Sway is coming up very soon and it’s the start of a spin off series from my Brown Siblings called Delicious. Delicious will feature Gillian’s friends you meet in NEVER ENOUGH. So I thought a fun refresher was in order. Starting at the beginning with Laid Bare. So how about an excerpt from where it all began? With Erin and Todd first meeting….
It’s been ten years since clean-cut, sexy-as-hell police officer Todd Keenan had a white-hot fling with Erin Brown, the provocative, wild rocker chick next door. Their power exchange in the bedroom got under his skin. But love wasn’t in the cards just yet…
Now, life has thrown the pair back together. But picking up where they left off is tough, in light of a painful event from Erin’s past. As Todd struggles to earn her trust, their relationship takes an unexpected and exciting turn when Todd’s best friend, Ben, ends up in their bed—and all three are quite satisfied in this relationship without a name. As the passion they share transforms Erin, will it be enough to help her face the evil she thought she had left behind?
Brown Siblings: LAID BARE by LAUREN DANE
Copyright 2009, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, The Berkley Publishing Group
Todd took a pull from his beer, one leg bent as he leaned against the window sill, looking out toward the street. There she was, getting out of her beat up van. He had no idea why the hell he did it, but since he’d moved to day shift he found himself at his window every night at six- fourteen to watch her make the walk from car to door.
She was so not the woman who usually caught his eye. Still, his fingers gripped the sill as he greedily took in the way she moved. Like she couldn’t care less if people watched. Or worse, got off on it.
Long and lean, her gait ate up the walk, her dredlocks swinging to her ass. A fine ass it was in those faded jeans. If he looked close enough, he saw the threadbare spots just beneath the pockets. Reflexively, he tightened his hands into fists as tension hummed through him. Anticipation and a sort of need filled his gut as he watched her.
He snorted at what an idiot he was being. Dredlocks. What woman wore dredlocks? Not his sort of woman, that was all there was to it.
Time stopped, along with his heart when she turned at her door and met his gaze with a smile. A smile that told him she’d known he watched. Surprised but rooted to the spot, he raised a hand in greeting. She paused a moment before tipping her chin at him. Briefly he relaxed as she turned back to her door but that slid away when she paused again, dropped her bag on the porch and turned back toward his place.
She was already on his doorstep by the time he’d put his beer down and opened the door to face her.
“Officer Keenan, how are you today?”
Her voice did things to him. Unwilling things. Low and smoky. It went with her eyes, a sort of brownish green, full of promises. Damn it, she was not what he wanted. And still he couldn’t keep his eyes from dropping to take in her nipples straining against the front of her shirt.
“Erin, I’ve told you, it’s Todd.” Yanking his gaze back to her face, he stood in the doorway, fighting himself at the urge to invite her in. She put a hand on her hip and he caught the taut expanse of her belly exposed with the movement. And the glimmer of the ring she had there.
“I know, but I like calling you officer Keenan. It’s sort of sexy. Very in charge and authoritative.” She winked. “Anyway, I wanted to let you know we were having some people over later tonight. It shouldn’t be loud. You should come over if you’re going to be around.”
“Thanks for asking, but it’s really not my thing.” He shoved his hands in his front pockets before he did something stupid like reaching out to trace around the ring in her belly button or to test the texture of the dred hanging nearest to him.
She smelled of something unique, heady, smoldering and sweet all at once. Every time they came in close contact he had that scent in his nose for days.
“If it’s too noisy, come by and pound…on the front door.” She drew out the last bit and his cock jumped in his jeans.
He cleared his throat. He took scum down on the streets every fucking day and this woman had him on the ropes. What was up with that?
“I have a date. I won’t even be here. But thanks. Have a good time.” He stepped back and started to close the door and she actually smirked before moving away down the walk.
“Okay then, Todd. Have a good time.”
Damned if he didn’t watch the captivating sway of her ass as she went back to her own door and inside. And damned if she didn’t stop and wink at him before she disappeared from sight.
Erin Brown had been his neighbor for a year. She and her brother moved in next door and even through he tried hard not to judge on looks alone, he couldn’t help but wonder if they’d be trouble. Adrian, the brother, had hair nearly as long as hers and neck tattoos. He rode a motorcycle and the group of people in and out of the place looked like an episode of America’s Most Wanted.
Happily, they’d proven his initial wariness wrong. They’d been great neighbors. They kept their small front walk and yard up. They weren’t loud. Hell, the brother took the trash cans out for the elderly woman across the street on Friday mornings. Long hair, motorcycle and neck tattoos hadn’t stopped the Browns from being really nice folks.
He knew they played in a band. He’d seen Erin walking in and out of the apartment with a guitar case and her brother often had black equipment cases as well. And a woman couldn’t get away with looking the way she did without being in a band or something equally unconventional.
Still, it worked on her. The dreds, the tattoos and the piercings didn’t make her look hard. They made her look exotic and raw. She was a walk on the wild side and he’d always avoided that sort of thing.
He was a cop. He listened to country music and drove a big truck. She had belly tattoos and played guitar! He went out with nice, quiet women who wore pink dresses and let him open the door. Women who responded gently in bed. Todd bet Erin fucked like the rock star she embodied. He bet she was loud and demanding. Pushy probably.
Not that he thought about what she’d be like in bed. Much. It was the taboo, that had to be it.
Erin went inside, slamming the door in her wake. God, why did that cop have to look so damned good? All masculine and clean cut in his jeans and snug cotton shirt. He was so earnest with his big, white smile and his good manners. Not her usual type at all, but he sure did fill out the aforementioned jeans. Right into her masturbatory fantasies.
The guy watched her every night when she got home from work. Sometimes she thought she saw interest in his eyes. Other times she thought he was just making sure she didn’t steal anything.
Tonight as he stood there in bare feet, his dark brown hair looking soft and sexy, still wet from his shower, she was pretty sure it was the latter.
In fact, he’d looked practically panicked when she impulsively invited him to their party. Stupid. It so was not his scene but she wanted to talk to him. To hear the smooth and yet rough voice, to see that slight afternoon beard shadowing his jaw. There was something about him, just beneath the surface. An edge she was dying to expose and rub herself against like a cat.
“Oh for fuck’s sake! God, Erin, just do the man already. Watching the two of you circle each other pretending not to be interested has ceased to be amusing and now chaps my ass.”
“Evening, Adrian.” Ignoring his comment, Erin sauntered into the living room where her younger brother sat re-stringing her guitar. A bottle of ginger brew sweated at his right hand, as Tool played in the background.
“I tuned it for you while I was at it.” He put her beloved Fender P-Bass back in the case and flipped the latches closed. “And I’m serious. What’s stopping you? If this guy was some dude at any of the clubs we played or the coffee shop you’d have turned the full power of your magic on him and bagged him by now. What’s so different about the cop?”
“I don’t think he’s interested, Aid.” She plopped into a chair across from him.
“He think he’s too good for you?” His deep green eyes narrowed.
Erin laughed at how protective he sounded. “I think I freak him out. I invited him tonight and you’d have thought I asked him to eat kittens in puff pastry.”
Adrian shrugged. “Maybe so, but the dude watches you every night when you get home. And not like a stalker. Believe me I’ve checked. I’d squash him like a bug if that were the case, cop or not. No, he likes to look at you because he’s interested. You want him, you take him. He should be so lucky to have a woman like you.”
“Aww, thank you.” For a man who spent most of his life until adulthood and then some tormenting her, he could really be a sweetie pie sometimes. She stood again. “I’m gonna shower and get ready. Brody is due by with food and drinks in an hour.”
Adrian shook his head sadly and then raised his eyebrow in challenge. “I’ve never thought of you as a quitter.”
He knew her vulnerable spots. She’d never let him call her a punk and a quitter. It was on.