Worst honeymoon ever. Not that Bradley Hudson had experienced much in way of comparison. But he knew it was missing some key ingredients. First clue? He was not sitting on a sunny Caribbean beach, sucking on a rum punch. Second clue? No sex. And the third, most telling piece of evidence?
He took a sip of something brown and tasteless that was as weak as it was pricey. Oh, well. Not as if he’d come here to get blitzed. Brad could drink for free when he hit the casinos. At a strip club, the draw was the eye candy. What he could see of it past all the fake greenery.
The strip clubs here weren’t just your basic stage and a pole like the ones he’d raided as a beat cop back home in Baltimore. No, in Atlantic City everything had to have a theme. Here at Club Eden, each of the stools at the edge of the stage was shaped like the ass end of a different animal, complete with tails hanging from the back. A spiky green plant poked at the top of Brad’s head. More surrounded him, giving his fake grass-covered banquette in the corner the feeling of a private cabana. A very green, very tacky cabana.
So his view was limited to straight ahead. Only about a third of the stage. Since Brad only gave a third of a rat’s ass about seeing the gravity-defying racks on the dancers, it didn’t matter. After all, he hadn’t even wanted to come. But his dad—of all people—made him promise to engage in the age-old custom of staring at fake boobs at least once, just to stick it to the memory of his ex-fiancée. And everyone at his Maryland State Police barracks had pitched in to give him a wad of singles to stuff…somewhere.
What he did enjoy was the view of the waitress who was to-and-fro-ing it in front of him. She wore a green bikini top with a few strategically placed twining vines. A grass skirt was too long by the width of a single blade of grass for him to arrest her for indecent exposure. Her butt twitched the grass with every step in a hypnotic swish that pulled him far more than the gyrations on stage. As did the cascade of deep red curls that skimmed the top of it.
Not that it mattered. Not that Brad intended to do anything more than just look. ’Cause if you dug a hole straight through to the opposite side of the earth, you still wouldn’t get low enough to rank women on his priority list. Right now, for him, they just made good scenery. Like the backdrops he’d painted the summer he pitched in with the school musical to catch the eye of Kerri…no, Cammie? Some hot blonde a year ahead of him who’d kissed him across an enormous canvas covered with wheat fields and haystacks. The night the backdrop got stuck up in the fly system, the show still rolled on. The music and story came out just as well without the backdrop. And for now Brad’s life rolled on, better than ever without the complication, heartache and headache of a woman in it.
The music switched from Eurotrash pop to a technobeat that buzzed in his molars. Brad shifted to pull his phone out of his pocket. He wanted to take a picture of his cheesy fake grass-covered seat and shoot it to Coop. Chances were his cousin wouldn’t believe the description without photographic evidence. Distrust for what he couldn’t see was part of what made Coop such a good detective. Not quite as good as Brad, of course, but close.
As soon as the flash went off, little Miss Grass Skirt barreled over, long hair almost covering her face. “No photos in here, hon. You’re lucky the bouncer didn’t see you, or you’d be losing an arm along with your phone.” She held out a hand.
“Sorry. I didn’t think.” Brad passed over the phone. “Look for yourself—there aren’t any people in this photo.”
She took it. Snorted. “Talk about pointless. Did your butt form a deep, sentimental attachment with the fake grass beneath it? Wanna remember it forever?”
Wow. Bet she didn’t get many tips with that kind of an attitude in this place. But it did tease a grin out of him. “I don’t have to explain my spank bank to you.”
“Funny. Or really sick and twisted, if you’re not kidding.” She flipped the hair out of her eyes. Gasped. “Brad?”
He looked at her. Really looked, past the glitter caked on top of green eye shadow. Past the fake lashes and scarlet lips to the face beneath the painted-on mask. The delicate, almost elfin features. Eyes the same green as the beer bottles on her tray. And realized he’d ogled this particular face and figure before. Four months ago, to be exact. On the beach. Where she and her best friend Darcy stumbled across a counterfeit green-card scam. Since Brad’s cousin Coop was falling ass over heels for Darcy at the time, he and Brad got dragged into their investigation. They got the bad guy, and Coop got the girl.
A dimple formed at the corner of her smile. “You remember. Even my last name. I’m impressed. Here I thought you detective types had to consult your pocket notebooks to remember anything.”
“Two minutes, and two insults. You haven’t changed a bit, Trina.” Knowing it was her now, and not just some random set of great legs, Brad gave her a slow head-to-toe. The view from the front was just as good as the one from the back. Tan, freckled legs were bare all the way down to feet jammed into clear, well, he had to call them hooker shoes. No other way to describe the Lucite stilts she wobbled on, with toenails peeping out the same glittery green as her eye shadow.“Why fix what’s not broken?” she sassed back.
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Rebound flings are supposed to have soft landings, but one sexy cop is about to fall hard...
Atlantic City is the perfect place for detective Bradley Hudson to nurse his broken heart. A week of beer and strippers is sure to erase his former fiancée from his memory for good. What he didn't count on was running into a sassy redhead from his past. Maybe a rebound romp is an even better plan…
Trina Trimble, private eye in training, is thrilled to be reunited with the hottie she almost hooked up with last summer. She's undercover on her first solo case, but there's always time to lock lips with a sexy cop. Besides, a fun fling with Brad doesn't have to last beyond his week in town.
Brad and Trina are supposed to be just flirting, not forging a new forever. Brad's still healing, and although Trina changes careers the way other women change shoes, she has finally found her calling in her new life of disguises and stakeouts. But when an irresistible job offer threatens to lure her away, Brad will need to decide to let her go or bet it all on love and risk his heart again.