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Authors: Jade Chandler

Enough

BOOK: Enough
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Enough
By Jade Chandler

She wanted nothing to do with me. Well, that’s too f*cking bad.

My MC brothers call me Dare for a reason. I never back down from a challenge. And Lila was the sweetest challenge I ever faced.

From the moment she walked into my tattoo shop, she was going to end up in my bed. Tied up, moaning my name and begging for more.

Her past was a nightmare and I couldn’t guarantee her a future. But I could promise her a good time.

I didn’t know what we would turn into, let alone how hard it’d be to stay away after my selfish ass sent her packing.

Problem is, my girl is hot, so the same men I call brothers tried to claim her.

There’s not enough bourbon in the world to help me forget the love we shared. But to get her back, to prove she’s more to me than a quick lay, I’ll have to tell her the secret I’ve been hiding from everyone.

Before she’s gone forever.

This book is approximately 100,000 words

Dear Reader,

There’s something magical about being the one to publish an author’s first book. It’s a wonderful feeling to experience the joy, the excitement and even the terror along with a debut author. Everything is new and wonderful, even while being new and sometimes scary as we work to release the book into the world. This month, I had the privilege of working with not one, but two debut authors, and I know you will love their books as much as I do, so please check them out!

The winner of Harlequin’s 2015 So You Think You Can Write Contest, chosen from thousands of submitted manuscripts, debuts this month with her fantasy romance,
The Emperor’s Arrow
. Lauren D.M. Smith delivered a kick-ass warrior and the emperor she’s honor bound to defend in this story of romance, adventure and intrigue that will have you wishing you could stay with the characters longer!

Also debuting this month is Jade Chandler. The subtitle of this fab romance might give you a hint of what you’re in store for, so hold on for the ride! His MC brothers call him Dare for a reason. He never backs down from a challenge. And Lila is going to be the sweetest challenge he’s ever conquered. Don’t miss
Enough:
A
Dark
,
Erotic Motorcycle Club Romance
.

Fans of Julie Moffett will be thrilled to know that not only does she have a new release out this month, but it is also available in print at select online retailers. Pick up a copy for your bookshelf today! Everyone’s favorite geek girl is back in
No Strings Attached: A Lexi Carmichael Mystery
, and this time Lexi and her hacker friends are taking on the Chinese in a dangerous game of revenge. Haven’t tried Lexi yet? You can start at the beginning with
No One Lives Twice
.

Readers praised Nico Rosso’s romantic suspense
Countdown to Zero Hour
, and
One Minute to Midnight
delivers the same action-packed thrill ride and swoon-worthy romance. Seasoned black ops soldiers Ben Jackson and Mary Kuri have never worked undercover together, but when their fake identities start flirting, a very real passion flares between them, and it seems like nothing can stop it—except maybe the dangerous gunrunners they’re investigating.

You fell in love with the hero of Julianna Keyes’s
Time Served
, and this month she’s back with a new hero who hits all the right buttons in
The Good Fight
. Former fighter Oz returns to his dying hometown where he falls for a stubborn, sexy doctor. He’s willing to jump back into the fight to gain her love, her trust and her forever.

Don’t forget, we have a full backlist of books across genres to keep your e-reader or reading app full. Make sure to check out our selections in paranormal romance, male/male romance and historical romance at
www.carinapress.com
!

Coming next month: Scott Hildreth makes his Carina Press debut with
a bad-boy mafia romance
, we launch
a new paranormal romance
series full of alpha heroes from Kerry Adrienne, and Anna del Mar is back with
a sexy new romantic suspense
.

As always, until next month, my fellow book lovers, here’s wishing you a wonderful month of books you love, remember and recommend.

Happy reading!

~Angela James
Executive Editor, Carina Press

Dedication

This book is dedicated to my mom, Sandra. She has always fostered my creativity and believed in me when I didn’t. Thank you.

Chapter One: Lila

Life offered new chances all the time, and today was mine. Nothing matched the optimism of the first day. I’ve always loved the potential of these days—new school years, new jobs, new opportunities.

“Today, I
will
kick ass and take names,” I told myself with a confidence I didn’t feel.

Hell, I couldn’t even convince my reflection.

I swiped a coat of gloss on my lips before I grabbed my red hobo bag and headed to my first day of work.

I hurried down the narrow wood stairs and around the corner to the tattoo shop’s side entrance, literally mere feet from my apartment. I hit the four-digit code to my new home away from home.

Astringent and wood scents greeted me as I flipped up a row of switches and lit the workroom. My steps echoed across the worn wooden floor, and I approved of the way the brick-colored walls accented the chrome and black motif of the stations.

“Anyone here?” I raised my voice, and it echoed through the huge room. Apparently not. I wish I knew who would be meeting me, but all Jericho had said was “one of the guys will be there at eleven.”

The hall split in two directions—the left led to the front, my domain, and the right to a closed door marked Staff Only. I itched to dig in to the inventory. Instead, I moved to the front so I wouldn’t miss my mysterious guide who was now...oh, who’d now be just on time. Right, I’d come early, unable to wait anymore.

Besides, the front belonged to me. The green walls, huge old wooden counter and 1950s retro cash register shouted attitude and style. The shelves under the oak counter held the leather-bound appointment book and the ledger Jericho, the guy who’d interviewed me, said I should use to track sales and expenses.

There really wasn’t a freaking computer. Who did business like that?

The Jericho Brotherhood. Unease made me move, I needed to do anything besides think about the barely legal motorcycle club who owned the shop.

I grabbed the window cleaner and polished the print-smudged glass covering the old counter.

I erased the drink rings coating the two end tables before I tackled the door and two huge plate-glass windows. Hands on hips, I surveyed my work—the waiting area gleamed.

I took a quick look at my watch to reaffirm what the huge metal clock on the wall said—eleven fifteen. Now Mr. Mysterious was late, and my nerves started to eat my stomach lining since the cleaning hadn’t helped my anxiety. I stowed away the cleaner before I walked outside to see my handiwork.

The tattoo shop, the Marked Man, stood at the west end of Main Street with boutiques, small businesses, the only bar and two of Barden’s four restaurants. The hot Oklahoma sun beat down, with the temperature above ninety, according to the bank sign cattywampus from the shop. Sweat popped on my brow in seconds, and white light bounced off the windows, almost blinding me.

“Hey,” a deep rumbling voice called from behind me. I steeled myself to not react, no matter how scary or intimidating the biker might be. I mean, the boss guy, Jericho, gave me the willies with his cold, bi-colored eyes.

“Hey, Red,” the man repeated.

I wasn’t a fan of my curly red hair that refused to do anything I wanted. Seriously, it was like a temperamental cat lived on my head. Give me Medusa hair any day over this stuff.

I turned but only saw a white-outlined silhouette in the bright noon sun. Tall, blond and the owner of a seriously sexy voice.

“Dare,” he greeted me, before he opened the door.

I walked into the dimmer light of the reception area.

“Did ya find your way around?”

When I turned toward him, I almost swallowed my tongue.

He stood in front of me dressed in leather chaps, motorcycle boots and a tight red T-shirt almost painted on his wide chest.

His strong chin was bare, even though I thought beards were a biker requirement. Full lips tilted in a sexy, sarcastic smirk. Aviator glasses slid off, and he assessed me with the bluest eyes I’d ever seen.

“Hey, I’m Lila.” I held out my hand, glad it didn’t tremble.

He clasped it in a firm but not crushing handshake.

Tingles shot from my fingers up my arm and raced down my spine. I was in serious trouble. My attraction meter shot past interested into the red zone.

“Glad you’re here to fix the chaos.”

His wide smile lit up his face, adding a hint of adorable to his charm.

No bikers
,
no men
,
period
, I chastised myself.
I
don’t want trouble.
I liked the empty apartment above my lust-filled head. Hadn’t I just run from one loser as soon as I landed this job?

I stepped back into the counter. “Doesn’t look like it’s in too bad of shape.” I bit my lip and suppressed the moan I wanted to let loose thanks to the six feet of sexiness standing in front of me.

He leaned forward, his breath brushing my cheek. “Yeah?” With his hands planted on the glass top of the counter, his scent, a mix of outdoors, leather and citrus, surrounded me.

Delicious.

When he tugged at one of my auburn curls, I froze with my knees resembling Jell-O.

“Love this hair.”

I’d been too harsh on my hair all these years. His lips inches from me were a perfect bow of temptation. I prayed he’d step away, so when he gave me space, the prick of pain in my chest made absolutely no sense. Stupid brain.

“Jericho says you’ve done this before.” He moved down the hall.

Dazed by our encounter, I stood planted in place.

“You coming.” Command clear on his face and in his short tone.

I jerked like I’d been shocked to life before I hurried after him to the workroom.

“Yeah, this is my third tat shop. I was office manager at the last one in Texarkana. I told Jericho to call anyone about my work, but if you need my—”

“Enough, Red.” His lips curled up on one side.

“My name is Lila Braham, did Jericho forget to mention it...?” My words trailed off into this half squeak, half whisper. I think it sounded like the death rattle of one of those squeakers in dog toys.

He arched an eyebrow and stared at me a long time, like an hour, although I know in real time it could have only been seconds. He pointed to the two stations right next to each other. “Weasel and Angel work there. Angel does piercing only. If she ain’t here, most of us can pierce too, except dick or pussy hoods, those are tricky and all Angel.”

I desperately wanted to write this down, but like an addled idiot, I’d left the legal pad I’d found under the counter. I contemplated making a run for it, but he didn’t appear the patient type. My memory would have to do.

“This is Zayn’s space.” He pointed to the opposite side of where Angel and Ferret—no that wasn’t right—Angel and Weasel worked. “He’ll be here most of the time. Rock is up here across from my station. If you have questions and I’m not here, you ask either of them.” He moved over to stand in front of a work space, the one closest to the back door and my apartment.

“I work when I got appointments or when we’re real busy or when I get a wild hair.”

The word
hair
brought my attention back to his hair perfection. Shoulder-length and the color of sunshine, it appeared silky soft, and I wanted to confirm my suspicion.

“You book appointments, and unless it’s marked out up front, you schedule it, and the artist will call the customer back if it don’t work.”

I nodded. “Got it.”

“What do you have, Red?” He drew out the name I hoped he’d quit using.

“I book appointments, mostly toward Rock and Zayn unless someone asks for you or Weasel. Angel for piercings.” I bit my lip.

Dare’s energy changed in a flash and he devoured me in a way I knew too well. My pulse raced and moisture spread at the apex of my legs. Yeah, there was some serious energy between us.

Ignoring my own traitor of a body and his whole sex vibe, with monumental effort I focused on the job. “Do I order inks and supplies?”

He strode past me without a word, so I followed when he opened the door marked Staff Only and gestured for me to go inside. The room was small, with shelves all organized with supplies: art books, inks, needles and piercing supplies. They were well set up, and it was neater than most supply areas I’d seen, at least before I’d enforced my brand of neat-freak on them.

Turning, I bumped into his hard, muscled chest, which caused me to stumble back in surprise into the nearest shelf. The shelving unit shook and I worried paper towels were about to rain down on me. They wobbled but stayed in place. Good paper towels.

He gripped my upper arm. A nuclear-level heat washed through me and flamed persistently in my core. If more moisture accumulated in my panties, I might have to go change them. My nipples joined the act, not that I could see if they’d decided to flaunt their happiness unless I obviously stared down at my chest.

“When we need things,” his voice purred close in my ear, “you just ask me before you get what you need.”

I sucked in a breath but wasn’t about to let him get the best of me with this flirty, dirty innuendo. It was nothing new, except how much it affected me.

I glanced up through lowered lashes. “And you’ll always get me what I need?”

A full smile spread across his face. “Count on it, Red.”

His words sounded like a promise instead of the flirty game.

But I decided to play a bit more. “I will, Dare.” I drew out his name almost the same way he’d done with mine.

His eyes closed for a second too long before he removed his hand from my arm. I squeezed past him out of the closet, waiting for him in the hall unsure if my instruction was done and I could ask my questions.

He moved past me, so I hurried to catch up.

“What else should I do?” A lame question but it had burst out over all my more intelligent questions.

He stopped and turned to me. “I told you. Do the paperwork shit, don’t keep me waiting and make sure shit runs smooth.” He started walking again.

While not the most eloquent answer, I understood the bottom line—don’t bother him with small stuff and keep the rest quick and simple. This job was the same as the one I’d left when I kicked my no-good ex in the balls and stormed out of his tattoo shop. This time, I wouldn’t make the same mistake of falling right into the arms of the first guy I stumbled across.

“I like
oral
reports Red, so don’t hand me any fucking papers. Also, call me, never text, I hate that shit.” He continued moving to the front.

Good thing he didn’t look at me then. My cheeks heated and I’m sure I blushed, not from embarrassment, at least not embarrassment from the comment, but definitely from imagining my mouth on his cock—a pleasurable fantasy.

No
,
Lila.
Stop falling before you’ve even landed on your feet.
New start
,
no old mistakes.

I heard laughter before I walked into the reception area.

Dare slapped the back of a young guy, who couldn’t be twenty-one, in the same leather vest with floppy black hair.

“Zayn meet Lila.” Dare’s attention felt like a physical force to me.

Oh my god, he’d finally used my name, we were making progress. “Hi, I’m the new office manager.” I held out a hand, but the enthusiastic guy pressed me into a hug.

“Thank God, I’m so glad you’re here.” He smiled wide. “They’ve been making me straighten up and shit so you wouldn’t run away in the first hour.” He cocked his head at me. “I must’ve succeeded.”

I laughed. He was too cute, like a puppy you knew would grow up into one of those huge scary dogs. “Yeah, things are in great shape.”

With a nod, he moved to the appointment book. “We’re busy today. Shit, I got two, and you have three appointments at one, six and eight.”

Was I supposed to tell Dare his appointments when he came in? Was I supposed to tell everyone? I needed to start a list of questions because my brain turned to lust-filled goo near Dare.

“Yeah.” He nodded to Zayn. “Come back and see the art I created for Mark. He’s my first customer.” Dare strolled down the hall beside Zayn without a glance my way.

I straightened and pulled my shit together. I never picked good men, I think the part that picks out the right man was broken in me. How could it not be after all the years with my horror-show father? Tony, my ex, had taught me the dangers of dating the boss. He was the owner, and with our breakup, I’d ended the job I loved. Worse, I’d had to pretend for weeks he wasn’t a cheating bastard, until I could line up a new job. Funny how he could control me, put me down, make fun of me, but cheating pushed me over the edge. I guess I should be glad he did, but it still stung that he went somewhere else for the one thing no one ever complained about.

My body purred in a familiar way—the hum of attraction lit me up. Goddammit, my sense always flew out the window when my body voted for sex. Whatever inside my head controlled my sex drive had declared it was in charge, but not this time. I’d sworn to take charge of my own life without the aid of a man.

The front door jingled and a guy strode inside “Hey.” He flashed a boy-next-door smile. “I’m Mark, here for—”

“You’re scheduled for Dare. Nice to meet you. I’m Lila.”

He gave me the nod.

“He’s here, head on back.”

Less than thirty minutes after Mark disappeared down the hall, I resumed obsessing about Dare and the day, which led to thinking about his club, the Jericho Brotherhood.

When Jericho interviewed me, he’d made it clear Dare would be my boss. But he hadn’t made clear who he was. Was he Dare’s boss?

I’d been ecstatic when Jericho offered me the job during the middle of the interview. So ready to leave Tony, I’d gushed out my acceptance.

Then things turned strange. Part of managing a shop was doing the bookwork, paying invoices, depositing the day’s earnings and making sure the accountant had all the information needed, plus a hundred other small jobs. When Jericho explained my office work duties, a chill had run down my back; they were nothing like what I did at Ink Masters in Texarkana. I remember wondering why he even called the job an office manager. The duties were simple but made me slightly skeptical of the club’s legality. I paid myself in cash or check, taxes optional. I opted for the legal tax version of payroll. I did the bookwork, entering expenses, revenue and profit, but I did it in an old ledger, all by hand. Nobody did business that way in the twenty-first century.

BOOK: Enough
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