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Drunk on Men - Excerpts
Volume 1 ~ Volume 2 ~ Volume 3 ~ Volume 4 ~ Volume 5 ~ Volume 6 ~ Volume 7 ~ Volume 8
Drunk on Men by Afton Locke ©2017
Drunk on Men ~ Volume 1 ~ Excerpt
Hannah looked down at herself. It was even worse than she imagined. Sand caked her wet feet and legs. She’d never be able to put her stockings and shoes back on without ruining them. And her frock… Lord help her, it clung to her in a very provocative way. Or at least it would if she weren’t so thin. So why did his gaze heat her skin to the point of frying?
“Where are you staying?” he prompted.
She glanced across the boardwalk at her hotel. To her dismay, it appeared grander than ever against the pearly sky with its dark cedar siding set off by white trim. Grooved columns with curly things on top ringed the large porch, making it resemble a mansion.
“Wilmott Hotel,” she replied.
His head reared back as he laughed. “Wilmott Hotel? You’ll make quite an entrance soaking wet. Whatever possessed you to do such a thing? Young ladies who stay at the Wilmott don’t usually—”
“I don’t know what came over me. I’ve just never seen the ocean before.”
His lips curved into a semi-smile. “Never?”
“My aunt is sure to be looking for me, sir.” She glanced at the hotel again. “I’m going to try to return to my room, without getting thrown out.”
He adjusted his hat. “You need a blanket to cover you. Ah, there’s one.”
“No,” she called out after him as he headed toward it. “It belongs to someone. Probably those women bathing over there.”
“A few years ago, you could have been arrested for exposing bare legs.” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Not that I agree with such a useless law, but—”
“Arrested?” Hannah exclaimed. “I had no idea.” That would be worse than death.
Even Esther had never been arrested.
She nibbled her fingernails as he approached the ladies. Her ocean adventure got more embarrassing by the minute. After an exchange of conversation she couldn’t hear, he picked up the blanket, carried it to her, and wrapped it around her body. Her skin warmed even more. How could she let a white man put his hands all over her, especially where everyone could see?
“What are you doing?”
“Those kind ladies agreed to let us borrow their blanket for a few minutes,” he replied. “Long enough for me to get you upstairs to your room.”
“You?” Hannah sputtered as sea water dripped off her hair onto her face. “You can’t go to my room.”
“Don’t worry,” he said as he tightened the blanket and lifted her in his arms. “I don’t plan to do anything inappropriate. My hotel is serving the midday meal in five minutes, and I don’t want to be late.”
Hannah opened her mouth, but too many words churned inside her head to choose from. “You can’t—”
But he was. Although not muscular, he carried her as if she weighed less than a small chicken. He cradled one arm around her back and the other behind her knees. The warm contact through the blanket pressed her wet clothes against her skin. The combination of heat and cold made her dizzy.
Drowning had to be easier than this.
Even Morris had never touched her so…familiarly. Her reputation as a decent Christian girl was as smudged as her dirty, wet frock. Morris’ memory didn’t fare much better.
“Put me down!” she yelled. “I don’t want you and the rest of the world staring up my dress.”
“I’m sure there’s nothing there the world hasn’t already seen, generally speaking.”
Forgive me, Morris. I don’t dare slap a white man, so I’ll turn the other cheek.
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Drunk on Men ~ Volume 2 ~ Excerpt
“You’re a bootlegger,” she stated.
He sighed and made a rude gesture with his hand and chin. “What did you think, Belle? The booze simply drops out of the sky into my bar? I am performing a necessary service for the town of Ocean Promenade.”
Excitement rippled down Belle’s arms and legs. Tonight’s joyride was the most thrilling thing she’d ever done.
“How much booze does this town drink, anyway? The Sands is the only place I see that’s even wet. I have a hard time believing you could buy a car like this on that speck of business.”
“I see you are shrewd businesswoman.” He leaned between the front seats and shot her an admiring glance. “I am much impressed. Since you ask, the product also gets shipped to Washington, Philadelphia, and New York City.”
“So, what happens next?” she asked. “Where’s the booze?”
He slid his jacket sleeve upward with two fingers and glanced at his watch. “It’s coming. Please join me in the front seat where I can see you.”
“Not with the gun lying there. A girl could get her cha chas blown off with a thing like that. Besides, how do I know you’re not planning to bump me off for knowing too much?”
“You are too beautiful to kill,” he crooned as he moved the monstrous weapon to rest against his door. “However, you have become heavily involved. I wanted to protect you from this.”
“It’s okay,” she said, shrugging as she scrambled to the front passenger seat. “I’m a big girl. I’ll survive.”
He reached over and grabbed her chin, forcing her to face him. Adrenaline flooded her body. Without thinking, she smacked him across the face.
He reared back in his seat. “What was that for?”
“Don’t manhandle me,” she said coldly. “I don’t care for it.”
She hadn’t pegged him as abusive, but she wasn’t about to take any chances. Especially in this abandoned place. She’d do a lot for money, but she refused to tolerate violence.
Please tell me you’re not one of them, Raoul. I don’t want to have to give you up.
“Bella, please. You shocked me, and I think you broke my jaw.” He stuck out his bottom lip like a little boy and dazzled her with another smile.
She couldn’t help laughing. “Oh, you’re all wet. I did not.”
“I’m only trying to make you understand something.” He leaned closer but without touching her this time. “You will see things and people who don’t want to be recognized. If you do not keep your pretty kisser shut, you could endanger your life and mine.”
Belle took a shaky breath. “Understood.”
“And it means you are my lady. You cannot walk away from me. Not after tonight.”
As if she wanted to. They sat in silence for a moment. He caressed her hand and then the thigh it lay on through the thin hem of her dress, making her breath draw in with a hiss.
“I want to show you my hotel room soon,” he said, lazily stroking. “I have a circular tub with flowing water. It is like the ocean, yes?”
“Sounds divine,” she whispered.
“We don’t have much time, and I need you to show me your loyalty.”
Belle watched, fascinated, as he reclined his seat until it lay almost horizontal.
His voice dropped very low. Very soft. “Come here, Bella.”
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Drunk on Men ~ Volume 3 ~ Excerpt
Drake scratched his head. “All right, it is the money. Because now that you have it, you don’t need me anymore. You’re ready to kick me out like yesterday’s garbage.”
Edie held him, letting his anger melt over her like butter. “Oh, Drake. I would never do that. I love you.” She paused a moment. “Does this bring back memories of being an orphan?”
He wrenched himself out of her arms. “That has nothing to do with it. Please don’t ever mention it again.”
“I need to do this,” she said, stroking his face. “How can I make you understand?”
She wasn’t sure she understood it herself. When Hannah had first shown them the hotel, she agreed with Belle. It was a mess and she wanted nothing to do with it. Then she lost Raoul and saw its potential. When she inherited her money, she saw promise, too. The entrepreneurial bug was infectious. First, Hannah had been bitten, then Belle, and finally her. And once bitten, there was no going back.
The girls had done so much for her, getting her away from Lawrence and being there for her when she lost her parents and everything she had. At last, she had a chance to pay them back. Drake was understandably upset, but he would eventually see the hotel wouldn’t affect their relationship. It would just take time and gentle persuasion.
“You’re not doing it, Edie, and that’s final,” he stated.
“You can’t tell me what to do. I’m sorry it upsets you, but I am doing it.” Despite her fists, fear poured off her in waves as she said it.
He gripped her shoulder and pulled her toward him. “Now, you listen to me. You’re mine. You’ll do what I say.”
Edie’s shoulder ached where his fingers bit into it. She squeezed her eyes shut, breathing the smell of salty air, damp, wood, and anger. Evidently, he’d forgotten how much he’d promised to change.
Why does he have to be this way? So unpredictable. So volatile.
“I—” She opened her mouth to protest, but he stepped toward her again. She braced herself for whatever he planned to do. The last thing she expected was for him to gently glide his arms around her.
“I’m not going to let my anger control me,” he bit out. “I love you. We’re going to settle this a better way.”
“How?” she asked.
“Like this,” he whispered as his lips brushed hers with the gentleness of a feather. Then more insistently as the anger simmering in both of them erupted into passion. His fresh, citrus scent enveloped her. Drugged her.
When he brought her up hard against him, she shamelessly pressed herself to his body. His mouth devoured hers, melting away every trace of hard words they’d spoken. They wouldn’t resolve anything this way, but she stopped caring.
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Drunk on Men ~ Volume 4 ~ Excerpt
She had no idea what being his muse would require today. Would he take her for a drive and stare at her legs again? Or would he strip her naked and put her on a table? The thought of it sent heat coursing under the wet folds of her bathing suit. Would he kiss her again? The memory of their last one sent dozens of tiny shivers coursing over her skin.
No, he disliked kissing. Too pedestrian, he called it.
When they reached his room, he closed the door behind him with his foot. He had one of the single rooms with one bed, a dresser, table, and chair. His notebook and pencil sat neatly on the table, forgotten for the moment. A warm whisper of wind reached out to them from the window above the bed. It fluttered the ivory-colored eyelet valance.
Like the other rooms, this one was decorated to be homey and nautical. Each dresser had seashells on it, and a seascape painting hung above each bed. Edie thought using pieces of driftwood for door stoppers was going too far, but Hannah had prevailed. Maybe they should go to Tut’s Common and discuss decorations he could use in his book. Talking would be much safer.
“Where do you want me to stand?” she asked when he put her down. Surely she was too wet and sandy to sit anywhere.
But he didn’t answer her. Suddenly, he was kissing her again. More deeply than ever before, as if he was a man dying of thirst and she was a well. He gripped the sides of her face, tangling his fingers in her wet locks. Holding her immobile while he bent down and ravaged her with his mouth.
“Clive!” she cried. “My God, Clive. I’ve wanted this—you—for so long.”
He pressed his arms around her back, squeezing her against him, into him, erasing their boundaries as separate people. The force of their embrace knocked them to their knees on the hard wooden floor. Inhaling his fresh, soapy scent, she drank from him just as deeply, never realized how long she’d starved for him.
“Clive, wait,” she said, panting after she managed to pull away. “Why are you doing this? I thought you didn’t want me.”
But he merely said, “Need you, Hannah,” before he rose, scooped her into his arms, and carried her to his bed.
Instead of placing her gently, he yanked back the covers and dumped her onto it. He appeared too possessed by passion to bother with delicacy. The gesture reminded her, more than ever, of the day they’d met.
He fumbled with his clothes, treating them like parasites he had to rip off his body as soon as possible. She barely had time to study the small pleats in the high waist of his trousers. Then he tugged on her wet bathing suit until it peeled off her like the skin of a ripe grape. The cold fabric left a trail of goose bumps on her flesh. She shivered when he lay on the bed bedside her and ran his hand down her torso like he had that evening in his cottage.
He seemed to have more than posing in mind today, though. At least she couldn’t complain that he confused her anymore. His bare erection told her exactly what he planned to do.
“Oh God, Hannah. So beautiful.”
“So are you,” she blurted out, admiring his tall and lithe nude body. His walnut curls were so tousled from pulling his brown-and-white striped shirt off, and she couldn’t resist stroking them. Or the dusting of matching hair on his chest. His serious brown-eyed gaze, usually darting everywhere except at her, scorched her flesh with intensity.
“What are you going to do?” she whispered when he leaned over her. But she knew.
“Something I should have done a long time ago.” He wiped his damp brow. “Surely you must have known?”
“Known?” She frowned. “Known what?”
“How much I’ve always wanted you.”
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Drunk on Men ~ Volume 5 ~ Excerpt
Drunk on Men ~ Volume 6 ~ Excerpt
Drunk on Men ~ Volume 7 ~ Excerpt
Drunk on Men ~ Volume 8 ~ Excerpt