This book is near and dear to my heart y’all. Wanna know why???

It’s based on real life events *insert sly grin here*

No, I’m not kidding…and no, I wasn’t Mabel Lee. I wasn’t that innocent 😉

My childhood best friend and I grew up just 40 minutes from the Canadian border. What does that mean for a young Vermont woman only days after turning 18?

It means driving to Canada to drink and go to watch strippers at Studio Sex🍆🍆🍆

Everyone who walked through the door that night was given a ticket and the winner would win three free dances from the stripper of their choice. Jill was positively drooling over this one hottie the entire time. For the record, she had damn good reason. He was purdy! She said, “If I win, I want my dances from him.”

Yeah, she won.

And yeah, when he started dancing right in front of her just like Viper does in front of Mabel Lee, Jill laughed hysterically.

And yes, the thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump from the sneak peek below is also based on real events😂😂😂

Check it out below…and shhhhhhhh, don’t tell Jill! Seriously y’all, she doesn’t know I wrote this!

***This is right after Viper finds out that the shy woman he’d made eye contact with from the stage not only won the free dance, but picked him…enjoy!

“Ladies,” he said, giving them all a nod, sliding up to Juliet’s other side and propping his hands on the backs of their chairs.

“Well, hello there, Viper. I’m Cassidy,” the brunette with the sleek bob said, reaching out a hand.

“Nice to meet you, Cassidy. How about you introduce me to your friends,” he said, hoping to get Juliet’s real name.

“This is my girl, Aurora,” she said, gesturing to the woman across from her with the blonde curls. “She’s the bride to be. And this is Layla, Heather, and the winner is our girl, Mabel Lee,” she said, her pointed gaze landing on Juliet.

“Nice to meet you all,” he said as he kneeled next to the woman he’d been wondering about and took her small hand in his. “Especially you, Mabel Lee,” he said, letting her name roll over his tongue like a fine wine.

Wide baby-blue eyes shot with yellow bursts met his, and she nodded. “Hi.” The word scraped past her throat in a terrified croak.

He ran his thumb over the back of her soft skin, the way his tan rough hands looked in contrast to her tender and creamy complexion spurting a wave of protectiveness. “You’re scared?”

Her eyes darted toward her friends, and she licked her lips. “Uhh, well, actually—”

“She’s never done this before,” Cassidy said.

“I see that,” he said to Cassidy. Her comment lacked any trace of maliciousness, but it grated on his nerves just the same. He ducked his head and met Mabel Lee’s eyes while giving her a reassuring smile. “I like that about you.”

Mabel Lee bit her lip, clearly not knowing what the sight of her teeth sinking into plump, pink flesh did to a man. “Really?”

“Yeah, really.” He laid her hand on her lap, letting his fingers linger on the thigh at the edge of the soft blue fabric of her dress. Rising to his full height next to her, he had a moment of pause wondering just how he should do this.

The sultry beat of a new and wildly sexual song pumped out of the speakers. Her friends each scraped their chairs back, and the bride-to-be took out her cell, aiming her camera right at them.

He swayed to the rhythm, keeping his movements light, nothing too overly sexual, just getting her warmed up as he moved back and forth, shifting his weight on his feet, letting his hips swing to the beat.

Her timid gaze roamed over him, and fuck if he didn’t swell in his jeans under her avid attention. The sounds of women squealing and cheering grew distant despite the fact that they were seated right dead center in the middle of the chaos.

Tristan sauntered out onto the stage in scrubs with a stethoscope dangling from his neck, and most of the patrons turned the focus on him as he made sure to move across the entire stage, giving them all a shot at being front and center.

White beams from warm lights flashed from the ceiling and over the crowd even as they faded from his view, and he turned his laser focus on her.

Just her.

When she started to turn away, he grazed his finger along her jawline and propped the tip of his finger under her chin. “Don’t be shy, Mabel Lee. You watched a whole lot more than this on stage earlier.”

“I, uh, I wasn’t paying attention,” she said the soft lilt of her voice reminding him of Southern ladies sipping mint juleps on verandas. At least, that’s what they did in the movies. His exposure to true Southern ladies had been limited to Hollywood portrayals, but hey, the movies were based on real life, so it had to have a grain of truth even if it was a practice decades gone.

“Lies, all lies. You saw me, Mabel Lee, just like I saw you,” he said quietly.

Her mouth fell open, forming a near perfect O, and his mind slid into the dirty zone, imagining what it might be like to have those innocent lips wrap around his cock.

At one time, the quantity of women cheering for him, worshipping him mattered. Tonight, it was quality all the way. Now, a decade wiser, the years of hard living and seeking atonement for another’s mistakes kicked his ass in gear, forcing him to grow up.

Grown-up Kellen wanted to set fire to the sexual woman he imagined buried under manners and class.

Reaching for the hem of his tank top, he peeled it up over his abs, rolling his stomach, the muscles flexing with the movement, a move most ladies loved.

A laugh burst from Mabel Lee’s throat.

He stumbled over his next move, and his mouth fell open. Funny? She seriously thought this was funny?

Well, we’ll see what she thinks of a whole lot more skin.

The minute his pecs came into view, laughter bubbled over again.

Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

Her palms thwacked against the table over and over with her uncontrollable laughter, and tears spilled over squinted eyes and ran down her cheeks.

“Oh shit, she’s hysterical,” Aurora said.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha… she gasped followed by a high-pitched squeal.

“Maybe we finally broke her,” Layla said with a laugh of her own.

Mabel Lee sucked in a wheezing breath, pressed one hand to her chest, slapped the other on the table, and dropped her cheek onto the wood next to her palm.

He’d experienced a lot of shit in the years he’d been dancing. He’d had women grab his package, try to hire him for threesomes, drip searing hot candle wax on him in an effort to be sexy, and one who even bit him on the ass cheek after pounding a shot of tequila like he was her own personal wedge of lime.

But never once in all those years did a woman full-on belly laugh at him as his clothes came off.

“Maybe she needs another drink,” Heather said, filling Mabel Lee’s glass.

“Or maybe she’s had one too many. How much did y’all give her?” he said, crouching down and smoothing the wave of hair from her forehead.

“She sucked down a whole glass when she found out she won a free dance,” Cassidy said.

And now that liquor had gone straight from her bloodstream into her head.

Mabel Lee’s eyes found his as her giggles subsided. “You’re pretty,” she said with a hiccup.

He grinned. “Yeah, you’re pretty yourself, Mabel Lee. Not sure you can handle dancing, so why don’t we get something with a little less alcohol into you and chat.”

“Hunks don’t chat with me,” she said, blinking up at him as though it were common knowledge and he hadn’t gotten the memo. “Repellent. Thirteen percent deet. Did you know deet works on men, too? Men and mosquitos. Or maybe it’s the Jesus Loves Me sweater. Or the cross,” she mumbled.

 She thought he was a hunk, huh? Good to know.

“I’m not afraid of your sweater or your cross, but we can talk about that later. Come on, sit up for me,” he said, taking her shoulders and leaning her against the back of the chair.

Her head lolled to the side, and her gaze landed on his open jeans.

“What’s in there?” she said, hooking her finger over the zipper.

“Trouble you’re not ready for,” he said. His hips had a mind of their own and thrust forward ever so slightly, sending her finger deeper.

If she’d been sober, he’d…what? Fuck her in the storage room like a horny kid who’d gotten his hands on a nameless piece of ass.

No, not her. He wasn’t that young, uncouth guy looking to score anymore. At least not like that, and she wasn’t like any of them. Even if she’d embraced her sexuality, which current evidence screamed that she hadn’t, proceeding would require finesse, care, and good, old-fashioned wooing.

Step one, take care of her when she’s too far gone to take care of herself.

With two fingers tucked between his lips, he let out a piercing whistle to get Joe’s attention.

Lumbering over, Joe smirked at the hand still hooked onto Kellen’s pants. “Problem?” he said, his lips twitching.

“I need a seltzer and cranberry juice for the lady and keep them coming. No alcohol.”

“You got it,” Joe said, heading back over to the bar.

Kellen snagged a chair from a neighboring table and straddled it backwards as he faced her, using the back as a barrier for her wandering hands and his wayward thoughts.

“So tell me, what’s a good girl like you doing in a place like this?”

She sighed and yanked at her bodice. The fabric shifted, giving him a glance of a rather severe-looking white bra. “Not being a good girl. Good girls are boring.”

He shook his head, keeping his eyes locked on her glassy ones. “Good girls are refreshing.”

“Tedious,” she countered.

“Dedicated,” he returned, giving her a look that dared her to argue.

“Dedicated to this list. Did you see it?” she asked, waving the sheet in front of his face.

“Uh, that can wait, Mabel Lee,” Cassidy said, trying to take it from her hands.

Mabel snatched it back and tucked it under her arm, giving Cassidy a pout. “You guys made this list without me.”

“I think I want to see this list,” he said, reaching for the edge and giving it a small tug.

“Here! Looky here. Drop a cherry in my cleavage. See,” she said, slapping her fingers against the paper and pointing to number twelve that mentioned something about having a first kiss with a complete stranger.

“I think you’re confusing number one and number three, Mabel Lee,” Layla said, glancing over his shoulder.

His mind was still locked on the kissing a complete stranger.

It could have happened. She might have stumbled blindly toward any given guy working here and planted one on him in her current state.

Assuming she could walk, that is.

Stephen dropped in and set her drink in front of him. “From Joe.”

“Thanks,” he said over his shoulder, holding the glass up to her. “Do me a favor and take a few sips of this.”

She wrapped those delicate hands around his, holding him there as she hugged the rim with her lips to take a sip. “That’s good.”

“And it won’t get you in any more trouble,” he said, aiming a hard look at her friends.

“I want trouble,” she said, her gaze landing between his legs.

Leaning over the back of the chair, he shut her friends out. He wanted to hear from Mabel Lee and Mabel Lee only. He tilted her chin up until she looked him in the eye. “Do you really? Or do your friends want you to find it?”

“I want to be like them,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper.

“If you’d been like them, I never would have noticed you.”

“But if I’d been like them, men would have noticed me a long time ago,” she argued.

The idea of her running around trying to be someone she wasn’t just to gain five minutes of attention had his blood pressure rising. Something about her willingness to change for others but with no thought of being worthy of acceptance set off a dull ache in his chest. An ache for this woman he didn’t even know. “Some things are worth waiting for,” he murmured.

She narrowed her eyes on him and leaned away. “Are you hitting on me?”

“I might be a little bit,” he said with a self-depreciating laugh. “But you’re drunk, and I want a woman to choose me with a clear head, not under a haze of alcohol and peer pressure. Now take another sip of that drink.”

She snorted into the glass. “Like you don’t have legions of women lined up.”

“Having women lined up for casual sex and having a girlfriend are two different things. I have neither,” he said, rubbing the itchy stubble along his jawline. Women loved it, but it was a real pain in the ass sometimes.

“How is that possible?” she asked, her voice taking on a note of wonder and a hint of good old suspicion.

He shrugged. “Most women can’t handle my job, and I can’t give it up so…”

“Why can’t you give it up?” she asked, her neat fingernails tracing over the condensation of her glass.

“I have obligations, and I need the money to meet those.”

“Child support?”

“What? No—no,” he said, his voice dropping another degree.

“Have you ever slept with women you’ve stripped for?”

He’d known where the question was going before she even finished, just as he knew he wouldn’t lie to her. “Yes.”

“Oh.” She chewed on her bottom lip for a minute and hummed. “Have you ever cheated on someone you were in a relationship with?”

“No.”

“Okay then,” she said with a nod like he’d passed some sort of test.

He straightened and cocked his head. “Okay then what?”

“I would date you.”

Somewhere in the past few minutes, her eyes had cleared a fraction so he couldn’t dismiss her words as a drunken accident. He wouldn’t necessarily put a date on his calendar either.

“You would, huh?” he said, feeling the need to give her an out.

“Sure,” she said with a shrug, her hair falling over her shoulder, the curled ends gliding over the top of her breast. “You seem to be honest, and you aren’t a cheater. So, you get naked for other women, but like you said, it’s a job.”

“Hey, man, I hate to interrupt,” Stephen said with a hand on his shoulder. “But the redhead over there paid for a dance from you, and she’s chomping at the bit so when you’re done, if you could head over.”

Of course she did. She’d been struggling to get her hands on him all night. “I’ll be right there.”

“I’ll let her know.”

“You have to go, I guess,” she said, picking at the edge of her napkin.

He pinched the curl at the end of her hair and rubbed the strands between his fingers. “For now, but I’ll stop in again.” He glanced up at the table of women. “Ladies, duty calls. Do me a favor, don’t let her go kissing any strangers tonight.”

“Does that include you?” Cassidy asked, the look in her eye telling him she hadn’t missed a bit of their conversation no matter how hard he’d tried to keep it private.

“It most definitely includes me,” he said. He locked eyes with Mabel Lee, needing to see her every reaction to his words. “When I kiss her, I want her stone-cold sober and with me for every last second of it.”