“You honestly believe women can’t have a one-night stand?”
Not even the sultry jazz music could help Dixie Sinclair drown out her best friend Tiffany’s shocked inquiry.
The specific subject up for debate had sparked a heated exchange between Tiffany and Bren… No. Brandon. No. Brian. Yeah. That was his name.
Her friend maintained that men and women could go about dating with the same zest. Gender wasn’t a factor. Brian believed women were incapable of one-night stands.
The entire argument teetered into the realm of stupidity, compounded by many of the party’s attendees joining the debate. Brian’s obvious attempt to get her best friend horizontal had somehow morphed into the only conversation for the crowd of almost thirty people.
Dixie glanced around the small out-of-the-way bar her friend Kevin operated. Jazz It Up. It wasn’t a very creative name, but the sophisticated interior and live music appealed to the trendiest of the late twenties, early thirties crowd in Austin. Long waiting lists and packed dance floors were a common sight here, but not tonight.
Tonight they were celebrating Jase Cavannaugh’s return from…wherever he had been.
Thick, black hair and haunting, midnight blue eyes drew women to him like moths to a flame. When his full lips curved into that sly grin, all females became molten lava to be shaped into whatever he wanted. Sex oozed from every crevice of Jase’s gorgeous, muscular, over six feet frame. He was the ultimate player.
And she could spot a player from ten miles away because she was one too.
Dixie’s nipples hardened, and she sighed when warm liquid settled at the juncture of her thighs. Dixie loved sex. No. She thrived on the flood of endorphins and that thrilling first encounter.
The hot, steamy, and hedonistic encounters a man and woman surrendered to in the first few months of their relationship. The moment it dissipated, she was gone.
She clenched her thighs together and imagined what Jase would be like in bed.
Admiring him from afar had always gotten her by, but one day the two of them would tango. She ached for the intensity she knew their union would create.
“Bullshit. No sober woman without an agenda would ever pick up a guy at a bar and do him. There has to be a motive there somewhere because that’s how women operate,” Brian stated emphatically.
“Dixie does it.”
She looked up from her newly replenished Hurricane and let the slim straw slide out of her mouth. Silence blanketed the room, everyone’s gaze locked on her. Damn Tiffany. The girl couldn’t hold her liquor and needed to just pass out already.
“I what?” Dixie asked innocently. They would come up with some creative spin on the conversation, and she could murmur a brief response then make a quiet retreat. Tact wasn’t a strength they lacked. Hopefully.
“You have sex with men and don’t get attached.” Brian flashed a bewitching smile.
Oh yeah. He wanted to get laid tonight. She’d worn the short, form fitting crimson dress enough to recognize all the looks a man could give her. He wore the “come and fuck me” look.
“I doubt I’m the only one,” Dixie said.
“But most have a reason. A bad break-up, something to prove to themselves about their sexuality, or something else. They don’t just fuck a guy,” Brian said.
It was hard not to make a sarcastic comment to the young redhead. His persona lacked the sophistication and experience to support such a broad statement.
She hopped up on the barstool, crossed her long legs, and beamed a sardonic smile across the crowd of leering men. She had grown used to dealing with swine in all its forms. “Can’t a girl have a little fun like all of you guys?”
“Thank you!” Tiffany declared.
“What’s the point of this whole discussion anyway, aside from you trying to get up my best friend’s dress?” Dixie asked Brian.
The crowd laughed, and she almost felt guilty when a deep shade of crimson stained the younger man’s cheeks.
“I was just saying men are better players than women when it came to one-night stands.”
“Who cares?” Dixie laughed. “Fine, men are better at it.” She took another sip of her drink. The remnants of red lipstick coating the straw’s tip reminded her that a touch up was needed. She could use an excuse to get away from this fiasco right about now. Then again, she wasn’t the type to retreat.
“You honestly think you could go out with a guy and not get emotionally invested?” Brian asked.
“Yep,” Dixie stated.
Brian shook his head. “Bullshit.”
“Believe whatever you want.”
Dixie turned her attention toward the smiling bartender who rolled his eyes and slid another drink toward her.
Tiffany guffawed. “And you think any man could?”
“Absolutely. My man Jase does it all the time and never leaves a woman crying or upset in the end. They always have a smile on their face.”
“And you know this because you’re always there?” Dixie asked, silently admonishing herself when the crowd of onlookers burst into laughter. How the hell had she gotten dragged into this?
“Oh please. Dixie would eat Jase for a snack!” Tiffany exclaimed.
Dixie choked on her drink, inhaling a piece of ice as her mind reeled at the double meaning behind that statement and the visual of Jase she mentally created. There were indeed parts of him she’d love to taste. She was starting to think a lipstick touch up was in order after all.
Picking up a napkin, she dabbed the bit of liquid that had fallen on the swell of her breasts. She didn’t remember her dress showing that much cleavage.
“You’re full of it. Jase would have her wrapped around his finger in a week.”
A loud whistle filled the room, and one of the men shouted, “I’d run like hell, Brian.”
“I’d rather go back to the part of her eating me for a snack. That sounds interesting.
Something I haven’t experienced.” The deep masculine voice was lilted with amusement.
Holding her breath, Dixie looked up. Jase Cavannaugh glided from the gaggle of men with a grace no man should have, his confidence exuding power. Damn the man looked edible. She’d forgotten how gorgeous he was. How did her friend Porsche consider him like a brother? There was nothing brotherly about him. She swallowed. Suddenly Tiffany’s statement did seem very intriguing. “Funny, I’d never considered having a friend of a friend as a snack. You’d be a better dessert, I suspect.”
“Do I get to nibble on you afterwards? I like something a little saucy.” Jase stood a foot from her.
So much for personal distance.
She set the napkin down and looked at him. His eyes remained on hers. He never took notice of her cleavage or the way her crossed legs exposed a large portion of her inner thigh. Most men gawked. She expected it, used it to prune and weed her playground.
With Jase, there was no copping a feel or taking a visual tour of the slopes below.
She shivered and squeezed her thighs together, getting wetter just thinking about it. “I personally prefer a bit of spice.”
Had she just said that? The cool breeze swept off the bustling street below and across the outdoor deck, snapping her into reality again.
He grinned. “I take it you are Dixie? I don’t believe we’ve had the pleasure of officially meeting. I’m Jase.”
She held out her hand and smiled. He took it; his grip was firm and warm to the touch. Confident. Personable. His fingers slid across hers. The feathery contact sent tingles up her arm.
“I see you got dragged into the conversation as well. I kept expecting them to go to the back room and get it over with, but they kept arguing,” she said. Looking someone in the eye had never been this hard. The magical orbs seemed to delve straight through her, igniting her curiosity and firing up her lust.
He laughed. “Brian won’t remember half of it come morning. He doesn’t get out much and gets a bit entertaining when he drinks.”
“Same with Tiff,” Dixie said, looking over at her friend. “You think they’re done arguing?”
The heavy stool scraped against the floor as he dragged it to be flush with hers. Her pulse raced. His thigh brushed against hers as he sat down, his warm breath heated her skin. “I think they will go at it until one of them makes a move. Debates are Brian’s foreplay.”
She laughed, leaning into him. The man knew how to play with personal space, but so did she. “I agree. Arguing seems to be a miserable way to spend foreplay time though.”
“I could think of so many better ways to spend my time.”
“So could I,” Dixie whispered. And all of them include you.
She shook away the thoughts fueling her building need. Turning her attention to the two arguing drunks, she hoped her piqued interest wasn’t apparent.
“So if they start seeing each other casually, you honestly think Jase would be the last one standing?” Tiffany asked.
Great. Now her friend had her fucking Jase. Dixie swallowed, all too aware of how delicious that thought was.
“Dixie is as hot as hell, but she couldn’t last long with Jase if he turned on the charm. She’d fall for him, and they’d have to part ways. Poor man wouldn’t have a choice in the matter,” Brian said.
“Oh please. Dixie’s left every man she’s been involved with because they got too clingy. Jase would be left in her dust,” Tiffany argued, glaring at Brian and crossing her arms.
Dixie winced. She valued her privacy more than anything, but knew it’d make the whole scene worse if she tried to stop her friend.
“Okay, you two, let’s break this up. No need to gut Dixie and Jase’s sex lives just because you are loaded,” Sheila said, trying to pull Tiffany away from the crush of mutual friends egging them on.
“I think we need to run a little experiment,” Tiffany told Brian.
“Dixie and Jase need to date, and we’ll see who the last standing is.”
Dixie laughed. “Nothing like two drunken friends planning our sex lives.”
“He’d do it even if he wasn’t drunk.” Jase’s amused comment made her smile.
“Tiff would too,” Dixie admitted, watching Jase take a sip of his beer. “She’s been trying to find a man for me for a long time. I’m just surprised she’d consider you.”
“Wow, thanks a lot.” He smiled at her.
“Oh,” she playfully slapped his shoulder. “You know what I mean. She doesn’t want me with players. Thinks it’s time for me to ‘emotionally invest.’” Dixie used her hands to mimic the quotation and shook her head.
“Ouch.” Jase winced, looking at their two drunken friends still arguing. “If you normally go with non-committal encounters, why haven’t we ever hooked up?”
Dixie stammered for a response. It was like getting the golden ticket for the chocolate factory. An open invitation to initiate play with the man that made her body quiver when he wasn’t even in the room. “Not sure. Guess we just don’t land near each other enough.”
“That’s unfortunate,” he said.
“Yes it is. Perhaps we should think about changing that.”
Had she really said that? Heat crept into her cheeks like an unwanted rash, making her lose her self-confident pose as she ran a hand down her thigh. Had it suddenly gotten hot?
“I agree. What do you suggest?”
His warm breath caressed her ear. Other than that, the man had yet to touch her. The urge to touch him overwhelmed her, but she would not initiate contact.
His deep, blue eyes pierced hers, as if he could read her inner thoughts and darkest desires. When those lush, full lips curved into the infamous charming grin, she wanted to crawl into his lap and suck them.
She had wanted to role-play more. Her business was designing sex kits for couples, yet she had played out only one or two of the scenarios. It was pathetic.
“It would be interesting to role-play with someone that could really handle it. You know, no holds barred.”
“What sort of play?” he asked, his voice low in her ear.
Dixie shivered. His voice turned her into a weakling, a fawn before a mighty buck. The timbre teased her hormones, awakening a yearning to hear Jase’s soft words as their bodies writhed in passion. “Maybe throw in some mild bondage and domination. Whatever felt right for both players.”
“I could handle that.” He pulled back slightly and winked at her. “It would prove to be very interesting and fulfilling, I’m sure.”
Oh my God. Had she really just brought up bondage and role-playing with him?
No. This was bigger than Toledo.
Oh hell. Was this really happening? How many Hurricanes had she had?
“You entertaining anyone right now?” she asked.
He laughed. “No. Not for a couple of weeks actually so…” His voice trailed off, and her mind gleefully filled in the blanks. “How about you?”
She laughed to herself. It had been about a month for her since she had broken things off with Brad. “About the same for me.”
He smiled at her. “Great. Then maybe you and I should meet for coffee to discuss it further.”
Score one point for Jase. He knew exactly how to make a woman feel comfortable by suggesting something innocent like coffee in a public place. But she couldn’t envision the two of them discussing role-plays and sexual liaisons in a booth next to the local geriatric society playing chess.
“Or you could call me,” Dixie offered. Something about hearing his sexy voice over a telephone appealed to her.
“I could handle that. When?”
“Tonight. When we leave. You can tuck me into bed,” she whispered.
He groaned in her ear. “You really are quite naughty, aren’t you?”
She smiled at him and stood up, determined not to wobble despite the heady sensation flowing to her brain. Sitting that close to him had put her body on sensory overload. She needed to get away before she crawled into his lap and made him touch her. Never had a man not touching her made her so hot. Talk about your reverse psychology.
“Well I guess you may be finding out exactly how naughty very soon.”