I haven't done this segment in a while but since I'm rereleasing Passion's Pain next week I thought I'd tease you with the opening chapter...
One woman…two men. Who will she choose? The father or the son?
Lilli Daniels has been down on her luck for quite some time. She's been homeless, hungry and alone for far too long. When an intriguing, older stranger enters the strip club where she's waitressing her life takes on a new direction.
Successful attorney Jackson Avis maintains complete control of every aspect in his life. When he sets his sight on the beautiful, young Lilli he's captivated and has to have her. He tempts her with a life of privilege and security. He introduces her to a world she never knew existed. Complications arise when Jackson's son Cameron expresses an interest in his father's girlfriend.
Lilli fights the attraction, but Cameron wants to give into his heart's desire. He's the complete opposite of his controlling, manipulative father and will stop at nothing to protect the woman he's falling in love with. Even if it means suffering the wrath of his father.
Sometimes life leads you down one path only to bring you to your true destiny. Can Lilli come to terms and figure out exactly who her heart belongs to?
WARNING: TEASER MAY CONTAIN ADULT CONTENT
Copyright © 2015, Ella Jade
As a rule, Jackson Avis hated strip clubs. They were dark, seedy, and smelled of stale beer. This one claimed to be high end, but if it was, he couldn't see how. It appeared just like any other sordid joint this side of Chicago he’d ever been in.
He looked around and shook his head at the number of men staring at the floor show. What were these losers doing here on a Wednesday afternoon? Doesn't anyone work? The only reason he was there was because he was doing a favor for Pat, the owner of this lovely establishment. One of Pat’s most popular girls—Kitty—had the misfortune of being in the car when her crack-head boyfriend got arrested. Jackson made it a point to never take cases like that, but since Pat was a childhood friend, he’d made an exception.
Jackson dealt with upscale clients, more white collar criminals, like lawyers, doctors, and public officials. The upper crust of society who didn’t know right from wrong, and that kept him in business. Their wives and children usually made just as many mistakes. They kept him in a comfortable lifestyle, so he couldn’t complain.
He’d just dropped off the final paperwork detailing Kitty’s community service sentence. She’d gotten off easy, but not without some persuasion on Jackson’s part. He’d made a solid case for her. He was known for finding loopholes and weaknesses in the system.
His work on the case was done, but Pat insisted he sit down and have a drink. If he argued, his friend would be offended, so here he was on a Wednesday afternoon, in the shittiest part of town, watching a girl no older than his own two kids shaking her money maker.
“Jack.” Pat motioned to a table front and center. “Order whatever you want.” He looked around the room, tapping the table in agitation. “Now where is that little twit of a waitress?”
“Not for long,” Pat huffed. “I hired her against my better judgment as a favor to the guitarist in the band that plays next door on Friday nights. She’s crashing on his couch and is down on her luck, so I gave her a job. You should see the rack on this one.” He laughed. “Such a waste.”
“What do you mean?”
“She fuckin’ refuses to strip. Let me tell you, she’d make a much better stripper than a waitress. Where does she get off refusing that kind of cash?” He scratched the top of his balding head. “If she’s so fuckin’ hungry, she should jump at the opportunity. Right?”
“Maybe she has some morals?” Jack stared up at the stage and watched as the skinny little blonde gyrated against the pole, winking at him through her false lashes.
“Morals, my ass. This is good, honest work. I’m not prostituting anyone, and if the girl is so down on her luck, she should be willing to try it.”
“Look,” Jack said. “I’m really not thirsty and I have to get back to the office.”
“No, wait,” Pat said as he stared over at the bar. “Here comes the princess now.”
Jack studied up at the leggy brunette heading in their direction. Her striking beauty made her stick out like a sore thumb in this tired old place. Even dressed in the required tight, ripped, barely-there jean shorts and a thin white dress shirt that tied above her belly button and hardly covered her tits, she didn’t appear trashy. Jack noticed right away there was a certain grace about her, a dignity most girls who ended up in a place like this just didn’t have. He could tell she didn’t want to be here as she approached their table.
Pat hopped up and moved closer to her. “It’s ’bout time. My friend has been waiting a long time for a drink. Is this how you treat my guests?”
“No, I-I was waiting for the other table’s drinks, but I put the wrong order in and Billy had to redo them.” The flustered, meek waitress appeared afraid. “I’m sorry.”
“Now you know why you’re not workin’ on Friday and Saturday nights,” he told her. “I could never trust you to wait on a packed club, could I?”
She shook her head. “I’m learning.”
“It’s been three weeks,” Pat reminded. “Maybe you’d do better up there?” He pointed to the stage. Jack noticed the disgust in her distinctive eyes. He wanted to put her out of her misery.
“Pat,” Jack said. “I’d like to order now.”
“Of course,” Pat said. “Sugar, this is Mr. Jackson Avis. He’s an old friend of mine and he just did me a really big favor, so you take care of him and give him whatever he wants.”
“Jack.” Pat extended his hand for Jack to shake. “Thanks again for all your help with Kitty Kat.”
“I’d like to say it was my pleasure, but…” Jack smirked.
“I know, you have high morals too.” Pat shook his head and spoke over his shoulder. “Just tell Lilli over here what you want and hopefully she won’t screw it up.”
Lilli glanced down at the floor for a few seconds before looking up and giving Jack a small smile. Her long black hair fell down the center of her back and curled slightly at the ends. Her alluring eyes pulled him in. He couldn’t tell for sure in the dim lighting, but they almost appeared violet. He’d never encountered such a unique woman before. A girl like her didn’t belong in a shit-hole like this.
“What would you like?” She looked down at the pad she held and waited for his order.
“For you to have a seat.” He got up, pulled the chair out, and then motioned for her to sit.
“What? No, I can’t. I’m working.”
Jack looked around and noted it wasn’t that busy.
“I think you can sit for a few minutes.” He pointed to the chair. “Pat said you should give me what I want.”
“I-I don’t do that.” For the first time she looked him straight in the eyes. “Some of the other girls here do, but not me.”
“I’m only asking you to sit and I rarely ask twice.” A sense of relief came over him when she admitted she didn't prostitute herself to the customers in this disgusting place. “Please,” he softened his tone.
“Just for a few minutes.” She looked around the bar and then quickly took a seat.
“It’s nice to meet you, Lilli,” he said. “Do you have a last name?”
“I do.” She was too busy gazing into his eyes that he thought maybe she forgot to finish answering.
Jack smiled and cleared his throat when he realized she was staring at him longer than necessary.
“Oh, it’s Daniels.”
“What do you do besides work here, Lilli Daniels?”
“I work at the bookstore over at the community college,” she said. “I’m hoping to save enough money to take a few classes there in the fall.”
“It’s only January,” Jack said. “Why wait so long?”
“Classes are expensive.” She nervously fidgeted with the cocktail napkin sitting on the table. “So, what do you do?”
“I’m an attorney. I have my own practice in the city.”
“Oh, that sounds interesting. I’d like to study law someday, too.”
“A pretty ambitious goal.” He teased. “How old are you?”
Well, at least she's legal. For a girl working in a strip club trying to save money for school, she seemed awfully naïve. He briefly wondered if it was an act to get men to feel sorry for her. Maybe she knew exactly how to get a bigger tip out of her customers.
“Getting a bit of a late start with school, aren’t you?” Jack asked. “My son is about your age and he's in medical school.”
“My father’s not an attorney.” When she ran her fingers through her hair, Jack immediately recognized she was uncomfortable when she mentioned her father. The lawyer in him needed to investigate a little further.
“What does your father do?”
“Are you ready to order?” she said. “I should be getting back to work.”
“Not just yet.” He wondered why she changed the subject so quickly. “I’m curious why a girl like you is in a place like this.”
“Me too.” She looked around the dark room. “I fell on some hard times and I’m just trying to get my life back together. It’s honest work.”
“What kind of hard times?” He was trying not to interrogate her, but he wanted to know more about her.
“I can tell you’re a lawyer.” Her full pink lips curved into a smile. Jackson wondered what it would feel like to have her mouth against his. She was probably soft and warm.
“It’s in my nature to ask questions.” He wanted to know more about this beauty.
“Do you always get your answers?”
“I always get everything I want.” He let his eyes wander down her flawless body. He shouldn't have been entertaining any possibilities at all, but then again, when did he ever let anything stop him from getting what he wanted?
Jack reached into his pocket, pulled out his business card, and handed it to her. He couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. “I have to get back to the office now, but I’ve rather enjoyed your company. If Pat gives you a hard time, please give me a call. I’ll set him straight.” He should leave her alone. He wasn't interested in getting involved with a girl in her situation, but he wasn’t ready to walk away. Not yet.
She glanced down at the card. “I went to high school with a Cameron Avis.”
“Did you date?” That would be far too amusing.
“Oh, God no.” She laughed as she stared at his card. “He was a year older than me, popular, and would never give a girl like me a second glance. I was from the wrong side of the tracks.” She rolled her eyes. “But you can probably already see that.”
“Hmm.” Jack had a clearer picture of who Lilli was.
“I was shy and kept to myself,” she continued. “He was gorgeous, smart, and came from money. Definitely not my type.”
“Really?” Jack grinned as he got up from the table. “It seems to me I’ll have to have a talk with my son about not recognizing a good thing when he sees it.”
He saw the look of horror cross her face as he threw a twenty down on the table and headed for the exit. “Take care, Lilli Daniels.”
Intrigued? Passion's Pain will be live on October 1, 2015.
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