By: Lorelei James

“So you save your decent behavior for the strippers working the VIP section?”

His eyes flashed. “Sometimes. What are you doin’ here?”

“Drinking with my friends and soaking in the naked entertainment.”

“Doesn’t seem like your scene.”

“I hardly think you can chastise me for being here when it appears you’re a frequent patron of this strip club, Mr. VIP.”

In the blink of an eye, Deacon had caged her against the wall, his mouth next to her ear.

She shivered when his hot breath tickled her neck.

“Goddamn flowers,” he muttered. “You always smell sweet. Even after sweating in class for an hour, you didn’t reek like everyone else.”

“There’s a compliment.” Molly put her hands on his chest and pushed him. “Now move it.”

A soft growl vibrated against her cheek. “You drive me crazy, woman.”

“Hey!” a loud male voice shouted behind them. “Let her go.” The bouncer stopped a foot from Molly and set his hand on her shoulder. “Hey, pretty eyes. Is this fucker harassing you?”

“No, I’m not harassing her, but I’ll break your hand if you don’t take it off of her.”

“Deacon!” she gasped. “What is wrong with you?”

“Got a case of mine, I’m thinking,” Black Bart said. “You know this joker, sweet thang?”

What perfect payback to proclaim she’d never seen him before. But that’d set him off. And Deacon “Con Man” McConnell in a rage was dangerous for everyone. “Yes, I know him. He is—was—my kickboxing instructor.”

Black Bart grinned. “No kidding. You one of them ka-rah-tay chicks?”

“No. I’ve discovered I like beating the crap out of something a couple of times a week.”

“I hear ya there.” Despite Deacon’s warning growl, Black Bart stepped between them. “Say the word and I toss him out on his tattooed ass. I don’t cotton with any women being threatened in my club.”

“Our conversation got a little intense, but we’re done now.”

Deacon’s dark look said, The hell we are, but he kept his mouth shut.

“Okay. You need anything, come find me.”

“I don’t like the way he looks at you,” Deacon said softly, the menace in his tone unmistakable.

“Like you’d know how he was looking at me,” she said hotly. “You haven’t stopped glaring at me since the moment you trapped me back here.”

“Staring at you and glaring at you aren’t the same thing, darlin’, and you damn well know the difference. Especially with me.”

“My mistake. But you’re always glaring at someone. Is that MMA badass behavior? Daring someone to screw with you so you can beat the snot out of them?”

“Beat the snot out of them?” A smile curled his lips. “Babe. If I hit a guy in the nose, it ain’t snot running out.”

“Eww. Thanks for the visual.”

Deacon inched closer. “No one here knows I’m a fighter. I keep it my personal business.”

“I don’t imagine there’s much talking going on during a lap dance anyway.”

“Not usually, no.”

“Whatever. I’m leaving.”

He shook his head. “Not done talking to you.”

“We have nothing to talk about. I ran into you at a strip club. Big deal. You’re a single guy. It’s your personal business if you pay some chick with fake boobs to grind her bony ass on your crotch.” She paused. “Does that about cover it?”

“No. That doesn’t begin to cover it.” Deacon crowded her against the wall. “You still seeing Jake, that pussy banker friend of Amery?”

How did Deacon know that? Moreover, why did he care?

“What about the douche bag caught your eye? The snappy suit? The nine-to-five work hours? The freakishly perfect groomed hair?”

“Maybe it’s that he didn’t stand me up for our first date,” she retorted. She gave Deacon’s shiny head a blatant once-over. “Sounds like you’re jealous of his hair, baldy.”

His eyes hardened. “Shaving my head is a choice.”

“How do I know you’re not sporting a chrome dome because otherwise you’d have a bad comb-over?”

Omigod. I cannot believe I said that. To Deacon.

Molly braced herself for his reaction.

But nothing could’ve prepared her for his mouth coming down on hers in an explosion of heat, need, and possession.

His kiss inflamed her. Head spinning, Molly fought the temptation to hold on to him for dear life—because holy buckets, his kiss packed as hard a punch as his fist. She melted into him, and that changed the tenor of the kiss from passion to sweetness.

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