by Karin Tabke

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Jaded by Karin Tabke

The author of Skin and Good Girl Gone Bad pens another sizzling tale of sex, scandal, and high-stakes corruption when a hard-hitting cop investigates the sultry, secretive hostess of an upscale "gentlemen's club" in the wake of a brutal murder...

It takes more than a red-hot body and stunning sex appeal to manage a club like Callahan's successfully. Jade Devereaux hides whip-sharp smarts and cold calculation behind her sleek facade. She's come a long way from the frightened teenage girl who was once prey to a brutal man. Now, in the cat-and-mouse game of sexual escapades, Jade makes sure that the men are her prey.

When a wealthy businessman is viciously murdered mere yards from Callahan's, cynical cop Jase Vaughn turns to the exclusive private club for answers. Luscious Jade Devereaux sends his masculine desires into overdrive the moment he sees her, but he has plenty of experience with both women and crime suspects, and he can tell Jade has secrets to hide -- secrets that are somehow connected to this twisted killing.

Jase is determined to strip away the pretense and expose the real Jade Devereaux, even if that means getting closer to her than the love-them-and-leave-them playboy has ever been to a woman. If she's guilty, Jase has sworn to see her behind bars. If she's innocent, then she could be the killer's next victim. But whether Jade is guilty or innocent, Jase realizes to his dismay that they are both falling victim to something neither has ever known -- the power of love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416566236
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication date: 07/28/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 335,385
File size: 529 KB

About the Author

Karin Tabke is a bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance, the CEO of her own business, and wife of a veteran police officer. Her books include the first three novels in the Blood Sword Legacy series: Master of Surrender, Master of Torment, and Master of Craving; the contemporary romance Have Yourself a Naughty Little Santa; and three erotic novels, Good Girl Gone Bad, Skin, and Jaded. For more information visit her website at KarinTabke.com.

Read an Excerpt

Saturday, 11:32 p.m.

"Touch me again, Mr. Townsend, and I'll cut your balls off and shove them so far down your throat you'll choke to death."

"My lovely Jade, is that any way for a lady to talk to a gentleman?" Townsend asked.

Jade smiled, the gesture not true enough to part her lips. She cocked her head back and to the side. Andrew Townsend's glassy eyes dropped to her chest. Though the smooth fabric of her sapphire-colored Chanel sheath dress covered her from neck to knees, the jersey hugged her curves like a taut second skin, detailing in sexy silhouette exactly what lay beneath. Its sole purpose was to tease. And Townsend was worthy prey. From the moment he picked her up at the club earlier that evening, his eyes, and hands, had strayed. She'd been hard-pressed to keep his groping at bay and her composure intact.

For the first time in many years, she felt the urge to turn around and walk out the double teakwood doors of the club -- and keep walking. But that was impossible. Instead she swept her eyelids low and maintained her even breathing pattern.

"Mr. Townsend, you are not my definition of a gentleman."

He grabbed her elbow in a quick movement that surprised her. With the amount of scotch he'd consumed she doubted he had it in him. He was not a nice man sober, but lit up as he was now, he was downright belligerent. She'd parried her fair share of rudeness from men in her day, but Townsend was driven by something more than the alcohol tonight. A man used to naming his price for whatever commodity he fancied at the moment was not getting his way, and as his kind often did, he resorted to bullying tactics.

"I don't know what your definition is, honey, and it doesn't matter." He yanked her against his chest, his scotch-soaked breath mingling with the garlic of their dinner earlier that evening. "I've paid for you lock, stock, and barrel, now I want what's coming to me."

Her back stiffened. Not wanting to create a scene that could ultimately cost her other exclusive members, Jade relaxed against him, giving him a taste of what he so desperately craved, and would never get. It was fair play in her mind, and she was not one to not exact a little revenge. Besides, if Townsend didn't come back in the hopes of one day landing her in bed, she'd failed in her job. In his heated pursuit he would return again, and again. She pressed her full breasts to the fine cotton of his tailored shirt. "You've paid my price -- for dinner and conversation, Mr. Townsend. There are no fringe benefits."

"You're a prick tease."

Jade laughed slow, the sound low and husky. She knew from experience the sound poured over a man like warm honey over a fresh-baked biscuit. A laugh she had been told could wheedle a priest from the pulpit. As intended, it garnered an immediate result. She felt him rise against her hip, his minimal package jabbing into her like a boning knife.

Men were so easily distracted and so easily led. And she was eternally grateful for that fact. Were it not true she would no doubt be working much harder for far less pay than what she garnered here at Callahan's. When she thought of the consequences of a nine-to-five job she reined in her temper. "I resent that remark, sir. I explained the nature of our date. If I remember correctly, you were rather intrigued to not go beyond my boundaries. You said, 'Why should I have to pay for something my wife gives me for free?'"

His dark eyes morphed into a hard glare. "I lied."

Jade pressed her hips against his erection, smiled wider, and then pulled her arm from his grasp and stepped back. "I didn't. Now, please excuse me."

"You'll regret this!" he called to her retreating back.

Jade didn't hesitate in her long sanguine stroll to her small office just past the long bar, the hidden door resembling another polished wooden panel. She smiled graciously at the couples whose heads turned at Townsend's outburst, as if it were a normal annoying occurrence.

"Mr. Townsend, a Glenlivet on the house," Mac, her bar manager, said. He'd no doubt witnessed the entire ugly exchange. Mac was a good man. He stood quiet sentry over the bar, and on the very few and very unpleasant occasions when a member became unmanageable, he maneuvered them as seamlessly as he uncorked one of the vintage bottles of wine for which Callahan's was known. He was their guardian angel.

Jade made a mental note to reward Mac once again for his ability to redirect a man's desires.

In these days and times it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep her "dates" in the neutral zone she had constructed around herself. The private nature of Callahan's was becoming less private.

It was rumored that Jack Morton, the new owner, was strapped for cash, and so instead of culling the applicants who had the necessary funds to buy in but lacked the pedigree, he ballooned the application fee, as well as the annual membership dues, and rewarded the mongrel's thirst for social status with a provisional membership. Andrew Townsend was one such member. The man inherited several car dealerships from his father, and spent the profits like a sailor on leave.

And because it was Andrew Townsend, and because he only understood one language, she had been more than willing to tell him exactly, in words he understood, what she would do if he pursued her.

Yes, times were changing at Callahan's. And armed with that knowledge, Jade consoled herself. She could roll with the change. Once a chameleon always a chameleon. She'd always been able to adjust her color to any palette. It's what kept her alive.

And if her time ran out here? She'd pull out and make stake somewhere else.

"Jade," a soft voice asked from the darkened corner next to her office door.

Jade's demeanor instantly softened, and she smiled at Genevieve, a girl not much older than her little sister, Tina. "Do you need something, sweetie?" she asked.

Genny nodded, her thick golden blonde hair bobbing under the low lights. "I need to ask you a favor. Can we -- "

"Well, now, look at Goldilocks," Townsend slurred as he stepped between the two women. He turned dark eyes on Jade, then looked at Genny. "I bet you like to show your appreciation, doncha, honey pie?"

"Mr. Townsend, in your current state, I don't think -- "

"It's okay, Jade," Genny interrupted. She bestowed a huge smile on the drunk, linking her arm with his. "Jade has told me all about you, Mr. Townsend. I think I remember her telling me you were an avid football fan. I love football."

Jade made a motion to stop Genny, but was warned off with a sharp nod from the girl. Jade held back, and not for the first time. She could control what happened in the club, but what members and employees did on their own time? That she had no control of.

Several hours later, tired and feeling uncharacteristically lonely, Jade made her way to the private parking lot behind Callahan's. Her feet were sore, her patience drawn as taut as a trip wire, and her sudden fatigue settled deep in her bones. She wanted to sleep for a month, putting her life on hold. She sighed. She'd have to settle for a soak in her tub with the spa jets full blast on her back.

Holding the keys to her BMW, she clicked the lock fob, the sound of the popping locks sounding strange in the empty lot. The headlights glowed eerily. She shivered, the seclusion unnerving, and looked up to see several spotlights out near her car. She made a mental note to call Ernesto, her maintenance man, when she got in later that night.

"Are you too busy for me now, Miss Jade?"

The fine hair on the back of her neck spiked. Warning bells shrilled. Turning slowly around, her back to the driver-side door, her left arm at her side, Jade maneuvered the key in her hand and pressed a button on the small black handle attached to the chain. A four-inch blade popped out.

"Mr. Townsend? I thought you and Genevieve had a date."

He stood a good four inches taller than she, which said a lot about his height. In her heels she stood six feet tall. "Yeah, we did. But she ain't you."

He closed in and pressed the length of his body against hers, the heavy odor of scotch mixing with the stale gas fumes in the cloying air of the lot.

She'd survived far worse than anything Andrew Townsend could dish out. Jade notched her head back and looked him square in the eye. "You have an awfully short memory, Mr. Townsend."

He laughed, the sound full of self-importance. His bloodshot eyes dipped to her lips. "You have the poutiest lips I ever saw. So full, and lush, and red. Do you know how many times I've dreamed of them locked around my dick?"

His hands rested against her hips and for such a blundering drunk, almost reverently he slid them up her waist. Her skin flinched beneath his touch. Claustrophobia closed in. Her chest tightened. Old memories, memories she'd buried long ago, reared their ugly heads. Spots blurred her vision. Her hands shook.

"I can be gentle, Jade. I can be whatever you want." He dipped his head to her hair and inhaled. "You smell so fuckable."

Townsend's voice yanked her back to the present. A surreal sense of relief flooded her. She could handle Townsend. He was just a horny, drunk, middle-aged man. Jade took a deep cleansing breath. She was safe from the ghosts of her past. She'd been too careful.

Her vision cleared and Jade looked straight at him and smiled. Townsend's eyes pleaded with her for relief. She'd seen it a hundred times on as many men. Her reaction was always the same. Cool disdain. And no desire for any physical interaction. On any level.

Softly, so as not to arouse him further, Jade pushed against his chest with her right hand. "Mr. Townsend. I can't be bought."

His eyes glittered under the low light. Townsend withdrew his hands from her waist and stepped back. Tenuous relief flooded her. Until he retook his step and jammed his fingers into her hair at the temples, digging deep into her scalp. Pain prickled. Her back arched. And her past came crashing into her present. Her fingers wrapped tighter around the key fob. He yanked her hard against him.

"Then I guess I'll take what I want for free."

Copyright © 2008 by Karin Tabke

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Jaded 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Yvette4 More than 1 year ago
This last installment focuses on Jase Vaughn who is no longer under cover with Ty. Jase now is just PD. He's working a murder case at Callahan's, an exclusive gentlemen's club. That is where he meets Jade Devereaux, the very sexy club manager. He is attracted to her immediately, but unfortunately, she is the #1 suspect! This last installment is worth reading, but for me, not as well done as the first and second books. However, I dare you to not enjoy this. It is still a keeper!
storm1974 More than 1 year ago
Jade is haunted by her past and knows how to handle herself in order to accomplish what she wants in life. And so far she seems to be doing well... until she meets Jase the cop looking for a killer. The sparks between them fly but Jade has had her walls erected for to long to let them fall because of a hot cop.
This was a great story and my first by Karin Tabke but it will not be my last..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book, but at the end I think ms. Tabke forgot that the villain of the story wounded little jade in a big way before the knight in shining armour saved her... Still, I really loved the book, you could see why people thought she was cold-hearted but with her inside thoughts everything she did made sense. Not like some of the books where the lead female character is cold shoulder to everybody for very little reason or a reason that makes her seem like she's over reacting just a tad.
Zeets More than 1 year ago
This book is great I absolutely loved it, It was enteresting and a fun read. After finishing The silence of the Lambs I wanted a fun yet easy read and this was definitely that. It was interesting and kept me wanting more.
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Love it
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Bonnie_H More than 1 year ago
Jaded is the third book in Karin Tabke"s "hot cops" series. This one was a re-read for me, and let me just say - it gets better every time. I love the two main characters of this book. They are flawed, compelling, and utterly believable. Jase Vaughn is a detective investigating a murder. This is his first case since leaving undercover work, and he's still getting used to the fact that now he has "rules" he has to follow. His main suspect, Jade Deveraux, is the manager of Callahan's - an upscale "gentleman's club". At least, it used to be upscale. But the new owner is short on cash, and now it looks like Callahan's is becoming nothing more than a glorified brothel. Jade Deveraux is sexy, mysterious, independent, and a liar. Due to traumatic events that occurred when she was growing up, she is unable and unwilling to trust anyone. Jase intrigues her in a way that no other man ever has, and that is dangerous to her. She has many secrets, and Jase is determined to learn them all. He is drawn to Jade like a moth to a flame - its like he can't help himself. He loves women, but doesn't trust a single one of them. And he knows Jade is lying - he just doesn't know about what, and how deep the secrets go. He'll do whatever it takes to find the truth, and if that means cozying up to Jade - so much the better. Karin Tabke is an auto-buy for me - and Jaded is a perfect example of why. She is able to pen a story that is emotionally intense, suspenseful, gritty - yet still remain focused on the developing relationship. Make no mistake - this is a love story. Its the journey that is so compelling, and although you "know" there's going to be a happily-ever-after, its hard to believe it could happen and so you just have to keep reading to find out how these two make it through. Sexy, smart, suspenseful - all these are hallmarks of a Karin Tabke book. Well worth buying, Jaded is another keeper for me.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty good, but not as good as the second one, Skin. I mean,I loved the books. I love all her books, but this one didn't muster up to the occasion and Skin did. One thing that kinda disappointed me was the fact that she didn't write much about Ty & Phil and Reese & Frankie. She wrote a little, but I would have like some more insight as to how they are, you know? But still highly recommended!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok)) Began to doze.