Here is an unedited teaser from ‘The Vacation’- Her Secret Lover.
“You’re going to think I’m crazy.” I stared into my best friend Asher’s eyes. “Oh no, what did you do Jess?” She stopped folding clothes and came and stood next to me.
“Well, nothing yet.”
“But?” She leaned towards me with wide eyes.
“I’m going on a vacation.”
“What?” She frowned at me. “How are you going on a vacation? You have no money.”
“Well thanks for reminding me of that.” I laughed and then sighed. “So, I kinda met someone.”
“What?” Asher flopped down on her bed in shock. “Already?”
“I know what you’re thinking.” I sat down next to her. “It’s too soon to be dating after Jared broke up with me, but this isn’t a date. Well you know.”
“Oh my gosh. You’re being serious aren’t you?” She shook her head. “Who is this guy?”
“Don’t judge me but I don’t really know him.” I laughed at her expression. “He came into the club last night and bought a dance. But he didn’t try anything funny. And he was really handsome.” I paused. “There was something about him that I really liked.”
“Like the fact that he seemed like a nice guy and he was hot.”
“Jess, I don’t know.” Asher bit her lip. “This doesn’t seem right. I don’t trust the guys at your club.”
“I know, but he wasn’t like most of them.” I pleaded with her to understand. “He was really respectful. Honestly, I was surprised to see someone like him there.”
“Newsflash Jess. All types of men go to strip clubs.” Asher laughed. “I know you felt like you needed this job so you could pay tuition and rent.”
“Asher, you know this was the only way I could afford everything.” I looked at her with a hurt expression and she held up a hand to stop me.
“Jess, you know I’m not like my prick of a brother Jared, I’m not judging you for your job but please be careful. How can you go on vacation with a guy you just met?”
“I mean I don’t even know if he was being serious.” I lay back on the bed and closed my eyes. “We had a really interesting conversation as I danced about John Dewey and I was telling him my ideas about improving the education system.”
“You were not talking about your research?” Asher laughed.
“Yeah.” I grinned. “Thank God none of the managers heard me.”
“Okay, quick question. Were you naked?”
“Asher! I told you we don’t go naked. And I only take off my top 50% of the time. And there is no touching allowed.”
“You can’t tell me they don’t try and touch you?” Asher rolled her eyes.
“Yeah, some of them try.” I groaned. “But trust me, I hit their hands away hard.”
“I wish you didn’t have to work there.” Asher sighed and I reached over and grabbed her hand and smiled at her gratefully.
“Thanks Asher. It’s okay though. Honestly, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.”
“Well, I guess that’s a good thing.” Asher sighed. “I just wish you would let me dad help you.”
“I could never do that Asher.” I sighed and turned away. “But I do love you and your family for offering.” I felt a wash of sadness pass over me as I thought about Asher’s brother Jared. He had been my boyfriend for about a year until about a month ago when he had dumped me because I would quit my job at the club. I understood why he had broken up with me; not many guys would be happy with their girlfriend working at a strip club but it had been my only option to make enough money to pay my rent and tuition in a short timeframe. I felt tears clump up in my eyes as I thought about the stress of the last six months. My dad had run off with his secretary, leaving my mom penniless and me without any money for school. A classmate had told me about a place that was hiring and paying big bucks and somehow I had found myself working at ‘The Club,’ an only slightly seedy strip club in the Upper West Side. I guess things could have been worse, I could have been expected to have sex or perform blowjobs, but all I was required to do was take off my top and give as sexy a dance as possible. I still felt weird pulling off my top every weekend for strange men, but I figured I only had to do it for about a year and then I would have saved up enough money to carry me through the rest of Grad school.
“I don’t understand why they can’t give you a scholarship.” Asher sighed. “And a stipend. I mean come on, you got into Harvard with more money.”
“I know.” I sighed. “But I wanted to go to Columbia, so I could stay in New York.”
“It just seems so unfair.” She frowned.
“It’s not your fault Asher.”
“I just feel guilty because you met Jared through me.” She bit her lip and I knew that she was really concerned. Asher and I had been best friends since the first day of college; we had been placed in the same dorm room and had bonded over our love of ‘Arrested Development’ right away. We had both been overwhelmed and excited that we were freshmen at Columbia University and had roamed the campus and Morningside Heights together the first few months. We had shared coffees at Max Café and bonded over Camus and before we knew it we were inseparable. I had spent the summers with her and her brother Jared at their mansion in ‘The Hamptons’ and while he had flirted back and forth we hadn’t started dating until we graduated from Columbia. Jared had been studying law at Yale Law School and had gotten a job at a big law firm in New York. He had taken Asher and I out to eat a few times and before I knew it, we were dating. That was until he gave me an ultimatum- quit working at the strip-club and take my family money or it’s over.
“I loved Jared, Asher.” I sighed. “I thought we had a good relationship but I understand why he couldn’t accept my job. I don’t suppose the partners at his firm would have been too happy to hear his girlfriend was a stripper.”
“You’re a PhD student at Columbia University Jess.”
“But I’m also a stripper.” I laughed. “Ironic isn’t it?”
“I hate your dad.”
“Hey, I’ve been lucky. At least he paid for undergrad.” I sighed. “And I know I could take out loans but $200,000 in loans would kill me. I couldn’t pay them back and do the job I want to.”
“Yeah, I don’t know that teachers make that much money.” Asher laughed.
“Yeah me either.” I turned towards her. “Do you think I’m crazy? Going on a vacation with a guy I just met?”
“Yes. Why are you doing it?”
I looked up at the ceiling and thought for a moment. “You know I’ve always been the good girl, done the right thing. I’ve only slept with guys I was in a relationship with. And look where it’s gotten me. Nowhere. So why not?”
“Will you sleep with him?”
I bit my lip and grinned. “He was hot Asher. Do not repeat this but I was turned on when I was dancing for him. I wanted him to touch me.” I laughed at her shocked expression. “Don’t be a prude Ash.”
“I’m far from a prude.” She grinned. “I’m just shocked to see that you are coming around to my way of thinking.”
“Well maybe you were right after all.”
“You know I always wanted you to be my sister-in-law but maybe it’s for the best that you guys broke up. Now you can find your inner Goddess.”
“My sexual goddess you mean?”
“Well you are 25.” Asher laughed. “It’s time to let your freak fly.”
“So, this guy. He has to be about 35.”
“Yeah.” I laughed. “But he looks good for his age. Really good.”
“What’s his name?”
“He told me to call him Duke.”
“His name is Duke?”
“I don’t think so.” I bit my lip trying to remember exactly what he said. “He was pretty evasive. He said that he doesn’t normally do stuff like this but he was really attracted to me and thought we could have a good time. He asked me if I would be interested in spending the week with him. I told him I didn’t even know his name and he said “Just call me Duke.” And it felt right. He looked like a duke.” I groaned. “What am I doing?”
“Jess, don’t think about it too much.”
“He’s picking me up in a few hours.”
“Wait, what you’re going today?”
I nodded my head and watched as Ash’s eyes popped open.
“You just met him last night Jess.”
“Yeah.” I laughed. “I’m grabbing life by the horns.”
“Well you’ll be grabbing something.”
“Ash!!” I pushed her shoulder and she rolled her eyes.
“Come on Jess, let’s be real. You better take some of my packs of Trojans.”
“Oh my gosh, what am I doing?” The gravity of the situation suddenly hit me. “Am I really about to go on a vacation with a man I don’t know?”
“Well you haven’t had sex in 6 months.”
“Don’t remind me.” I groaned.
“But that should change by tonight.” She wiggled her eyebrows at me and I felt a flush of red stream across my face.
“Am I a slut?”
“No and I never want to hear you say that word again.”
“I know. If men aren’t called sluts why are we?”
“Exactly.” Asher sighed as she looked at her watch. “I’m sorry Jess but I have to get to work.” She stretched and yawned. “Tell me again why I work?”
“Because you don’t want to live on daddy’s money.”
“And why is that again?”
“Because you want to be an independent woman.”
“Oh yeah.” She grinned and jumped up. “Okay, shower for me. I guess I won’t be seeing you until…”
“I’m guessing this weekend?” I shrugged my shoulders. “Duke said it’s all a surprise but I’ll be back for work by Friday night.”
“So you’ll be gone the whole week.” Asher pouted. “I guess I’ll have to go to Monday night wing madness by myself tonight.”
“I’m sure there is a certain guy who won’t be sad about that.”
“We’ll see.” Ash shimmied out of the room and I laughed as I followed her out. I walked back into my room and pulled out my small suitcase and opened it up. I stood there staring at it wondering what I should pack and fell down onto the bed with my heart pounding. I couldn’t believe I was about to go on a vacation with a man I didn’t even know. Everything in my body was screaming and telling me not to go but there was one small part of me; I think my inner devil, and it was telling me to go and have the time of my life. I closed my eyes and thought about the events of the previous evening, picturing Duke’s face and the instant attraction I had felt for him. It wasn’t something that happened to me often; I had trained myself to not feel chemistry towards any of the guys who came into the club but there was something about him that called out to my inner siren.
“Hi.” I had walked up to him and he had smiled at me briefly, almost looking uncomfortable. I had been surprised, not many men who came to strip clubs were uncomfortable around me. They were usually doing everything they could to touch me.
“Hi.” He nodded and pulled out his phone.
“Want a dance?” I had persisted with him; something I had never done before. But I wanted to dance for this man. I wanted to see him look at me with lust and delight. He was extremely attractive with dark brown hair and blue eyes. He had a sprinkle of grey in his hair that made him look defined and sexy. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a ti-shirt that had said “Make Love Not War’ and I knew that he wasn’t the typical guy who had come in to get his rub-a-dub special for the night.
“I’m okay, thanks.” He had smiled at me briefly and looked away and I felt myself respect him even more.
“Hey long legs, how about giving me a dance.” An older man at the next table had called out to me with a lecherous look. “I’m in need of a release.” He grabbed his package and licked his lips. My face froze with distaste and I bit my lip unsure of what to do. I was pretty confident that the older man had on no underwear and was talking about a literal release. I shuddered at the thought and tried to think of an excuse when the man had spoken up.
“Actually, I think I would enjoy a dance.” He smiled up an me with a look of intimacy and I smiled at him gratefully.
“Thanks.” I walked over to him and mouthed softly.
“No problem. But I don’t actually need a real dance. No need to take anything off.”
“Are you sure?” I looked at him surprised. Guys were usually begging me to take everything off and more. It took everything I had in me to take off my top, I certainly wasn’t going to take anything else off.
“I’m sure.” He smiled at me reassuringly.
“Okay.” I stood in front of him and starting moving around to the beat. I straddled him on the chair and looked into his eyes as I moved back and forth. Within a few minutes, I had stopped dancing and we were having an intellectual conversation. I had forgotten I was in a strip club and felt like I was having a discussion in a coffee shop. It had been invigorating and heartbreaking at the same time. There I was, having the best conversation of my life and it was with a guy who would never respect me outside of the club now he had met me in it. It was one of the most depressing parts of the jobs. There were men I had met or seen in the club, that I had seen again in the ‘real world’ and as soon as they realized where they knew me from, all respect had died from their eyes. I was no longer the Columbia Grad student but the wanton stripper that would hopefully give them easy sex. I hadn’t really minded that they had treated me like that because I hadn’t particularly cared for them in the first place. But I felt a connection with Duke right away. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it but there was something about him that touched the most primal side of me.
I sighed as I started going through my clothes. I had been shocked when Duke had asked me to go away with him. It had seemingly come from no-where but I had said yes without hesitation. In the bright light of the day I was starting to wonder why he had invited me. I mean, he hadn’t even been interested in a lap dance last night. It seemed strange that he would be inviting me away for a sex-filled vacation. Something wasn’t quite adding up and I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision in agreeing to go with him.
When the doorbell rang about 30 minutes later I debated not answering it. Maybe I could just call him and tell him I changed my mind. I crept to the door and peeped through the hall and studied his face as he stood there waiting patiently for me to answer. I felt my breath catch at his rugged handsomeness. This man was sexy. Every fiber of my being was attracted to him and wanted to be with him. I was surprised at how strong the feeling was; I couldn’t remember a time when I had felt such an extreme carnal urge. But as I slowly opened the front door, I knew that Duke was a man that I had to have. It was as simple as that. I didn’t want to analyze my feelings or lust too deeply because I didn’t want to talk myself out of what I was about to do. I only knew that I was opening many doors when I let him in and I hoped that one of them wasn’t the door to heartbreak.
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