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Rough and Dirty: A Dark Romance by Piper Stone – Sample

Chapter One


I pushed my way through the raucous crowd, ignoring the catcalls and whistles from unsavory men who believed their shit didn’t stink. I would be happy to tell them someone had lied to them over the years, the overused scent of sandalwood repulsive. Maybe I was just in a surly mood, but I had my reasons, including the fact I’d been stood up by my date. Then I’d realized after sucking down my second beer that the asshole I’d been seeing on and off for four months was likely cheating on me. I’d ignored the subtle hints, the infrequency of phone calls and emails. I’d provided my own excuses including he was a busy man and I had limited time to talk to him, but the sickening feeling had washed over me the moment I’d stepped foot in the country bar.

His truck was parked in the lot, but even after taking two trips around the facility, I’d yet to see him. That’s when the realization had kicked me in the head. Finally noticing him in a darkened corner had made me see red. When the gyrating couple had walked toward the corridor leading to the bathrooms, I’d given myself two full minutes to catch my breath.

It never ceased to amaze me how stupid men could be. If he wanted to fuck some buxom blonde, why wouldn’t he find a quaint little seedy motel instead of sucking tongue with her at the very establishment where he’d suggested we meet? Maybe this was his not-so-subtle way of breaking things off. A freaking text would be better than watching two heated bodies on the dancefloor about ready to slide into a sixty-nine position.

I was furious.


No, I was borderline murderous, my anger level jacked up to the highest degree. Even the country music had slowed down, the damn guitar player tossing in a love song. As the lights dimmed, couples clinging to each other like saran wrap, I issued a hard shove to two cowboys intent on feeling me up.

Then I stormed down the dimly lit hallway, smashing both hands against the men’s room door. Very little shocked me any longer. I’d grown up in a tough atmosphere surrounded by men. But there was something about the sight of Boobie Barbie on her hands and knees in a filthy bathroom, taking it like an animal that drove bile into my throat. I’d wanted nothing more than to confront the prick, but as I studied his strained, reddened face, I realized I couldn’t care less about the man.

The way he’d treated me with utter disrespect was something entirely different.

Parker Brentfield was a slimy pig.

The bastard didn’t even have the courtesy to notice I was watching their less than stellar performance. I remained frozen for a full thirty seconds before backing out, hating myself for bothering. What was the point? I headed for the bar, determined to get into some mischief given it was my first weekend off in a very long time.

I returned to the seat I’d grabbed before, polishing off my beer then tossing two twenties to the bartender. Maybe the crazy, stupid girl in me thought the jerk might apologize. I was so stupid for thinking Parker had actually cared. As I pushed my way through the crowd, I did everything I could to hold my rage inside. It didn’t look pretty when I let the beast out of her cage.

At least the cowboys had finally left me alone, obviously realizing I wasn’t in the mood for any dancing between the sheets. As I rounded the corner near the entrance, I couldn’t help but notice two insanely gorgeous men propped near a stand-up table. For the first time in a long time, my breath was taken away by two gorgeous men. The bad girl side of me wanted to walk over and introduce myself, but the good girl side, which wasn’t as powerful, screamed that revenge sex wasn’t in my best interest.

Decisions. Decisions.

When the taller of the two homed in on my heated gaze, the overhead lighting wasn’t dim enough to hide the nod of appreciation he gave me. Or the hunger in his eyes. Then his companion noticed, dragging his gaze all the way to my cowboy boots.

What a shame the good girl side of me won.

The last thing I needed was another heartbreak. I was finished with men. No matter how good looking or how suave they were, I planned on staying away from a single temptation for a long time.

The band had already stopped playing, the lights shifting to enough glare I winced just before the bartender screamed ‘last call.’ I couldn’t help but wonder if Boobie Barbie would look so attractive when the lights were turned all the way on. It was time to leave. If I didn’t head out before Mr. Asshole made his way from his dark lair, I’d likely use him as a punching bag.

Then another thought came to me.

A grin crossing my face, I continued heading toward the front door, smashing my hand on the wooden surface then bolting outside. I took long strides toward my battered truck, unlocking it then grabbing my Louisville Slugger from behind the seat. My pops always told me it was better to take out my anger on an inanimate object.

Whistling, I could recognize his truck from a mile away, the glistening pearlescent sapphire blue an ode to his arrogant personality. The entire ride was jacked up, the large tires a further indication that his dick was likely the size of a pencil, a very short one. Thank God I’d never succumbed to his overt advances.

I didn’t care that he’d parked it close to one of the overhead parking lot lights. I also didn’t care if some wayward wannabe cowboy called the cops. I was certain after hearing my tale of woe they’d be on my side. Hell, maybe they’d even join in. And to think the fucker had begged me to meet him here.

“I have some work to do, honey.” It doesn’t matter I haven’t seen you in thirty-two days and eight hours, honey.

“I promise you we’ll have a wonderful night after I’m finished… honey.”

Yeah, right. If his idea of a good time was after fucking Ms. Bimbo, then he was dumber than a box of rocks.

Maybe it was time I knocked some sense into him.

I stared at the windshield of his truck, twisting the bat in my hand. Then I shifted my gaze to his pretty little headlights.

That was only seconds before I took a hard swing. Then another. The sound of smashing glass delighted the hell out of me. In fact, I was having so much fun, I slapped my boot onto the stainless-steel bumper, hoping I scratched it as I climbed on top. After rolling the slugger in my hands, I whistled a snappy tune from my favorite artist, Carrie Underwood, as I took another hard swing against the windshield.

And another.

And another.

Then to add the cherry to the delicious icing, I did a sideways swing, catching one sideview mirror, shifting and smashing the other. I tingled from the cracking sound.

Then I sensed a crowd forming. If only I had lipstick to write my name on the hood. Oh, well. This would have to do. For some crazy reason, my breath caught in my throat, every inch of my skin tingling as I felt a presence only a few feet away.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing to my truck?”

While the steely deep baritone voice was coming from behind me, there was one thing I was positive of.

The sexy, rugged tone with sharp inflections didn’t belong to Parker.

Oh, shit. You’ve gone and done it now, Charlie.

“Oops.” I threw my head over my shoulder, still keeping my bravado as I stared at the three men who’d formed an arc.

Three of the most gorgeous, rugged, muscular men God had ever created. Standing in skintight jeans and boots, their tee shirts stretched across their massive chests as if all three of them had purchased two sizes too small on purpose, they screamed of utter filth.

As well as danger.

Especially the one standing in the front, his two hands fisted, dark eyes resembling black opals shimmering in the ugly fluorescent light. His curly black hair and long eyelashes accentuated his bronze complexion, the hard edge of his jaw covered in the sexiest two- or three-day stubble I’d ever seen.

He was the reason women flocked to bachelorette parties, praying to some God above for an entertainer as handsome.

The other two were equally as gorgeous, crowding my space as if I’d given them a personal invitation. Well, okay, so technically it wasn’t my space, but they had no right moving closer without my permission.

At least one of the other two appeared amused, chuckling under his breath. Oh, shit. He was one of the musicians. Not only had I caused significant damage to a stranger’s vehicle, but he appeared to be a buddy of the local house band. Perfect. Could my night get any shittier?

“How’s it hangin’ tonight, boys?” I asked casually, giving them my prettiest girlie smile as I swung the bat back and forth. The dark-haired man was pissed, fuming like a bull ready to crash out of an arena.

“I suggest you get down from the man’s truck, little lady,” the third one in the group barked. He had to be on steroids, his larger-than-life body reminding me of some action figure. With his close-cropped blond hair and colorful tattoos on both arms, I had a feeling he was going to be bad news. At least one colorful piece of art had a skull with a dagger through it, a pretty good indication he was the most dangerous of the three. I couldn’t help but envision some pretty sinful thoughts about writhing underneath him.

Then I thought about what he’d just called me.

Little lady. They obviously didn’t know me.

It had never been in my personality to surrender to anything or anyone and I wasn’t going to start now. I tapped the tip of the bat against my boot before finally jumping off, smacking the hard wood against my other hand as I studied the three men, staring from one to the other. Whew. I hated to admit that filthy thoughts raced into the back of my mind, every image hardcore.

The first dude swaggered closer, eyeing me as if I was grade A prime rib, which pissed me off for a second time that night. Okay, so he had a right to be angry, but we should be able to handle the situation like reasonable adults.

“I asked you a question,” Mr. Black Eyes snarled, the husky sound of his voice skating over me like the first taste of a fine rich cabernet.

“I’m sorry. I got lost in all the testosterone. What was that question again?” Charlie. You’re pressing your luck. When did that ever stop me?

Now the dark-haired beast was only a few inches away, close enough a spark of electricity pulsed between us, the arcing curve shimmering in blue in the ugly streetlight.

I was thrown by the intense scent of his aftershave, the combination of spices, various woods, and fresh rain irresistible. I found myself dropping my gaze to the bulge between his legs, his cock straining against the dense material.

Oh, great, Charlie. I seriously doubt you’ll find a way out of this latest stunt.

“Maybe I need to take out the trash,” he growled.

The trash. Was Conan the Barbarian actually insinuating I was trash? Now I was pissed.

“With that kind of nasty attitude, Neanderthal Boy, I don’t think I want to answer you.” Huffing, I shifted away from him, heading toward my truck. While a part of me was thinking I should grab my insurance card, the bad girl side of me wanted to rebuff his arrogance. I’d had enough of a man’s holier than thou demeanor to last for the rest of my life.

He made the mistake of snapping his fingers around my arm, jerking me against his chest.

“Not so fast, princess,” he breathed, the wafting of his hot breath cascading across my skin creating wave after wave of tingles. He yanked the bat from my hand, tossing it aside.

“Did you just call me princess?” I snapped, trying to jerk my arm away but his hold was too strong. I tipped my head until I was able to glance into his eyes, doing everything I could to ignore the fact he had gorgeous little crinkles appearing in the corners of them, which made him even sexier. If I were the kind of girl to swoon, I’d say Mr. Grumpy was mouthwatering. But of course, I wasn’t that kind of girl.

He yanked me toward him with enough vigor I was forced to snap my hands against his chest. When an involuntary moan slipped up from my throat, I was mortified. Then I clamped my fingers around his tee shirt, barely able to grab any material given its tightness.

“You’re lucky I’m a gentleman. Now, we’re going to handle this situation my way or I’ll call the police and have you arrested for assault and battery.”

“It’s an inanimate object, asshole. Then again, maybe I’m talking about you,” I retorted without thinking. Another thing my pops told me more than once was that my mouth would eventually get me into a whole heap of trouble. Tonight might be that night.

“She’s a feisty one,” the musician suggested from behind me.

“Why don’t you play us a happy little tune, cowboy?” I cooed, only adding to the crackling electricity surrounding us. Unfortunately, it was drifting closer to a volcano explosion.

All three of them were at least six inches taller, outweighing me by somewhere in the neighborhood of three hundred pounds. When the other two moved closer, the images pouring through my mind had nothing to do with the trouble I was in.

“A feisty one with a nasty mouth,” the cowboy singer snarled. “And I thought you might be a nice girl in need of assistance.”

“Who, me? Never.”

“You heard her, Wyland. She ain’t no nice girl,” Mr. Tattoo Man added. I expected him to snarl, highlighting a golden tooth.

The visions of them were sexual, every image like some crazy dark fantasy that only truly bad girls ever had. I envisioned being sandwiched between the three of them, shifting from one to the other, being ravaged several times. The filthy images of their cocks filtered through my mind like a bulldozer shifted into high gear. It was crazy. Ridiculous.


And for a few seconds, I thought I could lose myself, forgoing my inhibitions and allowing the sinful moment of passion to occur.

Then Mr. Black Eyes curled his lip, those damn dark, hooded eyes piercing mine. “I think we need to remind you there are consequences for every action.”

“Meaning what?” I challenged. I couldn’t help myself, doing everything I could to incinerate him with a single glare. Unfortunately, he remained breathing hot fire all over me.

He lifted his head, winking at the other two cohorts, an evil grin crossing his face. “Meaning…” He didn’t bother finishing his sentence before jerking me around to face the front of his mangled truck, slamming me against the grille, and crowding my space until I was able to feel the very hard slice of his cock pressing against my buttocks. What the hell did the man think he was going to do, assault me in the middle of a parking lot? Oh, hell, no.

I shoved my hands against the hood, bucking back with enough force I was almost able to get away. Then I bent my knee, driving my boot against his leg, the brutal action dangerously close to his groin. He grunted, allowing me to smile. Good. I’d hurt the arrogant asshole. I planned on continuing.

Then he proved himself to be stronger, pitching me back into position, jerking both arms over my head, wrapping one hand around my wrists. When he crowded close, his hot breath cascading across my cheek, I shivered to my very core, frustrated by the continuous vibrations skittering through me. I was attracted to this asshole? I was just revolted from Parker being such a shit. That was the only explanation.

That and sheer exhaustion, one too many beers after a full month of abstention.

“Gage. Why don’t you hand me your belt,” Mr. Black Eyes stated, the allure of his deep baritone keeping every nerve standing on end. It couldn’t have gotten any worse. Then my nipples hardened to tiny peaks, my pussy aching as if this was a cat and mouse game and I was the prize.

“Why, I think that’s an excellent idea, Dakota,” Gage said.

“Are you fucking out of your mind?” I barked, still struggling in the man’s hold. At least I had all three names, which would be easy to remember when I made a statement to the police.

Yeah, right. And who do you think is going to get arrested?

Dakota the Bull laughed, the sound so low and husky that I shivered from the anticipation of what he was going to do. “You fucked with the wrong men, little filly.”

Little filly? I’d show him I was more like a bull in a china shop, capable of kicking this bull in the ass. I stomped on his foot, grinning when he howled, his grip slipping. That was all I needed. I reared back, pitching my arm around me, my fingers clenched. I managed to land my fist against his chest, spinning around and kicking out, allowing my martial arts training to take over.

I don’t know how the asshole managed, but he fisted my hair at the scalp, ignoring what had to be significant pain, jerking me against the heat of his body. We were so close, I could almost determine the brand of aftershave he’d used and was certain he’d had a Budweiser with a tequila shooter. When he crushed me against the grille of his truck, my breath was stolen.

“I’m finished playing games, sweetheart. Either you take your punishment like a good girl, or I will call the police. It’s entirely up to you.”

The jerk was serous. This was insane. When I remained quiet, he snapped my head back at an awkward angle, lowering his head. I couldn’t help but notice his breathing was labored, his eyes shimmering in the hazy light.

And the closer his lips were to mine, the more I believed Dakota was going to kiss me. He exuded the kind of intense, raw sex appeal that indicated he was a true savage, a man never accepting no as an answer. He was rugged, his arms and chest ripped, but I had a feeling his chiseled physique had nothing to do with days spent at a gym, the craggy lines by his eyes, the hard look of his clenched jaw further indications of his savage life. I found myself arching my back, taking shallow breaths in anticipation of a sizzling moment.

All time ceased. There were no voices, no laughter coming from drunken assholes watching the event unfold.

Just… us.

But as usual, my abrasive personality took over. “Fuck you.”

That broke whatever spell had captured us together in the dirty little game.

“So, which do you prefer, little filly?” he asked. “It’s entirely up to you.”

Before this moment, I hadn’t really believed he was serious. Then again, I’d likely caused at least two thousand dollars’ worth of damage. Given my less than stellar track record with my insurance company, my gut told me they’d cancel my policy. That was, if they even covered this type of claim. I sure as hell couldn’t afford to pay for the repairs, not when I was trying to help my father get back on his feet.

You fucked up, Charlie. Take your punishment.

Somehow, my little voice didn’t seem to understand that he wasn’t the kind of man to let it go with a hard spanking. When Gage jerked the thick leather strap from his belt loops, my attention was pulled away. He even upped the ante by slapping the implement of doom against the pavement. Fuck. Fuck. I’d really gotten myself into a terrible predicament this time.

“Fine. Where are you taking me to do this horrible deed?” I snarked, doing everything I could to push Dakota the Bull away.

He took a deep breath, holding it for a few seconds. When he released, the same ugly tingles shifted through my entire body. “We’ll take care of it right here.”

“Here? As in the middle of the parking lot?” The sound of my voice was as disgusting as the moment. Small. Helpless. That wasn’t me.

“What better place?” he asked. “Unless you want all three of us to take you somewhere very… private. Now, that is a distinct possibility, but if we do, I’m not certain we won’t turn into the primal beasts you think we are.”

“You’re an asshole.”

“You would be right. Decide or I’ll do it for you.”

This was worse than a no-win situation. This was slip sliding into my own private hell. “Let me go, you son of a bitch. Just get it over with.”

This time, his grin was one of satisfaction, but the electricity that had already sparked between us went into overdrive. When he backed away, I couldn’t help myself, glancing down at the huge bulge between his legs for a second time. Great. Just great. I was acting like some prom date. He caught the look, chuckling softly, but the look in his eyes had grown possessive, creating a wave of vibrations dancing all throughout my body.

“Turn around. Place your hands on the hood. And don’t move. If you do, sweetheart, well, I’ll have to think of some other punishment. I have a few in mind.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

He gave me a hard look, cocking his head, his smile the kind that could melt a glacier. “Try me.”

Chapter Two


Try me.

Who the hell was he kidding?

“I wouldn’t push him if I were you. The man is crazy,” the hulking mass of muscles said in his gravelly voice. Gage wasn’t right for him. Something like the Hulk suited him better.

“I might be too. Did you ever think of that?” I snapped, although there was no doubt I wasn’t getting out of this.

The cowboy moved closer. “Trust me. You don’t want to cross him.”

Why did I have a feeling Dakota the Bull was itching to provide a second example?

“Fine. Let me remove my phone first,” I hissed. The last thing I needed was to scramble around to get a new phone.

Not that anyone was going to call me at this point.

“You better not have another weapon.”

If only I had my favorite hunting knife. I’d remember for the next time. Oh, hell, no. There would never be another time with these… Neanderthals.

I yanked my phone from my back pocket, gently placing it on the hood.

“Come on, sweetheart. I don’t have all night.”

“I’m not your sweetheart, you beast.”

My words only brought laughter.

Oh, the fucking asshole didn’t know what I was capable of. I did as he commanded, closing my eyes as jeers from the few people still watching pushed my anger to an entirely different level. One day, I’d meet Dakota the Bull in a dark alley. Then he’d understand what true punishment felt like.

And I’d enjoy every moment.

I felt every hard thump of the man’s rattlesnake cowboy boots as he backed away, taking his time to enjoy the moment. I gritted my teeth, clawing his hood with my nails, hoping I’d leave my mark in an entirely different way.

I wasn’t prepared for the hard crack of the belt against my backside. Even though I was wearing jeans, the pain was like a jolt of white lightning, and not the good kind. I hissed, my body flinching involuntarily, but I refused to allow him to know the brutal single smack had almost brought tears to my eyes. Not a single man in my world had ever tried to do something like this to me. Not one. Of course, the few men I’d dated had known better.

I’d punched a guy in the face for running his fingers down my back, another for whispering the disgusting words of what he wanted to shove inside my asshole. Now… this.

When he brought the belt down again, I bit my lower lip. The second he dared caress my bottom, I almost reached around, biting his hand off, but that’s the moment another wave of humiliation set in.

I was aroused by the experience. What the hell was wrong with me? I was even able to gather a scent of my feminine wiles and if I could, the beast could.

So could the other two.

Oh, this was bad. So bad.

He delivered three more so quickly my breath was taken away.

“Would anyone else like a turn?” Dakota asked, chuckling as if this was just one huge game.

“An excellent idea,” Gage stated. “But I think we need to make certain she learns her lesson. Lower your jeans.”

“Excuse me, what?”

“You heard what I said.”

The deep rumbling growl he emitted sent shivers down my spine. I pulled away from the truck, taking a few deep breaths before fumbling with the button on my jeans, fighting with the tight fabric as I dragged both sides down my hips. I was only wearing a crimson thong. My God. This was so humiliating. My face burned, likely matching the color of my panties. I could never return to this bar again. Ever.

I threw my head over my shoulder, biting my tongue as the huge man took Dakota’s place. He didn’t waste any time, pressing his hand against my back and striking my bottom four times. Four. I was mortified when I gathered a whiff of my pussy, horrified that they’d notice.

I fisted my hands, chewing on my inner lip, heat roaring through my body.

“You had an excellent idea,” Gage muttered then cracked the belt against me three additional times.

My reaction involuntary, I kicked out, catching him somewhere on his massive leg. He pushed me further down, lowering his head. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you, sweetheart. The punishment could get a lot worse.”

Somehow, I doubted that. I tried to shut everything off as he gave me a couple more. Then the cowboy cleared his throat.

“My turn,” he stated.

The sharp chime of my phone dragged my attention away. I was able to see the screen, the number that popped up not one I recognized, especially this time of the morning. It rang and rang, the tone I’d selected, ‘Who Let the Dogs Out,’ adding to the humiliation. It was meant for strangers, the calls I couldn’t care less about. While it seemed strangely appropriate, it also gave me a strange series of prickles and I had no idea why.

The cowboy issued four in rapid succession, and I thought for certain I was going to rocket up to the heavens, the agony blinding. I kicked out, taking gasping breaths then drove my boot into the pavement several times.

Then my nipples hardened, straining against the thin material of my shirt. No. No. I’d never been a masochist. Why was my pussy quivering?

Get a grip, girl.

Panting, I licked my lips, another series of naughty visions forming in my mind.

“Well, well, the perfect little filly can’t seem to handle the heat,” Dakota the Bull chided.

“Shut up, you son of a bitch. Just shut up.”

Goddamn it. All three of them snickered, enjoying every second of this.

Gage rubbed his fingers across my bottom, his breathing ragged. I could only imagine how this looked to the crowd. “Just a few more.”

There was no chance in hell I could stand it, but as he smacked me a few more times, I realized I’d been holding my breath.

“I think you should finish, Dakota. It’s your truck,” the cowboy crooned in a singsong tone.

“Very true,” Dakota stated, half laughing.

I kept my eyes closed, trying to drown out the sound as the belt was sliced through the air, but it was impossible. I lost count of how many he delivered, but the spanking seemed to go on for hours. Days. Was this the kind of thing men did to women? Maybe I’d become celibate because I wasn’t the kind of woman to submit to any man, punishment or anything else. Fuck him. Fuck this.

“I think maybe five more. What do you say, boys?” he asked.

“Six. Make it a round number,” Wyland stated with far too much glee in his voice.

I looked over my shoulder, glaring at him, stamping his forehead with my brand. “Get it over with or suffer.”

Dakota dared to brush his fingers down my tee shirt, rolling the tips from one side of my bottom to the other. I should punch the man in the face. Instead, I shivered, forced to suck in my breath as goosebumps appeared up and down both arms, my mouth dry. When I stamped my foot, he reared back. The six strikes were like a roar of thunder, fire exploding into every muscle and tendon, the force rocking me forward.

It was impossible to stop the tears from forming, or the anger from breaching the surface. I chewed on my lip, taking gasping breaths. Why was my body shaking? It had nothing to do with the burn sliced across my bottom or the hatred I felt for all three of them.

Because you crave them, all three of them.

There were times my inner voice was the most irritating aspect of my life.

I remained aroused, the same damning images filling my mind. At a sudden loss for words, I tried to control my breathing until Dakota crowded my space, rubbing his groin across my aching bottom. He was thick, throbbing, and rock hard.

“Maybe you’ll think twice about fucking with a man’s private property.”

The dark, ominous tone was enthralling, more so than it should have been. Was I nuts to find him so attractive, my core burning as hotly as my aching ass cheeks?

You bet.

When he gathered me into his arms, turning me around, I realized I had no strength left, allowing him to brush hair from my face. The look on his face changed, the irritation replaced with a solid round of lust. For a few minutes, there was no one else around us, the electricity exchanged enough to light up the entire bar.

“You really are a pretty little thing.” His words were genuine, the husky tone sliding across me as if I was completely naked.

We were locked in a moment of time, the strange attraction more intense than anything I’d ever felt. After pressing my palm against his chest, his eyelids were suddenly half closed.

Then I came to my senses, blinking several times to rid my mind of the naughty images.

“Get off me,” I snarled, fighting to jerk my jeans back into position, barely managing to zip them before he yanked me closer.

“Mmm… Maybe we need to continue this in private.” Dakota lowered his head, daring to press his lips against my heated cheek. I was paralyzed, everything spinning. In my mind.

In my body.

As the two men crowded even closer, I was pulled into a delicious vacuum, hungering like some marooned sailor.

“The things we could do to you,” Dakota whispered then nipped my earlobe.

I’d never had this kind of intense reaction to a man, let alone a stranger. The fact it seemed the crowd had dissipated, every sound but my beating heart remained irritating, but the heat of his body and the way he pressed his throbbing cock against my stomach sent butterflies dancing throughout my system.

Dakota pinched my chin between his thumb and forefinger, lifting my head, his eyes searching mine. Then he did the unthinkable.

He captured my mouth.

It wasn’t just any kiss, a chaste moment where the stranger said goodbye. Oh, no. This was an explosion of passion, a fleeting few minutes where all time seemed to stop, my mind a huge blur. I found myself clutching my hand around his shirt, arching my back and tipping closer to him. His rugged scent of musk, exotic spices, and a dense forest flowed through my system, the taste of bourbon and something sweet only adding to the infusion of senses. I was blown away that a man who seemed hell-bent on dominating the world was so passionate, the kiss undeniably the best of my life.

He slipped his tongue past my lips, commanding mine to dance together in a beautiful rhythm as he explored the dark recesses of my mouth. I remained lightheaded, incapable of pulling away. The feel of his sculpted muscles against my fingertips further ignited the raw needs swelling within me. For a few precious seconds, I couldn’t care less about my longing to beat him senseless or the humiliation I’d just gone through. At that moment, a small part of me wanted nothing more than to surrender to his darkness, succumbing to my hidden cravings.

He exuded unbridled passion, his hold firm. As he ground his hips back and forth, pressing the hard ridge of his cock into my stomach, I slid my hand over his shoulder, tangling my fingers in his curly hair. I continued to indulge in the hidden fantasies forming in my mind until an ugly reality set in.

This couldn’t happen. I pushed away, breaking the kiss, but he kept his hand twined in my hair for a few seconds, our breathing ragged. Then I firmly pushed him away, wiping my mouth with the back of my hand. What the hell was I doing?

Swallowing, I struggled with the dark, dangerous sensations coursing through me, almost losing my resolve.

“Whew,” Wyland said, whistling slowly to some crazy tune.

I was jittery, trying to force my anger to the surface again when I realized I was still clutching his shirt even though I stood a full foot away. I slanted my eyes toward his arm and pursed my lips. Why was I tingling all over?

He refused to let go, taking several deep breaths. When he started to lower his head like he was going to repeat his actions, I raised my arm, ready to smack the hell out of him. He caught my hand mid-action, curling his fingers around mine. A smile crossing his face, he nuzzled my neck, pressing his lips against my skin.

Oh, God. I was shocked I remained fully aroused, wiggling in his hold but I wasn’t going anywhere until he allowed that to happen. After nipping my earlobe, he growled then whispered words that would ordinarily push me to a heightened level of violence. Instead, they had me shivering all the way to my core.

“You and I will meet again, little vixen. When we do, I’m going to indulge in tasting every single inch of you. I’m also going to finish a well-deserved punishment. And I assure you that you won’t have a choice.”

The arrogance of the man was unequaled, yet I found myself closing my eyes, wishing for that moment, the vision of that very experience crystal clear in my mind.

Only when he laughed did it break the hypnotic barrier and I managed to drive my knee between his legs, able to break free.

“Over my dead body, buddy.” I was prepared for him to retaliate, grateful when my phone chimed again, the sound able to drag me back to reality.

Then I realized the ring tone was the one I’d selected for my father. He never called, especially this late.

“I… I need to take this.” I gave him a hard shove, breaking the connection. While he gave me a wry smile, he backed away, chuckling under his breath.

I yanked the phone into my hand, glaring from one to the other. We weren’t finished yet, but I refused to succumb to an additional second of their bullshit.

“Dad. What’s up?”

When a strange voice answered, the first words shoved another dose of hard reality into my system.

Then my world seemed to crumble around me.

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