Renegades Book 1
A couture wedding dress designer to the rich and famous, Lexi LaCroix’s image means everything. Raised on the wrong side of the tracks, her years of polish and hard work are finally about to pay off. But when she crosses paths with a sexier-than-sin, bad-boy biker who makes her realize how much living she’s sacrificed for her success, one touch is all it takes for Lexi to turn reckless.
Jax Chamberlin has been screwed over by gorgeous gold-diggers one too many times. Though he runs his own stunt company, all of America knows his Hollywood face even years after he’s given up acting. Finding a woman who doesn’t plan to use him as a stepping stone to success is virtually impossible, so when the charming and mysterious Lexi offers him a totally anonymous hook-up during an out of town trip, Jax accepts. Only Lexi is more sextacular than charming, and Jax wants more. Lots more.
“Hotter than hell and a lot more fun. Skye Jordan's writing sizzles!”
–Elisabeth Naughton, New York Times bestselling author
Read Chapter One
Jax Chamberlin wanted to kick this backstabbing bitch’s perfect ass all the way to Malibu.
He really, really did.
Even though his patience was worn as thin as air, Jax clasped his hands behind his head and kicked his booted feet up on his scarred desk. Renegades’ on-site work trailer was a piece of shit, and he and every one of his stuntmen preferred it that way. Then it didn’t matter if they came in muddy and bloody, wearing biker boots or spurs, dragging along rigging or a saddle. They knew they had a place to relax between takes.
Jax was not relaxed now. And Veronica was so obviously out of place in all her classic Hollywood perfection.
“We don’t have anything to talk about,” Jax kept his voice even, “and I’m on my way out.”
He didn’t want to know why she was still on set at midnight during the week. Didn’t want to know how she’d been since they’d stopped seeing each other—or, more accurately, fucking each other. Didn’t want to have anything to do with this woman.
Jax lifted one arm and tilted his head back to look at his watch. Typical of Wes to drag his ass when Jax really needed him.
“Have a date?” Veronica crossed her arms. “Who are you seeing now?”
He wasn’t seeing anyone—for the first time in about a decade. Since she’d betrayed his confidence, Jax couldn’t seem to drum up any interest in cultivating another fuck buddy.
He replaced his hand behind his head and massaged the knot in his neck with his thumb. His body still ached from a sixteen-hour day of riding motorcycles in the desert. He’d stood under the hot shower for a full thirty minutes, stretching, but his muscles and head still throbbed.
He’d like nothing better than a beautiful woman with a gorgeous body to distract him from his discomfort. Nothing. The lack of sex after being so sexually active for so long felt a little like what Jax imagined an alcoholic might experience going dry. So the fact that he felt no draw to Veronica standing in front of him in shorts so short the frayed edge barely covered her ass cheeks said something about the state of his psyche.
“I’ve got a hot date with an airline pilot,” he said. “I’m on a red-eye to New York.”
“Oh.” That mouth, Botoxed every three months whether she needed it or not, pouted. She straightened, and her tits stretched the fabric of her hot-pink T-shirt to its limits. “What film?”
“Robin Hood remake.” Then, just because he knew it would make her turn green, he added, “I’m doubling Brad Pitt in the fights, opposite Tyler Manning.”
Her little gasp, the way her lips formed an O, followed by a look of deep disappointment gave Jax a sliver of satisfaction. He’d definitely go to hell now, but he’d been headed that way before this.
“How long will you be gone?”
“At least a week, maybe two.” Probably less, but she didn’t need to know that.
“Why?” Jax laughed, trying to keep this light, but frustration burned beneath his skin. She didn’t deserve the satisfaction of knowing her betrayal had pulled the rug out from under him, or that he was struggling to get back on his feet. “Because a man has to make a living, V. If you hadn’t jumped into Roloff’s bed and spilled our pillow talk, I could have been working right in downtown LA for the next year. Now I’ve gotta go where I’ve gotta go to keep Renegades running. We all do what we gotta do, right?”
Her deep brown eyes flashed with petulance. “You don’t need the money, Jax.”
The sound of his patience cracking had to have been a figment of Jax’s imagination. But the tightness in his chest was not. He dropped his feet to the linoleum floor. The thud echoed through the hollow walls of the trailer, and Veronica startled. Her arms uncrossed, spine straightened, nipples tightened beneath the cotton tee. Jax’s balls didn’t even heat.
He sat forward, anger storming through his gut, but he kept his voice low. “I have five guys working for me. Five. They have responsibilities. They depend on the jobs Renegades attracts to get paid. Whether or not I need the money personally is immaterial. If you stepped outside your shell once in a while, you might realize there are other human beings living in this smog pit.”
He didn’t bother going into what had been eating at him on a personal level—how badly he’d wanted that job for the work, not the money, because she’d known. He’d lain in bed after giving her every damn thing she’d wanted, as many times as she’d wanted it, in exactly the way she’d wanted it, and told her how the stunts that movie called for were ones he’d dreamed of performing.
Then she’d sold him out for a new playmate.
Veronica dropped her hands, fisting them alongside her thighs. Fantasy-inducing thighs. Tanned and toned and mouthwatering in Daisy Duke cutoffs. A month ago, Jax would have been drooling at the sight. Tonight, he glanced at his watch again and cursed Wes’s late ass.
Veronica leaned forward, jaw tight, eyes hot. “You weren’t going to let me drive. All I wanted was a tiny part. Just one chance to drive a stunt car.”
Warning flares darted into the darkness closing in on his mind as fumes of anger gathered, just waiting for a spark to ignite.
“You. Aren’t. Qualified.” He stood, shoulders back, hands at his hips. Her size—half of his—became instantly obvious. “And nobody dies on my set.”
She kept her stubborn chin up, but those dark eyes darted away from his.
A horn sounded outside. Jax’s gaze darted to the trailer’s single, dirty window and the headlights of Wes’s truck. Relief swept through him like a breeze off Belmont Shores.
He raised a hand to let Wes know he’d seen him and returned his gaze to Veronica. She pouted like a spoiled child. All Jax felt was residual bitterness at himself for being stupid enough to trust her in the first place. And deep disappointment she’d turned out to be like every other woman he’d been with for the last…
He didn’t need to go there.
“You wanted to drive,” he said. “Congratulations, V. You fucked your way into the driver’s seat. I hope you live to enjoy the experience.” He picked up the duffle beside his chair and strode past her. “Lock the door on your way out.”
“Jax.” She grabbed the back of his T-shirt and jerked him to a stop.
He stared at the door, just three feet away, and ground his teeth. Rage steamed from his ears. Hold it together.
“I didn’t come to fight.”
She turned on the I-want-to-slide-around-in-the-sheets-with-you voice, and it pinched low in his gut. But not because he wanted to slide around in the sheets with her. He just wanted to slide around in the sheets with…someone. Some gorgeous, fun, sexy, no-strings woman.
Yep. That would happen. That would happen about the same time humans started inhabiting Mars.
“I came because…” Veronica continued, oblivious to his distress. Her hand slid up and down his arm. Instead of turning him on, it made his skin crawl. “I miss you. I was hoping we could—”
“Nope.” He pulled from her grasp and pushed out the door. “Not interested. At all. Ever again. Lock the door, V, and don’t come back.”
Jax’s hand tightened so hard on the duffle’s handles, his palm stung. He clenched his teeth until his jaw ached. At the truck, he yanked the passenger’s door open and tossed his duffle on the floorboard, then hoisted himself toward the seat with the help of a ceiling-mounted handle.
“What if I can get you the contract back?” Veronica asked.
Jax froze halfway into the cab. His gaze met Wes’s. His coworker and friend hated Veronica. Had wanted that Bond movie as badly as Jax. No, he’d wanted it worse. For Wes, the movie was both a stuntman’s dream gig and a gold mine. And Wes, like all the other guys, needed the money.
Wes’s gray eyes narrowed, an impending storm ready to break. He laid a muscled forearm over the steering wheel, his tanned face tightening with tension.
“Murder’ll get you ten in California’s pen. Hit men always talk,” he said in a very low, very serious voice, but his brows rose marginally when he said, “But snuffing someone could come in handy on the résumé.” That stony gaze settled on Veronica again. If Jax didn’t know the man inside and out, he’d be nervous. “If she says what I think she’s going to say, I’m gonna—”
“They’re not happy with the group they contracted with,” she called across the space separating them.
“Fucking A.” Wes’s eyes positively glowed with hatred in the shadow of his ball cap brim as they darted toward Jax. “You’re not buying this—”
“Shut up, Wes,” Veronica said. “Jax, if you’ll consider hooking up with me again, I’ll talk to the director. I know I can get this turned around.”
Jax still stood on the running board, halfway into the cab. He was still staring at Wes, but his gaze blurred over his friend’s taut face.
She was using his dream like a carrot.
But his mind turned to his guys. Of how much work this would bring them. Of the boost it would give Renegades, a boost they would all benefit from for years to come.
He should swallow his pride.
“No, man,” Wes said. “I can see what you’re thinking. And, just…no.”
His gaze sharpened on Wes. “You guys need the work. I won’t go back to her. I’ll just string her along until we get the contract—”
“She fucked you once; she’ll do it again. And I guaran-goddamn-tee, if you do this, you won’t have a crew to staff the contract, because the rest of us will bail on your pussy ass.”
A whisper of relief eased Jax’s tension. He turned to face Veronica and all her bogus beauty—inside and out. “I’m not interested. Don’t come around again.”
He climbed into the truck, slammed the door, and closed his eyes until he could tell by feel that Wes was on the 405 Highway. Jax stared straight ahead at the taillights of the other cars, his gut tight with a combination of pent-up anger and self-disgust.
“We don’t need work that bad.” Wes pounded a fist against Jax’s shoulder with a grin. “Have some fucking pride, dude.”
Jax sat forward and shoved his arms into his jacket. “I’m so sick of this bullshit.”
“You could try fucking someone with a few morals for a change.” When Jax turned a frown on Wes, he held up a hand. “Just sayin’ the insanity angle doesn’t seem to be working for you. You’re not seeing it yourself, and it’s killing me to watch you, dude.”
“Insanity—you know, doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result? You keep going for the same type of superficial woman and you keep finding the same damn trouble.”
“Morals don’t seem to be in high demand in our industry. Those women are a little hard to find.”
“You’re not really going to use that cop-out on me, right? I mean, I live it too, and you don’t see me banging my head against the wall till it explodes. But, hey, it’s your life, your head. Bang away. I’d prefer you didn’t take Renegades down with you, because this is the best job I’ve had in five years. But, whatever.
“And the last thing I’m gonna say on this, because it’s really your problem, if morals don’t interest you, how about hooking up with a chick who’s at least nice to you for a change? I’m starting to think you’ve got some masochistic fetish.”
Jax had just worked sixteen hours. Now, he would jump on a plane, arrive in another city, and work another sixteen hours. Then he’d drop into a hotel bed—alone—only to wake up the next morning and do it all over again.
Masochistic? Not in a sexual sense, but when it came to work and women… Hell. Maybe.
He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the seat, his mind drifting over the plentitude of sweet girls Wes seemed to have in his life. Girls who not only gave him great sex—or so he said—but did all those thoughtful things. Jax had seen women bring him lunch and coffee to the set. Had seen them rub his shoulders when he sat down at a shoot.
Just the thought of a woman treating him that well made Jax’s muscles loosen.
“What’s your girl’s name?” Jax asked. “The one you’re with now? Kelly?”
Kayla, that’s right. Jax immediately pictured the woman. Midtwenties, cute, sweeter than sugar. A waitress or something. “How’d you meet her?”
“She waited on my table at the restaurant where she works.”
Jax propped his elbow on the window ledge and rubbed his forehead. “I’ve got time to hit the bar before the flight, right?”
“She’s got girlfriends who aren’t in the business. Granted, Kayla’s not Veronica, but I’m sure not kicking her out of bed for eating crackers either.”
“She’s cute,” Jax said. “I’ve seen her come to see you on the set.”
“Her friends are too. We could hook you up.”
Oh, hell no. The thought made him break out in a cold sweat. “No way. I’ve got girls I could call—”
“Girls like who? Like Veronica?”
“No,” he snapped. “There’s Kim—”
“Who fucked you for an introduction to Scorsese.”
Oh, right. “Okay, then Candy—”
“Who got you to pay for three months of acting classes in exchange for fucking you.”
“Or Jolie,” he shot out, scouring his mental list for the least offensive women in his dating data bank.
“Who was secretly fucking you and Holt at the same time? While Holt was married?”
“I’m not telling you another goddamned thing.” Jax rubbed his face with both hands. Christ he was tired. “You fight dirty.”
“This is why your life never changes.” Wes smacked the steering wheel as he took the ramp toward LAX. “You’re not willing to get out of your rut. If you want different results, you’ve got to use different tactics. You’ve got to decide where your priorities lie—exterior or interior. You’ve done the hell out of exterior, and it’s not working for you.”
Jax closed his eyes and pressed his fingers against the lids. “Okay, I’ll consider it. Not saying yes. Just that I’ll consider and I’m not doing it blind. I want a picture or something. And information.” He uncovered his eyes and glared at Wes. “And if you get me in more trouble than I can get myself into, you’re so dead.”
Wes laughed and pulled in front of the Virgin America terminal. “It’ll work out great. When your head’s on straight, good shit always happens.”
Jax wasn’t so sure.
Now Listen to Chapter Two!