Authors: Cari Quinn
“Is this some kind of sick joke, Ramon? You’re dumping me?” Alana demanded, staring up at her pathetic excuse for a boyfriend.
“Keep your voice down.”
“I texted you. Left voicemails.” The voice he’d warned her to keep down rose plaintively over the thumping bass of the music. Not her fault they were having what should be a private conversation on the dance floor of Kink— Ely, Maryland’s hottest sex club.
The best part? His new bleached- blonde arm candy watched from a few feet away.
“You knew I took my vacation to coincide when you were on leave,” she added when he didn’t respond.
“Huh?” He leaned closer. “Can’t hear you. Look, Alana, I’m sorry this didn’t work out. But Caycee and I are in love.”
Sure. And those doll eyes and surgically enhanced lips have nothing to do with it.
“Ha.” She laughed to keep from kneeing him in the groin. “The only thing you’re in love with is the mirror shoved in your back pocket.”
“Ram, are you almost
“Ram?” Alana shuddered. “Oh my God.”
He grinned and winked. To think she’d once gazed longingly into those puppy dog eyes. “
, I wish you well. Maybe someday you will find your own—”
“Screw off,” she said, fumbling for her cell phone.
No, she would not find her own, because she wasn’t looking. From now on, she was putting her love life on lockdown.
Ram and Caycee left the dance floor and headed upstairs. Probably to the steam room. Her ex- lover had a fondness for sweat he didn’t have to generate. Lord knows he didn’t believe in anything but penetration while simultaneously rubbing her butt.
As if she didn’t know what that meant. Lucky for him he’d never gone any further than rubbing.
“Not in this life or any other,” she muttered.
Alana propped her hands on her curvy hips and took a deep breath. What a freaking pisser. She’d already risked the wrath of her best friend by leaving her the minute they’d arrived at Kink. Now this.
She hadn’t meant to abandon Kelly. Her mistake had been veering off to yell at Ramon after catching him dancing with Caycee. By the time Alana looked back, Kelly had disappeared.
With growing dread, Alana had done a quick search of the club for her friend.
Admittedly, she hadn’t looked for Kelly very hard. All she could think about was finding out what was going on with Ramon.
Now she wished she didn’t know.
Had he no shame? For that matter, did she? What kind of best friend lured you to a club like
then took off?
“Once boy- crazy, always boy- crazy,” her stepfather often said. Her relationship with a musician had landed her in Virginia last year. They’d been history before the ink dried on her lease. Then she’d met Ramon on one of her many visits home, which had only made her miss Maryland more. But she’d been determined not to run back to safety so soon. Not when it would remind everyone how much she’d screwed up by leaving in the first place. At least she still had her pride.
At the moment,
she had was pride.
She headed to the bar and called Kelly while the bartender served her drink. No answer. Maybe she should go look for her again. God, she felt so horrible about leaving Kelly alone. Served her right she’d been dumped. Even if her best friend sorely needed some sex she hadn’t pre- scheduled, what Alana had done— intentionally or not— wasn’t cool.
But hell, maybe Kelly would have some fun. The place wasn’t
Kink wasn’t necessarily the fantasy image of a club designed to facilitate sex. The décor was simple since the club frequently had to change locations to avoid police interest. Each room had a different theme. The lounge upstairs was more casual, with couches and art on the walls. The steam room, well, that was pretty much a naked meat market. The dance floor took up most of the bottom level, bordered on one side by the bar.
Just as many people came here to hang out and dance as they did to have sex. It was a fun social spot, where you could also drop your drawers if you felt so inclined.
Alana didn’t analyze the hows and whys, she just enjoyed. Same way she lived her life— at least until tonight. It was high time she acknowledge the truth.
A sex club probably wasn’t the best place to meet someone who wanted more than a fuck. Yet she kept coming back.
Dammit, she hated questioning herself. And now she had to eat a liberally spiced serving of crow.
She texted Kelly frantically, her thumbs moving as fast as the two shots of Patron she’d sucked down in record time would allow.
Buy u flwrs. Pay 4 ur dinner. Let u kick my ass. I’m a fuck up. So sorry!
The saddest thing was, this wasn’t the first— nor would it likely be the last— time Alana had flaked out on her steady- as- a- sunrise pal. Sometimes she wondered why Kelly put up with her mood swings and her man- craziness and her inability to stick with a job longer than six months.
At least the last part was no longer true. She’d been at
— Roanoke, Virginia’s, leading alternative newspaper— for eleven months. When she’d been hired, they’d told her she’d be able to take the kind of shots she loved. People, places.
But what had she been doing for weeks? Taking pictures of sex toys for a series on the newest innovations in pleasure. Edgy, maybe, but she hadn’t gotten a degree to photograph a dildo from a 360- degree angle, that was for damn sure.
Alana slammed down her drink and pushed her way through the crowd to the exit.
She needed some air. She’d just go sit in her car and call Kelly again. Maybe her friend had returned to the vehicle anyway.
An hour later, she stormed back into the club, hot and sweaty from helping two muscular guys push her car to the street to wait for the auto club. She not only had a flat, but her engine was dead. And she was
about to explain to her mechanic why her car had been at a flipping sex club when it had conked out.
Some night this had been. She’d lost her best friend, she had no way to get home and her ex- lover was probably grunting through his tenth climax of the evening.
Alana stared fixedly at her cell.
Kel, where are you?
“Hey there.” The voice near her ear moved closer, warm breath gliding over the bare skin revealed by her off- the- shoulder peasant blouse. She’d opted not to wear one of her usual cleavage- baring tops and all it had done was left her high and extremely dry. “Is it really you?”
She glanced up, about to tell the guy to buzz off. Men were not currently on her list of preferred companions. As soon as she found Kelly, she was outta there. But inquisitive green eyes intensified by the blue wash of light from the bar lingered on hers and dissipated the rude remark on her tongue.
Once again, thoughts of her best friend fled her mind. Yeah, she was going to hell.
At the rate things were going, she wouldn’t even get an orgasm first.
“Do I know you?”
Please let me know you. I could so use a friend right now. Please let this
shitty night have something redeemable.
“Alana MacGregor, it’s been a long time.” He crossed his arms over his chest, flexing impressive muscles under his black T- shirt. He stared at her, his fingers digging into his delicious biceps. “Middlemarch High,” he said after a moment. “Remember?” Her interest plummeted. Sexy guy or not, she had no desire to take any ill- advised trips down memory lane. High school reminded her of when she’d done anything to fit in. She’d told herself she’d changed so much from that insecure girl, but hadn’t she just been dumped by a guy whose idea of commitment was a date at the Double Burger?
Clearly she hadn’t changed one iota.
“Mac?” he pressed, clearly waiting for an answer.
Ignoring him, she motioned to the bartender. Jack sidled over and gave her a slow smile. “Need more Patron, sweetheart?”
“Yep. Hit me, babe.”
“I’ve got it.” Her new friend slipped a ten by the glass placed in front of her. Jack grabbed the cash and headed off to fill more orders.
Shrugging, she downed the shot and snapped the glass on the bar. The burn made her wince, but damn did it feel good when the liquid reached her belly. “Tastes the same no matter who pays.”
“Same old Mac.” She squinted at him when he shook his head. Shaggy reddish- brown hair dipped into his eyes and was thumbed back. “Guess I hoped you were different now.”
“Can’t say the same, since I don’t have a clue who you are. Nor do I want to.” She wasn’t a nice drunk, and tonight wasn’t the night to change her ways. She couldn’t even claim to be really inebriated. Three shots just gave her a nice, subtle buzz.
Besides, it wasn’t this guy’s fault she’d had such a craptastic evening. Hell, if he’d gone to Middlemarch High, he might have been a friend. Surely she’d had a few of those, other than Kelly.
She leaned on the bar and stifled the urge to brush the hair off his forehead.
His eyes narrowed and hers widened as a memory teased her mind. But she couldn’t grab it, any more than she could keep from sliding her feet apart on the rung of the barstool. She knew he noticed the subtle invitation from his deep exhale.
Alana rubbed her lips together, savoring the last of the tequila. “Listen, maybe we got off on the wrong foot.”
She blinked as he stepped closer and infused her personal space with his unusual scent. Crisp aftershave and … faintly, ink. Weird. But also irresistible.
No wonder she always got into trouble. Her addiction to men knew no bounds.
He slid one muscular thigh between hers and her knees fell open like the gates to Graceland, granting him instantaneous admission. She was surprised she managed not to whimper
like the eager, uh … beaver she knew she must look like.
“Did you like the drink?” His voice rumbled along her nerve endings, the deep baritone vibrating straight into her pussy.
“Patron’s my favorite.” Her phone went off in her hand, but she couldn’t quite coordinate her arm to lift it to her ear.
Whether she was buzzed, desperate or just horny, she didn’t know. Right now her overactive libido couldn’t differentiate.
“I want a taste.”
He leaned down and she leaned back, giving herself a little room to think. This wasn’t smart. Rebound flings never worked out. Celibacy was where it was at.
Problem was, she wanted him. Wanted someone. She wasn’t like Kelly, who could go ages without sex. It had already been several months since Alana last touched Ramon. She was overdue. Overripe. She needed the thrill of an appreciative man’s touch as much as she needed her morning jolt of java.
was here, ready, willing— her fingers brushed the thick hardness behind his zipper— and more than able.
So what was she waiting for? Maybe crying suited some women, but she’d always been one to hop right back on the horse. Preferably bareback.
She closed the space between them and, forgoing subtlety, dove in for the mother of all kisses.
Heat punched into her— a quick, swift jab that left her reeling. She gasped and clutched his T- shirt, clamping her lips over his again before more sounds escaped. His tongue invaded her mouth, hot and all- consuming.
Want. Need. Bad.
Everything inside her opened and liquefied, her body seeking his warmth and the unyielding strength his muscles promised. Her hands slid along his hips to grab his denim- clad behind. He had a nice butt and she’d always had a weakness for a good ass.
Weakness for everything …
“Tastes good.” He licked the corner of her lips then nuzzled the underside of her jaw. “This a regular hangout of yours?”
“Not regular enough apparently.”
That made him smile. And what a smile it was. Slow, sure, sexy. While they gazed at each other, he cupped her breast. Obviously he no longer expected her to stop him.
“Where can we go?”
Her nipple pushed into his palm, stiff and yearning. He rolled the tip between his thumb and forefinger and she arched, fresh arousal soaking her panties. She’d never been ready this fast with Ramon. Or anyone.
With tantalizing slowness, she reclined against the bar and arched her hips. “Right here.”
Indecision wavered in the taut lines of his face. He looked around them at people talking and laughing, his ruddy hair haloed in blue. The spill of light made him look younger somehow. Almost innocent.
The strangest tightening sensation seized her chest. No. A trick of the light. He didn’t really look like him. Nicky hadn’t been this direct. For God’s sake, when he’d kissed her at the homecoming dance, he’d been shaking. She hadn’t looked back to see what he’d done after she fled like a coward, but she imagined he’d gone off to cower in a corner.