What’s happening on March 31st? DANGEROUS ANGEL is going to be released from Carina Press, and it’s the final book in the four-part Earth Angels miniseries—woohoo! Last week, I posted the book’s opening scene (and it’s one of my favorite openings EVER ^_^ ). Now it’s time for the second part of Chapter One, which is seen from the point of view of the hero, Kyle. For those who have read the series, they have gotten glimpses Kyle’s slightly insane personality, but he’s only been seen through internet chats and text messages. This is the first time readers will get the full picture of who Kyle Beaudecker really is, and I'm hoping you like him as much as I do... even if he is a little crazy. (Readers 18 years and older only, please)
The obnoxious odor of smoke and sweat clogged Kyle Beaudecker’s sinuses after ten seconds of breathing in The Toy Box’s poorly ventilated air. He hovered in the back of the low-ceilinged strip joint while his eyes adjusted to the blue-tinted gloom. As expected, the main room was dominated by a pole-studded catwalk skirted with garish silver tinsel, a shimmery mess that was echoed in the curtain at the catwalk’s staging area. The blue neon LED floor tiles would have classed the place up if it weren’t for a few tiles flickering bad enough to spark off a seizure. On the other side of the room the no-nonsense bar showed hard-liquor bottles and none of the decorative glass-and-bottle displays seen in many upscale nightclubs. In seedy little dives like this, fast times and getting drunk were the only two requirements the patrons needed.
Hidden in the shadows, Kyle smiled. When he was in the mood for it, this was his kind of place.
His first cursory sweep of the club didn’t get him excited, so he moved to an out-of-the-way table in the corner of the room to wait things out. As he settled in, however, his attention snagged on a familiar profile seated beside the catwalk. A massive young man waved an enthusiastic farewell to a stethoscope-wearing stripper as if they were long-lost friends.
The habits people indulged in when they were on the run never failed to boggle Kyle’s mind. No matter how crafty a fugitive was, there were still routines, material possessions or vices to which they insisted on clinging. For some, it was family. For others, drugs or alcohol.
For Jon-Jay Horowitz, it was the easy scoring grounds of The Toy Box.
As music hummed a prelude for the next titillating performance, Kyle tried to settle back and relax, but a ripple of restlessness tugged at the edges of his consciousness. Grimly he ignored it, as he’d been ignoring it for weeks now. That internal chaffing had nothing to do with the small-fry in front of him now, or any of the other jobs that had come across his path recently. No, this subtle but aggravating urgency emanated from another source entirely, and he knew damn well what it was.
The secret side of him wanted to do some demon-hunting.
The corners of his mouth tightened while he kept his ass in the seat where it belonged. It didn’t make sense, this crazy desire to go looking for trouble. He was a lover, not a fighter, damn it. He didn’t even know for sure there was any demon left in the world to hunt. Just the thought of it had tension pouring like molten steel into his shoulders, and he rolled his head from side to side in an effort to erase it. If he had half a brain, he’d stop thinking about demons and simply be grateful he had ordinary scumbags to hunt down.
There was no doubt Jon-Jay fit that description to a T. Though Kyle’s latest quarry was barely out of his teens, he already had a dumpy belly and generous man-boobs that jiggled beneath various childish graphic T-shirts. He was the epitome of the term Man-Baby, a nickname his doting mother had tagged him with. But no matter how unsavory he was on the outside, it was nothing compared to what he was on the inside.
The first hint of trouble started when Jon-Jay stole his mother’s bingo winnings. Mama dropped the theft charges when the police traced the crime back to her own son. This understandable—but not well thought-out—act of mercy apparently gave Man-Baby the go-ahead to pillage every relative within reach. In two years, over a dozen burglaries had been brought to light and subsequently dropped.
The last straw had been delivered in a truly cruel way. Man-Baby’s senile grandmother had held onto an antique rose-gold watch as if it were a lifeline in a never-ending sea of emptiness. She held it, kissed it and told everyone at the nursing home her wonderful husband had chosen to forego vacations for a decade just so he could buy her that watch.
Then one day, it went missing.
The elderly woman died within hours of its disappearance, fading into darkness without uttering another word. The home’s surveillance video revealed Man-Baby had come to visit, and as he’d pretended to adjust her pillows, he had slipped the watch right out of her gnarled old hands. He then blew what money he’d gotten for that irreplaceable memento on a new gaming system and a two-day bender at his new distraction, The Toy Box.
Jon-Jay Horowitz had bawled as he’d been dragged away in cuffs. When bail had been set, it came as no surprise when Man-Baby’s mother—“He doesn’t know any better, he’s just a baby!”—put her tiny house in Coconut Grove up as collateral. The moment she’d been distracted, Jon-Jay was out the door with his mother’s 1950 first-edition hardback autographed copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
Stealing from his helpless grandmother was horrific enough. Threatening his mother with homelessness was equally heinous. But disrespecting Narnia was the last nail in Man-Baby’s coffin, as far as Kyle was concerned.
In addition to the hefty bounty, the family had matched it with a private reward, so the payoff wound up being a cool fifty-grand. Every bounty hunter in Florida was on the scent, but another sweep of the bar told Kyle that luck was with him. He was the only hunter who knew Jon-Jay enjoyed the dubious delights hidden within The Toy Box. All he had to do now was bide his time, wait for the perfect moment to drop the net, and walk away fifty-thousand bucks richer, while also helping a blindly loving mother out of a bind.
It might not be demon-hunting, but it wasn’t too shabby.
“She’s the woman who makes the grade.” The announcer’s nasal-whine of a voice almost drowned out the order of a beer Kyle gave to a waitress, who tottered so precariously on her high heels it sucked every ounce of sexiness from her corset uniform. “Step out of line and she’ll tie you up in detention, but if you please her you might become her pet. Gentlemen, if you’d ever had a teacher like this, you’d never have ditched a day in your life. For your viewing pleasure, please welcome The Toy Box’s very own Sex-Ed teacher, Ms. Sparkle Spanksalot!”
Outstanding. Kyle laughed as he took his beer, gave the waitress a generous tip for the courage it took to work in this dive, and settled back to enjoy the show. His quarry seemed to have the same idea, half out of his seat so he could tug his wallet out in preparation to flash some cash. He’d let the stripper get paid by the useless Man-Baby; it was the least he could do for having to put up with a ridiculous stage name like Sparkle Spanksalot. But then it’d be curtains for not-so-little Jon-Jay and his rampage of petty self-indulgence.
The heavy throb of “Hot for Teacher” pulsed through the club. On cue, a woman erupted from the cheesy tinsel curtain. Appreciation for how she took instant command of the stage curled the corners of his mouth, and he couldn’t help but sit up straighter as she paused, unmoving, to survey the room as if she owned both it and everyone in it.
There was an unyielding power in her eyes hidden behind ugly horn-rimmed glasses, the kind of power that made a man beg to be punished, as long as that punishment came from her hands. Her dark hair—either brown or black, he couldn’t tell under the glare of the spotlights—was pulled back into a tight bun. Kyle had no doubt that every man in the room wanted to pull it loose to let it tumble through his fingers. Her body was long and rangy, covered in a heavy gray tweed skirt suit that grudgingly showed a bare minimum of wrist and calf.
She was a shrouded masterpiece begging to be unveiled.
“Take it off!”
Kyle didn’t bother stifling a disdainful scoff. It came as no surprise that Jon-Jay, a towering moron who understood nothing but instant gratification, was the first to yell his head off. That oaf had zero appreciation for savoring the almost-painful build-up of anticipation, or delaying that moment of satisfaction until a strong man screamed for sweet release.
Ms. Sparkle Spanksalot, though, could probably write a book on the subject.
She had a ruler in her hand, and she pointed it at Man-Baby before swatting her own tweed-covered ass with a flash of polished wood. It wasn’t bad, as far as asses went, firmly packed into a heavy costume that looked ridiculous in Miami, but he had to admit he was as curious as Jon-Jay to see what was beneath the wrapping. Before he could think better of it, Kyle let loose a whistle when she put the ruler in her mouth and twirled around the nearest pole, one hand holding the thin bar while the other ripped open the fastenings of the tweed coat and prim, high-collared shirt beneath.
When NASA introduced the world to Velcro, they probably had no idea of the gift they were giving to strip joints everywhere.
There was a black scrolling tattoo running down her spine that was familiar, but as the dark gold of her skin brought his brain to its proverbial knees, he wasn’t interested in figuring out why it struck a chord. All he wanted now was for her to swing around in his direction so he could see what the acres of tweed had been hiding.
The coat and blouse were tossed away as her stilettos touched the catwalk. Briefly he pondered how a real teacher’s feet would be turned to hamburger in those shoes by the end of the school day. Then that wayward thought sank under a rush of desire-spiked male appreciation as she turned his way once more. The woman was a goddess. Her breasts were covered in a spangled white bikini top, and just full enough to have a hint of shadowed cleavage. Willowy arms honed with fine muscles moved gracefully as she toyed with the fastenings of the school-marmish skirt. A charm in her navel flashed, bringing attention to a lush stretch of honey-hued skin. Her torso was long and lean, and the ridge of rib cage showing with each sweet gyration hinted at a fragility that made his hands itch to explore.
Holy hell, he wanted to touch her.
The heavy calf-length skirt loosened. With a move akin to drying off one’s backside, the stripper stood right in front of Kyle’s target and shook her tweed-veiled ass until Man-Baby erupted with a raucous hoot. Satisfied, she tossed the skirt aside, and revealed a heavily spangled white bikini bottom. It wasn’t the dental floss G-string he’d been expecting, but nevertheless it was a sight that turned his mouth into a desert and his blood into a wild flow of molten lava. The liquid heat pooled in his lower regions until he had to shift, the raw hunger pulsing through him so feverishly he didn’t have to look down to know he’d grown hard.
Mystery solved as to why Jon-Jay Horowitz was such a fan of The Toy Box. If this was the caliber of talent employed at this unassuming establishment, then Kyle really had no choice but to become a repeat customer himself.
With a half-smile that would have seduced a ninety-year-old monk, the woman onstage repositioned the ruler in her ruby-red mouth so that it stuck straight out. Then she sank with a ballerina’s grace to her knees and offered the opposite end of it to Man-Baby.
Damn it, not him. He’s not worthy of you.
Kyle glared at the lummox’s expansive back while Man-Baby upended his chair in his haste to accept the woman’s challenge, and the ruler passed from her mouth to his. Then, still on her knees, she sat back until she was resting on her heels, her head tilting all the way back as she slid her hand down the center of her lean torso. And down. And down. And down…
A harsh sound grated out of Kyle’s clenched throat when her fingers slid boldly under the edge of the spangled panties. Her hips arched and rocked, a fluid sex-motion that he could picture her doing as she rode a man until he cried out for mercy. As he watched, so mesmerized by the unrepentant vision of sensuality, he didn’t realize he’d reached for the bulge behind his zipper until he groaned at the pressure of his squeezing fingers.
She was the embodiment of carnal pleasure, a fantasy men wove in the darkest part of night when sleep was impossible and the bed was empty. It almost crushed him when she withdrew her hand, as her ecstasy hadn’t yet been reached…and pulled out a shiny pair of handcuffs.
Oh, hot fucking damn, YES.
The other patrons seemed to agree. The noise level trebled as she swung them tantalizingly in front of Jon-Jay. He let out another whoop and gave her a fistful of money before he offered up his wrists. A strange, out-of-place expression flashed across her face for a split second. It looked almost like…like…
“Wait a minute.” But even as suspicion slammed into Kyle with all the force of a sledgehammer, she slapped the cuffs on Jon-Jay and hopped off the stage in a no-nonsense manner, pulling a badge out of one of the spangled bra cups of her bikini top as she went. Then, when she flashed it in front of Man-Baby’s disbelieving eyes, took off the big, ugly glasses and shook out the long waterfall of wavy dark hair, Kyle wished to any powers listening that he had the flexibility to kick himself in the ass.
“Damn you, Nikita.” And, to add insult to injury, Kyle found he didn’t have the strength to peel his hand away from his rock-hard dick.
Just nine weeks to go before DANGEROUS ANGEL is out! Until then, check out the three books leading up to it—NOBODY’S ANGEL, SAVAGE ANGEL, and WOUNDED ANGEL, all from Carina Press. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on this blog for Throwback Thursday, where I’ll post favorite scenes from the previous Earth Angels books. :)
Buy links for pre-ordering DANGEROUS ANGEL: