Authors: Regina Cole
Only Mia Bartholomew could attend a
body mod convention and end up at an illegal street race, running from the boys
in blue. So what’s a hot-blooded Latina piercer to do? Jump on the first
motorcycle out of there, that’s what. She’s got a career to think about, after
Of course, that motorcycle
have to belong to a crazy-cute ex-cop with a broken heart and a burning
vendetta. Garrett Long’s former girlfriend was a casualty of his last case. He
won’t rest until he punishes her murderer, a drug-running trust-fund kid with
the DA in his pocket.
Garrett and Mia try to go their
separate ways, but their animalistic attraction simply won’t fade. And the sex?
Though their fiery passion really couldn’t have picked a
worse time to flare—Garrett’s target is upping his game, leaving him with a
choice. Die for revenge? Or live for Mia?
contemporary erotic romance
For Vanessa, The Jeep Diva, who graciously allowed me to
borrow a part of her own love story. Many thanks, doll!
Mia Bartholomew stuck one foot out in front of her and
leaned forward, trying like hell to ease the knot at the base of her spine.
Damn, she’d worn the wrong shoes for this. The black wedges were cute with the
capris, but not really practical for all the standing she’d done today. Around
her, the noise of the convention was almost deafening, buzzing tattoo machines,
laughter, conversation that seemed to get even louder as she listened. Shaking
her head, she straightened and lifted the mass of black curls off her neck.
Ugh, they could knock the A/C down a few more degrees.
“Hey, Mia,” her boss Jules called from the other side of the
booth. “You’ve got a customer.”
Dropping her hair, letting the riot of curls fall where it
would—it always did what it wanted anyway—Mia turned to face the customer. Long
red hair, full beard, the dude had to be pushing six-and-a-half feet. She
smiled politely, even as she wished she’d worn taller shoes, concrete floors be
“Hey, I’m Mia. What can I do for you?”
He leaned down a little to be heard above the noise of the
aisle. “I want to get a piercing done.”
“Great,” Mia said, injecting as much cheer as she could into
her voice. It had been a really long day. “Whatcha wanna get?”
He stood up to his full height, a suggestive smile on his
face as he raised his eyebrows. “I want to get my dick pierced.”
Aaaaand there we go.
Mia nodded, the bald statement
pretty matter-of-course at this point. “How? Prince Albert, frenum, glans,
He lost a little of his leer. “What?”
Mia snorted and led him to the back of the booth, where a
privacy screen had been erected. “Sit down, Goliath. Let me show you.”
Her case was on the other side of the screen, and as she
went to get it, the sound of her name caught her ear. She glanced over her
shoulder. Matt and Jules were at the front corner of the booth, laughing about
Mia frowned. Her old boss had given her a recommendation to
Drama Tattoo, but she’d gotten a weird vibe from her coworkers since she’d
joined the team. She didn’t remember doing anything that would make them not
Making up her mind to ignore them, she grabbed her model
from the box and headed back around the screen to her customer.
“Okay, big boy, here we go. This model,” she held it out on
the palm of her hand, “shows the different piercings I can do.”
The customer hissed, drawing his legs high and together. His
skin went ghostly and his eyes widened as he took in the sight of the heavily
pierced, flesh-colored model. “Hellfire, that looks painful.”
Mia raised a brow. “I’m not the one who wants my cock
pierced, cowboy. Now this is a Prince Albert, this is probably the most common
As she went through the rest of the placements, jewelry and
considerations, her customer got paler and paler. When she’d finished, she put
the model on the small tray table beside the chair.
“Okay, so that’s what you’ve got to pick from. Any
Big Red swallowed, then pointed at the model with a
trembling finger. “I don’t know if I can do this.”
“It’s going to hurt, I’m not gonna lie. But you’re a big
boy. If you want this, you’re going to have to take it like a man. Unless, of
course, you’re too scared.”
That usually did it, and this guy was no exception. He
really wanted this, she could tell. But sometimes they needed a little
encouragement to finally pull the trigger.
“Prince Albert,” he said, squeezing his eyes shut. “I want
the Prince Albert.”
“No problem. You’ll be fine.” Mia patted his knee. “Let me
get my stuff together. The autoclave will take about ten minutes to sterilize
the single-use needle and jewelry. Just hang tight for me.”
As Mia left the customer’s side, an announcement came over
the loudspeakers. “BodModCon will be closing in fifteen minutes, guys. Finish
up your pieces and get the hell out of here. See you all tomorrow, and don’t
forget the art auction happening in the south hall.”
Kneeling beside her case, Mia sighed with relief. The day
was nearly over, and she couldn’t be more grateful. Between the noise, the
standing around doing nothing forever and the fairly frequent come-ons she’d
experienced in the last ten hours, she was pretty much done. She slapped on a
pair of dark-purple nitrite gloves and grabbed the individually sealed needle,
as well as a brand-new curved barbell. With her tools in hand, she moved over
to the autoclave.
The timer read eight minutes to go. Well shit, someone was
already running some stuff. Who had done that, knowing she had a customer? Mia
looked around, but Jules was nowhere to be seen. Obvious who the culprit was
“Hey, Matt,” she said, trying to keep a lid on her temper,
which wasn’t ever easy. But now? It was going to be almost impossible. “Did you
just start the autoclave?”
The artist in question was sitting in a folding chair by the
pipe-and-drape wall of the booth, popping candy in his mouth. His
bleached-blond hair was sticking out in several directions, and his skinny
jeans were riding way too low on his scrawny hips. Just the sight of him made
Mia’s palms itch to slap the bastard. “Yeah I did. Didn’t you hear him? Con’s
closing up. My tubes needed sterilizing.”
Mia gritted her teeth, taking a deep breath before
answering. “Sorry, I’ve got a customer back there waiting for me to pierce his
cock. Can’t your tubes wait?”
“Not my problem,” Matt said, tossing another palm-full of
candy into his mouth. “Dude wants his dong pierced then he can wait ’til my
tubes are done.”
“Not happening,” Mia said, and turned on her heel. She
punched the stop button as hard as she could, the
releasing from the machine sounding like a wave of victory.
“What the hell are you doing?” Matt squeaked like a fucking
hamster and leapt to his feet. “Don’t touch my shit.”
Mia removed the tray, dumping Matt’s tubes out. “I’ve got a
customer. You can wait until he’s done.”
“You’re a bitch.” Matt glared at her, skinny tattooed arms
crossed over his chest. “I’ve got half a mind to kick your ass.”
Mia rolled her eyes as she slammed the door of the autoclave
shut, her supplies tucked inside. “Wouldn’t surprise me if you tried, asshole.
It’s the kind of thing cowards do, beat up on women.”
Matt stalked off then, probably to find Jules and whine
about what a bitch Mia was. She didn’t give a good damn. At least the little
asswipe was out of her sight. God, she’d have loved for Matt to try to lay a
hand on her. She’d been hungry for a reason to stomp his ass ever since he’d
pinched hers on her first day at Drama.
She snorted. Drama Tattoo. Fucking apt name.
When the autoclave had finally finished, and Big Red’s piece
had been pierced, Mia breathed a sigh of relief. Day one officially done. And
Big Red wasn’t a bad tipper, either.
The speakers overhead crackled. “BodModCon day one is over,
everybody! Get your shit, get out. I’ll see you in the bar!”
Amid the cheers from the booths, Mia gathered her stuff and
left the hall. She needed to get the hell out of there, and the bar might just
be the best place to blow off some steam. Jules and Matt hadn’t come back to
the booth, and she didn’t really want to see either of them at the moment. At
least not until she’d had a few relaxing beverages.
The bar was already crowded, and she had to push to make her
way up to order.
“Hey!” She waved, trying to get the harried bartender’s
attention. “Excuse me?”
“I’ve been here twenty minutes, and he still hasn’t looked
this way,” observed the guy on the stool next to her.
looked her way,
and she was struck by how handsome his features were—chiseled, strong chin,
dark eyes. “I’m Chris, by the way.”
“Mia,” she said in reply, shaking his offered hand and
smiling. “I really need a drink. Maybe he’ll come over here soon.”
Chris shook his head sadly. “I think me and my buddies are
giving up. But there’s a street race not too far from here, we were thinking
about going over there, checking it out. We can get some booze on the way.” He
gave her a hungry glance. “You can come if you want.”
Her nails scraped against the polished bar top. She didn’t
know this guy, she shouldn’t go with him. But then she looked to his right.
“Oh my gosh, you’re friends with Petra?” Mia waved. She’d
met Petra several times in her Zumba class. They’d even gone out for drinks a
time or two afterward.
“Hey,” the girl said, her snakebites flashing in the dim
light of the bar. “Come with us, Mia, you’ll have fun.”
Mia nodded. “Yeah, let’s get out of here.”
* * * * *
The wind tried its best to tear the leather jacket from
Garrett’s body, but he ignored it. Revving his Harley, he accelerated and moved
through the traffic as if it were sitting still. Yeah, it was dangerous. He
didn’t give a good fuck.
The late-afternoon sunlight was nearly blinding, but he kept
his shaded gaze trained on the horizon anyway. Anticipation burned in his guts.
A horn blared, and he casually flipped off the irate driver as he turned down a
He slowed, though he didn’t really want to. This part of the
city was dark and almost always dangerous. He’d spent a good amount of time
back here before quitting the force. But he was hardly recognizable from those
days. A fact he was now counting on to keep him alive.
He kicked the stand down and swung his leg over in a quick,
practiced movement. Removing his helmet, he tucked it under his arm and made
his way down a darkened alley to a plain gray door.
His knock was answered quickly. A pale, scared face appeared
in the crack of the door.
“Glow.” Garrett delivered the code word without fanfare, and
the door opened wider to allow him entrance. The kid who had opened it for him
looked only about sixteen, and Garrett allowed himself a pang of regret at what
the poor kid’s life would be like if he didn’t stop this shit now.
Garrett’s boots made a hollow sound against the bare
concrete floor as he stepped farther into the darkened room, his gaze searching
for—and finding—his target. There in the corner, clothes stained and dirty,
hair stringy and in desperate need of washing, sat Jared Walt. They’d met
“I don’t have no problems with you,” Jared said, baring his
teeth. “Why you on my turf?”
Garrett moved across the room, ignoring the dirt, the discarded
bottles, the pile of blow on the rickety card table in front of Jared. There
were four other people in the room besides him and Jared, but they all moved
back as he passed, none of them willing to tangle with him.
And that was good. If his cold rage scared them that much,
then they wouldn’t dare lie to him. He was after the truth, and he wouldn’t
settle for anything less today.
His fist shot out, gripping Jared’s yellowed t-shirt and
lifting the son of a bitch out of his chair. “Where’s Ford?”
Jared clawed at Garrett’s leather-gloved hand, his long
nails not making a dent. “I don’t know, get the fuck off me!”
Garrett bent down until he was nose-to-nose with the little
pissant. “Where. Is. Ford.”
Jared’s eyes were dilated, the whites shot through with blood
vessels. He was high, but he was also wide-eyed with fear. “Let me go, let me
“Jared!” a female voice cried out from behind Garrett.
“Please, just tell him! I saw this guy almost kill Mickey, he means it. Just
“You heard her.” Garrett’s voice was calm but he didn’t
release Jared. “Tell me.”
“I don’t know where he is now. But I do know where he’ll be
tonight. There’s a street race down in Riverville. He’s going to be there. Got
a new Bugatti, he wants to see it fly. One a.m.”
Garrett shook Jared until the coward’s teeth clacked
together. “Don’t you dare fucking lie to me, you little shit. There’s enough
here to put you away for ten years, don’t make me make that call.”
Tears streamed down Jared’s cheeks. “It’s eleven! Sorry!
Please don’t kill me, don’t rat on me.”
Releasing his grip on the man’s shirt, Garrett watched as
the addict fell to the floor, gripping his neck and sobbing like a fucking
baby. The girl flew to Jared’s side, pulling his head into her lap and soothing
him. It would have been tender if Garrett hadn’t seen her pick the sobbing
It was too late for her. Too late for all these pitiful
people, clinging to walls and darkness and robbing their own families to feed
Garrett turned without a word. Nobody looked his way or
tried to stop him.
They were all too afraid.
As he mounted his bike, he pulled out his cell phone.
Sitting there astride his Harley, he dialed his best friend, Trent.
“Got a lead on Ford,” Garrett said by way of a greeting.
“Jared Walt spilled. Street race in Riverville, tonight at eleven. I’m going to
need all you guys there to help me. Have Reg and Quentin get there by ten,
lounge around. I’ll have to hang back until closer to the start. Can’t afford
to have Ford see me until we’re ready.”
Trent’s reply was excited. “Finally, a break. Glad that tip
turned out to be helpful. I’ll call the guys and get things ready.”
“It was. Glad you found it. And do me a favor, put in a call
to the Atlanta PD.” He buffed out an imaginary spot on the chrome body of his
bike. “There’s about a thousand dollars’ worth of crack in 212 Covetown Street,
thought they might want to take care of that.”
Garrett cranked the engine but Trent’s reply came through
crystal clear. “Sure you don’t want to tip them off yourself?”
“No. They don’t want to hear from me anymore, they told me
that last time. Ex-cops don’t have any business doing police work.”
After killing the call, he slipped his phone into his
pocket. He put on his helmet, revved the engine and shot down the street toward
Gotta prep for tonight