Phoenix Rising (Anthology) by Changelings

Phoenix Rising (Anthology) by Changelings

Phoenix Rising (Anthology)

by Changelings

Changeling Press

Ebook ISBN: 03979-01273

[ Paranormal Romance, MF ]

Like the legendary bird, the heroines of Phoenix Rising rise up from defeat, rebuilding their lives, and their loves, one night at a time.

Fallen Angel — Lena Austin
Angie’s an exotic dancer with a secret that could ruin her entire family. There’s a fanatic with a gun about to erase all her options but one — the mysterious biker known as Tree…

The Phoenix Rising anthology’s royalties go entirely to Save the Quiet Kitty, a fund organized to help our fellow writers with unexpected medical expenses and disaster relief.

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Scene One

Fallen Angel by Lena Austin


Would he come tonight?

Angela Fisher glanced toward the big double doors of the bar again and lugged her tray full of beer mugs back to the bar once more. Her butt ached from all the illegal pinches and pats from the patrons, and her temper burned high.

Sue, the bartender, grinned at Angie. She was the oldest in the place at forty-three, and tougher than the old steel-toe boots she wore. She’d apparently noticed Angie’s repeated glances at the door. “Pay attention, Red. You’re safe here.” She tapped her crossbow under the bar, for which she had all the licenses. “Now go deliver these shots to table eleven.”

Table eleven was full of Sue’s biker friends, and normally a nice bunch, but some new guys out to prove themselves were there and drinking shots. They grew rowdier by the hour, and the bar’s bouncer had already wandered over to have a talk with the partiers about keeping their hands to themselves when it came to the servers.

Angie hefted the tray and staggered under the weight. She still wasn’t used to the heavy loads lifted by the servers, but she’d managed to totter around on the high heels every girl in the place wore to make their legs look longer. If the heels weren’t bad enough, the abbreviated costumes were worse. Her father would have called them “invitations to rape with big red bows.”

The doors opened and shut on another customer, his face hidden in the shadows of the entranceway, but there was no doubt in Angie’s mind who the newcomer was — Tree was back.

Tree stood six feet four inches tall and had the black hair and hazel eyes of his European ancestors. He shrugged out of his leather jacket and sauntered over to join the party at table eleven.

Now Angie was happy to heft her tray over to the overflowing table and put the shots and beers in the middle of the table for the group to sort. She didn’t dare do more than ask professionally who needed a round. Her scribbling the orders on a pad didn’t prevent her from giving Tree a special smile she reserved just for him.

Tree gave her a slow, quiet smile and mouthed, “The usual for me.” The music made hearing him impossible anyway, not to mention the good-natured banter of his friends.

Angie reached across the table to gather up all the empty mugs and flipped the ashtrays into the one on her tray. She had the last empty mug in her hand when a hot, sweaty hand ran from the back of her left knee all the way up before cupping her ass. Her face flushed red with annoyance. Enough was enough!

The biker whose hand was currently doing its best to worm under her costume’s tight panties grinned up at her. “What’s your price, Red? I’m itching to see if you’re a natural redhead.” If his leer hadn’t been obnoxious enough, his insinuation was worse.

Angie’s reaction was automatic and swift. Her right hand, loaded with a heavy glass beer mug, swung back and connected with his jaw with a loud crack. Some gleeful demon inside cackled with satisfaction while the sensible prim librarian on her other shoulder groaned and wondered if she’d be charged with assault and battery.

The man’s eyes rolled to the back of his head and he toppled over to kiss the floor with his face. The whole place stopped. Even the jukebox ran out of tunes at precisely the same instant.

Still riding high on temper and satisfaction, Angie calmly put down the mug, raised her hand over her head, and snapped her fingers in the silence.

The bouncer obeyed the summons and lumbered over. He looked down at the snoozing customer. “Idjit. Didn’t I warn you three times to keep your paws off our girls? Nope, you had to go for the redhead.” He turned to the club members. “This probie is too stupid to be anything other than a sidewalk commando.”

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