Sweet as Candy - Karla Doyle

Chapter 1


From the driver’s seat of his parked SUV, Jake took stock of his destination. Lucky’s Healthy Life Massage. Simple, tasteful sign mounted on a well-maintained industrial building. No tacky, flashing neon or explicit images in the windows. The place could pass for a respectable business.

No registered massage therapists worked beyond that tinted glass door though, and Lucky’s damn sure wouldn’t accept your health insurance plan as payment. They offered massages here, true enough. The kind that came with a happy ending…delivered in a variety of erotic ways.

Lucky’s was a small operation with a top-notch rep. In rub-and-tug terms, that meant clean facilities with gorgeous women who did filthy things. According to online reviews, the ladies here did those things very well. For fixed rates, cash only, generous tipping required.

Jake did a visual sweep of the parking lot, then headed for the entrance. He loved sexy, naked women as much as the next guy, but this was a totally different scene from his usual source of female entertainment. He had no problem tucking money under a beautiful woman’s G-string as she gyrated in front of him at a strip club, but he’d never paid for sex. Never would either. No matter what level of hotness and seduction he encountered inside the massage parlor.

He got his game face on and pulled the door handle. Low-level music and a long privacy wall prevented him from seeing or hearing anything incriminating. He followed the wall to its end and turned a corner, into a conservatively decorated reception area. A counter-height desk served as a barrier to the next room. Through the archway beyond, several comfortable-looking couches were visible, occupied by a couple of scantily clad women.

Massage attendants. That was their title on the website. A blonde with her face obscured by a magazine and a redhead with not much hidden by anything. The redhead gave him a wink and a wave.

Jake nodded an acknowledgment, but he wasn’t here for a redhead. Or a blonde. He was here for a brunette. One specific brunette—the dark-haired woman behind the reception desk. His buddy Curtis’s girlfriend, or possibly ex-girlfriend, as of this morning.

Curtis had it bad for this woman. He’d even moved her into his loft. Curtis had brushed it off as a temporary stay, the result of threats she’d received at the hellhole she’d formerly called home, yet he’d seemed in no hurry to change the arrangement. In fact, he’d been downright foul when he’d mentioned Sara’s ongoing apartment search. Curtis was in deep with this one. A huge deal, since Jake’s friend and fellow police officer hadn’t been serious about any woman in the five years they’d been on the force together.

Jake had pegged the couple for permanent-relationship territory until Curtis hit him up for a favor. A wild one.

For reasons he hadn’t shared, Curtis had tailed Sara to work. Here. For months, Sara had claimed to work as a health club receptionist. The receptionist part appeared to be true, but Lucky’s sure as hell wasn’t a health club. Attempting to provoke her into leaving the job, Curtis had gone into a massage room with one of the other women. There, Sara’s coworker had told Curtis that Sara would soon be abandoning her desk position for one more horizontal—or any other position the clients dictated. Curtis had pretty much lost his fucking shit at that revelation.

Hence, the favor.

“Do whatever it takes to find out how far she’ll go,” Curtis had said.

Jake had agreed to the mission. So here he was, face-to-face with his buddy’s girl. An off-duty cop about to proposition a woman for paid sexual services.

Curtis owed Jake for this favor. Big time.

Sara smiled at him. A phony, practiced gesture that didn’t reach her eyes, though the guys around here probably didn’t notice, or care. “Do you have an appointment?”

“No, do I need one?”

She shook her head. “Walk-ins are always welcome. Have you visited us before?”

“No, but you come highly recommended by a good friend.” Time to engage the plan. He leaned in, invading the space above the counter and locking gazes with his mark. “I thought he was exaggerating when he said the women here were gorgeous, but I can see he was telling the truth.”

“Absolutely. Our massage attendants are the sexiest, most beautiful women in the tri-cities. I’m sure you’ll be very satisfied with whoever you choose this afternoon.” She gestured toward the room with the couches. “Brandy and Candy are both available now, if you’d like to go in and meet