On the Ropes

Round 1

Kaylee Dawson had walked into the seedy, dimly-lit bar twenty minutes ago with a single goal in mind: to get laid.

The irony of attempting to achieve that objective in a place called Blue Balls Bar & Billiards did not escape her, especially now since it appeared she would not succeed.

After a crazy week of papers and finals on too much caffeine and not enough sleep, plus the stress of receiving a foreclosure notice on her house, Kaylee’s body had seized up with tension.

A little cock is what she needed.

Well, hopefully not a little one, but that’s better than none.

She’d driven by the bar on her way home to Mt. Charleston from college occasionally the past few years, when wrecks turned I-15 into a parking lot.

Tonight, she stopped on a desperate whim.

The bartender, with his dark floppy hair and tattoo sleeves, is pretty cute, but works till close. If she waited five more hours, she’d probably wimp out.

Hoping some new hotties had miraculously appeared, Kaylee spun in her barstool, sipped on the cheap beer, and scanned the crowd again.

A clatter from the pool tables drew her attention to a rowdy group of out-of-place frat boys. In her age range, but not her type.

She lamented the slim pickings on this Wednesday night. Bikers, most of them with ladies on their laps, crammed the tiny bar. At least one of the bikers, who looked a lot like the young guy on that motorcycle club TV show, appeared single, and his thick arms and imposing height said he could toss her tall, athletic body up against a wall and have his way with her.

She’d never been a tiny girl, and the idea of a man who could pick her up with ease was enticing.

A woman emerged from the restroom and hugs the biker, ruining Kaylee’s lone prospect.

Shit.

Her sigh hisses over the shot of soda the bartender pours into a glass.

She might have been luckier if she’d stuck to one of the bars on the Strip, but she loathed those places. All glitter and giggly girls and way-overpriced drinks.

Kaylee picked at the label on the brown bottle, wincing at the bite of bitter brew. More bitter was the taster of remembering when she could afford more than the two dollar domestic special.

Being broke sucks.

Kaylee threw down some crumpled bills to cover the beer and a tip then stood up, ready to walk out the door.

Kiss this night of good lovin’ goodbye.

A ruckus of scraping chairs and raised voices caught her attention.

My head snaps up to find a tall sandy-hair guy caught in the grasp of a squat, heavyset biker whose equally intimidating friends had gathered around.

Directly in front of the door she was about to leave through

Aww, hell. The last thing she wanted was to get caught in the middle of a bar fight.

“What the hell you doin’ checkin’ out my woman?” The beefy biker jerks his head at the bleach blond in a leather bustier highlighting her best assets but also displaying sun-faded tattoos and fleshy arms.

The biker chick, cracking her gum, gazes proudly on her man as he defends her honor.

Despite the tension in the air, Kaylee couldn’t help but notice that the man was scorching hot. His smooth demeanor was balanced by a ruggedness she melted for. Especially after her last relationship was with a slick-talking pretty boy.

 “Hey man, sorry, I wasn’t trying to pick her up or anything.” The tall guy’s deep voice is quiet and even, his expression a semblance of calm.

 “What’re you sayin’? My woman ain’t good enough for you?” The biker’s voice grows louder at the perceived indignation.

“Not at all. She’s stunning.” He grins slyly at the road-worn woman and winks. “How could anyone not stare at such a beauty?”

She admired his audacity, but was not sure his brand of charm would work in this particular situation. Kaylee crossed the sticky boards to where the pair of men stood in a stalemate, with the intention of diffusing the situation with a few carefully chosen words. She just wanted to get out of here in one piece, and go home and drown her horniness in a pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

As she got closer, the tall man’s sharp dress caught her eye. Like the group of guys playing pool, his expensive jeans and black North Face down jacket say “frat house” and not “biker bar.”

But the tic in his square, heavily-stubbled jaw belied his otherwise calm appearance. The intricate swirl of a tattoo wrapping the middle finger of his right hand intrigued her.

In an impulsive whirl in tune with the start of her evening, her plans changed. She wanted to touch him. See if he felt as good as he looked.

That pint of ice cream could wait. Maybe all night.

Kaylee pressed up behind the blond, admiring his solid back and broad shoulders, his height even more impressive than her own, which clocked in at nearly six feet. He flinched the slightest bit when she rested her chin on his shoulder.

“Hey baby.” Kaylee nipped his ear lightly. “You’re late.”

He relaxes, the tension draining from his shoulders and taut back. He chuckled and peered at her out of the corner of his eye. “And you’re gorgeous.”

She warmed at the compliment, delivered in a husky, intimate tone. “You’re forgiven.”

She laughed, and needing to taste him, leaned in and kissed his neck. His skin was cool, faintly salty, but clean and woodsy.

Kaylee inhaled, unable to control the impulse.

Damn, he smelled delicious.

Sparks of desire warmed her belly.

She eyed the intimidating biker and conjured her sweetest smile. “Sir, I am so sorry if my boyfriend caused any trouble. It’s my birthday, and I asked him for a special present.” She traced her fingers around the stranger’s hairline.

Her blood heated when he shivered at her touch.

She lowered her voice. “I’ve always dreamt of being with a woman, and he offered to find one for me, one we will both enjoy.”

The biker relaxes a little. He seemed to be buying the story. She licked her lips and grinned again. 

“I think your lady is lovely,” Kaylee almost moaned. “A shame she’s taken.”

The biker released her guy’s coat, raised his hands up in surrender and returned to his friends. Kaylee exhaled sharply.

The insane plan work.

Kaylee took the man by the hand, the cool brush of his skin against her warm fingers electrifying. Her breasts tingled from the contact she’d made with his solid back, and she knew this man could give her what she craved tonight.

If he isn’t already taken, of course. She’d never set her sights on anyone already in a relationship.

He removed his coat to reveal a bright white button down shirt layered with a deep green V-neck sweater. Sharp.

They sat at the dinged-up, dark wood bar, and the guy chuckles, a rich, deep tone that tickled her to the core. He leaned over and whispered, “Thank you,” as his long, tapered fingers trailed from her neckline down her arm, scorching her skin through the thin material of the cardigan.

She gulped. “Now you owe me,” she whispered back, maintaining the appearance of intimacy with this total stranger.

“Before we go pick up another woman and have the hottest night of our lives, wanna tell me your name?” This time he directed his sexy wink at her.

“Kay-Katerina. Orlov.” Her mom’s maiden name, the one she’d taken after her father’s imprisonment a decade ago, and the same she’d taken after divorcing Jimmy and dropping out of the boxing scene three years ago. People still remember “Killer” Kaylee Dawson, and her disappearance from the scene when industry insiders thought she was a shoe-in for a shot at the women’s middleweight title.

She didn’t want to be bothered by the drama of people recognizing her or her name. It was amazing what a little surgery to fix a broken nose and a new hair color and style could do. No one seemed to recognize her face anymore.

Better to use a fake name, too.

She cocked her head to the side. “You are…?”

“Single? Why yes I am, Ms. Orlov. It is Ms., not Mrs., right?”

Kaylee laughed, relieved he’d found a way to answer the awkward “single or attached” question. “Ms., and you know what I mean.”

When he turned to flag down the bartender to order, she noticed something in his left ear. Like an ear plug, but a little bigger, and flesh colored. A hearing aid, she presumed.

“Sorry, my feeble attempt to break the ice. Though I think you broke—no, melted—the ice back there.” He grinned, a devilish half-smile curling the left side of his lips upward as he glanced at the bikers.

Kaylee’s limbs turned to jelly. She was still a sucker for the bad-boy grin.

“Becker. G.O. Becker.” The bartender poured a shot of straight whiskey and Becker downed the amber liquid in one swallow. She admired the strong, corded column of his exposed neck, and the urge to press her lips to his inviting skin again overwhelmed her.

“Gio? As in Giovanni? You don’t look Italian.”

He gestured for another drink, and she nodded when the bartender asked if she wanted another beer.

One more for some liquid courage.

He shook his head. “Not Gio. The initials G and O. My friends call me Beck. I hope we become very, very good friends, Katerina.” His voice was laced with innuendo as he touched her hand, sparks shooting between them like none she’d felt before.

“I’d rather know what the G and O stand for.” Kaylee glanced at him sideways and hoped her expression conveyed “mischievous and sexy,” not “lame and dorky.”

He opened his mouth. She held her breath. He answered. “Never.”

She laughed. “That awful, huh? Parents can be so cruel. Beck it is. Tell me, what are you doing in this place?”

Her gaze traveled from the top of his hundred dollar haircut, the golden tones reflecting the neon beer signs hanging behind the bar, to the high polish of his even-more-expensive looking black leather boots crunching peanut shells into the beer-stained floorboards.

 “Got out of work late, and wanted a drink. I live nearby and decided to check out this place. I wasn’t looking for trouble when I walked in, but it always seems to find me.”

“Now you’ve found me.” She boldly looked him in the eye, and leaned in close, her lips just inches from his. She could practically taste the sweet, spicy whiskey he’d been drinking. “You could be in for more trouble tonight than you bargained for.”

A rush of satisfaction washed over her as his fingers tightened on her arm, the tension rising between them.

His gaze raked over the swell of her breasts straining against the soft lavender of her sweater. Like her damn boobs begged for his touch.

Kaylee took another swallow of the cold beer, though it did nothing to cool her ardor, or steel her nerves against his sensual assault.

Her stomach flips over. Despite her nerves, her inner wanton beamed.

The night was going to end well after all.

He ordered and downed another whiskey, and turned to face her again.

“What are you doing here?” He laid his hand on her thigh and stroked his thumb over the sensitive spot inside her knee. His fingers burned through the denim, and her barstool would catch fire if she didn’t cool the situation down soon.

She swiveled the stool around to face the bar, breaking contact with his way-too-familiar and arousing touch.

He wasn’t deterred. He stood and moved in closer. His hot breath tickled her ear.

“So?” The rise in his voice indicated she’d avoided his previous question.

Kaylee twitched in her seat.

The intimacy of his closeness stirred a fire between her legs and a pounding in her chest.

“I, uh, I um...” Her mouth grew dry, her tongue like lead, when his long arms stretched to brace the bar on either side of her. Beck didn’t touch her, but if he breathed in her ear one more time she would come where she sat.

“Right. I finished my last final tonight. It’s been an insane week, and I stopped in for a couple beers before heading home.”

“Oh.” His sarcastic tone indicated he smelled bullshit.

My bullshit.

Or maybe she was just paranoid.

“You live around here?” He rested his chin on her shoulder.

Kaylee shook her head, and attempted to quell the quaking in her stomach. “No. Nope. This place happens to be on the way to my house outside the city.”

“Ah.” His one syllable responses maddened her. The deep timbre of his voice sent shivers skittering down her spine. The hair on the back of her neck stood on end, and she resisted the urge to spin around and lock her legs around his waist.

As though he read her mind, he swiveled the stool, his gaze intense. His eyes transform from a silvery grey to charcoal, like storm clouds rolling over the Mojave Desert, threatening a flood that would sweep her, and all reason, down the nearest storm drain.

Good Lord, the things she could do to this man when she got him alone.

“Drinks, Katerina? Is that why you came here tonight?” He moved closer, his face mere inches from her own. The rich, smoky-sweet whiskey lingered on his breath. “Maybe you want to blow off some steam in another way?”

He dipped his head lower, and she ached to trace the thick scar under his full lower lip, slashing across the firm set of his chin.

After he kissed her... She closed her eyes and anticipated the stroke of his lips on hers.

But the kiss didn’t come. Instead, he grabbed her hand and dragged her from her seat toward the back of the bar, to the pool tables.

He let go of her hand, and racked up the balls that the last players left haphazardly strewn across the table’s worn felt surface.

“Do you play?” He pulled a cue from the wall rack and eyed it closely before turning his back to her

Kaylee shrugged. “A little. It’s been awhile.”

“I’ve found that shooting a couple games helps me unwind. Especially when it’s done with a drink.” He motioned to the waitress making her rounds through the tables. “And a beautiful woman.” 

His heated gaze raked over her body, and she shivered. There was little stopping her from pushing him onto the table to have her way with him—except for the whole “naked in public” thing—so she distracted herself by turning to peruse the pool cues.

After she grabbed one, Beck motioned for her to break.

She sank a solid ball, and surveyed the table, looking for another shot.

She walked to the other end of the table and leaned over, offering Beck an unhindered view of her backside.

“This is fun.” Kaylee glance over her shoulder. “But I can think of some other, much better ways to blow off some steam.”

She winked, and then turned to take her shot. The night might be way more fun than she’d originally anticipated.

 

# # #

 

 

Her glossy dark hair fell down her back, reaching for her well-rounded ass. Beck shifted, his thickening cock causing a distinct discomfort. Damn. This wasn’t going according to plan. Jimmy had sent him after Kaylee had ignored all of his calls to her house.

She obviously wanted nothing to do with Jimmy. Beck understood the feeling. The guy oozed slimy charm, and Beck needed a shower after five minutes in a room with Jimmy.

But he’d promised Beck five hundred dollars if he could reel her into a meeting.  If she agreed to the fight Jimmy hoped to promote, he’d pay Beck—and pay him handsomely—

 to train her.

Because Jimmy knew Kaylee had money issues and couldn’t afford to hire anyone of her own choosing.

Beckdesperately needed the money too, but in this brief time together, he liked Kaylee and the guilt from deceiving her weighed heavily on his shoulders.

Jimmy had paid for some new clothes forBeck, too. Because all he owned were steel-toed work boots, worn jeans and gym clothes.

If he’d been dressed like that, Kaylee would have likely ignored him.

Besides, he’d been far too busy with his parents and working twelve hour shifts at the bottling plant four days a week to even think about nice clothes and women and sex.

She circled the table, leaned over for a shot and offered a direct view of her chest as her sweater gaped open. Her gaze met mine, and a sly smile spread across her face.

“Your turn.” 

Damn.

For a guy who hadn’t thought about sex in a long time, that’s all he could think about right now.

Beck hoped the dim lighting hid his inconvenient state of arousal as he stood to take his shot. He felt like a stupid teenager. When a brush of wind would stir an erection.

Except this dark-haired, long-limbed stunner was much more substantial than a breeze. Her lush breasts had burned into him earlier, even through layers of clothes. His hands itched to get on them, cup their weight, and tease the hard peaks with his fingers, tongue, teeth, until she begged for more.

His ill-behaved cock jerked at the idea. Good grief. He’d probably cream his pants before he’d gotten her naked.

But that was not in the cards tonight.

Or probably ever once she finds out he tricked her.

 “Beck? Beck?”

“Oh, yeah, sorry.” He snapped out of his dark fantasy. “You’ll have my undivided attention for the rest of the night.”

He took his shot, missing, but admiring her fine ass as she bent over the table once more.

Kaylee laughed again as she lined up her shot. “Pretty cocky of you to presume I’m spending the rest of the night in your company.”

He leaned down, breathed in her warm cinnamon-vanilla scent, and brushed his lips across her high cheekbone. “I see you looking at me like dessert. Like you could eat me up, and then lick the plate clean.”

She gulped. Took her shot, and faltered.

He had her on the ropes.

“I want you Katerina, and you want me too.”  Phew. At least he remembered to use the name she gave him, instead of the one he knew her by.

She combed her fingers through her hair, brushing it away from her eyes and averting her gaze. “So?”

Close the deal, man.

“Let’s take this game back to my place.”

That was not the plan. He was supposed to chat her up on campus, but she’d darted to her car so quickly he hadn’t been able to catch her.

When he’d called Jimmy and explained, he told Beck to follow her, see what she was doing, try to talk to her if she stopped.

After she went into the bar, Jimmy suggested Beck charm her into a late dinner at a little diner around the corner.

Beck had never expected her to flirt with him. Or want him.

 She stood up and leaned back against the table. “What game are you looking to play?”

“Oh, we can still shoot,” he breathed into her ear as he braced his arms on the table, surrounding her with his warmth, “or whatever you want to do on the table back at my place.”

 “Whatever I want?” She reached up and circled her fingers around the buttons of his shirt.

He grasped her hand, bringing it to his mouth. “Whatever…you…want.” He punctuated each word with a soft kiss, to her fingertips, her palm, her wrist, where her pulse thudded overtime.

She exhaled sharply and nodded, as though speechless.

Beck signaled the waitress and not waiting for a check, handed her three twenty-dollar bills, probably more than double what they actually owed.

Kaylee pulled him by the hand, and he scooped up their coats as they rushed past the bar.

If he didn’t know how this night was going to end, he’d think he was one helluva lucky guy to bag a babe like this.

 

 

# # #

 

Usually so cautious, Kaylee was shocked her reckless plan would reach her desired conclusion.

The guy was third-degree burn hot, perfect for a quick tumble.

Tomorrow, back to the real world, with a shift at the lodge and laundry and stressing about the house.

Tonight, she resided square in the middle of fantasy land.

Where this perfect guy appeared to sweep her off her feet and into his bed. If she didn’t have him, she’d spontaneously combust from the heat welling up inside her.

Crispy Kaylee in the dive bar parking lot on West Sahara.

“Where’s your car?” She shoved her hands in her pockets and exhales, a cloud of steam rising in the chilly night air.

“There.” He indicated the latest high-rise building to dot the side streets of Vegas.

“Wait, you live there?” The building stood less than two blocks from the bar, and looked pretty fancy. Beck wasn’t more than a few years older than her.

She had no idea what he did for a living, but it must pay well.

He was no ordinary frat boy.

 “Yep. My, uh, boss rented the place for me. I’m, uh, helping on a short-term project that could be long-term.”

 “Long-term? How long?”  Why did she ask that? This is a one-night stand. She didn’t care what he did for a living, or how long he’d be around.

“That’s unknown at this time, but I hope to get the timeline worked out soon. But all I care about istonight’s timeline.”

Kaylee yelped as he scooped her up. His tight, toned arms carried her with an enticing ease. He seemed as impatient as she to finish the dance they’d started an hour ago.

Operation Get Laid was shaping up to be a smashing success. She was amazed at her luck. At this point, after nearly three years with her battery-operated boyfriend, she’d simply wanted someone who would do.

Beck, with his large, hard body and cocky—no, confident—half smile, so exceeded her expectations.

Her body was hot from the close contact, and a swell of disappointment rushed through her as he set her down and swiped a keycard to open the front door.

Then he took her hand, and they slid across the polished marble and steel lobby, a burning desire hastening their steps.

She sighed again when he pushed her against the wall of the empty elevator, the evidence of his arousal rubbing her hip. She delighted in grinding against him, reveling in his moans.

The ding of the elevator signaled the arrival on his floor, and he picked her up again and slung her over his shoulder. She screeched in delight.

“Shhhhhh….don’t wake the neighbors!” He laughed almost as loudly as she’d squealed.

“Oh, right, right, sorry.” She pressed a finger to her lips. “Shhhhhhhhh.”

He shook his head and set her down at the end of the hall. He fished something from his pocket. Keys jangled in the still of the hall and they stumbled into the dark condo together.

She stripped off her coat and laid it across the stool at the high-top counter of the small kitchen, her heart pounding in her throat as she spied the pool table he’d mention. She thought it had been a ruse to get her back to the condo.

He slid up behind her, his strong arms circling her waist. “Didn’t believe me, huh?”

 “Actually, no.” She turned and snaked her arms around his neck, loving the feel of his soft hair under her fingertips. “Do you really want to shoot pool though?”

Her lips brush across his stubbled cheek, and she relaxed into his arms as his hands slid into the back pockets of her jeans, pulling her closer. “You know what I want. And I’ll take it on the pool table, or anywhere else you want to give it to me tonight.”

Her stomach fluttered, sending a nervous titter into her throat. He tilted his head at her, and she closed her eyes again, ready for what she’d craved since they sat down at the bar at Blue Balls. His lips whispered across hers, a phantom kiss she was dying to make real. She squirmed, and pulled his head down.

Then footsteps echoing in the hall threw a cold bucket of water onto her. Beck tensed and dropped his arms to his sides, stepping back from her.

She shook her head, sure she was delusional from unfulfilled lust.

It couldn’t be him.

Her slime ball of an ex-husband, and also former manager, who’d dropped her in more ways than one when she’d quit fighting after she miscarried their baby three years ago, when she was only twenty-one.

Standing next to the guy she’d been just about, and more than willing, to fuck.

Kaylee was dizzy,  like her spotter disappeared and her 100-pound bench press bar was laying across her chest, compressing her lungs and cracking her ribs.

Beck stared at the floor.

The asshole counldn’t even make eye contact.

Jimmy chimed in. His voice made her want to vomit.

“Kaylee, baby, you’ve been ignoring me. I have a business proposition I need to talk to you about.”

“Don’t ‘baby’ me, asswipe. A business proposition?” She sputtered. “Wait. Beck? This bastard’s your boss?”

He looked up, something shading his eyes. Guilt at being caught? He nodded.

She glared at Jimmy, his smarmy smile compelling her to scratch his eyes out. Instead, she balled up her fists and tapped them on her hips to keep her hands busy. “I have nothing to say to you. Either of you.”

She brushed past both of them, and Beck reached out, his hand cupping her shoulder.

            Kaylee shrugged off his hand, but he reached out again. She spun around, gritting her teeth. “Touch me again, asshole, and you’ll know why they called me Killer!”

            She threw open the door, sprinted down the hall, and dove into the elevator while Beck stood in the doorway of the condo, staring at her.

            Before the door closed, she flipped him the middle finger, and hoped he got the message to go fuck himself, because he won’t ever be fucking her.          

            She breathed a deep, shaky sigh of relief as her shoes hit the ground outside of the building, the painful chill in the air not nearly as icy as the realization that Beck had been targeting her from the minute he walked into the bar.

            Likely following her before that, as well.

            Wiping ferociously at the scalding tears that had started to spill, she darted back to Blue Balls, keys ready. Sh was still a bit tipsy, so she drove only around the block and parked in one of the off-strip casino lots. She rushed inside, frantically searching for the bathroom through the cloud of cigarette smoke and flashing lights.

            She tripped into the ladies’ room, where she crawled into a stall and choked on her own tears.

For two hours.