Dirty Sexy Saint (Dirty Sexy #1)

By: Carly Phillips & Erika Wilde

Tara delivered the drink to the woman, then headed onto the main floor to clear off tables and make sure that the few customers still left didn’t want a final drink before the place closed. Clay started putting bottles of alcohol away while covertly watching the blonde as she dipped her tongue into the froth of whipped cream before she wrapped her lips around the rim of the shot glass, tipped her head back, and deep-throated the concoction, just as the drink name implied.

Oh, fuck me…

A soft moan escaped her as she swallowed. When she was done, she slowly licked the remnants of whipped cream from the corner of her mouth, her lashes falling half-mast. Her actions were so guileless and unpracticed, yet so fucking sexy it turned him on—and reminded him that it had been much too long since he’d gotten laid.

One quick text to the woman with whom he had a friends-with-benefits arrangement could easily change that status, but first he needed to make sure the cupcake left his establishment safely, then he could close up the bar. Considering his reaction to the out-of-his-league blonde, he definitely needed to indulge in a hard, hot fuck.

Tara returned with a tray of empty glasses and set them in the sink behind the bar. The last of the customers filtered out for the night, and two of his regulars gave him a wave on their way toward the exit.

“See you later, Saint,” one of the older guys called out.

Clay was more a sinner than any kind of saint, but ever since his brother Mason had given him the nickname years ago to irritate him—which it had—everyone had followed suit. And the nickname stuck. It had been easier to put up with the label than fight it.

“’Night, Ted. Charlie.” He lifted his hand in a reciprocal good-bye. “Be safe out there.”

Tara grabbed a damp rag and started to help him with the cleanup.

“I’ll finish up here,” Clay said to her. “I know you have a mid-term exam tomorrow, so go home and study and get a good night’s sleep before your class in the morning.” Tara was attending college part-time to get her business degree, and Clay tried to support her in any way he could.

She smiled at him, her expression relieved. “Thank you. I appreciate that. I’ll get the blonde to close out her tab, then head out.”

“Don’t worry about it.” He placed a bottle of Grey Goose vodka back on the liquor shelf. “She’s the last customer. I’ll take care of her.”

“Of course you will, Saint Clay,” she said on a teasing drawl. “She definitely has that damsel-in-distress vibe about her, despite her expensive clothes and accessories.”

Clay had a history—more like a bad habit—of helping and/or rescuing those who were down on their luck in some way, including Tara herself, though she’d come a long way from the broken, angry girl he’d originally employed at Kincaid’s. Hell, most of his workers had been hired based on their desperate need of a paycheck, as well as a way to prove their self-worth. A lot of them came from less-than-ideal circumstances, or were trying to recover from a hellish past as damaged as Clay’s own was.

But the blonde wasn’t any of those things, and he doubted she needed any kind of rescuing—and certainly not from him. She was merely a pretty inconvenience, one that required Clay to do the dutiful thing, as he would with any of his customers who had had a few drinks too many.

With his back to the blonde and still facing Tara, he crossed his arms over his chest and gave her a pointed look. “I’ll take care of her like I would any other tipsy patron,” he said, his tone direct. “She’ll pay her bill, and I’ll call a cab to take her home so she’s not driving under the influence. Making sure she leaves safely is all part of my responsibility as owner of this bar. Nothing more.”

Tara reached up and patted his cheek. “You can try and justify it all you want, but you’re a good guy, Saint Clay.”

Despite his nickname and the reason behind it, he wasn’t a fucking saint. Never had been and never would be. He’d done a shitload of illegal and immoral things he wasn’t proud of in his life, and while he’d done his best to redeem himself, there was still a darkness inside of him that would always remain.

“Good night, Tara,” he said, his abrupt tone making it clear that he was done with this conversation.

“See you tomorrow night, boss,” she said with a cheeky grin.

She grabbed her purse and jacket from a cupboard behind the bar just as the dishwasher—a young kid he’d caught rummaging through the dumpster in the back for scraps to eat a few months ago—came out from the back area, where the small kitchen was. He was pushing a beaten-up bike, which was his mode of transportation that he kept in the storeroom so it didn’t get stolen. A plastic bag hung from the handlebar, and Clay knew it held a Styrofoam container of leftover appetizers from happy hour. Taking a meal home at the end of the night was something Clay had insisted on, since he suspected that was the kid’s main source of nutrition.

“Elijah, walk Tara to her car on your way out?” he asked the kid. Clay usually escorted his female employees to the parking lot himself at the end of the night, but for liability purposes, he wasn’t about to leave the blonde completely alone for any length of time.

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