About INKED NIGHTS:
Available June 26th
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Carrie Ann Ryan comes a new story in her Montgomery Ink series…
One night a month.
No last names.
Olivia Madison has her own rules:
Don’t fall in love.
Never tell Derek the truth.
When their worlds crash into each other however, Derek and Olivia will have to face what they fought to ignore as well as the connection they tried to forget.
**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**
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Read part of the first chapter of INKED NIGHTS:
Quick intakes of breath.
Long sighs turning to moans.
That’s what awaited Olivia Madison, and she knew it. She’d always known it. She’d rake her fingernails down his back, arch into him, and let herself be taken in the most primal way. And then she’d walk away again without looking back. They’d have a drink. They’d fuck. They’d keep it to only those details. There would be no last names, no promises. Exactly how they wanted it. And in a month, they’d do it again.
It was her thrill, her deepest secret.
Well, not her deepest, but the only one she could face.
Just one more time. That’s what Olivia had told herself last month, and yet, she knew she would be back for more. She’d always be back for more when it came to him.
Because that was how it was, and she wasn’t sure it would ever change. She wasn’t sure she needed it to change. Wasn’t sure she wanted it to change.
But she was going to push those thoughts from her mind. Because tonight was about one thing. Hot, unadulterated sex. At least that’s what she kept telling herself. Because there was no way that Olivia was going to fall for the man she didn’t know. She might know his body just as much as he knew hers, but that was it.
She didn’t even know what his favorite drink was. She swore he ordered a different one each time they were out together just to throw her off. She’d found herself doing the same, but maybe not for the same reasons. She just liked variety, liked knowing that she didn’t have to commit to something as simple as a drink.
The only commitment she allowed herself was one night a month with a man named D. He knew her as O.
And every time he called her that, there was a little laughter in his eyes because he had indeed given her a few Os along the way.
She mentally rolled her eyes at the horrendous joke and took a sip of her lemon drop martini. Tonight, she’d wanted something extra sweet to get the bitter taste of regret out of her mouth. For some reason, this night felt different than previous months. Maybe she was just getting old, or the fragile relationship she had with her stranger was getting stale, but either way, she felt like this might be the last one. And maybe it needed to be.
Having sex with a stranger with no promises and no strings once a month for as long as it had been going on seemed crazy and a little as if she were playing with fire. She often wondered what the manager or bartender at this hotel thought of them. Because this wasn’t the first time she’d seen the same guy behind the bar, wasn’t even the first time she’d seen the concierge.
Olivia wasn’t the one who booked the hotel room; that had always been the job of the other person in this strange relationship.
She just had to show up at the same time every month, sip her drink, and wait. And the thrill of that set her on edge. She knew it was wrong, knew she was consistently making the same mistakes, but she didn’t care, not when it came to him. And perhaps that was the greatest mistake of all.
“I see we meet again.”
That deep voice went straight to her lady parts, sending shivers down her spine and making her want to arch her back like a cat. She loved that voice, loved that growl. She especially loved it when he was groaning above her as he made both of them slide into sweet ecstasy.
She looked over her shoulder and raised a brow, doing her best to look as sultry as possible. She knew she was sexy, knew she had all the right curves. She’d even learned how to dress those curves and apply just the right amount of makeup to enhance the smokiness of her eyes, the plumpness of her lips, and the angles of her cheekbones. She knew all of that, and had looked up tutorials and gone shopping with her friends to ensure that she knew the rules of this particular game she played.
As soon as she caught the look in D’s eyes, she knew she had played things just right—at least for tonight.
She had chosen a champagne-colored cold-shoulder dress. There was a split in the side of the skirt that showed just the barest bit of thigh that she knew he’d already noticed, twice. She’d put her long, wavy hair up in a sort of twist along the back of her head, only because she loved the way he pulled out the pins and let her hair tumble down her back.
Yes, she dressed for him, and she probably shouldn’t have. But she did.
“You say that as if you’re surprised.” She smiled, not able to help herself. She wasn’t some femme fatale that could act all unaffected, even if she tried. But she liked this man, even if she didn’t know exactly who he was. She liked their game, liked what they had, even if it was just an illusion. She would have tonight, and in the morning, she would wonder why she allowed herself to remain in this situation, but then she would forget again and only remember him.
D gave her a long look before taking the seat next to her at the bar. “I always am. Just as you always seem surprised to see me walking toward you. If only for a moment.”
“I like how you act as if you know me.”
He leaned down closer to her face, his warm breath on her neck. “Sugar, I know you.”
That made her snort. She couldn’t help it. Hence why she wasn’t that femme fatale she tried to dress as.
“Are you laughing at me?” he asked, a clearly fake put-upon look on his face. “You saying I don’t know you?”
She shook her head as the bartender came over to take D’s drink order. Johnny Walker Black this time. Interesting. Talk about smooth and smoky.
“No, I wasn’t laughing at that, but isn’t the whole point of…this, that we don’t know each other?” She held out her hand when he would have answered. She didn’t need to know what he had to say about their arrangement. It was weird enough already, even with how hot it was. “I was snorting at the whole ‘sugar’ thing. I’ve never heard you call me that, and we live in Denver, not the south. I don’t know where you picked that up.”
D shrugged, taking a sip of his drink. “A client said it. I must have subconsciously absorbed it.”
It was on her tongue to ask him what kind of client, but that wasn’t who she and D were to each other. She would do well to remember that. Even D seemed a little annoyed that he’d let that bit of his life slip. But instead of saying more, he took another sip of his scotch, then turned on the stool so his legs were caging hers. She didn’t mind. At this point, she’d use any excuse to get closer to him, to have him touch her, even if it broke her in the end.
Yes, she was an idiot, but she couldn’t help it.
Not with D.
Because she knew his rules, too.
One night a month.
No last names…or firsts for that matter.
She let out a deep breath, aware that he was watching her. She needed to stop thinking about what she shouldn’t want and just live in the moment. It was how she’d gone through every other month in the past with D, and it would be how she got through tonight, too.
“I’m glad you made it,” she said, honestly. Probably too honestly, but she was doing her best not to question herself the entire night like she was prone to do. The only time she was able to forget everything was when D helped her, and she knew she couldn’t always rely on that.
He studied her face, and she wondered what he saw. Wondered why she cared.
“I’m glad I did, too.” He held up his glass, and she did the same, knowing their routine was anything but. “To inked nights.”
She grinned. “Always.”
She knew the ink that was hidden under his clothes just as he knew the ink that lay under hers. Inked nights had been a passing comment between the two of them on their first night and had been their toast ever since.
Olivia took a sip of her drink, the sweetness coating her tongue. When he reached out and wiped some of the sugar from her lip, she flicked out her tongue, needing to taste him, as well.
“Sugar,” he said with a wink, and she couldn’t help but smile.
They finished their drinks, looking at only each other. For all she knew, there could be hundreds of people around them, and yet he was it for her. And maybe, just maybe, she was it for him. She’d already paid for her martini since she didn’t have a room, and D set out cash next to his drink, not bothering to wait for a bill. They never paid for each other’s drinks, never got close enough to a receipt to see a name. And while he paid for the hotel room, they didn’t bother with gifts or fancy words either.
Their nights were just about the two of them.
When he slid off his stool and took her hand, she knew she would follow, knew she would soon be in a bed they shared but didn’t own. Others might look at them, wonder, or know, but nobody but D mattered in her mind—at least for this moment. They went into the elevator together but weren’t alone. There would be no teases, no touches as they waited to arrive on their floor. Of course, there never were because it was only them when they were within the walls of the hotel room. He never touched her beyond taking her hand or guiding her with his hand on the small of her back.
His presence was foreplay enough for her. There didn’t need to be extra touches or caresses. As soon as the hotel room door closed behind them, however, everything would change.
Just like she wanted, just like she needed it to.
D pressed the key against the sensor, and as soon as the green light lit, she knew this was it. Just the two of them and no one else. When the door closed behind them, her pulse pounded, and she swallowed hard, knowing that it was time.
About Carrie Ann Ryan: