My alcohol sedated brain barely registers the distant buzzing of my phone. I run my hand over the table next to my bed and come up empty. Where the hell is my cell? I open one eye and focus on the clock. My heart slams into my chest; good news never comes at three in the morning.
I cram my feet into the bunny slippers Nana gave me for Christmas last year, and run to the living room. My purse is next to my front door, right where I kicked off my heels the minute I got home a short two hours ago.
Leaning down to open my bag, the earthquake in my head increases tenfold. My stomach teeters on the edge of upheaval, a combination of too many daiquiris and fear. I dump everything out of my purse onto the carpet. Oh, hell no, my phone is inside my bag but my wallet isn’t. The thought of someone buying a big-screen television using my credit cards makes me want to throw up. I pull up my phone message while trying to remember the last time I used my wallet at the bar.
“This call is for Morgan Kimball.” The male voice is deep and raspy like he’d just taken a shot of whiskey. “Your billfold was found by the cleanup crew at Gloss Nightclub.” A wave of relief hits me. “We open tomorrow at one p.m., or, if you want to pick it up tonight, we’ll be here until around four.”
“I can’t wait until tomorrow afternoon,” I mutter. There’s no heavy traffic this time of morning and I can be at the club in twenty minutes. I rush to the bathroom, take two aspirin, finger comb my hair into a scrunchy, and slip on a knee-length sweater to cover my tank top and boy shorts.
I hurry to the parking lot and within minutes I’m driving down the interstate, constantly glancing at my speedometer to make sure I’m not speeding. I’ll never get to the club on time if I have to explain to a policeman why I’m out in the wee hours of the morning wearing my pj’s.
I park in front of Gloss with ten minutes to spare and rush to the door. “Hello,” I call out while knocking loud enough to get someone’s attention. This part of the city isn’t residential so I pound a little harder. “Hello. My name is Morgan Kimball and I’m here to pick up my wallet.”
The huge wooden door opens slowly, and an older, grey-haired man greets me with a smile. The corners of his eyes are crinkled and the laugh lines around his mouth give him a friendly look. I like him immediately.
“Come inside. I’ll get it for you.” He closes and locks the door behind us. I stop and arch an eyebrow. “You’re safe here. We just don’t want any strays coming in.”
“I understand.” I glance around the club. The inside looks different now that the bright, overhead lights are on. The club seems to be a large and lonely open space when a few hours ago it was alive with people, and the walls were vibrating with music. The stage that held the band is dark, with black sheets thrown over the instruments. I’m startled when a second male voice joins us.
“Mr. Henry, I’ll finish up here. You can go home.”
I look up and see the man whose voice is sending hot streaks across my skin. It’s the same deep, throaty voice that left the message on my voicemail. The man, wearing a black T-shirt, black slacks, and a sexy grin, is standing at the end of the long marble bar. He has a yellow rubber glove on one hand and a white bucket in the other. Tall with broad shoulders, his dark eyes scorch my body from head to toe.
“Join me?” He cocks his head and waits.
Between his looks and voice, a sudden need rushes across my skin and moisture dampens my panties. I’m not sure I can make my feet move from just inside the door. Maybe, Mr. Henry needs to stay.
Mr. Henry smiles again. “Thanks, boss.”
“Drive safely.” Mr. Sexy doesn’t take his eyes off me.
“Good night.” The older gentleman nods at me and then disappears down a hallway. I hear a door creak and then slam closed.
A tingle runs up my spine. Mr. Sexy and I are alone. We stare at each other for a long moment, and the temperature in the bar seems to rise before I find my voice. “My wallet?”
“I’ll get it for you.” He sets the glove and bucket down, walks behind the bar, retrieves my wallet from under the counter, and then closes the distance between us. His stride is confident, like a man who knows exactly where he’s going and what he wants. My heart flutters at the way his T-shirt hugs his body, outlining his thick chest and tapered waist. Mr. Sexy is built like Mr. Clean but he doesn’t smell like any cleaning solution I’ve ever used. His scent is earthy and fresh and so damned enticing.
“And you are?” I ask.
“Zackary Pierce. Zack to you.” He hangs onto my billfold but holds out his other hand, and for some reason I take it. His skin is warm and his fingers intertwine with mine. His thumb brushes across my wrist sending heat rippling up my arm.
“Zack,” I say slowly. “I appreciate that someone found my wallet. Losing it would’ve been a pain in my ass.” This guy is drop-dead gorgeous, and my brain tells me to leave, but my feet seem to be rooted to the floor.
“The cleanup crew found it under one of the tables.” Zack leads me to the bar, pulls out a stool, and pats the seat. “There’s stale coffee, but I recommend a drink.”
I shake my head, wondering if anybody ever tells him no. “It’s really late.”
He smiles, stunning me with gorgeous, white teeth and a dimple on his right cheek. “One Baileys Irish Cream to finish off the night.”
My resistance vaporizes. “You found my weakness.” I slide onto the seat, aware of the smooth hardwood under me. “One Baileys.”
His dark gaze locks with mine as he walks behind the bar and pours two Baileys. He hands one to me and lifts his glass toward me. “To new friends.”
“Absolutely.” I touch my glass to his. “I don’t usually go out on Thursday night, but I admit this has been an interesting evening.”
Zack joins me, pulls out a stool, and sits facing me. His thick, dark hair is slightly mussed and just long enough to brush the top of his collar. Who is this guy and why are my hormones zinging around my system?
“You don’t go out on a work night?”
“Not normally, but it’s Independence Day weekend. I have a three day weekend.”
“Here’s to long weekends.” He lifts his drink to his mouth and takes a sip. His tongue slips out and slides across his lips. “My God, you’re a beautiful creature.”
“I am not,” I scoff and roll my eyes. “I’m not wearing makeup and I’m in my pj’s.”
“Are you now?” Zack reaches out with his index finger and slides my sweater off my shoulder. My nipples immediately harden. I jerk it back in place, covering myself. “Damn, you’re crazy.”
He moans then looks up at me with dark, lust-filled eyes. “I’ve been called a lot of things, but never crazy.”
“What do they call you?”
“Dominant, possessive, blunt, and some even call me Sir.”
“I need to go home.” I start to slide off the stool, but his hand on my knee stops me.
“Don’t.” He clears his throat. “I like looking at you. You’re fucking stunning.”
Completely at a loss for words, I swallow. My breasts are heavy, full, in need of caressing. “Right.”
“Would you believe your footwear won me over?” He chuckles as if he’s trying to lighten the mood.
Immediately, I find my voice. “Hey, these slippers were the last gift I received from my Nana.”
Zack’s face softens. “She was important to you. Tell me about her.”
“I don’t know you well enough to share the story. Look, I’m not into one-night stands. I’ve had a couple and they never turn out well.”
“It’s okay. You don’t have to tell me about the shoes.” His grin spreads, flashing his dimple. “Let’s get to know each other first.”
This whole scene is insane, and I can’t hold back any longer. I throw my head back and laugh. “I have to go before I decide we’re both crazy.”
Zack tilts his head and studies my face. My strength weakens when he leans closer and his scent wraps around me. The man oozes sex. The heat from his body pulls me toward him. I reached for my billfold, but he catches my hand, turns it palm up, and starts stroking my skin with his thumb again.
I pull my hand free and lift my glass to my lips. In a very unladylike move, I gulp down the rest of my Baileys. A slight smile lifts his lush lips as he watches me try to control my trembling hands. “Thanks for the drink and rescuing my wallet.”
Sex with a stranger isn’t on my to-do list, but Zack is so tempting I consider making an exception. But . . . leaving is a better idea so I push my stool back and stand. Zack walks to the exit with me, reaching around to open the door. I almost tell him I feel like I just auditioned for a B movie.
“I’d like to see you again.” His breath is warm, disturbing a lock of my hair that’s fallen from my messy ponytail.
I don’t take that last step outside. Instead, I freeze, admitting to myself I want to see this through. My body reacts differently to him. It’s as if he controls it, not me. As if he’s the reason my nipples have pebbled. He’s at least six foot two and towers over my five-foot-five frame, and I hope he can’t see my reaction to his nearness. “How did I not notice you when I was here earlier?”
“My partner took the night off. I came in to close up for him.”
I turn to face him. “So, Zack Pierce, besides cleaning bars what do you do for a living?”
“I own a brokerage firm.” Zack tucks that loose strand of hair behind my ear.
“And you’re partners in Gloss?”
“I’m co-owner of three nightclubs, Gloss, Gallants, and Club Silken. Club Silken is invitation only and it’s my responsibility.”
“Invitation only? Do you mean a strip club?
“Not at all. It’s a members-only club; a safe haven for adults to enjoy physical, psychological, and sexual role play. All participation is consensual and the rules are followed. Our clientele dress code fluctuates from fully clothed to various stages of undress, but there’s no pole dancing.”
“Oh.” I take a minute to digest everything he said, and my stomach bottoms out as I realize what he’s described. “It’s a BDSM club.”