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Teasing Her Seal (Uniformly Hot!)

By:Anne Marsh


“HUNGRY?” THE DANCER gyrating in front of Lieutenant Commander Gray Jackson’s table wasn’t pushing burgers or chicken wings. She ran a hand down her body, highlighting various edible spots. Her costume—or lack thereof, because she rocked a barely there thong and a pair of four-inch Lucite heels—offered plenty to look at. It was a sad commentary on the state of Gray’s sex life, however, that the skin show left him unmoved, without so much as a twitch from the boys.

“Darling, I’m always ready to eat.” He ponied up the teasing words automatically, because his cover as a bad-boy biker required acting like a jerk. When he didn’t follow up with a cash offer, the blonde pouted and moved on to the next table. Too bad, so sad.

The Born To Ride was a seedy dive bar popular with motorcycle gangs. On a mission to infiltrate the outlaw biker gang M-Breed and shut down their arms pipeline, Gray’s squad had been deep undercover as potential recruits for the past six months. It was a scene Gray recognized all too well from his wilder, younger years. Dancers shimmied up and down poles on a raised platform to the banging pulse of the music, while the patrons knocked back beers and shots, broken up by the occasional bar fight or game of pool. This was not the kind of place a man took a date. The men here were interested in three things: drinking, drugs and dealing. Sex, when it happened, was quick, rough and accomplished in the alley or the bathroom stall. They were also, by and large, ex-military and patch-wearing members of M-Breed.

Gray fit right in, and only partly because he’d grown up tough and fighting. He’d ridden from an early age, joining a local biker gang with his cousins and chewing up the highway whenever he could fill a tank. He’d done more than his fair share of juvenile law-breaking and, if he hadn’t enlisted in the US Navy when one of his cousins had, he’d have most likely ended up here, anyhow. Instead, he was a SEAL and active-duty military. If tonight’s mission went well, they’d finally have M-Breed’s lieutenants selling arms on tape. Lights out, show over, go directly to federal prison and serve ten to twenty. Both of the guys at Gray’s table tonight were members of his team. Levi Brandon and Mason Black had his back and his six. Outside and down the street, Sam Nale and Remy Leveaux worked the tech detail, monitoring the wires Gray, Levi and Mason wore.

A fistfight broke out in a far corner of the bar, but the ruckus barely merited a second glance. If trouble headed in Gray’s direction, the Glock tucked in his waistband had him covered. And, when he ran out of bullets, he had a pair of knives down his motorcycle boots and a length of chain in his jacket pocket. Add to that his two hands, and he didn’t need more to kick ass in a fight. God, he hoped there was a fight tonight. He had energy to burn and then some. Fight for Uncle Sam, bust some heads in the names of freedom and democracy. He loved his job.

“Aww, I think you broke her heart,” Levi drawled, eyeing the dancer’s butt as she worked a new table.

“That’s the way it goes.”

Levi flipped Gray the bird, but the man was grinning, so his tender feelings were just fine. Unlike Gray. He had no idea when his sex drive had hung a left and disappeared, but casual sex left him cold now. The empty beer bottles lined up in front of him were as much window-dressing as the interest he’d briefly feigned in the female shimmying and shaking her way over to him. Which was kind of a shame. Two years ago he’d have enjoyed the attention, but now he was dead inside.

Mason tapped the table. “Company manners, boys. Our date just walked in the front door. He’s not a pretty bitch, but then, neither are we.”

Gray checked out the door and, sure enough, it was showtime. Spokes, M-Breed’s second lieutenant, sauntered toward the bar, towing a petite blonde in his wake. The blonde was his old lady and Friday-night bar accessory, although how a crusty fifty-year-old man like Spokes had scored this fetching twentysomething was debatable. Cash or drugs—Gray would have laid money on one or both as the culprits. Spokes had gotten his name after stabbing a guy with a handful of motorcycle spokes in a chop shop. He’d done five years on a manslaughter rap before rejoining the gang. He was a mean bastard who preferred fists to words, as the rainbow of bruises on his old lady’s arms attested.

Emily. Her name was Emily. Gray would damn well use her name, rather than the label that marked her as belonging to Spokes.

Spokes might not be parting with Emily, but he had agreed to sell Gray a trunkload of high-caliber automatic weaponry for bargain-basement pricing. AK-47s weren’t the kind of firearms that should be available on the street, although Spokes clearly didn’t give a crap about where his guns ended up.

“You want me to see if I can detach Spokes’s arm candy?”

The fourth member of Gray’s undercover team, Ashley Dixon, wasn’t actually a SEAL—since the SEALs had yet to induct a female member. She’d been borrowed from the DEA to provide mission-critical cover, pretending to be Levi’s girlfriend. She perched on the man’s knee as if he were a chair, a skintight minidress skimming the tops of her thighs.

Gray’s phone vibrated before he could answer Ashley, and he automatically pulled it out, checking the screen. Around him, Levi and Mason did the same. Yeah. From the disbelieving looks on their faces, he knew their phones were also flashing the code word to pull out. What. The. Hell?

“You seeing what I’m seeing?” Maybe the alcohol fumes had finally done a number on his brain.

Levi nodded, looking pissed off. “We need to roll.”

Fine. He’d fall back, but first he had a detour to make. “Detach Spokes’s girlfriend. Get her out on the dance floor.”

Ashley slid off Levi’s lap. “I’ve got this.”

Busy pounding tequila shots, Spokes didn’t object when Ashley tugged the man’s lady out onto the dance floor. Ashley bumped and spun, the hem of her cocktail dress inching its way up her muscled thighs. She dipped and worked her hips in an exaggerated shimmy, and her companion flashed a smile and followed suit. Ashley looked happy, and Gray didn’t think it was an act. She enjoyed dancing and so she was seizing the moment. The awkward bump of her butt against her companion’s had them both laughing.

Levi watched the pair, a frown on his face. “Where do you think she learned to dance like that?”

“Not at Saturday ballet class.” She demonstrated a serious lack of rhythm and finesse, but her enthusiasm was contagious. Ashley had a life outside the DEA and her undercover work. He, on the other hand, was a SEAL. End of story. If he ever walked away from his team, he was nothing. A big, blank page of nothing. He didn’t have any family he’d stayed in contact with, which he could only partially blame on his work for the government. Sure, he couldn’t share the details—or anything much at all—about the covert missions, but he also hadn’t tried.

Since his inner shrink had apparently decided to work overtime, he could admit that he was hollow inside, carting around a crater-sized hole that couldn’t be filled by gunfights or the adrenaline rush of nailing a dangerous assignment. He’d tried the bar scene and the fight clubs, but the alcohol left him with a hangover, and the fight clubs gave him two broken ribs. Neither were long-term options, and at least he’d been smart enough to recognize that truth. Now he ran on empty. No love, no faith in anything but his guns and his guys, nothing to look forward to but the next time he shipped out and the next firefight.

Speaking of which, it was time to get this show on the road. Shoving to his feet, he headed toward the dance floor. His guys fell in behind him, ready to hump their asses onto a plane, fly down to Central America and take care of whatever it was that needed doing there. They were real fucking Musketeers, and that was the truth. They’d have his back, even on the dance floor, where way too many bodies did the bump and grind. Some of the dancers were pretty, others were not. He knew which category he fell into, although his face didn’t stop hands and thighs from touching him in a way that was pure invitation. He was big. He had money. And in the world of the motorcycle gang, that put him at the top of the food chain until someone else knocked him down.

“Ladies.” He inclined his head as he joined the dancing duo, and Ashley pulled him into her circle of two. Spokes’s girlfriend gave him a quick once-over, looking nervous, and darted a glance over her shoulder. Spokes must not have protested, because she stayed put. They danced silently for a moment, the music pulsing around them and vibrating through the soles of his boots, and he almost got why Ashley liked this.

The bruises on the blonde’s arms, however, were even more disturbing close-up. His own relationships might not last longer than a night, and he might need his sex raw and gritty, but hurting his partner was off-limits. No exceptions. Whether or not the US Government had enough to put the scumbag away for a few decades, the lady needed a breather. Unfortunately, while her tired eyes flitted between him and the man waiting for her at the bar, she showed no signs of heading for the door.

He put his mouth right up by her ear, making sure she had no excuse to not hear him over the pounding beat of the bar music. “Emily, you need to pick up and get the hell away from Spokes.”