It's that time of the week again! Heads up, this excerpt is Steamy. I wanted to go in a different direction with Taken, exploring various kinds of relationships. Not everybody is cut out for straight monogamy. Some people like to... spice things up now and then.
“All I’m saying is what you have isn’t conclusive.” Jack shoved a hand through his hair, tugged on the ends. “The transaction could have been authorized any time before she went missing. Hell, it could be a recurring thing.”
“We checked. It’s not.” Lace whispered over my skin as I shifted in the chair, annoyance seeping into my voice. “Give me some credit, Jack. This ain’t my first rodeo. Besides, who the hell pays twenty grand to a matchmaker?”
“You telling me you’ve never heard of the television show?” He tugged harder on his hair before easing a hip down onto the desk. “Frankie, let’s focus on getting the information we’re looking for, which is anything about Chad.”
“You could still order a deeper — and legal — look at her finances.”
“On what grounds? No one else is questioning the charges, at least not yet. When someone does, I can do something.” Jack leaned forward, twirled a lock of my hair. “Right now, I have no idea Audrey Clark’s account is showing any activity. Hard to ask questions on subjects you shouldn’t know anything about.”
I resisted the urge to snarl, because he was right. His hands were tied. “Fine. We’ll play this thing by ear for now. And stop messing with your hair. I’ll just have to fix it if you keep doing that.”
“How much longer is Casey Lynn gonna take getting ready? She’s been in your excuse for a bathroom a good forty five minutes.” His fingers skimmed over my collarbone before trailing down toward my cleavage. “You wore this on purpose.”
“If I hadn’t lied, I would’ve worn the blue one.” At his raised eyebrow, I shrugged. “Casey Lynn wanted to wear it, so I told her it was at the tailor’s.”
“You could just say it’d been a gift.” Jack traced the lace over my breast, licked his lips when I sucked in a harsh breath. “Although that would raise questions about our relationship.”
“Safety measure. One you agreed to.”
“Ten years ago. Frankie.” He leaned down, brushed his lips over mine. We both sighed, leaned closer. “Don’t you think we can have a little bit of normal? I’m not asking you to settle down and iron my shirts. Just admit what we have is serious.”
“Jack.” I wrapped my hand around his wrist, leaned back enough to look in his eyes. “Why does it matter? You and I know the truth. I’m yours, no matter who else I — or we — go to bed with.”
“They’re words, Frankie. Just words. Why are they so hard to say?”
“If they’re only words, why are they so important?” Sighing, my hand dropping away, I leaned back in the chair, fatigue swamping over me. “You know why I can’t say them. Not the way you can.”
The bathroom door opened before Jack could answer. His hand slid away as he turned, but not before I caught the look on his face. We’d had the same discussion a hundred times. More, probably. Nothing ever changed.
“Do you have any idea how hard it is to look like a country bumpkin after three years here? I actually had to look at pictures I took right before I left home to remember how shitty a hand I had with makeup.” Casey Lynn marched into the center of the room, spun a quick circle on red three inch heels. Red lace swaths covered her ass, cupped her breasts, blazed like fire against tanned skin. Curls bounced over her shoulders before settling in place. “Good? Please tell me I don’t have to start all over.”
“You’re fine.” Even if she wasn’t, I would have lied. “Let Jack put the wire on you before you finish getting dressed and then we can go.”
Jack flicked a look in my direction, one I answered with a tight smile. We both knew I had the experience to wire Casey Lynn. Just like we both knew I made him do it to pay him back for forcing the earlier conversation.
Not like taping the wire to her breast was a severe hardship for Jack.
I stood up, skirted the desk to lean against the front. Jack took the equipment out, laid it next to me. “You’ll have to help.”
We both pretended to ignore Casey Lynn’s sucked in breath. Running my fingers over the flesh patch, I eyed him, tilted my head. “Sure thing, honey. Whaddya need me to do?”
“Go stand behind her right now. I need to find the best place for this thing.” Jack stepped in front of her, gave her arms a brisk rub. “You okay with this?”
Casey Lynn nodded, swallowed hard. “Sure. Fine. Let’s get the show on the road.”
“Nervous, darlin’?” I brushed her hair behind her shoulders, my fingers teasing the straps of her bra. Over her shoulder, I watched Jack’s lips quirk briefly before he straightened them back into a frown. “We’re gonna be right there with you. Nothing to be worried about.”
“Casey Lynn honey, I’m gonna need to place the mic under your breast. The dress is too low cut for any other position, even with the cover-up. Be downright horrible to get you close to our man and have him spooked because he caught a glimpse of something.” He flicked his glance to her face, lips quirking again. “Frankie, you mind undoing her back there?”
I skimmed my fingers down her back, unhooked the bra slowly. Casey Lynn shivered under my hands, faint tremors. Pushing the straps down her arms, I watched Jack’s face as her breasts came into view. His jaw tightened, his eyes widened, for seconds before his face settled back into placid lines.
“Good enough?” The straps bound her elbows by her waist, threw her balance off. I slid my hands up her sides, stopping a whisper away from the underside of her breasts. “Do you need me to hold them up?”
Jack swallowed, the ordinarily faint sound loud in the quiet room. “It’d be helpful.”
“You mind, darlin’?” Taking her silence for assent, I shifted my hands upward, cupped her breasts. “Good, Jack?”
He nodded, the movement jerky. Leaning closer to Casey Lynn, I waited a beat before pressing my lips to her bare shoulder. She sucked in a deep breath, shifted restlessly. Jack’s hand gripped her waist to steady her, and I glanced down to watch his fingers flex against her skin.
Even with my heels on, Casey Lynn topped me by a good four inches. I rested my chin on her shoulder, shifted my stance to press into her back. She whimpered, something both Jack and I pretended to ignore. His eyes met mine and I licked my lips, watched desire flash through his eyes.
“Doing alright, Casey Lynn?” I turned my head slightly, laid my lips over her pulse where it beat frantic and erratic. “Jack’s got magic fingers, doesn’t he?”
“I’m fine.” Casey Lynn sounded breathy yet strained and I chuckled. Her head tilted back on a whimpered moan. “Frankie.”
“Shh, darlin’.” I closed my eyes, drew in a deep breath full of her perfume, candy sweet. “Almost finished. Right, Jack?”
“Right.” His voice was hoarse, thready. His fingers shook where they brushed mine. “Need to put the patch on. You’ll have to wait a minute or two for it to dry.”
A rustle of movement, and then I felt Jack’s hands in my hair. He yanked my head back, crushed his lips on mine. My body bowed back, my fingers tightening automatically. Through the roaring in my head, I heard Casey Lynn moan, deep and throaty.
His tongue swept into my mouth, brushed over my own tongue, his growl muffled by the contact. One hand caught my chin, held me in place, while he took. I felt him, hard and ready where he pressed against my back, and shuddered. Want sliced through me, made me tremble. Teasing Jack was always a double edged sword.
He tore his mouth away, stepped back. I swayed at the sudden loss, tipped into Casey Lynn. She turned her head slightly, craned her neck until her lips brushed over mine. We both sighed, shifted a fraction of an inch closer.
“Jesus Christ. Stop, or we’ll never make it down there.” Jack didn’t wait for a response, but pulled me back, hands rough, shaking. Pressing his mouth to my ear, he whispered, “We’re bringing her home tonight. No arguments.”
Casey Lynn turned and I bit my lip, Jack’s fingers digging into my ribs. Her eyes were wide and hazy, lips slightly parted. Her ragged breathing made her breasts rise and fall, the sight enough to make me dizzy. “I need a minute. In the bathroom.”
Jack chuckled and I shivered. “No, you don’t. Get dressed so we can leave. The sooner we get this done, the sooner we can all go home.”
“You planning on giving me a ride back to my place?” She drew the bra up, adjusted straps and hooks. When she looked up again, she sucked in a deep breath.
“Yeah, darlin’. We’ll give you a ride.” Jack’s fingers pressed into the silk and lace of my dress, hot and possessive. “Soon as we get this taken care of.”
Casey Lynn turned to the couch to pick up the red dress. Jack took the moment to whisper in my ear. “Tonight, I call the shots. Understand, Frankie?”
My tremble didn’t come from fear. “Yes, Jack.”