Devil in Texas

By: Calista Fox

Chapter One




Tugging on the large bronze handle of the tall oak door of the only drinking establishment she had to choose from in the tiny town of Wilder, Texas, Elizabeth Brooks lamented the very limited selection she had this evening in her quest for a good girl turned wicked woman experience.

Yeah, she got that this was a small lakeside community. Population three thousand and twelve—make that thirteen as of today. But seriously. Only one bar in the entire town? Whatever happened to variety being the spice of life?

I’m not gay, Elizabeth. I’m bi. There is a difference.

The patronizing statement from her lying, cheating ex—whom she would refrain from calling Asshole of the Year and simply refer to as Peter—still grated on raw nerves. Despite the fact she’d just put six or so states between them. Right under her nose, her Mount Sinai-surgeon boyfriend had blown half of New York society, servicing the Misters of Wall Street right along with the Misses of Park Avenue. Expecting her to just “deal” with his equal-opportunity infidelity.

Okay, I can make do with a little less spice in my life.

Swallowing down the humiliation that rose in her throat at the remembrance of the life she’d left in the dust five short days ago, she entered the bar. From the nondescript exterior, she half-expected a dive with regulars hunched over their beers, listening to the twangy lyrics of ‘70s country songs her father had played off scratchy albums when she was a kid. Though the beer would likely be cold, two-stepping down Memory Lane with Waylon and Willie and The Boys was not at the top of her To Do list.

Getting laid was.

She wasn’t the least bit ashamed to admit it. Elizabeth was in desperate need of meeting someone capable of resuscitating her lifeless libido so she could wipe the slate clean of Peter’s betrayal, restore some of the dignity she’d lost and move on.

Mission possible, she assured herself and squared her shoulders. Lifting her chin a notch, she crossed the scuffed hardwood floor of Wilder’s only hotspot, peanut shells crunching beneath the thin soles of her olive-colored snakeskin pumps. The cozy room boasted a tall fireplace set into the far wall, trimmed in large, smooth river rock. Diffused lighting from the antler chandeliers cast a soft golden glow throughout the place and sent shadows chasing up the walnut-paneled walls, decorated with old-fashion rifles, stuffed animal heads and elk racks.

All very masculine and Ted Nugent Kill It and Grill It. The wild, wild West personified and yet… Not so bad, really.

Sure, the scent of stale beer permeated every nook and cranny of the joint, but that was just one more element that added to the ambience. She’d found a real-live, honest-to-God Texas saloon. The kind her father, Austin native Wyatt Brooks, had waxed poetic about when he’d complained of Manhattan’s over-priced, pretentious cocktail lounges after an evening of business networking with CEOs in three-piece suits and power ties.

Her father would’ve loved Wade’s Saloon. Given his zest for life when he was alive, and her recent lack of it, he also might approve of Elizabeth’s wicked undertaking. Whereas her mother, Rachel Tabor-Brooks, would have a massive coronary if she knew her former Miss Teen USA daughter dared set foot in such an establishment. Looking for a hot hookup, no less.

Keep the smelling salts close at hand, Mother. I’m about to be bad!

Elizabeth was determined to shed her stuffy uptown-girl skin and, at age twenty-eight, take her first walk on the wild side. She hoped this place—this town—would be the perfect venue for her much-needed liberation.

Stepping into the shadowy depths of the lively tavern, she scouted the “talent”. Cute cowboy wearing a black Stetson to the left raised her hopes of this being a target-rich environment. Edgy-looking biker to the right could take her on the wild ride she needed. And dead-ahead…

Elizabeth’s gaze swept the back portion of the saloon, crash-landing on the bartender. A tall, dark, devilish man who looked like pure sin in his faded Levi’s and tight black T-shirt.

Bull’s-eye!

The breath escaped her parted lips on what she hoped was not an overly audible whoosh. As her pulse kicked up a notch or ten, she took stock of the vision before her, admiring every masculine inch of the Devil in Blue Jeans, starting with his devastatingly handsome face. Perfectly sculpted with a square, strong jaw line that was clean-shaven, but which she guessed turned his features rugged and dangerous-looking when lined with a hint of dark stubble.

His obsidian-colored hair dusted the collar of his shirt, a tad too long and a bit wavy on the ends. Thick and unruly. The kind of hair a girl could tangle her fingers in while he kissed her, long and deep.

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