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Down to You

M. Leighton - Author

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ISBN 9781101637432 | 12 Feb 2013 | Berkley | 18 - AND UP
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One girl. Twin brothers. An uncommon triangle.

When college student Olivia Townsend returned home to help her father run his business, she never imagined a complication like Cash and Nash Davenport—twin brothers different in so many ways but with one thing in common: an uncontrollable desire for Olivia.

Cash is dangerous, sexy, and bad to the bone—a man whose kisses make Olivia forget she is playing with fire. Nash is successful, reliable and intensely passionate—and already taken. But all it takes is one soft stroke to make Olivia forget he belongs to someone else.

However, Olivia is in for a surprise. These boys have a secret that should make her run away as far and as fast as she can. If only it wasn’t too late. A sensual game between three players has begun, and it’s about to spin deliriously out of control.



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 semilucid. 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 catcalling.

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 farther 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 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.

“Oh, come on. Is that all you got?” I whisper.

Her eyes bore into mine and I hold my breath, waiting to see which side will win. In fascination, I watch as the balance of power shifts and the change is reflected in her eyes. They get a little brighter, a little feistier. I’ve never actually seen someone muster courage. Determination. Something in this girl refuses to give in, to back down. She’s rising to the challenge. And it’s hot as hell.

She keeps her eyes on mine as she starts to pull up my shirt. She leans in closer and I get a whiff of her perfume. It’s sweet and a little musky. Sexy. Just like her.

She has to plaster her body to mine and stretch up on her tiptoes to get my shirt over my head. I can feel her breasts pushing against my chest. I could make the task easier for her. But I don’t. I like the feel of her rubbing against me. There’s no way I’m ruining that.

Once she has my shirt off, she backs up and looks me over. She’s shy about it. That much is obvious. It’s like she wants to look, but she’s a little embarrassed to, which actually makes it more of a turn-on for some reason. I’m sure every other eye in the room is watching me, watching us, but hers are the only ones I can feel. They’re like tongues of fire, licking my skin. They’re searing and tangible. Or at least they feel that way to me.

I take a deep breath and her eyes drop to my stomach. Then they flicker down a little farther. She stares longer than she should but not nearly as long as I want her to.

I start to get hard.

Her eyes widen and her lips fall open just enough for her tongue to sneak out and wet them. I have to grit my teeth to keep from pulling her to me and kissing that lush little mouth of hers.

Then light pours into the room. It’s just enough to break the spell.

I hear a man’s voice. A very pissed-off man’s voice.

“Dude, what the hell?” It’s Jason. I know why he’s angry.

It’s not easy to tear my eyes away from hers. There’s a shy, reluctant excitement in them that makes me want to see how far I can push her. But I don’t. Push her, that is. Instead, I look away, turning my head to glance first at Jason and then at the room of salivating females. The jig is up.

Damn. That was shaping up to be quite a diversion.

I smile into the group of faces riveted on me. “Ladies, this is Jason. He’ll be entertaining you tonight.”

All eyes turn to Jason as he closes the door and moves around me. I look at the girl that’s holding my shirt. She’s perplexed. And for good reason.

“What do you mean, he’ll be entertaining us?” she asks, turning her confused eyes on me.

I don’t answer her right away. I know she’ll figure it out soon enough.

She looks over at Jason, trying to piece together what just happened.

“Now, which one of you beautiful women is the bride-to-be?” Jason asks.

I see it the instant understanding dawns. Her eyes widen again, and even in the low light, I see her cheeks turn red.

She looks back to me and frowns.

“If he’s the stripper, then who are you?”

“I’m Cash Davenport. I own the club.”



Chapter Three

Olivia

I can’t help but stare, openmouthed, at the owner. I fight the urge to look for a table to crawl under. I’ve never been more mortified in all my life.

I hear the girls clucking over Jason, but it barely penetrates my mind, my focus. Every other piece of gray matter is concentrated squarely on the guy standing in front of me.

And then I get angry.

“Why did you let me do that? Why didn’t you say something or introduce yourself?”

He smiles. Smiles, dammit! It registers for a second that it’s a stunning smile, but then my humiliation returns and overshadows it completely.

“Why would I do that, when letting you undress me was so much more fun?”

“Um, because it’s completely unprofessional, for one thing.”

“How is that? You ladies ordered a stripper. Does it matter who I send?”

“That’s not the point. You were being purposely deceptive.”

He chuckles. Chuckles, dammit! The nerve. “I don’t remember agreeing to send you an honest stripper. Just a willing one.”

I clamp my lips shut. He’s infuriating.

Nonchalantly, as though he’s not standing in front of me with no shirt on, he crosses his arms over his chest. The action draws my attention to his perfectly rounded pecs and the tattoo that covers one whole side. I can’t make out exactly what it is, but part of it even reaches out and spreads over his left shoulder, like long, jagged fingers.

He clears his throat and my eyes fly to his face. He’s smiling even wider now and I feel my scowl roll into place. I can’t think straight with him standing here like this. He’s far too disconcerting with his shirt off.

“Don’t you think you should at least get dressed?”

“Don’t you think you should at least give me my shirt, then?”

I look down and sure enough, clutched tightly in my fisted hand, is his black T-shirt. Angrily, I toss it at him. And he catches it.

Dammit!

The strange thing is, even as I seethe, I’m not sure why I’m so mad. I just know that I am.

“You sure are full of fire! Maybe I should’ve taken your shirt off instead,” he says as he pulls his tee over his head.

“What difference would that have made?”

Other than it would have been about ten times more embarrassing.

He stops and grins at me, a cocky sexy grin that I don’t want to be affected by, but can’t seem to help myself. “If I had, you sure as hell wouldn’t be mad right now.”

My mouth goes bone dry as a mental image of that scene flickers in and out of my mind—him easing my shirt over my head, his hands on my skin, his body pressed to mine, his lips so close I can almost taste them. That’s all it takes to make me forget my anger.

I’m staring at him with my mouth open—again—as he tucks his shirt back in. When he’s finished, he takes a step closer to me. I stand perfectly still. His grin dies into a seductive curve of his lips that makes my knees feel funny. I’m completely spellbound and embarrassingly turned on when he bends to whisper in my ear.

“You’d better close those lips before I’m tempted to kiss them and really give you something to be all hot and bothered about.”

I suck in a breath. I’m shocked. But not by his statement. By the fact that I really want him to do exactly that, by the fact that it makes my stomach tighten just thinking about it.

He leans back and looks down at me. I’m not sure why, but I snap my lips shut.

And he notices.

Dammit!

I see disappointment flicker across his face. And, perversely, that pleases me.

“Maybe next time, then,” he says with a wink. Clearing his throat, he steps back and looks to his left. “Ladies,” he says, nodding to the other girls, girls who are paying him zero attention as they watch Jason tease Shawna with his now-bare upper body. He looks back at me and, in a decidedly Southern way, says, “Ma’am.”

He nods once, then turns, opens the door, and walks out, closing it quietly behind him.

Never before have I been so tempted to chase someone.


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