Cora Roberts has a plan: move to a new town and make a better life for herself and her son. As a single mom, she’s not looking for a relationship of any kind. But then she never expected to have the sexy Garrett offer her a night of uninhibited pleasure with no strings attached.

Garrett Brooks never expected Cora’s surrender to his touch to be so sweet – or tempt him to want more than just a single night with her. But as he pursues a deeper relationship with Cora, a threat from his past emerges.

Will Garrett be able to tempt Cora with his love, or will outside forces tear them apart?

Publisher’s Note: This steamy romance contains elements of power exchange. While it’s the fifth book in the Cuffs & Spurs series, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.


Chapter One


The Cuff & Spurs Night Club was just your everyday, average, ordinary club—with kinky hot sex tossed in.

The members’ only club was decorated with a cowboy motif, pretty much like almost every other establishment in Jackson Hole. Not that Cora Roberts was complaining; she found the flair for Western-themed décor was part of this town’s charm.

Cuffs & Spurs was the only business she was aware of in town that was located and operated below ground. Then again, it was a private establishment and the general population was not permitted to enter. For all she knew the stores along the main drive could all have secret basements with operating businesses in them.

Up the stairs on the first floor was the Teton Cowboy Bar & Grill. The popular restaurant for tourists and locals alike helped to finance this nightclub. Both places were owned by Spencer Collins, her cousin on her mother’s side and the reason she had lucked into this job.

Spencer had done a lot for Cora upon her moving back to their old stomping ground.

The bar along the far-right wall was a lake of glossy golden wood with brass trim and fixtures. Overhead there were chandeliers crafted like wagon wheels, hung horizontally with glass cylinders on top that resembled the old-style kerosene lanterns. Even the bulbs inside were shaped like flames.

Hard rock music—there was some old-school Rod Stewart currently playing—pumped from hidden speakers in the paneled wooden walls.

The barstools were the most unique feature of the bar; they were saddles, as in going for a trail ride horse saddle. And on each stool there were silver loops in various positions for a Dom to restrain their submissive. Scene areas were cordoned off along the wall opposite the bar with black velvet rope.

There was a seating area with umber brown leather couches the color of dark tree bark and Western style décor tables in complementary colored golden woods. It reminded her of a gentleman’s study, all masculine in design with a splice of Western flair. The constant hum of conversation was overshadowed by the slap of flesh and moans.

Cora didn’t mind the bump and grind action taking place in the scene areas, the small alcoves partitioned off with thick black velvet rope. Inside the separated areas was dungeon sex style furniture designed with the kinkster in mind, which attendees used to live out their sexual fantasies. And not just any kind of sex, this was the ‘tie me up, tie me down’ style of action. The fact that this club catered to those in the BDSM lifestyle was a minor trifling issue in the scheme of it all. Whips, chains, copious amounts of flesh on display, and dungeon sex furniture didn’t make Cora blush or embarrassed. Nor did witnessing the myriad number of blow jobs and all manner of raunchy sex, not when her tips waiting tables were more than she would make anywhere else in this town. A job was a job. And she needed the cash. Who cared if she had to address the guys as Sir? For the money she was making, she’d call them whatever the hell they wanted her to.

Then there was the added bonus of the sheer amount of masculine eye candy on display. For Cora, it was as if she had stepped into a fantasy. Like the rugged outdoors of Jackson Hole, Wyoming had imbued the male club members with an extra dollop of testosterone the size of one of the nearby mountains. They were men who exuded control, masters of the world around them, including the women who were lucky enough to catch their eye. If the blissed-out expressions on the submissives’ faces were any indication, a woman could do worse than hooking up with the tough-as-nails manly men at the club.

The fact that the super alpha Dominants proliferating the club in nothing but jeans, cowboy boots, and Stetsons, with their muscular chests on display, stirred her in ways she hadn’t experienced in three years, was a relief, more than anything. In all honesty, at thirty-one, Cora had begun to worry, in the dead of night when she finally got a moment to herself, that that part of her life was over: being a woman desired by a man and feeling that ping of electrical sexual current in response. That innate chemical reaction between two people that was all pheromones and passion. But here at Cuffs & Spurs, her hormones were shaking off the dust from their long, Rip Van Winklestyle siesta and sizing up each hunk of dominant male as a prospective possibility.

A part of Cora thought she should just choose one and get back in the saddle. It had been more than three years since she’d been with a man. And lately, that need, the desire to touch and be touched in return, had left her achy and unsettled. Those feelings made her contemplate more than one of the overtures she’d received in the three nights she’d worked the club so far.

The men’s blatant attentiveness was most likely in response to the uniforms the waitresses were required to wear, not her personally. Or, rather, the lack of clothing the waitresses wore. Cora’s uniform was a pair of jean short shorts—as in they scarcely covered her bottom—a black halter top with the club logo written across her chest, and feminine black leather cowboy boots. That, of course, was in addition to a pair of black leather wrist cuffs and collar so that she looked the part of a submissive, whether she was one or not. They were fashioned with the club logo laser burned into the leather. It was a way for the Doms to discern at a glance that she wasn’t free to do a scene—at least, not until her shift was over. Once she was off the clock, she could take one of them up on their flirtatious invitations and play to her heart’s content.

Cora admitted she was intrigued by some of the men and their ideas of a pickup line. Things like: how many licks against your clit does it take to make you come, want to let me find out? Or her favorite so far: How about a screaming orgasm?

A naughty illicit part of her had said yes, please!

It had been years since she had been touched, since she’d been held, and the thought of losing herself, even for a short period of time, in the delights of the flesh was enticing.

But Cora was her own worst enemy, at least where her personal life was concerned. She tended to eschew entanglements of any kind—with just cause. Cora had believed Jeff’s promises, and the one that mattered most, he’d broken, leaving her to deal with the continual fallout. It put having a relationship at the bottom of her over packed to-do list. Besides, with her limited time, where she was barely able to carve out more than four hours of sleep for herself a night, she didn’t have much room to contemplate a relationship.

Tonight was her third night working at the club. As much as she was tempted by the available slabs of sexy man meat, she needed the work more than she needed a mutual orgasm. Although she doubted her vibrator would agree with that statement. If anything, it would beg her for a night off.

The club was semi-packed. For a Wednesday evening, it wasn’t bad traffic by her estimates. In fact, each night so far had been like this, and she couldn’t complain where her tips were concerned. From what she understood from the other waitresses, the weekends were when this place was swarming with half naked cowboys. Given the amount of tips she’d earned on weeknights, the prospect of a full house was prodigious. She needed the extra income to help pay her upcoming rent, as the low balance in her checking account could attest to.

Cora reminded herself that her finances, or the lack of them, were temporary. They were just a minor setback in the scheme of things. It was why she had moved to Jackson Hole in the first place. She was determined to build a better life for her son. Milo deserved more from her, a life that wasn’t a constant financial struggle. It wasn’t that their life had been horrible in Seattle, but she’d not been able to afford their little house anymore. The house she’d brought her infant son home to from the hospital, which at one time she’d hoped would be their home, if not forever, for a longer period than it had been.

At least the sale of the house had provided her with some much-needed cash. It had paid for the move to Jackson Hole and given her just enough savings that they weren’t destitute.

Besides, Cora had fond memories of Jackson Hole. This was where she’d grown up, back when her biggest hardship was whether they would get a snow day or not. She had a child’s love for Jackson Hole. Now, as an adult, she hoped that the smaller community would be better for raising her son. It wasn’t for herself that she’d moved to Jackson Hole, but for Milo.

Cora’s feet were killing her, the arches throbbing. Already. It was only ten and she had four hours to go. But these boots were made for looks, not comfort and the endless walking required. She made a mental note to speak with Spencer about them the next time she saw him. He wasn’t here tonight but was off remodeling the house he’d purchased on the outskirts of town.

The club had thirty tables, plus an entire sofa section with brown leather couches. Cora wasn’t on couch duty, that was Willa’s station tonight. The petite redhead made her think of fairies and, as far as Cora was concerned, she could have that section with Cora’s blessing. There tended to be a ton more action in the couch area. In her three nights thus far, she’d witnessed a number of blow jobs as well as sex. There’d been a couple in the couch section last night who had put on a show good enough that she could have sold tickets for it. Voyeurism was alive and well at Cuffs & Spurs.

Her section tonight was the round bar height tabletops near the front entrance. Most of the tables seated four. Unlike the seats lining the bar, they were brown leather barstools. Her section was half full, and held couples waiting for one of the ten scene stations lining the wall.

At least no one was up on the bull at the moment. Her first night on the job she’d been treated to a bird’s eye view of that contraption, and no thank you.

A pair of shirtless cowboys settled onto the stools at table ten in her station. Cora approached and couldn’t help but notice that the man with his back to her had one hell of a sexy back. Could a back be sexy? Because this one was. His muscles were defined, flexing with each slight movement. She had an image of herself dragging her tongue along the clearly distinct line of his spine, right down to the two dimples peeking above the line of his low-slung blue jeans.

She inhaled a steadying breath. Clearly her vibrator wasn’t getting the job done if she was having lusty thoughts about a strange man’s back.

The gentleman was a large guy—had to be at least six feet or taller—with dark chestnut hair peeping from beneath his ivory Stetson. His long, muscular, jean-clad legs were tucked beneath the table. The jeans rode low on his hips, even with the brown leather belt circling his waist, and the material lovingly cupped his behind. It wasn’t one of the flat butts so many men had but firmly rounded to give a woman something to hold on to as he thrust.

Clearly it had been far too long since she’d done the deed if she was envisioning holding on to his sexy butt while he had his way with her. She had to be careful or she’d wind up sleeping with someone she had no business getting entangled with.

The hot cowboy’s friend was an equally big fella. Although, for her at least, he was eclipsed by his friend.

Cora plastered a smile on her face as she rounded the table and faced the two Doms.

“Sirs, what can I get for you this evening?” she asked and finally lifted her gaze up to the man’s face. And holy smokes, what a face. Sinfully handsome didn’t even begin to describe her hot cowboy. Nor the fact that one glance at him made her skin feel three sizes too small.

“You’re new,” the cowboy said, and his voice reminded her of melted dark chocolate. Her gaze dipped from his ‘melt your panties off’ face to his brawny shoulders. Viewing them from the front, suffused with lines of ropey muscles, made tingles tighten in her core. Her gaze lowered to his solidly formed chest, the pectorals well-defined and liberally dusted with fine dark hair. Her mouth watered to taste the flat disks of his dusky brown nipples and then follow the singular line of his happy trail with her tongue over his ripcord abs. She inhaled a steadying breath. What the hell was wrong with her? She flashed her gaze back up to his face. His chestnut hair was shaded with hints of deep auburn and the color extended to the trim beard covering his square jaw. But it was the Dom’s eyes, framed by thick chestnut brows, the sharp cobalt orbs reminding her of the deep blue waters off the bay in Seattle, that caused her breath to catch in her throat. They stared at her, glittering with interest as they gave her body the same studious perusal.

“Perceptive,” she replied, as she attempted to reel her pulse back from its fluttering, thumping madness. Just because she found the cowboy sinfully attractive to the point that all her erogenous zones had taken notice, didn’t mean she could act on said lusts. “My name is Cora and I will be serving you this evening.”

“I’ve not seen you around here. New to the area?” the other cowboy said.

She directed her gaze his way. He was equally attractive, with his fawn-colored hair showing beneath the brim of his black hat and hazel eyes that leaned more toward brown with flecks of emerald and gold. His jaw was clean shaven, a bit more angular, and he had a slight cleft in his chin. The cowboy’s chest was certainly noteworthy, a tad leaner, his build more like a swimmer’s, and dusted with light fawn-colored hair. But this guy didn’t make a five-alarm fire ignite in her nether regions. Which made him safe territory, regardless of the fact that his eyes weren’t all that warm.

She addressed him and said, “Yep. Moved here two weeks ago.”

“From where?” Blue eyes asked and she swiveled her head, feeling her high ponytail swish against her shoulder blades. She was drowning in his stare, pin pricks of heat swarming her system. With a simple glance, the man caused every nerve ending to tingle with awareness. Her breath backed up in her lungs and she had to fight the very real desire to touch him. See if his skin would burn at the touch.

“Seattle. Would you two like anything to drink tonight?” she asked, wanting to steer away from her personal life.

“Quite a long way,” the other cowboy said, his stare assessing her, and she couldn’t help but feel he was attempting to divine all her secrets.

He had no idea. She missed her friends, she missed her tiny little house. She missed home. She shook herself. This was home now, whether she liked it or not.

“It is.”

Blue eyes said, “I’m Garrett and this is Jackson. Why don’t you bring us a bucket of Coronas to start?”

“Absolutely. Hungry? Anything to eat?” she asked.

“Not for anything on the menu.” Garrett gave her a lopsided, sexy grin. Laugh lines crinkled at the corners of his intense gaze. And Cora felt a resounding ache in her core. Smooth. This Dom was a charmer. A panty melting charmer, and by the wicked gleam in his cobalt gaze, he knew how to make a woman scream in ecstasy. And if she was reading correctly into his innuendo, sexy Garrett would only be too happy to show her just how exemplary he was in matters of the flesh.

Damn it all if her body didn’t respond and heat from the inside out. Ignoring the curling desire slithering through her, she kept her smile pasted on and said, “Perfect. I will be right back with your beers.”

She left the table as a Nine Inch Nails song began belching out through the bar sound system. For a bunch of cowboys, they certainly loved their hard rock and heavy metal. The irony of that fact was not lost on her.

Cora rushed away from their table before she did something stupid, like flirt back with the sexy Garrett. She didn’t have room in her life for a man. It wasn’t that she hadn’t dated. She had—or at least, she’d tried—but her life wasn’t simple or easy, not when she had someone who counted on her for everything.

Just because the sexy Garrett made her blood pressure spike like a pressure cooker, didn’t mean anything. She couldn’t act on her desire, could she?

Cora ordered the bucket of Coronas from Matt, the bartender with the disposition of a constipated bear with territorial issues. He was hot, without a doubt, with his sexy, smoke-colored gaze and blue-black hair. But the bar was Matt’s domain and woe betide the waitress who thought she could go behind the gleaming wood with impunity. In fact, just the other night Willa had ventured into Matt’s territory to grab a drink and wound up being disciplined. By Matt. During open hours. Her punishment? Riding that damn bull. If there was one thing Cora could die happily never having had to experience, it was that freaking bull.

Bartender by night and personal trainer by day, Matt was definitely a bit of a sadist.

Most of the equipment in the club didn’t make her bat an eye. While she’d never been trained as a full on submissive, she’d experienced plenty of bedroom kink. Cora had worn her fair share of handcuffs. And Jeff had always loved ordering her about in the bedroom.

The familiar ache clenched her heart at the thought of her husband.

“Here you go, love. The bucket for table ten. How you holding up?” Matt asked, his gaze assessing her.

“Good. I think I’m getting the hang of it,” Cora replied. Even though this wasn’t what she wanted to do forever, it was a good job for now and she’d work her tail off.

“You’re doing well. Just let me know if you need any help or if anyone gives you a hard time,” Matt ordered with a nod.

“Will do,” she said, pleased that he was happy with her progress, then hefted the tray with the bucket. She maneuvered through the occupied and unoccupied tables until she reached Garrett’s.

Steeling herself, she placed the tray down and lifted the bucket onto the table.

“Here you go, Sirs. Anything else I can get you?” she asked.

Garrett studied her as she pulled a beer out for each Dom and placed them on cocktail napkins. “No, that’s all. For now.”

His stare lasered through her body. She gripped her tray with both hands and replied, “Great. Enjoy your beer.”

Cora headed to the next table in her station that was now full and took their order. But she felt Garrett’s eyes on her—all night long. She walked in her boots, her feet throbbing, knowing she’d need to soak them once she made it home for the night, and every time she glanced over at table ten, she found Garrett’s blue gaze staring at her. His forthright stare was unsettling. That intense scrutiny ignited a liquid heat that slithered through her veins and made her breath catch in her throat. The man exuded quiet, dominant strength. He wasn’t overly boisterous or obnoxious like some of the other patrons.

She carted drinks back and forth, to an orchestra of slapping flesh and moans. That was what did her in. How could you not become aroused when there were people screwing in the bondage stations?

It was midnight before the crowds started to thin out. Once couples had performed scenes, they tended to leave shortly afterward. Which was fine by Cora. It made her job easier.

“If you want to do your nightly prep, then I can let you get out of here,” Matt said.


“Yep. You won’t always work until we close at two. We’ve got enough coverage, so get your prep done and then you can cash out and leave,” Matt said with a wink.

“Thanks,” she said. The sooner she got home, the sooner she could get a few hours of sleep. In her world if she scored more than four hours of uninterrupted sleep, it was a damn miracle. Cora printed out receipts for each of the tables with an open tab, including Garrett’s. She stopped by each one and gave them their checks, promising to be back shortly to pick them up.

When she reached table ten, Garrett was still sitting there, watching her. His friend, Jackson, was in one of the scene areas and she blushed at the sight of him thrusting into a tall blonde restrained on the saddlehorse.

“Here you are, Sir. If you want to keep your tab open, just let me know and I will tell Matt. My shift is ending for the night.”

“No, I can close out with you,” Garrett said and tossed a few bills into the black billfold, not even glancing at the total. He’d given her a far too generous tip. “So you’ll be free in a bit?”

“Um, yes, I guess so,” she replied, wondering where he was headed with his question.

“Then why don’t you join me for a drink?” he offered, his blue gaze deepening, making her think of the ocean at sunset with its dark mysterious waves.

“I have prep work I still need to do,” she said in response, ignoring his question, and zoomed away from his table without a backward glance. Her heart hammered in her chest at the blatant invitation.

Cora tried to ignore that her hands were shaking or that she was giving some serious thought to turning around and taking him up on his offer. She took the tray with her prep work—rolling silverware—over to a back table and sighed once she was able to get off her feet.

She ignored the symphony of moans and groans, concentrating on the task at hand. The sooner she finished this, the sooner she could get home. She was in the middle of rolling one set of silverware when someone took the seat across from her. Lifting her gaze, she saw Garrett sitting confidently, the subtle flexing of muscles and sinew of his shoulders and chest making her mouth water.

“What are you doing, Sir?” she sputtered, stunned and slightly aroused by his presence, as Garrett picked up some silverware and began rolling it into a napkin, mimicking her actions.

“Helping, so that you can have a drink with me,” he explained with a dark brow raised, as if it should be obvious what he was doing.

“But I’m not—”

“Cora, it’s a drink, not a marriage proposal,” he chided. His fingers were fast and efficient at rolling the silverware, like he’d done more than his fair share of nightly prep work in restaurants and bars. Which made the man who’d given her a forty-dollar tip all the more interesting.

She chewed his offer over in her mind. Would it be so wrong to have one drink? He was sinfully gorgeous and ignited a desire she’d not felt in ages. It had been so long since she’d felt any interest in a man—true, deep in the gut interest and desire to do the horizontal tango. She wanted to give in to the temptation he presented. What harm would a little flirting and a drink do? She did have a sitter until two. She didn’t have to rush home. For the span of one drink, she could just be Cora, a woman flirting with a handsome man, and enjoy the attention, instead of just being Mommy. The prospect was a novelty and didn’t happen every day.

Cora adored her son. But since he’d been born, all she had been was a mommy. And she filled the role of two parents, not just one, and as much as she loved Milo, there were days she forgot that she was still a woman with needs that were sadly unfulfilled. It would be so blessedly nice to be regarded as a woman, not just a mother.

“All right. I have to be home by two, though. So I can only have one.” Cora would seize the moment, considering her body responded to his as if he had some sort of internal dowsing rod attracting her.

“I can manage that. What’ll you have to drink?” He smiled, a potent, scintillating smirk that held all manner of carnal intent, and her body simmered at the scorching desire.

“A Manhattan, dirty,” she replied, her voice breathy.

The lopsided grin that spread over his face turned her insides into an ooey gooey mass that resembled melted fondue cheese. “I’ll be right back.”

Garrett rose and sauntered over to the bar. She tried to ignore the way his body moved, like a sleek panther. For such a big guy, he wasn’t clumsy, but surefooted, and carried himself with the confident ease of a man comfortable in his own skin. And his jeans cupped his parts snugly—all his parts.

Cora tore her gaze away from his spectacular ass, feeling her face flame. She’d been ogling the man. She finished rolling her prep as he returned with a bottle of Corona in one hand and the Manhattan for her in his other. It made her notice his hands. His incredibly large hands that made the martini glass look dainty and out of place.

How would those long fingers feel against her skin? Or palming the mounds of her breasts? Or, better yet, thrusting inside her sex? Tingles erupted inside her center and her pussy pulsated.

“I have to cash out.” She stood abruptly, nerves and doubts assailing her. Cora hefted the tray over to the bar. Matt flashed her a grin as he approached.

“They look good.” He gave her a forthright assessment, then took her prep while she put together her receipts. She was pleased by her tip haul today. Matt double checked her work and then cashed her out in the computer for the night.

“You sure you know what you’re doing, love?” He nodded to the table behind her.

“Yeah, certainly.” Except she had no idea. It had been so long since she’d had a drink with a guy and flirted, her nerves were on edge. Before she could talk herself out of the drink with sexy Garrett, she added, “It will be fine.”

Cora clocked herself out in the computer in what served as the employee break room, with a bank of lockers on one side. She retrieved her purse and coat from her locker. Since she was only going to allow herself to have a single drink with Garrett, this way she wouldn’t have to come back in here when she was done.

Then she inhaled a deep breath as she exited the break room and walked back over to Garrett.

“Everything okay?” Garrett’s brow was scrunched as he stared at her with concern.

Play it cool, Cora.

She smiled, hanging her coat over the back of her chair before she sat down. “Yes, Sir. Sorry, it’s been a long day. Why do you ask?”

“You seem rather tense. I can promise you, I don’t bite—much. At least not right away.” He cocked his head to the side as he studied her.

Cora could imagine his teeth on certain parts of her body and almost dropped the martini glass. She swallowed a long draught of the potent liquid courage and replied, “No, just tired. My feet are killing me in these boots.”

“You look like you had it handled.”

She laughed. “That’s because you’re not seeing the after effects.”

“Oh yeah? And what happens after?” he asked, twining his hand through hers, his big palm pressed against hers. She nearly whimpered at the innocent touch. The slight contact thrummed with heat and possibility.

“Nothing that exciting, I can promise you. Usually a hot bath, unless I’m too tired,” she admitted. And wasn’t that her biggest problem? She never had time, time for anything but moving at the speed of sound through her day only to collapse into bed each night.

Rinse and repeat, every day.

Garrett rubbed his thumb over the back of her hand in hypnotic circles.

“What do you like to do for fun?” she asked him and finally looked into his eyes. She sucked in a shuddery breath at the passion blazing within his gaze.

“For starters, I like restraining a woman up against a bedpost and tasting her until my chin is soaking wet with her cream,” Garrett replied, his voice dripping with wicked delight. The deep baritone of his voice vibrated in her chest.

“Oh,” she said, her breath expelling in a rush. The imagery he cast caused her pussy to quiver and her nipples beaded.

The man had perfected the art of the smolder as he continued his blatant seduction. “Then I like to fuck her until her knees buckle and she’s only held up by my hands on her and my cock pounding inside her. Interested?”

She inhaled the sip of her Manhattan and choked. She coughed and sputtered. Her eyes watered. She was sure she looked laughable. But then Garrett lifted her up into his arms and cradled her in his lap. He pounded lightly on her back.

“All right there, Cora?”

“Yes, sorry. You just surprised me,” she said, feeling his firm thighs beneath her bottom and free hand on her thigh. The bare skin beneath his palm warmed to his touch. And in all honesty, she wanted to burrow into his arms, lean against him and perhaps absorb a tiny bit of his strength.

“I don’t believe in beating around the bush. I’ve watched you all night long and I want you. If you’ll let me, I will make you come so many times you will barely remember your name.”

Cora stammered, “I don’t know, I—”

Her words stalled on her tongue as his hand cupped the back of her head and he lowered his mouth, his satiny smooth lips brushed over hers and claimed her. She was frozen in shock, for about a millisecond. Because wow was all she could think as he dragged her into a quagmire of hungry, hot desire. And this was with just his mouth. To be kissed by Garrett was unlike anything Cora had experienced.

His mouth laser-focused on extracting as much pleasure as possible from what should have been a simple kiss. Only there was nothing simple about it. He dominated her, his tongue plunging inside to tangle with hers. Her hands instinctively went to his chest. And she was shocked they didn’t ignite on contact. His skin was firm but infinitely soft. Muscles flexed beneath her fingertips and she moaned as he took their kiss deeper… until she didn’t know if she needed to breathe unless it came from him.

When Garrett finally lifted his mouth, her eyes fluttered open. His thumb rasped across her lower lip and she felt that simple touch clear down to her soul. Yet there was dark lust shrouding his gaze, the desire in the deep blue depths causing her entire body to electrify. It was like the air just before a violent thunderstorm; muggy, thick with heat, and the world standing on the brink of action.

Garrett said, “Come to one of the private rooms with me, Cora. Submit to me and I can promise to show you a night like no other.”

His free hand snaked beneath the hem of her halter top, up over her abdomen. Then he moved the lace of her bra aside and cupped her breast, his thumb rubbed over her nipple, and it hardened into a tight point. She bit her bottom lip at the rapture his caress triggered, building with each graze over the swelling flesh, reverberating down to her core. What harm would it do, really? It wasn’t like the people here discriminated, or thought less of others for getting their freak on.

“What’s it going to be?” he asked, tweaking her nipple, sending volts of electric currents of pleasure straight to her pussy.

What would the harm really be? She had the time, for one. And clearly her body was on board. At the next strum of his thumb over her nipple, she gasped. “Yes.”

A carnal, lust-infused smile spread over his generous lips. Lips that had already kissed the sense right out of her.

“You won’t regret it. Put your arms around my neck, Cora,” he ordered as he stood with her in his arms.

“My purse,” she exclaimed.

Garrett grabbed the small clutch purse from the table and positioned it on her lap. Her coat would be fine where it was over the back of the chair. Then he carried her toward the back, past a scowling Matt behind the bar, to the door that led to a hallway with private rooms. This was it. She was going to have sex with a virtual stranger.

“Just remember I have to be home by two,” she said, her voice a breathy whisper as he carted her into a room. Inside there was a huge king-sized walnut-colored four-poster bed. The mattress itself was covered in a black satin fitted sheet. There were pillows piled near the headboard. But no blankets or comforters, because this wasn’t a place where people slept. And she didn’t miss the shiny, silver metal loops built into the bed frame in multiple locations.

“I can work with that. Strip and await me at the foot of the bed,” he commanded and deposited her on her feet.

“Yes, Sir.”

On unsteady legs that trembled like a newborn foal’s, with her heart hammering in her chest, Cora walked the short distance to the bed. Why did she feel like a scared virgin on her wedding night?