Dancing isn’t easy. Four nights a week Caileigh disappears into the persona of ‘Autumn’ to make a decent buck. The foster care system didn’t prepare her for what happens after turning twenty-one. Armed with only a high school diploma and forty bucks, she’s thrust on the hard cold streets, where she takes the only job a young girl with no prospects can get. Selling small pieces of herself to strangers isn’t the life she wishes for. Deep down she aches for a better life. A scant piece of paper gives Orias the name of a seedy business and a photograph to keep vigil over his newest target. To find such beauty among the dredges of society wrecks every ounce of intelligence he possesses. For once, despite his being fallen, Orias thinks to disobey a direct order—never touch the protected. The way she moves on stage entrances him, but the sadness hidden underneath a facade of sexual promise makes him want to battle all her demons. Underneath his dark soul, he craves her light and the warmth of love. Will Fate allow them a life together?
Her eyes flitted over the crowd. She located him in a seat right next to the stage. The intriguing man who’d come in every night for two weeks. She fixed a smile on her cherry-red painted lips and gyrated in front of him, gliding around the pole, the cool steel warming under her palms. Up she inched, higher, her gaze never straying from his. What’s his deal?
She enacted a series of spins, anchoring her hands between her thighs to distribute her weight and display her flexibility. Her underarm locking her in position, she spiraled down the pole. Caileigh enjoyed this part of her job the most, playing on stage, moving to the music, contorting from position to position. Her toned muscles supported her body. Bent upside down, the underside of her knee caressed the cool metal; her arm held the stem of her booted foot. She released her hold to land gracefully on the smooth floor.
She sidled around again and again, offering a smile or a wink, before engaging in a new series of acrobatics. She locked her legs in a side split then flipped to a sitting position to regard the crowd. Too much silence greeted her. Tough group.
She used her upper body strength and slammed to the floor in a center split, her boots clacking, a sonic boom echoing from her landing. Heads snapped in her direction. Caileigh unleashed the naughty vixen in her, performing complex floor work until she rose with grace and sashayed across the stage. Take that, people.
Her second song began, the haunting gothic voices echoing in a series of oohs and ahhs. Swaying to the slower rhythms, she untied her top, baring areolas the color of dark chocolate in contrast to her milk chocolate skin.
Bracing in front of the pole, she worked her floor routine then moved to the edge of the stage to accept bills with a seductive smile, thanking the men with an air peck next to their cheeks. She moved back to center stage, twisting and pirouetting, finishing her set with a single spin around the pole, relishing the cool metal between her thighs. The nameless man’s penetrating gaze fired her blood. No man…no customer had ever affected her as he did.
His gaze made concentration impossible. She’d perfected her series of pole tricks—each with a name only a dancer would know—or she’d have landed on her head. She forced herself to break the stare down…to try to forget his dark brown orbs bordering on obsidian enough to blend in with his pupils. Not once had he spoken to her, queried for a dance. He didn’t have a welcoming presence with his mercenary appearance. Sweat beaded her upper back. The song ended and applause began. Caileigh waved to the growing crowd and headed for the main floor. A shiver wracked her body as she passed him, as if his eyes were boring into her skin.