About Taking Jana: It’s her turn to drive. Men take from Jana. Her dad and brother: money. Stage-side gawkers: her dignity. Still, she finished nursing school, won a spot in Manhattan’s top ER—thanks to no man. But when her dad’s business and heart fails, ever-loyal Jana Park must return to the stripper’s pole. Now even her boss’s chauffeur ogles her in the rearview. Faux-kindness—and irrefutable heat—aside, she glares back. Because screw ’em all. Chauffeur Antonio Ruiz is done with his cheating wife, the city, the almighty buck. His seaside home in Mexico calls. One last gig for his biggest client, the city’s strip club king, then he’s out. Except that the sharp, exotic, petite powerhouse of a woman he’s been hired to drive—day in-day out, glaring at him with those deep, solemn eyes—takes him over. If he could pierce her shield of doubt, he’d bring her home, far from this hell. But, no. Jana’s got to take the wheel and drive. Away from her family’s abuse, her boss’s clutches…and toward Antonio’s true brand of love. The road’s rocky. Will they make it to paradise? Or will it all go south… in the city.
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She matched him bite for bite on the burger and fries and ignored his lifted brows when she ordered a second beer.
He helped lighten her mood with some distracting stories about Jocelyn Carlson and her ‘rotating johns’ as he called them, and, with the liquid relaxants in her, she came back with a few of her own tales, mostly about high-powered attorneys and arrogant politicians getting caught in the private back rooms of the club. The local papers had somehow gotten close-up shots to prove the public figures’ indiscretions. “What people will do for money, with money, hell, on money!” She snorted then blushed a bit. Then she closed her eyes to anchor her whirling mind. She felt better, lighter. But dizzier. Her fingers massaged her temples before slowly opening her eyelids again.
She threw back the end of her second beer as Antonio tapped his watch-less wrist.
But as the alcohol had processed quickly through her small frame, she almost didn’t care anymore about being on time. What the hell was the point? People don’t change. They don’t learn. Her parents’ didn’t. Lending her bum of a brother more money or probably giving it! Just to throw it away. Her money, by the way. It was all her hard-earned, soul-despairing money.
They must’ve refinanced the house and restaurant, the very building she danced naked to pay down to zero. To zero, for Christ’s sake! Then she shook her tits and dry humped her way to a nursing degree. Now where was she?
In a fucking delusion was where. And now she thought she could make a difference to a bunch of lost girls. Because if she got to the club on time for training and taught them all about hard work, future planning, focus, and ambition, they’d get up and out and…end up exactly the fuck where she was now: nowhere.
Antonio stood up, threw some green bills down and held out his hand for her. He was such a gentleman, so nice to her, but why? Everyone had a reason, an incentive. What was his agenda?
And then again, what the hell did she care what his motivation was for being so nice to her? He was thick and yummy, too delicious to ignore. Her core had quivered for him since the day he’d stood over her at the library, his plated bronzed chest showing through that crisp white dobak.
She smiled as she took his hand, pulled herself up to stand, and held on to steady herself. Her legs felt like jelly. Without a next thought, she slid her free arm around his waist, getting definitive confirmation of the ever-defined torso she’d imaged too many times to exist under his shirt. What was she doing? Giving him a hug, maybe? A friendly, much needed hug? But she couldn’t answer her own question fast enough as she lifted to her toes, lifted her chin, her face, to meet his questioning hazel eyes.
And she kissed him. Her needy lips pressed against his soft sweet mouth. Just lightly adjoined, but for a long moment. A lingering, alleviating, glorious moment.
Until he pulled away, stepping a full step backward.
And she could only blush hot red when she stumbled forward from his retreat, his chest saving her from falling flat on the bar’s floor.
“Jana, are you alright?”
“Yes, damn it. I’m fine. Just fucking fine.” And she grabbed her purse and huffed out of the pub.
About Rissa Brahm:
Contemporary romance writer Rissa Brahm grew up in New York and has since lived in all four corners of the United States, and beyond. The beautiful paradise of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico—the core setting of her hot & heartfelt debut series, Paradise South—is Rissa’s most recent and beloved home.
After two decades of working in the rigid—and sometimes blurry—world of finance, she's taken hold of her truest dream, writing hot and heartfelt stories full time.
When not chained-by-choice to her MacBook, she is embarking on outdoor adventures with her husband and little girl, laughing to tears with a good rom com, eating amazing Indian food with something chocolate for dessert; reading good, hot scorchers in bed; biking, long walks, and yoga; zoning out to killer music from across the decades and the globe; and getting lost only to discover a new exciting route home again. You can connect with Rissa on Facebook, Twitter or by email anytime by heading to www.RissaBrahm.com.
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