There’s something to be said for lust at first sight.
Redd wasn’t looking for Mr. Right but Mr. Right now. But the moment Nikko walked into her bar she felt that first rush of need. She wasn’t shy about getting what she wanted even if only for one night, which was all her chaotic lifestyle would allow. Besides, not many men wanted to date a woman who worked in a nightclub, even if she were the bartender. It tended to make them sneer. She didn’t know which was worse. When they found out she was part owner or when they found out she was a law student. That intimidated some. She didn’t really care.
Nikko wasn’t looking for anyone. His life was full as the senior associate at a law firm and he just found out he was being considered for partnership. His life was about to become even busier. Then something happened that left him shaken. What should have been one night of uninhibited pleasure became a weekend, then it became more. How did that happen? And did he want it to stop?
Note: Shaken was previously part of the Club Prestige Collection. It is also book 1.5 in The Young Guns Series.
Who is that masked man?
During the day Harper Reynolds might have been a law school student, but at night he was a male stripper. At the very exclusive members only Club Prestige. To protect his identity he wore a mask. But one day someone saw through his facade and suddenly the future he’d planned was threatened.
Nadya Johnson thought she’d always be a marine, at least for the next eight years. But a bullet took it all away from her. Including the man she’d been writing to for years. Someone she’d never met—but she wanted to see him just once. Even if he didn’t know who she was; and she didn’t dare tell him her real name. All she wanted was one night.
A perfect moment can change it all.
Ever have that one perfect moment in time, when you know exactly what you’re supposed to do, who you’re supposed to be in life? Well, that had been me, and it certainly had lasted for more than a moment. I’d decided to pledge myself to God and help others in his name. Selfless, that was me and I was weeks away from taking my final vows. Then something happened, I met someone and suddenly I questioned everything.
I’ve always lived my life on my terms. Granted, I never thought I’d grow up to be a male stripper. But what the hell, I made good money and now, I had a shot at something more. And the women. Yeah, I loved women but they came and went. I preferred it that way. Didn’t matter which of us left first, as long as one of us did. I didn’t do attachments. Then something happened. I’m no saint, but I saved someone and wanted an attachment. Only to find out I could never have her.
Redd was tired, this final year of Law School was exhaustive but her grades would guarantee her a place at a law firm here in DC. She was one of the few that wouldn’t have almost overpowering loans at the end, thanks to the inheritance she received that allowed her to not only pay the tuition but also invest in the Martini Lounge.The Martini Lounge is a member only club with male dancers for entertainment. There are several themed rooms in the club, and Redd’s favorite is also where she usually bartends, The Martini Room. It’s a quieter room meant for conversation and relaxation.
This is a favorite scene.
“What can I get you?”
Her voice. Yes. Her voice and those beautiful angel eyes. Some might think of blue-eyed angels, but for me it was more golden honey. She’d asked me twice now what I wanted. What I wanted was to take her home with me and see where the rest of the night led us and maybe into the next. But that’s not what she meant. Too bad. “Ah, a martini?” Did I really just phrase that as a question? Shoot me, shoot me now. Where the hell was my suave? I was a successful attorney, for Christ’s sake. I’d been around very famous and beautiful women, argued cases before judges. I hoped I didn’t sound like a dimwit to her.
She raised one perfectly shaped eyebrow at me. “You think?”
Sexy. I smiled and she smiled back. Goddamn, it made her already beautiful face even more stunning. “Ah—ah yes.” Shit, someone please put me out of my embarrassment now. Could I be any more inarticulate? I wanted to groan but managed to stifle it. “What’s your specialty?” There, that sounded like I had at least half a brain.
“How about I surprise you?”
I nodded. “I’m good with that. Shake up my world.” I was good with anything she wanted to do with me, to me, or for me. Any damn time.
She winked. “Count on it.”
I tracked her movements as she refilled two of the glasses near a couple of men seated one stool down, then she grabbed a clean one from the rack behind her and one of the silver shakers and proceeded to mix my cocktail. Her body blocked most of what she poured, so I couldn’t see what all the ingredients were until she turned and brought my glass over to me.
The concoction had a bluish-purple tint to it, but the three plump blueberries on the stick in it clued me in as to what this was.
“Here, shaken not stirred.” She winked, then rested it in front of me. “Tell me what you think.”
I took the glass and raised it to my lips, keeping my eyes locked on to hers the entire time. Cool liquid hit my tongue and flavor exploded. I moaned. “Mmm…very good.”
Her lips curved up, not the wide smile she’d beamed my way before but a more self-satisfied one. “I’m glad you like it.”
“Very much. Thank you.”
She spun around at the sound of that name being called from the other end of the bar. I glanced behind her to see one of the other bartenders gesturing to get her attention. Red? Was that her name? Made sense with all that lovely red hair. I never paid much attention to redheads, but something told me I’d be paying a lot of attention to this one.
Ursula Sinclair. The Martini Lounge_Boxset (Kindle Locations 167-193). Kindle Edition.
Of course this book doesn’t stay very tame, and Nikko has to get back into the club if he’s going to actually see Redd again.
These two definitely have chemistry and this relationship escalates quickly. There are a few twists that can derail the whole thing, but that just added to the fun.
5 Contented Purrs for Ursula!
We met Harper, aka Matrix, in Shaken, he is a dancer at the Martini Lounge and also Redd’s roommate and a classmate. His story is a bit unusual in that he is in love with someone he’s never met.
Injured Nadya and now being discharged, she’s back in DC staying with her sister until she figures out what to do with the rest of her life. The one thing she knows, it won’t be with Matrix. Her sister Odessa, has a plan though. One of her husband’s clients is a member at the club and he got them guest passes for Matrix’s show.
Little did they know it was his last show since he was taking the bar and starting with a prestigious law firm.
This is a favorite scene.
I never hit on clients before or returned their advances, not like some others who danced the club. I’d never been interested, this was just a job. I might have to change my mind, but it didn’t matter, after this dance, I’d no longer work here. This was new territory. For the first time in a long time I smiled with real interest at a woman.
I did my routine moving past her to work the rest of the room, gathering up singles, fives even a few twenties. Yeah, I was hot tonight.
Not stopping for long with anyone else, at last coming back around to her. She’d be the last one I danced with. The music changed to Donna Summer’s “The Last Dance.” I laughed. I knew that was Rom’s doing. I glanced over to the open doorway and there he stood in an all-black silk suit and tie, giving me a short wave. I stopped directly before the woman seated in the front of the room. My breath came hard and fast in anticipation. I caught her gaze, raked my hand through my hair then licked my lips, making it very clear she was my target for the night.
Her features lit up, her kissable lips curled up into a smile as she shifted in her seat. I placed my hands on her thighs, pressing against her body in a push up position, then slowly I rose. “Don’t be scared. Touch me,” I whispered, letting my breath fan her mouth.
I’d said similar words many times, but they meant nothing. It was impersonal, merely a dance with a stranger. Part of the show. But right here, right now. I meant it. I wanted to touch her and feel her touch on me. The minute she pressed her palms on my chest a fire consumed me. I had to blink to remind myself of the damn routine. Anticipation thumped through my body; for once these choreographed moves would be done in earnest.
She seemed shy, tentative, so I helped. “Wrap your arms around my neck, baby.” Once she did, I put my hands under her thighs and picked her up. “I got ya.”
“Shit!” she cried. I grinned. “Now trust me and whenever I grab your hands don’t let go.”
“Shit!” she repeated.
Instinctively, she twined her legs around my waist as I spun us twice. Then I unlocked her arms from around my neck and held onto her waist lowering her head toward the ground as I twirled her again. Turning full circle a couple of times, pausing to get a solid grasp on her hands. I lowered her, sliding her body parallel to the floor between my spread legs quickly, then twisting over her so I was now looking down at her face. Still, holding tightly onto her, I pulled her back up into a standing position flush against my hard body.
If possible, the crowd went crazier than before. It was a complicated move but not that difficult if you had the strength to pull it off and knew what you were doing.
I always chose the women I’d dance with carefully. I’ve done that move hundreds of times and I hadn’t dropped one yet. And I sure as shit wasn’t about to drop this one. Not when she spiked my curiosity. She wasn’t the hottest woman who’d ever set foot in the club, but she was very attractive. I even liked the fact she was on the tall side. We aligned together perfectly.
When the dance was over I hugged her to me, she rested her forehead against mine and laughed. “That was…that was.”
“Yeah,” I said. “Fucking amazing.”
Taking a step back from me she continued to hold my hands. “One way of putting it.”
“The only way. Thank you, baby.” I kissed her cheek and felt a spark. My dick twitched.
“Oh my God! That was fucking awesome.” The woman seated beside the one I’d danced with joined us and hugged her. By then other dancers came in, but my routine was over. Yet, for the first time ever I was reluctant to let the one I’d danced with, who I still held onto, go. She felt right. Her touch on my arms had heat generating throughout my body.
“Thank you. So much, that was…thank you, Matrix.”
No surprise she knew my name, most of the members did and I was announced before my routine started. “You’re very welcome, beautiful lady. Thank you for the dance.” I stepped aside, bringing her hand up to my lips, I pressed a kiss on it and again my dick twitched. Damn!
I wanted to ask her name or tell her not to leave, to give me five minutes to change and I’d come back for her. Anything. I didn’t want to leave her, but I had to. Someone else came up to my left and began tugging on my arm. I’d been doing this for a long time and knew how to gently extricate myself. Time for me to go. I began moving away.
I glanced back at the woman I’d danced with and there seemed to be…no I shook my head. Those weren’t tears I saw pooling in her eyes. Must be the bad lighting, beside I blinked and they were gone. Yet, something about her wouldn’t let me just walk away.
I took a step back to her side and bent to whisper in her ear. “Ten minutes, meet me outside.”
Ursula Sinclair. The Martini Lounge_Boxset (Kindle Locations 1919-1963). Kindle Edition.
The dance was amazing and having coffee with him afterwards while bittersweet also ended up with them at his apartment. Nadya didn’t tell him her real name, and left before he woke, letting fate handle the rest.
Boy does fate handle it, bleeding profusely Nadya heads to the hospital calling her sister.
Ah, the tangled little web. I loved the way this book plays out. It’s not easy, it’s not perfect, it’s a relationship that gets built on with every page.
5 Contented Purrs for Ursula!
This is Roman’s story, he is the choreographer for the club and only dances once in a while. He’s leaving the club when he sees a something disturbing in a parked car behind the club.
This is a favorite scene.
I don’t know why it felt all kinds of wrong for Lani to be locked away in some convent and not be part of the world. Being able to enjoy the pleasures to be had between a man and a woman. Who am I kidding, I wanted her. I wanted her pleasure and I wanted to give her mine. “Damn.”
Corrine chuckled, then stopped and narrowed her gaze at me. “You like her.”
“What’s not to like?”
“Yeah, both those women are something else. One is my heart and the other well, they’re twins and there’s a bond there. Lara’s hurting for her sister. She thinks it’s a mistake. I probably shouldn’t be telling you all this, but you did save her from that bastard tonight, maybe even saved her life. And while you’re a stripper…”
“Hold up, I’m not just an exotic dancer,” I told her with emphasis. “I’m also a choreographer. Who do you think choreographs the dances? And I’m getting ready to have my own show.”
“Good for you. So you’re not just all good looks and good deeds.”
I grinned. “Not hardly.”
“I will say this, if you do decide to pursue Lani, don’t hurt her. See…if you do, that will hurt Lara, but also because I really like Lani and she’s become my sister too. So you hurt her and I’ll beat your fine ass, so that pretty face won’t be so pretty any more.”
I looked directly into her eyes, holding her gaze. “It will be her choice.”
“It always is. Remember that.”
We both turned at the feminine voice to see Lani, her sister and the detective.
“Well?” I asked, looking at Lani then at the detective, who smiled.
“We got him. She identified the same guy,” the detective said.
“Thank God!” Corrine said, embracing first Lani, then Lara.
“Now what happens?” I asked the detective.
“We charge him and you can all go home. I know it’s late and Ms. Abate has been through a trying ordeal. We’ll have you both come down tomorrow or the next day to take a more formal statement and at some point, you’ll talk to the prosecutor’s office.” He took out a business card and handed it to me. “Here, if you have any questions just give me a call. Otherwise, you should hear from me tomorrow or the day after for us to set up a time to talk more.”
“Sounds good.” I extended my hand and shook his. “Thanks.”
“Yes, thank you so much,” Lani said.
“Come on, let’s go home,” Lara stated.
We left the precinct together. I’d driven and the others had come in Lara’s car. We walked to the parking lot where our cars were parked.
Lara and Corrine were holding hands, walking together.
Lani and I walked side by side. I shoved my hands in my pockets so I wouldn’t touch her. I wanted to. Badly. We arrived at my car first. I took out my key fob and unlocked the door. The lights flashed, but no sound. I’d shut off that damned beeping sound most cars made.
Lara and Corrine stopped to turn around.
“Thanks again, for helping my sister,” Lara said. “Feel free to call anytime.”
They kept walking to the car parked a few spots down. Lani paused. “Well, thank you again. I guess I’ll see you when we have to give our statements. Goodnight.” She turned to walk away from me.
I reached out and grasped her hand. She stopped, and stared down at our joined hands. I know I should let her hand go, but I couldn’t. Instead, I moved my thumb to cover her pulse. Yes, there it was, the rapid increase of blood flooding through her veins. I affected her too.
She raised those beautiful eyes to me, a question in them. Yes, she knew it too.
“I texted your sister, so she has my number. Will you call me tomorrow?”
“There’s no need, Rom. She’ll bring me back to the precinct.”
I shook my head. “No that’s not why, although I don’t mind picking you up, so we can go together. That’s not why I want you to call me.”
I slid my hand down and threaded our fingers together. Again, she gazed at our hands. I squeezed hers. “I want to make sure you’re all right and I want to see you again.”
She hesitated for a moment.
This time, my pulse spiked.
Glancing into my eyes, she whispered, “Rom, I can’t see you in the way I think you mean. You see, I’ve pledged myself to serve Christ. I’ve already begun the training of a Novitiate. Soon, I will move into the convent, prior to taking my final vows to become a Nun.”
“But you haven’t taken those vows yet?” I persisted.
“In my heart, I have.”
Shit. “Then it won’t matter if you let me get to know you before you’re cloistered. It won’t matter after you take those final vows, you won’t ever be able to speak to me again.”
She smiled—damn—she was beautiful when she smiled. Unfortunately, it also showcased the bruise on her face. I wished I’d been able to beat the shit out of the fucker who’d done that to her.
“I won’t be entering a convent that requires a vow of silence. So after the formal ceremony, I actually will be able to speak to you. I will always be grateful to you and think of you as a friend.”
“Ouch.” Friendship was not what I wanted, but if that was the only way to get to know this woman before the opportunity would be gone forever, I would. Something inside me told me I had to. Was it my dick talking? Hell yes. Yet, that damned tingle in my heart muscle couldn’t be ignored either. “Friends, so call me tomorrow. Let’s get to know each other a little before you take those vows. It’s the least you can do since I did save your life.” I smiled to soften what I’d said. I was willing to use anything I could to get to know this woman. Ah Fuck. A nun. The universe if it were sentient would be laughing its ass off. But she wasn’t a nun yet.
Ursula Sinclair. The Martini Lounge_Boxset (Kindle Locations 3377-3438). Kindle Edition.
A jealous ex-girlfriend, the woman who is to be a nun, an exotic dancer, the wonderful couple Corrine and Lara all make this an interesting and fun read. The whole concept is different and the outcome, well I guess you’ll just have to read it!
5 Contented Purrs for Ursula!
Ursula Sinclair is the alter ego of LaVerne Thompson a USA Today Bestselling Author and an award winning multi-published author.
Ursula’s work will fall more under the new adult and romantic suspense/intrigue realm whereas LaVerne writes contemporary, fantasy and sci/fi romances that at times also have a touch of suspense.