Authors: Claudia Bradshaw
Tags: #Humour, #Romance
Copyright © 2014 by Claudia Bradshaw
All rights reserved.
Cover design by Heather Gerken
Editing by Mickey Reed
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Two-thirds of the way through my solo dance, I spread my arms out, threw my head back, and pressed my chest up to the sky. Then it hit me—the rush of freezing water that came night after night. It felt like knives making little cuts all over my body. It was the money shot—the one that earned enough to pay my rent. God, I loved this job. And what wasn’t to love? I got to dance. I got an amazing workout that kept me flexible and toned. Plus, I got paid—a lot—to do it.
I was lucky enough to be a headliner at The Happy Valley Cabaret, where the women were beautiful, the men were respectful, and the house was always packed. Our goal was to bring fantasies to life, so the water we used for this set was kept freezing cold on purpose. The colder the water, the faster my nipples would harden into peaks and show through my soaked white tank top.
Earlier in my dance, I’d stripped out of my short plaid miniskirt and was now dressed in only my thin shirt, lacy black thong, thigh-high white stockings, and black high heels. I had been a crowd favorite ever since I’d found the loophole that allows me to dance without pasties covering my nipples. My loophole hole—get a super-thin white tank top wet and it looks like you don't have anything on at all.
The Happy Valley was a classy joint, so I didn't have to do the work of collecting my tips when I was done; we had The Kittens to do that for us. They walked around the tables during the show and picked up all the tips. They got a decent cut and I always made sure to take care of my girls.
When my solo was over, I would be done dancing on stage for the night, and I was glad because my muscles burned. Perfectly timed with the last beat of the song, I bent over and flipped my wet hair at the audience, spraying water on the first few rows of tables before the lights went out.
The DJ came on over the loudspeaker and the crowd went wild. "That made it a whole lot hotter in here! Ladies and gentlemen, please give it up for the amazingly talented Rain!"
After stepping backstage, I peeled my wet clothes off, warmed up in the heated towel that was always waiting for me, and combed through my hair. I changed into our offstage uniform of a black silk robe so short that it fell to the top of my thighs and my matching high-heel slippers. Then I walked out of the side stage exit and made my way through the crowded tables to the bar on the other side of the lounge. Sam was tending bar tonight, and I knew she would take good care of me.
"Hey there, sexy lady! Great show tonight! I need to remember not to watch your solo. I almost dropped a new fucking bottle of whiskey when that water hit you!" she said while placing a shot of Jose and a slice of lime in front of me.
"Well, I'm glad you enjoyed it," I said. Then I winked at her and took the shot, feeling the burn slide down my throat before sucking on the slice of lime.
I loved Tequila-O's—you know, those mini orgasms you get when Jose goes down on you, sends mini lightning strikes straight to your nipples, and makes your clit throb.
When the tingle had subsided, I slammed my hand down on the bar and yelled down to the other end of the bar, "Give me another Tequila-O, Sam!"
She laughed and held up a finger to let me know that it would be just a minute while she finished making drinks for the bachelor party that was in full swing.
After she filled all of their orders, she poured me another shot, but instead of setting it down on the bar, she held it out for me. I reached for the shot but she didn't let go right away.
Sam leaned toward me, looked me right in the eye, and said, "Rain, if you'd ever give me the chance, I would give you all the O's you could handle.”
It was times like this that I hated my 'no sex with coworkers' rule. Why the fuck did I ever make that stupid rule? Oh yeah, because if I hadn’t, I probably would have screwed every man and woman I worked with. Sam was so beautiful, with her long brown hair and tight body. If I had met her anywhere else, I would have jumped right into bed with her. But when I first came to the Happy Valley and saw all of the women who had sex rolling off of them and the male bouncers whose muscles just screamed multiple orgasms, I’d made a hasty commitment to myself that I would not fall into bed with a coworker. A promise is a promise. I always kept them—even the ones I made to myself.
I was sure Sam could see the war that was waging in my head while I forced myself to remember the promise.
"Hey, it is cool, Rain. I remember and respect your choice. Just know that the offer stands." She poured me another shot and walked away to take care of the line that had formed at the bar.
I took my time with Jose, letting him take me to Tequila-O Land two more times while telling myself that I needed to get laid soon before I risked breaking my promise. Maybe I’d have to send Jay a text later and see if he was in town. He hadn’t been at the club for a few weeks now. I mentally patted myself on the back for not adding the people I met while at work to my no-sex rule.
I heard the drums start to boom and I knew it was time for Ginger to start her solo. She was one of my favorites to watch, and I had learned so much from her since I’d started dancing. She had a Jane of the Jungle theme this month, complete with animal noises, a huge python, and a vine to swing from. It was really going well. I turned around to watch her, but what I found instead was someone watching me.
He was leaning up against the railing that overlooked the floor full of tables. While everyone else was staring at the stage he was staring at me. I let my eyes roam over him as he stood about fifteen feet away from me. He was wearing a black leather motorcycle jacket over a simple gray t-shirt, black jeans, and black boots. He must have been just over six feet tall and his shirt and jacket weren't doing much to disguise what had to be an amazing body.
How is this shit even legal? I thought to myself. Shouldn't he have to carry a badge or at least come with a warning that looking at him would lead to a bunch of conditions—increased heart rate, shallow breathing, panting like a dog, and instantly wet panties?
The drums for Ginger's dance were pounding in my ears, and I swear they were speeding up to match my quickly increasing heart rate. When my gaze came back up to his face, I felt a sucker-punch to the chest that knocked the breath out of me. His eyes locked on to mine and it was like he was laying me open in front of him, like I couldn't hide any part of myself from him. I had never felt so naked in my entire life even though I took off all of my clothes in front of a crowd four nights a week.
"Fuck me," I sighed under my breath.
I felt a large hand rest on my shoulder and it made me jump almost out of my skin. I let my eyes follow the curve of a very muscular arm up to find one of the bouncers staring down at me.
"Oh, sweetheart, you know I would if it weren't for your dumb-ass rule," DaShaun said while wagging his eyebrows at me and laughing heartily.
When I first started at The Happy Valley, I had quickly established my 'Money & Honey Don't Mix' rule. While most of the staff had just laughed and gone on with their business, there were a few who had felt that it was their duty to tease me relentlessly. The worst offenders were Sam and DaShaun.
"Hey, Rain, you all right?" DaShaun’s eyebrows wrinkled together in confusion when I didn't have a comeback right away.
I looked back to where Mr. Fuck-Me-Please had been only to find an empty space. Where had he gone? I looked out over the tables, searching for him, but didn't see him anywhere.
Turning back to DaShaun, I lied, "Yeah, I'm good. Just a bit tired. Glad I have tomorrow night off."
"Do you need a ride home? We could play house. You’d be the door and I’d slam you," he said with a smirk.
"How about we play butcher? You be the meat and I will cut you," I replied with a huge, somewhat crazy grin.
DaShaun put both hands up and started backing away from me. "Uh, I think I hear someone starting a fight. I better go break it up."
"Pussy!" I yelled at him after he had turned on his heel and quickly walked away. His hand shot up in the air to flip me off.
When one of the guys at the shop told me about The Happy Valley, I figured it would be a good distraction from life and give me an outlet to unwind. But as soon as she burst onto the stage, I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. It was true that her tight body made my dick twitch. But it was the way she moved, like she was on fire, and the heat in her eyes that made me crave more.
I had to know who she was and what it would take to have her. For the next few nights, I sat in the back of the club, watching her dance. Imagining how my name would sound on her lips when I was inside her. I thought about her lips a lot, especially how they made the perfect shape when she shuddered after taking a shot of tequila.
After watching the water crash down on her night after night, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to touch her to end this sweet torture, so I crept out of the corner that I had been hiding in and reserved a table in front of the stage.
I woke up like I always did—in a tangled, sweaty mess of sheets with my long hair wrapped around my face. Every night since I’d seen him watching me, Mr. Fuck-Me-Please has entered my dreams, and last night was no different. He was there, pinning me with his eyes, never coming closer. Just watching me. The way his gaze made me feel—like a current of electricity was running through my body—was better than any Tequila-O I had ever had.
I pushed my hair back and kicked my bare legs free of the confining sheets, relishing in the cold air as it hit my body and helped me to wake up. Even though I worked really late, I loved my mornings. They were my time to just be me without the world and all of the pressures in it. So I always made sure that I woke up early enough to enjoy them.
I usually went to bed with my hair still damp from my shower the night before, and because I moved around a lot when I slept, I never knew what it was going to look like the next morning. After a quick pit stop in the bathroom, I looked in the mirror and immediately dove into my top drawer to find a hair tie. It was going to be one of those days where I just piled my hair on top of my head and hoped for the best.
I couldn’t take much time on it because I had a hot date that morning. I was in a long-term relationship with my Keurig coffeemaker. He had never done me wrong, he was always hot and ready for me when I needed him, and I would love and cherish him forever. We did take a break every fall when Starbucks released their Pumpkin Spice Lattes—PSLs if you’re as committed to them as I was.
Slipping into my green and black kimono robe, I made my way to the kitchen, where Keurig was patiently waiting for me, his bright blue buttons winking at me.
"Good morning, my love. I hope you had a good night," I said to the coffeemaker as I put in a fresh K-Cup and pushed his big button.
Beep, he responded.
"You always say the sweetest things to me in the morning."
Gurgle gurgle gurgle pshhhhh, he said lovingly while filling my favorite cup—the one with the picture of a unicorn on it—with the sweet elixir of life. Ahhh, see? He really did love me.
About a year ago, I’d decided it had been time to move out of my parents’ house. I’d found this spacious warehouse apartment for rent and fallen in love with the floor-to-ceiling windows that were in what was now my dining area. I’d had to have the window treatments custom made, and they’d cost a fortune because the ceilings are twelve feet high, but they do a damn good job of blocking out the sun. I had to squint my eyes against the bright light as I pulled them back.