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Lincoln Shaw: a book in the Cotton Creek Saga (Heartbreakers & Heroes 8) by Ciana Stone (1)

Chapter One


So, here's where it all begins. Or ends.

Either way, life was never going to be the same again. If there was life after what happened next. There were two ways she could play this. The first: pretend to be weak and beg, or the second: the way her mama had raised her. Hands on her hips and ready to rumble.

Tallulah, or Lula as she was most often called, chose her mama's way because she wasn't about to beg this sorry sack of shit for anything. "I'll tell you what." Her hands went onto her hips. "If you don't put that gun away your buddies are going to see you get your ass kicked by a girl."

That probably wasn't the smartest challenge. Men hate to be called down by a woman, particularly in front of their friends. But this one had crossed a line when he shoved that five-dollar bill into the band of her thong and then tried to pull the thong clean off her body.

As if he hadn't seen darn near all there was to see of her. Not to mention there was a strict no-touch rule. That's one of the reasons she took the job. She wasn't a bit ashamed of what nature had blessed her with and didn't give a hoot about men watching her do a silly pole dance, but she was a "touch when invited" kind of girl and she rarely invited anyone to touch.

She didn't go into her personal policy with the offender but did point out the "no touching" rule clearly posted. He called her a whore and jerked her off the stage. That's when she slugged him. The way his eyes rolled around she thought that might be the end of it.

Luck wasn't with her, though. As soon as his head whipped back into normal position he pulled the gun.

Now they stared at one another like the gunslingers of old, sizing each other up and looking for weakness. Lula wasn't at all sure he would back down. "I tell you what, cunt."  He looked around at the crowd that'd gathered and grinned before returning his attention to her. "You drop to your knees and suck my dick and maybe I won't blow your fucking brains out."

Just as the thought crossed her mind that she'd take a bullet rather than suck anything of his, a deep male voice from the edge of the crowd brought silence to the place.

"Or..." The people parted to make way. " hand over the gun and leave before I get angry."

Lula was as surprised as her nemesis when a man emerged from the crowd. Well, hellooooo Thor.

Holy Asgardians, what a man. Well over six feet, with a mane of blond hair, eyes the color of frost and a body built for either fighting or sinning, maybe a whole lot of both. She'd opt for the latter if given a choice.

That, however, was a fantasy for another day because right now she saw the uncertainty on her opponent's face and inwardly cheered. Apparently, so did his friends because one of them egged him on. "Shoot that fucker, Earl. Go on, shoot'im."

Earl didn't have a chance to turn the gun on Thor before the gun was in Thor's hand and Earl's eyes were rolling back in his head from a punch that had him doing an award-winning imitation of a felled tree. Lula wanted to cheer, but instead, tripped one of Earl's friends who decided he was brave enough to go after Thor.

Many times, in her life she'd heard tales of people "mopping up the floor" with those who stood against them. This time she saw for herself the expression come to life. Thor mowed through those rednecks like a god, even taking time to give her a wink when she yelled a warning about someone behind him.

All in all, from start to finish, the fight lasted about two minutes, but by gosh it was an exciting two minutes. When the bouncers finally shouldered their way through the throng of people, Thor handed them the gun, turned and stuck out his hand, palm up, to Lula.

Lula was many things, but one thing she was not, was fool enough to say no to the mighty god of the Asgardians. Thor was her savior and, okay, so he wasn't really Thor, but a gal could dream and she'd yet to see anything in real life that had come close to what she was looking at now.

So, naturally, she put her hand in his. He led her to the back of the crowd. "Are you all right?"

Lula whipped off the lace mask she used to conceal her identity. "Of course, I am. You saved me, Thor."

He laughed. "My name's not Thor, it's Lincoln."

"Tonight, it's Thor."

"Is that so?"

"Absolutely. And thank you. I'm Tallulah Christmas Duval, but you can call me Lula and I owe you."

"You're welcome, Lula, but you don't owe me anything."

"Oh, I'm quite sure I do. You see, I knew that either my life was going to end or begin, depending on what Buttwipe did with that gun. And thanks to you, the first night of the rest of my life begins now, and I feel that deserves a special thank you."

"Ah, well, when you put it that way, what did you have in mind?"

She smiled up at him. "Let me get dressed and I'll show you."

"Okay, I'll wait for you right here."

"Be back in a flash, Thor."  Lula didn't believe for a moment that he would be waiting when she returned, but she still hurried to the dressing room to change.


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