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Down to You (The Bad Boys #1)
Author: M. Leighton

CHAPTER ONE - Olivia

My head is spinning lightly, but happily. I can’t even remember the name of the drinks Shawna keeps ordering for us. I just know they’re delicious. And potent as hell! Wow!

“When’s the stripper coming? I’m ready to get my freak on!” Ginger shouts. She’s the crazy, outspoken, cougar-of-a-bartender we work with at Tad’s Sports Bar and Grill in Salt Springs, Georgia. She’s wild enough in her natural environment, but stick her in a strange new place in a city like Atlanta and she morphs into a full blown tiger. Rawr!

She looks at me and grins. Her bottle-blond hair looks urine-yellow in the low light and her pale blue eyes are twinkling devilishly.

I’m instantly suspicious.

“What?” I ask dazedly.

“I talked to the manager ahead of time. He’s gonna make sure Shawna has to help the stripper get out of those pesky clothes he’ll be wearing.” She giggles maniacally. I can’t help but laugh. She’s a mess.

“Ryan would kill her if she stripped another man’s clothes off, bachelorette party or not!”

“He’ll never know. What stays in the VIP room happens in the VIP room,” she slurs.

“Don’t you mean what happens in the VIP room stays in the VIP room?”

“That’s what I said.”

I snicker. “Oh, okay.”

I giggle as I watch her take another sip of her neurotoxic drink. I opt for my water instead. Somebody has to remain semi-lucid. Might as well be me. Tonight is all about Shawna anyway. I want to send her off into married life with the best party possible. I doubt that includes her having to carry me home or clean vomit off her shoes.

A knock at the door to the private room has us all turning our heads in that direction. The girls immediately start laughing and hollering and cat-calling.

Dear God, I hope it’s the stripper and not a cop or something!

The door opens and in walks the most incredibly handsome guy I think I’ve ever seen. He looks like he’s in his early twenties, really tall, and built like a football player—wide chest and shoulders, thick arms and legs, tiny waist in between. He’s dressed in solid black from head to toe. But it’s his face that’s most impressive.

Sweet hell, he’s effin’ gorgeous!

His short hair is dark blond and his face is chiseled perfection. I can’t tell what color his eyes are as he scans the room, but I can see that they’re dark. He’s just opened his mouth to speak when his gaze finally makes its way to me. His eyes click to a stop on mine and he stares.

I’m completely mesmerized. As I look into them, I still can’t determine a color, but the orbs look nearly black. Even in the light spilling through the door behind him, they look like pools of ink. Just barely, he cocks his head to the side as he watches me.

It makes me nervous. And excited. I don’t know why. I have no reason to be nervous or excited. But I am. He makes me feel twitchy. Squirmy. Warm.

We’re still staring at each other when Ginger gets up and drags him further into the room, flinging the door shut behind him.

“All right, Shawna. Come kick your single life to the curb the right way!”

The other girls start squealing and cheering her on. Shawna’s smiling, but shaking her head. “No way! Not this girl!” The bridesmaids-to-be get more insistent, two of them coming around to take her by the hands and haul her to her feet.

She leans back, away from them, shaking her head more vigorously. “No, no, no. I don’t want to. One of y’all do it.”

She starts wiggling her arms to free herself, but the girls have a death grip on her thin wrists. When she looks at me, her wide brown eyes tell me all I need to know. She’s totally freaked by the idea.

“Liv, help!” I raise my hands in a gesture that says what do you want me to do? She nods toward the hunk hulking behind Ginger. “You do it!”

“Are you crazy? I’m not stripping a stripper!”

“Please! You know I’d do it for you.”

And she would. Dammit.

How the hell does the world’s clumsiest shy girl get wrangled into doing things like this?

As I so often do, I answer myself.

Because she’s a pushover!

Taking a deep breath, I stand and turn toward the Hot Stripper Guy, purposely jacking my chin up another notch. He’s still watching me with those smoky coal eyes.

When I take a step toward him, he very slowly raises one eyebrow.

Heat washes through me.

Must be those dangerous drinks, I think. It has to be.

I feel flushed and a little breathless, but I take another step anyway.

Hot Stripper Guy backs away from Ginger and turns to face me fully. He crosses his arms over his chest and waits, that one brow still raised in curiosity. He’s not going to make it easy. He’s leaving it all up to me, just like Ginger asked them to do.

As if on cue, the music that’s been pumping into the room all night gets louder. It’s a sexy song, heavy on the bass. It’s mood music for sure. It seems to punctuate every intense beat of my heart as I get closer and closer to those velvety eyes.

When I stop in front of him, I have to look up. My five and a half feet of height is nearly a foot shorter than his towering frame.

Up close, I see that his eyes are brown. Dark, dark brown. Nearly black.

Sinful.

I’m lost in wondering why that particular word would come to mind when the girls start chanting for me to take his shirt off. Uncertainly, I glance at their excited faces then back to him. Slowly, he spreads his arms, holding them out to his sides, away from his body.

One corner of his mouth twitches. His expression, his body language is rife with challenge.

I realize he doesn’t think I’ll do it. No one probably does.

And that’s exactly why I will.

Letting the beat of the music relax my tense muscles, I plaster a smile on my face as I reach forward to tug Hot Stripper Guy’s shirt from the waistband of his pants.

CHAPTER TWO - Cash

Damn, she’s beautiful!

Between this girl’s black hair, her bright probably-green eyes, her banging little body and the way she seems a tiny bit shy, I’m wishing we were alone in this room together.

Her smile doesn’t leave her lips as she runs her hands around my waist, untucking my shirt. When it’s free, she starts to pull it up.

But then she pauses. For a split second, I see her hesitate. She’s trying not to show that she’s unsure of herself, of what she’s doing.

I stare down into those liquid eyes. I don’t want her to stop. I want to feel her hands on my skin. So I taunt her, hoping to feed the feline that I’d be willing to bet is buried somewhere down deep.

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