A RISKY DANCE
Riley Frost walked through the front door at Fellow’s Bar and Grill and, Ben, the bartender, waved. He nodded and sat down on a barstool at the end. The room wasn’t overly crowed and there were enough women in the place that he thought he’d come out on top. He hoped to find a nice curvy woman to curl up with for the night. The noise and laughter helped bring his tension down a notch.
Ben walked to his end and set a glass of Loch Lomand single-malt-whiskey in front of him. It was Riley’s favorite and the bar kept it stocked for him.
“My headache thanks you, Ben.” He accepted the glass.
“Steven should be back from a break shortly, Mr. Frost. Care for a game of chess?” the bartender asked. “It would give me a chance to win back some of my losses from last month.”
“Perhaps. I’m a little on the prowl tonight. Is it too late to get a pulled pork sandwich or something?”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
Riley nodded, picked up his glass and a newspaper off the end of the bar, and walked over to an empty table.
Ben came out from behind the bar. “We can do the sandwich. Chef wants to know if you want coleslaw, chips, or fries?”
“Chips are fine. There’s no need to heat up the fryer.”
“Good.” Ben smiled and went back to the kitchen.
Riley read through the headlines on the front page of the paper and then heard the front door open. A woman about five-foot-ten walked in and went straight to the bar. He did a double take and found it hard to take his eyes off of her.
She wore an emerald green, mini-tank dress that had lace in all the right places. It hugged her hips tightly and when she turned to the bar, he saw it had no back. The sides were cut low under her arms and the curve of her breasts showed just enough. Her long, brown hair would slide side to side when she moved and he thought he saw a scar on the middle of her back. Her legs alone caused Riley’s cock to stir and he thought he may have found his catch for the night.
An older man with dark-graying hair walked up to her. Riley almost started to crack up laughing. The guy wore his hair in a fluffy 80s style cut and had a walrus mustache. The woman smiled and spoke with him. The man put his hand on her arm and she peeled it off and shook her head.
“Woo...turn down, dude. Things are looking very good,” Riley said to himself, and took a sip of his whiskey.
Ben brought his sandwich over and set the plate down on the table. Riley stopped him from leaving.
“The woman at the bar, dead center, with the green dress and brown hair, what can you tell me?”
The bartender looked over his shoulder and nodded. “She is gorgeous, but I think she may be a professional.”
“Really?” Riley felt a bit surprised. She looked too classy to be a hooker.
“I don’t know it for a fact, but she comes in here every other week or so and never leaves alone.”
“Good, her drink’s on me, Ben.” He’d never seen her before and he spent a lot of time at Fellow’s.
“I’ll see to it. She’s a single-malt woman. May I give her some of the Lomand?”
“Very good idea.” Riley nodded and started to eat his food.
He saw Ben walk behind the bar and prepare the drink. The woman still spoke to the 80s throw back. The bartender put the drink in front of her and pointed toward Riley. She looked over her shoulder just as he slid a potato chip into his mouth. Her eyebrow arched and she turned back to Ben and pushed the glass back at him. They exchanged a few words and the woman picked up the drink and walked toward Riley.
She set the glass down and leaned over with her hand on the table. Riley had a perfect view of the tops of her breasts and he almost lost his breath.
“I don’t accept drinks from strangers, but thank you.” She straightened up.
“Why don’t you have a seat? I’m Riley Frost, now we’re not strangers anymore.”
She stared at him for a moment with Caramel colored eyes and then turned back to the bar. He admired her rear and his cock became hard as a rock, it wanted her so much. She is mine, he thought.
As she slid onto a stool, she motioned for Ben to bring another drink.
The other man sat next to her and continued to make his moves. He tried to put his hand on her thigh and she moved it.
Riley stood, finished his drink, and pulled his wallet out of his back pocket. He took a bill out and picked up the full glass of whiskey she’d left on his table. On her left side, he moved between her and Mr. Walrus Mustache, to crowd the guy away from her. Riley put the cold glass against her bare back.
She sat up, leaned into his hand, and looked at him over her shoulder. Riley didn’t look back, but flagged Ben. He handed the bartender a one-hundred dollar bill and then leaned toward the woman.
He moved his lips to a millimeter from hers and whispered, “The Loch Lomand is a thousand times better than that swill you’ve got. Have a lovely evening.” He brushed his lips over hers and let his hand slide over her breast as he set the drink in front of her. Her nipple felt hard as a bullet. He smiled and started toward the door.
Oh yeah, I give her less than five minutes. She’s mine, he thought. He went out the door, turned left and stood at the corner of the building.
A LOST DANCE
Turner found her performance one of the best he’d seen and this trip turned out to be worth it. She definitely could be the Rae he’d searched for. He could see the little girl who held the stuffed rabbit from the old picture.
He showed his investigators badge to the bartender and explained that he needed to speak to her. The owner came out and asked him why. All Turner told the man was that her brother looked for her due to a death in the family.
After about a half hour, she came out from behind the stage. Her hair was tied up in a Scrunchy and she wore tight jeans with a pale blue cable knit sweater. Instead of the three inch spiked heels she had on a pair of flat tennis-shoes.
She walked up to the bar alone and sat on a stool two down from him. “Jake told me why you’re here. I think you may have me confused with someone else. I don’t have a brother.”
“My name is Turner Black and I’ve been hired by your half-brother, Stewart Tarver, to find you, Miss Sibley.” He looked at her as she leaned over the counter and snagged a bottle of vodka and a shot glass. She really was gorgeous and he admired her ass as she moved back down to the stool. Her eyes were a light carmel color and she had a little sprinkle of freckles across the bridge of her nose.
“The name is Smith, not whatever you just said.” She took a sip from the shot glass.
Turner took the old picture out of his pocket. She looked at it. He watched her and saw her eyes squint. It was a dead giveaway and he’d learned how to read people over the years.
When she sucked in a deep breath and let it out slowly, he knew she remembered that photo.
“According to your half-brother, this picture was one of the few times you met him and your father.” He knew by the look in her eyes it was familiar.
She pushed it back at him. “I’m sorry, Mr. Black. It’s not ringing any bells.”
This goddamn woman is stubborn, Turner thought.
When Rae looked at the picture she saw a little girl with a stuffed rabbit in one hand and an older boy stood next to her and held her other hand. That stupid rabbit was the only thing she had left of her mother and would never give it away.
“I think it does ring bells, Miss Sibley.”
“Smith, as I said. I’m Rae Smith.”
“Your father passed away about a year ago and your half-brother’s looked for you since.”
“Mr. Black, I never met my father or any brother. I’m an only child. My mother died when I was twelve. I’ve been on my own ever since. She never said anything to me about a brother.” She swallowed the vodka and put the lid back onto the bottle.
“Miss Smith, I know your history.”
“You know nothing about me.” She slid off the stool and started back to the dressing room. Grabbing her jacket and bag, she walked out the back door of the building, rounded a corner and there stood Mr. Black by a dark grey Toyota Prius. Good gas mileage, she thought, arched her eyebrow and started to walk past him.
“Miss Smith, could I give you a ride home?”
“No thanks,” she said and kept moving down the sidewalk.
The engine started in the car and she realized he followed her. When she got to the corner, she stopped and looked at him.
“So, you’re a stalker and all that other story was bullshit?” She bent at the waist and looked at him through the window.
“No, I’m not a stalker. Can I buy you some coffee? There is more to explain.”
She started across the street and as he motored through, she turned left and headed another direction. Her apartment was only a few blocks away, but if she cut through the alley, she could go in the back way. He wouldn’t be able to follow her.
She saw a light flash in the corner of her eye and looked over her shoulder. Her pace picked up and the alley turned about one-hundred feet away.
“Look, what do you have to lose? You’d be able to finally open that dance school you always wanted,” he shouted from the car window.
Rae stopped dead in her tracks and stared at him. There wasn’t any way possible he could know what she wanted.
A Flame Dance ~ book 3 of A Risky Dance series
Releases February 29, 2016
“How did you fair, Jarrah?” Rae asked.
“The kid beat me twenty out of thirty games.” He looked over his shoulder. “I have some information.”
Grace followed them out of the room and down a hallway toward the offices. He stopped and lowered his voice. “His name is Jonah Sullivan and he’s eleven years old. He has a brother named Jacob who’s fourteen. They were dumped at a park and ride in Reno by their mother and after they lived on the street for a few days met some guy named Feathertop who brought them to Sacramento.”
“Unbelievable, the kids been with us for six weeks and all we knew was his nickname.” Rae shook her head.
“This guy Feathertop gives them the nicknames and insists they use them always.”
“I’ve heard of that guy. He’s sort of like Fagin in Oliver Twist. He promises them food, safety and in exchange they’re taught to pick pockets, steel purses and I’ve even heard they’ve robbed some houses,” Grace said.
“I was over in Sacramento this morning and think I may have seen his crew. We were protecting the singer Veronda and I don’t know how many worked the crowd, but they were good.”
“Let me see what I can find out about Jonah Sullivan.” Rae looked toward her office.
“It’s sad. I mean, to be dumped by your mom and then his brother brought him here and told him to wait until he came back. Poor kid.” Hejazi shook his head.
Grace now found she admired this man’s heart. He felt for Kit.
“Turner will be here to pick me up around five-thirty, oh and Grace will be joining us.” Rae grinned.
She wanted to crawl into the carpet and hide. When she looked at Hejazi, he smiled.
“Great, I won’t be a third wheel,” he said.
Grace stared at his dark eyes and realized she couldn’t determine what color they were. They were either black or dark brown, but they mesmerized her and when she became aware that he stared back, she blushed.
“Rae, could I ride with you and Mr. Black?” she asked.
“You could ride with me. I don’t know my way around here and you can direct me,” Hejazi said before Rae could answer.
Grace smiled. “Sounds good.”
“I should go find a place to stay the night. How about I meet you out front at five o’clock?”
Hejazi found a Holiday Inn and booked the room for the next five days. He wanted to spend some more time with that kid, Jonah, and see if he could find out more about Feathertop. He also wanted to get to know Grace McKay.
With his connections to the military and feds he could easily find out about her, but decided he’d rather get the low down direct from the source.
It was over fifteen years since he’d been with his last girlfriend. On his first tour of duty, when he’d gone home to Chicago for two weeks leave, his girl, Marissa, acted strange when they met back up. After a couple of days, she’d told him that she’d fallen in love with an insurance salesman. The news kicked him in the balls and he’d decided to put his time and energy into the Marine Corps’ and starting his security group. He never wanted to feel his heart tear in half again.
Fifteen years passed with a blink of an eye and this coming October he’d turn forty years old. He’d gotten to a point where he could monitor the business from wherever he decided to live. The men in his group could handle the job professionally and didn’t need him to be present all the time.
Grace McKay was a beautiful woman and ex-military which gave them something in common. Her height caught his attention, too. His six-foot-five build made it difficult to date smaller women, not that he dated. The fleeting thought that he wouldn’t have to bend at the waist to kiss Grace made him smile while he shaved. Their bodies might even fit together nice and snug, too.
He looked at himself in the mirror. “You’re putting your cart way before your horse, asshole. She’s probably married,” he said to his reflection. “Or she’s involved with someone and you won’t have a chance. You have work to do in a month and don’t need the aggravation.”
Monika Summerville is an avid reader, loves good tense movies, and works hard on her writing. She lives in Western Washington State with her four cats, Agamemnon, Tazmania, Jasper and Jericho.
She has written A Risky Dance and A Lost Dance for Siren BookStrand. The third book - A Flame Dance - will be out spring 2016.