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Authors: Frances Stockton

HazardsDare

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Hazard’s Dare

Frances
Stockton

 

Hazard, talented linebacker for the
Alexandria Griffins, is known for hard hits, record-breaking sacks, fast living
and engaging in unconventional relationships. During a week off from football,
he travels to Dare, Nevada, for some R and R and to hook up with a hot woman or
two.

When Avery, his agent’s sister,
walks into the club wearing a wicked red dress, he’s not immune to her
delectable charms. After several tequila shots, Avery invites him to her hotel
room for a week of hot sex with no promise of commitment, and he gladly
accepts.

Of course they don’t expect their
brief sexcapade to quickly turn into love—nor are they aware that someone
dangerous has been stalking Avery’s family for years. Someone who’s about to
strike. When Avery disappears, Hazard might lose the best thing he’s ever had.
But not without a fight.

 

A
Romantica®
contemporary erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave

 

Hazard’s Dare
Frances Stockton

Dedication

 

To my mom, thank you for your unconditional love, support
and encouragement. You are my inspiration every single day.

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

I would like to give a heartfelt thank you and salute to my
readers everywhere. Your emails, Facebook comments, Twitter messages and input
make writing fun.

 

 

Author Note

 

The Alexandria Griffins are a fictional professional
football team, as are the teams they play and the league they play in. I’m a
huge football fan and along with
Quarterback Blitz
,
Field of Play
,
and now,
Hazard’s Dare
, it is my hope that I’ve shown my respect for all
football players and the hard work they put into their careers.

 

Chapter One

Truth or Dare Club, Dare, Nevada—Late January

 

For the first time in her life, Avery Grant felt like a
woman.

More than that, she felt like an attractive, sexy, vivacious
woman ready to take on the Truth or Dare Club, with no one telling her what to
do and no man to tell her to go back to her hotel room alone.

But it was too late.

She’d prepared for the evening by spending the day in a spa
and getting a new hairstyle, complete with highlights and dark lowlights. Then
she’d gone on a shopping spree to find a gorgeous red V-necked cocktail dress
and six-inch stilettos.

Currently, her dress was covered with a long red coat, but
she’d shed it once she was inside the building. It was January, and even though
she was in Nevada, there was a distinct chill was in the air.

She hesitated for a minute or two, maybe three, recalling
her friend Morgan Maddox’s phone call two hours ago. Morgan claimed that
tonight would change Avery’s life because the man destined to be her soul mate
would be at the Truth or Dare Club.

Unfortunately, Avery didn’t believe it was possible.

For one thing, she wasn’t looking for a soul mate or even a
boyfriend.

For another, she’d recently gotten herself out of a loveless
relationship. Thank God she’d dodged the bullet when she realized her ex was a
lying, cheating scum with no reason to be with her except former Senator
Charles Grant’s political backing.

No. She was looking for something else entirely, certainly
not forever, and coming to Dare, Nevada, was the right place to be.

The once-dilapidated Old West boomtown, nestled in a valley
thirty minutes south of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, had been bought up by a
quartet of the rich and famous, revamped and made into a mini-mecca for those
who wanted to get away from everyday life and not get swallowed up by the
craziness of Vegas…or the paparazzi.

Not that the paparazzi was an issue in Avery’s life. After
all, she was Charles Grant’s oldest daughter, the one considered to be a
sensible bore. Compared to her sports agent brother, Alexander, and her younger
sister, Charlotte, who was a promising US swim star, she lived an ordinary,
scandal-free life.

But as of tonight, she wasn’t following anyone’s rules
anymore, except her own.

Tucking her small red clutch purse under her arm, she
squared her shoulders and stepped up to the door. Music could be heard from
where she stood.

Taking a deep breath right as the music faded and someone
onstage announced the night’s special guest performer, Avery missed the man’s
name because her cellphone went off in her purse.

Grumbling, she scrambled to get the phone from the clutch purse,
saw who called and immediately turned the thing off. She was not answering to
her older brother tonight.

He could wait. Her life couldn’t.

Stuffing the phone out of the way and returning the purse
under her arm, she pushed her way through the door, stopping to hand her coat
off to a young man working the coat check closet.

The man’s reaction when he saw her dress was priceless! With
more confidence under her wings, she headed into the already crowded club.

At first, she had to blink because it was dark inside, with
typical club lights turned down low and a spotlight aimed toward the stage.

And then the tantalizing riff of a guitar and a country
singer’s voice trapped her right where she stood. “When you came in, the air
went out…and every shadow filled up with doubt…I don’t know who you think you
are, but before the night is through…I want to do bad things with you.”

As the song made popular by Jace Everett and the TV show
True
Blood
continued, Avery was completely taken in, seduced. Not only did the singer
hit every note with a deep-voiced country drawl that was undeniably hot, she’d
locked eyes with…
him
.

Up on stage, guitar in hand, microphone in place, was Trevor
Hazard Osbourne, middle linebacker for the Alexandria Griffins!

And her secret crush. The man was the reason she was a
football fan and a huge proponent of the defense!

Suddenly, irrevocably, everything in her that was female
went on red alert. Her heart pounded, her knees grew weak, her pussy awakened,
leaving an aching reminder of how staid and nonexistent her sex life had been
as of late.

Hazard wasn’t just another football player with a badass
reputation. He was known for his killer charm with the ladies, megawatt smile
and was considered hazardous to any self-respecting offense’s chance of scoring
in the red zone.

And right now Avery was red hot! Hazard was not only
incredibly good-looking, he had beautiful shoulder-length caramel brown hair
that gave him a lion-sized personality and a body made for sin.

Even from the slight distance, she could see that he was
tall, broad and built. He had an ass made for squeezing and muscles made for
crushing opponents. Aware of herself in a way that she’d never been before, she
realized that she was dripping wet between her legs. To be crushed beneath a man
like that would be incredible.

Just like that, with a song and what she imagined was
recognition in his eyes when he continued to sing to
her
, Avery was
smitten.

For a second, she thought of Morgan’s warning earlier that
day. Could it possibly be that Hazard was the one?

Oh, this was bad. She could handle keeping her crush a
secret. It was just that Hazard—as he was called by teammates, media and
football fans—was more than a crush. He was one of the athletes represented by
her brother.

Thinking maybe it’d be a good thing to exit gracefully,
Avery took a step backward and stepped on the foot of the person behind her.
Stilettos had to hurt his instep, even if he was wearing a nice pair of
loafers!

“Oh, I am very sorry,” she apologized.

“It’s not a problem,” the man answered, catching her elbow
and helping her to regain her balance. “This place is crowded tonight. Ever
been here before, gorgeous?”

Gorgeous? A man called her gorgeous? Turning her head and
hoping like hell the guy was hot, she was struck by two things.

He was undeniably handsome. And he was the polar opposite of
what she’d come here for. Granted, he was clean cut, smelled great and his
brown hair was ultra-short.

He had nice blue eyes, a nice chin and a nice voice,
altogether nice.

She hadn’t come to the Truth or Dare Club for nice. She’d
come for naughty.

“No, I’m afraid I haven’t been here yet,” she answered,
realizing it was rude to stare. If she was going to stare at anyone, she’d
rather watch Hazard from afar.

“That makes two of us. Name’s John, would you like to find a
table?”

“That’s very nice of you. But I’m meeting someone in a
little bit.”

“At least let me get you safely to the bar. The crowd
watching the mini-concert is decidedly pushy.”

“That’d be nice of you. Thank you for being so polite after
I treaded on your foot. These shoes are new and take some getting used to.”

“Didn’t feel a thing,” he insisted, making good on his
promise to escort her across the room.

She barely had the chance to appreciate the modernized
replica of an Old West saloon. John nearly bowled through people to reach the
bar. She tried to apologize, but by the time she got words out, she was dragged
away.

Deciding that she did not like John, she was glad when they
reached the bar.

“Thank you, John, for the escort. I’ve got it from here,”
she said, homing in on a vacated stool made out of an old-fashioned barrel.

“Let me order you a drink,” he insisted.

“It’s not necessary. Really, I came to meet someone.”

“Looked to me like you were alone when you walked in,” John commented.

“That’s because my date’s currently up on stage,” she said,
hoping John wasn’t good at detecting a fib.

“He’s in the band?”

“The singer, Hazard Osbourne, maybe you’ve heard of him?”

“Afraid not, but I know when I’ve worn out my welcome. I
hope he appreciates what he has, if he doesn’t, look me up.”

John reached into his wallet, pulled out a business card,
snagged a pencil from the bar, jotted something down and handed her the card
before disappearing into the crowd.

Avery checked the card. The front advertised John Redman was
the owner of an independent film studio. On the back, he’d scribbled the name
of his hotel and room number.

Finding that presumptuous, Avery flicked the card across the
bar with her finger, sending it flying straight into the back of the
broad-shouldered, pale-blond bartender.

“Oh my god, what’s gotten into me?” she asked herself out
loud, thinking no one would hear because Hazard was still performing.

Bad Things
was over. He’d switched gears and sang
something equally deep, equally compelling and sexy, Chris Isaak’s
Wicked
Game
. All Avery could do was park her butt on the barrel and hope she
hadn’t earned a kick in the caboose right out the door.

The bartender turned, saw her sitting there, then bent down
to retrieve the object that’d nailed him before coming up to her.

“Hello, Red, this must be your first time in Truth or Dare,”
he greeted with a curiously sexy tone of voice that sounded a little like he’d
spent a lot of time in California.

He smiled, and for a crazy second, Avery was transfixed on
that smile because there was something about it that warned he could be a
predator or a savior. His shoulder-length pale-blond hair was nearly white,
with two dyed black streaks sweeping from a sharp widow’s peak.

His face was, whoa, stunning. Smiling as he was, she saw
even white teeth, but his canines looked suspiciously like fangs. If she didn’t
know better, she’d think the bartender was a vampire or creature of the undead.

“Um, hi, yes, this is my first time here. Could I get a margarita
if I apologize for hitting you with my trash?”

“Don’t worry about the card,” the bartender said as he
tossed it in a trash can. “It’s not the first time a pretty lady got rid of an
unwanted suitor the only way she could think of. What’s your name?”

“Avery,” she answered honestly, unsure if it was wise, but
she couldn’t retract it.

“Welcome to Dare,” the bartender said, offering his hand.
“My name’s Jaxon. I sure hope this isn’t your only visit to our cozy little
town.”

She shook his hand, finding that he had a strong, confident
grip without being too forward or rude. “Thank you. Now that I’ve found it, I
have the feeling Dare might become my new getaway spot.”

“As it is for many who come here,” he said. “How do you like
your margarita?”

“On the rocks, with salt,” she answered.

Jaxon mixed her drink and handed the quality-tequila-laden
drink on the bar.

“First one’s on me,” he said when she reached into her
purse. “How about I start a tab for you while you wait until it’s safe to
mingle? The guy who offered his room number is currently seated at a table with
a direct line of sight to where you’re sitting.”

“I didn’t like him much. There was something false in the
way he flirted.”

Jaxon looked around the room. “You don’t have to worry about
him. If he bothers you again, I’ll have the bouncers take care of the
situation.”

Disliking the idea that she was being watched, she took a
liking to Jaxon for offering to look after her if she needed it.

“Thank you, Jaxon, I appreciate that you’re looking out for
the newbie,” she said, taking a sip of her margarita. Perfect, with just the
right amount of salt. The drink was exactly what she needed to calm her nerves.
“This is good.”

“Glad you like it. Enjoy the music. Considering it’s
football season, we’re lucky to have Trevor Osbourne with us tonight. If
country’s not your thing, illusionist Gabriel Krystiyan starts his show in the
Truth or Dare Theater in about a half an hour.”

“Gabriel Krystiyan? Wow, isn’t he a Vegas headliner?”

“Yes, but Gabe’s one of us, one of Dare, I mean. When he’s
home, he takes over the theater with his magic act that’s second to none.”

“I’m in town for a week. I’ll be sure to catch one of his
shows.”

“But not tonight,” Jaxon said.

“I’d rather enjoy this margarita and put in an order for a
second.”

Relaxing and finding the barrel she was sitting on
surprisingly comfortable with its plush red leather cushion, she took another
salt-laden sip and discovered the stool swiveled too.

Fastening her eyes upon Hazard as his concert continued, she
became absorbed in the moment, in him. Sure, he was a sex symbol known for
playing hard but fair, on the field and off. Yet there was something compelling
about him, something that had awakened her long-dormant sex drive.

He was the perfect bachelor, loved being single, never
professed to being a saint and her brother told her not long ago that Hazard
had plans of becoming a country singer after his football days were over. By
Alexander’s account, Hazard was intelligent, understood that he needed a career
after football and chose his endorsement deals and fundraisers wisely.

Suddenly noticing that Hazard seemed to be staring straight
at her, Avery squirmed a little.

There was no way that he could see her from the stage. The
lights on the stage were a red, green and blue hodgepodge that showcased each
member, a spotlight haloed him, letting the audience appreciate the way his
talented fingers strummed the electric guitar.

To Avery, it seemed as if he made the guitar sing, bringing
it to life. That kind of talent was rare, that kind of passion was what she’d
always longed for and could never have.

Raised to be a good girl, she’d decided to put aside her
ordinary image and be a little bad. Maybe
Bad Things
had been the right
song to hear the second she’d walked into the Truth or Dare Club. Maybe the
tequila in her drink was working its magic.

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