Sweet Sinful Nights

By: Lauren Blakely

Book One in the Sinful Nights Series




DEDICATION


This book is dedicated to my daughter,

who helped brainstorm the plot. You are brilliant, my dear!

And, as always, to my dear friend Cynthia.





CHAPTER ONE


Ten years ago

I’d go anywhere with you.

People said those words, but they didn’t always mean them. Brent was sure Shannon did though. She’d go anywhere with him.

As he gunned the engine on his bike, all he could think was that in less than ten minutes it would be happening. He’d be walking through the front door and giving the woman he loved the best news of their lives.

Weaving through the late afternoon Boston traffic, he fast-forwarded to the next few weeks—they’d go to the land of sunshine. He’d take her far away from Boston, and keep her far away from all the other places she didn’t want to be. He could see them holed up in a little one-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, spending their nights fucking, their days working. Fine, she didn’t have a job yet, but there had to be work in Los Angeles for an injured-dancer-turned-entry-level-choreographer, right?

With equal parts excitement and anticipation radiating through his bones, he darted through the stalled cars. Up ahead, maybe five hundred feet, was the exit that would take him to his apartment, where she’d been living for the last two weeks since her lease ran out after they’d graduated. His was up next week. Perfect timing to leave town together.

Flipping on the blinker, he turned off the highway, then jetted down the road to his building. Soon, he pulled into the asphalt lot, shut off the engine, and unsnapped his helmet. He headed to the concrete stairwell, taking the stairs two by two, up to the third floor.

He unlocked the front door quickly and tossed his keys on the entryway table. The late afternoon sun shone through the dirt-streaked window, but the living room was empty, the gray, rumpled couch missing his pixie-sized woman. Then again, he’d never known Shannon to sit still or lie down. Unless her legs were wrapped around his waist, and hell, that was where he’d like them to be in about three minutes, because this called for a celebratory round or two in the sack.

He turned into the kitchen, looking for her.

“Babe,” he called out.

The home was still.

Their apartment crackled with silence.

It was the tiniest apartment in all of Boston, and for a split second, maybe more, his heart stopped beating, and a rabid fear swooped down out of nowhere. But then, it wasn’t entirely from nowhere. It was born from the life she’d lived before she came to college.

A door squeaked—a sliding glass door badly in need of oiling. He spun around, returning to the living room and the tiny balcony that he hadn’t thought to check. There she was, walking inside, the widest smile in the world on her gorgeous face, her bright blond hair, short and sleek, pushed back in a slim silver headband.

“I have something to tell you,” she said. Her eyes lit up as she held her flip phone in her hand.

“I have something to tell you, too,” he said, and roped his arms around her waist, easily lifting her lush, limber body. Instantly, she wrapped her legs around his waist and dropped her mouth to his, kissing him hard. She darted out her tongue, sliding it between his lips, and he groaned, wanting to take her right there against the wall, on the balcony, on the floor. Or hell, just standing up like this would be fine. Being madly in love with a woman who could bend and move in hard-on inducing ways was pretty much the greatest thing in the world. Yeah, he was a lucky bastard.

“Ladies first,” he said, setting her down, then gesturing for her to talk.

“No. You go,” she said, her forest green eyes twinkling. “I want to hear all about your big interview.” She reached for the collar on his shirt, tugging both ends. “I bet they adored you. I bet you already have your second interview lined up.”

“Better than that,” he said, and dipped her, her back arcing effortlessly as she looked up at him from that position.

The last thing he’d expected when he walked into his job interview today was to be hired on the spot. That wasn’t even in the realm of possibility. It was an informational interview. Besides, the job he’d originally gone in for was based in New York. But the post that Late Night Antics offered him—a gig with more money, more cred, and more opportunity—was in Los Angeles. At twenty-one, he'd landed a comedian’s dream job.

“Tell me, tell me!” she demanded, laughter in her voice.

He raised her up again and parked his hands on her shoulders. “We’re moving to L.A. next week!”

Her sweet laughter stopped, as if he’d turned off a switch, but the eerie silence made no sense to him.

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