Excerpt - According to Plan

The sound of balls being racked floated up the stairs. Tank had gone for it. I knew he would. This was going to be like shooting fish in a barrel, he wouldn’t know what hit him. Feeling smug, I went into the kitchen and prepared the drinks.
 
I estimated an ounce of rum for each drink and poured it over ice cubes, followed by some cola. For extra insurance, I threw another splash of rum into Tank’s glass.
 
I rummaged through my medicine cabinet and found the sleeping pills Polly had given me, and shook out two little blue capsules. They were kind of small and Tank was pretty big, so I added one more. Three should keep him out of the way until I was safely in the air, enjoying an in-flight beverage. After breaking them open, I poured the powder into his glass and threw the tiny casings in the garbage.
 
It took only a few seconds to stir the dark liquid before heading downstairs and hand Tank his before placing mine on the bar behind him. I walked over to the wall-mounted rack and grabbed my cue stick. Confidence surged through me.
 
“Here’s to me kicking your ass.” I tapped my glass against his and watched him take a nice long drink. I hid a smile against my glass and enjoyed a sip too. It tasted good. Tasted like victory.
Tank placed his drink on the bar and walked over to the table. He lined up his shot and with a quick, powerful hit, two balls sank.
 
Lucky break.
 
He moved around the table, analyzing all angles, and then sank one, two, three balls in a row. Impressed, I sipped my rum. Two of his balls were left on the table when he missed his fourth shot.
 
My turn.
 
With a slight shrug, he turned to face me. “Let’s see what you got, darlin'.”
 
“Ha. What I got is a can of whoop ass I’m about to open up on you. Stand aside.”

I chalked my cue stick while I walked around, checking out the lay of the table. Now, I was pretty good at pool; I had to be. In my line of work, you hung out at bars and pool halls, talking to people, and I’d picked up a few tricks. So I made some fancy bank shots; double backs and sank four in a row.
 
My fifth shot was near impossible, so as a nasty treat, I tapped my ball which left the white cue ball tucked behind it. The only way he could make the shot was by hitting the cue ball all the way down the length of the table, strike a precise, exact location and roll back, just kissing his ball to go into the pocket.
 
Laughing outright I said, “Let’s see you get out of this one, big boy.” I toasted him with my drink again.
 
“I’ve gotten in and out of tighter spots than this. You should know.” A wolfish grin crossed his lips.
 
Oh boy. Normal Tank was dangerous, but playful Tank was lethal and that special tingle zinged straight to my core again.
 
He threw back about half his rum, put down the glass and lined up his shot. Slow and deliberate he pulled the cue stick back—looked directly at my left breast—licked his lips, and made the freaking shot!
 
I levelled a narrow glance at him. How long would it take for those pills to kick in? He was making some pretty impressive shots, and if he won I’d have to remove a piece of clothing. Mentally I did a quick calculation of what I was wearing. Not enough. I had on a pair of jeans, tee shirt, underwear and my watch. Maybe he’d let me take off the watch.

Nah, this was Tank, it would be clothing.
 
Standing rules between Tank and I are this: in strip poker or in this instance strip pool, we played best of three. When one person lost two matches, the game was called and the winner got whatever he, or she, wanted.
 
He dropped his seventh ball no problem and my eyes widened as he called and pocketed the eight ball, back left corner.
 
Uh oh. There were still three of my balls on the table.
 
Grabbing the hem of my shirt, I started to remove it. Tank would get an eyeful of the girls while I played. Hopefully, he’d be off balance for the next round.
 
  A tap on my arm and I looked down. Tank’s cue stick rested on my forearm and I followed the smooth line of the glossy stick until my gaze reached his face. Amusement shone out of his eyes as he shook his head and with the cue stick, pointed to my jeans. I should have known. Tank has always been an ass man.

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