His Big Mountain Axe
Mailing List Sneak Peek
The music thudded darkly like a lover’s pulse, rumbling through my body as I moved across the room. Neon pink and blue lights glistened across the sheen of my skin, green laser light from the DJ booth tracing up one arm and then off my shoulder as I twirled to dodge a particularly sweaty and panting patron. Up on stage, Triss swayed sensually to the pulsing rhythm, her eyes closed as she reached back to pull at the thin tie at the back of her dress with a small tug. It gave, and the front of the dress slipped down over her bare breasts like liquid satin.
All around me, the cat calls and whistling tripled, men nodding their heads and holding beers tight as they hungrily drank in her performance. Another patron lurched drunkenly out of his seat, barely missing plowing into me and almost making me topple the overpriced beers on my tray. Up on the stage, Triss pushed the flimsy dress over her hips, letting it drop to the floor and bringing another whole round of grunting yells and hollers as she hooked a knee around the pole and twirled.
Yes, I was working in a strip club.
No, it’s not like it was my dream job.
But at twenty-two and broke after graduating college, the money was just too good. No, I wasn’t actually stripping — yeah, right. I was a cocktail waitress, taking table orders and bringing drinks from the bar. Did I feel a little dirty? Sure, sometimes. I mean, I wasn’t taking my clothes off, but the waitress uniform was barely a step above what Triss had just disrobed from up on stage — a tight, plunging neckline tank top, a skirt so short it would have made a sorority girl on Halloween blush, and fuck-me heeled boots that went up to my knees. I looked like something between a gothy biker chick and a Hooter’s girl, but like I said, the money was just too good to have time for scruples.
I did my best to flash my most winning, charming, alluring smile at the table full of sleazy looking middle-aged guys as I set their drinks down.
“Here you go, sugar tits,” one of them crooned out like it was the smoothest fucking line in the world. His buddies seemed to think so too as they whooped and clapped him on the back, like saying gross things to a cocktail waitress at a strip club was the height of being cool.
The guy made a move to try and push the twenty dollar bill into the waist of my skirt, but, this wasn’t the first time someone has tried that little game. With all due respect to Triss and the other dancers, I was not there for lap dances. I flashed the same winning, kinda bored, kinda forced smile as I twisted, plucking the money from his hand instead.
I twirled, swallowing back the sour feeling of five sets of leering eyes following me as I walked away.
Temporary, I thought to myself as I tried to brush the scowl away. This is all temporary.
Of course, it wasn’t just the money though. That wasn’t the only reason I was working at Centerfolds. It wasn’t the only reason I was living in Salt Creek, the grimiest, shittiest little town off the interstate in the history of shitty towns off the interstate. The place was a truck stop, three bars, this strip club, a Smith’s grocery store, and a Shell gas station.
Yeah, home sweet fucking home.
I’d been here two months now, and I’d like to say “you get used to it” about a place like Salt Creek, but I was pretty sure I could live there two hundred years and still hate it. I’d landed here when my car died after running away from my psycho ex, Mike. Mike who liked to slap me around, fuck anything that moved who’d have him, and steal from what meager savings I had. When I’d finally hit the breaking point after he’d really laid into me one night, I’d thrown whatever shit of mine I could grab into my beat up old Camry and just driven.
…Until the stupid car died right here on the exit ramp to Salt Creek.
So, that about brings us up to speed. I worked at Centerfolds as many hours a week as I could, I lived in a crap-hole of an apartment behind the grocery store, and I was just saving my strip-club money to finally push off and head somewhere new.
“Your boyfriend’s back.”
I snorted as I sidled up the bar. Jackie, the bartender, grinned, pushing some of her jet-black hair behind her ear as she slid me a bottle of water.
“Is he? I hadn’t noticed.”
This time, she snorted.
“Oh I’m sure you didn’t. Liar.” She grinned as she gave me the finger jokingly.
She was right, I’d seen him. I mean, how could I not? The man who’d been coming in almost every night for the last two weeks was enormous. He towered over even some of the bigger truck-driver crowd — easily six and a half feet tall and pure freaking muscle. Broad shoulders, a thick chest, and bulging, rippling arm muscles straining his plain black t-shirt. He had shaggy long dark hair, a beard, and these piercing dark eyes that felt like they were seeing every single secret you had inside when he looked at you with them. With the size and the wild look of him, part of me had started thinking of him as caveman. Well, a caveman with gorgeous eyes and sleeve tattoos.
We’d barely spoken more than a handful of words — him just ordering the occasional beer, me saying “sure” and “you’re welcome,” but that was it. The weirdest part was, even though there was never a shortage of naked girls dancing around up on stage, it was like the guy wasn’t even there for the strippers, which was weird because there were three other bars in town where you could drink without the distraction of tits. And then there was the little detail that no matter where I was serving drinks that night — the front section, the back, or the mezzanine level, that’s where he sat, and I was who he got his drinks from.
Hence the “boyfriend” joke that Jackie and some of the dancers had decided to start teasing me with.
I followed Jackie’s raised brow and turned to glance over my shoulder. And sure enough, there he was.
He loomed in the doorway, his shoulders practically touching both sides of the door-frame and his head definitely lowered so it wouldn’t. I watched as he scanned the room like he did every time with those piercing, hooded eyes. I flushed as that gaze landed on me and quickly looked away, taking a big sip from the bottle of water.
“He ask for you number yet?”
I rolled my eyes. “C’mon, he’s not going to. He’s just a regular, that's all. Besides, I seriously doubt I’m his type.”
“And which type is that?”
“The type that’s not up on stage taking her clothes off and spreading her legs?”
Jackie chuckled as she shook her head. “Well, he sure as shit doesn’t look at anyone else in here but you, spread legs or not.”
He’d been in here almost every other day the past two weeks. Always sat in my section, always drank the two beers, barely glanced at the stage, and as far as I knew, he’d never asked any of the girls for a lap dance. And I wasn’t going to admit to her face, but Jackie was right: he always watched me with fire in his eyes like I was the only other person in the room, or hell, the world.
I couldn’t tell if it scared me or sent a thrill of fire through my core. Maybe both.
Jackie smirked at me, and then nodded to where my stranger was settling down at a table — in my section, of course.
“Don’t want to keep your boyfriend waiting, do ya?”
I rolled my eyes as I turned away, listening to my friend’s chuckle as I headed for the stranger, my core tightening and my heart flip-flopping with every step.