As Jack watches the pole dancer up on stage, all he can think about is that sultry green-eyed stare and the brazen way she moves. Trouble is, he knows this particular siren is a distraction he can't afford, despite the gut-clenching desire she stirs in him. As right-hand man to a mob boss fighting a violent turf war, his life expectancy is already significantly reduced, and that's if his damning secrets don't get him killed first.
Tasha is keeping secrets of her own, and she knows all about the real Jack, the one he can never afford to let anyone see. She's turned on by the danger and roughness of his life. She also knows he's close to the edge of no return. It's her job to make sure he doesn't implode and get them both killed, but to do that she'll have to trust him with more than just her body, something she's never been able to do with anyone.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Brazen Games by J.K. Coi
The heavy rhythm of the loud club music echoed in his ears and pounded a staccato beat in his head as Jack sat back in the booth and watched the blonde dancer lift a slim leg high in the air, pressing the shiny chrome pole between her large, naked tits. She was a pretty thing, just barely legal by the looks of it. Definitely not his type.
Recently Jack's type was running more to spiky-haired brunettes with wicked, green eyes, breasts just big enough to fill his hands and a tight ass that begged to be fucked.
Damn that woman. His balls tightened just thinking about her and it was all he could do not to open his fly and take his dick in his hand right here in the darkened club.
Get your mind on the job, Jack. He gritted his teeth, shifting his gaze from the girl grinding away onstage and focusing instead on the man who had approached and was pulling out a chair beside him.
"Hey there, Jacky boy. Did you order me a drink?"
After a year as the mob boss's right-hand man, Jack probably knew more about Sam Moretti than any other person on the planet, including his sainted mother. Moretti's criminal outfit had been built and was run like the organizations of old. Sex, money laundering, racketeering, impossibly high-interest loans--and that was just for starters. The only thing he'd stayed away from so far was drugs.
Moretti made no apologies for the fact that he was a simple thug who liked to rough up the competition and break bones as a penalty for non-payment, but as far as crooks went, he held himself to a surprisingly strict code of what could technically be termed honor, and he expected everyone around him to adhere to a similar code.
"You're late, Sam."
Moretti nodded, but his attention was already on the stage. Unbuttoning his jacket, an expensive black Armani job, he settled into the chair beside Jack with his arms crossed over his chest and his legs kicked out. If not for the suit and the gold flashing on his wrist and fingers, the large, heavily muscled man might have been mistaken for the club's bouncer.
"Isn't that your girl?" he asked with a nod.
Jack followed Sam's gaze. The college-age blonde had finished her routine and a new dancer was taking the circular stage. Dressed simply in a short, pleated skirt and sequined bra, the brunette wasn't as fresh-faced or as perky as the others, all of whom he had come to recognize in the last few months. Hers was a sexier, edgier quality. She radiated experience. Even from his table halfway across the dark room, Jack could see the challenge in her eyes and the confidence in her step. She'd been working here for just two weeks, and despite all his attempts to cover it up, it seemed Sam, at least, had noticed Jack's interest.
Looking down into his beer, he curled his hand around the green bottle a little too tightly as he lifted it for a healthy swig. "She's not my girl, Sam."
"You know you want to take her for a ride."
Jack could feel Sam considering him and met the other man's gaze with a raised brow.
"Come on," he laughed. "Since when did you start playing the gentleman? You're not the type, Jack. And frankly, I'm tired of watching you sit here by yourself with a hard-on for the bitch every damn night. So I arranged a meeting."
"You what?" Shit.
"Consider it an early Christmas bonus." Sam grinned at him before turning to signal one of the waitresses for a drink. There was no doubt she would understand what he wanted. Moretti was practically a permanent fixture in this place. His cousin ran the club, so if the girls were smart, they made a point of finding that out real quick and trying their best to keep Sam happy.
"Fuck you, Sam," Jack snarled. Someone else might have been hesitant to talk to the boss like that, but Jack wasn't built that way. He was a tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy, and Moretti seemed to appreciate that Jack didn't kiss his overly suspicious Italian ass.
A year ago, Jack had been nothing but a mid-level grunt in Moretti's organization. A grunt with knowledge, who'd dared call him a dumbass for not seeing what had been going on under his nose and behind his back for months--that a couple of his closest men were blatantly skimming from his laundering operation to fund a side ring dealing coke.
Jack's strategy had been a dangerous one but his instincts proved good as gold. They always did.
Moretti had demanded proof, so Jack provided it. He'd taken Sam to a midnight meeting between his boys and a contingent of thugs from the Romanian organization that had been trying to break into his territory for several months. Sam broke up the meeting with a hail of gunfire that took out the traitors he had called family.
The only thing that had stopped Sam from gunning them all down was the Romanian backup that had charged out of the woodwork. Jack had just barely gotten the two of them out with their lives, and although they'd returned later with more guns to finish the job, the Romanians had already cleared out.
Moretti had been impressed with Jack and his actions had earned him a position as the mob boss's new right hand. A feat that hadn't gone unnoticed by the others close to the man.
Especially Sam's cousin, Danny Moretti.
He shook his head. "This is an important meeting, Sam. We don't have time for your damn games."
A svelte, blonde waitress sidled up to the table carrying Moretti's whiskey on a tray, but instead of setting it down and leaving to tend to other customers, she lingered.
Wondering what the hell she wanted, Jack looked up. Then wished he hadn't. Sam already had his hand up the woman's short skirt.
"Mm, nice. Hey Jacky, she's wearing a thong." Sam dragged her down into his lap. Sliding his hands up her thighs, he pushed the skirt conspicuously to her waist.
The waitress faced Jack, her empty serving tray held in front of her. Jack had a moment of conscience while he wondered if he should try to interfere, but if she hadn't wanted to be treated like a whore, she should have known better than to accept a job serving anything at the Blaze.
Christ. Since when had he turned into such a callous motherfucker? "Jesus, Sam. How about a little focus for five goddamn minutes."
The waitress swung her gaze his way and gave him a small smile. She bit her bottom lip and groaned at the same time Moretti grunted.
Hell. That's just fucking great.
Moretti grinned at Jack and tossed his empty condom wrapper on the table. "Chill, Jacky. Our meeting's been postponed." His hands gripped the girl's waist. "We have more than enough time for some fun."
Postponed? This thing had been in the works for months. It was huge, and if all went well, it would cement their hold over all of southwestern Ontario, shutting out the damn Romanians once and for all. Moretti would be untouchable.
So either this was the third time their guy had cancelled and the deal was going sour, or Jack himself was being shut out of the negotiations for some reason. If that was true, he had to face the possibility that someone was getting suspicious. Could it be Moretti himself?
The waitress squirmed in Sam's lap, a soft moan falling from her red lips. "Come on honey, bounce on me," he urged.
He lifted her hips and she leaned forward, elbows on the table for balance. All the while her glazed eyes watched Jack.
Jack's jaw tightened even while his cock stirred in response to the display right in front of him. He turned away, shifting his attention back to the dancer onstage. Having progressed well into her routine, she spiraled around the tall metal pole, her movements fluid and sure.
As if she could feel his eyes on her, she turned in his direction. Jack felt the heat of her gaze like a sucker punch to the gut. Dangerous.
She went by the stage name Brazen. It fit her too damn well. When she danced, it seemed the entire place went quiet as everyone watched, entranced. And to his own disgust, Jack was no exception.
She knew it, too.
The music slowed to a drugging, rhythmic beat. With the pole between her legs, she leaned back, bending her knees and lowering herself almost to the floor. Her breasts pushed upward as she arched her spine deeply.
One hand released the pole and dragged a path over the fabric of her costume, cupping her breast then sliding over her belly and lower still until she pulled up the hem of her skirt, showing off the scrap of black thong beneath. Cupping her hand over her sex, she easily thrust her hips, humping the pole in time to the music.
Jack couldn't have looked away now if a bomb went off beside him. He didn't care about Moretti and his waitress grunting away beside him, or that it wasn't even the most depraved thing he'd seen--or done--in the last few months.