Bad Girl By Night
H.O.T. Cops: book 1
Meet the H.O.T. Cops, a group of alpha males trained together in law enforcement but naturally skilled at the arts of pleasure and seduction.
The people of Turnbridge, Michigan see Carly Winters as the respectable—yet painfully single—good girl. None of them knows what she does miles away – where she becomes Desiree, a seductress who lures (do you think “lure” is too strong a word?) men into nights of heated passion. There she is free to experience what she can’t with local guys: uninhibited sex. On the night she meets Jake Lockhart, she suddenly finds herself in the middle of a fantasy she’s longed for but has never dared try. And after it’s over, she walks away and goes back to being sweet, small town Carly.
Until the day when she’s introduced to the new cop in town –Jake, the man who knows her deepest, darkest secret. His arrival in Turnbridge turns her quiet, safe world upside down. As they are relentlessly drawn to each other, Carly’s good and bad girl personas clash – yet she clings to her image even while Jake challenges her. Soon Carly must decide what she’s willing to lose to become who she really needs to be…
"BAD GIRL BY NIGHT succeeds at depicting sizzling scenes, but it also attempts to examine how two people who hide themselves with their dark desires might also reach salvation through those same yearnings. Lacey Alexander's tightly-written H.O.T. Cops novel is an intriguing read." ~Fresh Fiction
"The first H.O.T. Cops novel gets off to a great start! The book begins with a ménage a trois and keeps on sizzling … but it also goes beneath the surface and studies the emotional bond between Carly and Jake." ~Donna M. Brown, Romantic Times Bookclub, 4 ½ STARS
"I felt so connected to the story and the main characters. This was the most erotic book I've read to date." ~Fiction Vixen Book Reviews, 4 HEARTS
"Ms. Alexander knows how to capture a reader's attention … enthralled within mere pages. This story is smokin' hot!" ~ Kimberly, Coffee Time Reviews, 4 CUPS
"… a moving relationship … tender and sexually adventurous …" ~Victoria, Two Lips Reviews, 4 LIPS
Warning: This excerpt may feature sexually explicit material not appropriate for young readers. By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age.
If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to stop reading here.
A SELECTED EXCERPT
She knew how to do this.
She got out of the car, body humming, the mere click of her heels trodding over asphalt somehow adding to her anticipation. Was it from the audible evidence that she was moving, getting closer to her destination after two long hours in the car, or was it the reminder of the shoes themselves, the fact that she wore her sexy, strappy heels for one purpose and one purpose only?
The hotel sat along the water in Traverse City a busy tourist town on Michigan's west coast and the architecture said "modern yet warm" with stone pillars and lots of dark wood to remind you where you were: the great outdoors, the "north woods." Yet boating and hiking were the last things on her mind as she stepped inside and looked around, her gaze honing immediately on the big oak doors that led to the hotel bar.
she walked into "The Lodge," curious eyes swept over her dress red and silky, clingy. Like the rest of the building, the dιcor was warm, woody, the walls hung with things like old snow skis and hunting vests. A large mural depicting a family of bears spanned the long wall behind the bar, where she calmly, confidently eased up onto a stool. She didn't mind the eyes she felt watching her in fact, it heightened the tingle of expectation, the eagerness now stretching through her in a slow-flowing river of heat.
The gaze of the good-looking bartender, in his late twenties, held no judgment as he said, "What'll ya have?"
"A white wine spritzer please." Once, she'd started out with cocktails and discovered they made her too drunk, dulled her senses too much. And even simple wine possessed the power to leave her tipsier than she wanted to be right now watering it down with a little Sprite made it just right. And that was the key to her trips here every few months making sure everything was just right. Goldilocks Does Traverse City.
The thought should have made her smile, but it didn't. Nothing about this amused her.
Getting acclimated to her surroundings, she began to glance around without being obvious to get an idea of the bar's patrons. She spied a creepy-looking old guy watching her from a booth and immediately blocked out the ick factor his gaze delivered. Loads of masculine laughter echoed from a darkish corner somewhere behind her, and the sound heightened her senses. Three college boys ogled her, too, from the end of the bar. Too young. But at least flattering. And if there were other females in the room, she didn't notice they were invisible to her right now.
She could move on to another bar if she had to, but she'd give this one awhile first. This was like
hunting. And north woods girls understood about hunting that the best hunters were patient, quiet, still. They let their prey come to them. And then they struck. She knew how to do this.
Once upon a time, the endeavor had made her very nervous she'd questioned her every move, analyzed everything around her; it had all taken an enormous amount of courage and concentration. The act of walking into a bar, meeting a man, leaving with him, had been accompanied by grave fear. Valid fear. She knew the kinds of bad things that could happen to a woman.
But each time she drove from Turnbridge to Traverse City, the two hour commute transformed her even more than it had the time before. She became someone no less smart than usual yet she was more in control; she was self-possessed; she was the one who orchestrated the events, ran the show. Fear fell away to be replaced by power. And now, at thirty-two, she could barely remember the fear of those early years it had disappeared completely. Now the moves came naturally. They took little more effort than breathing.
The night, the darkness, protected her. So did the low-cut dress that showed her curves and flashed too much cleavage. Cleavage that made a promise. The shoes, too, were like sexual armor they turned her into someone tall, willowy; they also made her into a woman unafraid of her needs, bold enough to take what she wanted. Heavily painted eyes provided one more shield, as did her hair. Long honey gold shot through with darker strands she normally wore it straight, tucked behind her ears or pulled back in a ponytail, but when she came to Traverse City, she used hot rollers to change it into something wild and tousled.
The whole ritual, most of it taking place before the mirror above her dresser, transformed her into one of Pavlov's dogs the very act of preparation exciting her hours before her goal would be reached. Somehow the long, detailed process and the rising fever of expectation that came with it made the whole thing more satisfying in the end.
A few sips before her glass was drained, another appeared before her on a napkin. She looked up to meet the bartender's eyes and he gave her a small smile. "From the guys at the end of the bar."
She tossed only a cursory glance in their direction. The college boys. One of them was attractive, probably a football star or something equally as ego-building from the arrogance in his pointed gaze. But in addition to his being too young which generally meant selfish and clumsy in her experience she didn't like him. A little arrogance was one thing, but this guy was overrun with it; it was the most obvious thing about him. "Tell them thanks," she said to the bartender, "but that I'm meeting someone."
The bartender, suddenly her confidante, raised his eyebrows in curiosity. "Are you?"
"I'm sure I will eventually," she replied, all smooth voice and unwavering self-control.
His grin said he liked her style then he headed back to break the news to her youthful admirers.
She heard the football star mutter, "Shit." She'd cost them five dollars, after all. And a minute later, he and his friends left, clearly seeking greener pastures.
When a highball glass was plunked down next to her from behind, she turned to see oh, hell the old guy. Though he wasn't as old as she'd first thought early fifties, maybe but he appeared grizzled, tired, for his age. "You look lonely," he said.
She knew she looked far more ready than lonely, but that aside, what man thought that was a good pick-up line? "I'm not," she assured him sharply.
"Damn, girl I just came over to say hi, get to know you a little." He sounded angry, offended. She didn't care. This was how the game was played you didn't have to be nice. She had the idea he'd been drinking for a long time already.
"I'm meeting someone," she told him. It was a triShe knew she looked far more readyed and true excuse, easy to remember, and not even technically a lie since, as she'd told the bartender, she would eventually find the guy who was just right for the night. She always did. She'd never gone home unsuccessful. Not even back in the beginning when her hunting expeditions had also held all that uncertainty and worry. She knew how to do this.
"You been sittin' here half an hour," he pointed out. "You ain't meetin' nobody."
She met the man's glassy eyes, stared right through him. Any other time, any other place, she'd feel stupid right now, embarrassed maybe, caught in a fib. But her armor protected her. "It's really none of your business who I'm meeting or not meeting." She spoke pointedly. Knew she sounded a little scary. Liked it and sensed it making her nipples a bit harder than they already were.
The graying man with the tired eyes just swallowed, then moistened his lips as if they were dry. "Whatever," he finally said then picked up his glass and turned to walk away, muttering, "Bitch," as he went.
"Sorry about that," the bartender told her as he approached, apparently having heard at least the last part.
But she just gave her head a short shake. "No worries." In her normal life, such an insult would wound her. Here, it was nothing.
Just then, a good-looking guy with dark hair approached the bar, a few feet to her left. "Can I get a couple more beers?" Sounding good-natured, friendly, as he addressed the bartender, he lowered two empty longnecks to the smooth wood counter. Then he glanced her way and offered a short, "Hi."
She smiled back without planning it. "Hi." And the crux of her thighs warmed.
She watched him as he chatted with the bartender then he wore stylish jeans, a button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. His hair was black as coal, soft, thick, and he was due for a trim. He was the confident sort of guy who cared about how he looked but didn't go overboard. What did he do for a living? He looked like
an airline pilot, or
maybe a photographer. He was smart, focused, professional but not a suit and tie guy.
How he made his living didn't really matter, though it was just a game she played with herself sometimes. What mattered was that he was hot, handsome, and old enough early to mid-thirties to know what to do. And that he had a nice smile. Not lecherous, but not prim. She knew, even as quick as their exchange had been, he'd caught a glimpse of her cleavage and admired it, but he didn't think she looked lonely. Or desperate. Which was good. Since she wasn't. But she was feeling more ready by the second.
When the bartender turned to get the beers, she made conversation, pointing over her shoulder. "Is that you and your friends I hear having such a good time back there?" The deep male laughter had continued, like background music to her thoughts. And her easy flirtation had come out as smooth as always. Because she knew how to do this.
He met her gaze, his eyes a vivid blue that drew her attention. Blue like pictures of the Mediterranean saturated, rich, entrenching. He gave her another smile. "Wow, didn't realize we were being so loud. Sorry."
She shook her head, knowing she looked pretty and confident to him. "I don't mind. Just feel like I'm missing out on the party," she teased.
He shrugged. "You're welcome to join us." But then he lowered his chin, as if rethinking the offer. "Although you might feel outnumbered with about a dozen guys, most of them drunk."
"Are you drunk?" she asked, eyebrows lifting.
He thought it over, then held out his right hand, palm down, teetering it back and forth, as if to say he was wobbling on the edge. She liked his measured honesty, that he hadn't simply said yes or no. This one held potential.
So she confided, "Me, too." Yes, she definitely knew how to do this. Sometimes it was so easy it was almost scary.
That's when she cast a surreptitious look toward his left hand. Good no ring. And no tan line indicating he'd just taken one off. Some things she held sacred. Even here.
you meeting somebody? A date?" He wasn't shy about letting those blue eyes roam her body a little, and it made her feel even warmer, all over. She wondered if her nipples could be seen through her bra and dress.
"I was. But looks like I got stood up." Like everything else, she said it smoothly, her tone indicating she wasn't too broken up about it. Even in this particular lie, she knew how to sound above-it-all, still possessing the upper hand. No one would feel sorry for her.
The man still a few feet away gave her another bold perusal that left her inner thighs literally aching. "Guy must be an idiot."
She smiled. "Thanks."
And that's when he moved closer, sat down on the stool next to hers. "Can I buy you a drink?"
She tilted her head, flashing her best flattered, flirtatious, but-still-fully-in-control expression. She was always, always in control. "Sure. But what about your friends?"
He gave her a look that said, Get real. "Let's see I can hang out with a bunch of hammered guys, or I can sit and talk with a beautiful woman. I'm not an idiot I'll take what's behind door number two."
As soon as the adept bartender set two open beers on the bar, he went about mixing another spritzer.
"What's your name?" her suitor asked. Or would that be her prey?
"I'm Jake," he said.
Once her empty had been replaced with a fresh drink, her companion lifted his beer bottle. "Should we toast?"
She picked up her glass and said, "To handsome blue-eyed strangers who rescue damsels in distress."
He grinned, clicking the bottle's neck lightly against her glass, even as he appeared a little skeptical. "You don't look very in distress, Desiree."
She took a sip through her straw and confessed, "You're right, I'm not a damsel in distress. But you are a handsome blue-eyed stranger. And you're suddenly making my night look a lot more promising." Then she glanced toward the rear corner. "Unless you decide you want to get back to your friends, after all."
"Aw, hell no, honey," he said, and she decided he was just a little drunk, but that was okay even good. People lost their inhibitions when they were drunk. And she wanted him. He was just right. Goldilocks knew when she'd hit the mark.
They talked then. About nothing in particular. The warmer than average temperatures for May. The wineries out on Old Mission Peninsula. She was glad he didn't ask her anything personal; she asked nothing of him, either. And when he inquired, "What brings you to Traverse City?" she kept it simple.
"Here on holiday." It sounded European, sophisticated and vague.
A simple nod.
He asked no more. He clearly got the message. She wasn't into sharing.
"Dude, where the hell's my beer?"
This voice came from her right, and she turned to find a good-looking guy staring past her toward Jake his tone impatient without being angry. Dirty blonde hair, a bit shaggier than Jake's, along with a few days' stubble on his chin, gave him the vibe of a surfer. But the clothes dark jeans, a zip-up sweater over a knit tee kept him looking well put-together.
"This is Colt," Jake said. "He's not usually so rude."
When Colt's gaze dropped to her face, then traveled a little lower, she got the idea it was the first time he'd actually noticed her. But now he was in a big way. "Shit. Sorry. Hi."
She liked his instant repentance. Moreover, she liked the way these guys clearly sensed her confidence, saw her sexuality yet treated her with respect. Yep, just right.
"Well, now I understand what the hold-up is," Colt said, still eyeing her appreciatively as he leaned to take the dark bottle Jake reached past her to deliver. The move brought both men closer to her, allowed her to take in the slight, musky scent each gave off, and to feel that zing of chemistry that thing that was either there or it wasn't. And it was there. With
both of them, she realized as a strange frisson of heat slowly ascended her spine.
Of course, it was Jake who she'd felt that automatic connection with, Jake she planned to be with tonight. And yet that didn't stop Colt from helping himself to the stool on the other side of her and proceeding to ask her name, ask her teasingly what she was doing "hanging out with this guy when you could have me?"
He was drunker than Jake. But his smile was winning, his eyes luring.
So she took the bait. "Could I? Have you?" And she might be flashing a playful grin, but she also knew she'd just taken this to the next level. Colt had made it easy. And she saw little reason to act shy or demure.
Jake's friend drew back slightly, met her gaze. His eyes were green. The green of marbles. Of the foliage in impressionist paintings. "Are you kidding, darlin'? Of course you could." Darlin'. It was the first time she'd realized he spoke with a slight drawl southern, and bold. A little cocky as well. But not in a bad way.
"Now wait just a minute here," Jake said laughingly at her other side. She turned back, reminded that he made her feel warm inside. If her first impression of Colt was one of bold excitement, her first of Jake was warmth, the kind that could cover you like a blanket. "You can have me, too just in case I haven't made that clear enough yet. And I was here first," he added with a wink.
She bit her lip, gave a sexy smile, and moved her glance back and forth between the two men. "Decisions, decisions."
Then she took a sip of her spritzer, a big one.
Suddenly, she wanted to be a little more intoxicated, a little less in control. That wasn't her normal way, but this suddenly wasn't the normal situation for her, either. And it was moving fast, and she thought that if she wanted to keep up, the easiest way might actually be to
let herself go a little.
Of course, the whole point of coming to Traverse City was to let herself go but only while maintaining that unwavering sense of being in command of it all. It was odd how those two factors worked together so closely. They sounded contradictory, but they weren't. Being in control was the part that made it safe, the part that gave her power. Without that, the letting-herself-go part would be reckless to the point of being impossible.
there was a dark part of her a darker part than she'd ever even conceived of until this very moment urging her to think the unthinkable. Urging her to let herself go in a whole new way. She couldn't quite get there, though, couldn't quite let herself even have the thought wafting about the edge of her brain. She couldn't pull it together, make it concrete something was blocking it out.
So she took another big drink, and her head swam just a little. Just enough to begin letting that forbidden idea in. And it made her stomach pinch. But it also made her pussy weep beneath her dress.
Desire. Add an 'e' and you have Desiree. Desire was what had created her, and it was what drove her. It was the biggest part of her. So she always listened to it she couldn't not listen. And what it was telling her right now was a little hard to believe, but suddenly she didn't quite possess the power to shut it back out, either. Once you let something out of the box, it was out. Just listen. Open your mind to it. Decide if it's what you want.
Colt was less subtle than Jake in ways he talked more about himself, trying to impress. In the coming few minutes, she found out he was a security expert and highly-paid private bodyguard.
"Lot of bodies to guard up here in rural Michigan?" she couldn't help asking on a laugh.
"I don't live around here," he informed her. "I work in Miami."
"I was guessing someplace different from the accent."
"Born and raised in east Texas," he told her, adding with a grin, "but I get around."
"I'll bet you do."
Unlike the college boy football star, she liked Colt despite his arrogance, some of which she suspected had been brought out by alcohol. He kept talking, mentioning some of their other friends by name, and as her head began to spin trying to keep track of it all, Jake eventually interrupted him to explain that they met up with a group of old buddies here every summer, "to do the fishing-hiking-drinking thing for a few days."
"Sounds fun," she said, and she meant it. To have that many friends. To be that carefree.
Next to her, Jake shrugged and said, "This is more fun." Somewhere along the way, as Colt had regaled her with his guy tales, Jake had begun leaning closer. She took in his masculine scent again, laced with the tang of beer, and her stomach seemed to curl in on itself as his thigh pressed against hers, solid and warm.
When she turned to look at him, his face was nearer than she'd realized. Her gaze drifted from his eyes to his mouth, not more than an inch from hers. And when she spoke, her voice came out lower than usual. "Are you getting fresh with me?"
"Damn straight," he said in a deep timbre. And then his hand eased onto her knee.