Stud in the Stacks Page 1

Author: Pippa Grant

Series: Girl Band #2

Genres: Romance


Knox Moretti (aka Mr. Romance, aka Tarzan, but only for tonight)

Even though it’s been six years since I stripped for a roomful of women, I’m pleased to report my loincloth still fits in all the right places. Tad more snug in front than I remember, but if I had to grow, might as well be in the junk.

I give the elastic one last test as the producer signals that I’m up. Spider-Man gives me a fist bump. Thor smacks my ass. They’re the last two bachelors going up on the block after me in tonight’s superhero-themed auction.

There are some who might say Tarzan isn’t a superhero, but Jane would beg to differ.

And I fucking own this costume.

Plus, if no one else bids on me, my Nana’s right up front, ready to throw down the hundred bucks I slipped her before the show.

I’m hoping for a little higher than that though. Batman just went for a cool five grand.

Batman was a dick, which I assume my Nana didn’t know when she started the bidding on him. A grade-A, condescending asshat who thought just because he had a few million bucks in the bank, he could call people gay like that’s an insult and take a metaphorical shit on my favorite books.

I fucking want to beat Batman. Reminds me of my regional manager, except richer and more tolerant of bachelor auctions.

Pretty sure I’ve never dated Batman’s daughter though. Big difference there.

“Ladies,” local anchorwoman Nancy Houlihan says into the microphone onstage, “next up is…”

She pauses, the spotlight criss-crosses the stage, and a drum rolls. All goes silent, the light stops on my doorway entrance to the stage, and Nancy crows, “Tarzan!”

My music starts—does anything say jungle man quite like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight?” Not if you have half a sense of humor, it doesn’t—and I put all my swagger into walking out that door to the whoops and hollers of the fancy crowd. I might not have the cash most of these guys have, but I’ve never considered a bank account to be the true measure of a man.

Nancy’s on the far side of the stage at the microphone, watching while I make my way to the center, grinding and gyrating and feeding off the energy of the crowd.

At the front table, Nana’s covering her eyes, and it’s all I can do to keep from cracking up.

Am I a sexy beast? Sure.

Do I know how to give the ladies what they want? Damn straight.

But a bachelor auction? I’m a little more than just my meat, thank you very much. Also, I’ve read over eighty bachelor auction romances. I know how this story is supposed to end, which is why I almost said no.

Given how much shit my boss has been giving me about his perception of my personal life interfering with smooth operations at the library, too—and that whole thing with his daughter—I probably should’ve said no.

However, Nancy reached out to me through my blog and said the magic words—“All proceeds are going toward literacy”—so here I am, and I’m damn well going to get as much money for my sexy ass as I can. I shake my booty, I point at the women in the audience, I wink, I smile, and I get my groove on, squatting to the floor and thrusting to some “a-weema-weh.”

Nancy and my Nana might be the only two women in the room unaffected.

Just because I don’t take myself too seriously doesn’t mean I can’t give a good show.

The music keeps playing, but it lightens as Nancy steps to the mic. “Ladies, meet Tarzan. He’s six-two, one hundred eighty pounds, and when he’s not swinging vine to vine to save Jane in the jungle, he likes to—”

“One thousand dollars!” A brunette in a killer red dress leaps out of her seat at a table midway back in the banquet hall and waves her paddle.

Holy shit.

Bidding hasn’t even started, and we’ve already surpassed Nana’s budget. I cock a finger at the brunette, wink and fire, and a Marilyn Monroe lookalike in the corner flings her paddle in the air.

“Fifteen hundred!”

“Two grand!”

I make eye contact with the strawberry blonde at table seventeen, and hello.

There’s something fierce about her. She’s not leaping out of her seat like the brunette, Marilyn Monroe, or the little old grandma in the back who just stole a mic to offer up seven grand and her pet poodle.

Seven grand? And what’s a literacy foundation going to do with a poodle?

“You keep your hands off my grandson, Mabel!” Nana yells.

“Suck it, you old hag,” Mabel yells back.

I point Nana to sit down, then do a slow turn, pausing to show the audience my ass while I flex my arms and shoulders. Am I whoring out my body?


Do I care?

Fuck, no. It’s for a good cause. Even my boss—whose daughter is now dating a pediatrician—can’t argue with raising money for literacy.

Bonus if the winning bidder and I click, but if we don’t, she’ll still have a night to remember. With all our clothes on. I might be nothing more than a librarian in a loincloth, but I do have some standards.

“Ten grand.”

The strawberry blonde at table seventeen again. She’s got a death grip on her paddle and her voice is firm, but there’s something in her expression that says this isn’t where she wants to be.

Like she’s out of her element, but she has a goal, and she’s going to get it, even if it’s uncomfortable.

And she just doubled Batman’s final price. I could kiss her for that alone.

I’m distracted by a high-pitched whistle and a “Shake it, baby!”

The music switches to an old song from my grad school stripping days. I tip my head back and laugh. Nancy cocks her own finger gun at me—the lady did her research well—and goes back to fielding bids. I dip into another grind, rub my hands down my chest and play with the band on my loincloth.

“Fifteen grand!” That from the brunette who jumped the gun on the bidding.

“Twenty!” Holy shit, Marilyn Monroe’s serious.

The strawberry blonde at table seventeen surges to her feet. “Fifty thousand dollars!”

Fifty what?

Holy fuck.

The music screeches to a stop. I stop. Nancy stops.

She bats her fake eyelashes at the strawberry blonde. Not coy, like she’s hitting on the highest bidder. But like she just forgot how to talk and she’s stalling for time.

She visibly swallows, which is more than I’m currently capable of doing. “Fifty thousand dollars?” Nancy repeats.

“Fifty thousand dollars,” the strawberry blonde confirms with a waver in her voice.

Fuck me.

This isn’t bachelor auction money. This is gigolo money. Or…worse.

I know that book too. And at least a dozen variations.

Nana looks at me as though she, too, suspects this is bang her and knock her up money. Or I want to be your sugar mama money. Or possibly I need to take you into a secret lab for official government research money.

I read a lot. Don’t judge.

“Fifty thousand dollars,” Nancy says. “Going once…”

I stare at the strawberry blonde.

She stares back, not blinking, but not nearly as confident as she was when the bidding was still in the four figures. There’s something about that determination in her gaze—there’s a story there.

An intriguing story. One I’m surprisingly interested in hearing. Fifty grand? For me? I’m a catch, but that’s almost as much as I make in a year.

“Going twice…”

“One hundred thousand dollars!”

A new voice rings out from the back doorway. Gasps and whispers of “Who is that?” echo under the sparkling chandeliers.

I crane my neck, but she’s backlit, and all I can see is a shapely figure and a curly head of hair.

The strawberry blonde at table seventeen drops her paddle, eyes flared, lips parted like someone just stole her baby unicorn.

I might be wearing a similar expression.

Because what the fuck is expected of a guy who goes for a hundred grand?

Nana’s gaping at me.

Apparently she doesn’t know either, but then she starts grinning like she’s already counting new great-grandbabies.

“One hundred thousand dollars,” Nancy repeats faintly. “Do I hear one-fifty?”


“One hundred thousand. Going once…” Nancy calls.

The strawberry blonde quietly sinks into her seat.

“Going twice…”

A hundred grand.

Holy fuck. Batman can blow me.

“Sold! To…the lady in the doorway for one hundred thousand dollars!”

I put on a smile and move to the side of the stage as my purchaser swings her hips through the tables. The strawberry blonde at table seventeen is staring down at her program, and I get the oddest feeling in my chest.

Like something bigger than a hundred grand could’ve happened.