Aces WildExcerpt from:

Ace's Wild

Copyright Sarah McCarty 2015
All rights reserved

 Could you please call him again?” Petunia asked the lady at the top of the stairs.

“Ace! The lady doesn’t fancy cooling her heels waiting for you any longer.”

Still no response. The woman leaned over the rail, her breasts all but spilling free as she shrugged. “Sorry, honey, doesn’t look like it’s your lucky day.”

“No, it’s definitely not.” Sighing, she gathered up her skirts. “But sometimes you just have to make your own luck.”

When her foot landed on the first stair, the woman at the bar gasped.

“Honey, you don’t want to be doing that.”

Petunia spared her a glance. “No, I’m sure I don’t.” But she kept climbing.

“Ace, you’d better get out here,” the woman at the railing yelled when she reached the halfway point. Whether it was repetition that inspired it or that half octave increase in the woman’s pitch,  this time there was a response.

“Stop your caterwauling, Bess. I’m not expecting anyone.”

Petunia reached the landing. Bess blocked her way. This close Petunia could see she was older than she’d thought, maybe in her midthirties[MK1] , but still pretty in an overdone sort of way.

“Excuse me, please.” The please was a courtesy. One way or another, she was getting down that hall.

Instead of moving, Bess caught her arm. “Whatever you’re doing, it’s not worth your reputation. If you don’t leave now, no decent man will touch you.”

The genuine concern in the woman’s gaze kept Petunia from rolling her eyes. “I’m twenty-nine years old and well and clearly on the shelf. If a decent man was going to touch me, he likely would have done it sometime in the previous thirteen years.”

Bess took her measure, sighed and shook her head. “I hope you know what you’re doing.”

Stepping around Bess, she nodded. “Oh, I know what I’m doing.” To herself she muttered, “It’s the results that are in question.”

Bess caught her arm again, drawing her up short. “He’s had a lot to drink.”

“Is that good or bad?”

“Honestly? It could go either way.”

Petunia set her shoulders. “Well, if it can go either way, then it might just as well go mine.”

The woman sighed. “It’s the third door down.”

“Thank you.”

Determination kept her feet moving. When she reached Ace’s room, the door was ajar. She knocked.

“Go the hell away, Bess.”

Petunia pushed the door open. Ace was lying on his stomach on the bed in a decadent sprawl, his muscled back, broad shoulders, lean hips and strong legs were dark against the white sheets.

“I’m not Bess but if I were, I’d take offense at the language you just used.”

Ace went very still. His fingers tightened in the pillow. On a “What the fuck?” he rolled over, grabbing the sheet and pulling it over his lap. His front was just as mouthwatering as his back. The light sprinkling of hair across his chest made her fingers tingle to follow it down over that hard ladder of muscle across his stomach. To follow it beneath the sheet to see where it ended…

“I repeat. Language.”

“I’ll talk any way I want.” He shook the hair out of his eyes. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“I needed to talk to you.”

“You can’t be up here.”

She rather enjoyed his discomfort. “Apparently, I can.”

“Turn around.”

She did, listening as he got out of bed and yanked on his pants. “Of all the idiotic things you’ve done, Pet.”

“My name is Petunia, and to you, Miss Wayfield.”

“Since you’re standing in my room, on the upper floor of a saloon, in what technically is a brothel, I’ll call you any goddamn thing I want.”

“I’d appreciate it if you cleaned up your language.”

“I’d have appreciated it if you’d let me sleep.”

“May I turn around now?”


She was disappointed to see him shrugging into his shirt.

“We have business to discuss.”

“We have business? The most we’ve ever exchanged is a few insults over a cinnamon bun. And I didn’t even buy you that.”

“Nonetheless, we do.”

He finished buttoning his shirt. “You need to get the hell out of here.”

“I need to talk to you.”

Grabbing his hat, Ace crossed the room and grabbed her elbow. Her pulse leaped. Tingles raced up her arm and over her shoulder, sending goose bumps across her chest. Beneath her jacket, her nipples tightened. What was it about this man that affected her so?

“I’ll thank you to let me go.”

He pushed her toward the door. “I’ll thank you to get the hell out of my room.”

“I did try to speak to you down in the lobby.”

“That’s not a lobby, it’s a saloon.” He shoved her through the door. “Do you know what you’ve done to your reputation?”

“You realize I don’t care?” The dryness of her tone got her a look. “I am, as you pointed out, completely on the shelf.”

“I don’t realize anything except a reputation is a hard thing to replace.”

“I have no intention of rebuilding it. I’ve done nothing wrong.”

“You’re in a brothel.”

“It’s the middle of the day.”

“It’s a brothel!” He shoved her down the hallway. Bess was standing where Petunia had left her. Ace shot her a glare. “What the hell were you thinking, Bess? Letting her up here.”

“What did you expect me to do?” Bess snapped back.

“Trip her and knock her down, throw a punch.”

“She wasn’t looking for me.”

“Son of a bitch,” he muttered under his breath. “Fucking women.”

Petunia wanted to shout back “Fucking men” but no matter how liberated she was, she hadn’t gotten to the point she could say words like that.

Ace hustled her down the stairs. Her skirt caught on her heel, tripping her. He hauled her up. “Keep moving.”

“It would be easier if you slowed down.”

“I’m getting you the hell out of here before somebody sees you with me and starts thinking we need to get married.”

“I have no intention of getting married.”

He grunted. “Probably a lot of men grateful for that fact.”

She planted her feet. “Did you just insult me?”

He yanked her forward. “I haven’t begun yet.”

“Should have taken me, honey.” Jimmy lurched toward them. “Seems like he’s not in any too hurry to have you.”

Ace swore. Petunia looked over her shoulder at the drunk and smiled sweetly. “I insisted on clean sheets.”



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