Most people shy away from the cover. I don’t blame them. The cover is… And I tried to tell the powers that be at Ellora’s Cave that that cover was… and that it wasn’t going to sell well. It didn’t. Not compared to the other two books flanking it. No one listened to me. But, I still love the book. I still really like Dallon. He was kinky and naughty and so sweet. He and Carrie shared similar backgrounds, and each took a different path out. And… despite one person saying the book made her feel dirty and that she needed to go wash her hands after reading it, I’m real good with Dallon making me feel dirty any day of the week.
Dallon wiped down the bar for what seemed the hundredth time. Damn. Was the night ever going to end? He didn’t want to be there. It was that simple, but what he couldn’t figure out was why. He loved the bar, loved being in the bar, loved owning his third of the bar. It was his home, his safe haven, but tonight he just couldn’t muster up the love for it.
Tossing the rag in the sink, he knew exactly why he was so restless. Carrie. The woman he’d met at the grocery store earlier in the day. He’d walked out, carrying his purchases and stopped dead when he heard her voice as she talked on the phone and just stared at her. Dressed conservatively in a knee-length skirt that hugged her hips and a blindingly white, stiffly starched button-down shirt, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. Her dark brown hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail and all he wanted to do was pull it. He’d wanted her on her knees right then and there, sucking the hell out of his dick while he held his bags of pretzels and cans of peanuts in one hand and pulled on that ponytail with the other. And here hours later, he wanted her still, naked on the bar, with her legs over his shoulders while he ate at her pussy. He wanted her and the innocence in her eyes so much he hurt.
They spoke briefly when she’d approached him and asked for directions to her new job. She’d explained that she was new in town, knew how to find her way from her apartment to where she would be working, but that she’d gotten all turned around while running errands and was lost. As she talked, all he could see in his mind was his ass burning in hell for the outrageously impure thoughts he was having about her mouth, her tits inside a bra he figured was serviceable and not at all sexy, and the holy land between her thighs. He’d had virgins and innocents before, and at times loved being the one to pop cherries. But this particular cherry was not going to be picked by him because she worked at the one place in town he swore never to associate with again, and that included the people there. She was off limits.
What a goddamn fucking shame too.
She’d asked his name and had willingly given hers, something he could have gone without knowing because now he knew what to call out when he came later. And that was just going to make it worse. Her name on his lips, in his mind.
Dallon looked up at the clock. Thirty minutes and he could close everything down for the night. He could lock up and head upstairs, jack off to the memory of her sweet, soft self. It was probably a good thing he didn’t know where she lived or that’s where he’d be going. He didn’t think someone like her would venture into a bar, so he was safe there too, even though she’d asked where he worked and if it was likely she’d be seeing him again, how it would be nice to have at least one friend.
He’d cursed himself for telling her where the bar was at the same moment he was giving her those directions too. Resisting temptation had never been his strong suit and damned if he wasn’t tempted from head to toe by her lush body and sweet voice and dark, melted chocolate eyes.
His head shot up and his gaze landed on her. “What the hell are you doing here?” he barked.
Her eyes widened at his harsh tone and the question he’d carelessly thrown out at her. He hadn’t meant to, but he was too close to the edge. He couldn’t remember the last time he wanted someone so much. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it that way, I just…”
She smiled and walked closer to the bar and to him, undeterred. God help him. He flinched inwardly at his choice of word. “It’s okay. I’m sure we’re both equally surprised.”
She was so pretty, so downy and pure. He wanted to defile every inch of her flesh until nothing could ever erase the memory of him from her skin. He wanted so much but he fucking needed her to leave. “You shouldn’t be here, Carrie.” Literally, the man or woman upstairs needed to send a bolt of lightning south and strike him dead for the thoughts he was having about this woman.
“Why not? This is a bar and I want a drink.” She sat down on a barstool directly across from him and linked her fingers on top of the dark, scarred wood.
He sighed. Why not? Oh, because the kind of things he wanted to do to her would ruin him for any other woman. And he’d bet she’d never had a drop of alcohol before. “You do, huh? Anything in particular?” There’s no way he’d give her just anything. He didn’t want her throwing up.
“Maybe a beer? One of those kinds with lime. You know, from the commercials of the couple on the beach. I like lime.”
Right. Beer wasn’t a bad choice. He personally couldn’t stand the stuff, but it was milder than a whiskey or tequila or rum. He dug around in the ice chest to his right for a Corona, popped the top off with the bottle opener and placed it on a cardboard coaster in front of her. “Take it slow. Don’t take a big swallow at first.”
She nodded and picked up the bottle and inhaled. It was the cutest thing how her nose wrinkled. She tentatively put the beer to her mouth, and just before she wrapped her lips around the opening, she looked up at him and lowered it slightly. “Do you like beer?”
Should he be honest or should he tell a little white lie? “Yes, every now and then.” What could the fib hurt? Whether he drank beer or not didn’t matter. What did matter was her feeling as if she weren’t completely alone in this.
When she wrapped her mouth around the lip of the bottle and tilted it up, letting some of the smooth, golden liquid flow across her tongue, Dallon fought back a groan. She swallowed, and as he watched her throat working, all he could think of was her mouth wrapped around his dick and her swallowing his come. “What do you think?”
She took another small sip then a bigger sip, and then set the bottle back down on the coaster. “It’s hard to describe. It’s not really a pleasant taste but it’s not a bad one either.” She smiled. “I think I like it. How much do I owe you?”
“You don’t. It’s on the house.”
“Oh no, I couldn’t accept that,” she said, and reached into her purse.
Dallon reached across the bar and stayed her hand. The contact was sizzling hot. “Yes, you can accept it. It’s on the house,” he said again. He didn’t want to let go of her wrist, but he did. It was time for her to go, time for him to lock up and forget he’d ever met her. He liked being single, unencumbered. He liked one-night stands and no morning-after awkwardness. If he had her once, he’d have her again and again. Not good for his peace of mind and his carefree existence. “I need to close up.”
He didn’t know what else he should say, but she didn’t respond. She was looking around the bar, turning full circle on the stool. When she faced him again, she picked up the bottle and took another swallow. Damn, but she had a pretty mouth.
“I don’t want to leave.”
Shit. Don’t say anything. Not a word. Not a single solitary word. “You should.”
She raised her eyes to look him square in his, a silent challenge reflected there. “Why?”
Dammit. He planted his hands on the edge of the bar and leaned toward her until he could smell the beer on her breath. “Because you don’t know who I am and you don’t know what fire you’re playing with.”
She licked at her lips. He wasn’t even sure she knew she did it. “W-who are you?”
No sense lying about it or anything else now. “The devil himself.” Even if he could protect her by doing so, she didn’t want protection from him. He knew that as well as he knew his own name. “You were headed out to the college earlier.”
“Yes. I was hired a few weeks ago. Why? What does that have to do with anything?”
“The dean is my father. He is also the pastor of the big downtown Baptist church here.”
“Oh. I didn’t know.”
“Right. Very few do. You don’t need to be messing with me, Carrie. You really don’t. If ever there was a black sheep, I’m it. My reputation is bad, very, very bad. It’s best that you go. Now.”
She lowered her gaze and he thought he’d gotten through to her, even though he hadn’t said much. He’d hoped it was enough and it appeared that it was. When she looked back up at him, he knew he was in deep trouble by the sheen of tears and the clenching of her jaw. She took a deep breath before she spoke again.
“I quit my job.”
It was said so softly he wasn’t sure he’d heard right, but the determined set of her jaw told him he had. “You quit?”
She blinked rapidly to keep the tears from falling. “Yes.”
“I want something in my life that is all mine, that no one else has a say in. I’ve never had that kind of freedom and now that I’m out on my own, out from under my parents’ thumbs, I want it.”
Don’t ask, man. Please for the love of all that is twisted and dirty, don’t fucking ask. “That’s all you want? Freedom?”
FedEx was going to bust through the doors, package him up, and send him straight to hell by ten the next morning for asking his next question and already knowing the answer. “What else do you want?”
His dick throbbed at the one clearly spoken word. “You shouldn’t, Carrie. I’m not the kind of guy you need. I don’t do good girls,” which was a huge lie, “and you are one. I don’t do tears either unless they’re the kind that come from me spanking the shit out of you or the kind that come from you begging me to stop fucking your ass so hard.”
As he spoke, shock widened her eyes, her mouth formed a little “O”, and her cheeks turned a delectable shade of dark pink, much like the shade he imagined her pale butt would turn. She balled her hands into fists against the bar then flattened them out, pressing down until the tips were white. Had that finally gotten through to her? Had he finally said the right thing to get her to leave?
Her body relaxed and she dropped her hands and her gaze to her lap. Yes, she got it. Dallon breathed a sigh of frustrated relief and ignored the pinch of disappointment. He wasn’t right for her. She was too clean for him and his rough, kinky ways.
Then she spoke, and at first it was hard to hear her, but as she went on, her voice grew louder with anger and her eyes shot daggers at him when she looked back up.
“It’s not up to you to decide what kind of guy I need. If you don’t want me, if I’m not the kind of woman that you…that you ‘do’, that’s one thing, but don’t tell me what I do and don’t need. I’ve had enough of that in my life. I can make my own choices, my own decisions.”
Dallon smiled. His little innocent had spunk. He’d never expected it, but he damn sure liked it. If she wasn’t going to take his hints or his outright telling her to go, he wouldn’t fight it anymore. “Okay. I won’t tell you what you need. At least not when it comes to this. And I do want you, I just don’t want you to have any regrets after. I might be a bastard, but I don’t want you hurt when I don’t turn out all sweet and tender with you. That’s not me.”
Y’all have a great Saturday. And be sure to check out the following snippets from the following authors…