Meet Keane in this STANDALONE Romance
Releasing on July 25th!
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Keane Morgan wouldn’t return any of my calls or texts, and I was pissed as hell about it. I didn’t want to drive from Seattle to L.A. with the guy any more than he wanted to drive with me, but I had no frickin’ choice in the matter–at least, not if I wanted to use his brother Dax’s coveted parking spot at UCLA.
Okay, so it turned out Keane was objectively gorgeous, and, fine, pretty funny, too. But did he have to be so damned in love with himself? I mean, jeez, the cocky way he flashed those dimples was just so orchestrated. And, honestly, what kind of guy uses the phrase “baby doll” with a straight face? Oh, that’s right: the kind of guy who’s a male stripper.
Yup, the cocky jerk turned out to be Seattle’s answer to Magic Mike, a stripper known as “Ball Peen Hammer”–which meant Keane Morgan was emphatically not the kind of guy I’d ever fall for.
Not. At. All.
No freakin’ way.
Well, until Keane convinced me to fall for him, that is.
Which I did.
AN EXCERPT FROM BALL PEEN HAMMER
Keane looks around the small motel room while I sit in a rickety chair, watching him. He seems nervous, though I can’t imagine why. Isn’t this what he does for a living?
“There isn’t a lot of room to maneuver in here,” Keane says, biting the inside of his cheek. “I’m not gonna be able to do most of my usual moves.”
“No judgment here,” I say. “Just jiggle a little bit and I’m sure I’ll be duly impressed.”
Keane rolls his eyes. “I don’t jiggle, Maddy. I dance.”
“Okay, gyrate. Writhe. Shake your booty. Whatever. I’m just saying I’m easy to please.”
Keane twists his mouth, still surveying the small space. “I can’t do any of my acrobatics or flips in here. This is gonna be pretty lame, actually.” He sighs. “And I’ll definitely have to use the bed for some stuff. Okay? Otherwise, there’s no place to maneuver.”
I bite my lip, trying not to smile. “Do whatever you think is best,” I say. “I won’t know the difference. It’s my first lap dance, remember?”
Keane furrows his eyebrows adorably. “Okay. But just so you know I’m usually way more exciting than what you’re about to see.”
I purse my lips and flare my nostrils, trying to keep a huge smile at bay. Why the heckity-heck does Keane seem so freaking nervous? “Don’t worry,” I say. “I’ll mention the cramped performing space when I write my Yelp review.”
“Hang on.” Without warning, he leans over me, giving me a whiff of his delicious, soapy scent, grabs ahold of either side of my chair, and rotates me a quarter turn so I’m facing the length of the narrow “alley” between the beds and the dresser. “Okay, that’s better,” Keane says. “Gives me a little more room to work with.” He grabs a shirt from his duffel bag and throws it over the lamp on the nightstand, further dimming the already low lighting in the room. “Can I use your laptop to play some music?”
“Sure.” I motion to my computer on the bed and tell him the password.
After calling up something on my computer, Keane places the laptop onto the dresser to my left. “Press play on the song when I cue you,” he says.
Keane positions himself a few feet in front of me, his head bowed, his hands clasped in front of his crotch, his legs spread into an athletic stance, but before he can do anything else, I burst into a manic giggle.
Keane looks up. “You okay?”
“Yeah. Sorry. I just realized I’ve paid a male stripper for a private lap dance in a motel room.” I snicker. “Okay. I’m good now. Proceed.” I exhale and shake out my arms.
After a beat, Keane puts his head down again, but then immediately raises his face to look at me again. “Picture colorful lights swirling around the room, okay?”
“Ooooh. Aaaaaaah. Pretty.”
Keane levels me with the most hilariously annoyed expression he’s ever flashed at me (which is saying a lot). “Are you gonna be sardonic this entire time, or can you at least try to act like a normal pickle with a dollar bill?”
“Sorry. I will most definitely relax and act like a normal pickle with a dollar bill, starting now.”
“Thank you.” He takes a deep breath, shakes out his arms, clasps his hands in front of his crotch again, and lowers his head. “Cue music,” he says.
I dutifully reach over to my computer and press play on the song Keane’s got cued up on YouTube: “Pony” by Ginuwine, of course.
The song begins blaring in the small room. But Keane doesn’t move. To the contrary, through the first familiar chords of the iconic song, Keane remains stock-still, apparently letting anticipation build the same way Channing Tatum did when he danced to this song in Magic Mike. And I must say his tactic is working like a charm: I’m transfixed.
But, still, Keane doesn’t move, other than to subtly flex the muscles on his forearms.
Finally, after a few bars of the song, Keane begins moving his hips and slowly touching his chest over the fabric of his tight black T-shirt—an understated move that most definitely piques my interest—and when the song reaches Ginuwine’s vocals, Keane’s magnificent body finally springs to animated life, jerking and gyrating to the beat of the music.
Whoa. Hotness. I had no idea Keane could move like this. He’s as fluid as mercury.
“Woohoo!” I scream. “Yeah, baby! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout!”
Keane smirks at me, as if to say, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” He thrusts his pelvis in rapid succession and then glides back a step, his body shuddering.
“Channing’s got nothing on you, baby!” I shout.
Keane’s body is bending and twisting now, undulating like an upright worm along with the song.
“Yeah, baby!” I shout.
In one easy motion, Keane leans completely back, touches the ground with his fingertips, and then pops back up to standing.
“Wow!” I scream.
Keane’s suddenly on his hands in the tight space and then back on his feet, and then he’s dry humping the floor with jaw-dropping thrusts, much to my shrieking delight. Then he’s back on his feet, peeling off his T-shirt while thrusting his pelvis into the air like he’s in the throes of extremely rough sex. Holy hell, Keane’s sweatpants are riding so low on his hips, it’s a wonder they’re not falling off when he’s moving like that.
“Woohoo!” I shriek, laughing gleefully.
Keane throws his T-shirt onto the bed and shoots me a smolder so intense, my breathing hitches.
“Sexy,” I whisper, my voice barely audible, though I’d intended to scream the word.
In a flash, Keane’s standing over me as I sit in my chair, his body heat wafting over me. Right in time with the music, he picks my chair up off the ground with me in it, making me shriek, and then quickly releases my seat to the ground while holding my body up by my ass.
I open my mouth to say, “Hey, I remember that from the movie,” but before I can get the words out, Keane’s got my thighs on his shoulders and my crotch in his face.
“Oh my . . .” is all I can manage to eek out as Keane shakes his head into my crotch like a voracious dog with a bone. But before I can say anything more, Keane’s strong arms are cradling my back and lowering me confidently onto the bed.
“Oh my God,” I gasp. “Wow.”
In a flash, Keane’s on top of me, his forearms resting on either side of my head, his pelvis dry-humping me to the beat of the song.
“Whoa. At least buy me a drink first, big guy,” I say.
Keane flips me onto my stomach and, an instant later, his pelvis is driving into my ass in cadence with the sexy music.
“Okay, now I’m gonna need dinner and dessert,” I say.
Keane exhales from behind me and stops moving. After a beat, he flips me over onto my back and straddles me with his strong thighs, his knees on either side of my hips, his sweatpants riding low. “Are you not feeling this at all?” he asks, his breathing labored.
“Oh,” I say, taken aback. I feel my cheeks blush a deep crimson. “Am I supposed to be reacting differently? I’m sorry.”
“No, I just mean . . .” He stares down at me for a long beat, his blue eyes blazing, his muscles tensing. “This isn’t turning you on at all?”
“Oh. Um. Of course, it is. I mean, you’re gorgeous. Look at you. And your smoove mooves are amazing. I especially liked that back-door-action simulation.”
There’s a long beat of silence as Keane stares at me, apparently rendered speechless.
Damn. I feel like I’m saying exactly the wrong thing here. “And, hey, you did that oral-sex simulation from the movie even better than Channing Tatum,” I add, filling the awkward silence.
Keane’s eyes are burning. Wordlessly, he grabs my hands and places them above my head on the bed, his eyes boring holes into my face like laser beams. But he doesn’t speak.
“Um,” I say. I swallow hard. Whoa, this is kinda hot all of a sudden. “And, um, when you ripped off your shirt,” I whisper, my heartbeat suddenly raging in my ears, “that part was really . . . ” I trail off, too flustered to finish my sentence. Wow, this is suddenly really, really hot.
Keane lets out a shaky breath but, still, he doesn’t speak. He slides his palms into mine and clasps my fingers. “That part was really what?” he finally asks softly, his eyes flickering with heat.
Keane smirks. He releases my fingers and slides his palms out of mine, down past my wrists and forearms, over my armpits, all the way down to my ribcage, where he finally lets his hands come to a rest mere inches from my breasts.
I open my mouth to speak, thinking I should fill the silence between us, but I’m suddenly too overcome to form words. Every inch of the flesh Keane just touched is tingling like crazy. And I’m hyper-aware of the placement of his warm, strong hands on my body. If he moved them a mere inch, he’d be touching my breasts.
“Did I do anything at all to get your motor running?” Keane asks softly, his eyes locked with mine, his pelvis heavy on top of me.
I let out a long exhale to steady myself. I’m really not sure how to answer Keane’s question. Honestly, this thing he’s doing to me right now is getting my motor running ten times more than the actual “lap dance” he performed a few minutes ago.
When I don’t reply to his question, Keane slides his hands up from my ribcage—over my armpits, past the sensitive undersides of my arms, across my forearms and wrists—and into my palms again.
But he remains quiet.
Good God, what’s he doing to me? He’s wreaking havoc on my body with the simplest of touches.
Keane leans over me, his eyes burning like coals, his fingers intertwined in mine. “You weren’t feeling it at all?” he whispers.
“Oh, no, I totally was,” I sputter. “It’s just that . . . um . . .” I begin. I take a deep breath, gathering myself. “When you did your whole stripper-thing, it felt like you were doing a Channing Tatum impression—like you were playing a character, rather than just being Keane.” I swallow hard. “And . . . um.” I shut my mouth. Keane’s begun gliding his hands from my palms down toward my torso again, and I’m too overcome with tingles to speak further.
“And . . ?” Keane coaxes as he runs his hands down and then back up my arms, his body hulking over mine.
My heart is pounding like a freakin’ jackhammer. And so is my crotch. What the heck is this shirtless boy doing to me, pinning me here on the bed and caressing my bare flesh like that? He’s turning me into a freakin’ pile of goo. “And . . .” I swallow hard again.
“Tell me,” Keane says.
Shoot. I really don’t think I should say the words on the tip of my tongue. Once I say them, I won’t be able to stuff them back in again, after all—and, as sexy as Keane is—and, damn, he’s most definitely sexy—I have no intention of nudging this friendship of ours outside the friend zone.
Or do I?
“And . . ?” Keane prompts again, his face on fire.
I exhale a long, shaky breath. “And I think,” I begin, my tongue thick and clumsy in my mouth. “Um. It turns out . . . I think Keane Morgan is . . . much . . . sexier . . . than Ball Peen Hammer.” I take a deep breath. “Much, much sexier.”
USA Today and international bestselling author Lauren Rowe lives in San Diego, California, where, in addition to writing books, she performs with her dance/party band at events all over Southern California, writes songs, takes embarrassing photos of her Boston terrier, Buster, spends time with her family, and narrates audiobooks. Much to Lauren’s thrill, her books have been translated all over the world in multiple languages and hit multiple domestic and international bestseller lists. To find out about Lauren’s upcoming releases and giveaways, sign up for Lauren’s emails at www.LaurenRoweBooks.com or say hi to her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@laurenrowebooks).