Sleeping with the Enemy, Book 1
It’s Raelynn’s birthday and she plans to celebrate with a personal dare. Namely find a guy, kiss a guy, take a guy home and give him the time of his life, with plenty of pleasure of her own. So she and her friends take the party to a popular bar spot. It proves to be the right social mix to bring “Mr. Right Now” forth. But sometimes there is destiny in a girls birthday wish that she isn’t prepared for.
Shane Lafferty is having a bad day. Caught up on a job that could land him in prison, he’s hoping that his luck changes. Tonight he needs a distraction and an alibi. He finds both in Foley’s Bar. From a far he observes the beautiful Raelynn and her friends enjoying her private celebration. Shane waste no time in fulfilling her desires when her wish for her birthday to turn private leads him to her bed.
However, after the passion both Raelynn and Shane discover the consequences of an Illegal Affair.
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Happenstance is merely the shadow of destiny…
Raelynn swallowed her martini too fast. The apple-spiced vodka singed her throat and nearly came out of her nose from laughter. Cheery faces, raised voices, and glasses clinked under the dimmed lights of Foley’s Bar. It was her birthday, and she knew the rules. No working, no excuses; she planned to celebrate her 30th with a bang, and damn well enjoy it. Considering most of her assignments kept her on duty round the clock and traveling 160 days out of the year it was a tall order. What her friends didn’t know was birthday or not, she’d been on a private mission of her own tonight. The plan to find the sexiest man in the bar and let go some pent-up frustration was underway. The worthy candidate had to be the complete opposite of her corporate attorney loser ex-boyfriend, Ed.
“We need more shots!” Andrea yelled, her bright-pink lips spread into a wide grin over her round face. She had auburn corded dreadlocks that were swept up neatly into a ponytail. Andrea slammed down her Patron-laced shot glass, giving the waitress a wicked a look.
“Don’t let her drink another. Geez, it’s Raelynn’s birthday and you’re acting like it’s your twenty-first!” Gina cut her eyes to Raelynn’s other friend, Olivia. They both shared a smirk. Everyone knew that Andrea would turn any event into her event.
“Ladies, can we join you?”
A tall, sexy ebony man with a thin mustache and lickable lips spoke up. Behind him stood three other men, equally handsome, and diverse in height and appearance. The blond locked his green eyes on her. Raelynn sipped her martini and smiled. She’d never dated a white man before. How far should this search for Mr. Right Now go?
“You buying?” Andrea asked.
“Ignore her. Sure, join us. Today is our friend Raelynn’s birthday,” said Olivia, singling out Raelynn with a manicured fingertip.
It was all she heard from the rambunctious group. In fact, everything in the room went still, including her breathing, when the wood-paneled door at the front of the bar opened. Another man entered with a swagger that could only spell trouble. Raelynn’s instincts were sharp. Though he appeared dressed like the other businessmen, she could tell the suit wasn’t a natural fit for him. She found him quite interesting.
“Raelynn, did you hear him? He said he wanted to buy you a drink.” Olivia nudged her.
Raelynn pulled her attention from the man in a leather jacket and dark slacks just as he approached the bar. She focused on the three before her, noting their wolfish grins.
“Yeah, um, I’ll have to pass. Not ready to dance yet.” Raelynn returned her gaze to Foley’s newest patron, and a slow, easy smile moved over her lips. “Not yet.”
There has to be more to my life than this.
Several locals parted like the Red Sea to give room. Shane ignored the sideways glances from a grumbling man vacating the barstool to his left. It was because of Ian Higgins the man knew to keep his disdain in check. He reached inside his brown, weather worn leather jacket for his smokes.
To hell with it. This is as good a spot as any to cool off.
Foley’s Bar was a safe haven in South Boston. You do a job and you got only a few places that could be counted on to provide cover.
Shane’s gaze lifted to the mirrored wall facing the bar. He wasn’t too bad off—just a few scrapes on his brow and chin. Hell, they should see Mickey. He didn’t look away from his own reflection as the bartender pulled down bottles of private stock.
The man staring back from the glass resembled his father in every way: the same brown curl to his hair, squared brooding brow, the long sideburns and thin mustache and goatee. All of it was like the old man; including his practiced vacant stare neither friend nor foe could read.
Shane wasn’t big like his father, who stood six-foot-five and weighed, at last count, close to three hundred eighty. Shane was just average in height and build. Physical appearance notwithstanding, Shane Lafferty was his father’s son in every way that counted except one. Rock Lafferty was upstate doing twenty-to-life on a murder rap. Shane closed and opened his right hand, feeling the knuckles bruising and swelling. He was a lot of things, but he was no murderer. Yeah, he’d cracked Mickey’s jaw. He was pretty sure he’d left him alive.
“Shane? Let’s roll.”
“It’s hot out there now, Scotty. Sit,” he mumbled, searching, patting down his pockets for his lighter and finding lint, a condom, and two sticks of gum. He wasn’t wearing his favorite hoodie or jeans. Even at thirty-two, he was never caught without them. Damn tie was too much. He felt strangled by it.
In order to do the job, he and Scotty had cleaned up. He’d needed slacks, a collared shirt and tie to complete the look. The whole uptown scene would make his mother proud if she were able to put down the booze long enough to remember she had a son.
“Hell, man, we can’t stay here. The cops are probably hitting each bar. We need to get back to Higgins and square up. Take the alley out. I think… I think Mickey’s hurt, too. We shouldn’t have left him behind.”
Shane gave his cousin a silencing look, then shifted his steely gaze away. In his line of vision was a busty brunette behind the bar in a cut-off green-and-white Celtics T-shirt. He reached for the matches, drawing the attention of the waitress pouring drinks. She nodded that she’d make her way to him.
He had an eye for women. So his gaze narrowed on her tits as he took a long drag on his cigarette. She was new. It had been months since he visited Foley’s, so he expected fresh faces.
If it weren’t for the bank Higgins wanted them to hit, he wouldn’t even bother acknowledging her. But an alibi was something he needed.
The truth was, he couldn’t stand the snobby women in their suits, turning their noses up, or the uptight men who acted like his kind was invisible. The babe bartender was more his speed. Shane preferred to stay in his lane.
The knot of tension at the base of Shane’s neck spread evenly over his shoulders and down to his wrists. He leveled his gaze on Scotty in the long mirror above the bar. His cousin stood there panting, red in the face, his left eye closing and swelling from the smack Mickey’d given him when the teller hit the silent alarm. The bank was just eight blocks over. Shedding the workman’s jumpsuits in an alley, then walking the streets in their shirt and ties was the key move to aid in their escape. But Scotty’s folly and Mickey’s attitude blew it all to hell.
Shane gritted his teeth. It was his fault. Decking Mickey and leaving him unconscious in a pile of steaming garbage was dumb. To hell with it! He wasn’t sorry. Shane hated a bully. Kicking Scotty around was like smacking a baby—pointless and mean. Mickey got what he deserved.
“What do I care if the cops come through?” he mumbled.
There was no going back. His fate wasn’t in his hands. Not since he joined Higgins payroll. This job was easy, but like always, it went down bad. They might as well let it play out.
Scotty gave an exasperated nasal whine. He shoved the loser on the barstool to Shane’s left side so he could take the spot. Shane could practically hear his cousin’s thoughts: I wonder if Mickey’s dead? Shane did hit him hard. Shit, we left the masks and gear in the alley with him. Can the cops trace it back to us? I screwed up and Shane had to defend me as usual. What will Higgins do when he finds out? Will Shane cover for me, like always? If it weren’t for his cousin’s bumbling, Shane wouldn’t be in this mess.
“Back off,” Shane ordered. “I need to think.”
Scotty did as he was told.
“What can I fix ya?” chirped the brunette with the nice rack and inflated glossy-pink lips. He hated females with fake lips. Angelina Jolie knock-offs is what he called them. This honey couldn’t be any older than twenty-five. A waste.
“Guinness,” Shane answered. She drew a pint. The foam rose to the top of the dark brew and the gal flipped him a sexy pout, trying to capture his attention. He met her stare but gave her nothing. She winked and moved on.
“At least the money is safe. They’ll never figure out where we put it, huh, Shane? Never.” Scotty gave a nervous chuckle as if he had something to do with that.
Shane inhaled the ash-flavored tobacco, allowing it to soothe him as he tuned his cousin out. He needed to think. No chance of that in a bar. Behind him, a roar of laughter could be heard over Kanye West’s rhymes about the Good Life. His gaze slowly focused again on the mirrored surface, searching for the source. Shane honed in on a crowd gathered around a table of seated women. A group of guys were clamoring in close, while a waitress arrived with more shots. Shane exhaled a milky stream of smoke. It’s going to be a long night.
“It’s not just the cops though.” Scotty started in again. “Rumor has it the Feds are onto Higgins now, which means they are on to me. Between the Feds and ATF, I got to keep a low profile. This was never your bid, Shane. I got you in this mess. You did the job to save me from Higgins. Now we got Mickey and all. I really screwed up—”
“Shut your fucking trap. You hear me?” Shane snapped through clenched teeth.
Scotty nodded obediently and signaled for a beer, shoving peanuts in his mouth to ensure his silence. Shane downed half his pint and then slammed the glass on the bar. He needed to think. He needed to calm down. He needed to find out how badly he’d hurt Mickey.
A chorus of laughter rose from the table behind him, then applause. He cast his gaze over his shoulder in search of the source. To his amusement, the ladies started chanting. “Go Raelynn, it’s yo birthday…Go Raelynn, it’s yo birthday…Go Raelynn, it’s yo birthday…Go! Go! Go! Go!”
As if of one accord, the group squealed. With his curiosity piqued, Shane turned all the way around on his barstool to focus on the center of everyone’s attention: a petite, dark-skinned beauty he’d definitely remember if he’d seen her before.
She tossed back the dark contents of the shot glass and then winced, choking. Shane smiled as a celebratory roar exploded through the group. One of her girlfriends rubbed her back. Two others reached over and handed her napkins to wipe what he perceived to be the sweetest pair of lips this side of the Charles River.
Now those are lips I could get with.
Shane’s smirk dimmed. He’d never been with a black chick before. He wasn’t opposed to it, just never considered them really. In Southie, it was Irish blood only, segregated by choice.
Sure he knew and did some deals with blacks, but they ran in their circles and he ran in his. Even so, Shane found himself unable to look away. It was true. Higgins said it all the time. He had that sixth sense built in where he could read folks. There was something buzzing about this one.
He dropped back on the bar, took another drag off his half-smoked cigarette and watched. The crowd thinned for a moment and he could see her clearly. Long bangs. High cheekbones. A sexy smile that made her eyes slant. The excitement around her, as everyone laughed and vied for her attention, was drawing looks from everyone else in the bar, not just the dressed-up schmucks around them. Then the opportunity to know more passed. Her crowd of friends swallowed her again, blocking his view from every angle.
“So um, if we’re hanging here, then maybe we should call Higgins, you know? Hell, I’m worried about Mickey out there. Thanks for that, bro, sticking up for me, but I had it. Can take care of myself, ya know? Still, it’s a risk, leaving him unconscious the way we did. What if he gets picked up?”
“Call Higgins. Tell him where to find Mickey. Do it and then leave.”
“Sure thing… sure thing!” Scotty slammed back the last of his beer, hopped off the barstool, and hurried off.
Shane would have given the order sooner if he’d known it would get his cousin to stop bitching about it. Truth was, he loved Mickey. Mickey was the only family he had left. Why else would he risk his life this way? He had a good job at the garage. He only dealt with Higgins when he had to run something back through the Pen to his dad. But Scotty had gotten in over his head. The bank robbery was his only way out. Despite his cousin’s shortcomings, Shane wasn’t going to let him fall. So here he was, awaiting his fate. And fate hated his ass.
Shane tracked his cousin until he disappeared around a corner at the back of the bar. Foley’s still had a pay phone near the bathrooms, which was a small bit of luck. Neither of them would dare use cell phones with things this hot.
Finally, given some respite, Shane flicked ash onto the floor and studied the crowd, but his vision always shifted back to the party girl. She seemed oblivious to anyone but those inside her tight little circle. For some reason, this bothered him. He wanted her undivided attention.
“I hear there’s a birthday girl in the house.”
Shane pulled his gaze away to a tall blonde squeezed behind a turntable set up on the opposite end of the bar. Sporting a frizzy afro compressed by large headphones, she was dressed as if she’d just stepped out of Studio 54. Thing must be a wig.
“Is this true, gang?” Party Girl’s crew ratted her out while she hid behind her hand. So it’s her birthday. Nice.
“No use in hiding, birthday girl!” the blonde chuckled. “Your friends tell me you like to shake that rump to Beyoncé.”
That figures. Women love Beyoncé. Every time someone puts on one of her records the babes all rush to the dance floor. As “Sweet Dreams” started pumping through the speakers, Shane’s shoulders tensed. He couldn’t wait to see her dance.
He wasn’t disappointed. Party Girl and her crew all squealed in delight and rose at once. The jerks crowding them weren’t too far behind.
The song picked up in tempo and despite her unsure footing, she put down some sexy moves. Sandwiched between two clowns, she owned them.
Shane dragged on his cigarette until it burned to the filter, putting it out. With the adrenaline from the day’s events still pumping through his veins, he found himself rising from the bar. Before he could wrap his head around what he was doing, he’d made his way through the maze of pub tables and stepped through the crowd of partiers to stand directly in front of her.
Of course she didn’t notice him right away, but the clowns did. None of them stepped back. It took a moment for her to turn and realize he was there for her. Her dance moves slowed as she stared up at him. He smirked, arching his brow. Not a word passed between them, but she knew. It was clear what he wanted.
The birthday girl smiled. Moving to the beat, she slipped sideways between two of the clowns and started dancing close, closer, dropping her arm on his shoulder. She wound her hips up against him, her eyes never leaving his. Bozo and Bubbles scuttled away. Any man watching could see this dance was only between him and her.
Party Girl lifted her arm to his neck and closed her eyes, continuing to sway and swing her hips in that tasty way. Shane wasn’t a dancer, but he was heavily considering lessons, just for her. The birthday girl didn’t find it odd that he didn’t move under her instruction. He guessed those Jaegers must’ve had her feeling him, too.
Her giggling girlfriends took notice. The one with the red locks and large cherry lips clapped and cheered Party Girl’s name from the sidelines. It appeared she was called Raelynn. He repeated it over and over as her breasts rubbed to erect points against his chest.
Someone snapped a picture. He barely noticed. How could he with the way she moved? Beyoncé could take a dance lesson or two from Miss Raelynn. His temptress turned on him, putting her backside to his groin, sliding up and down, rolling her ass, snug in its tight mini, all over him. This, he was feeling. His arm slipped around her waist. She smelled expensive. Probably worked in one of the offices downtown. She was fine too, every curve soft and supple. What was a man to do? As the song ended and she turned in his arms, he put both of his around her to keep her there and let her know this was far from over.
“Happy birthday, Raelynn,” he said.
She dropped her head back, her lips curling up in a sly smile. “How’d you know my name?”
“Made it my business to,” he said.
“And how’d you know it was my birthday?” she asked.
“So you just lucky, huh?”
“I am right now.”
She chuckled, a soft peal of laughter that blended with the slow groove now playing. He took the liberty to feel her and she didn’t shy away from his touch. Now the night had purpose. Maybe fate didn’t hate his ass. The birthday girl was hitting all the right spots in his arms. Even though he’d first taken her for some easy broad that dated men whose asses he’d probably kicked in grade school, now he could see she was much more than that. There was a light of awareness in her eyes and a toughness he didn’t pick up on in many women. There was something… something he couldn’t quite put a name to.
“You’re hurt?” she asked, reaching to touch the bruise over his eye. “How’d that happen, Mr. Lucky?”
Shane had completely forgotten it, giving no thought to how bad it must appear. It definitely knocked off his cool points. He smiled, trying to cover. “I tripped, baby, trying to get over here next to you.”
Raelynn’s thin eyebrows dropped. Under curled lashes, her eyes seemed to darken to liquid pools of chocolate. A brief shiver went through him. There was something authoritative about her stare, and an ageless awareness, one he’d never quite appreciated before in a woman. In a flash, the probing stare softened, but still, the hairs at the nape of his neck stood on end. Something wasn’t quite right with this one. What was he missing?
“Smooth, I like it,” she said softly.
She wasn’t shy either. When he ran his hand down her backside, she didn’t seem fazed. Yes, she owned him, and it was damn sexy.
Shane Lafferty knew to always play it safe and to keep his head when it came to people he didn’t know, especially women. He kept his guard up on all things. But there was something about her, this dance and her beauty. Something he couldn’t quite turn away.
She shifted against him. He felt her readiness to bolt, back away.
He dismissed the warning bells ringing in his head and calmed his nerves. He was just jumpy, and rightfully so. He needed to chill. Why not do that in her arms? It was the best place to be at the moment.
“Your name?” she asked, continuing to groove to the music and causing his hips to sway, if only to enjoy the tasty waves of her lower body against his. He had to beat back his erection with a mental stick.
“Shane, but most call me Lafferty.”
“Lafferty. I like that. A true Irish boy’s name.”
“I haven’t been a boy for a very long time, sweetheart.”
Again she laughed, it sounded more like a sweet chuckle that made her breast jiggle against him. She was a foot shorter than he, but her curves pressed against him nicely in all the right places.
“The music stopped,” she said sheepishly.
He hadn’t realized. He was so fixated on her, he barely heard the DJ announce her break or see the others leave the small dance floor. Reluctantly, he let Raelynn go. “Your fault. You distracted me.”
She pressed her lips together as if to stifle a smile. Was she laughing at him? It felt like it.
“Want to join me and my friends?”
Shane looked back at the table. It wasn’t his scene. A roughneck like him amongst all these suits just didn’t look like a good fit. “I’ll let you get back to your friends. Happy birthday, love,” he said, squeezing her hand. “Thanks for the dance.”
He caught a light of disappointment in her eyes, but it was brief. She shrugged as if it were his loss and strutted away. He was right about her ass. It was nice. Checking his watch, he noted the time. Only half an hour had passed. It was going to be a long night. Instead of the bar, he decided to hole up in one of the booths. Plus, from there he could see her clearly. Lust or not, she wasn’t someone he was quite ready to shake.
“Cousin.” Scotty flopped down. “I spoke to Big Al and he said they’d bring Mickey in. The boss wants to see you in the morning. First thing. I swear, man, if we get out of this, I’m done. No more. I can’t thank you enough for saving my ass.”
Shane reached in his pocket for his cigarettes and then remembered he’d left the matches on the bar. Spotting a waitress, he lifted his arm. “Sweetheart, bring me a pitcha’ of Harp, will you?” When she nodded and walked away with her tray raised above her head, he relaxed and slumped back.
“You better go straight. Clean. I’m tired of saving your ass. Look at my old man. He’ll never be free of those prison walls. You want that? What we did today should be the end of it. Thankfully, no one got hurt.”
Shane motioned with his hand to shut him up. “Like I said, no one got hurt. It ends. Tonight.”
Scotty gave a skittish laugh. “I can leave you the Chevy. Not comfortable driving it since…well, you know. I called Sheila. She’s gonna pick me up from Andrew Station. Think I’ll chill at her place and meet you at Higgins in the morning. That cool?”
“Fine, go.” Scotty blinked, a little unsure of the offering. Shane continued, “I mean it. I’ll catch up with you in the morning and I’ll bring in the money. Got it covered.”
Scotty put the car keys on the table and eased out of the booth. Shane kept his eyes trained on the birthday girl and her party. He barely noticed as Scotty beat it for the door.
Two beers later and several passing glances between him and her from across the bar, he tired of the game and gave up on the idea of pursuing it further. What was the point? Maybe that spark of familiarity was all in his head. He wasn’t a bad-looking guy. He knew it. But he definitely considered himself the polar opposite of what this one was looking for. So when she rose with her friends, he let her go. It seemed it was for the best, because she never looked back.
Shane had one more beer for the road, which he polished off in minutes and then made his way to the door. Wasted and wanted, he needed to lay low until morning. Exiting the bar, he hit the sidewalk and kept going.
Downtown Boston cloaked in the night held an eerie quiet. There was no traffic at this late hour. Nothing out of the ordinary moved, except for the chill gusts of wind ruffling his hair. Burying his hands deep in his pants pockets, he groaned over the fact he’d chosen his dusty leather jacket over his warm coat that he left in the car. Lost in his thoughts, if he hadn’t looked up when he passed the alley, he would have missed it, missed her.
Raelynn was dressed in a warm-looking long, grey cashmere coat, her hair crowned with fallen snow as she paced the side of her car. Her cell phone was to her ear, but she wasn’t talking. Shane watched her a beat, then turned down the alley. She saw him half way through his approach and ended her call. “Lafferty?”
Frustrated, she pointed to the flat tire.
“Got a spare?” he asked, eyeing the damage.
“You going to change it in the snow? Out here in the cold? Where’s your coat? That leather jacket isn’t enough, is it?”
He blew out a frosty breath and looked around, then shrugged off her question. “Where’s your friends?”
“They left. I just realized it was like that when I tried to drive off, so I pulled off the road down into here. Not too smart, huh?” She smiled.
“No. A pretty girl like you should be more careful. There are shady characters out here.”
I’m one of them.
She feigned being stunned and stood there staring. He realized she didn’t have that shy reflex most women had around him. She met his stare dead on, each and every time.
“So you got a spare?”
“Don’t know. Probably.”
“Pop the trunk. Let’s see.”
Shane paused. “I’ll be your lucky charm tonight and get you out of here.”
It was her turn to pause, as if she were trying to decide on something. The cold was bitter. He was freezing his nuts off. The alley was dank with re-freezing slush. He thought he caught the scurry of something in the shadows near the wall. When he looked around, red beady eyes glared back at him through the darkness. This was ridiculous. Why was she giving him a hard time? What was her deal? Did she want help or not?
“How about a ride, instead?”
Now it was his turn to be surprised. “You asking me for a ride?”
“That a problem?”
“What about the call you made?”
“What about it?” she shot back.
“I dunno,” he stumbled. “I’m sure your friends will come through, especially if you let them know.”
“So you’re turning me down?”
She gave him a sweet pout. Confused and a little bemused, Shane scratched the back of his head trying to tell if she was flirting or jerking him around.
“Sure, I can swing it. Give you one. A ride.”
“I’m sure you can,” she said, looking somewhere between his waist and knees. Shane balled his fists, completely up for the challenge. She was teasing him. He liked it.
“You think you can handle it, sweetheart?”
Again, she arched a well-plucked brow. “I just turned thirty, so I think that makes me a big girl.”
Shane undressed her with his eyes. “Wow, the lady isn’t just beautiful, but she knows what she likes. I’m parked around back.” Quickly he assessed the situation. “What about your car?”
“Who says it’s my car?”
“Belongs to the people I work for. They can pick it up for me,” she responded with another smile.
“Then consider me your knight in shining armor.”
“So chivalry isn’t dead. Cute.”
She winked, walked off. He watched her go and shook his head. This night was definitely one for the record books. First it was the job that could cost him his freedom and now he faced a beautiful woman above his station in life, who apparently wanted him without questions. And he was no fool. This babe knew what she was doing. She had marked him as hers. But why? He was kind of looking forward to where it would lead.
If he hadn’t come along when he did, she was going to be stuck waiting on a tow. There was no point in calling her girls. She’d put Andrea in a cab, and she was sure Olivia and Gina were on the expressway by now. Besides, it was her birthday. She’d chosen him to be her present.
He was kind of rugged. Definitely not her type. Her job had turned her stomach to urban bad boys. Maybe she was wrong about him. He was quite chivalrous, almost respectful, and a little shy, with that crooked grin of his. She was tired of lonely nights. Besides, Raelynn knew how to handle herself. Shane Lafferty was indeed luckier than he knew. He was going to be hers.
“So, it’s your birthday,” he stated rather than asked, not sure what else to say. He figured it as good a place to start as any. Her smoky brown eyes slipped over to him, then away. Shane smiled. “You have a good one?”
“Yeah, it was fun. My girls can be a bit wild when the liquor pours. We haven’t partied like that since… before I went… well, before. Let’s just say this birthday was different.” She gave him a look. “Hopefully, it’s not over yet.”
Taking the next turn, Shane asked, “Where you from, Raelynn?”
“Where you from?” she shot back again with smugness. Before he could answer, she pointed ahead. “There. My brownstone is just past the next corner.”
Shane made the turn at the light.
“Park under the street light.”
She opened her purse and retrieved her keys. As he set the brake, his stomach grew tight with nervous energy. This babe was definitely of a different kind. Maybe he should offer to do it right and take her to dinner. Hell, a show. He didn’t know. It just felt weird if they just ended up in her bed.
“What are you waiting for? An engraved invitation?”
The question rattled in his skull. He wasn’t sure she’d asked it. “You want me to come inside?”
“My birthday and I’m thinking I don’t want it to end.” She looked him over. “Not yet.”
He dropped his hand on the back of headrest, eyeing the separation at the folds of her coat, which showed just a hint of cleavage. His gaze lingered before moving back up to capture her sexy, thickly-lashed eyes. “You don’t know me.”
“Sure I do. You’re Shane Lafferty, the first guy all night to wish me happy birthday and not mean it.”
“You didn’t mean it, did you? Just a good opener to get a lap dance from me while standing up. ”
He laughed. “Yeah, I guess.”
Shane was at a sudden loss for words. He stared at her under the cover of darkness in his car, trying to decide. Then she decided for him. Opening her door, she got out and walked away.
“Shit!” Shane cursed, hurrying to do the same. He met her at her door just as she unlocked it, and followed her inside.
His brown beauty, elusive and mysterious most of the night, tossed the key into a candy dish and started up the stairs. Shane locked the door, immediately assessing the setup. Normally, he could tell a lot about a person by their home, that reading-people thing again. But here, he couldn’t tell anything. She had empty beige walls and uncomfortable-looking furniture. However, he did notice that the place was pretty dark, which could mean they were alone.
Intrigued, Shane took his time climbing the stairs, using her sexy fragrance to guide him. Several rooms flanked the second-floor landing, but there was only one door open, light spilling out onto the wood floor. Shane ran his hand down the wall as he approached. Just shy of the threshold, he stopped and watched her.
Raelynn was inside with her back to him, dropping her purse in a chair, shedding her coat. Her legs, smooth and sexy, extended from a skirt that was fitting just right. She tossed her long bangs and flashed him that killer smile. “You going to stand there and watch or come in?”
“What’s the deal with you?” he asked. “It’s been my experience that when something is too good to be true, it definitely is. You don’t strike me as the kind of girl that picks up strange men in bars.”
Raelynn shrugged off the question. “Shane Lafferty, you’re a tough guy, right? I wouldn’t take you as someone to play it safe. Don’t start now by questioning a gift.”
Shane walked in. The physical attraction was so binding he had no choice. “You stay here?”
He eyed the room, remembering the emptiness downstairs. It looked carefully decorated, nothing personal. He’d done enough jobs in his past life working for the Higgins to know the difference between a home and just a house. “Your place doesn’t look lived in.”
“If you must know, I’m house-sitting. Enough with the questions. Are you staying or not? It’s my birthday and all. Or does that matter?”
He gave her a wolfish grin. “Be careful about that birthday wish, sweetheart. I can deliver.” He touched her face, then cupped her neck from behind and pulled her close, needing to silence her sass.
Her plush, supple lips parted for him. She offered her tongue immediately, teasingly. Eyes closed, her lashes spread over her high cheekbones. He brought her up against him, holding her and deepening the kiss, not closing his eyes even for a second. He wanted to see her. Dark hair cascaded down her shoulders and back. She was fated to be his. This moment was meant to be. His luck was changing.
Raelynn placed her hands between them, against his chest, kissing him as he walked her back to the bed. She helped him shed his leather jacket, remove his tie, and then unbutton his shirt. He did the same, getting her out of her shirt, popping buttons he cared little about; he peeled off her snug-fitted skirt and tiny white lace panties.
One good look and desire for her consumed him, burning him bad from within. They tumbled to the bed, and he moistened his lips, staring at her pussy with lust. He touched her inner thighs as she parted them for him to get a better look. Then he lightly caressed the neatly shaved hairs covering the top of her sex.
“Beautiful. Damn, you’re so sexy.”
“Mmmm,” she moaned.
Shane stroked her with his middle finger, relishing her slick, satiny wetness. His eyes locked on hers. Disappointingly, her bra remained. He wished he had removed it, too. She gave a sultry growl in response to his finger-play, arching off the bed. He wanted nothing more than to pull down his pants, get in her, and thrust the ache in his cock deeply into the warm tightness he felt closing down on his fingers. Imagining how good it would be almost caused him to burst. But he forced himself to wait and to delay his own pleasure, because this was about far more than his own ecstasy.
“What you waiting for, lover?” she teased.
Shane smirked. He had to get out of his head. Go with the flow. It was, after all, her birthday. But, really, who was she? All he knew at the moment was Raelynn. He didn’t even know her last name. He lowered his head, deciding it didn’t matter, as he moved his tongue over her stomach. Then he returned to her navel to dip it in, inserting another finger into the wetness below. She gasped, sweetly. Beads of sweat formed over his forehead from the restraint he summoned, barely, at the sound of her soft weep for more. He wanted all of her. She was just that uniquely beautiful and enticing.
He lapped at her with the full width of his tongue. She kicked her feet, bouncing her ass on the mattress wildly when he abandoned the licks for long sucks of her clit. The torture became too much: she sat up with his head buried between her legs, trying to escape. He refused her any release. To his delight, she accepted his offering, going weak.
Raelynn removed her bra as his reward. He lifted from the pursuit of her sweet juices to see the dark swell of her fully erect nipples. Insane with lust, he placed his hand to her stomach and pushed her back down, dipping his tongue in one last time to taste her sweetness before easing up to run it over her nipple. Her hands slid between them and undid his pants, lowering the zipper. He sucked her nipple, squeezing the other breast with his free hand and then rubbing his open palm over her mound, all the while fingering her deeply. She tensed and trembled beneath him. Then her hand eased inside his pants and gripped his cock, breaking his will. He released her nipple and closed his eyes to her. She gave long strokes to his dick until his balls grew tight and the urge to explode was close-so-close, almost there. She was good, damn good. And that was just her hand. He leaned forward and whispered against her ear. “You sure about this, sweetheart? You had plenty to drink.”
She flicked her tongue at his ear and then giggled. “I’m good.”
“Good, then keep it tight for me. Don’t come until we’re ready. I want,” he breathed deeply, “to join you.”
Their eyes met, with her staring sexily under a veil of lashes. He moved off her, removing his pants, dropping them and his underwear but not before fumbling after the condom he’d found earlier. She rose up on the bed, positioning herself and watching. He knew that look. She was checking to see if the myth was true. He wondered what black women thought of white boys and if they believed that bullshit. Her smile revealed her approval—myth shattered. He rolled the condom over his painfully swollen shaft and returned to her, stopping to run his tongue over her lower leg, knee, thigh, and the stripe of hair shaved low over her pussy. Then the seduction included her navel, her stomach and her breast before he kissed her pert nipple. He positioned himself back between her legs. He rubbed his thickness over her, wet, sweet, and warm, feeling it all through his condom.
Raelynn was ready. This would be good. He lowered his body to hers and kissed her lips. She sighed against his mouth, her legs parting wider and her hips rolling to entice him to take the plunge. One look into her soft brown eyes and the fierce light of defiance there proved she was ready for the ride. Then she gasped, her mouth forming a small ‘O’ as he thrust into her. She tensed as he gripped her hips and pinned her for inch-by-inch penetration. Shane drew in a stiff breath at the punch of pleasure that hit him square in the chest as he sank balls deep. Shocked by the instant rush, he drew back and then thrust into her again and again and again with increasing roughness. Groaning aloud, he held her hips tight, riding her hard until their bodies were slick with sweat.
Her dark hair twisted and tangled around her shoulders. Every time he thrust into her, her breasts bounced softly against his chest. And instead of slowing down his strikes by tightening her muscles, she instead gripped his hips and threw hers upward to get him to go harder, faster, and that was second to the look in her eyes, pulling him, pushing him to take her further. It was screwing with his head big-time. Her cries eclipsed his as he drew inward, focusing on the inevitable, as they fell into a final explosive climax. It was the first time in his life he saw stars bursting before him during an orgasm. He dropped on her, exhausted. She hugged him as he shook out the last of his seed, stroking his ass through it. Then he slipped away, safe in the softest place on earth.
It must have been the beers. Why else would he black out after sex? Shane opened his eyes and blinked through the blinding headache that pierced his temples. He looked over to see his beauty had rolled over to her side. Suddenly, all of it, including the delicious feeling of her body and sex came rushing back. He lifted the blanket to look at her backside. She was real. It went down just as he remembered it, with a birthday girl named Raelynn. He wanted to learn everything about her. Hearing the buzz of his phone from his pant pocket, he threw back the sheet and carefully left the bed, trying not to wake her. He checked the missed calls. It was Higgins, which was a surprise. He never used his cell phone after a job. He needed to check in.
His gaze turned to sleeping beauty. He remembered. There was a more important priority of finding out why and how someone like Raelynn came into his life. Smirking, he walked toward the bed, his dick thickening against his thigh. Accidentally, he stepped on her purse. The buckle cut into the bottom of his foot. He looked down to pick it up and a billfold fell out. At first he thought it was a man’s wallet. Then, suddenly, he knew it wasn’t. It was as if the world slowed to a stop. Shane knelt to the carpet and picked it up, flipping it open. A badge.
In his hand was a badge. A Federal badge that belonged to Agent Raelynn Traylor 09343.
“Mmmm…” she moaned, turning over.
He looked at her, shocked. “You’re a FED?”
She squinted at him from under her long, disheveled bangs. “What are you doing with that?” she yawned.
“Answer me. Are you a Fed?”
Raelynn sat up and smiled. “Yes. Now answer me. Why do you care?”
“Didn’t say I did,” Shane snapped. He hadn’t meant to. Fuck. He was screwed. How the hell did he end up in the bed of a federal fucking agent? Did she know who he was? Under the gauzy silver beams of moonlight slipping in through the blinds, she stared at him, beautiful and deceptively quiet. What the hell was he to do now?
“Shane, come here.” “Ah, sweetheart. I think I should go.”
“Do you?” she asked softly. Not a hint of surprise in her voice. Fuck! She knew who he was. She had to know. Shane turned and snatched up his boxers. He found his pants and quickly yanked them on. Raelynn reclined into the pillows, watching him. “This was great, sweetheart. You were great, but um, I gotta head out. You know? I—um, nothing personal.”
This was it. She would give the signal and a team of armed men would flood the room. Jail. He figured one day he’d end up there. His old man predicted it. But he never figured his slip to be this. Not this.
Shane stood at the side of the bed with his shirt in his hand. He waited with stilled breath as she slipped from the covers. How could he breathe with her walking toward him, with every beautiful inch of her body on display?
“I had a good time. It doesn’t have to end so soon.” she chuckled. She stared up at him, obviously weighing her words. “Look, I know you’re no boy scout.”
“What the hell does that mean?” He stumbled back.
“It means what it means.”
She crossed her arms over her breasts. He tried not to look at her pussy or acknowledge the erection forming from her being so close.
“You think I’m some kind of thug?”
She arched her brow. “I think things were good and can still be good. Then we can go our separate ways. Unless my job makes you nervous? Is that it, Shane? Do I make you nervous?”
He pulled on his shirt. She was toying with him. Challenging him. Again he had the uneasy feeling that his freedom hung in the balance and that she knew who he was. “Like I said, it was good. Um, happy birthday.”
Those were the final words he said before he broke for the door, hurried down the stairs, and out into the street. It wasn’t until he was on the sidewalk he dared a look back. She watched him from the window with the blinds pulled aside. He could see those deep brown eyes, the ones he was sure would follow him into a sleepless night. A sly smile formed on her lips before she let the blinds go and slipped away.
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!” he cursed. He was in the car and racing down the street before he could finally process a thought. And it was a single thought. Did she make me?
“You look like hell.”
“Good morning to you, too,” Raelynn said, easing behind her desk. The cup of coffee was her second. Already she was thinking she’d need a third.
“Party hard, did ya?”
Andy O’Brien, her partner, had missed the party but apparently had heard all about it. When he smiled, his blue eyes danced. A ginger with a face dotted with freckles, she’d been paired with him since the day she’d been assigned to the Boston field office. And they still were relegated to desk duty and paperwork. What the agency referred to as fieldwork only came after their superiors assigned every other agent above their pay grade. It was just another reason she felt the itch to rebel.
“I partied, but party over. So, give me some quiet while I wake up.” She yawned.
“Sure thing, but Garrett is asking for you.”
“Huh?” Raelynn sat upright. She double-blinked. The SAC was looking for her? “What did you say?”
“He came by twice. Guess you better wake up. Here he comes.”
Raelynn nearly spilled the steamy coffee in her lap. She cursed under her breath, setting the mug on the desk as Garrett strode up.
“Agent Traylor, need you to come with me.”
“Yes, sir.” She rose and hurried behind him. Immediately, flashes of her partying last night and the cutie she’d seduced without a second thought came to mind. Was she being watched? Had she broken protocol? Why would Garrett want to speak to her without Andy? This couldn’t be good.
“Have a seat, Traylor,” he ordered, walking around his desk. Raelynn wanted to remain standing, but she did as she was told.
“I’m pulling you off the Muhammad case. We need you on something more pressing.”
“Sir? My own assignment?”
Garrett leveled his cool, gray eyes on her. “Is that a problem?”
“No, sir. I—“
“Good. The offender is Ian Higgins. We believe he’s responsible for a spree of bank robberies on the south side.” He picked up a folder and passed it over to Raelynn. “These are the jackets on his crew. We want Higgins. He’s our target. Somehow, we need to find a weak link in his organization. Something we can use. Read the file. Give me an outline by the end of the day. “
Raelynn opened the file. She thumbed through the mug shots, surveillance photos. “Yes, sir. Will I be working with a team?”
“We got ATF involved and Director Greaves is commanding the internal task force. Consider it an evaluation. Show us what you can do.”
Raelynn wanted to grin but knew not to. She kept her face stoic, going through the images. “I think I—“
Her voice caught. Her hand froze on the bottom image. The camera lens had captured a beat-up car and a tall, built guy with a clover tattoo on his neck and a mean-looking swagger. It was indeed the car she’d rode in. She knew that tattoo. She knew the guy. It was Shane Lafferty.
“Uh… huh? No, um, sir, no. No problem.”
“Then get to it.”
Raelynn swallowed. “Yes, sir. Right away sir,” she mumbled, rising and bolting for the door. Her heart hammered in her chest. She avoided her desk, where she was sure Andy waited with a million questions. Instead, she beat a hasty retreat to the bathroom. It wasn’t until she was alone in a stall that she opened the file with shaking hands and checked the image again. It was Shane. There was no mistaking him.
“Sweet Jesus. What the hell have I done?”