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Nina and Muriel have been best friends forever. Why hasn’t she ever taken a serious look at Muriel’s older brother, Asher, and realized how incredibly sexy he is? And now that she has finally noticed, and can’t think about anything else, how can she cross the slippery line between friend and lover without destroying the deep bond they’ve always shared?(Includes the exciting series conclusion: Ben finally solves the mystery of the stolen money…and must learn to live with the tragic knowledge that one of his closest friends was not what he claimed to be!)~~~~~ Excerpt ~~~~~It struck Nina suddenly, as she lay watching the pre-dawn sky glide slowly from dusky gray to molten gold, that she hadn’t slept well since the night of the barbeque. And as much as she hated to admit it, there could only be one reason why.Asher.Her family had moved from Montana to Florida nine years ago, just after her twelfth birthday. Muriel had become her very first friend, and they’d been inseparable ever since then. She couldn’t remember a time when Asher hadn’t been hanging around nearby, as older brothers so often did—but she’d always thought of him as, well, just a friend. Muriel’s older brother.All that had changed on the night of Jared’s barbeque. Suddenly, for the very first time, she’d become aware of him as a man—a sexy black-skinned giant who’d stirred her blood to a flashpoint boil when he’d protectively laid his massive hand on her shoulder to warn Jory away.The shock of it had literally stolen her breath, and the rest of the evening had whipped by in a hazy blur. Every nerve in her body had ached with the need to drag him into some dark corner and attack him!But when he didn’t feel the same about her…How could she possibly risk losing the deep, comfortable friendship they’d shared over the past near-decade just because she itched to peel him out of his clothes and impale herself on his lusty big shaft?She knew it was big, too, because she’d seen him in a swimsuit too many times to miss that vital detail. Big, long, and thick, with a delightful curve that she knew would stroke her right to the core, and give her explosive orgasms.Was that why she’d bought a new vibrator that matched his provocative shape and dimensions when her old one had finally died?Why on earth hadn’t she ever really seen him before, and considered the delightful possibilities of taking him as a lover?She’d been too used to looking at him and just seeing Muriel’s mildly-annoying older brother, she admitted with an edgy sigh. And maybe she’d been afraid that it might destroy the special camaraderie she and Muriel had always shared. True sisters-of-the-heart bonding was rare. She’d walk ten miles over burning coals before she’d allow anything to damage that.So here she was, caught on the horns of her own personal crisis…and horny as hell because of it. She couldn’t turn back the clock and become not-aware of him again. But if she took matters…and him…into her own clever hands, as Astra had with Jared, she’d probably send him running for the hills. Running and screaming in panic, she concluded with another gusty sigh. And that would ruin things for everyone…
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Bikini Babes’ Carwash
By Suzie McLean
Artwork by Moira Nelligar
Copyright 2016 Suzie McLean
All characters in this book are 18 or older.
Nina shifted restlessly in her narrow bed, and tried to will herself back to sleep.
It wasn’t working.
She wasn’t really surprised. In only four short hours, she and her eight sorority sisters would throw open the well-oiled hinges of their newly renovated carwash, and officially become business owners! How was anyone supposed to sleep just before the most exciting day of their whole life?
She hadn’t been this enthusiastic eight weeks ago. When Phoebe had proposed expanding their very successful college fundraising efforts into a real carwash staffed entirely by sexy, stacked women, Nina had thought she was nuts. Sure, they all had fantastic bodies, and they worked hard to keep in top shape. But opening a new business during the worst economic slump since the Great Depression? Not a chance!
Still, when Toni had dutifully crunched the numbers, the bottom line had surprised them all. So the next day, Phoebe had met with Riley Thompson to discuss leasing options. And when sparks had begun sizzling between them, leasing options weren’t all they’d discussed. They’d ended up banging each other like horny rabbits on the couch in his small trailer office.
The bond that had formed between them had surprised everyone, especially Phoebe, because even though Riley was handsome and still very sexy, he was also in his early fifties. But, Nina thought with a wistful sigh, love didn’t pay attention to trivial little things like generational gaps. It struck where it chose, and you could either scramble to keep up, or be left behind.
She’d been horrified when she’d first seen the property for herself. The place had been a wreck! Gigantic heaps of smelly garbage had littered each of the long hurricane-battered bays. Vagrants, wild college frat parties, locals too lazy to haul their trash all the way to the dump…who knew?
But the Alpha Beta Xi sorority was nothing if not determined…so in true BetaZed style, they’d optimistically dug in and begun their painstaking restorations. Between them, they’d almost literally moved mountains. Not only the obnoxious piles of debris; they’d completely renovated the long, sprawling building from one end to the other. The original architects, she thought with satisfaction, would barely even recognize it now.
But the bays had been stifling as full summer had descended on Florida’s sunny coastlines like an avenging angel, so the work had been hard, hot, frustrating, and utterly exhausting. Only loyalty to Phoebe, and a deep-seated integrity that compelled her to honor promises, had kept Nina going through those first few miserable weeks.
Then things had started to get crazy.
Just when they’d finally begun making some headway, they’d gotten a very unwelcome visit from the new county building inspector, Jason Prescott. Oh, not that he was unwelcome himself, she amended with a quick rueful grin. Jason was seriously cute, and he’d fallen for Toni like a load of bricks. But the news he’d brought, that their exciting grand opening would have to be delayed for another full month until all the building repairs were completed… She’d nearly cried with frustration!
That very same afternoon, she’d unearthed a weird-looking black trash bag from the disgusting heap she’d been excavating—and when Selena had opened it, they’d been stunned to find nearly $167,000 worth of stolen cash hidden inside! Riley had taken it away—and after reclaiming the portion that had been stolen from his own office safe four years previously, he’d split the balance between the other neighboring businesses who’d also been robbed.
They’d gotten a lot of attention from that, and even a surprisingly good write-up in the Seaside Bay newspaper. The reporter had been a close friend of Riley’s, so he’d made sure to emphasize that all the money had already been returned…and he’d also waxed eloquent about the new Bikini Babes’ Carwash that would be opening soon. That, she hoped, would help them get through the first few difficult months as they built up a solid traffic base.
Astra and Elle had decided to convert the first empty bay into a luxurious ‘massage parlor’ where they could ply their own skills, and protect their ultra-fair skin from the broiling southern heat. They’d all been fully in favor of that for several reasons, not the least being that it would give them a unique edge over the competition.
Then Reid Holmes, their local fix-it guy who’d long-since earned the respectful nickname ‘MacGyver’ because of his ability to fix anything from scraps, had joined their team ‘as a favor to Riley,’ and had done a first-rate job of fixing up the battered old building. Nina was pretty sure Riley was using part of the recovered money to pay him for the extensive work—but as neither man would confirm her suspicions, it was still only a 99%-certain hunch.
She was damned sure he was paying ex-cop-turned-detective Ben Corey to protect them, though, because she’d overheard them discussing it a few times. Ben had been slid in ‘as a day laborer to help Mac,’ and he’d learned fast enough to be a real help. But he hadn’t counted on falling in love with Muriel—and he also hadn’t counted on the perky Jamaican girl recognizing him, and blowing his cover. The fireworks that had sizzled between them those first few days hadn’t been purely sexual; Muriel had been outraged that he might have considered them suspects in those old robberies.
To clear the air, Riley had arranged an impromptu meeting with the BetaZeds on the morning of Phoebe’s 21st birthday. But then things had really gone crazy! When Mac had driven to the local college to collect Andrea, she’d hurt herself in the long Olympic-sized swimming pool, and had nearly drowned. Only quick action on his part had kept her alive until the EMTs could arrive and rush her to the hospital.
The real surprise had come later that day, though, when Mac and Andi had admitted their longtime love for each other, and Mac had proposed to her right before they’d held Phoebe’s birthday party in Andi’s hospital room. The entire night had been a wild emotional rollercoaster ride.
Only a few days later, Jared Montrose had asked to join their elite team, and work with Astra and Elle in their comfortable massage parlor. No one had been thrilled with the idea, she remembered, until he’d shrewdly pointed out that catering to women as well as men would boost their overall traffic dramatically. That had inspired Riley to start prepping the adjoining empty lot for a possible full-scale spa next year, and who knew where that might lead?
Their initial angry sparks had turned to sizzling fireworks when Astra had realized she was falling in love with Jared, and the resulting passionate explosion had singed everyone within a ten mile radius. They still hadn’t come up for air—which was, Nina thought with a quick grin, pretty darned cute.
But the drama hadn’t ended yet, and thinking how easily they could have pushed dainty little Tamika over the edge and lost her forever to keening depression still chilled her to the bone.
Tami had been just a child when she’d gotten romantically involved with Logan Baird. None of them had approved at the time, because she’d been so young and emotionally vulnerable. Their worst fears had been realized when Logan’s parents had divorced, and he’d been forced to accompany his mother overseas for several years. Churning despair had probably caused the brutal miscarriage that had nearly killed Tami along with the child she’d unwittingly conceived. It had taken her months to recover physically, and even longer to emerge from the black pit of misery that had nearly destroyed her.
Nina had worried about reopening those barely-healed scars when Logan’s commercial design company had agreed to create and install their beautiful new full-color business sign. But no one had expected Logan to show up himself—and seeing him so unexpectedly had thrown Tami into an emotional tailspin. It had taken a fair bit of chicanery on the BetaZeds’ part to reunite them.
So far their new relationship was working well, but everyone was walking on eggshells to make sure nothing went wrong again.
A vague frown creased Nina’s bronzed forehead as she restlessly stared up at the dimly-lit ceiling. And then, she thought with a pensive sigh, Jory had arrived—and nothing had been the same since.
Jared had seemed ambivalent about sharing the summer with his fraternal twin. The reason had become immediately clear when Jory had arrived. Their personalities were as different as their appearance, and Jory’s smug arrogance had grated on everyone’s nerves.
Riley had eased the tension by inviting his nephew, Brad, and all of his roommates over to enjoy the barbeque, and by accident or design—Nina still wasn’t quite sure which—Brad had fixed his sights firmly on Selena. They’d been an item ever since, which she thought was pretty cool. Brad and she had double-dated a few times with other couples, and she liked him a lot, but there just hadn’t been any spark between them. She was glad he’d finally found someone special to love—and, as that someone happened to be one of her equally-beloved sorority sisters, she was delighted for both of them.
But that hadn’t ended the problems with Jory. After making very obvious plays at the other girls—which had been firmly rebuffed since they already had boyfriends—he’d set his amorous sights on Elle. And there, Nina thought with a sudden smirk, he’d made a fatal error. Elle might be soft-spoken and sweet, the very epitome of a genteel Southern belle…but she had a core of solid steel, and could only be pushed so far. When Jory had crossed that line, she’d dropped him like a pro, and left him writhing in agony on the massage parlor floor.
There was no doubt in Nina’s mind that he’d gotten exactly what he deserved—and she’d mentally applauded when Jared had defended Elle by beating the living daylights out of his twin. But somehow, heaven only knew how, Jory had managed to not only mollify his brother’s righteous fury, but Elle’s, too. His road-to-Damascus conversion two days ago seemed genuine and sincere…but Nina intended to keep a close eye on him anyway. No one, but no one, was going to upset Elle again.
It struck her suddenly, as she lay watching the pre-dawn sky glide slowly from dusky gray to molten gold, that she hadn’t slept well since the night of the barbeque. And as much as she hated to admit it, there could only be one reason why.
Nina’s family had moved from Montana to Florida nine years ago, just after her twelfth birthday. Muriel had become her very first friend, and they’d been inseparable ever since then. She couldn’t remember a time when Asher hadn’t been hanging around nearby, as older brothers so often did—but she’d always thought of him as, well, just a friend. Muriel’s older brother.
All that had changed on the night of Jared’s barbeque. Suddenly, for the very first time, she’d become aware of him as a man—a sexy black-skinned giant who’d stirred her blood to a flashpoint boil when he’d protectively laid his massive hand on her shoulder to warn Jory away.
The shock of it had literally stolen her breath, and the rest of the evening had whipped by in a hazy blur. Every nerve in her body had ached with the need to drag him into some dark corner and attack him!
But when he didn’t feel the same about her…
How could she possibly risk losing the deep, comfortable friendship they’d shared over the past near-decade just because she itched to peel him out of his clothes and impale herself on his lusty big cock?
She knew it was big, too, because she’d seen him in a swimsuit too many times to miss that vital detail. Big, long, and thick, with a delightful curve that she knew would stroke her right to the core and give her explosive orgasms.
Was that why she’d bought a new vibrator that matched his provocative shape and dimensions when her old one had finally died?
Why on earth hadn’t she ever really seen him before, and considered the delightful possibilities of taking him as a lover?
She’d been too used to looking at him and just seeing Muriel’s mildly-annoying older brother, she admitted with an edgy sigh. And maybe she’d been afraid it might destroy the special camaraderie Muriel and she had always shared. True sisters-of-the-heart bonding was rare. She’d walk ten miles over burning coals before she’d allow anything to damage that.
So here she was, caught on the horns of her own personal crisis…and horny as hell because of it. She couldn’t turn back the clock and become not-aware of him again. But if she took matters…and him…into her own clever hands, as Astra had with Jared, she’d probably send him running for the hills. Running and screaming in panic, she concluded with another gusty sigh. And that would ruin things for everyone.
Maybe she could find some subtle way of easing into it. She wasn’t known for her subtlety…she left that to Elle and Tamika. But surely, if she put her mind to the problem, she could figure out a way! When it really mattered, she could move mountains…
That reminded her of the carwash when she’d first seen it…and that reminded her that in just four short hours they’d be throwing open the gates to welcome their very first customers. Excitement of a different kind rekindled in her belly. They were going to make it a rousing success, and it was going to be wonderful!
In the other bed, Muriel stirred, then flipped over and pulled a pillow over her head. Nina glanced in her direction, then started to grin. If the pretty Jamaican girl couldn’t sleep, either, why were they both lying here frustrated when they could be downstairs fixing a big, tasty breakfast to surprise the other girls?
“Yo, sleepyhead!” In one quick move, she yanked her own pillow free, and hurled it across the room. It landed right on target, startling Muriel into jolting up with a breathless protest. “Today’s the big day! Let’s start it right with a king-sized order of omelets!”
Every woman had her price. For Muriel, it was big fluffy omelets loaded with everything but the kitchen sink. Her tastebuds began to water as she considered having free rein at the stove. An instant later, she was leaping to her feet and reaching for her sheer jungle-print bathrobe. “I’ll do the eggs, you do the pancakes!”
They weren’t the only ones with the same idea, though. When they crept downstairs on silent feet, intending to get a jumpstart on the morning, they found the kitchen a hive of activity. All the other BetaZeds were already there, looking bright-eyed and excited.
Nina and Muriel exchanged a single glance, then burst into laughter.
Phoebe cast a mocking grin in their direction. “It took you long enough. But I knew the fresh-brewed coffee would drag you out.”
They hadn’t actually been able to smell it with their bedroom door closed, but now they inhaled deeply, then moved in unison toward the brimming pot. “Omelets?” Muriel asked hopefully when Toni reached into their oversized refrigerator. “I’ll help!”
The mahogany-haired Italian beauty cast an amused glance over her shoulder. “I had a taste for homemade waffles. So we’ll split the duty. You do the omelets, and I’ll cook the waffles over on the short counter.”
Toni’s homemade waffles were even better than pancakes, and Nina reflected for perhaps the thousandth time that she was being wasted as an accounting major when she should be opening her own cordon-bleu restaurant.
Within moments, the homey scents of sizzling bacon and frying eggs began competing with the sharper tang of Muriel’s diced onions and green peppers. Their big day was definitely off to a fantastic start.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Nina dressed with care. The shiny ebony hair she’d inherited from her Blackfoot Indian mother was a stunning contrast to Astra and Elle’s ethereal pale blond beauty, Phoebe’s rich auburn curls, and Selena and Andi’s honey-gold waves. Her flawless bronze skin set her apart from Toni, Muriel, and dusky little Tamika. So it was only fitting, she thought as she tugged on her skimpiest shimmery-gold bikini, then carefully adjusted it so her lush breasts were barely contained beneath the silky little triangles of material, that today’s costume should be just as much of a contrast.
She thought of it as a costume, a prop to set the stage, because she was a talented dancer. As a child, she’d charmed all the parents at every year-end recital with her quick, lively footwork. In high school, she’d starred in every single musical and play—and had nearly always secured the lead role. She’d done the same in college, and had rounded out her skills with vocal and singing lessons tucked between her various dance classes.
Oh, she’d taken the mandatory base classes, too, and had excelled in most of them. Her personal curse of being a perfectionist had stood her in good stead there. But she only truly came alive on the stage. Not even really good sex could match the thrill of breathing in that charged atmosphere just as the curtain began to rise, and the lights brightened to highlight her carefully-poised silhouette.
Someday, she thought as she pulled her waist-length hair back into a long, flowing ponytail, she’d dance on Broadway. That had been her dream, her Mecca, ever since she’d taken her first ballet lesson at age six.
Sex with Asher just might come close to matching that indescribable ecstasy, she decided as liquid heat rippled down into her flat belly, then radiated out to tingle through her graceful fingers and toes. But how could she make him want her, too? If years of watching her pirouette on the stage in obscenely scanty costumes hadn’t done it, what would?
Too bad he wouldn’t be swinging by the carwash today, as he so often did, to commemorate their boisterous grand opening. Even he couldn’t fail to notice the outrageously sexy outfit she’d be wearing!
But he’d already made his excuses last night when he’d been helping them set up the long promotional tables. His crew was starting a new remodeling job at the big multilevel senior center across town. If he wasn’t there to supervise, nothing would get done on time or within budget.
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