Dirty Tricks: One Up On You
by Myla Jackson
She's ready to leave Temptation behind...
Welcome back to the Ugly Stick Saloon with this short story about Charli's first erotic adventure.
Charli Sutton is tired of the same-ol-same-ol in Temptation, Texas and her job at the Ugly Stick Saloon. Her itchy feet tell her that if it ain't happenin' here, it's time to go back to Austin and raise a little hell.
Until a mystery man dared her...
Charli has every intention of packing up, until a sexy-voiced stranger calls her daring her to skinny dip in the judge's pool. The idea is crazy, ludicrous, and downright dangerous. Just the kind of dirty trick to get a girl's blood flowing. Add a cowboy in a black hat with a body that could boil the water in the pool and he's got one up on you!
Warning: Mystery Cowboy, lonely woman and one sexy dare leads to explosive sex under a watchful eye...
Other Ugly Stick Saloon books:
Dirty Tricks: One Up On You
Dirty Tricks: Two Can Play That Game
Dirty Tricks: Three's a Charm
Charli Sutton sighed and swiped the surface of the bar, her hand moving in slow, listless circles, her gaze following Kendall Mason and Ed Judson as they spun and laughed around the dance floor.
"What's wrong, Charli?" Audrey, the owner of the Ugly Stick Saloon, relieved Charli of the rag and tossed it into the sink behind the counter. "You haven't been yourself lately."
"I don't know." Charli heaved another sigh. "I think I'm missing Austin." She filled an order for a cowboy in a black T-shirt, sitting at a barstool and turned back to Audrey.
Audrey shook her head. "I don't miss Austin. That's where Randy and Jason live. I've never been happier getting as far away from the city as I could."
"Yeah, I don't miss them, but I miss the nightlife and the variety of people you met there. I've been here with you at the Ugly Stick from the start, but I'm...well..." She flung her hand in the air. "I don't know."
"Bored? Lonely? Need to get laid?" Audrey chuckled. "I can understand that. Been feeling a little that way myself."
"You?" Charli blinked hard and stared at her boss, noting the beautiful strawberry blond hair and light blue eyes. "How could you be bored or lonely? You're gorgeous."
"And driven to make this place work. I don't have time to date. But you," she waived a hand in her direction, "have no excuse. You should be out there dating."
"Yeah, but it's been so long, what do I do? I'm starting to feel itchy. Wanderlust is tugging at me, making me want to leave or do something different." Charli pulled a beer mug from the shelf above her and filled it halfway from the tap, swallowing a healthy slug before she set it on the counter. The cool beer slid down her throat but did nothing to take the edge off her twitchiness.
"Are you unhappy being the assistant manager of the Ugly Stick?" Audrey asked.
"No, don't get me wrong." Charli leaned on the counter and sighed again. "I love my job."
Libby Hammons, with silky brown hair and deep cleavage flashing out of her low-cut blouse, slid her tray on the bar and offloaded the empties.
Even Libby managed to find dates in this little corner of Texas.
"Need 5 whiskey shooters, you choose the whiskey, a pitcher of Bud Light, a fruity wine cooler and five mugs for table twelve." She pushed her curly blond hair behind her ears and glanced over at Audrey. "I could use a hand with the tables in the far corner. Tia picked a bad night to be sick."
"I'll take care of them." Audrey grabbed an empty tray and hurried to the corner where the waiting customers were getting restless.
After Charli filled Libby's order and sent her on her way, she sighed for the hundredth time and slumped a hip against the bar.
"That's a mighty big sigh for such a pretty little lady."
Charli glanced at the man sliding onto the stool to her left. "What can I get you?"
"Guinness." He leaned both elbows on the counter, the movement stretching his blue chambray shirt over broad shoulders.
A tug of latent awareness pulled at Charli's gut. "Need a mug?"
"No, I like it straight from the bottle."
That tug blossomed into full-fledged attraction—the first she'd felt for a male in at least four months. Charli popped the top off the bottle and plunked it on the counter in front of the stranger. "You're not from around here, are you?"
"Actually, I am." He downed a healthy swallow and turned halfway around to watch the crowd on the dance floor.
Charli's brows dipped. "I haven't seen you in the saloon."
"Just back from a tour in Afghanistan. Before that, I was too busy preparing for deployment to stop in."
"Oh." Charli's interest perked and she looked closer. She should have known he was in the service. Hair cut short on the sides, his face angular, tanned and lean, the man reeked of military, his movements confident, strong and proud. Not a bad looking guy.
He faced her again, a smile lifting his lips, his teeth shining white in the semi-darkness of the saloon. "I'm Connor Mason, Kendall's older brother." He held out his hand.
Her brows lifted and she shook the man's hand, a jolt of awareness shimmying through her body. "Ah yes, Kendall talks about you all the time. Nice to finally meet you."
"I couldn't help but overhear your conversation with Audrey."
"It's nothin'”. Charli shrugged. “I like moving around. I grew up in a family that moved every two years. I'm hitting the two-year mark here."
"Thinkin' about leavin' then?" He swirled the beer in the bottle of Guinness, his attention there.
Not on Charli, as if he didn't really care what her answer was. A stab of disappointment made her reply short, "Yeah. I think so."
His chin came up and his lips twisted. "Be a cryin' shame. I was hoping to get to know you. To me, you're a fresh face to Hole In The Wall, Texas."
"Thanks, but I live in Temptation." The blue funk she was in lifted slightly, a glimmer of hope making her smile.
The cowboy in the black T-shirt lifted a finger to capture her attention. "Can I get another beer?"
Charli hurried toward him, anxious to take care of his order and get back to her conversation with Connor. "Another draft?"
"Yes, ma'am." His lips quirked up on the ends.
After filling his order, Charli hurried back to Kendall's brother. She could imagine him in a uniform, her body warming all over. She loved a man in uniform. "How do people deal with nothing to do?"
"There's always something to do around here, you just gotta know how to make things happen."
"Maybe that's my problem. I don't know how." But she'd like it if he gave her a few ideas. She looked at him from beneath her eyelashes.
"You city folks are used to having everything at your fingertips."
"Are you slamming me for being a city girl?"
"No, not at all, just makin' a statement." He leaned forward, his lips turned up at one corner. "Out here, you gotta make your own fun."
"How?" Charli flung both hands in the air. "When people leave here, they go home. The Ugly Stick is where they go to make things happen. I work here. It's not the same."
Mason shrugged and took a long pull from his beer before he answered. "Guess it's up to you to figure out what's fun." He stood, slapped a couple bills on the counter, and tipped his fingers at her. "Nice to meet you," he said in his smooth southern drawl. Then he winked, nodded to the man in the black T-shirt, turned and left the bar.
Charli couldn't take her gaze off the man. Not until he disappeared through the entrance of the saloon did she realize her heartbeat had kicked up a notch. Not only that but she hadn't sighed in the past ten minutes, nor did she feel like it.
Connor Mason had her blood pumping like no other man had in the past two years since she'd been working the Ugly Stick.
With a lift in her step, she finished her shift, helped shut down the bar, slid into her black Mustang and pulled out of the parking lot. She lifted the hair from the back of her neck and let it fly in the wind from the open window. Before she'd gone more than thirty yards down the road, her cell phone rang on the seat beside her.
Now who the hell was calling her at three o’clock in the morning?
She glanced at the caller ID.
She debated not answering, but after the fourth ring, she hit the talk button. "This is Charli."
"Ever skinny dipped in someone else's pool?"
Deep and masculine, the voice in the receiver was the kind that made coffee commercials sound sexy. It reached out to caress Charli's ear and other more easily aroused places of her body. A shiver of awareness snaked across her skin. "Who is this?"
"Let's just say I overheard your conversation at the bar."
Her breath catching in her throat, Charli clutched the phone tighter.
"You can spice things up if you dare," he said, his voice a sensuous whisper.
Charli tried hard to think who had been sitting at the bar that evening, only conjuring one image. That of the sexy soldier who'd blatantly eavesdropped on her conversation with Audrey. "Connor?"
"I'm not tellin'."
A surge of anger spiked her adrenaline. "Look, I don't need a pervert daring me to skinny dip in someone else's pool. Do me a favor and don't call this number again."
"With a body as beautiful as yours, I'm surprised you're afraid."
Charli's thumb hovered over the off button, but the deep timbre of his voice had her mesmerized, her body heating at the rich tone. "I'm not afraid. I'm just not stupid." She'd hoped to come off indignant, but the best she could do was breathless.
"Suit yourself and play it safe...or take the dare. Judge Stephen’s pool, three fifteen—be there. I'll be watching."
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