Phoenix Rising Anthology
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by Lena Austin, Belinda McBride, Anne Kane
Category: Erotica/Paranormal Erotica/Romance
Description: Like the legendary bird, the heroines of Phoenix Rising rise up from defeat, rebuilding their lives, and their loves, one night at a time. Fallen Angel--Lena Austin Angie's an exotic dancer with a secret that could ruin her entire family. There's a fanatic with a gun about to erase all her options but one--the mysterious biker known as Tree... Draggin' In Phoenix--Belinda McBride Alan's no stranger to the cross-dressing scene, but when he spots the new face on the stage for the Coming Out pageant, it's like a kick to his gut. Then again, Alan's heard imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Things really heat up when "Jesse" and "Lana" go Draggin' in Phoenix! Fertility Rites--Anne Kane Beltane begins at sundown, and tradition dictates Rhys choose his life-mate from the single females who will dance for him. Tamara's determined to win his heart--but she's not alone. What Doesn't Kill--Tuesday Richards Rebecca's determined to start a new life with Rick. But her past still haunts her--despite the restraining orders. This time her ex may have pushed her just a little too far... The Phoenix Rising anthology's royalties go entirely to Save the Quiet Kitty, a fund organized to help our fellow writers with unexpected medical expenses and disaster relief.
eBook Publisher: Changeling Press LLC, 2009 2009
eBookwise Release Date: February 2010
8 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [118 KB]
Reading time: 72-102 min.
Would he come tonight?
Angela Fisher glanced toward the big double doors of the bar again and lugged her tray full of beer mugs back to the bar once more. Her butt ached from all the illegal pinches and pats from the patrons, and her temper burned high.
Sue, the bartender, grinned at Angie. She was the oldest in the place at forty-three, and tougher than the old steel-toe boots she wore. She'd apparently noticed Angie's repeated glances at the door. "Pay attention, Red. You're safe here." She tapped her crossbow under the bar, for which she had all the licenses. "Now go deliver these shots to table eleven."
Table eleven was full of Sue's biker friends, and normally a nice bunch, but some new guys out to prove themselves were there and drinking shots. They grew rowdier by the hour, and the bar's bouncer had already wandered over to have a talk with the partiers about keeping their hands to themselves when it came to the servers.
Angie hefted the tray and staggered under the weight. She still wasn't used to the heavy loads lifted by the servers, but she'd managed to totter around on the high heels every girl in the place wore to make their legs look longer. If the heels weren't bad enough, the abbreviated costumes were worse. Her father would have called them "invitations to rape with big red bows."
The doors opened and shut on another customer, his face hidden in the shadows of the entranceway, but there was no doubt in Angie's mind who the newcomer was--Tree was back.
Tree stood six feet four inches tall and had the black hair and hazel eyes of his European ancestors. He shrugged out of his leather jacket and sauntered over to join the party at table eleven.
Now Angie was happy to heft her tray over to the overflowing table and put the shots and beers in the middle of the table for the group to sort. She didn't dare do more than ask professionally who needed a round. Her scribbling the orders on a pad didn't prevent her from giving Tree a special smile she reserved just for him.
Tree gave her a slow, quiet smile and mouthed, "The usual for me." The music made hearing him impossible anyway, not to mention the good-natured banter of his friends.
Angie reached across the table to gather up all the empty mugs and flipped the ashtrays into the one on her tray. She had the last empty mug in her hand when a hot, sweaty hand ran from the back of her left knee all the way up before cupping her ass. Her face flushed red with annoyance. Enough was enough!
The biker whose hand was currently doing its best to worm under her costume's tight panties grinned up at her. "What's your price, Red? I'm itching to see if you're a natural redhead." If his leer hadn't been obnoxious enough, his insinuation was worse.
Angie's reaction was automatic and swift. Her right hand, loaded with a heavy glass beer mug, swung back and connected with his jaw with a loud crack. Some gleeful demon inside cackled with satisfaction while the sensible prim librarian on her other shoulder groaned and wondered if she'd be charged with assault and battery.
The man's eyes rolled to the back of his head and he toppled over to kiss the floor with his face. The whole place stopped. Even the jukebox ran out of tunes at precisely the same instant.
Still riding high on temper and satisfaction, Angie calmly put down the mug, raised her hand over her head, and snapped her fingers in the silence.
The bouncer obeyed the summons and lumbered over. He looked down at the snoozing customer. "Idjit. Didn't I warn you three times to keep your paws off our girls? Nope, you had to go for the redhead." He turned to the club members. "This probie is too stupid to be anything other than a sidewalk commando."
Those who weren't sniggering nodded their heads, even Tree. They didn't protest when the bouncer hefted the unconscious patron and lugged him outside to finish his nap in the parking lot, draped over his bike. Anyone who wore a grape purple helmet to match their grape bike deserved to be mugged, in Angie's opinion.
Someone laughed and fed the jukebox more money. Seconds later, the house rocked again. The small incident had been dismissed. For them, at least. Her good girl side calculated how long they'd have before the police came to drag her off in handcuffs.
Angie flipped her red ponytail over her shoulder with her chin in the air and took the tray back to Sue. "Three drafts, one whiskey neat, a Guinness, and a Michelob Light."
Tree followed, much to her surprise. He sat next to Angie, where she waited for Sue to fill the drink order. His blue-green gaze locked with her still stormy brown eyes, and his tongue licked his lips. "He deserved worse, Angel Face. Don't worry. I doubt he'll even remember in the morning. He was pretty shit faced."
"Angel Face? Who are you talking to, Tree? I know what my mirror says. I don't think frizzy red hair, freckles, and brown eyes qualify for the heavenly hosts." Her heart ached for a moment, but years of scars from handsome men who used her to get close to her more beautiful friends had taught her well. Even if she hadn't had those lessons, the past few months had taught her a great deal more--trust no man. She was tired of being a victim.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Angel Face." He took the Michelob Light he'd ordered off Angie's tray when Sue delivered the bottle. "I'll wait here for you."
Angie glanced at the clock over the bar. "Then you'll be waiting two more hours. It's only just now midnight."
His heated gaze started at her face, raked her whole body with heat, and came back to her lips. She'd have sworn he kissed her with his eyes alone. "I'll wait all night, if I have to."