All in (Leaving Las Vegas)

By: Aleah Barley

Chapter One


The man’s lips brushed against Daisy’s, sending a shiver down her spine. He smelled like sex and tasted like whiskey and cigars with a dark undercurrent of masculine spice. His tongue challenged hers, and his hands never stopped moving.

Long fingers tangled in her hair, dragging her in even closer, making her moan against his mouth. His free hand slid her shirt up over her hips, exposing her bare skin to the crisp cotton sheets beneath them.

Daisy grabbed for him, but he nipped at her lip to remind her who was in control. Then his mouth began to move down. Oh, yeah, he could take charge anytime he wanted, if this was the result.

Teasing…tasting…sucking… He nibbled at her collarbones and then her breasts, setting off a series of fiery reactions underneath her skin. She was wet. Waiting. So damn close to exploding that she’d probably come the moment he entered her.

He didn’t move.

Bastard.

She pulsed her hips against his hard body, desperate for any kind of relief, and her lover chuckled. “Easy, honey,” he murmured over the pounding bass of her favorite Bruce Springsteen song. His grip tightened on her hips. “We’ve got all the time in the world.” His tongue grazed her belly button and—

A sharp scream pierced the air.

Daisy jolted awake.

Jerking sideways in her attempt to get away, she tumbled off the luxurious bed and onto a lavish rug. There was no music playing, no rock star wailing about growing up working class in New Jersey. The sexy, controlling, sexy man had been a figment of her imagination brought on by two years of celibacy and the vodka martinis she’d inhaled on the plane.

The only sound in the hotel room came from her lungs desperately grasping for air.

There was no sense reaching for the lamp on the bedside table. The large room was already illuminated by neon light from outside her window. The eerie glow danced across wood and chrome.

Forcing herself up onto her feet, she turned to take in the sea of chaos and confusion outside. The sky was still dark, the moon shone in the distance, but the lights never set on the Las Vegas strip.

Not even for a moment.

Las Vegas. According to the guidebook Daisy had found on her pillow, it was “an entire city devoted to ferocious fun and flirty entertainment.” Home sweet home. If she craned her neck, she could almost make out the trailer park where she’d grown up—where her sister still lived—but that was the last thing she wanted to see.

No one called Daisy flirty or fun, and the only reason she was in town was to help her friend, Bullet, with his poker tournament.

“God damn it!” Someone shouted nearby, breaking Daisy’s concentration. A woman said something too faint for her to make out.

Great, her neighbors were fighting. They must have been the ones who woke her up.

“You bastard,” the woman gasped. There was another cry, only this time it wasn’t quite as loud. It was followed by a low moan and words muttered in a voice too low for her to make out.

The wall behind Daisy’s bed shook. Once. Twice. The headboard rattled ominously.

Her neighbors weren’t fighting. They were having knock-down, drag out, take-no-prisoners sex.

Not that Daisy was bitter. She’d had sex sometime in the last…six months? Year? Her brow furrowed as she tried to remember. There had been that grad student at the university Christmas party. The one with the remarkably well-developed…thesis.

The sex had been okay, but the next morning he’d wanted to take her out to breakfast.

Daisy didn’t do breakfast, and she definitely didn’t do relationships.

She taught four classes a semester, chaired two committees, and was currently writing a book on multi-dimensional calculus. Her life was fulfilling, damn it. She worked hard, she loved her job, and when she needed sex, she found someone who could provide the appropriate stimuli.

“Damn it, Ryan,” the woman next door called out, and something crashed in the distance.

Daisy’s teeth dug into her bottom lip. Appropriate stimuli aside, no one had ever made her want to scream like that.

Another moan.

Enough was enough. Daisy straightened her shoulders and grabbed her keycard. It was time for Mr. and Mrs. Noisy-Sex to find out they weren’t the only ones on the floor. Some people had to sleep in the morning.

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