Authors: Rochelle Paige
Tags: #alpha male romance
Bare Your Soul
Copyright © 2016 Rochelle Paige Popovic
All rights reserved.
Edited by PREMA Romance Editing
Cover designed by Elle Christensen
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used factiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons or living or dead, events or locales are entirely coincidental.
The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/ Use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owner.
or my readers who enjoy alpha cavemen and insta-love... just like I do! Enjoy!
s I watched the girl dancing on stage, I couldn’t help but tremble with fear, my shoulders slumping in defeat. With the school year over, I needed to figure out what I was going to do about the train wreck my life had become. If anyone had told me a few short years ago that I’d be standing here in a strip club contemplating my future, I would have laughed my ass off.
I’d always been a daddy’s girl, so when he’d taken off during my sophomore year of high school, it had come as an enormous shock to me. I’d already been struggling with the knowledge that my mom wasn’t going to last much longer. She had been diagnosed with cancer the year before and had begun losing the battle. The doctors had told us to prepare for the worst and had advised that she’d probably only have another six to twelve months.
My parents had gotten married straight out of high school when my mom had gotten pregnant with me. I’d always sensed some distance between them since they never acted all lovey-dovey around me, but I’d never expected for my dad to run off like a coward the way he had. He’d always said I was the best thing that had ever happened to him, yet he had no problem walking away when the going got tough.
Mom had taken it in stride, though. She’d refused to move even though we didn’t have any family in town. My mom had insisted that we stay in our house because it had been important to her for me to have as much of a sense of normalcy in my life as I could with everything that had gone on. Her parents had died several years before, and she was an only child, so there hadn’t been anyone on her side of the family to turn to anyway. And my dad’s family had always been dysfunctional enough that we rarely traveled to see them. His leaving meant we only had each other to lean on.
She had been a trooper and held on far longer than anyone expected, finally letting go a week before graduation. She had done it secure in the knowledge that I’d only have the summer to fend for myself before heading off to college. What she hadn’t known was that I’d wiped out my college savings while keeping us afloat that last year. Even though it left me up a creek without much of a paddle, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’d never regret my decision either. So it meant that I found myself standing in a strip club, trying to figure out if I should give it a whirl.
I had to move out of our rental house at the end of the month because the landlord was only willing to give me until then to sell or get rid of whatever furniture I wasn’t going to take with me. We’d lived there for seven years, but that didn’t seem to matter now that it was just me. Not that I wanted to waste what little money remained on rent for the rest of the summer anyway. The life insurance policy didn’t leave me much after paying off my mom’s medical bills.
I knew I needed to get a job, and I figured I might as well get one closer to school on the off chance that I managed to figure out how to pay my tuition before the semester began. Luckily, my mom had already transferred the title of her car over to me, so I didn’t have to worry about transportation. As I drove around the city, trying to figure out who would be willing to hire a nineteen-year-old girl with no work history, the sign for Morgan’s Gentleman’s Club and Steakhouse practically jumped out at me. They proclaimed themselves to be “world-class” and I’d never heard of a strip club offering high-end food. Not that I knew much about strip clubs but the ones I’d driven past in my hometown looked nothing like this place.
I pounded the pavement for a few days trying to find a job that would pay my living expenses and leave enough money for school before I finally gave up hope. I needed to come up with a better plan, and as I did some research online, I found myself typing that strip club’s name into the search engine. I was surprised to see it had great reviews online from women as well as men. And so I found myself there looking around trying to figure out if I could put my years of gymnastics lessons to good use on the pole and make enough money to save myself from ruin.
I might’ve been a bit sheltered, but I was a damn good student, so I did my research before walking in the door. I wasn’t ready to audition tonight, I just wanted to make sure it seemed like a safe place to work if I was going to seriously consider it. I hoped checking it out at lunch time meant I’d spend less and have the chance to talk to some of the girls without being out a couple hundred bucks like I would be if I came at night. I was surprised to see so many people inside. I didn’t really know what I expected, but it wasn’t what I found.
The place was relatively luxurious from what I could tell with the dimmed lights. It was clear where they wanted your focus since the stages were very well it, and my eyes were drawn to the biggest stage as the hostess walked me to a table. I blushed as I realized I was the only single girl in the room other than the dancers. My bikini-clad waitress was cute with long brown hair, light brown eyes and a decent body. She seemed nice enough since she took good care of me while I was there, helping me fend off guys who asked if they could join me.
After a couple hours had passed, I decided that if I was going to strip then this was the place to do it since guys apparently came here to spend money based on what I’d seen and learned. I wished it wasn’t an entirely nude club, but if I wanted to make enough money to pay for school then I’d have to take drastic measures. At least the lap dances I’d seen were only topless.
“Can I speak to your manager,” I asked the waitress as I paid my bill.
Her friendly smile fell from her face. “Was there a problem?”
“No, nothing like that,” I assured her. “I was hoping to ask about an audition.”
“Figures,” she mumbled under her breath before giving me a death glare and walking away.
I watched her as she walked up to a blond guy dressed in black slacks and a grey button-down shirt over by the bar. He glanced my way before nodding his head and coming over.
“Hey, babe. I’m Brian,” he greeted me. “Candy says you’re interested in dancing?”
I took a deep breath to gather my courage before answering. “Yes. Are you hiring?”
His eyes shot down to my chest, and I could practically feel him mentally undressing me. “We’re always hiring. You ever strip before?”
“No,” I replied. “But I’ve danced a bit. I used to be a gymnast.”
His eyes lit at my response and moved down to my legs like he was trying to figure out exactly how flexible I was. I’d seen that look before from guys in school before I quit gymnastics when things got really bad for my mom.
“A gymnast, huh?” he asked with a smirk on his face. “I think we can work with that. Come in tomorrow morning at ten, and you can audition for me.”
I didn’t remember much after that except for thinking that I was an idiot. “
Was I really going to strip for this guy?”
eing the owner of an upscale strip club meant I spent my days surrounded by high-class pussy. I made it a rule never to fuck where I work, much to the dismay of many dancers who were hired on in the hopes of working their way into my bed. I hadn’t met one yet who made me want to break my number one rule—you don’t shit where you eat.
All that changed the second I laid eyes on her. When I’d decided to stop by the club this morning to surprise Brian, little did I know that I was the one who was in for the shock of a lifetime.
“Who the fuck is that?” I demanded, glaring at my manager as I gestured angrily at the tiny brunette stretching on the stage.
Dark brown hair flowed down her back in waves, swaying with each movement she made. She was maybe a few inches over five feet, but despite her height, she still seemed to have long, gorgeous legs. She was wearing fuck-me heels and a blue dress with buttons down the front. She looked innocent and sexy at the same time, and my cock jumped at the sight of her. At my words, she looked up at me, her green eyes getting big as she realized someone else was in the club.
“Yeah, boss. She’s here to audition,” he answered. “Not that she really needs to with looks like that. She came in yesterday and stole a lot of attention away from the dancers just by sitting at a table for lunch.”
“No audition,” I growled.
“That’s what I was saying. A chick like that? Fuck, she could just stand there and guys would pay money to look. But there was no way in hell I was going to turn down the chance for a private show,” he admitted.
Brian had worked for me ever since I bought the club five years ago. He was my employee, but we’d become friendly over time. In the past, I never cared if he screwed the girls as long as it didn’t cause any drama, but the mere mention of him wanting alone time with the girl on stage pissed me the hell off.
“Thank fuck I don’t live by your rule,” he rambled on without a clue that I was livid. “’Cause you can be damn sure I’ll do my best to get her in my bed. Hell, I might even keep her there.”
“Get the fuck out!” I roared as I saw red at his words. The very thought of him in bed with her made me lose control. The girl shook her head and lost all color in her face as she stumbled towards the bag she’d left at the corner of the stage. “Not you,” I barked out. “Him.”
I glared at her to make sure she understood I wanted her to stay put before turning to Brian. “What the fuck, man?” he mumbled.
“You heard me. Out,” I repeated.
He swiveled his head to the stage to look up at the girl and then back at me. “It fucking figures that now’s the time you’d decide to get your dick wet with a girl you met at the club. Damn,” he grumbled as he walked away, leaving us alone.
When the door closed behind him, I walked to the steps leading up to the stage. “Down,” I ordered her. “Now.”
She picked up her bag and clutched it to her chest as she strolled towards me. I reached my hand out to help her down the steps, worried that she’d fall on her ass in those ridiculous shoes. It didn’t matter that the girls who danced here wore ‘em and tramped up and down the steps all the time. I didn’t like the idea of her risking her pretty little neck. Plus, it gave me an excuse to touch her.
Of course I didn’t let go of her hand as I walked over to one of the tables and made the girl sit down. I pulled the chair next to her closer before joining her.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Angelica,” she stuttered out, blushing and looking down at her hands in her lap.
“Angelica,” I repeated, liking the sound of her name on my lips. “You seem a little too innocent to be here.”
If the glare she shot at me was any indication, she didn’t much like my comment. “It can’t be that bad. It’s not like I wore a ton of clothes when I used to do gymnastics.”
A gymnast? Holy fuck! My cock practically burst through my zipper at the thought of how far back I could push her legs while slamming into her tight body.
“Doing flips and shit dressed in some leotard and tights is nothing like strutting your stuff buck ass naked on my stage, Angel,” I argued.
“Angelica,” she corrected me with a hint of sass in her tone.
“How old are you?” I asked, hoping like hell she was older than she looked.
“Nineteen,” she mumbled under her breath.
Motherfucking nineteen. Old enough that she wasn’t jailbait but a far cry from my thirty years.
“Shouldn’t you be in school or something?” I wondered aloud, earning myself an eye roll.