Book 4 of the Mastered Series

Only one woman can set a hardened fighter free from his past….

In order to survive a life of tragedy, Deacon McConnell embraced his roughest edges and learned to fight on the streets. Then a life-changing jujitsu seminar led by Sensei Ronin Black led Deacon to become a professional fighter. With his muscular physique and his body covered in tattoos and scars, the MMA fighter defines mean, both on and off the mat.

But everything changes when innocent Molly Calloway signs up for his kickboxing class. Molly is Deacon’s opposite in every way: She’s kind, sweet, thoughtful, and educated. After a heated argument between them turns into a passionate encounter, Deacon realizes Molly is eager to experience more, and she looks to him to take her to the darker edge of lust….

The last thing either of them expects is how deeply their lives will be thrown upside down by the passion they find together.

(July 14, 2015)
481 pages
ISBN: 978-0451473646

Praise for Caged »

  • James weaves a tale that is so hot you may want to wear fire-proof gloves!

    RT Book Reviews Magazine

Excerpt »

“YOU’RE taking me to a strip club? Seriously?” Molly stared at her friend/ coworker/ frequent rabble-rouser, Presley, hoping she was joking.

Presley slipped her arm through Molly’s. “Good golly, Miss Molly, this’ll be fun. I promise. See, Bloody Mary used to work here.”

The blond bruiser from Presley’s roller derby team known as Bloody Mary walked in front of them. “Why’d she quit stripping?”

“Last year she scored a job as a personal trainer. I guess the bosses at the skin boutique weren’t happy she’d put on so much muscle. They prefer their strippers to be tanned bags of bones with fake jugs.” Presley shrugged. “I don’t get that. If I were a dude paying to see tits and ass, I’d want a variety of tits and ass— know what I mean?”

“To be honest, Presley, I have absolutely no idea what you mean, or why you think I’d want to see anytits and ass. Hell, I don’t even want to look at my own boobs and butt.”

Then they were standing below a neon sign that boasted HOT EXOTIC DANCERS— READY TO DANCE FOR YOU!

“Hot and ready . . . Sounds like a pizza joint,” she muttered. When Presley didn’t respond, she cast a quick glance around the line of guys ahead of them, waiting to get in. The closer they got to the entrance, the more she was tempted to make a break for it.

“Don’t you even think about ditching me, Calloway,” Presley warned in her ear. “You will walk in and have at least one drink. If it sucks, we’ll go.”

The bouncer, a big African-American guy, threw open his arms when he saw Bloody Mary. “Marisol! Gimme some sugar.”

“Marisol was her stripper name,” Presley whispered.

“I gathered that.”

“Black Bart, baby,” Bloody Mary cooed. “You’re looking as badass as ever.”

“No need to flatter me. You know I’m waving the cover charge for y’all. Tell me who you’re bringing to class up the joint,” Black Bart asked.

“You remember Elvis from my Denver Divas roller derby team?”

It took a second for Molly to remember that Presley’s team nickname was— duh— Elvis.

Then Bloody Mary snagged Molly’s hand and tugged her forward. “We’re popping Miss Molly’s strip-club cherry tonight.”

Black Bart gave Molly a slow once-over. “You don’t say.”

She fought the urge to fidget. This man was used to seeing women with perfect bodies, naked women, letting it all hang out— literally. Please ignore me. That’d be easier than seeing a sneering expression that proved he found her seriously lacking.

But he offered her a hot-eyed stare and a very wolfish grin. “You need anything, pretty eyes— and I mean anything— you come find Black Bart and I’ll take care of you. Mmm-mmm, sweet thang. Would I love to take care of you.”

She blushed like a virgin. “Ah, thanks?”

Bloody Mary kept a firm grip on Molly’s forearm as she led the way inside. They paused in the doorway. “So, Cherry, behold Jiggles, the classiest strip joint in Denver. Which ain’t saying much. But trust me— this is ten steps above the other clubs in town.”

Cherry? Awesome, she’d gotten a nickname.

“Let’s sit there,” Presley said, pointing to a table in the back. “I don’t need to see a cooter up close.”

“Then why are we at a freakin’ strip club?” Molly demanded.

“We drink for free. See, dudes in here ain’t ever gonna get with a stripper, no matter how many lap dances they buy. So when they start looking around and see a table of available women . . .” She shrugged. “It’s win-win. We flirt, they buy us drinks, and sometimes we end up with a hot hookup.”

Molly noticed all the chairs at the table faced the stage, so she couldn’t look at, oh, the wall. “You’ve hooked up with a guy you met in a strip club?”

“In some ways it’s better than meeting a guy in a bar.” Presley plopped down next to her. “Just steer clear of the ones you can see masturbating under the table.”

Her mouth fell open. “You can see that?”

“It’s obvious by how fast their arm is moving,” Bloody Mary said. “I always felt sorry for the cleanup crew. They have to stock some special, industrial-strength jizz remover.”

The stripper strutted onstage wearing a spangly fringed top, slinky black pants, and a black cowboy hat. Molly recognized the song as “Wild West.” The stripper was gorgeous, with auburn hair that fell past her shoulders, long legs, and— holy crap— she just ripped off her shirt to reveal enormous boobs. After a few twirls around the stripper’s pole, another rip and her pants were gone. The woman had no hips to speak of, and her legs bordered on scrawny. Her sparkly G-string was the only item of clothing remaining, besides the five-inch acrylic stilettos.

She gyrated her hips, shook her nonexistent ass, spun around the pole, dropping into a squat and rolling up slowly. On the last spin she performed a backbend, keeping one hand on the pole until she did a walkover and landed in the splits. Then the stripper whipped off her G-string and played pussy peekaboo with her cowboy hat. Her final bow— with her head between her legs— gave everyone a full view.

The DJ warned the patrons to stick around because Madora the Sexplorer would be taking the stage in ten minutes.

Molly tried to play it cool, but she gawked at the women strolling around in ankle-breaking heels and itty-bitty scraps of silk. Even if she had a super-hot body, she doubted she’d ever have the guts to parade around half naked. She wondered if the dancers ever got cold.

Of course they do; look at their nipples.

Then again, with as vigorously as they rubbed a guy’s crotch during a lap dance, friction had to at least keep their butt cheeks warm.

The cocktail waitress took their orders. Bloody Mary ordered Jäger bombs. Jägermeister always reminded Molly of him.

Deacon McConnell.

Even his name dripped sex.

(July 14, 2015)
481 pages
ISBN: 978-0451473646

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