Life hasn’t been easy for Bella Parker. Growing up poor, she’s had to fight for everything she has and keep her emotions locked down. One day, her friend Jewel gets her an interview at the club she works at, and everything changes. She finally has money, a place to belong—and maybe even a chance at love with Cameron Miller, the owner of the club. Cameron is used to getting what—and who—he wants, and now, he wants Bella. But a dangerous secret could put them both in jeopardy. Can Bella let her walls down and love Cameron without being drawn into his deadly world?
Age Rating: 18+
“Come on, girl! We can’t be late. We have to catch the bus in five minutes or it will have to be the train, and then we’ll definitely be late,” Jewel hollers at me.
“I’m coming! Just slipping on my shoes real quick,” I say, stumbling out the door.
I walk out in my white dress, drop shoulder with lace at the top. It comes to the top of my knees, and the sleeves are also lace, stopping right above my elbows. My friends whistle and tell me how cute I look.
“I hopefully have to work anyway, depending on how this interview goes. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement,” I tell them as I walk through the house.
“Come on! We have got to go!” Jewel grabs me, dragging me out the door.
“Okay, okay!” I jerk my hand away from her. “See you guys tonight.”
We rush out the door and down the road. We arrive right before the bus rounds the corner. Jewel drops the money in the coin slot as we board the bus to ride to the club.
“Are you sure they will hire me?” I fiddle with a loose string on my dress.
“Yes, they need a waitress bad. Also strippers, but I didn’t think you’d want to do that, so I told them that you were perfect for the waitress position.”
I scrunch up my nose at her. “No, I do not want to do that. I’ll be fine with the other. I’ve done a bunch of waitress jobs for years.”
We arrive at the Blue Claw and walk in. Stopping for a minute while my eyes scan the place, my jaw drops at how enormous the business is. People are already waiting to have a perfect time on the lower levels.
“Gosh!” I say, looking at the three levels of the club. “This place is massive. How do you remember where everything is?”
“Most people that stay here on the main floor get their own drinks. There aren’t many tables down here since the main dance floor is in this room. The other two are through those doors. The main areas are the VIP ones upstairs. There are two of them on each floor,” she says as points out each thing.
We head up a flight of stairs, then down a very long hallway. We stop in front of a closed door. Jewel raises her hand and knocks on it lightly.
“Come in.” A very sexy male voice floats through the door.
We walk in. A man looks up from his desk with one of those sexy smiles that make women’s knees go weak.
I look through another door on the other side of his office to see what’s there. It’s a massive VIP room with an enormous stage for strippers with two poles and red-cushioned chairs that wrap around it.
High-end couches and chairs run along the walls; they’re covered in the same expensive red cushion material.
“Hey, Jewel. How are you this evening?” He looks at her with a megawatt smile.
“I’m fine, Cameron. This is my friend Isabella, but she likes to be called Bella. She’s here for one of the waitressing positions you said were open.
“She has years of experience as a waitress, plus she lives with me, so we’ll always be on time when we work with each other.” She inspects her nails like talking to him is nothing.
He walks up to me and shakes my hand while looking at me.
“How are you tonight? How old are you exactly? You look young.” His eyes gaze at my face as his questions tumble out of his mouth.
“I’m fine, and I just turned twenty-one.” I’m a little nervous about this nontraditional interview.
“How long have you been a waitress exactly?” His eyes scan my petite body a little too slowly.
“Since I was eighteen. I have worked at many restaurants and have good people skills. I’ll do my best to serve people correctly here,” I say, looking him in the eyes the way you’re supposed to in an interview.
“So, you live with Jewel? How long have you known her?” He nods at her as she stands there, bored.
“Two years. I met her at one of my old jobs. We hit it off and became friends, then moved into the house we’re at now.” I try not to sound nervous.
“Hey, man!” Another hunk of a guy walks in, with his muscular frame rippling as he moves. “Who’s supposed to be in here tonight? We have a ton of men coming to watch these ladies.”
Cameron looks at me from head to toe, and a smirk comes over his face. I don’t particularly appreciate where this is going at all. His long legs take him back around the desk as he sits down, steepling his fingers.
“Get her ready,” he says. “Bella can work that part tonight. I would like to see what she can do on that stage.” He points to the stage with the poles.
“What?” My jaw drops. “No, I don’t do that.”
He stands up again, slowly approaching me with fire in his eyes.
Guess he’s not used to girls telling him no.
“If you work for me, you do anything we want you to. Understand?” He is bristling with anger.
“Then I won’t work here. I am not—and never have been—a stripper.” I turn to walk back out the office door. I feel a large hand close over my wrist and pull me backward gently.
“You’re a firecracker, aren’t you?” He seems amused about my tone. “We’ll get someone else, but I want you serving our drinks tonight.”
“That I can do. Thank you,” I say, not wanting to look at this infuriating man right now.
“I’ll grab Brittany. She knows what she’s doing, plus she’ll go all the way for these guests if they want her to.” The man turns to walk out, and he comes back in shortly with a woman that doesn’t have anything on.
“I told a few of the others to come in here in about an hour to entertain the rest of the group too.” He gestures to the woman who’s probably walking to the dressing rooms.
Another guy walks up and looks at me with a smile. “Bella, I’m Brad, the bartender. This other guy is John, one of the bouncers here. We’ll keep an eye on you with these guests.
“All you have to do is hang out by the bar until we start serving drinks to everyone. The men can get pretty wild with the girls in here.”
“No one can touch Bella.” Cameron barks the order at them. “She’s a server only. If you see someone touch her, remove them.”
“Don’t worry, boss, we’ll keep an eye on them and her both,” John says as he winks at me.
Not long after, I’m shown what to do around the club.
Everyone gets where they need to be as guys come flooding in, sitting in the chairs and on the couches. They’re all well-dressed men and look like they have a ton of money on them. Great, wealthy men that have grubby hands.
“Just take a deep breath and get their drinks.” Cameron touches my arm lightly. “They won’t touch you.”
I nod, head out, and start taking drink orders.