Stripped Bounty Chapter Two Excerpt



Coming: 8/9/2016

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Later that night Badger pulled his Harley-Davidson Dyna into the back lot of Deuce’s Cabaret and parked in his usual spot near the back door. He pulled the bandana off his forehead and tucked it in his back pocket and did the same with his shades. It was nearing the end of summer and the late nights had finally started dipping just below the triple-digit mark, but seeing as it was just after seven thirty at night, the air temp was still pushing a solid one-oh-four.
Badger strode to the back door. “Evening, Jayson.”
“Evening, boss.” The bouncer nodded and held the door open for Badger to enter.
“Thanks.” Badger stepped into the cool air of the back hall and made a hard right directly into the office. Deuce was at the desk, shuffling through some paperwork and stroking his long beard as Evie lounged on the couch to the right, book in her hands. “Evening, kids.”
“Hey, Badger. You get the bad guy?” Evie smiled and Badger moved to her and gave her a peck on the cheek.
“Not yet.” He turned to Deuce. “Thought I told you not to wait up?”
Deuce snorted. “I got lonely.”
“Awww.” Badger clapped his boss on the shoulder and shot a wink to Evie. “Girls all present and accounted for?”
She gave him another million-dollar smile as she giggled. “Of course. Hey, how’s your grandmother doing?”
“She’s good. Saw her tonight before heading in.” He removed his Glock 9mm and holster and locked it in the top drawer of the filing cabinet.
“You’re such a good grandson. She’s lucky to have you.” Evie’s eyes softened along with her smile.
“Thanks. More like the other way around, though.” He looked back to Deuce. “You need anything, I’ll be up front.” With that he left them to their business and made his way down the hall to the bar.
Evie and Deuce Stevens had been together damn near thirty years, maybe longer. His boss was in his midfifties, but the miles the old biker had weathered when he wore his now-retired MC patch on his back made him appear a lot older. Evie had been with him through all of it. The miles had weathered her, too, but she was still a damn pretty lady.
Badger strolled past the dressing room. The noise from all the girls getting ready for the night was loud enough to penetrate the closed door as well as the dull echo of the music coming from the DJ in the bar. Damn, crazy ass, loud strippers. He shook his head and kept on his way.
The strobe and black lights were in full effect inside the main area of the bar as Tesla’s “Love Me” played on the sound system. Two strippers had the main stage and a few were scattered among the small crowd, working table dances.
Two of his security team flanked the open area on each side. He nodded to them both and then ambled past the bar and waved to Sadie, the night bartender. As he took a mental accounting of the lingering happy hour patrons, Badger took a seat on his perch between the front door and the bar.
It was Thursday night, so they’d draw a decent crowd over the next four or so hours and maintain it until closing time, though Friday and Saturday nights were always better.
Within two hours the crowd was in full swing. As Halestorm’s “Unapologetic” began on the sound system, the deejay announced a new dancer, Arianna, on the center stage. New song, new dancer. No biggie. But a tingle at the back of Badger’s neck had him glancing to the stage as he took a swig of his coffee…and almost choked on the lukewarm liquid. He cleared his throat and blinked. Twice.
It was her.
The goddamn brunette from earlier in the day.
Badger set the cup down. Fuck me. The very brunette he hadn’t completely stopped thinking about all afternoon. He watched as she strutted down the stage in a black fitted skirt that came just above her knees, topped by a white button-up dress shirt. All that pretty long hair of hers was pulled up and she had on a pair of sexy-ass glasses.
The woman looked like a librarian or schoolteacher—a fucking sexy-as-hell one.
Every hot-blooded male’s wet dream. Blowing out a breath, Badger ran his palm along his jaw and kept his eyes on her. As if they’d be going anywhere else.
Arianna—not likely her real name—rounded the pole at stage left, turned, and with the bar against her back, arched her body so her petite, upside-down heart of a rear-end was pressed against the shiny steel. She ran her hands down the front of the white shirt, giving definition to the small but pert breasts beneath it.
Three beats of the song later, she ran a hand back up her chest, to her cheek—her glossy red lips set in a pout—and pushed off the pole, strutting until she reached the other end. Arianna—or whoever she was—gripped the steel in one hand, hooked a leg around it and, lifting herself off the ground, spun a few times before dropping into a low squat, the post pressed between her parted thighs to her core. After stroking up and down, riding the pole a couple of times, she thrust her hips backward with a snap that had the audience cheering.
Men and women in the crowd began to rise from their seats and approach the stage. With the pole gripped tight in two hands, she bent forward before straightening—slow and sultry, unbelievably sexy. The curve of her ass in the tight skirt was enough to make Badger grind his back molars.
Jesus.
Holy shit.
Goddamn.
Fuck!
Badger crossed his arms and leaned his back against the wall. Tracking her movements like a hawk, he watched as she moved center stage, gliding on those long legs like the devil herself, pulling the skirt higher with each step. In an effort to save himself, he glanced away. He had to.
A few beats later, the crowd cheered again, and without giving himself permission, Badger whipped his head back around. She was just too fucking hot not to watch. Badger’s mouth went dry as she turned her back to the crowd and made a show of tugging down the zipper of the skirt before sliding the fabric down her long legs and stepping out of it.
The hem of the white dress shirt hung past her ass, and as she strutted upstage to the back wall and, more importantly, the pole and mirrors, Badger knew this was only the beginning.
This woman was putting on a show, and by the time she was topless, Badger had a feeling it might be the best show the customers of Deuce’s Cabaret had seen in a long-ass time.
For sure, it was already the best show Badger had ever seen.

*

Rosie pressed her hands to the mirror upstage and rolled her hips around. She’d been beyond nervous since she’d gotten hired that morning. Evie, the house mom, and apparently also the owner’s wife, had been so sweet to her while she’d auditioned earlier in the day and again, just now while getting ready. Rosie could’ve hugged her. She’d even brought Rosie a double shot of Jack Daniels from the bar. Thank God. It was enough to take the edge off, but not enough to get her drunk—just what Rosie had needed.
The song ended, and just as she’d directed, the deejay queued up Karise Eden’s cover of “It’s A Man’s World.” If she had to get back on the stage, may as well do it with a bang. Rosie turned and slid down the mirror slightly, tugging on the ends of the shirttails, as she rolled her hips, using her legs to propel her movements.
Two steps downstage, and she stopped, raised her fingers to the arm of the prop glasses she wore, pinched it between two fingers, and peered over the top of the frames to the customers. As she scanned the crowd, her eyes landed right on him—the bartender from that morning. Rosie couldn’t make out the expression on his face but his eyes were on her. She felt them.
For the whole day, and especially when she’d reported in for her shift, Rosie had been plagued with the feeling that she’d somehow disappointed him. It was stupid. Not like she knew the man—he sure as hell didn’t know her. He had no right to judge her, and she had no reason to care. But really, why work in a strip club if he didn’t like strippers?
With a wink in his direction, simply to bust his balls, she pulled off the glasses and tossed them aside. Raising her hands to her hair, she yanked the two strategically placed pins free and let the mass of dark thickness fall down around her shoulders. Fine. He didn’t like strippers. Well, Rosie wasn’t the average stripper, and she intended to show him that.
Without hesitation, Rosie reached for the pole, swung around and pulled herself up, scissoring her legs into the air before curling herself around the cool steel as if she’d just done this deal yesterday. Technically, she had…
Rosie may’ve hung up her G-strings and stripper heels two years ago, but she’d continued pole dancing at a local fitness studio in Connecticut. It was strictly to keep her body in shape, as well as release the constant flow of energy that’d always plagued her. Good thing she’d kept at it, or her comeback to the scene might not have been so easy. All things considered, it wasn’t going too bad.
But “easy” was a subjective term, really. None of what Rosie was doing was easy. Not emotionally anyway.
The patrons went a little nuts as she spread her legs wide while suspended upside down. Rosie gazed out over the crowd before righting herself and sliding to the ground. Making a dramatic show of every movement, she cocked her head to the side and tugged open one button of the shirt. Then another. Rosie teased, popping her shoulders and revealing a bit of her cleavage before she let go of the blouse and moved her hands to her hair, shaking out the long length. It felt good, casting her spell on the crowd, the energy from them filling her insides, fueling her to take it another notch higher.
Shifting, she changed the position of the split and arched backward. In that position, she undid the rest of the buttons on the shirt and peeled the two halves open. With her top discarded, she bent forward, rolled over and up to her feet.
She’d had just enough cash left to go and buy a black, strappy bikini-style top and matching G-string. The skirt and dress shirt, she’d already had.
She’d worn them to her husband’s funeral.
How apropos she now wear them to make a living—a living Joey had never had a problem with. He’d liked the money too much. Selfish bastard! Not like he had a say anymore. Years ago, he was the reason she’d quit. She’d done it to spite him. Now he was the reason she was back on the pole.
Rosie shoved the thought aside and strutted, slow and easy, down stage and right to a group of men waiting, dollar bills in their hands. Her ass might be hanging out but she hadn’t removed her bra-top yet. And already she was making money. Relief washed over her as she turned and squatted down in front of the small group and let them tuck the money they held in the side straps of her G-string. “Thank you.”
Rising, she smiled over her shoulder and shot them a wink before stepping away to the other pole. She gripped the steel in both palms, swung her body and flipped herself upside down. As she rotated, Rosie hooked a knee around the bar and let the momentum of the movement spin her.
Keeping her arms out to accentuate the motion of her body, she completed a few more revolutions before rising and righting herself once more.
Godsmack’s “Keep Away” began and as Rosie allowed her body to slow in its revolutions, she extended out of her position until once again she was on the floor. She pushed up off the ground and moved center stage. Rosie scanned the crowd, searching for him again. And found him. He hadn’t moved, and he was still watching. Good.
In the next moment, she unhooked the back clasp on her bra as she scooped up the skirt she’d discarded earlier with her free hand. In one seamless motion, she slipped off the strappy top and slid the black skirt in front of her bare breasts.
Rosie teased the crowd. As she’d always done. As dancers were meant to do.
That was the whole point of a striptease, wasn’t it? Maybe she’d shown him that. She sure as hell did the crowd. Whistles sounded from the club floor and more patrons lined the sides of the stage—dollar bills at the ready.
Still on her knees, she spun away, giving them her back, but then arched backward to lie on the stage. With one hand tangled in her hair, the other still holding the black fabric to her chest, Rosie undulated her hips, her long legs extended in the air.
After twining them together at the knee and then apart a few times, she slammed the soles of her feet down on the ground, raised her hips high in the air and tossed the skirt aside. Rosie rolled backward, her legs coming over her body as she pushed herself over and up to her feet.
Adrenaline pulsed through her, and her body hummed from the energy in the crowd. With her hair hanging over one eye, she turned and faced the crowd, finally giving them what they wanted: her bare body. Bare except for the strappy, black G-string.
Rosie walked forward, stopping to roll her head, swinging her long hair around. She’d missed this. The show. The response from the crowd. The high that came from gaining their attention. All of their attention. The feeling was unexpected but no less true. With a bounce and pop of her hips, she swayed in time with the hard beat of the song before moving to each customer lining the stage. As the song played out, she let the searing sound of the guitar and the deep tone of the singer’s voice roll through her as each man at the edge of the stage tucked dollar bills in the straps on her hips.
When the song ended and the deejay announced the next dancer, the crowd clapped and whistled right over the top of him. They clapped, for God’s sake! Loudly and with vigor. Yeah, she’d missed this. Unable to stifle the pride that automatically rose in her belly, Rosie gave herself a mental pat on the back and gathered the additional dollar bills that’d been tossed onto the stage for her performance.
The next dancer mounted the stage and just as Rosie was about to step down, she glanced over her shoulder.
His eyes were still locked on her.
But now she could clearly see, he wore that same hardened stare she’d been subjected to that morning. And just like earlier, she felt it like a physical touch. The tingle she’d experienced came right back, too, skittering down her spine. Titillating. The same as it’d done that morning.
And Rosie didn’t like it. Not at all.

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