Book One: Dark Side of the Moon
“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” ~—Mark Twain~
The Venetian Lounge was an elite club in the underworld of New York City. The drinks were expensive, the feather girls were available at a price, and it was the safest place for Hayley.
Hayley wasn’t a feather girl nor did she wish to be. Although, she couldn’t help but envy them. They were confident, gorgeous, and had the men worshipping at their feet.
Hayley was a bar girl. She worked at one of the four round bars in the underground club, alongside Ben, her friend and roommate. He was funny and smart and they got along well, which was a relief.
In the center of the circle bar on a podium was her other friend, Ava. Ava, well, she was a feather girl and she was proud of her title. Hayley envied her beautiful blonde friend, but she couldn’t do what she did.
Hayley admired how Ava could dance and flirt with all the men in this place. She admired how confident and open about this world she was. A small part of Hayley wished she could be more like Ava.
“Another vodka, please pretty one.”
Dimitri was a regular prop at her bar. He was a friend of the owner, and he was Russian.
When she heard he was Russian, it made her nervous and wary. However, she soon learned he was running just as much as she was. Dimitri was a silent man but he gave Hayley some comfort that it wasn’t just her hiding away.
“Anything for you, Dimitri,” she replied in perfect Russian for the first time. It made his eyes widen as she placed the vodka in front of him. She laughed at his expression.
“You speak perfect Russian for a sweet English girl,” he complimented her, as she took the money from him. “Keep the change.”
She placed the tip in the jar she and Ben would share later.
“Where did you learn Russian?” Dimitri asked her as she leaned across the bar so she was close to him. She was sure he was peering down at her cleavage that poked above her deep purple corset.
“I went to a Catholic all-girls boarding school—I learned a lot of things there.”
Her lips curled into a smirk as she winked, making him chuckle. Dimitri liked this girl, she was spunky, sexy, and she was easy to chat with.
“One day you will wear a feather and I shall insist you wear a school uniform,” he teased, and she laughed and leaned across the bar again and spoke low to him with a wicked smile.
“When that day happens, I’ll be sure to bring it in.”
They both laughed loudly and she went on to serve the next gent who was staring at her ass in her shorts. They were more like underwear, and she had on her thigh-high black stockings and suspenders.
“Are you flirting again, Hayley?” Ben asked as he stood waiting for the cash register she was using, and she smiled at her light-blonde-haired guy friend.
“How else are we going to get the tips?”
Hayley knew tips were how they paid their rent, and how they could afford their nights out. So she smiled, laughed, and flirted as best she could; she was safe here and in control.
The bar was busier tonight. She could see there was a large group of men who had not been in the Venetian Lounge before, since she had started here a little over a month ago.
The main bulk of them were in the VIP area. They wore expensive suits and seemed to be celebrating something.
Hayley looked up at them high up in the VIP area. They were all good-looking men and it seemed the girls were getting excited at their presence.
Arianna walked over to Hayley’s bar. She was born and bred to be a feather girl. She had brown eyes and bleached blonde hair and big breasts and was tall, model-like.
“Get a bottle of scotch to the VIP lounge, booth five,” she demanded, her tone as rude as ever.
The dislike Hayley had for Arianna had always been there, and why wouldn’t it be? She was a total bitch after all.
It seemed Arianna didn’t like the idea that Hayley had made the decision to work here without agreeing to do the things the other girls did.
However, as much as Hayley didn’t like Arianna, she couldn’t say no to the request of the VIPs so Hayley rolled her eyes in response before grabbing the bottle and making her way to the VIP lounge.
The VIP section was on the second floor overlooking the sweaty club that was buzzing with music.
Upon heading to booth five, Hayley noticed all of Siobhan’s best girls were up here. They all had a look of determination and flirtation in their eyes, ready to please the men.
She went ahead and set the scotch on the table in front of Arianna, who was seated on a well-dressed gentleman, who was smoking a cigar and stroking Arianna’s side.
His three-piece suit oozed his wealth and his handsome looks made it hard to take her eyes off him—he was stunning.
Hayley bit her bottom lip as he caught her eyes roaming him, his chocolate eyes darkening. Hayley felt their eyes lock for a heartbeat, her brilliant blue eyes on his. Then the darkness in his eyes reminded her where she was.
Quickly, Hayley decided to leave but as she was headed toward the staircase, another man had some other plans as he grabbed her wrist and pulled her back to him.
This new guy was a tall guy, strongly built. He had warm hazel eyes and some stubble along his jawline. His hair was dark, and he had a warm persona but Hayley didn’t trust anyone, no one.
Hayley didn’t like how close he was.
“Well, hello, gorgeous,” he said, clearly excited. “Coming to join the party?”
Hayley gently pushed Mr. Arrogant off her.
“Nope,” she said simply as she went to walk away, but he didn’t give in. He took her waist and she turned to face him, pulling her hand from his grip.
“Look!” she said as she pointed to her black and purple mask. “Do you see what is missing from my mask?” Hayley asked him. He looked taken aback, clearly not used to women talking back to him. He was going to have to get used to it if he kept trying to bug her.
Another guy stood beside the loudmouth, and he laughed as he placed his hand on his friend’s shoulder.
Hayley looked at him, he had eyes like the man who had Arianna on his lap; they were dark, nearly black, whereas the other man’s had warmth, like a brown to them.
“She’s not wearing a feather, Frankie.” He laughed.
Hayley clapped sarcastically and then put her hands on her hips. He frowned at her but then her attention went back to the first guy.
“You see, your friend…” She looked at him for a name, and waited as the second guy realized she was waiting for him to respond.
“Nic,” he answered simply, as he looked from Hayley to his friend, then Hayley looked back at the first guy.
“Thanks.” Hayley smiled, before talking back to the first guy. “Nic’s smart, be more like Nic,” she said sarcastically, before she seductively walked closer to the first guy, and gently took his tie.
She began to play with the expensive material, looking from her fingers to his hazel eyes, and gently pulling the tie closer to her, with a sweet smile.
“You see…” Looking at him, gesturing to him to tell her his name, like she cared anyway.
“Frankie.” He said his name as he looked down at the little tease standing in front of him, and she smiled at him.
“You see, Frankie, I’m not a feather girl. I know guys like you, you think you fuck any girl who passes you by.” Then her smile disappeared as she grabbed his tie tighter. His friend Nic smirked, clearly impressed by the balls Hayley had.
“Well, you can’t. Now take the hint. You don’t mess with a woman you clearly can’t handle.” She let him go, and then walked down the staircase and back to her bar.
That was why she was not a feather girl. Hayley had a temper. She didn’t play nice with assholes. And that had gotten her into so much trouble before that she could never step foot in Paris again. Not if she valued breathing.
Hayley decided she needed a quick break. Dealing with douchebags always drained her. After letting Ben know, she went outside to the hallway that led to the outside world. She sat on a crate and had her phone out. She was reading one of her favorite books on her reading app.
She could smell the smoke from some of the bar guys who had gone out for a smoke, as they had left the door open. It was freezing as it was mid-October, but she didn’t care; it beat the heat from the club floor.
Hayley was about to head back inside when a large shadow fell over her.
“Ah, there you are,” a deep, intoxicating voice said.
Hayley looked up to see a massive, muscular man looming above her. The light behind him threw his face into shadow so she couldn’t recognize him. But she knew. She knew that they’d finally found her.
Adrenaline surged through her veins as she reached for her trusty switchblade that she kept hidden on her at all times. Fear made her hands shake. She wouldn’t be the victim. Not anymore.
She would not let them take her back.
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