Pride & Prohibition!New York socialite Evie McKenzie is happy. At least, she tells herself that she must be since she has a ring on her finger from the man of her dreams and the city’s hottest speakeasy named in her honour. But a secret job as a gossip columnist brings the elusive and sinfully seductive Jack Taylor back into her orbit, and resisting him is twice as hard second time around.For speakeasy manager Tug Hadley, the roar of the twenties is practically deafening – her eyes and ears are full of opportunity, and she’s ready to grab life with both hands. If only the man she loves weren’t engaged to her best friend…Beneath the bootlegged booze and beaded flapper dresses, Evie and Tug must decide how much they’re willing to risk to get what they want in this most decadent era of high-stakes hedonism.Don't miss this fantastic romantic sequel to Prohibited!
Evie made her way to Jack’s office, rehearsing her words in her mind. She would ask him in a strong voice, letting him know that it was simply a favor, and only that she needed an escort, nothing more. She wouldn’t sigh or melt in his presence, she would remind him that she was engaged to be married. She told herself all these things as she walked.
And forgot them promptly when she arrived at Jack’s open office door. He stood in the far corner, looking for something in his bookshelf, his dark hair and strong back to her. The cut of his suit revealed the taper of his waist, the broad expanse of his shoulders. He leaned over slightly to look on a lower shelf, and Evie was struck again by the way he moved – like a dangerous animal.
She watched him search as long as she dared, and then cleared her throat.
Jack spun around, surprised, and an expression of wonder crossed his face before it was quickly replaced with his usual cool facade. ‘Miss McKenzie,’ he said, his voice a silvery rumble. ‘What a nice surprise.’
Evie felt self-conscious in front of Jack, as she always had. At least back in the days when he’d been a club proprietor and she’d been a debutante sneaking out of her parents’ house, she’d had the buzz of alcohol to cover her discomfort. Here, in the light of day in an office at the University, she had no such help. ‘I hope you’ll forgive the intrusion,’ she said.
Jack crossed the small room, and gestured to a chair in front of the large dark wooden desk.
‘No intrusion,’ he said, still not smiling. There was amusement dancing in his eyes, though. He knew how unsettling his presence was to Evie.
She sat as indicated, and then stared at her hands for a long moment. Finally, she remembered her promises to herself. Strong, decisive. Just asking for a favor. ‘I ...’ She felt incapable of speech.
‘Are you concerned about your grade, Miss McKenzie?’
She looked up at him. ‘Please, Jack. Call me Evie.’
The line of his lips softened, and something in his eyes warmed. He nodded slightly.
‘That’s not it. I came because I’d hoped you might be willing ... that you might, ah ...’
‘I’m willing,’ he said quickly, taking the chair beside her.
She laughed. ‘But you don’t know what I’m about to ask!’
‘You’re nervous,’ he said, smiling. ‘So I have a few ideas what you might be about to ask.’
‘Well, it’s a favor, really. It’s just ... It’s something Roger can’t do for me.’
‘I believe there might be a good number of things that Roger can’t do for you.’ Jack raised an eyebrow.
Evie felt the color crawl up her cheeks. She cleared her throat as Jack leaned forward slightly. ‘Well, you see, there’s a ball. And I need an escort. It’s for work.’ She added the last part quickly and then regretted it.
‘Work? I didn’t realize you had a job, Evie. Tell me, what is it that you do?’
Every word from his lips sounded as if it dripped with suggestion, though the words themselves were not incendiary in any way. Evie felt as if she’d need a bath once she finally left his presence; the reactions he caused within her were humiliating and seemingly uncontrollable. She crossed her legs tightly.
‘Yes, well.’ She pulled at the collar of her blouse, though it was nowhere near her neck. ‘I’m a reporter, actually. And this is a political affair, so I’ll need to go and speak with some people ...’ She felt as if she were rambling, but Jack seemed to hang on each word. ‘Will you take me, Jack?’
Jack smiled wide. ‘I would like nothing more.’ He said it simply, and there seemed to be no subterfuge in his words or his manner. Evie suspected it was the first honest sentiment he’d ever offered her. ‘Tell me when to come for you.’
Evie dug the invitation from her bag and held it out to Jack. He took it from her grasp, letting his long fingers overlap hers for a brief moment. The touch sent chills through Evie and an embarrassing wetness developed between her legs. She pulled her thighs together more tightly.
‘This weekend?’ Jack mused. ‘Not much notice. I think that will be fine, though. Shall I pick you up at your parents’ house?’
Oh God, her parents! Evie hadn’t thought of what a stir having Jack arrive at her house might cause. ‘No,’ she said, her mind spinning. ‘I’ll meet you at Maison. In front.’
‘That doesn’t seem proper.’
‘I’m engaged. There’s a lot about this that isn’t proper.’
Jack smiled again, and this time the devilish look returned to his eye. ‘True,’ he said. ‘I’ll wait for you there on Friday, then.’
‘Thank you, Jack.’ She said the words quietly, and Jack leaned in, as if he was absorbing them from the very air between them.
He stood and stepped before her, holding out a hand in offering. She took his hand and rose to face him, aware of the searing heat of his touch on her hand, his solid form just inches from her.
His grip on her hand tightened slightly and he moved forward, just enough that their bodies were practically touching.
Evie knew she should step away. She should turn and leave Jack’s office, go back to her life. She was an engaged woman. But when Jack inclined his head slightly and his hot breath danced along her neck, she felt her reserve failing. When Jack’s tongue darted out and rimmed the edge of Evie’s ear, her knees threatened to give. And when his strong hand found its way around the small of her back, drawing her against the full length of his body, she knew there was no going back.
‘I ...’ She tried to fight it, but there was no fight in her.
‘I know.’ Jack’s voice was soothing, and the hardness of his body against her was overwhelming. Evie couldn’t help herself. Her arms went around him, her hands finding the tense, firm muscles of his back as her head tilted back in surrender.
Delancey Stewart has lived on both coasts, in big cities and small towns. She's been a pharmaceutical rep, a personal trainer and a direct sales representative for a French wine importer. But she has always been a writer first.
A military spouse and the mother of two small boys, her current job titles include pirate captain, monster hunter, Lego assembler and story reader. She tackles all these efforts at her current home outside Washington D.C.
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