Rogue Page 42

I fol owed Jeff to the bar and took a seat on the backless stool he pulled out for me. To my surprise, instead of returning to his post behind the bar, he sat on the stool next to mine and swiveled to face me, his smile broad and a little too eager.

“The best part about my job is the preview of coming attractions.

You’re not shy, are you?”

I blinked at Jeff, then turned to face Marc, anger no doubt blazing in my eyes. “I’m going to kill you,” I mouthed, but he only chuckled.

The joke’s on you, I thought, swiveling to face the bar again. It’ll be a long time before I feel like taking my clothes off after this….

Chapter Thirteen

Jeff’s eyes wandered down from my face as he waited for my answer, and to my extreme frustration, I didn’t feel justified complaining, because my assets were a legitimate part of the application process. So I said the first thing that popped into my head, just to draw his gaze back up.

“I need the money.”

“Then you’re in the right place, um…I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name?”

“Julie.” Better than Jane Smith, right?

“Okay, Julie…” Jeff grabbed a clipboard from the bar and slid it toward me along with a pen. “Let’s get the paperwork out of the way first.”

Paperwork? For strippers? My eyes widened as he peeled back the layers of documents to reveal an application, a W-4 form, a release form in case of personal injury, and an official-looking page outlining what the customers were and were not al owed to do, some of which were transgressions I’d never even considered, and flushed just thinking about.

After a lifetime of casual, nonsexual nudity among my fellow werecats—after al , I was related to most of the members of our household—I found the idea of flaunting my body for cash…distasteful, to say the least.

Jeff noticed my shel -shocked expression, and possibly the awkward way I held the clipboard, as if the metal clip might bite my fingers off.

“First time?” he asked, forehead wrinkled as if in concern.

I nodded, lifting one thigh from the now-sticky vinyl, so I could cross my legs at the knees. It felt like a cross-your-legs kind of moment.

“Well, then I’ll need to see you dance, of course. Do you have your own costume?”

I shook my head, and he smiled at the bewildered look on my face.

“That’s okay. We’ll put our heads together and come up with an act for you. Are you allergic to feathers or double-sided tape?”

My blank look must have clued him in to my confusion.

“You know, personal adhesive?” His eyes wandered back down to my breasts, and suddenly I understood.

Personal adhesive? Eewww! Spinning around on my stool, I leveled a furious gaze at Marc from across the room, but he just smiled and waved. You’re gonna pay, I mouthed, and he laughed, clearly enjoying my humiliation. Vicious bastard.

“Is that a ‘no’ on the feathers?” Jeff asked, and I nodded mutely.

“Okay, we can do fur. You don’t mind fur, do you?”

It was all I could do not to laugh in his face. “No, I don’t mind fur, and I’m damn fond of claws,” I said, more for Marc’s benefit than Jeff’s. In the booth, Marc spewed whiskey out his nose, spraying Kevin from the forehead down.

“Claws…” Jeff mumbled, clearly picturing an outfit I had no urge to ever see. “I never considered putting claws on the cat costume. Kel ie never thought of that.”

Kellie? I shuddered at the realization that they were not only preparing to replace the missing stripper, but that they were ready to give away her outfit. I couldn’t put on a dead girl’s costume, much less dance around in it.

Jeff went on, oblivious to my reaction. “But then, she had long nails, kind of like claws. But for you—” he took my left hand in his and examined my ragged nails “—fake claws might be just the thing. Not too long or sharp, though. You want to turn the customers on, not scare them off.”

That’s what you think….

“Okay, go ahead and fill these out,” Jeff said, standing as he glanced over the growing crowd in the club. “When you’re done, we’ll go back to my brother’s office and you can show us what you’ve got.” He grinned.

“Normal y we’d do that first, but something tells me you know exactly how to keep a man’s attention.”

Indeed I did. Get a tight grip on his balls. A man’s attention never wandered far from his crotch, especially when it was in mortal jeopardy.

Stifling a smile, I nodded and picked up the pen, and Jeff went back behind the bar to help the other bartender keep up with a rush of drink orders.

What the hell do I do now? I thought, twirling the pen between my fingers. Marc would have already known Jeff’s full name, rank, and serial number, whatever that was. At least, he would have if Jeff wore a skirt.

Or a G-string.

A change in the music caught my attention, and I glanced at the stage to see a tiny Asian woman dancing in a brightly colored dragon costume that could, at best, be described as abstract.

Across the room, I found Marc and Kevin seated on either side of Little Red Riding Hood, now wearing a mostly see-through red nightie.

She sat sideways on the semi-circular booth, angling her back to Kevin to give her full attention to Marc. Kevin didn’t seem to care. He sipped his beer while he watched the dragon lady shed layer after layer of shiny scales.

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