Read Chapter 1 of Vegas Boss below!


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Chapter 1 – Nicole

I can feel the music pulsing like a heartbeat under my toes, the bass bumping and vibrating the glossy wooden stage underneath me. It’s a song I used to listen to as a teenager, dancing and singing into my hairbrush in the relative privacy of my bedroom. I would lip sync in front of the mirror, tossing my hair around, pretending to be whatever singer or pop star I was into at the time. It was a welcome break from the hours and hours of studying I put in, since I was determined to make perfect grades and get more scholarships than anyone else in my class.

I have always been that way: a diehard perfectionist. When I commit to something, I don’t do it halfway. I throw my entire mind, body, and soul into it. Which is why, right now, I am determined to dance and groove better than any other girl out here. This stage is just another competitive playing field on which I will show the world what I’m made of. I have to wear the highest stilettos. I have to have the most shimmery skin. I have to wear the laciest, sexiest ensemble this crowd has ever seen.

I have to seduce everyone who walks in through those doors. And at the end of the night, I will have more dollars tucked into the elastic band of my thong than anyone else.

Especially if the DJ keeps playing songs like this one. I glance over at the disk jockey booth, where the man, whose name I think is Anton, is hanging out watching all the dancers. He’s a skinny young guy with a mop of curly brown hair and a lip ring, and sometimes he’s so distracted by the seductive routines the girls put on to pay attention to his job.

He’s not there to gawk. It’s not supposed to be a free show. He’s there to play hot music that is easy for us to dance to, but Anton can’t be much older than eighteen, and this is a teenage boy’s paradise.

I manage to catch his eye as he stares at me, open-mouthed, a glazed look over his face. Not interrupting my dance routine for a second, I subtly raise an eyebrow at him and give a little nod, to remind him that he has a job to do. His face flushes pink with embarrassment when he realizes he’s been caught drooling over the talent again, and he quickly whips around to look down at his turntable again.

I don’t even pretend to stifle my smile of amusement. I simply turn to look back at the small crowd gathering around my stage. There’s not a single woman to be seen in the clientele space. The only women here are the ones hard at work, each hustling and shimmying to entice a well-paying customer to her stage, to seduce crotchety old men and bored, sleazy business execs out of their cash.

It’s not an easy job, and my time here has been more than enough to convince me that these women are tough, capable, and smart. And now that I’m one of them, it’s my goal to become the toughest, the most capable, and the smartest of all. Because every single guy who passes through the entrance might just be the jackpot I’m looking for.

I do a slow, sensual twirl with my arms stretched up over my head, biting my lip as I tilt my head back and shake my hair out. I know my hair is one of my most striking attributes, shiny auburn waves that cascade to about the middle of my back.

One time, years ago, a sweet older woman told me it looked like a freshly-fallen autumn leaf, with its tones of brown and reddish gold. My little sister calls it “cinnamon.” Either way, I know enough about this line of work to emphasize every little gift genetics has given me.

I sway from side to side, rocking my hips in a smooth, fluid motion while I run my fingers back through my hair. I close my eyes for a second and let out a soft, sexy moan. I know all these men watching me are imagining what I would sound like in bed. They are all picturing me naked, arching my back and crying out in pleasure. It’s exactly what I want them to think about while they watch me dance.

That old adage is true: sex sells. And here, at this dimly-lit strip club hanging off the tail end of the strip in Las Vegas, sex sells like hotcakes. These men with deep pockets and time to kill come strolling through the door to shop around for an experience they can deposit in the spank bank or brag about to their equally sleazy buddies around the water cooler.

It’s a fantasy I’m putting up for sale, a dream I can toss into the crowd as easily as blowing a kiss. I can make them wish I belonged to them. And if they are willing to pay, I can even give them just enough hope to imagine that might be possible.

Of course, it isn’t. I’m not here to shop for a boyfriend.

Sure, I might be one sexy, sparkly piece of bait dangling from a fishing line so I can reel in wealthy perverts and clean out their pockets, but they don’t get to take their prize home. This club, this stage, this routine, is my fish bowl, and nobody is going to scoop me out. When these horny guys go home, they go home alone. Or at least, if not alone, they’re not leaving with me.

It’s important to make them think there’s a chance, but it’s even more important to stay safe and professional.

I open my eyes again as I rotate slowly, bringing my arms down so I can caress my neck, my shoulders, my breasts. I never used to be the kind of woman who spent money on frivolous treats like manicures, but nowadays, it’s become vital. I have to make certain that every single inch of my body plays into the fantasy of the perfect woman. I have to embody perfection itself, and if that means shelling out cash for flawlessly round, smooth French tips, then so be it.

What is it they say?

You have to spend money to make money.

I cup my ample breasts in my palms, licking my lips as I bend down in my stilettos. I give the crowd a salacious grin and a wink, making sure they pay attention when I slide my hands down my chest, over my taut, hard stomach.

I have always been the type to stay in shape, but these days it’s even more important to keep everything tight. Of course, it helps that dancing itself is a great workout. I run my hands down my abdominal muscles to my pelvis, teasing my onlookers, making them think I might touch myself. But instead I just slide my hands along the insides of my thighs toward my knees, shaking my ass while I’m bent over.

I’m still wearing a tight bodycon dress in a velvety dark red hue, the color of blood or roses. It’s a few sizes too small, which means that it’s a perfect fit here in the context of the strip club. It barely grazes the tops of my thighs, exposing glimpses of my black thong underneath, which is exactly what I want. And it’s so tight up top that my black, lacy push-up bra is visible, peeking through. My cleavage is on prominent display.

Some of the other dancers wear more, others wear considerably less even at the start of their routines. But I like to start out with just enough skin showing to tease my clientele without giving it all away or looking too buttoned-up. My stilettos are black, with tight laces crisscrossing up my ankles and calves. When I first bought them a few days ago, I worried that I might look like a sexy gladiator or something with these strappy heels, but so far, so good. Maybe these guys are into the sexy gladiator look.

Or maybe, more likely, my breasts are just far more interesting to look at than my choice in shoes.

I know I look pretty damn good, and it’s clear that my customers agree. The newer customers are looking around, shopping for the girl they want to patronize most tonight. I have learned from my observations that most of them tend to select one dancer to follow around and haunt for the night, rather than moving from one stage to another.

A lot of the older, more experienced customers tend to stick with the same girl every time. They learn her schedule and show up specifically for her shifts. They build up a relationship, however one-sided, and maintain it like a prized garden, visiting often to water the seeds and watch the fantasy grow fuller and stronger.

It doesn’t really matter that it’s all for show. They are more discerning than I would have expected, which is good news for me. It just means I have to work extra hard to be the most interesting, the most tantalizing, the most irresistible. I need those return customers, but I need to reel in the newcomers, too.

After all, any one of them could be the man I’m hunting for.

One of my favorite moves is to make intense, unbreakable eye contact. I have found that to be one of the best ways to ensure a client stays put. It makes him feel wanted. Involved. Like he’s as much a part of the dance as I am, even though all he has to do is sit down and get comfortable and keep feeding dollars my way. In front of me right now there are three men lounging against the black faux-leather sofas while the neon lights dance across their faces.

There’s one older, possibly middle-aged, guy in a sleazy suit, the top three buttons undone and his tie loosened, hanging askew over his shoulder. His graying hair is all tousled, which makes me think he has probably already gotten a lap dance or two. He has that smarmy, smug expression on his face.

He might be difficult to reel in, since he’s already been in the VIP room with at least one other dancer. I might just be his cooldown, and he doesn’t look wealthy or connected enough to be my target. I quickly discard him as a main focus.

The second guy looks barely old enough to be here, his face red and his eyes wide and round as saucers. He’s holding a weak well drink, probably made with some barely-drinkable whiskey and off-brand soda. He’s wearing jeans and a tucked-in white polo, which is a bad choice, because it shows up just how skinny and sweaty he is. He’s nervous. This is probably his first time, and he’s still half-worried that his mom might bust in here at any moment and drag him home by the ear.

I give him a wink and bite my lip, not because he looks like the type I’m looking for, but because it gives me a thrill of amusement to watch this scrawny young man blush and get flustered when I give him some attention. He nearly chokes on his crappy mixed drink, his mouth hanging open as though he’s shocked that I even noticed him. I have to quickly turn and face the other way, shaking my ass so that I get a chance to giggle without him noticing.

And the third man isn’t exactly on the sofa. He’s standing a few feet away from the others, cast almost entirely in shadow. He’s got his arms folded over his chest, and I can just barely make out the bulkiness of his silhouette. This guy is ripped, muscular all over, with a serious, almost contemplative look on his face.

He is exceedingly handsome, but I know I should be annoyed that he’s standing back and watching me from afar. If he’s really interested, he should come closer and give me money. I don’t dance to be judged, I dance to get paid.

But something about him just lights a fire deep inside of me. It’s like he’s a match, scratching against the friction of my body rolling and swaying in my tight outfit, making me feel hot and, admittedly, a little turned on. There’s just something different about the way he’s watching me, something unnamable that sets him apart from the other guys staring at me longingly.

They all look at me, knowing how unattainable I am. But this mystery man looks at me like an equal. Like we’re just two people meeting by chance, by destiny.

Has fate brought him here to me today? Is he the one I’ve been looking for?

The older man stands up and slides me a hundred-dollar bill. That’s the cue. I manage to rip my eyes away from the mystery man long enough to step down off the stage and stand in front of my older patron. I reach out and set my hands on his shoulders, swaying and undulating my hips while he watches me intently. Someone is on a roll today. I wonder how many other dancers he’s paid for tonight already. Not that it matters. Money is money.

I begin to dance for him, forcing myself to focus just on the older man. Catching the cue, the young guy moves off to another stage, giving us privacy.

But that mystery guy in the shadows doesn’t move a muscle. In fact, when I glance over at him, my heart skips a beat.

He is still staring.

That intense stare blazing right through to my soul. I should be pissed off that this guy is getting a free show, but instead, it just turns me on to know he’s watching me.

My fingers graze up along my collarbone as I flip my hair, my heart thudding louder in my chest as I roll my hips. I’m not a raunchy dancer. I try to use my sensuality, more than anything, and I can hear my client’s breath catch as I tilt my cleavage towards him.

But my gaze is over his head, to the side.

I bite my lip seductively as it dawns on me that I’m not even dancing for the attention of my actual paying customer. I’m really dancing for the mystery guy.

My fingers roam down between my breasts, teasing my skin as I feel true desire and excitement swell between my thighs. I’ve never felt so excited in all my time here, and knowing I’ve so captivated such a delicious looking man is like an aphrodisiac.

My fantasies run amok as I turn, arching my back and letting them both look at my ass, watch my hand as it teases the bodycon up over my skin, tantalizingly revealing myself.

Luckily, my patron is utterly oblivious to the way I move my body for someone just off to the side. Throughout my whole routine, the mystery man doesn’t look away for even a second, until right before I’m finished, when he walks off.

I take another hundred-dollar bill from my client with thanks, only a little embarrassed by how distracted I was.

But someone else has gotten under my skin. I’m intrigued now. He’s got me hooked.

I skip my break altogether, too focused on finding him to rest. The crowd is thick this time of night and it takes me a while to wade through the half-naked dancers and the drunken, eager hands of the clients. I have to turn down several requests for dances before I finally spot him sitting in a dark corner of the lounge with a booth all to himself.

Jackpot.

I saunter up to him, trying my best to look both interested and detached. It’s a delicate balance.

When he sees me, he gives me a slow, knowing smile. He calls me over with a nod of his head. He’s even better looking up close: heavily muscled, tall, rugged features. Jet-black hair and piercing blue eyes. There’s something vaguely wolfish about him, something almost predatory. I know that he could snap me in half without breaking a sweat, and while that should probably frighten me, it just turns me on even more.

He’s got to be the one.

“I saw you watching me,” I purr, tucking my hair behind my ears. “If you want a private dance, all you have to do is pay up.”

“I know how it works, malyshka,” he growls in response, raising a heavy, dark eyebrow. “But I like to know what I’m paying for before I buy it.”

I’m speechless. I know I should be angry or offended. If it were anyone else, I would be. Instead, my feelings are… complicated.

“So, dance for me,” he commands in a low, gruff voice. He curls his finger, silently demanding for me to come closer. He sets a few hundred-dollar bills on the table. My heart begins to race.

The faint accent.

The Russian term of endearment.

The stack of money on the table.

This has to be my guy.

I sway and spin slowly, running my hands up and down my body, giving it my all. This is the dance of my life, and I have to do it right. I watch his eyes, never breaking my gaze even as I look back at him over my shoulder, grinding my ass into his lap, sliding my fingertips along his powerful thighs through his tailored slacks.

I turn back around and straddle him, rolling my hips while I caress his chiseled jaw, the faint prickly stubble there. I can smell my perfume, the hint of sweetness, mingling with his cologne and the scent of his body into a heady cocktail that makes my heart flutter.

This time, it’s all I can do to keep from picturing him naked.

I run my hands down his strong arms and can’t help but wonder how it must feel to have him pick me up and throw me around. Those bright blue eyes never tear away from me, and hardly a flicker crosses his face while I tease and seduce him. He’s like a marble statue, unmovable except for the bright fire burning in his gaze. I let the dance drag on much longer than I normally would, not wanting to leave him for even a second.

As far as I’m concerned, he’s the one.

Now I just have to find my way in.

I lean in close, my arms lightly around his neck, breathing softly against the side of his face. He turns and whispers roughly, “I’m sold. I’m taking you home.”

“Straight to the point, huh?” I reply flirtatiously, even as my stomach twists into knots.

He’s giving me a way in, but I don’t know if I should take it. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be done. This is not protocol. I may be in pretty deep, but I know well enough to be careful about blurring the lines between ruse and reality.

On the one hand, it’s taken a lot of pulling strings and calling in favors to get here, and now that I’m this close to the jackpot, how can I possibly pull out?

On the other hand… well, going home with a suspected mafia boss is not exactly the most appropriate action for an undercover cop to take.

But if I want to infiltrate his organization and learn all its secrets, all its transgressions, then I have to get closer. I have to keep up this image as long as I can, whatever it takes.

Weeks of training, planning, and preparation have gone into this mission, and I’m honored to be the one in the spotlight. It’s risky as hell, but I didn’t become a police officer just to sit behind a desk and file paperwork all day. This is what I have to do to make a name for myself, to live up to my father’s legacy, to make my department proud.

“I’m a man who knows what he wants. And tonight, I want you,” my target replies, his breath ticklish on my neck. How the hell am I supposed to say no? My body is on fire, every nerve burning with desire for this sexy, dangerous man.

I try to reason with myself, find a way to justify the leap of faith and breach of protocol I’m about to take. The closer I get to my subject, the closer I get to the truth, to the crime, to the arrest. The glory. The satisfaction of a job well done and a crime solved.

And what better way to get close than to sleep with the enemy?

After all, I am nothing if not dedicated to my job.

“Take me home,” I whisper back, “and I’ll show you what else this body can do.”


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