Holding his position, Sam stood a few feet from Meagan, watching the heated exchange between her and Kiki, and noting the moment she broke from the argument to speak to Jensen, the show’s host, and then to one of the cameramen.

She then stood alone inside the ropes, arms crossed in front of her chest. She all but screamed annoyance, louder in Sam’s mind, than the music thrumming against every particle in the place. The dancer’s routine ended, and another started, and still Meagan didn’t move. Clearly, she’d decided to let this continue.

Sam made his way over to Josh, who’d texted his position. Sam ended up almost directly across from Meagan, who was staring at the stage.

“We breaking this up or what, boss?” Josh shouted over the music.

Sam could see the tension in Meagan’s body, despite the distance between them. Whatever had gone down between her and Kiki wasn’t good. Not that he’d expected it to be good, but he had a strong feeling that whatever had happened was worse than bad.

Suddenly, Meagan started walking toward the back of the stage. Sam cut Josh a sideways look. “Hold everyone right here. If anyone so much as breathes in another direction, I expect you to be on them.”

Josh gave him a two-finger salute, and then Sam was moving toward Meagan. He rounded the back of the stage and found a long hallway with a restroom sign, which was the only place Meagan could have gone.

He found her at the end of the narrow hallway and to the right, leaning against a wall with her head back, her eyes shut. For a moment, with her unaware of his presence, he took in the sight of her.

Petite and sexy, her long dark hair brushing her shoulders, he was so in tune with Meagan. He’d always had a connection to this woman. They had always been headed toward each other.

Everything male—hot and protective—screamed inside him, and pushed him into action. There was no hesitation, no thought of rejection, of her not needing him right now, because he knew she did.

Sam went to her, and before she knew he’d joined her, his hand gently cupped the side of her face, comforting her, while the other hand rested against the wall near her chin.

Her head lowered, eyes fixed on his, hands settling on his chest. “Sam.” She breathed out the word, and there as if relief there, like she was glad to see him.

“Talk to me, sweetheart. What happened? And why are you back here alone?”

“Just needed to think a minute. I’m handling this all wrong. Kiki and I argued. I threatened. She threatened. She won. She swears I signed a release for tonight along with some other forms I signed. She had to have snuck it in and I missed it.”

“Is that possible?”

“I don’t know. I told her I want to see the forms. But she says that if I go to Sabrina she’ll say she warned me about tonight’s potential liability ahead of time. I screwed up, Sam. I can’t even pull the dancers from the club because she said I can’t. Because she said, end of story. I okayed things in my contract I shouldn’t have. I can be removed if I’m a detriment to my own show. I can’t stop Kiki.”

“I can,” he said. “I’ll—”

She leaned in and pressed her mouth to his, the softness of her lips, the willingness of the connection, making him instantly rock hard.

“Don’t,” she whispered a moment later. “Don’t protect me, Sam. I don’t want to drag you into her line of fire. I won’t let that happen. Just…just kiss me.”

His arm slid around her. “I’ll do both.” He slanted his mouth over hers. She moaned and leaned into him, her hands gripping his shoulders. Something wild sprung to life around them—the club, the music, the desire so long bubbling between them—igniting in the seclusion of this one tiny spot, their escape in the midst of chaos. And the acknowledgment that they’d lied when they said they’d never kiss like this again.

Sam deepened the kiss, drinking her in. He knew even though she’d said “one night,” that she wanted another as badly as he did. His hands were all over her body, her hands were all over his—under his shirt, caressing his skin—scorching him to the point that he was ready to take her right here and now. And he wanted to.

He wanted to forget everything—he had forgotten everything. He should be focused on his job, but he was here, ready to rip her clothes off, damn thankful he could trust Josh to handle things elsewhere.

He stopped and pulled back to look at her. “You accuse me of wanting control,” he said. “Yet you steal it from me at every turn.”

Tags: Lisa Renee Jones Stepping Up Romance
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