Shiloh Ledger’s marriage had annihilated her self-esteem, but her sister’s brilliant plan to help her bounce back was probably the worst idea ever conceived. Bad boy, Heath Sinclair, was back and he had her in his sights—again—still—except now he was a man and twice as dangerous. How could any woman trust that a man like Heath wouldn’t break her heart?
Length: Mid Novel
Word Count: 64,959
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Jenny Dixon, October 2012
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Heath paused when he exited the building and scanned the parking lot for any sign of the woman who'd spoken to him earlier and expressed an interest in hiring him. Unfortunately, in his line of work, he saw so many over the course of a night that they tended to blend together and blur in his mind. He'd gotten the impression that she had money. He wasn't certain why unless it was because he'd noticed expensive clothing or jewelry-or possibly it had only been a superior air about her-but he'd definitely gotten the sense that she hailed from the mid to upper middle class income bracket or possibly even higher. She'd been fortyish, he thought, slender to medium build and he'd gotten the impression that she was fairly tall for a woman.
As he struggled to disentangle the specific memory from the jumble of others he'd collected that night, he saw a woman get out of a car several rows over that vaguely fit that description. She stared in his direction for a moment, as if trying to pierce the shadows and identify him, and finally waved.
Hoping it was the woman he'd agreed to meet and not just a groupie intent on enticing him home to decorate her bed for the night, he shouldered his small duffle and struck off across the parking lot. Despite the lighting, he became more confident the nearer he got that it was the woman he was supposed to meet and some of the tension eased from him.
He didn't realize until he reached her that he couldn't recall her name. Frowning, he struggled to jog it from his memory. "Mary?"
She smiled. "Marcy Parks." She cast a glance around at the people flowing in and out of the club. "Do you mind if we sit in my car and talk?"
He flicked a glance around the parking lot himself. There was a fair amount of foot traffic, but no one close enough to overhear their conversation.
She didn't want to be seen talking to him-which meant she was either married or she was worried it would tarnish her reputation to be seen talking to an exotic dancer. Anger flickered through him at the thought, but he dismissed it. Exotic dancing was a lucrative job but not a well respected one. He'd figured it was worth it when it would help him reach his goal so much faster than anything else he could've tried-anything legal. He could become a pillar of the community when he could afford it, when he had enough money put back to start his own practice.
"No problem," he responded, turning and making his way around to the other side of the car-which he noticed was a luxury vehicle and a definite mark of money. When he heard the click of the door lock, he opened the door and climbed in, settling his duffle on his lap and closing the door.
Marcy twisted in her seat to face him, her expression rife with excitement. He felt his heart sink and his irritation mount as it occurred to him that he might have been right all along-that the job she was offering might not be one that was particularly lucrative or to his taste.
"I'm throwing a party for my little sister," she began, her eyes alight with animation, "and I thought I might hire you as the entertainment."
Heath relaxed fractionally. "To dance?"
Something flickered in her eyes. "Well … yes."
The hesitancy before the affirmation suggested she had more than that in mind, but he let it slide for the moment. She hadn't suggested any other kind of 'performance'. There was no sense in getting ahead of himself and possibly blowing what could be a good gig by making assumptions that might inadvertently insult her. "A bachelorette party?"
She frowned, as if she was trying to decide whether to claim that as the occasion or not, and finally grimaced. "I wish. Actually, I'm calling it an early birthday party, but the truth is I just want to try to cheer her up. She went through a really nasty divorce about six months ago. Considering what her marriage to that son-of-a-bitch was like, I would've thought she would perk right up as soon she got loose from the bastard …." She waved her hand. "You don't want to hear all that, though. Let's just say it's a hen party."
Heath studied her warily. "How many hens?"
She looked startled. "Well …."
"I mean is this going to be a private, private party with just me, you, and your sister?"
She gaped at him. Color crept into her cheeks. "It isn't that kind of party!" she said testily and then looked a little conscience-stricken. "Although …. Well it did occur to me …. What I mean to say is there might be a bonus in it …."
He stared at her. He knew where she was going, but he wasn't about to help her out. "Sex for hire is illegal. It doesn't matter which gender is soliciting."
She blinked at him, turning redder. "I was just talking about dancing," she said firmly. "There'll probably be somewhere between a half dozen to a dozen guests-well, me and my sister plus six to ten others. What I meant was that I thought you might give my sister a private lap dance … uh … later."
Heath studied her speculatively. "Your sister all right with this?"
She bit her lip. "It's a surprise I was planning. Look, her ex just … annihilated her self-confidence. She used to be such fun. I figured it couldn't hurt to remind her that there are plenty of men around that could appreciate her."
Heath wrestled with himself. "Not that I'm not interested in the job, mind you, but I'm not sure hiring me to 'appreciate' her would send the message you want."
She frowned but finally shrugged fatalistically. "I've tried everything else-introduced her to every single man in my circle-not that I know that many. I just want to … liven her up a little, maybe remind her that all men aren't skunks and spice things up for her a little to give her a brighter outlook. She's pretty and she's still young enough to enjoy life. She just needs a little reminder."
Heath still wasn't completely comfortable about the gig, but he settled to discussing business. She didn't haggle over the price he quoted her-either because he'd underestimated the depth of her wallet or she was just that dedicated to her sister. He felt downright cheerful when they'd settled everything and he got out of her car again. The gig might just top off his tanks-finish fleshing out that nest egg he'd been building for longer than he cared to think about. At the very least, he would be cutting months off his dancing days.
He was ready to hang up his g-string, he thought wryly as he reached his car and fished his keys from his jeans pocket. It had turned out to be a lot longer run than he'd originally intended.