Read an Excerpt
Table of Contents
An Excerpt from His To Take
PRAISE FOR THE NOVELS OF SHAYLA BLACK
“Wickedly seductive from start to finish.”
—Jaci Burton, national bestselling author
“A lusty page-turner from the get-go, Decadent lives up to its title, grabbing readers from the very first chapter and not letting go until the very end with a shuddering climax worthy of any keeper shelf.”
“A wicked, sensual thrill from first page to last. I loved it!”
—Lora Leigh, New York Times bestselling author
“Not a book to be missed . . . Just be sure that you have something cold to drink while reading it, and hopefully someone there afterward to ease away the ache.”
—A Romance Review
“Absolutely took my breath away . . . Wicked Ties wound itself around me and refused to let go. Full of passion and erotic love scenes.”
(Writing as Shelley Bradley)
“Packs a hell of a wallop . . . an exciting, steamy, and magnificent story . . . If I had to rate this book out of ten, it would certainly get a fifteen! Twists, turns, titillating and explosive sexual chemistry, and memorable characters—readers can’t ask for more. Strip Search is highly recommended!”
—The Road to Romance
“Blew me away . . . a great read.”
—Fallen Angel Reviews
“An exciting contemporary romance with suspenseful undertones . . . the love scenes are particularly steamy. This book would be perfect for readers who enjoy their romance with a hint of suspense.”
—Curled up with a Good Book
“The twists and turns in Strip Search make for an intriguing climax . . . Bradley is a master of tying love and mystery together. I highly recommend this book.”
Bound and Determined
(Writing as Shelley Bradley)
“This story explores one of my favorite fantasies . . . a desperate heroine takes a handsome alpha male hostage. Much sexy fun is had by all. Especially when the yummy captive turns the tables!”
—Angela Knight, New York Times bestselling author
“Steamier than a Florida night, with characters who will keep you laughing and have you panting for more!”
—Susan Johnson, New York Times bestselling author
“A searing, frolicking adventure of suspense, love, and passion!”
—Lora Leigh, New York Times bestselling author
“Will have you grabbing for the nearest fan (or man)!”
—Jess Michaels, author of Taboo
“A flawless story that grips readers from page one and doesn’t let up.”
—The Road to Romance Reviews
Titles by Shayla Black
I’M going to sink inside you so deeply, you won’t ever forget I was here.
Alyssa Devereaux shuddered at the memory of that growled promise, as she’d been surrounded by taut muscles and male need.
Luc Traverson. Even his name caused heat to stab her belly with want. He’d kept every bit of that promise; she’d never forgotten him for a moment.
The night he’d spent in her bed had been amazing, magical. Considering she’d long ago given up on fairy tales, that was saying something. Being enveloped in Luc’s steely strength had been paradise. Under his stare that night she hadn’t just felt like a desirable woman, but like the only woman. The intimacy . . . oh, God. Sizzling. Way beyond making her toes curl, he’d given her a whole new definition of pleasure. His endless dark eyes had burned as he’d slammed her with powerful strokes, his long, midnight hair draped around their faces, cutting off all reality but his whispered demands and rough breathing as he rode her from one orgasm to the next.
He’d brought her body to a fever pitch—to places she’d never believed a man could take her. He had done it again and again. For six hours. Never tiring, never satisfied. Greedy, rapacious, and amazing.
She’d had enough sex in her life to know they’d shared something more.
The next morning . . . gone. No note, no explanation. A few days later, he’d sent flowers with an apology for any discomfort or pain he might have caused. She’d been pissed off, a bit hurt . . . but not terribly surprised.
Still, she wasn’t willing to give up. For the chance to see Luc again, Alyssa had broken her own rule and called him. Twice. He’d never returned her calls personally. Instead, his assistant had called merely to say that he would keep his terms of their arrangement. Nothing more.
She’d been nothing to him. Yes, she’d known before their night together that he didn’t respect her. They’d first met when she’d stripped at his buddy’s bachelor party a few years back. Somehow, she’d hoped opening herself completely to Luc would change his mind.
Still, he was everything she’d ever wanted in a man: attractive, successful, capable of deep caring, sensitive, sexy . . . She wasn’t giving him up without a fight.
“Afternoon, boss lady.” Tyler Murphy sent her a long, low whistle, his stare taking a meandering path down her body as she emerged from the back of the club and stopped before the stage. “You’re looking very fine.”
“Tyler,” she greeted the sandy-haired giant. “Your job is to watch the patrons, not me.”
“Since we’re not open yet, there’s no one here to bounce. Besides, I’m not into ogling drunken frat boys or horny married men. What color are your garters under that little black skirt?”
Her bouncer was former law enforcement of some variety—he’d never said which kind—college educated with a degree in engineering. Tyler had a lot going for him. Why he’d taken a job here as a bouncer was anyone’s guess. But in the few months he’d been with her, he’d proven himself indispensable. There were days her business needed him.
It was too bad, really, that her heart didn’t need Tyler as well.
From beneath her lashes, she sent him a chiding stare. “I’ll never tell.”
“Aw, c’mon. Throw a guy a bone.”
Alyssa glanced down at his crotch. “Looks like you’ve got your own.”
Tyler winked and sent her a flirty grin. “All for you.”
He was good-looking, built like something on the front of a bodybuilding magazine, smart, funny, dependable. But after long days of running Sexy Sirens—Lafayette, Louisiana’s, most notorious strip club—and trying to start up a new restaurant, by the time she fell into her solitary bed at night, it wasn’t thoughts of Tyler that made her ache. That honor was reserved solely for Luc Traverson.
And after a bit more than three months apart, he would be here today.
Feel me. Yessss. You’re so tight, so good. That’s it, sugar. Come for me. Again.
Luc’s voice, sin wrapped in velvet, dipped in honey, wouldn’t leave her head. Even the memory made heat rise inside her. Thoughts of that night always had the power to daze and stun her. She wanted it again. Him again.
“Hello? Earth to Alyssa.”
Tyler. Oops. “Sorry. The restaurant is weighing so heavily on my mind these days.”
He stared at her from green eyes that saw too much. “So clean plates and menus give you that flushed, wanna-get-fucked look?”
“Go find some drunken slobs to rough up.”
“I’d rather be with you.”
Tyler crossed his arms over his wide chest. His biceps bulged under his body-hugging black T-shirt. He really was gorgeous. And he wanted her; he’d made no secret about that. She could do worse.
“What’s his name?” Tyler sighed.
“The man who put that needy look on your face. I don’t know whether I want to bust him up or shake his hand.”
“There’s no one in my life.” Which, technically, was true. Other than her hookup with Luc, she hadn’t had sex in years.
At this point in the conversation, Tyler usually teased that he’d be more than happy to be that someone. This afternoon, he seemed to sense something was different.
“You’re too good to be alone. The girls all worship you. You treat everyone fairly and work damn hard. You’re sweeter than you give yourself credit for. You haven’t resorted to murder when that asshole Councilman Primpton comes around, making trouble.” He sent her a considering stare. “You’ve had it tough lately. You deserve a break.”
If she wasn’t careful, his caring would make her cry. A pity party would be marvelously easy to indulge in—and an utter waste of time.
Alyssa anchored her hands on her hips. “Not in the cards.”
“Maybe you should postpone the restaurant opening for a few weeks.”
Restraint left Tyler. He reached out to her, caressing his large hand down her arm in a soothing gesture. “Your mama has only been gone two weeks.”
She tensed. “I hadn’t seen her in fourteen years.”
“Doesn’t matter. You’re still dealing with her loss.”
She’d done so with mixed feelings. Anger, grief, sadness, rage, a need to rail at the woman who had done nothing to help or understand her. Pity that she’d been so self-absorbed.
And beside her grave had stood the blackhearted reason for the rift between them: Joshua. Even after a dozen years, beyond a hundred feet, and through a pair of two-hundred-dollar sunglasses, there was no mistaking the boyish-faced bastard. At least he hadn’t seen her. If he had, Lord knew what he would have done.
She shook off the thought.
“Tyler, thanks for your concern, but I’ve put too much time and energy into this opening to put it off. I need to get it off the ground for cash-flow purposes. Besides, what good would wallowing about my mom do?”
He cupped her shoulders in a tender gesture. “You left here at three this morning, and Sadie told me you were back by eight. Baby, you’ve got to sleep and give yourself time to grieve.”
She’d rather not.
Leaning forward, she placed a soft kiss on his cheek. “You’re going to make some woman a great husband someday.”
“You asking me?”
Alyssa snorted. “Do I look like the white-picket-fence type? Get your ass back to work.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He saluted her and turned away, only to turn back again. “Oh, I forgot to tell you, some guy is here to see you. Some chef.”
“Luc Traverson?” she breathed.
“Yeah. He said you two had an appointment. He didn’t look too happy. Is he the dude doing the guest chef gig this week?”
Tyler’s question registered, but she didn’t answer. Instead, she glanced around Tyler, to the club’s front door.
Boom! There he stood, all six feet plus of him, his elegant, rangy body tense. The sight of him was like a visceral blow. She swallowed . . . and let her hungry gaze eat him up. Inky hair hanging around his wide shoulders, jeans hugging him in all the right places. Those dark, burning eyes. A hot flush swept up her body. Her heart didn’t just start racing faster; it careened out of control. Far more than her palms went damp. She swayed in dizzy excitement.
Tyler caught her; his beefy hands slid around her waist to steady her. Then he glanced back to Luc. “You’ve got to be kidding me. Him?”
Oh, yeah. Definitely him.
“Shut up, Tyler.” She pulled away and took a decisive step forward.
Luc Traverson was here. Finally. She did her best to hide a sly smile. There was no way he was going to ignore her anymore; she’d make certain of that.
UNTIL Alyssa Devereaux, had he ever gotten stone hard just by looking at a woman from across a room? Luc didn’t like the answer.
He didn’t have to wonder what was under that little skirt; he knew. Sleek thighs surrounded by garters in some color designed to drive a man wild. A lacy thong that would reveal far more of her assets than it concealed. And under that . . . The feel and taste of her slick, swollen folds dive-bombed his memory and revved him up, as if he’d injected rocket fuel in his bloodstream.
And now he had to work beside her for a week. Hell. How was he going to prevent a recurrence of the event he wanted to forget—yet couldn’t?
You’re a professional. Cook and keep your hands to yourself. Besides, it wasn’t as if he had nothing else to think about. Negotiations for his cable TV show were nearly at an end. He had a bit of editing to do on his latest cookbook. There wouldn’t be that much downtime this week, but what little there’d be, he would fill.
Clearly, Alyssa had a way to fill her time as well. The huge slab of man at her side whose cheek she’d kissed a moment ago wore a Sexy Sirens T-shirt stretched across his enormous chest. A bartender? A bouncer? Whoever he was, the guy slanted a possessive glance at Alyssa that Luc couldn’t miss, then glared at him.
Tamping down his irrational anger, Luc reminded himself that if Alyssa wanted to fuck her hired help, that was her business.
The violent urge to dismember her employee would pass.
Alyssa took a step toward Luc, then another.
“Mistress Alyssa,” a female called over the speakers in a saucy vamp voice. “Your turn!”
She stopped. Closed her eyes. Sighed. Bracing herself ?
Then, as if the hesitation had never been, she flashed him a cool blue gaze, pointed at a chair in front of the stage, then turned away and strode backstage. Luc couldn’t help himself. He watched her walk away, the sway of those curvy hips a siren call. Damn.
If they had been alone, there was no way Luc could have prevented himself from touching her. Period.
Unless he wanted another brush with his uncontrollable wild side, he needed to forget his reckless promise to her and get out of this job. Now.
Reluctantly, Luc sauntered to the front of the stage and sat in the chair Alyssa had indicated. As soon as she finished whatever the hell she was doing and talked to him, he’d tell her all bets were off. Hell, he’d pay her for her inconvenience.
Because if he stayed, his dick would get him into trouble. He’d have her naked and be between her legs in two minutes. Or less. And that would be bad. He was looking for Mrs. Right, someone uncomplicated who wanted children as much as he did and would help him keep his beast at bay. Alyssa Devereaux, stripper divine, was definitely not that woman.
Suddenly, music pounded through the speakers, blaring with a naughty beat, a wicked slide of horn. Every note suggested sex—the hot, sweaty, no-boundaries variety.
The type he’d had with her and wanted again.
Pulling his loose shirt over his lap to cover his erection, Luc watched as Alyssa strutted onto the stage. She’d piled her straight platinum hair into some wild arrangement on top of her head and donned a sequined bolero jacket in red. He was dying to see what she wore underneath. The way she moved was an invitation . . . and a promise.
She planted her stiletto-clad feet in front of him with a decisive step, then swung her hips, making a sensual circle. She flattened her palm across the bare skin of her tanned abdomen—and began lowering it. She reached down . . . so damn slowly. Luc’s breath caught in his chest until, finally, she touched herself. Oh, hell.
Her fingers glided between her legs, and she tossed her head back as if she were in utter ecstasy.
Luc swallowed. And started to sweat.
With a jerk of her head, Alyssa snapped her gaze back to him, her eyes like focused blue lasers jolting him to his toes.
Damn it, his nine weeks of dating church secretaries, interior decorators, and elementary school teachers showed. Not one of them had incited an erection. During that time, he’d awakened in the middle of the night more than once, sweating, his dick in his hand and Alyssa’s name on his lips. Now, after less than five minutes in her presence, he felt ready to explode.
He had to think about the right F words—future and family. Unfortunately, with Alyssa near, the urge to fuck her again kept killing his good intentions.
In the next moment, she released the soft strands of her hair, which hugged her shoulders, clung to her breasts, flirted with her waist. Then she peeled off the little jacket and left it carelessly on the floor, exposing a tiny half top Luc could swear showed the shadows of her areolas. She stepped over the jacket and strutted toward the pole in the center of the stage. When she gripped it with both hands and undulated against it, pressing it to the juncture of her thighs, Luc damn near choked.
And still she continued to stare as if she danced just for him.
The music swelled, wailing with sensuality and suggestion. Alyssa upped her game, sticking a finger into the wet cavern of her mouth and sucking. More blood rushed to Luc’s cock at the memory of her mouth around him, her tongue slick across the head, inciting a sizzle that burned his whole body. Even months later, he could feel the lash of her tongue, the hot silk of her mouth. He shuddered.
With a kittenish smile, Alyssa popped her finger from her mouth and drew the damp fingertip down her cleavage. Then her palm took over, smoothing her right breast with an invitation to pure sin on her gorgeous face.
Dear God, no wonder she’d built herself a little empire here in Lafayette. The woman was a walking wet dream and did her job well. No red-blooded, heterosexual male could withstand such intense teasing and stay sane.
Out of the corner of his eye, Luc saw Alyssa’s employee, the one she’d touched earlier, sidle closer to the stage. With a quick turn of his head, Luc quickly saw that the mountain in the tight black T-shirt was tense, panting, and sporting a bulge that said he wanted to get busy.
Luc wished he could say that didn’t piss him off. But he’d be lying.
Then, as Luc’s stare returned to the stage, he damn near forgot his own name.
Alyssa turned her back on him and bent at the waist, staring at him over one mostly bare shoulder with a fuck-me look that stunned him. Luc gripped the arms of his chair, willing himself to stay in it, not charge up on the stage, lay her flat, and get inside her again this instant.
The spaghetti strap of her little top was falling down her arm. And that indecent skirt . . . With her bent over, the hint of the bare ass cheeks flashed from beneath the black silk. Her garters were a come-hither red. Her thong—he could see only a scrap of it—matched.
Soft fingers teased their way up her shin, her thigh, and disappeared under that little skirt. Her eyes half closed, her sultry mouth parted on a silent moan of seeming self-pleasure. His entire body tensed.
He had to get the hell out of there.
Her hands swept up her undulating hips, gathering the skirt with them. She tugged at the little black garment, and it fluttered to the floor. The tanned halves of her backside, bisected by a bit of red lace, crashed fresh lust into his chest, making it damn hard to breathe.
Alyssa had a gorgeous ass. But he’d known that. Luc squeezed his eyes shut so the visual temptation of her bare flesh didn’t taunt him. Memories of tunneling into her ass pounded him instead. Her perfect willingness to take him any way he’d wanted. The tightness of her damp, musky body clasping him. The sweat dripping off of them as he’d thrust deep. Her moans.
Christ, the burning lust had to stop—at least long enough to tell her that he wouldn’t be staying.
Praying the torture would end soon, Luc opened his eyes. And sucked in a breath.
Alyssa flashed him a naughty smile of invitation as she ripped her small top right down the front to reveal a red demi bra that barely covered her nipples. Hard nipples. Pink, melt-in-his-mouth nipples he remembered all too well.
Luc squirmed in his chair—and nearly went off like a teenage boy. Beyond aroused, his cock was so sensitive, the feel of denim sliding against the head nearly had him coming.
He had to leave. Forget the polite conversation; he’d send her an e-mail with an explanation. Because if he stayed, he would shove his long-term goals aside and fuck her senseless.
As he stood, Luc mentally reviewed a list of chefs—female ones—he could pay to assist Alyssa this week. A short list, but a few durable names. He’d send idiotproof recipes . . .
The red bra dropped to the ground at Alyssa’s feet.
Her large breasts were as golden as the rest of her body and swayed gracefully with her every undulation, every step. Those nipples he remembered so damn well beckoned, Taste me.
Turn away! he demanded of himself.
His legs didn’t move.
Alyssa danced her way down the stairs, holding her breasts up in offering. She pranced past her aroused employee and shot the man a mirthful smile as she caressed the side of his face. Luc tensed when the beefy guy tried to snatch her up in his arms. But Alyssa was too fast and spun out of his grip, toward Luc.
The damp spot at the front of her thong kicked him in the gut. He clenched his fists as she danced closer, closer . . .
She dropped to her knees before him and looked up. Their gazes locked. She panted. Hard. Despite his jeans, her hot breaths caressed his cock. Release broiled in his balls, and he hadn’t touched her once.
There was no way he could stop himself from reaching out to tangle his fingers into her hair and bringing her mouth closer. Except when he did, he grabbed air. Alyssa had already strutted away, that golden body of hers burned into his brain.
The music boomed one final time as she artfully fell to the stage, her body sprawled with legs parted, knees bent, hands half covering her breasts, her back arched . . . as if she were ready for him to cover her, take her.
Luc took a step toward her. Then he forced himself to stop and breathe deep.
Self-destruction wasn’t his bag, and he wasn’t going to get caught up in the trap now.
Beside him, the beefy bouncer clapped wildly and whistled like a man possessed. “That was hot, boss lady. Damn!”
Alyssa stood and smiled, her arms falling to her sides, as if totally unaware or unconcerned that she bared her breasts to her employee and her guest chef.
She did this for a living, he reminded himself. She displayed her body for strangers—and did who knew what else with them. Why should it matter to her who saw her tits?
“Thanks! I’ve been working on the routine for a while.”
“Toward the end there, if you need to fall at someone’s feet, I’ll volunteer.” Her bouncer winked.
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
She reached for the bolero jacket, thrust her arms into the capped sleeves, then covered her breasts with the lapels. Sort of. The garment had no front clasp, so it hung open, flashing cleavage and the generous swells of her breasts as she made her way down the stairs.
“Mr. Traverson, good to see you again.” She held out her hand to him.
She expected him to touch her in a businesslike fashion? Luc steeled himself against the electric current that buzzed through him anytime he touched this woman. But no amount of bracing diluted the jolt that shocked him when he took her hand.
“Ms. Devereaux. We need to talk. Is there someplace quieter? More . . .” Luc glanced over at the bouncer’s curious, intrusive stare. “Private?”
“Tyler.” She snapped her fingers. “Back to work. It’s four, right? Open the doors.” Then she turned her stare back to Luc. “Follow me.”
As if he could have resisted when she turned that gorgeous ass in his direction and pranced away . . . Impossible.
He followed her backstage, then down a hall that had been painted black. Red lights shined overhead, giving the back a Goth feel that contrasted with the public area’s warmth. Then they ducked into a room at the end. White. Soothing with black-and-white photos on the wall. Splashes of red color in silk flowers and a desk chair.
Alyssa held the door wide, then closed it behind him once he’d entered. He realized that none of the club’s other sounds could be heard. He cocked his head, listening to the crisp silence.
“Soundproof,” she confirmed, perching her hip on the edge of the desk in a relaxed pose that somehow managed to scream sex. “Hard as hell to be bookkeeping at two in the morning with the Pussycat Dolls blasting out your ears.”
That made sense, but had nothing to do with this meeting. “Listen, I—”
“Before we get down to business, can I ask your opinion of my number? I haven’t danced around a pole in two years. I’m out of practice.”
She hadn’t danced around a pole in two years? Wow . . . He didn’t frequent gentlemen’s clubs; he found nothing gentlemanly about them, so he had nothing to compare her to. But if she thought her performance was out of practice, Luc decided he’d likely have a heart attack if ever he saw Alyssa in what she considered to be prime form. “Why ask me?”
She frowned. “Other than Tyler, who likes anything I say or do, you were the only man watching. I need a male opinion on this. Did it work for you?”
And then some. “Um . . . It was good.”
“Good.” Alyssa sighed. “I need it to be great. Damn! Tonight is Sexy Sirens’ fifth anniversary, and I promised to perform. I don’t really do it anymore. But I’ll try harder when I take the stage later. Thanks for the opinion.”
If she tried any harder, she’d incite instant orgasm in half the audience in the first thirty seconds.
“So how have you been?” Her smile lit up her whole face, the whole room. Hell, his whole body.
“Fine. Very busy. You?”
“Oh.” She rolled her eyes. “Crazy busy! I had no idea the restaurant business was so tough. You’d know all about it, of course. But I’m still learning. Anyway, I’m glad you’re here. I’ve been looking forward to watching you in action.” Her smile was a tease in itself. “In the kitchen, of course.”
His body temperature went up again. If he didn’t leave soon, she would see action in the kitchen and anywhere else she would consent to let him fuck her. But how could he say this without upsetting her? He definitely owed her.
“I hear your cousin got married,” she commented.
Luc tried not to wince. “Yes. Deke and Kimber were married a couple of months ago.”
Alyssa paused, cocked her head, assessed him with those cool blue eyes. “You okay with that? I know you had a relationship with her, too.”
Yes, one that had ended with the near death of his greatest dream. He’d engaged in a wild ménage with Kimber and his cousin, knowing that she loved Deke. Still, Luc had hoped to marry her, that Deke would get her pregnant, and they would all live as a happy family. All too soon, they’d paired off and left him alone. Possibly his last chance to raise a child with even a drop of his blood walked out the door with them.
He hesitated, then hedged. “She’s still special to me.”
It wasn’t a lie, but not the complete truth, either. Kimber and Deke didn’t need anyone but each other, and Luc had only been in their way. He’d accepted that because, while he’d adored Kimber, he hadn’t loved her. He had, however, wanted the one thing they could have given him, wanted it so bad sometimes that yearning clawed a deep crater of longing out of his chest.
He wanted a child. And he couldn’t father one.
“You all right?” Alyssa asked. “Can I get you a drink?”
No. What he had to do was get out of here before he let his dick lead him to stupid acts, like forgetting the fact that he needed to find an acceptable woman who wanted a child as badly as he did. Alyssa . . . She was sexy, determined, all woman, giving and mind-blowing in the dark. But she wasn’t anyone’s ideal mother material. If he ended up going the adoption route, case agents would take one look at her and run screaming. Even if she wanted children now—and why would she?—he didn’t think she’d agree to dash to the nearest sperm bank or sit through rounds of in vitro fertilization. She’d want a man who could father his own children the normal way.
At thirty-five, Luc should be way beyond this blinding sort of adolescent urge for sex, the kind that obliterated all logical thought. Alyssa wasn’t going to help him obtain what he most wanted in life. Somehow, he had to get the news flash to his dick.
Hell, he’d never before wished he were impotent, rather than sterile. Here was a fun first.
“No, thanks. Alyssa, I can’t stay.”
“Right now? I’m sure you’re tired. No problem. I’ll give you a tour of the restaurant and kitchen tomorrow morning. It’s just a few blocks from here. I ordered all the food your assistant indicated and—”
“I meant this week. I can’t do it.”
“Another commitment?” Her sharp tone would have told him she was pissed off, even if her starchy expression didn’t.
Luc wanted to lie, but he was already bailing on her. Lying would add insult to injury, and she deserved the truth. “It’s what’s between us.”
“We had sex, and now you can’t cook for me? What, exactly, does one have to do with the other?”
Luc shifted his weight from one foot to the other. Shit, this wasn’t going well. “Look, I’m sorry for what I did to you—”
“You’re sorry for making me orgasm so many times I lost count? I’ve got to hear the reason for this.”
How the hell could she not get it?
Raking a stiff hand through his shoulder-length hair, he growled, “Damn it, I was in a frenzy. I plowed into you. I couldn’t possibly have been gentle or considerate. And I apologize. I’m sure I didn’t ask your permission before I . . .” God, he couldn’t even talk about having anal sex with her without getting hard as concrete again. “It just wouldn’t be a good idea if I stayed.”
Alyssa pulled the lapels of her little jacket together in a useless attempt to cover her breasts. All she did was provide better shots of cleavage. And give him a harder cock.
“Did I seem like I minded that night?”
He swallowed. “Don’t you understand? You probably begged me to stop. And I didn’t. I don’t remember hearing you. If I stay this week, I can’t guarantee that I won’t lose my head again. I don’t want to hurt you.”
“I’m not made of glass,” she assured him, her whisper shivering right down his spine.
“There’s someone else.” Sort of.
Three dates didn’t constitute a relationship. Looking at Alyssa’s lush features and centerfold body, Luc could not summon up a vision of Emily’s face to save his life. But he was going to marry her. Or someone like her. Alyssa simply wasn’t the kind of woman he could see willingly playing mommy when he finally found a way to become a dad.
“Kimber? Still having ménages with your cousin and his wife?”
No, and he’d never go down that path again, but admitting that to Alyssa would only make her more determined. “Does it matter?”
She shook her head. “Whoever she is, I hope she can understand that you’re here to do a job. I can put the past behind me and focus on work if you can.”
Luc’s hungry gaze skimmed down her body. “You haven’t touched me, and I’m already unfocused.”
He stormed across the room, grabbed her hand, and fitted it over his aching cock. Instantly, it was better—and worse. God, he wanted her to move on him, strip him bare, put his cock inside her mouth, her body.
Before he got carried away, he pulled her hand away. “You’re a very sexy woman, and I am not myself around you. I can’t stay.”
Alyssa drew in a deep breath, and her chest expanded. Hell, he didn’t need to see that. But he couldn’t walk away as she slipped off the edge of her desk and sidled closer. “First, for your concern to be valid, I’d have to say yes to sex with you. Today, I haven’t. Don’t assume I would tomorrow, either. Second, you came to me three months ago, remember? In exchange for hooking up with you and your cousin, you’d cook for me during opening week. Even though Deke left before things got hot, I lived up to my end of the bargain.”
“You more than lived up to your end. It’s one reason I can’t not think about you and sex in the same sentence.”
In an attempt to show his cousin Deke that his now-wife was the perfect woman for them, Luc had arranged a threesome with himself, his cousin, and Alyssa. It had backfired on Luc. Deke left before the party started, which Luc had expected. What he hadn’t anticipated was needing every sort of sex he could think of with the strip club owner—repeatedly.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I’ll send you someone else who’s totally qualified.”
“I’ve already publicized the fact you’ll be here. I have a year’s worth of work and my entire savings riding on this place. I’d rather not have this restaurant fail and force me to dance around a pole again for a living. You gave me your word, and I trusted you. Are you really going to bail on me?”