Melissa Foster Passionate Romance for Fiercely Loyal Hearts


BLAINE WICKED WOULD rather be anywhere other than biding his time at a bachelor party as drunk guys pawed after a half-dozen scantily clad strippers in a posh Boston hotel suite.

At thirty-four, he was well past the thrill of strippers and drunken shenanigans, but he and the buddy who had dragged his ass there, Cameron “Cuffs” Revere, had gone to high school with the man of honor, Jay Harris. Blaine could barely stomach the guy back then, and based on how Jay had decided to celebrate his impending marriage, it was obvious he hadn’t outgrown being a dick.

Most of the women looked as if it was just another day on the job, stripping off barely there outfits and giving lap dances in G-strings, but Blaine’s focus was on an awkward leggy blonde. Her breasts threatened to break free from a faux-leather halter top, and her minuscule matching skirt stretched tight over thick hips. She wasn’t tanned or perfectly made-up like the other girls. Her hair was about a dozen shades of blond, falling in messy waves to her shoulders, as if she’d run into the party late from another appointment. She couldn’t dance worth shit, either, but that awkwardness was strangely enticing, as was her flirtatious laugh, which hung in the air like a sound refusing to be forgotten.

A guy reached for her, and she coyly kept her distance, waggling her finger, purring, “Naughty boy,” and turning away. Her eyes caught on Blaine and widened a little, as if he’d surprised her, and damn, she sure surprised him. She had a girl-next-door vibe going on, with a heart-shaped face, thick dark brows above big blue eyes that screamed of innocence and somehow also held a warning not to mess with her, pouty lips perfect for all sorts of dirty things, and an adorable dimple in her chin. She tried hard to mask a hint of trepidation, but while the other assholes were too drunk to notice or care about anything other than getting off, Blaine never missed a thing. He’d been raised in a biker family. Protecting women was in his blood. He told himself to let it go. She was hired to strip, after all, and must have known what she was getting into.

So why do you look like a bunny trapped in a lion’s den?

Jay came up behind her, putting his hand on her back. She nearly jumped out of her skin and spun around. Fuck. Why do I want to break his hand? Blondie schooled her expression, smiling as she danced around him, but Blaine saw through that tough facade to the weariness she was trying hard to hide. He tried to shake off the itch to figure her out and turned to Cuffs. “Why did I let you talk me into this bullshit?”

“Because you owed me one.” Cuffs tipped his glass to his lips. He was a cop, whether he was in or out of uniform, and a fellow member of the Dark Knights motorcycle club. “I told you Jay’s an attorney now, and I have to interact with him professionally. Besides, what were you going to do tonight? Now that Marly is with Dante, it isn’t like you’ve got any hope of scoring with her. Not that you ever did.” He snickered.

Marly Bowers was a gorgeous brunette and close friend who Blaine had hooked up with for a while. They’d always flirted and were close, but they’d kept their no-strings arrangement under the radar from their friends and families because neither had wanted more and they didn’t want to deal with the hassles of friends pressuring them. When Marly started dating Dante Dubois, the guitarist for Carnal Beat, a local band, she and Blaine had ended their arrangement, and they’d both moved on.

“Shit.” Blaine shook his head. “You know there’s plenty of women waiting in the wings.”

“Speaking of…” Cuffs nodded to a petite brunette dancing toward them with her eyes locked on Blaine.

She flashed a sultry smile. “Anyone ever tell you you’re a dead ringer for James Marsden?”

Only every woman I’ve ever met.

He didn’t bother answering. She didn’t seem to care as she danced seductively up and down his body, but his attention was drawn back to the leggy blonde across the room, who was now trying to evade Jay.

The brunette dragged her finger down the center of Blaine’s chest. “How about a lap dance, James?”

“I’m good, thanks,” he said without taking his eyes off the blonde as Jay cornered her by the bedroom. Blaine’s eyes narrowed, his jaw clenching. He was no saint. He went after what he wanted, and he could be a persistent asshole, too, but he’d never force himself on anyone, and at least he was a loyal motherfucker. Unlike Jay, whose fiancée probably thought he was kicking it old-school with his buddies, not trying to bang the entertainers.

Jay leaned closer to the blonde, saying something that made her laugh, but her eyes darted nervously around the room, connecting with Blaine’s for only a few seconds before Jay slid his arm around her and pulled her against him. Her smile faltered, but she was quick to put it back in place. She put her hand on Jay’s chest, shaking her head.

“Cuffs, you seeing this?” Blaine lifted his chin in their direction.

“Yeah. She’s still smiling, and she’s a stripper,” Cuffs reminded him. “We have no idea what else she’s been paid to do.”

“Right.” Blaine gritted his teeth against that truth. He didn’t judge people. Everyone needed to make a living, but what a way to do it. These girls put their safety on the line with every job.

She started dancing again, inching away from Jay and turning her attention to another guy. Jay grabbed her wrist, tugging her against him. Blaine’s hands fisted as Jay backed her into the bedroom and closed the door. He told himself to mind his own business, but every iota of his being told him to get the hell in there. He’d never ignored his instincts before, and damn it to hell, he wasn’t about to start. “Fuck this.”

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