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Down and Dirty

By:Christine Bell

Christine Bell

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2013 by Christine Bell. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Entangled Publishing, LLC

2614 South Timberline Road

Suite 109

Fort Collins, CO 80525

Visit our website at www.entangledpublishing.com.

Brazen is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC. For more information on our titles, visit www.brazenbooks.com.

Edited by Kerri-Leigh Grady and Heather Howland

Cover design by Heather Howland

ISBN 978-1-62266-795-6

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition February 2013

The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction: Caesar’s, G.I. Joe, Prada, Johnny Rockets, From Justin to Kelly, Oscar, Monty Python, Formica, Buick, Whac-A-Mole, Star Trek, Tupperware, Stradivarius, Patriots, Giants, Winterfest, Jaws, Seven, Q-tips, Cinemax, ABBA, “Fernando,” Mamma Mia, Broadway, iPad, Friends, Photoshop, Nancy Grace, Crock-Pot, BBC, Michael Kors, Barneys, Willy Wonka, Seinfeld, Victoria’s Secret, Velcro.

This one is for Heather Howland and Tahra Seplowin for coming up with the “Dare Me” concept, and trusting me to do it justice. *Mwah!* You guys rock!

Chapter One

Cat Thomas eyed the couple playing tonsil hockey across the black lacquer table and snorted with mock disgust. “Gross. Get a room, would you?”

They broke apart, cheeks flushed, and Cat swallowed a grin. She still wasn’t totally used to her best friend and her brother pawing each other, but for all her bitching, she was frigging stoked. They were a great couple—which, to Cat’s mind, was as about as common as a two-headed snake—and later this year, she’d be walking down the aisle as Lacey’s maid of honor. Again.

“Sorry. Your brother is a perv,” Lacey confided with a smile. She slipped off Galen’s lap and back onto her own barstool, which was emblazoned with the face of quarterback Peyton Manning. If her friend had to sit on a Manning’s face, Peyton was obviously the better option, but the decor of this particular sports bar seemed poorly thought out. Not that it had stopped Cat from spending ten minutes searching for a Tom Brady seat before finally agreeing to sit on Mark Sanchez. He couldn’t throw for shit, but he sure was pretty.

“Yeah, I’m the perv,” Galen said to his fiancée with a satisfied smirk. “You’re the one who had me tie you to th—”

Lacey slapped a hand over his mouth and squealed. “Oh my God, shut up! You’re totally going to embarrass your sister.”

“Not likely,” Cat said. “I won’t be thinking too hard about it or anything, because ew. But I’m really glad to see he’s loosened you up a little.” She eyed her laughing friend and shook her head in amazement. Less than a year before, Lacey had found her groom, Marty, in the linen closet of their reception hall, balls-deep in one of her bridesmaids, a lifelong friend of both Cat’s and Lacey’s. That still made Cat stabby when she thought about it, but she managed to keep her wrath under wraps. Not because of her forgiving nature, but mainly because Lacey was blissfully happy now and settled with her childhood crush, who also happened to be Cat’s brother, Galen.

Who woulda thunk it? Not Cat. In fact, the incident between Marty and Lacey had only confirmed what she’d always known: most relationships were far more trouble than they were worth. If Lacey hadn’t caught Marty in the act, she’d probably still be with the loser, having the life sucked out of her.

That would never be Cat.

She took a long pull from the lukewarm beer she’d been nursing and glanced around the semi-crowded bar.

Holy hotness.

A man…no, a giant had just stepped into her peripheral vision and derailed all coherent thought. She twisted in her Mark Sanchez chair to get a better look. The guy’s head was turned, so she could only see his face in profile, but damn, that and the full-frontal body shot were more than enough. She sized him up with a practiced eye, calling him an easy six-three, two-twenty. He wore a threadbare white T-shirt that should’ve been as noteworthy as a bowl of oatmeal. Instead, it clung to his chest like it had aspirations of taking over for his skin. Hell, she’d have the same life goal. His chest was a dream, the contours clearly defined by the soft cotton. She could totes cling to him for a night.