Strip You Bare

By: Maisey Yates

It was opulent, that was for sure. Even the dirt couldn’t hide that.

But whether or not he was impressed by the house was irrelevant. Because this wasn’t about the house. It was about the woman who was still under the impression that she owned it. Or more specifically, it was about her family.

The Deacons’ connection to the Delacroix family apparently ran deeper than simply claiming their infamous prodigal son Leon as a member.

That much had become clear when they were sorting through all of Priest’s holdings after his death. Not only were there the assorted properties on Bourbon Street, but there was this house that had—as far as anyone else knew—belonged exclusively to the Delacroix family since it was first built.

Not anymore. The Deacons had possession of it now.

And given that they were sure Priest had been murdered, any connections that seemed out of the ordinary were worth exploring.

Which was a damn shame because it meant his ass was parked here for the foreseeable future.

The sound of high heels clicking on the marble floor made him turn. Just in time to see a petite dark-haired woman freeze in her tracks.

Upper class. She reeked of it. From the perfectly smooth waves of rich dark hair tied back in a bun, to the pale pink dress that flowed over her curves like water. The kind of woman that was off-limits to a guy like him. Or at least the man he had been. The kind of woman who was way more trouble than she was worth. At least, that had been his take on them when he’d lived down here. There were a hell of a lot easier ways to hook up.

When he’d ridden down Bourbon on a Friday night on a motherfucking Harley, he’d had his pick. And if he hadn’t been in the mood to pick, he’d just take them all back to the clubhouse for a little bit of fun.

These days he liked a higher class of ass. And there were plenty of women dying to get down and dirty with a tattooed bad boy. Gave them a little thrill. And he lived to please.

There was no point messing around with ice princesses. No matter how hot it got, they never seemed to melt. And he did not have time for that shit.

But, if this was Sarah Delacroix—and he had a feeling it was—he had to make time for her.

“I’m sorry,” she said, tilting her head to the side. He wasn’t at all surprised that the first words out of her mouth were an apology. That was the way women like her operated. All bless-your-heart and sweet smiles. Till you crossed the line and they shanked your ass with their high heel. “Did we have an appointment that I forgot about? Are you with Lance Construction?”

“No, baby,” he said, that backwater accent he’d done so much to diminish over the years flowing out like honey. “I’m with the Deacons. And I own this place.”

“Interesting,” she said, her tone losing a little bit of its warmth now.

“Not particularly. It’s pretty straightforward. Your family doesn’t own this property anymore, Ms. Delacroix.” She couldn’t be anyone else.

“I would need to see documentation of that,” she said, her tone unfailingly smooth. “And I would appreciate an introduction, as well. You seem to know my name, but I couldn’t begin to guess yours.”

She said the words politely enough, but he could sense the underlying insult. He knew who she was because Sarah Delacroix mattered. And she had no clue who the tattooed, suit-wearing guy sitting in her house was. Which meant he couldn’t be all that important.

From experience he knew that southern belles could dish out insults with unrivaled precision. They could flay your skin from your bones and you would barely feel it until after the fact.

That was not how Micah operated. Subtlety wasn’t a part of his lexicon.

“I have documentation.” He reached into the interior pocket of his jacket, producing the deed to the property.

He didn’t make a move to rise from his seat, and neither did he extend his hand. Rather he rested his forearm on the brocade-covered arm of the chair, letting the paper dangle between his fingers. Sarah waited for a moment before walking across the room and holding out her hand.

“May I?” In response he flexed his wrist, bringing the document up a fraction of an inch. She forced a smile. “Thank you.” She took the deed from him, skimming it quickly. “This is signed over to the Deacons of Bourbon Street.”

“That’s right. And the responsibility of dealing with this particular property has fallen to me.”

“And, may I ask, what you intend to do with that responsibility?”

Sarah Delacroix was crisp like a green apple, and just as tart. Though, she hid that tartness beneath a layer of expertly applied makeup and genteel manners, beneath a shiny perfect exterior. It made him want to take a bite, uncover all the hidden flavor beneath, let the juice run down his chin.

The thought sent a sharp pang of lust straight to his gut and he felt his dick start to wake up and take notice.

Shit. Now was not the time to be cracking wood over some random chick. He had a whole night ahead for that, and there would be satisfaction in it besides. This was business.

“Haven’t decided yet. Or rather, the club hasn’t decided. I was just going to sell it.”

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