An Excerpt From: Against the Wall
(c) Copyright Rhyannon Byrd, 2004.
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave, Inc.
The first words to pop into her head were strange ones--a resurrection from the warmth of childhood in an instinctual attempt to find comfort in the decidedly uncomfortable.
I don't think we're in Kansas anymore?
How wonderfully mad to be quoting The Wizard of Oz, she mused--but standing in the doorway of Red's Bar, Shea Dresden felt a strange affinity with the displaced Dorothy and her little dog. Red's was definitely a far cry from her usual haunts. Places like the university's lecture hall and library.
Yeah, okay, so she was a geek. No one knew that better than she. But she was a determined geek, damn it, and no Wicked Witch of the West or burly looking bully was going to send her running before she got what she'd come here for!
Yeah, you go girl, her woman's pride cheered, and Shea put everything she had into focusing on the rallying war cry, rather than the flurry of nervous energy pumping through her over-excited system. Her body quaked with it, and the smoke filled air only made the nauseating exhilaration that much worse.
It wasn't that she couldn't stand a little smoke. Heck, she smoked sometimes herself, when she got too restless or tense--or just needed an excuse to sit on her balcony listening for her next-door neighbor Ryan. But this wasn't just a little smoke. The inside of Red's was dingy gray with the thickness of it, and Shea knew when she left she'd still be able to smell it on her clothes and in her hair.
Not that I'm wearing all that many clothes, she thought with a wry twist of her lips, but then she was here to meet a man.
And not just any man, honey, her incessantly complaining libido chimed in, but Ryan McCall, the sexiest damn thing we've ever set eyes on!
Ryan was everything Shea thought a man should be, and gorgeous to boot. Tall, tawny-headed, and ruggedly, insanely, made you want to wrestle him to the nearest bed handsome.
Without a doubt, the quintessential stud.
Shea wanted him unlike anything she'd ever wanted before. Wanted him enough to swallow her stupid pride and do whatever--whatever--it took to get him. She was done accepting his casual brush-offs. Done tiptoeing around that infuriating distance he insisted on maintaining between them.
Tonight, she was ready to get as up close and personal as two people could get. Ready to slip under his guard and batter down his defenses until she'd gotten as far into him as he'd worked his way into her. She wanted it all, every single intoxicating detail that made him so irresistible. Wanted absolute access to every breathtaking inch of skin, muscle, and bone. Wanted to know first hand how it felt to be at the mercy of all that overwhelmingly raw, masculine power.
That's why she was here.
"When he wants a woman," her best friend Hannah had told her, "Ry likes to hang out at Red's. It's not that it's really dangerous or anything, but it definitely caters to a rough and tumble kind of crowd. Let's just say it's not the kind of place where you and I would hang out, but Ry does just fine there."
Shea had wanted to know why someone as gorgeous as Ryan McCall didn't have a steady girlfriend, when he could so obviously have his choice of any woman he wanted.
And that had been Hannah's answer.
Red Mackey's Bar.
Ryan, it seemed, preferred a no-strings-attached brand of sex--and he found it at Red's.
It was hard to believe the sexy ATF agent resorted to this place for his pleasure, but Hannah had known Ryan forever. If she said he went to Red's to get laid, then Shea knew it was true. Why he would come here to look for a woman was beyond her, but here she was, ready to do her best to finally get the stud right where she wanted him.
Sure, she didn't know a whole heck of a lot about playing the part of a hot, willing, available woman, but no way in hell was she letting that hold her back. Tonight, Shea intended to be that woman--the one--the woman, which was why her palms were damp and her stomach was flip-flopping with sexual tension, winding her up tight enough to snap.
It wasn't that she was afraid. Not of Ryan--not of how she felt about him--and she sure as hell wasn't afraid of what she wanted from him.
The only thing she feared now was failure--but tonight it wasn't going to be an option.
She worried about going through life never craving another human being the way she craved him. But she had it now, that heady, beautiful burn of need spearing through her system, and all she wanted to do was embrace it. Celebrate it. Satisfy it. She wanted to surrender and succumb to it, drowning her senses--drenching them in the ravenous, insatiable, consuming feelings of heart-pounding lust and sexual hunger that this man inspired in her. Wanted to fill up on the dizzying rush of energy that just looking at him pumped through her veins, filling her cells, until she felt packed full of life.
And more than anything in the world, she wanted to be packed full of that beautiful bad boy.
All she had to do was find him. Of course, beneath the eerie, flickering glow of the fluorescent beer signs, that was probably going to be harder than she'd expected.
Damn, and here she'd thought this would be the easy part. It was Friday night, and despite its nitty-gritty interior, Red's was packed with people. Men and women obviously looking for a place where they could drown their sorrows and hook up with a warm body for the night.
And Shea knew Ryan wasn't much of a drinker.
She also knew he wasn't much on relationships either, but she hoped to change that. At least that was the plan. The first part of the plan, though, was to get sex. Lots and lots of hard, heavy, mind-shattering sex--with Ryan.