“Are you a surfer, Cam?” I asked, my voice throaty and low. How is it that I tried the entire night to sound like that and never managed?
He cocked his head to the side. “How’d you know?”
I shrugged. “You look like a beach kind of guy.” All tan muscles and messy blond hair.
“You think I’m hot.”
“You seem to have a thing for my hair.”
His movements stilled and he glanced at his fingers tangled in my hair. His eyes widened just a fraction and it made me think he hadn’t realized what he was doing. It created a little fizzle of disappointment inside me because I liked the idea of him touching me because he liked it. I didn’t want it to be some kind of weird accident.
“What can I say? My hands sometimes have a mind of their own.”
The bottom dropped out of my stomach and something low in my abdomen clenched.
“Cam,” Adam said from behind me. “Are you hitting on my new dancer?”
Cam pulled away, returning to me my personal space he’d been crowding. My body seemed to follow him, as if trying to be close to him again.
“You better watch out for this one, Violet. He’s a real ladies’ man.”
I glanced back at Cam, arching an eyebrow.
“Here,” Adam said, stacking some papers in front of me and handing me a pen. “When you’re done, you can go. Be here tomorrow night to dance at seven.”
I couldn’t help but sneak little glances at Cam out of the corner of my eye as I wrote. Was it true? Was he a ladies’ man? If he were, it would do me no good to be attracted to him. I wasn’t the kind of girl that would stand in line for attention. I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if he was. I mean, he worked in a strip club and his uniform was shirtless. Suddenly I understood why there were women in this club. All the bartenders were men and all of them were hot.
When Cam caught me looking, he smirked and I averted my gaze and finished up the paperwork. I picked it up to carry into Adam’s office, but Roxie intercepted me.
“Taking that to the boss?”
“I’ll do it.” She reached out and took the papers.
“You don’t have to do that.”
“I want to.”
There was something about the way she said it… I gasped. “You have a thing for him?!”
She got this who me? look across her face, but then she smiled. “Maybe a little crush.”
“More like a big one.” I teased.
She sighed. “It doesn’t matter anyway. He won’t date the dancers. He doesn’t mix business with pleasure.”
“I thought he was married.”
“I doubt it will last; none of his marriages do.”
“Is he damaged?”
“I just don’t think he’s found the right woman yet.”
“Well, if you ask me, he needs to stop getting married until he actually finds her.”
“Maybe he’s a hopeless romantic.” She sighed, gazing toward his office door.
“Maybe he’s a typical guy who thinks with the brain inside his pants.”
She snorted. “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
“Well, thanks,” I said, gesturing to the papers.
She nodded. “Call me tomorrow and we’ll meet up before work. Get you some outfits.”
She headed into Adam’s office and I went outside. Ty held open the door for me as I walked out to the parking lot. “That was some dancing tonight, Miss Harlow.”
“I’m a complete disaster, Ty.”
He chuckled. “You got the job, didn’t ya?”
“Yep.” I smiled, proud of myself. Passing an audition to become a stripper might not be something I should be proud of, but dammit, I was. It took a lot of guts for me to do what I did tonight and I was able to hold on to my job without actually getting naked.
“See you tomorrow night, sugar.”
I waved good-bye and went around the side of the building to the back of the lot where I was able to squeeze my car. The air was thick and humid even at this early hour. I lifted my hair up off my shoulders and tied it into a messy knot on the top of my head to keep it from sticking to my neck. I wanted a shower and my bed. If I made tomorrow night what I did tonight, I could pay off half my bills. Then I would just need to catch up on my rent and start paying toward my tuition.
I had to keep my school schedule on track. I had a four-year plan that included a bachelor’s degree, and I fully intended to make it happen.
I unlocked my Toyota and climbed inside, anxious to turn on the air-conditioning. I slid the key in the ignition and turned. The engine turned over. The car did not start. I tried again. Same thing.
I groaned. “Not tonight,” I said to the car.
Then I pumped the gas pedal (isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?) and tried again. That didn’t work either.
I leaned my forehead against the steering wheel and considered my options. I could go look under the hood and try to fix whatever the problem was. Maybe it was something easy like something coming unplugged.
I climbed out of the car, popping the hood and staring down at the filthy, greasy engine. Ew. It was so dark that I could see practically nothing. What I could see didn’t appear to be broken.
I laughed a little at my incompetence and let the hood fall back into place.
It was dark out here.
The parking lot was almost empty.
It was after two a.m.
I could call a cab. But that would eat into the money I needed to pay bills.
With a sigh, I trekked back to the door. Ty raised an eyebrow when he saw me again but opened the door for me. I looked around for Roxie, thinking maybe she could give me a ride home. But she wasn’t on the floor. I glanced at Adam’s office and the door was shut. If she was in there, I really didn’t want to bother her. That seemed like some sort of violation of girl code.
“I thought you left?” Cam said, coming around the bar.
His black dress pants hung dangerously low on his hips, but were belted into place. Peeking just a little above his waistband was the thick band of his grey boxers. The lighter color drew my eye like a thief to an open bank vault.
“Is Roxie around?” I asked, forcing myself to look anywhere but at his narrow hips.
He shrugged. “Something wrong?”
“My car won’t start.”
“I’ll look at it.”
“I already did. It’s too dark to see anything.”
“You know about cars?” he said, his brows rising halfway up his forehead.