Authors: Parker Kincade
One Night Stand
The Martin Family
Published by Liquid Silver Books, imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing, 10509 Sedgegrass Dr, Indianapolis, Indiana 46235. Copyright © 2012, Parker Kincade. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the author.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Liquid Silver Books
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
Amanda Martin has the worst taste in men. After being cheated on not once, but twice, she’s lost all faith in men … and in herself. Determined to regain her confidence, Amanda decides to have a one-night stand. No relationship, no promises, no threat of being hurt again … just sex. What she doesn’t anticipate is meeting a handsome-as-sin stranger who will give her pleasure unlike any she’s ever known.
Joe Sterling has spent his life avoiding relationships, his former job as a military sniper not allowing for such commitments. Now he’s come home to Texas, to let go of the past and to prove he is more than the killer he’s been trained to be.
When Amanda’s life is threatened, Joe’s killer instinct is tested while Amanda struggles to protect her heart. Will they succumb to their overwhelming desire for each other, or lose it all by letting the past dictate their future?
For D.R. Your faith in me never wavered and you never complained when I locked myself in a room to write. I love you.
And for Joe. Your persistence and subtle wit kept me on my toes, but it was your heart that kept me going. You will always be my first.
“Honestly Amanda, he wasn’t good enough for you,” Samantha said as she tossed back a shot of cinnamon whiskey.
“You never complained about him before.”
“What was I supposed to say? ‘Hey, I think your boyfriend is a douche’? Yeah, right.” Sam snorted. “That would have gone over well.”
“That’s exactly what you should have said,” Amanda huffed, but she knew Sam was right. Dammit. “Are you here for moral support or to get drunk?”
“The two have to be mutually exclusive?”
Amanda snickered at her best friend. “I’m the one who got cheated on, and you’re the one getting drunk. How does that work again?”
“Wasn’t planning on doing it alone.” Sam winked as she sailed a tiny tumbler across the table to her.
Amanda poured the fiery liquid into the glass and took her shot. She shuddered, embracing the warmth that infused her body and mind, and she relaxed for the first time in days.
“So”—Sam waved a finger at her—“do the three horsemen of the apocalypse know about it yet?”
Her brothers. Sweet Jesus, when they found out it was going to get ugly. And potentially bloody. Those boys did love a good fight. She almost felt sorry for Scott. Almost.
“God, no. I have enough to deal with without adding those three to the mix. They seem to think their sole purpose in life is to defend my honor.” She rolled her eyes. “What they end up doing is just irritating the crap out of me with their Neanderthal bullshit. I don’t need to be bailing their asses out of jail, again I might add, because they’ve got testosterone poisoning.” Amanda considered her friend. “You know they hate it when you call them that.”
“All the more reason, my friend. All the more reason.” The gleam in Sam’s eye was sinfully wicked as she raised her shot in silent toast.
“What the hell is wrong with me?” Amanda blurted, hating the pitiful twang of her voice. “I’m getting a serious complex here. I mean, what am I supposed to do now?” She stared into her empty shot glass like she’d find the answer magically spelled out at the bottom.
“Call the horsemen. Set up the ass kicking. Sell tickets.” Sam giggled like a five-year-old.
Amanda narrowed her eyes, letting a sound of pure frustration pass her lips.
“Fine.” Sam slammed her empty glass on the table so hard it shook. “Want to know what I think? I think you need to get laid.”
Amanda’s head fell back on the edge of her chair. “That’s your answer for everything.”
“Maybe not the answer to everything, but it sure would help you get your mojo back.” Sam’s tone became serious. “Listen, Amanda, you need to get away. Take a vacation. Find a gorgeous stranger and have wild monkey sex with him. Be spontaneous.” Sam smiled at her as she refilled their glasses.
Amanda tossed back her shot. “I fail to see how that’s going to help me.”
Sam gave her a droll stare. “Of course you fail to see how it will help. That’s precisely why you need to do it.”
Amanda Martin pulled her car into the parking lot. She stared at the small building that served as the local watering hole before she turned off the ignition and slumped back in her seat.
Cheated on again
This must be some kind of record.
So far, the only two serious relationships she’d had were colossal failures. It took her first ex all of six months to jump into another bed. Well, that she knew of anyway. Chances were he’d cheated long before coming clean, telling her he just couldn’t see himself with her forever. As if she were deficient or something.
She’d convinced herself that Scott, her most recent of disasters, was different. He was charismatic and sweet. Okay, so the sex wasn’t mind-blowing, but they’d had it on a regular basis. So what the hell happened?
She’d caught the bastard in bed with another woman.
She snorted in disgust. She didn’t know if she was madder that he’d cheated on her or that he’d turned her into a cliché. She figured she should be way more pissed off about the cheating. The fact that she wasn’t meant she’d wasted the last year of her life on average sex with a guy she didn’t really care about. Wouldn’t that make her family proud?
And now here she sat in all her pathetic-ness, feeling sorry for herself.
In the parking lot of a bar in Nowhere, Texas.
What the hell am I doing?
Amanda liked the stability of a steady relationship. The idea of bouncing from man to man just didn’t appeal to her. But maybe Sam was right. Maybe it was time for her to change her ways. Shake things up. Maybe a one-night stand was just what she needed. After all, she was young and relatively attractive.
She could do this, couldn’t she?
Right. Time to buck up or shut up.
The gravel crunched under her boots as she made her way across the parking lot. Two cars flanked the front door and she breathed a sigh of relief that the place wouldn’t be overly crowded. She tried to act casual, stopping just inside the door to let her eyes adjust to the light—or lack thereof.
The smell of stale beer and peanuts hung heavy in the darkened interior. Tables were spread around the perimeter of a small, open area she assumed was used for dancing. The jukebox belted out an old Hank Williams tune while its neon glow permeated the light haze of cigarette smoke. The other side sported a shuffleboard table and a pool table, along with several stray chairs turned this way and that. The bar ran the length of the back, with doors on each end, one marked
and the other indicating restrooms beyond. She sauntered toward the bar, the butterflies in her stomach the only betrayal of her nervousness.
Two men played pool, swaying and obviously drunk, and eyed her curiously as she slid onto a bar stool. They both wore jeans that had seen better days, worn through the knees and streaked with dirt. Their grease-stained T-shirts and ball caps made her wonder if they’d rolled out from underneath a truck before walking in here.
The taller of the two offered her a calculating smile, showing off the yellow stain of his teeth.
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
“What’ll ya have, miss?” The bartender asked, keeping a purposeful eye on the two playing pool.
“Whiskey. Straight up.” She’d gone for confident, but ended up just sounding cheesy. All she needed was to fist bump the bar and she’d be in an old Western.
“Whiskey. Right,” the bartender said with humor in his voice. “You’re not from around here, are you?”
Thank you, Captain Obvious.
“No, I’m just here for the week. I’ve got a place not far from here.”
“I see,” he said, raising his brows in surprise. “So, what brings you to our fine establishment?” He slid a drink to her.
“Fine, huh?” Amanda looked around. “Guess I was lucky to find a seat,” she joked.
He flashed her a gorgeous smile. Stretching his arms out, he indicated to the rest of the room. “You just missed the rush. Ten minutes ago we were packed to the gills.”
The mischievous gleam in his eye told her he was lying. He was working for what would probably be the only tip he saw all night. Amanda laughed, swirling the amber liquid around in her glass before taking a sip.
“Name’s Jacob, but most folks just call me Jake.”
“Nice to meet you, Jake.”
He considered her a moment. “You got a name?”
She laughed again, blushing. She really needed to work on her flirting skills. “Amanda. My name is Amanda.”
“Nice to meet you, Amanda.” His gaze darted to the two men slowly approaching the bar.
“Yeah, Amanda,” the taller of the two said, “it’s very nice to meet ya.” He took the bar stool to her left while his buddy chuckled and stumbled to the seat on her right. They stunk of alcohol and cigarettes, the combination making her eyes water.
Oh, this was a very bad idea.
“No trouble in here tonight, boys,” Jake warned. “Back off.”
“Aw, we don’t want no trouble, Jake. We just wanna talk to the li’l lady here.” The man to her left reached out to touch her hair.
with the touching, big man.” Amanda veered away. There were some things she wouldn’t stand for. Invasion of her personal space was definitely one of them.
“That’s enough, Clete.” Jake crossed his arms over his chest. “Not gonna say it again.”
Amanda slammed back the rest of her whiskey, ignoring the fact that it fried a hole in her stomach as she signaled Jake for another. “Hey, Clete”—she looked him dead in the eye—“how about I buy you and your buddy a beer and you go back to your game of pool?”
Then I can get the hell out of here.
“You’re a mite more in’eresting than playin’ pool, sweet thang.” Clete weaved toward her.
Amanda boldly pushed at the man’s chest. “While that may be so, I’m much more interested in being left alone.”
“She’s got a mouth on her, that’s for sure.” Clete’s buddy leaned in until she could feel his breath on her neck.
Amanda’s blood began to boil. She didn’t need this shit. She was here to blow off some steam, not be harassed by a couple of smart-assed drunks.
“Get. Off.” Amanda shoved her elbow into the man behind her. Having grown up with three brothers, she had no doubt she could defend herself, but she had enough common sense to know when it was time to go. Sliding off her bar stool, she reached into her pocket for cash to pay for her drink. She noticed Jake moving toward her side of the bar.
“Where you goin’, li’l lady?”
She felt a hand slide over her ass. Amanda froze.
Oh, hell no.
Before she could stop herself, she balled up her fist and swung around hard. She made contact with the man’s jaw with a sickening
“Listen up, fuckwit,” Amanda spat as she watched Clete fall from his bar stool and land on the floor with a thud. A mixture of adrenaline and fear caused her voice to quiver. “I told you not to touch me.” She flexed her hand. Yep. That was gonna hurt in the morning.
Jake was there in a heartbeat, placing himself between her and the men. Better late than never, she supposed. His palms were up to each side, his dark eyes darting between them as if he wasn’t sure who he needed to protect from whom.
Clete was still on the floor, his buddy laughing over him. “She sure showed you, Clete,” his friend slurred.
“Shut up, Ernie.” Clete glared at Amanda, retribution burning in his eyes.
She’d thought she would come here to unwind with a drink or two. Maybe find a gorgeous guy to have sex with. Now she was pissed, her hand hurt like the devil, and all she wanted was her couch and an ice pack. And maybe to kick Sam’s ass for talking her into this little fiasco in the first place. And maybe another bottle of whiskey. She briefly wondered if Jake would sell her a bottle for the road.
A voice, low and full of menace, drifted from behind her just seconds before she felt him. Well, not so much felt as sensed. Like a rabbit would sense it was about to become coyote kibble. His heat penetrated her back. Amanda stiffened as she felt his hands move over the skin of her arms, hovering but not actually touching. “What the fuck, Jake?” he growled.