which this really isn’t during the day.”

Was he teasing, calling them yuppie thrill seekers? Huh.

He kept on. “I don’t know if you’re coming into or going from Vegas, but my best guess is you’re coming...”

 

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