Authors: Natasha Tanner,Roxy Sinclaire
A Bad Boy Romance
© 2016 Natasha Tanner, Roxy Sinclaire
All Rights Reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locations is purely coincidental. The characters are all productions of the authors’ imagination.
Please note that this work is intended only for adults over the age of 18 and all characters represented as 18 or over.
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Table of Contents
“Aria, you had better be in there tapping into your sexy side. I know it’s buried in there, somewhere,” my best friend Ella called to me through my closed bedroom door.
“That’s right, and if I come in there, I had better not find you studying,” my cousin Jasmine added in a perfect imitation of my father.
At this, all three of my friends, who have been patiently waiting for me to join the festivities, burst into peels of laughter. I can’t even allow myself to be offended because if finals week of my senior year hadn’t ended today, studying is exactly what I would be doing. But school is finally over, and even though I’m not very enthusiastic about it, my friends are waiting for me to get ready so they can take me out for my bachelorette party.
I sigh, but resist the temptation to tell them, one more time, that they really don’t need to do this for me. I adore Ella, but she can be relentless. She was always urging me to close the books and party more. Ella is great fun and I have known her since freshman orientation, but she is single-minded in her focus on having a good time and making sure everyone around her is having one as well.
Ella is the only person besides Xavier that can force me to stop studying for an evening. But, it has been such a long time since Xavier has shown any interest in romance that I’m not sure I can still include him on that list. There are the occasional work parties and client dinners that require me on his arm, but they are more about putting on a performance than a romantic night out as a couple.
Even the work events are becoming less frequent. He didn’t invite me to his office holiday party this year. I asked him about it and he turned the whole thing back around on me: he knew I was going home to see my family; I didn’t have a good time at the last party; I had finals to study for. Xavier is always quick to point out how busy I am with school and how considerate he is about it. But I would've made time for the party, so it hurt that he didn’t even bother to ask.
I shouldn’t be so hard on him. I know he is busy and he is going to be the youngest person ever to make partner at his law firm. And it’s not just because his father is a managing partner, but also because Xavier is good at what he does. I know once he feels more secure in his position at work and stops worrying about people assuming nepotism got him his job, things will get better with us. After the wedding, there will be so much more time for just the two of us.
, I tell myself. It’s my bachelorette party and my best friends are waiting for me. I am going to have a good time tonight and things will be so much better with Xavier once we’re married.
Now, I just have to find something fabulous to wear tonight. Because I know if I don’t come out of my room looking sexy, Ella will force me back in to my closet and then pick something out for me that will have me tugging the hemline down the entire night.
I do a quick run through of my clothing and settle on a pair of skinny jeans and a cute lacy top that I bought the last time I visited my parents at their ranch outside of Austin. I strip down to my bra and panties and then immediately second-guess my choice.
Tonight is my celebration, and in a couple of weeks my life will change like night to day. I need to dress up for a real party and make up for all the nights I missed out on because of school and Xavier. My cousin is here for the first time without both of our mothers in tow. My friend London just broke up with her boyfriend and needs a night out almost as much as I do. Ella, however, is someone who doesn’t need a reason to go out and is always the life of the party.
As I dig through my closet yet again, I am finally getting excited about tonight. The girls won’t tell me where we’re going, but I am sure it will be somewhere amazing. Tonight, I am going to order my first cosmopolitan. I have wanted to try one ever since I saw an episode of
Sex and the City
as a teenager.
“Why aren’t you ready?” Ella demands.
I hadn’t heard her come up behind me and just about jumped out of my skin.
“You scared me,” I gasp, my heart still pounding.
She has a nearly empty martini glass in her hand containing something that smelled strongly of gin. Ella smacks my ass and passes a dismissive glance over the outfit I am still holding.
“You are not leaving the house in something so
,” she declares.
I laugh because it is such an Ella thing to say.
“It is not
and I can’t believe you just slapped my behind.”
“I can’t believe you’re thinking of wearing this,” she snorts. “We’re in New York City, not Kansas.”
Ella looks fantastic in a white skater mini dress and over-the-knee boots. She obviously expects me to wear something similar. I watch silently as she flips rapidly through my closet and comments on every item.
“No, no, possible, no, my grandmother wouldn’t wear this. You have nothing appropriate for a night out,” she accuses me while trolling the racks.
“Wait, what is this? It’s cute. I think we may have a winner.”
She holds the promising dress up, still on the hanger.
“Aria. I do declare, I think this dress will be absolutely perfect,” she says in her best southern accent. I roll my eyes, used to her mimicking my Texas twang by now.
The dress she picked is a little black slip dress with a plunging back and a high cut neck. I purchased it last year for a lingerie party. The party was at London’s sorority and was billed as the biggest night of the year. I ended up skipping the party, but I never returned the dress. I have been secretly waiting for the perfect opportunity to wear it.
“Mission accomplished,” Ella said to Jasmine and London as she started to leave my room.
“And don’t you dare come out without heels on,” she called back to me.
I stuck my tongue out at her retreating back, but knew she was right. She may be bossy but she has great fashion sense.
I slip the dress on over my head and brush out my dark hair. My hair is my one real vanity and I always wear it long and straight, at least to the middle of my back. I apply lip-gloss, a swipe of blush on each cheek, and black mascara. I slip on the heels and give myself a final once over in the mirror. I am so glad I kept this dress. The silk drapes to perfection on my body and feels sleek against my skin. The heels already hurt but I tell myself the pain is worth it because of how long my legs look in them.
I walk into the living room and all three women give a cheer.
“Gorgeous! Now get over here for a picture,” Jasmine waves me over to where they are standing. We crowd close together and London holds out her phone for a group selfie.
“Cheese,” we yell out together, posing for the camera.
The Uber driver is waiting for us when we get to the lobby of our apartment building. Ella has splurged for UberSelect and the car is a silver Mercedes SUV. Tony the doorman gives us a whistle of appreciation and opens the door with a flourish.
“You ladies be safe tonight,” he says as he helps us into the waiting Mercedes.
We cross over the Brooklyn Bridge and after a few blocks, the Mercedes rolls to a stop and the driver helps us out of the car. “You have to be joking,” I exclaim after reading the marquee three times to make sure I haven’t gotten it wrong. The driver must have made a mistake and dropped us at the wrong club.
But no, it looks like this is the right place, judging from their reaction at my disbelief. Ella is using her phone to snap pictures of me and keeps saying, “Your face is priceless.” Jasmine and London are laughing and telling her she needs to send the photos to Xavier.
“Not a joke,” she says, trying to catch her breath from laughing.
“This is where we are having your bachelorette party and this is where you are going to get good and drunk and have the absolute best night of your life.”
Jasmine and London clap and cheer.
“Now let’s go see some man candy!”
Ella links her arm in mine and we do a model strut up to the velvet rope, which is manned by a hulking guy in a tux.
“Ladies. Welcome to
he manages to say with a straight face.
Ella on her tiptoes, pulls the doorman down a good ten inches to whisper into his ear. I watch as she slips something into his palm. It must have been a good tip or her phone number because the velvet rope opens for us. The next thing I know, we are whisked inside and sitting at a table right next to the stage. I have a glass of champagne in my hand and Jasmine is already waving over a waiter to order more drinks. At least, I think that’s what she’s doing. I can’t hear what she's saying over the noise of the club, and the waiter is wearing nothing except for a pair of tiny red spandex shorts. I am suddenly afraid that he is a dancer and she is ordering me a lap dance instead of more champagne.
This is my first time in a male strip club, or any strip club for that matter. I don’t know the protocol or if this is standard attire for servers. I try not to look at his bare chest and bulging shorts and instead focus on emptying my glass of champagne. I breathe a sigh of relief when he leaves. When he returns moments later, it is with a round of tequila shots and a bottle of champagne on ice. Looking around, I can now confirm that tiny shorts are the uniform of waiters at
My friends lift their shot glasses and wait expectantly for me to do the same. I haven’t done shots since attending a party at Xavier’s fraternity when I was a senior in high school. The night ended with me throwing up all over Xavier in front of his friends. I felt so sick and embarrassed the morning after that I promised myself I would never do shots again. I have kept that promise until now. I look at my friends’ excited faces and I know I can’t disappoint them.
When in Rome,
I tell myself, as I raise my glass.
“To Aria,” they shout.
“To all of you,” I say back.
I don’t allow any time for second thoughts and swallow the shot in one gulp. The tequila burns all the way down to my stomach. I forget about the lime and salt and instead grab a new glass of champagne and drink it down to chase away the taste of the tequila. The alcohol hits me instantly. My body warms up and I feel tingly all over. When our waiter returns with more champagne, I no longer find it so difficult to look at him. He lets us know that his name is Mark and that he will be taking care of us this evening. Now that I have a little liquid courage, I can see that Mark fills out his red shorts quite nicely.
A new round of shots arrives and everyone lets loose a cheer. This night out with the girls is exactly what I need. And the fact it happens to be in a strip club just makes it more entertaining. So far, it’s not much different from a regular club. I’m about to get married, so I convince myself I can handle some shirtless men and spandex. I pick up the new shot; it smells like lime and has whipped cream on the top. This should be much better than the tequila. Ella, Jasmine, and London follow my lead and raise their glasses.
“To the best night ever,” we call out and throw back our glasses.
As if on cue, the music comes on and the women in the club go absolutely wild. Every eye in the place is fixed on the stage. That is, except mine. I am sitting with my back to the performers and I have to take a deep breath for courage before I turn around. I don’t know what I expect to see, but it must be something good to have transformed all these women into a bunch of screaming tweens at a Justin Bieber
The dancers on the stage are dressed like construction workers. I look them over and even though they're fully dressed, I can feel the heat rising up to my neck and face. They are dancing in synchronization and I can’t look away. I am mesmerized by how they move their bodies and how excited I am. All together, the dancers drop to the floor and start to grind on invisible women and the audience goes crazy. It is dazzling and I keep looking from dancer to dancer, anticipating what they are going to do next.
The women simultaneously erupt into even louder cheers. A new dancer is on the stage and he has the women going wild. Two minutes ago, I would have said that it was impossible for the crowd to get more excited, but this new dancer is tall and tan and unbelievably sexy. He has the crowd whipped into a frenzy before he’s even started stripping.
He has on a white tank and tight, ripped jeans. He is the perfect union of blue-collar bad boy and sex. He starts to dance and it’s like he’s making love to every woman in the club. I am glued to his every move as he brings the music to life with his performance. The song switches to a slow and rhythmic classic that I can’t quite place but know I’ve heard. His dancing becomes more sensual with the new song. He is scanning the crowd, looking for something, or someone. He stops searching when his gaze fixes on me. My heart is pounding so hard I can hear it in my ears. I wonder if he can see me blushing all the way from the stage? He still has his emerald green eyes locked on mine, all while hundreds of women surround him, clamoring for his attention.
He smiles at me from the stage and time stands still. He is still holding my gaze and I imagine he is dancing only for me. Keeping our connection, he rips his shirt off and reveals a waxed and chiseled torso. His abs must be at least a 10-pack and they taper into a V that draws my, and every woman’s, attention to the promise of what is under his low-slung jeans.