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FLESH AND THE DEVIL
By DEVYN QUINN
KENSINGTON BOOKSCopyright © 2007 Devyn Quinn
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTaste the forbidden. The hunger was there.
The game he was playing was dangerous, but Brenden Wallace couldn't help himself. Part of the thrill of working undercover vice was the ability to live out the erotic fantasies he'd never risk trying in real life.
Brenden hardly dared to move. He didn't even breathe. Closing his eyes, he relished the smooth glide of silk circling his wrists. The soft bite of the fabric into his skin sent a chill whispering down his spine.
The touch of a fingertip tracing the curve of one ear caused the fine hairs on the back of his neck to rise. A voice of smoky rich timbre drawled, "Too tight?"
Brenden licked parched lips. "Tighter, honey. I want to feel the burn."
A tug on the scarf answered. Tightening. Binding. "Better?"
Arms stretched around the back of the chair he sat in, Brenden tested the strength of the knots. They held, solid and unyielding. The material chafed, a not-so-unpleasant sensation. "Yes."
His captor reappeared. The woman was a paid escort, hired for the evening. The service she worked for charged three hundred dollars for the pleasure of her company. He knew her business, didn't know her name, but by the look of her, she was worth every penny.
A muscle twitched in his jaw. His penis stirred, cramped in the confines of his tight jeans. How far would this one go to entertain a lonely man? Having kinky sex wasn't illegal in Louisiana. It was only criminal if cash traded hands for erotic favors. Then it was prostitution.
And someone had to get arrested.
Looking at her, his thoughts veered from professional to personal. Tall and slim, she wore a tight, red dress, clinging to every lush curve and perfectly matching her bright red stiletto fuck-me pumps. No longer tied up with the scarf matching her outfit, her black hair cascaded around her shoulders like the spread of a raven's wings.
That scarf was around his wrists.
Taste the forbidden. To play his role believably, Brenden had to live it.
She smiled. "You like playing dangerous games?" Her parted lips revealed perfectly white teeth. The cuspids were slightly elongated and came to neat points, enhancing her hovering feline quality even more.
Heavy awareness pulsed through his veins. "It's part of the thrill that makes life worth living."
His words seemed to amuse.
She bent, parting his legs. As if lit from inside, she radiated heat that practically screamed wanton female. Screamed it loud enough to arouse the male animal in him to an unbearable degree. She wasn't wearing a bra and the thin fabric of her dress clung to her nipples, outlining their prominence.
Her warm palms moved up his inner thighs. "Maybe. Maybe not. The things we think are deadly sometimes really aren't." She guided the tip of her tongue to tease an incisor. "And the things we think safe are sometimes most deadly." Her words were menace cloaked in crushed velvet.
The intimate contact jarred. She was so close Brenden could smell her heat, the scent of her arousal. Potent and mysterious, the cloying odor was enhanced by the addition of some exotic oil. His erection pressed, thick and hard, against his tight jeans. Closing his eyes, he shifted in his seat, letting a ragged breath escape. Say one wrong word, make one false move and the entire investigation would be blown.
Brenden opened his eyes, ready to take the plunge. It was all or nothing. "I'm willing to take that chance."
Pleased, she moved closer. Eyes the color of the sea shimmering under a midnight sky drew him in. Her fiery cinnamon lips were just inches away, slightly parted, moist and utterly enticing. "Are you really?"
"I'm ready for anything." He imagined her teeth raking down his most sensitive flesh. He had the feeling she could cause a lot of pain, and make it last in the most delicious of ways.
She glanced toward his crotch, his obvious arousal. "Do you want me?" Her hands were close, but not close enough to make contact. She was playing the tease for all it was worth.
"God, yes ..." Why lie? His body betrayed him. He'd already gone too far, torching every rule in the book. The lines between legal and illegal were blurring, the raw and open connection between them growing personal. What was wrong was beginning to feel too enticingly right.
She leaned in closer, pinning him down with an intensity that caused his skin to prickle. Brenden felt as if he was not just being probed, but explored. Every breath he drew singed his lungs. "I know what you crave." Her fingernails dug into his thighs, marking him as her own. "That secret desire gnawing at your heart is unsatisfied. I feel it inside you, waiting to be freed. Your soul is crying out for a fulfillment you dare not ask for."
Her words were spellbindingly, achingly true.
Feed the fetish. Aching with the need to climax, the notion was there. Hovering. Tempting. Beckoning. Taste the forbidden. His own secret mantra thundered through his skull, pressured by the painful hammering of blood driven by lust. Body shuddering with excruciating sensitivity, he lost his grip. Want exploded into need. There was no turning back. "Show me how."
"You start like this." Her lips brushed his, tongue sliding easily past his lips, melding them together.
Protest died an easy death as control slipped through his fingers like grains of sand.
Lost in the liquid pleasure, Brenden parried her thrusts, enjoying the tangle of mouth on mouth. Who was kissing or being kissed, he didn't care. No matter the consequences, he knew he'd wanted this to happen since she'd walked through the door, wanted this woman more than anything. Even his career.
Her tongue speared again, claiming and conquering, exploring every crevasse.
Brenden's cock surged, all molten heat and devouring hormones. Penetrated to the core. Pleasure gripped and squeezed him. Given free reign, carnal desire overrode his sanity. Everything missing in his life suddenly solidified into one defining thought: he needed this woman. He made the decision, prepared to sell his soul for a single night in her bed.
His hired escort wasn't buying. Murmuring something against his mouth, she ended the kiss. Warm lips trekked across his cheek. Her fingers brushed his long blond hair away from his ear. Her sharp tone shot a quick barb. "The only one getting fucked tonight is you."
Astonishment struck a sledgehammer blow. His stomach clenching around icy shards, Brenden's heart plummeted. Anxiety tied him into knots tighter than those around his wrists. Oh, Christ. Surely she hadn't ...
Brenden forced himself to meet her steady stare. Her face grew rigid, a smile of bitchy amusement frozen on her lips: half mischief, half naughty dominatrix. "The next time you want me to tie you up, Officer, ask for it on your own time."
Brenden sat for a moment, stunned, struggling to make sense of her words. When they finally did sink in, he started to rise. The chair came with him. Muttering a curse under his breath, he sat back down. Game. Point. Match. He'd been bested by a pro.
Stepping back, she pivoted on one slim heel. Claiming her purse from the nearby bureau, she walked to the door where she paused and turned. Her nose crinkled and a smile edged around the corners of her mouth. "I believe you have my number."
Chapter TwoBrenden sat in the hotel lounge, nursing a double Jack on the rocks and his wounded pride. Cutting his shift short, he felt a little misery drinking would be appropriate. He reeked of disillusionment from the sting gone so badly awry. Right now he was the laughingstock of the vice squad-a cop one-upped by a savvy prostitute. How could she have possibly known he was the law?
He finished the whiskey in a single gulp, motioning to the bartender for a refill. The night wasn't going to get any better. He was off duty, so he might as well drink. Change from a fifty-dollar bill lay in a stack in front of him, a bowl of peanuts at his elbow.
Brenden glanced at his watch. One in the morning. He was too keyed up to go home. After encountering a female who set his nerves on edge, he wasn't exactly looking forward to the empty bed waiting there. Every song playing on the jukebox was some country and western standard about broken hearts and long, lonely nights under cold sheets. Those sort of songs were guaranteed to depress the hell out of him.
The bartender delivered his second drink with a smile and wink. "Here you are, sir." A not-so-good looking chick with frizzy blond hair and way too much eye makeup filched a ten-dollar bill from his stack and returned four dollars.
Brenden gave her the eye, wondering if she'd get better looking by time the lounge closed. Her face wasn't so pleasant, but she did have a killer set of tits, which helped balance out the roll of fat around her middle. In the night, in the dark, any pair of spread legs would do-especially for a man who hadn't had sex in over a year and was about ready to explode.
He exhaled in frustration. Hitting on the bartender wasn't going to be the solution to his problem. She wasn't what he wanted. A change of venue wouldn't help either. He could always go to a bar where cops hung out when they weren't on duty. Plenty of civilians, both male and female, flocked around to make time with Dordogne's finest in-and out of-uniform. To some, the lure of a gun, a badge and a pair of handcuffs was irresistible. He could have his pick of the groupies.
Damn. He was truly feeling desperate.
Brenden closed his eyes, rubbing them hard with two fingers. The sexy woman with dark hair and stunning figure filled his mind. Just the thought of her sent a pulse of heavy awareness through his veins. He rubbed his eyes harder against the tremor her image invoked. For some reason, this exotic goddess had affected him on more than the physical plane. Handling this woman, he was sure, would be like handling dynamite. Dangerous and highly explosive. He couldn't easily shake the thought of her, the way she touched him. Then again, he didn't want to. He wanted to hold on to her memory, imagine again what it would be like to make love to her.
The sudden hitch in his breathing caused his heart to skip a beat. A shiver took hold, one of pure desire. He glanced at his hands. They were shaking, an unfulfilled sexual energy vibrating through every inch of his being. He cursed under his breath.
Giving the eye to another dude at the end of the bar, the bartender glanced toward him. "You need something, sir?"
Brenden waved a distracted hand. "No, nothing."
The bartender nodded and went back to her chat.
Brenden swore a second time. He hadn't eaten much today and the booze was going to his head. He popped a handful of peanuts into his mouth. His stomach rebelled. The peanuts felt like rocks hitting his gut.
He sighed. He was thirty-two years old, newly divorced, and on the edge of a serious burnout. Downing more whiskey, he wondered how much longer he'd be able to hang on. His sanity seemed to be slipping away, just as the best years of his life were passing him by.
Working double shifts? Check. Zero time to sleep? Check. All work and no play? Check. Sex life nonexistent? You bet. He wasn't living anymore. He was existing. He wondered why he even bothered.
He thought about Jenna. His ex-wife had quickly moved on with her life, barely looking back and shedding few tears after he'd signed the divorce papers. In fact, she was about to remarry, and with good reason for her haste. There was a bun in her oven, something she'd never been able to achieve with him. Not that he wasn't able to father children, thank you very much. He simply wasn't around enough to start a family.
Regretfully, it was too late to turn the clock back on the last decade, rearrange a few years so the story of his marriage would have a happy ending. In this world, "happily ever after" was for fairy tales. Divorces were for cops who paid more attention to the intrinsic union of badge, gun, and shield than to their marriages. He would always be one of those types. Police work was in his blood.
Brenden's mind returned to the blue-eyed angel who'd walked into his life tonight. Reaching into the pocket of his jacket, he pulled out the red scarf she'd worn in her hair. The color of passion, the color of heat. He fingered its softness, briefly pressing it to his face. The scent of her cologne lingered on the fabric, marked by its owner with her unique fragrance.
A lightly accented voice broke into his musings. "I see you still have my scarf."
Brenden's head swiveled to the left in time to see his former date slide onto the empty barstool next to his, her move one of sheer grace. Lost in his own thoughts, he hadn't heard her walk up.
The bartender came over. "Something to drink?"
She nodded brightly. "Wine, please. Red."
The bartender returned a few moments later. Placing the long-stemmed glass on a cocktail napkin, she slid the wine toward her. "You paying for your lady friend?"
Pride still stinging that she'd played him like a goddamn violin, Brenden gave a sullen nod. "Okay." Another ten was filched from his stack. The bartender returned a few dollars and loose change. He suspected she was tipping herself liberally for her services. He considered letting her know he was on to her game.
"Thank you." His new companion lifted the glass to her lips, taking a sip. "I've been dying for a glass all evening."
Brenden grunted and took a drink of his whiskey, relishing the burn. Ice clinked in the glass when he lowered it. "I'm surprised you're still hanging around here."
She gave a confident smile, leaning so close only an inch separated their shoulders. There was a small freckle at the base of her throat, right where a man would nibble her pulse. Brenden couldn't help but wonder if that freckle would taste like milk chocolate, or exotic dark chocolate.
"I'm not what you think I am, Officer. You're the one making the judgments." Voice husky and low with intimacy, her warm breath tickled his ear. "Remember, it's innocent until proven guilty."
Brenden shrugged. "When a lady shows up to a strange man's hotel room, she ain't no lady." He turned to face her. "Know what I mean?"
At his biting tone, she stiffened in her chair. Her eyes clouded, then cleared just as quickly. He had meant the words to offend and they did. "I don't claim to be a lady. But a girl must work if she wishes to eat. The services I offer are ... unique."
"Ah." He fished out a piece of ice, popping it into his mouth. Suddenly he didn't want anything else to drink. His attention was focused on the woman sitting so enticingly close. Every dirty thought he'd entertained about her came back to mind. "And may I ask what your services are?" Not caring he was ogling, he let his eyes linger on her face before sliding his gaze down her slender neck to the pert breasts hovering over her slender waist. The hem of her dress had come up, exposing a fair amount of her skin. Another inch and he'd be able to see the silky panties covering the gates of heaven. The color of those panties and the hint of what lay beneath was almost more than he could take. She was a piece of work, oozing sex appeal from every pore. Were he to sculpt the perfect woman, she would've met all the requirements.
Amusement waltzed in her gaze. She tilted back her head, freeing a laugh. "No. You may not. I'm not here to talk about my work."
"Then why are you here, if I may ask again?"
Her head came down, pinning him under a laser-beam stare. "I came because I could feel you were thinking about me." She arched an eyebrow toward the scarf he still held. "And you have something belonging to me."
The fine hairs on the back of Brenden's neck rose. Given her mysterious accent and air of perceptive mystery, he was almost inclined to take the words as the gospel truth.
Seeing the look on his face, she drew back with a light, teasing laugh. "I've been watching you," she confessed, taking another sip of her wine.
His brows shot up in surprise. Internal Affairs? He wondered what he might have done to land himself under the eye of heavy heat. Of all the departments on the force, Vice was the one where the dirtiest cops on the take usually operated. Their immersion in the seedier side of drugs, gambling, and prostitution offered plenty of chances to skim off thousands in return for developing a case of hear no evil, see no evil.
He wasn't on the take. Never had been. His partner wasn't so judicious, however. He hoped she didn't want him to rat out Montgomery Blake. "You were following me? Why?"
Excerpted from FLESH AND THE DEVIL by DEVYN QUINN Copyright © 2007 by Devyn Quinn. Excerpted by permission.
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