No Rules, No Strings...
Jane Monte is done with being a good girl. She followed all the rules, and look where it got her--divorced from a cheating accountant who cleaned out her bank account. Now she's got a new career, a new wardrobe, and a new attitude--she's going to throw caution to the wind while she's in Vegas on business, and have herself a steamy fling. She never let herself fall for a bad boy--now she wants to be a bad girl, and see what letting loose and having fun is all about. And sexy gambler Liam O'Rourke is just the kind of man who puts the "sin" in Sin City...
And Definitely No Clothes
Liam may look like a gambler, but that's only his cover story. A firefighter by trade, he's in town to investigate a string of fires in his friend's hotel, not to indulge his own desires. But he can't deny that the spark between him and Jane is a blaze from the moment they meet. If the gorgeous PR executive wants to learn how to be bad, he's happy to teach her every sensual trick he knows, as long as she understands that what happens between them has to stay in Vegas. But releasing Jane's wild side uncovers desires Liam never knew he had--and before long he's determined to keep the fire they've started burning forever...
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August 28, 2007
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Excerpt from Sex with a Stranger by Katherine Garbera
He felt small and inconsequential, sitting alone in the dark in a run-down room on an unoccupied floor of the C&H Casino Hotel. He knew without a doubt that if he were to disappear tonight, no one would care or come looking for him.
That hadn't always been true. At one time he'd been a player in Vegas, but now he'd been reduced to this. A has- been. A footnote in someone else's story. He lit a cigarette, rubbing his hand over his scalp and searching . . .
The flame on the end of the cigarette burned clean and true and the more heavily he puffed, the brighter the flame got. He quickly finished his cigarette and lit another one. This time he barely noticed the soothing effect of the nicotine. Instead he concentrated on that small bit of flamey ash on the end. The way that it burned by his design, under his control.
He looked around the dingy room that smelled heavily of smoke. This hotel was old and run-down, not at all like the shiny, newer Royal Banner that was closer to the heart of the Vegas Strip.
Control--wasn't that what everyone said he lacked? He eyed the flame and then the bedspread.
It was an old print that he doubted had ever been eye- catching, one he knew was destined to be tossed out like trash. He took the spread off the bed and put it in the bathtub.
He scrubbed a hand over his face--what the hell was he doing?
Whatever the hell he wanted. No one gave a fuck if he lived or died, and it wasn't like he was hurting anyone.
Hell, it wasn't like anyone even knew he was here. The owner of the hotel preferred that he stayed away from this property.
He took out his lucky lighter--damn piece of crap hadn't exactly helped him at the tables lately--and leaned down. He flicked the igniter and watched the flame grow. He adjusted the length of the flame and flicked it again and the flame jumped even higher, almost singeing the hair on his arm.
Bending down, he touched the flame to the bedspread. That old bed linen burned quickly, the flames larger than he'd expected. He stared at them, watching them grow until they started licking at the wall behind the tub. But the tile wouldn't burn.
He blew on the fire and watched the flame change direction. It was hungry, the fire was, and it was looking for something else to consume. He used a towel to fan it, directing the flames toward the other end of the tub where there wasn't tile, just some ugly, fading wallpaper.
The flames liked the wallpaper, slowly moving up the wall and spreading toward the door.
He left the bathroom one step ahead of the flames. They were really burning now. He thought about closing the door, trapping the flames in there, but he wasn't finished playing with the fire yet.
It made him feel powerful to have something so destructive under his control. All he had to do was step outside and go down the hall, pull the fire alarm, and the fire would go out.
Fire was so much easier to control than life.
A breeze from the open balcony window stirred into the room just as the first bit of the flames licked around the corner of the wall. That breeze forced the flames higher and made them move quicker than he'd anticipated, blocking the only exit to the room.
A sense of panic enveloped him and he backed toward the balcony, climbing out onto it. The room next to his was completely dark. Supposedly empty. Hell, his room was considered empty by the hotel staff as well. It was only the fact that he'd known how to work the key card system downstairs that had enabled him to get into the room.
He threw his leg over the side of the rusted, wrought iron fencing on the balcony and reached out to steady himself on the one next door. He quickly climbed over into the neighboring room. He pushed hard on the slider, popping the lock and quickly entering the room.
He walked straight through, smelling the smoke. This time it wasn't the cigarette scent that had lingered for more than twenty years. This time it was the fresh scent coming off the new flames.
He opened the door to the hallway, saw the smoke sneaking out from under the door, and smiled to himself. He used his key card to open the door to the room. The flames roared and moaned as fresh air fed it, and he dropped his key card, running down the hall away from the flames. Standing at the entrance to the fire-escape stairs, he watched the blaze burn for as long as he could before the smoke alarm was activated and the sprinklers came on, slowing the progress of the flames. But not stopping it.
He ran down the stairs and out into the night. Next time he had to find a way to disable the sprinklers.