Authors: Olivia Hawthorne,Olivia Long
Table of Contents
Chapter Twenty One
Chapter Twenty Two
Chapter Twenty Three
Chapter Twenty Four
Chapter Twenty Five
Chapter Twenty Six
Chapter Twenty Seven
Chapter Twenty Eight
Chapter Twenty Nine
Copyright © Three Way, 2016
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof
may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
without the express written permission of the publisher
except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
**Originally published as a six part serial, this contains all parts plus several chapters of added story starting at the Epilogue!
“Come on, just a little cuddle,” the old man at a corner table pleaded with me as I rolled my eyes and walked on by.
The night was winding down and it was getting close to last call. Men got desperate and didn’t want to go home alone, so they started hitting on girls like me.
I wasn’t on stage, would never be on stage, had never been on stage in front of a crowd, but somehow the horniest and most desperate believed that somehow working in strip club would wear off on me and I would jump at the chance to give them a blowjob in the parking lot after the club closed.
“Bitch,” he spat as I kept walking.
Old bastard, not worth my time but still it stung when people treated me that bad. I only took the job out of desperation. I’d just moved to the city and knew nobody. My resume was kind of spotty, and as a recent college drop out I didn’t exactly want to admit that on paper.
The Hen House hired me in an instant though. The owner, Mel, had sized me up and asked me to dance. She’d laughed when I refused and started to walk out and offered me the waitress job instead.
I tugged at the low cut blouse and tried to pull it over to cover my cleavage. It was much more revealing than I was used to and I felt highly uncomfortable in it. I couldn’t imagine facing my parents in this outfit…then again I’d lied and told them I had found work in a pancake house. I just had to keep them from flying out to visit me.
Nebraska felt a million miles away from Seattle, but it wasn’t that far on a plane. I had to keep them at bay.
“Hey, sugar tits!” a college type asshole called to me as I walked by. I forced myself to apply a big fake smile and walked towards him and his table of buddies. “Why aren’t you up there on stage? We want to shove a few bills in your panties.”
“I’m not that talented,” I smiled, holding in the disgust that was building in the back of my throat. “Now what would you boys like to drink?”
They broke into laughter and one of them said, “Tequila shots all around and another pitcher of beer!”
“Coming right up,” I said with that fake smile still plastered to my face.
I sauntered to the bar, put their order in and leaned against the railing to watch the show on the stage.
The girls were amazing. I’d always looked down on strippers and thought they must be crack heads from broken homes, but I’d learned a thing or two since working here. Most of the dancers were incredibly athletic and took excellent care of their health. Most of them made more than my monthly salary every night they danced too.
I’d watched them practice before too and even tried the pole myself. They’d been polite when I’d crashed to the stage floor on my first attempt. Only a couple of them had laughed.
The music stopped and the DJ announced last call as the crowd groaned their displeasure.
Moments later they started to scream and holler. This meant my recent roommate, Tawny, was going to do her grand finale. She was amazing, about six feet tall, blonde and willowy and an incredible dancer, but kind of a bitch to be around. I might call her a friend, but she was only friendly when she needed something.
Besides, I felt like a hobbit around her at my five and a half feet, curvy with dark out of control hair to my waist and dark blue eyes. She claimed I was pretty enough to dance, but we all know how skilled I was on the pole.
In case you forgot, not very.
Jake the bartender whistled behind me letting me know the drink order was ready. I balanced the seven shots of tequila and the pitcher of beer on the little round tray and made my way back to the table with the smart ass guys.
It was easier going this time, each man in the club was firmly planted in his seat with his mouth hanging open watching my roommate. I didn’t have to wind in and out of people moving around and none of them noticed me as I passed.
I set the shot glasses on the table, added the pitcher of beer and said, “That’ll be thirty eight fifty.”
The loudmouth didn’t even look at me, he handed me a fifty and said, “Keep the change.”
“Thanks,” I replied without bothering to fake a smile, but I was pleased. Maybe I should be nicer to the college types that came in here, they might be decent tippers after all.
I busied myself as Tawny finished up. I wiped the countertop of the bar, stacked the dirty glasses in dishwasher crates, and helped Jake by taking out the garbage.
I wandered through the club, down the long back hall to the doorway to the dumpster. I swung the door open and carefully held it that way with one of my feet as I tossed the two bags into the dumpster. I turned around to go inside and heard somebody behind me scuffling quickly up the alley.
“Hey,” he said, “wait, I need to ask you something.”
I sighed heavily, kept the door propped open with my foot and said, “What do you want.”
He was rangy, one of those tall wiry guys who looked like a real life version of an old stretch Armstrong toys from childhood. His army jacket was filthy and his shaggy hair was greasy and unkempt. He had beady eyes and instantly gave me a feeling of unease. We had a lot of homeless people living in this area, but they generally left us alone. Not this guy though, he was different.
He stopped in front of me, smiled wide so I could see his crooked broken and yellowed teeth. “I wanted to ask you if I could borrow five bucks.”
“I don’t have anything on me,” I told him and turned to go back inside. I was grateful I’d already emptied my apron into my tip jar behind the bar.
“I knew you were going to say that,” he replied in a cold tone that chilled my blood. He grabbed my upper arm in one claw like hand and yanked me backwards.
I tried to grab the door but it slipped shut leaving me alone in the alleyway with him. I screamed again, felt the heel of my shoe get caught on a broken edge of pavement and fell backwards towards the pavement, his yellowed teeth and crazy eyes the last thing I saw before I hit the ground, landing on my butt and twisting my ankle badly.
Bright sparks of pain shot up my leg and I cried out.
“Hey, get off her!” a harsh growl came from the entrance to the alley.
“Help me!” I managed to scream before the homeless guy pulled me back to my feet and wrapped his disgusting greasy hand around my face, covering my mouth.
“Just a lover’s quarrel, sir,” the homeless man said. “No need for intervention.”
“I said get off her,” the man’s voice came again. It was a deep voice that throbbed with power. The homeless man hesitated; I could feel it in the way he tensed up.
“Just let us be,” the homeless man said. He dragged me backwards a little towards the dumpster. My ankle was humming with pain but I took the chance and elbowed him as hard as I could. Adrenaline kicked in and I darted forward as he grunted in shock and grabbed for my hair.
He caught a handful and jerked my head back. The guy with the deep voice took his chance to haul off and punch the homeless man in the face. I heard a crunch of bone and the homeless guy cried out as he dropped to the ground.
I scrambled away and landed right in the arms of the man who had saved me.
“Oh my god, thank you,” I babbled as the reality of my situation kicked in. “I thought he was going too…”
I couldn’t even give voice to what might have happened.
“Is he your boyfriend?” the guy asked and helped steady me.
“Are you fucking kidding me? What kind of stupid question is that?” I exclaimed in a huff and looked up at him, tears starting to roll down my cheeks.
“I am kidding actually,” he grinned. “Shit, I thought it might snap you out of it before you became a hysterical mess. I was right, by the way. You have claws, kitten.”
I mentally checked myself over and found he was right. The anger that had flared had almost burned out the terror that had been building. I still wasn’t a hundred percent, my knees and hands were trembling and my ankle still hurt, but I hadn’t given into the hysteria that had almost taken root.
“Oh, thank you, it did work,” I said and looked up again.
He was stunning.
And I meant utterly stunning. Well over six feet with huge shoulders and arms with beautiful tattoos covering them and his chest from what I could see through his white tee shirt. He was wearing tight jeans that clung to his muscled thighs like a drowning man to a raft, and heavy black leather boots.
His eyes were gentle for a man who oozed danger, and his lips were full and kissable even when turned up into a smug smile. His hair was thick and dark and shaggy but pulled back into a tie. He had a few days growth on his angled cheeks and his eyes practically had a light of their own, they sparkled green even in the dim alleyway.
I was still too stunned to say a damn thing when he chuckled and said, “Any time. You should be careful though, what the hell were you doin out here alone anyhow? Especially dressed like that. This is behind a strip club, you know.”
“I know,” I retorted, finally finding my voice. Yes, he was stunning but also bloody irritating, like I just hung out in seedy areas dressed like this for fun. “What do you think I was doing out here? Selling my ass on the street? I work at The Hen House.” I frowned and tried to look away from his gorgeous face just so I could focus on being annoyed and not aroused.
“You’re a dancer?” he asked incredulously and leaned back with his arm still wrapped around my waist and looked me up and down.
“No, but is it that impossible that I would be?” I snapped and tried to wiggle out of his grasp.
“No, kitten,” he chuckled and held me tighter, “I was just thinkin it was a damn shame I hadn’t seen ya up on stage is all.”
I bristled at that and pulled out of his arms, spun on my stupidly high heel – part of the uniform – and made to march angrily down the alleyway back to the street so I could go in the front of the club since the door had slammed shut in the scuffle.
And promptly fell flat on my face as my ankle gave way.
“Fuck,” I huffed under my breath and braced myself with my hands on the filthy cold cement. I’d completely forgotten about that ankle in the heat of my anger.
Without a word he bent over and scooped me into his arms. Behind us the homeless man groaned and my stunning hero turned slightly to say, “Stay down if you know what’s good for you. I’m gonna walk away now, if you get up I will fucking kill you. Understand?”
His voice vibrated with the promise of his threat and the homeless guy dropped back to the cement and said, “Yes sir,” in a quiet whisper.
“Good,” my annoying hero growled and strode down the alley with me in his thick powerful arms.
“You can put me down,” I protested as we reached the sidewalk in front of the club.
“I ain’t putting you anywhere until we can find somebody to take a look at your ankle. You can’t walk on it, kitten,” he told me and I couldn’t find it in me to disagree.
How could I argue with the biggest, hottest man I’d ever seen as he carried me like a princess back to safety?
“Where the hell have you been?” Jake yelled over the crowd as my hot hero walked towards the bar. “And what the hell are you doing with Ryker?”
“Is that the name of the big guy carrying me?” I laughed.
“Yeah, it is. Haven’t you seen him in here yet?” Jake asked as we got close to the bar. He looked Ryker up and down with an appreciative gaze. Jake liked rough and tumble men where I generally went for academic types. We always joked about our perfect guy, and now that I thought about it, I was being carried by his.
“I’m standing right here,” Ryker grumbled and helped me settle onto a stool. “You don’t have to talk about me like I’m not in the room.”
“Isn’t he divine?” Jake said to me from behind the back of his hand. I laughed at the dark look that crossed Ryker’s face. He was a man used to commanding people, and we weren’t having any of it.
“I don’t think divine is the word I would use to describe him,” I replied and leaned back against the bar. Ryker sat in the stool near mine, took my foot in his hand and pulled it up onto his knee. He loosened the strap on my high heel and slipped it off.
I winced as he examined it and looked up at me. “Well?” he asked.
“Well what?” I replied and relaxed as his hands massaged me gently.
“What word would you use to describe me?”
Jake’s head snapped up and he raised an eyebrow as he glanced my way with a little grin. I was surprised that somebody like Ryker would care so I smiled and said, “I don’t know. Devilish. Commanding. Powerful. Irritating” I paused and looked down at him, his strong hands circling my slightly swollen ankle and I couldn’t help myself, I blurted, “And hot.”
He looked up and gave me a crooked grin. “Hot, hey?”
I gulped and looked wildly around for Jake, but he had moved to the other side of the bar and was sending customers away as we hit closing time. The two club bouncers were busy with a couple obnoxious drunks. The club emptied quickly except for a table of biker types in the corner near the stage.
“Don’t forget irritating. But yes. Hot. Maybe a little,” I replied. “What’s the verdict? Will I ever walk again?”
He chuckled. “I believe you will,” he said. “You might need a little bed rest though and I know a way you could make that go by quickly.”
His hand moved up my leg as he spoke and I couldn’t look away from his mesmerizing gaze. “How?” I asked with a dry throat. I felt like I was being preyed upon and I liked it.
“I would keep you occupied,” he told me with a voice that sounded more like a growl in the back of his throat than anything. “I would start like this,” he continued, massaging my ankle and leg in slow, sensual circular motions. “And I would wind up higher up, my hands would find your sweet spot and make you forget all about your pain.”
My mouth was completely dry and I said, “Okay, that might work.” Mentally I cursed myself for sounding so bloody senseless.
“And then I would spread your thighs and—”
“Jake just told me what happened! Are you okay?” Tawny yelled as she came rushing over on her impossibly long legs and impossibly high heels. I knew Ryker would ignore me then, that’s what always happened when Tawny was around, but I’d enjoyed basking in his attention while I had it.
“I’m fine, it’s just a sore ankle,” I replied, trying to pull my leg away from Ryker.
He didn’t release it though. He kept looking at me and completely ignoring Tawny. “Why don’t you make yourself useful and get us a bag of ice?” he asked her, only briefly looking in her direction.
“I will,” she replied and held out her hand. She had that smug smile on her face that meant she knew she was about to claim all his attention. “My name’s Tawny, by the way.”
“Hello Tawny, where’s that ice?” Ryker snapped without breaking his gaze from mine. “I never did get your name, kitten.”
“Margot,” I replied softly as Tawny stomped behind the bar to search for the needed ice.
“Margot,” he said, still cupping my ankle in his warm hands. “It’s a beautiful name, like you.”
“Here’s the ice!” Tawny announced brightly as she shoved it in front of Ryker. He seemed more annoyed than anything else. He took the soaked plastic bag full of ice from her hand and looked at it with disgust.
“Did you bring a towel? I can’t apply this directly to such delicate skin.”
“Delicate?” Tawny snorted. “There’s not much delicate on a girl like Margot.”
“Towel,” he barked and she jumped. I watched it all with an amused look on my face.
“Do most women act like that around you?” I asked.
“Generally,” he replied and gave me a hooded gaze that melted my insides. “They’re not all hot heads like you, kitten.”
“I’m not a hot head, I just don’t like being told what to do,” I replied with a haughty tone.
“Exactly,” he chuckled.
I saw Mel crossing the club floor with irritation painted on her features. She was looking right at us with her mouth twisted in a frown.
“What the hell have you done now, Ryker?” she asked as she approached.
“Nothing, I swear,” he replied with a grin. “I’m helping this one.”
“You can’t leave my girls alone, can you?” she snapped. “I told you if you bother any of them at work, you couldn’t have your meetings here anymore.”
“He didn’t bother me,” I told Mel and wondered just how many girls he’d bothered in the past and why it angered me so much to think of it. “He saved me from a guy in the alley. And he was just leaving.”
I stared pointedly at him with that last sentence. I was irrationally pissed off at the thought of him fucking around with the dancers and I didn’t care that my ankle was still sore and his hands felt so god damned good on it.
“I ain’t goin’ nowhere, kitten,” he chuckled and slid his chair slightly closer until my foot was resting on his thick upper thigh. I gasped when I felt the huge ridge of his erection under the fabric of his jeans and could barely look him in the eye as my cheeks flared red. “I don’t think you really want me goin’ anywhere anyhow, do you?”
“I told Jake to handle the garbage on his own,” Mel said. “We’ve had nothing but trouble in this neighborhood and the local police aren’t exactly keen to help a strip club keep safe.”
“It’s a bad area,” Ryker agreed. “You know, we could help you out with security if you need it.”
Mel looked him up and down, her age wizened face wrinkling into a scowl. “You know I can’t afford your particular brand of
. I’m just barely staying above water as it is.”
Ryker stared at her for a moment, then turned back to me. “I have an idea,” he said. “My club will offer protection if you let us meet here a night or two a week. After hours of course, but with Margot here serving us.”
Mel’s face lit up and she glanced nervously in my direction. “I can’t guarantee that. Margot is her own person and I can’t order her to stay past her regular shift to handle your rowdy lot.”
Her eyes were pleading though; I knew she needed this. The club was located in a terrible area and it was getting more and more dangerous for girls to even leave after the night was over. The nearest bus stop was four blocks away and taxis wouldn’t come down here anymore. Hiring private car services for the girls was getting expensive for Mel.
“What gang did you say you were?” I asked Ryker out of curiosity.
“Motorcycle club, not gang. And it’s Hell’s Warrior,” he replied. I suppressed a shudder, I’d heard of them. Of course I’d heard of them, they were infamous for being one of the more dangerous criminal organizations in our city.
“I would have to serve the whole club?” I asked with my throat going dry again at the thought of what that entailed. I looked at the table full of bikers near the stage and once again tried to suppress a shudder.
“Just me, kitten,” he replied with a lazy smile.
“And no stripping?” I asked tentatively.
“Only when you want to, and in private,” he replied in an even tone without looking away.
Mel’s expectancy hung heavy in the air and I had to admit I was intrigued. I blew a limp curl of hair out of my face and said, “Fine. I’ll do it.”
“Excellent,” Mel said with a laugh. She clapped her hands and said, “I’ll go tell the girls. I had a couple of them threatening to quit and go work for Mason’s after they heard about Margot here.”
Tawny had been hanging around the background and piped up, “I was one of them. I was so scared when I heard about my roomie here. But if you’re going to be protecting us, I’ll
to stick around.”
She slid her hand onto Ryker’s arm and hooked it there as she leaned towards him, pressing her breasts against him.
I was waiting for it once more, the moment he realized that a stunning horny woman was hanging off his equally stunning arm. The moment he forgot about me, pretty in my own right but not Tawny’s level of beauty by any stretch of the imagination.
But it didn’t happen. He looked annoyed and shook her hand off. “Where do you live then?” he asked me.
“We’ve got a place out in Angola,” I replied, hating that we lived in a tiny apartment in a part of town that wasn’t much better than this neighborhood.
“Either of you drive?” he asked.
“No,” Tawny giggled. “I got a DUI last year and Margot here doesn’t have her license. Her parents are, like, this weird religious cult from Kansas or something.”
“Nebraska,” I blurted as if that was any better than Kansas. “And I do have it, I just never drive anywhere. My parents would have let drive more me if I’d wanted.”
“It’s settled then,” Ryker replied, giving me that look that reminded me of a hawk about to devour a mouse.
“What is?” I asked.
“I’m going to make sure you get home,” he said. He looked over his shoulder at the table of bikers, motioned with his hand and one young guy with a huge black beard jumped to his feet and sauntered over. “Call the car,” Ryker told him. He nodded, pulled out his phone and stood to the side.
“Oh wow, that’s awesome,” Tawny squealed. “I hate taking the bus this time of night. It’s so scary without a big badass like you with us.”
“I won’t be joining you,” he said, shifting on the stool and I was once more reminded that my foot was casually touching his erection. Or that he had an erection. From touching me. “I have business here tonight unfortunately, but I do look forward to spending time with you the next night we’re here.” He was looking at me but Tawny wasn’t having any of it. She was so used to getting all the attention that this was driving her crazy.
“Oh good, I can’t wait either,” she said to the side of his head. He didn’t even turn to acknowledge her.
“Car’s here, boss,” the black bearded biker told him after a couple minutes.
“I can walk,” I said and tried to pull away from him and stand on my own two feet.
“You cannot,” Ryker insisted and swooped me up in his arms again. I clung to his neck and allowed myself the momentary satisfaction that this damn fine man was carrying me and ignoring Tawny.
I had a feeling I’d be hearing about it back home though.
“What about at the apartment?” Tawny whined. “I can’t help her up, she weighs so much and I’m so thin.”
“I’ll have Gus here take care of it,” Ryker said, motioning to black beard.
We got to the car, he helped me in and I heard him growl to Gus, “Help her up but keep your fucking hands to yourself. I hear that you disrespect one hair on her head and I’ll slit your fucking throat, you got it?”
“Got it, boss,” Gus grumbled.
Ryker leaned in, flashed me a dazzling smile and said, “Until next time, kitten.”
“I’ll see you soon,” I managed to croak. “Thank you by the way.”
“Think nothing of it. Anything for a beautiful woman,” he smiled.
Gus and Tawny joined me in the back of the luxurious town car and Ryker slammed the door.
I twisted in my seat and saw him watching the car drive away, that same hooded predatory expression on his face from earlier.
And again my insides melted.
“You have got to be fucking kidding me!” Tawny shrieked from the living room.
“What is it?” I called from my bedroom. It had been four days since the
, as I liked to call it, and my ankle was just now starting to feel better.
…again!” she bellowed.
She sounded angry, so it must be another gift from Ryker.
I padded out still favoring my ankle and limping slightly. I rubbed my eyes and poured myself a cup of coffee. “What is it this time?” I asked, looking around the kitchen at the flowers and box of pastries that had been sent yesterday.
“Car service for a freaking year!” she said as she walked to the table and tossed an envelope in front of me.
“You opened it?” I asked, glaring at her.
“I thought it was for me,” she said trying her best to appear innocent.
“Sure. And I was born yesterday,” I said sipping my coffee.
“I’m being serious, I get stuff from guys at the club all the time. You know that,” she added.
I decided to let it go and picked up the envelope with “Margot” clearly scrawled across the front and opened it. On the thickest, most expensive paper I’d ever seen was written instructions on accessing the car service that had taken me home that night.
I ran my fingers across the paper and ink, looked at how he’d signed his name at the bottom and smiled to myself.
Even his writing seemed to exude power and danger. I hoped he’d be at the club later; it was my first shift back after meeting him.
“Can I get a ride to work?” Tawny asked after pouring herself a cup of coffee.
“Of course,” I replied and marveled at the idea of not having to lace up my knee-high army boots and hoof it to the bus stop with Tawny every day. She always managed to do it balancing on her ridiculously tall stilettos, but I couldn’t do much more in heels than serve drinks.
And even that took effort obviously. If I had been wearing my army boots that night I might have kicked that homeless guy in the balls and run away on my own. I was a fighter when I had to be.
But then I never would have been saved by Ryker and I might have looked the other way had I seen him in the club.
“I can’t believe you have Ryker Montgomery eating out of the palm of your hand. How does that make you feel?” Tawny asked me as we drank our coffee and nibbled toast she’d made for us.
“I don’t think he’s doing anything but being nice to the girl who flopped like a fish out of water on the pavement in front of him,” I replied. I needed to brush her off, her question was weighted and I could tell she was prying for something. I just didn’t know what it was.
“So you’re not interested in him?” she asked, a brow arched.
And then I knew exactly what she was getting at. She had her own sights on the man who’d shaken up my world since saving me behind the strip club.
“Why don’t you go jump in the shower first?” I asked brightly and managing to change the subject expertly. I just couldn’t handle questions like that right then, how could I answer when I didn’t really know myself?
My body was interested, I mean come on, I would have had to be dead to not respond to the way he rubbed my ankle or the way he talked to me that night. But my mind was protesting my body’s reaction. He was a bad ass biker, a freaking criminal. Did I want those hands on me knowing full well he’d probably killed people with them?
I decided to have a nap before work and ignore the mini tornado of emotions whirling in my head.
I walked past a table packed with businessmen and felt one of them snake their hand out and grab my ass.
“Excuse me,” I said and slapped his hand away.
“Just getting a feel for the local wildlife,” he snickered and looked around the table as his friends laughed.
“If you touch me again, I’ll have you thrown out,” I snapped. I wasn’t having any of it that night, my ankle was throbbing, the drunks were especially belligerent and to top it off, Tawny had informed me that she couldn’t afford her half of the rent for the following month. I had no idea where her massive salary went every night, but suspected it might have something to do with her insane shoe and clothing obsession. Nothing low end either, Tawny only bought couture and the best of everything.
I would have to rely on tips to help us get through until she got her shit together and paid her share. Unfortunately tips had been good, but not
“Listen sweetheart,” the guy said and grabbed my wrist, “with the money we spent on drinks tonight, we should get a free lap dance or something.”
“I’m not a dancer, so fuck off,” I snapped and jerked my hand away.
The guy stood up and loomed over me. I stepped back and my heel caught on the leg of his chair. I started to tumble backwards, held my breath and tried to balance my tray while waiting for the inevitable fall.
It never happened. Strong hands caught me and even stronger arms embraced me from behind as I was about to hit the floor.
“Seems I’m always rescuing you, kitten,” Ryker’s smug, velvety voice said in my ear. He helped me straighten up and looked around me at the guy. “If I catch you or your friends in this strip club again, you won’t be going home to your wives in the suburbs. Catch my drift?”
The businessman gulped so loudly that I heard him from where I was. I stood straight and eyeballed him stubbornly. “Yeah!” I added, like it would make a difference. But still, a girl’s gotta take care of herself even when the world’s hottest biker was there to do it for her.
“Did you get my gifts?” Ryker asked as the businessmen scrambled to pack up their shit and hightail it out of the Hen House.
“I did, thank you,” I replied and turned around in his arms to look up at him. “The car service was the handiest though, it’s hard to limp to the bus stop with a swollen ankle.”
“How’s that feeling? Did you see a doctor?”
“I can’t afford a doctor,” I replied. “It feels fine though. It’s healing nicely. I could probably even walk to the bus stop now.” To demonstrate I stuck my leg out and circled my foot around, trying not to wince as a sharp pain shot through it.
“You call the service when you need to get home tonight, you hear me?” he told me sternly.
“Aren’t I working for you tonight?” I asked, unable to hide my disappointment.
“Not tonight, kitten,” he said and I saw a rush of movement to my right.
“There you are, hot stuff,” Tawny giggled and grabbed Ryker’s arm. “Should we get going?”
“Sure thing,” he replied, glancing down at me with an amused look. “You seem disappointed. Don’t be, I’ll get to you soon enough.” He winked and I flamed red with anger and embarrassment that he’d seen through my tough exterior and knew how much I’d wanted to spend time with him.
“Whatever, enjoy your night,” I replied and pulled out of his arms. I stomped to the bar, ignored my pain, and slammed my tray on the counter.
I heard Tawny laugh loudly as though Ryker had told her the world’s funniest joke and I couldn’t help but shoot them a look of disgust.
Ryker was watching me and caught my evil glance. He winked at me again, put his arm on Tawny’s lower back and guided her out of the club.
I was left stewing and wondering why I cared what a man like Ryker did with a woman like Tawny.
But as much as I tried to deny it, I couldn’t.
I really, really cared.
“Where the hell did Tawny get to?” Mel asked just after she left with Ryker.
“I don’t know,” I said stiffly, “I guess she’s out with Ryker tonight.”
“God dammit,” Mel snarled, “that stupid little bitch forgot to tell me she’s working his clubhouse tonight.”
“Clubhouse?” I asked dumbly.
“His hang out?” Mel replied, dripping with irritation. “Seriously? You never watched Sons? You don’t know how these biker types work?”
“Nope, don’t even know what you’re talking about,” I replied. “I stick to old movies and nature shows.”
She released a contempt filled sigh and opened her mouth, closed it and opened it again to say, “Never mind. The long and short of it is that she’s dancing for his club tonight. She forgot to tell me this and I had her closing out tonight. Kitty is off and Alicia has the damned flu. I don’t have anyone to go up after Maria is done.”
“Oh shoot, that sucks,” I replied. I was happy to hear that Ryker hadn’t taken Tawny out on a date, but it still upset me that he would be watching her take her clothes off for him and his buddies. I forced the image out of my head and started walking towards the bar to help Jake clean up a little when Mel gasped.
“Margot!” she exclaimed.
I turned around. “What?”
“You could do it.”
“Ha! You’ve seen me up there, I can’t dance.”
“You wouldn’t have to go anywhere near the pole. Hell, these guys will just be happy to see a sexy girl they’ve never seen before.”
“Yeah, not gonna happen,” I laughed and moved back towards the bar.
Mel followed me. “You’re hot as hell, and with your hurt ankle you actually walk a little sexier than normal. Just come out, strut your stuff and peel your clothes off. You don’t even have to get completely naked, you know that.”
“First of all my ankle hurts like crazy. Second of all, thanks. I didn’t know you thought I was hot,” I smiled at her trying desperately to change the subject. “And third, I am not sexy when I dance. I’m serious about that one.”
I set my tray on the bar and rolled my eyes when Jake gave me one of those looks. He was dying to know what was going on.
“I’ll pay you two grand,” she said in a completely deadpan voice.
I looked at Jake, my eyes widened and I whipped around. “Two thousand dollars?”
“Yup,” Mel replied. “I’m desperate. If I get the reputation that I can’t fill my stage with girls this place will go even more downhill than it already is.”
“But two thousand? That’s a lot of money for a crappy dancer.”
“It’s worth it if you keep the guys here drinking. And I think you underestimate the power of a beautiful woman taking her clothes off.”
I looked back at Jake who gave me two thumbs up with a huge grin. I looked back at Mel who had such a look of need on her face that I sighed deeply and said, “Fine. I’ll do it. But I’m keeping my bra and panties on.”
“As long as you’re not wearing granny panties, that’s fine with me,” Mel replied.
“When do I have to go on?” I asked, glancing nervously around at the men in the club. I served them all the time, but things would change if I stripped for them. I wasn’t sure I was prepared for that change, but two thousand dollars would cover our rent and then some. I wouldn’t have to worry about Tawny being late with her money.
And it wasn’t like I had a boyfriend who would get mad or anything, Ryker was clearly not the loyal type, so what did I have to lose?
If anything it might do him some good to see that other men wanted me. It might get back at him for taking Tawny and not me tonight…not that I would have jumped up to volunteer my first dance at a motorcycle club.
“Thirty minutes,” Mel said. “You should come back stage and we’ll get you ready.”
My nerves were shot as we walked down the hallway to the dressing rooms. Inside there were three girls left, each had done a couple sets already and were getting prepared to go out and work the floor. They made more doing lap dances in the VIP room than they did on stage any time. Forcing one of them to dance again meant they would lose loads of money in dances and creating relationships with clients.
Mel pulled out a skimpy schoolgirl outfit and knee high leather boots. I laughed and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“You’ve got that perfect tiny innocent look, we’re going to use it to our advantage,” she explained.
“I might kill myself in those,” I replied pointing at the boots.
“They’re not that high and they’ll help support your ankle. I’ll do them up tight.”
“So I’m more like some Goth catholic school girl kicking ass in her army boots?” I asked.
“Exactly. Now let Tricia here put your hair in ponytails while Maria does your make up.”
I pulled the skirt and blouse on, Mel laced up the boots and the other girls got to work making me look the part.
They were very encouraging and gave me pointers on how to stand or how to avoid looking at any of them without making it too obvious.
I was a bundle of nervous energy by the time we got to the stage door. Cindy finished her number and bounded off with her G-string full of bills. She stopped and looked at me and laughed. “It’s about time you started earning real money. Break a leg!”
“That’s what I’m worried about,” I mumbled as Mel shoved me onto the stage and a Nine Inch Nails song started to play.
I stood for half a second with my eyes huge and staring at the bright lights. I hadn’t realized how many there were surrounding the stage. It made it easier though. I could barely make out the crowd with them blaring down on me.
The song continued and I tried to imagine I was at home dancing by myself. I let my hips sway gently to the beat and closed my eyes as I lifted my arms and began to twirl and gyrate towards the end of the runway.
“Bring me a beer, sugar tits!” somebody yelled, the crowd laughed and I wondered if it was one of the guys who regularly gave me trouble. I was starting to regret my decision and didn’t know how I’d go back to waitressing now that I had broken that barrier and come on stage.
I looked out from under my lashes and was amazed to see how enthralled the majority of the audience was. They were watching my every move with the same looks on their faces as when Tawny was on stage.
I swayed my hips again and picked up the pace as the song progressed.
“I want to fuck you like an animal,” the lyrics swelled in my head and I started to get lost in the music.
“Feel you from the inside,” the song continued and I tugged at the top of my blouse and teased the button. I pulled at the knot on the bottom and spun around, letting my pony tails swing as I danced.
I undid the blouse and pulled it down over my shoulders, swung my hair and drew it off slowly down the length of one arm and then the other.
The guys in the crowd clapped and whistled. I heard a few cries of, “Sexy,” and “Take it off.”
It was oddly empowering. I had assumed I’d be too embarrassed to do something like this, but when you had an entire club of hungry men staring at you like they wanted to devour you, it made you feel sexier than ever.
I could see how girls like Tawny became addicted to it.
I shimmied at little more and shook my ass as the song ended and blended into another one, one of my favorite Beyoncé tracks.
I fell right into the rhythm of the new song and got caught up in the lyrics with my thumbs hooked in the waistband of my little plaid miniskirt.
“Getting bodied,” I sang along and swiveled. I could feel my ponytails sweeping my shoulders as I flung my head around and got energized by the beat.
I pulled at the elastic waist of the skirt and started to slide it down over my hips. I was surprised to look down and see bills of all denominations showering down on the stage as I slowly teased them with the skirt.
I caught a motion out of the corner of my eye and turned to find Ryker standing on the stage behind me with a look of pure rage in his eyes.
“Put this on,” he said, holding his black leather jacket out to me.
“I’m working,” I hissed angrily. “Get off the stage.”
“Yeah buddy, get off the stage!” some guy in the crowd yelled.
Ryker whirled and sought out the guy. “Anyone has a problem with me shutting this down, you’ll have to fucking deal with me. You hear?”
The music stopped and the club was quiet. You could hear a pin drop. I could hear my pulse rushing in my ears.
“Ryker, leave her be!” Mel yelled from the stage door. “God dammit, you’re going to ruin my business.”
“I’ll pay you triple what she’d make you tonight, but never put her up on stage again. What the fuck were you thinking? She’s not a dancer,” Ryker growled and laid his jacket over my shoulders.
dancing and I’m
at it,” I retorted but didn’t shrug his jacket off. It felt nice; it smelled nice. And deep down there was some part of me that loved the fact that he was so jealous he’d stormed the stage.