Big Easy Temptation - Shayla Black Lexi Blake

PROLOGUE

San Diego, California

Nine years ago

Dax Spencer peered down over the elegant reception and wondered where the time had gone. Wasn’t it just yesterday that he and his friends were attending Creighton Academy, where their biggest worry was passing calculus and sneaking out to the girls’ school down the road?

Now Zack, one of his pack, was married. In fact, Zack was the first to fall on the matrimonial sword. He was also a senator about to make a run for the White House, but somehow the idea of Scooter being a husband seemed weirder.

And the political world had come to watch the nuptials. People magazine had even sent a photographer. The wedding was the bash of the year for America’s elite and had all the pomp of a royal affair, complete with a few foreign dignitaries who had come hedging their bets that Zack and Joy Hayes would one day occupy the White House.

Dax nodded as Connor Sparks and Gabe Bond approached, drinks in hand. In the distance he could see his own parents among the crowd lining the dance floor. A simple glance proved this was the wedding of a Naval daughter, since the place was a sea of dress whites.

“I can’t believe he really tied the knot.” Connor, his best friend, put a hand on his shoulder as they watched the bride and groom begin their first dance.

Dax was sure they all felt that way. “After the year they spent planning this shindig, I think Joy’s parents would have had Zack’s head if he hadn’t gone through with it.”

“True.” Connor smirked. “I hope he’ll be happy. I like Joy but I worry she’s too . . . I don’t know, nice for Zack.”

Gabe sighed. “Yeah. I would have thought he’d want someone with a little more attitude.”

“To survive Zack’s future, she’ll definitely need backbone.” Campaigning and politics seemed like a nasty business to Dax. Zack’s senatorial campaign had been peppered with negativity about everything from his youth to his family ties. How would Joy weather the media scrutiny on a larger scale?

“Bitchiness would even be better, though that word will probably get me slapped,” Connor said with a chuckle. “But yeah, I worry she’s a bit fragile.”

“Joy is the perfect first lady—pretty, gracious, kind. She’ll be a true benefit to him politically,” Gabe said. “I guess I wanted something more for him.”

“He’s been with her for two years. He seems happy.” At least Dax hoped he was. Since the day he’d met Zack Hayes, when they’d been gangly, pimply-faced kids, Zack had been on a path, one his father had set for him long ago.

Dax couldn’t exactly complain. His own father had set a path for him as well. Spencer sons went into the Navy. There had been a Spencer in every war fought since the Revolution. Only days before, he’d been promoted. He would become captain of his own ship in the next few years and eventually follow in his father’s footsteps to become an admiral. Dax saw his path clearly—and he couldn’t wait.

Then why did he feel so restless? There were at least a hundred gorgeous women roaming the reception. The likelihood of him getting lucky tonight was supremely high.

Yet Dax only sought one woman.

“You seem anxious tonight. What’s up with you?” Connor tipped back his beer.

“You seem to know everything, Mr. Spy,” he shot back. His best friend worked for the Central Intelligence Agency as an analyst. It fit Connor actually. He’d always been good at chess and