Today on Excerpt Tuesday, I'd like to revisit one of my favorite, and perhaps one of my best-received, novels. I've told the story a million times before, but Dare Me was not intended to happen. The entire Dareville series was not intended to happen, but after publishing Truth or Dare, I couldn't get a supporting character out of my head. It was enough to get me to change the ending of Truth to set up for another story, and so you have this one. I don't know if any authors go back and read one of their back list books for the heck of it, but I do that on occasion and I find I still enjoy the story. Hope you do as well. Enjoy this excerpt, which is NC-17 and NFSW.
The second he stepped out of the bedroom she slammed the door behind him and locked it. Sighing, he dripped a trail down the hall, gathering his clothes in his arms along the way and depositing them on the couch. He fished the cell phone from his pants pocket and answered on the third round of “Back in Black.”
“What happened last night?” Brady’s voice was tense. “I know with you, something did.”
Cal sighed and leaned back on the leather sofa. His damp back slid slightly from the lack of friction. He closed his eyes and imagined varied scenarios, all of which featured his hands wrapped tightly around Brady’s throat. “Nothing happened,” he countered dully.
“Yes, I’m lying.” He sniffed the air. What was that thick, awful stench coming from the kitchen? “You could’ve told me somebody else was staying here.”
“I would’ve, if I had known,” Brady said. “Ellie didn’t say anything about it to me until this morning. I had no idea Sue was there.”
“Her name is Sue.” So now he wouldn’t have to call her Blondie. Or Bitch. That took some of the awkwardness from the situation at hand.
“Sue Carmichael, she’s one of Ellie’s friends. Remember, too, she was the chick at Knickerbocker’s being bothered by that drunk?”
“A few months back, when I returned from Europe. Before I moved down to Dareville. You dragged the guy away and took him home.”
The fantasy murder sequence brewing in Cal’s mind was quickly replaced with the memory of that incident. Yes, he remembered now. He and Brady had gone out to dinner, and they were talking when they noticed a pretty blonde at another table being harassed. He had deposited the drunk—G-G-George, his name was—into a taxi and saw him home. Brady stayed at Knick’s and flirted with the blonde, while Cal got vomited on somewhere on the East Side helping the guy to his apartment.
“That’s the same girl?” He wondered if she remembered him from the incident, and not exclusively as some seedy bass player. “Small fucking world, eh?”
“She’s staying there until she can close on a house she bought, and she’s watching the cat.”
Great. Cal pinched the bridge of his long nose. He fucked the cat sitter. That had to be a first for him. All he had to do now was lay a Girl Scout leader and a Denny’s waitress, and life’s sexual scavenger hunt would be complete. “Why didn’t Ellie say anything before she offered me the house?” he asked, but as the words came out and as he listened to Brady’s even breathing over the phone, the answer became clear.
“No,” Cal said, angry.
“She is a nice lady, Cal,” Brady wheedled.
“Two minutes ago she was looking at me like she wanted to rip my balls off and shove them down my throat.”
“Sounds like a promising beginning to me. My parents didn’t get to that stage until after they’d been married for twenty years.”
“I’m going to kill Ellie for tricking me like this. This is no way to introduce somebody to a potential girlfriend.”
“Ellie will be happy to know you’re thinking that way, that there’s potential.”
Cal shook his head. “I’m not thinking any way! How many times do I have to tell your girlfriend that I’m not interested in being fixed up, especially like this!”
“Like what?” Brady asked slyly. “What happened last night, guy? You know I’m going to find out somehow.”
“Nothing happened,” Cal said quickly.
“Liar.” Brady chuckled.
“I’m gonna get Ellie for this.”
“Trust me, Ellie will get her punishment in due time. And I’m sure she’ll enjoy it as much as you enjoyed what you say didn’t happen last night.” Brady’s voice was mirthful now. Cal heard movement in the background.
Soon he heard a slap, then a woman’s giggle. Playful banter followed before Brady returned to the line. “I’ll call you later. Be nice to Sue, okay?”
I was really nice to her last night, when I thought she was Ellie. He wasn’t going to mention that last part, though. “Can I still stay here?” he asked.
“What about this Sue?”
Cal’s answer was a distant feminine squeal followed by a disconnection.
* * * *
“You did what?”
Sue pulled the phone away momentarily so she could slip a red T-shirt over her head. Ellie was talking rapidly on the other line, and Sue asked her friend to repeat herself.
“You remember Cal, he’s a studio musician. Worked with Brady for years. He played the bass at the benefit concert,” Ellie was saying.
“I figured that much out. What’s he doing here, breaking into the house in the middle of the night?”
“What do you mean, breaking in? I gave him a key.”
“You gave him a—,” Sue sighed. How could she fight that? It was Ellie’s house, not hers, and Ellie had that right. They had no formal lease drawn up for this arrangement. “Well, you could have given me a clue,” Sue wailed. “Instead I had to find out this morning when I walked in on him in the shower.”
Before that, Sue then realized. More like last night, when she and Cal were rolling around in some wild, erotic dream. But it wasn’t really a dream…
“Really?” Ellie giggled. “Hope you got a good look at him. He’s got a great body, doesn’t he?”
Oh, I got more than a look, sister. “That’s not the point, Ellie.” Sue gripped the receiver tightly. She thought she could hear the plastic casing buckle with her anger. Like hell was she going to give Ellie the satisfaction of knowing that she agreed with her, that she thought Cal had an incredible body, and that the things he had done to her in her unconscious state were nothing short of amazing.
Damn it! She pinched her arms against her tightening breasts. Why was she lusting for the man? She was supposed to be angry right now, with Cal for taking advantage of her inebriation, and with Ellie for manipulating the situation in the first place.
“You’re not disagreeing with me, are you?” Ellie sang. Then, in a conspiratorial whisper, “Did you get a good look at that splendid cock of his?”
“Oh, I got more—” And Sue wisely clamped her lips shut. The ensuing laughter crackling on the other end shot an embarrassing heat through her temples and flushed her skin.
“Okay, girl, I want every last filthy detail,” Ellie said when she caught her breath, “and when you get to the end, I want to hear it again.”
“I am not telling you a damn thing, I’m mad at you. And how do you know about his splendid cock?”
“So you agree with me then?”
“Stop putting words in my mouth!” Sue cried.
“You’d rather it be something else in your mouth?” Ellie teased. “Maybe again? I bet he gave your jaw a workout last night.”
“No, he—” And Sue paused, realizing that, no, for all that happened last night she hadn’t given Cal a blow job. She flashed back to Cal in the shower, and his third leg. Even limp, it looked quite impressive.
Then came another flash, and Sue saw herself kneeling before him, tracing every raised vein of his shaft with her tongue, wondering how in the hell would she be able to swallow him whole, wondering how Ellie knew…
“Again, I ask you,” Sue began.
Ellie’s voice was hushed, rough and labored through the receiver. “Remember that three-way Brady and I had that I told you about?”
How could Sue forget that? They had gone out to the beach for drinks with Lauren before Ellie left for New York. Ellie’s sexually explicit monologues about her life with Brady had kept Sue enthralled, and envious, as she nursed martini after martini. “Him?” Sue cried. “This was the other guy?”
That made sense, Sue realized, for Cal to think she was Ellie then. Perhaps Cal had gotten more out of the experience than Ellie did. Dare she mention that to her friend, though?
“You’re not mad, are you?” Ellie said. Sue detected a pout. “I mean, there’s nothing going on between me and Cal.”
Does Cal know that? “Yes, I am mad, El. You should have warned me, you should have said he was coming here.” That he was coming, period. That I would, too. Sue slapped her head. She had had sex with a complete stranger, without a condom! She could be pregnant now, or worse.
“If I’d done that, neither one of you would’ve gone for it. Cal wouldn’t have gone to Dareville if he knew I had an ulterior motive, and you wouldn’t have liked the idea.”
“Well, if you knew all this to begin with, why the big plan?”
“He is the sweetest guy, Sue,” Ellie pleaded. “He’s smart, funny, and he’s perfect for you. I haven’t met a nicer man since Brady, and I just had a feeling you two would hit it off if I could just get you two together.”
“A sane person would have arranged for us to meet for dinner someplace.” Someplace where everybody was dressed, and sober.
“Well,” Ellie wheedled, “this was certainly more memorable, I’m sure.”
“A great story for the grandkids, yeah,” Sue muttered.
On the other side of the bedroom door, Sue heard a clatter, then a loud, anguished, “Oh, fuck!” Sweet man, indeed.
He’s in love with you, Sue wanted to say. It didn’t matter who was in that bed last night, Cal was making love to Ellie, and nobody else.
Sue kept her voice rigid, and she slipped on her jeans and sneakers. “I’d like to think I’m capable of finding a guy for myself, Ellie,” she said instead, and waited for a response. There was none.
“Brady, stop.” She heard her friend playfully admonish her lover in the background. “Sue, I’ll have to call you later. Be nice to Cal, okay?”
“Why? He’s not staying here for real, is he?”
The line went dead before Sue got her answer.