by Vanessa North
“Shameless! Get your ass on stage.” Lucky growls at me as I come out of the restroom. Fuck. I thought I’d have more time between dances, and I’m still a little out of breath from the big group number. I nod and shake the aforementioned body part in his general direction as I hurry toward the stage, checking my g-string to make sure everything’s tucked in place. Last thing I need is another fine. Although … it had totally been worth it. I grin at the memory of the “wardrobe malfunction” which led to the last citation. Lucky had, of course, taken it from my check, but I’d made mad tips that night, more than enough to cover the fine.
Look, I love dancing, right? And it pays the bills okay. My not-very-posh address doesn’t quite provoke the same sneers it used to, but it ain’t rent controlled, and the tips are better when the ladies get a peek at the package. Of course, I’m not thinking about—or with—my package when I step out on stage and the music starts.
It’s magic. Electricity in the veins. A power-surge straight to all the pleasure centers in my brain. Exhilaration. Some of the guys do this just for the money. Others, I don’t know what they get out of it. They have day jobs and shit, the kind of thing my mom and dad used to hound me to do with my life. Fuck, I just love the rush I get from performing. I came to New York to act, right? My drama degree from that little liberal arts college in North Carolina got me exactly zero auditions—ginger guys with freckles aren’t in high demand on Broadway.
But these women in the audience could give exactly zero fucks what color hair I have when I wrap my body around the pole and give them the show they came here to see. The applause, the whistles…yeah, this is why I do it. I’m sweating a bit tonight as the song ends and I walk into the audience to flirt and see if I can score a table dance or even a private dance. The ladies are grinning and having a good time, and this blonde with a gorgeous smile is tucking a tip into my g-string when I see him.
Tall, dark, and drop-dead. He’s staring right at me, the kind of stare that gives me the good shivers. He’s got curly-textured hair, just a touch too long…the kind you want to bury your hands in and tug while he … fuck. I realize blondie’s hand is still on my g-string right about the time it could potentially become a problem. I carefully remove her hand and waggle a finger.
“No touching, gorgeous.” I wink and she gives me a pretty pout, but her hand stays away. They know the rules; Lucky goes over them every night at the beginning of the show.
I linger for a moment until I’m sure no one at the table is going to ask for a private show, and then I move along. I glance up to see the guy has disappeared. Oh well. I continue to work the room, the sound of feminine giggles no longer as thrilling as it was a moment before. I try to get a glimpse at the bar—all surreptitious-like because I don’t want the women to lose the fantasy by seeing me check out a guy—but can’t quite make out any faces over that way.
So, it’s with great regret I start making my way back toward the stage. Then I hear his voice.
“How much for a private dance?”
That voice! A rumbly baritone, too good to be true, almost-come-in-my-pants-like-a-teenager good. I spin around and there he is. Up close, I notice things. Like his eyes, they’re so dark, almost black, in the low light. And his smile is slightly crooked in a totally un-ironic born-this-way tilt. His chin has this perfect little cleft in the middle, and that hair is just as tempting up close as it was from far away. He’s wearing designer jeans fitting him perfectly, and a little bit of dark chest hair shows above the V-neck of his close-fitting T-shirt. And he smells amazing. Five-alarm-fire-in-my-pants amazing.
There’s no way to hide an erection when you’re wearing a green sequined g-string.
“Fifty.” I try to keep my voice flirty, and it comes out all breathless and giddy, and I don’t fucking care. Not only is there a hot gay guy in the club who doesn’t actually fucking work at the club, but he’s asking me, Seamus, né James, for a private dance. Hell, I’d do it for free just for the novelty of it—my nickname ain’t “Shameless” for nothing—but of course I’m not going to do that. He nods and I lead him to the front, where he pays at the bottom of the stairwell. I let my ass sway a bit as I take him upstairs to a private room. Might as well give him a preview.
Some guys get nervous about private dances, but I love them. The trick is to know your audience. The grabby girls, you have to be a little firm with—remind them of the rules up front. No touching. The shy girls—whose friends almost always pay for the dances—would never touch you anyway, so you ham it up a bit, make them laugh, even as they blush to the roots of their hair. I almost never get private dance requests from guys, but the principles are the same.
“What’s your name, sugar?” I ask him, and he smiles. Confident-like. I don’t think he’s going to be the grabby type, but he isn’t shy either. It would be easier to judge if I didn’t suddenly really, really wish he were the grabby type. The kind who would use his hand to pin me down to the mattress while he…
“Alex.” The deep baritone voice shocks me again as he interrupts my little reverie.
“Nice to meet you Alex.” I grin, because yes, it is absolutely nice to meet him. “So the rules are simple. One song, no touching. Any special requests as far as the song goes?”
He looks down then, and I see it, a little smidge of nervousness. He isn’t as confident as he seemed. He’s vulnerable. He swallows as he looks up and meets my eyes again, his little half-smile quirking his lips up on one side.
“What’s the longest one you got?”
Nothing could have prepared me for the shockwave of lust that hits me. Let me tell you a secret—all a real performer, born to be on stage, really wants, more than anything in the world, is to be desired. Wanted. That’s why we do it. Well, that’s why I do it. Can’t speak for the hacks, you know?
He wants the longest song I’ve got.
Oh, to be wanted! It’s really the greatest aphrodisiac there is, and this man wants me. I don’t care if he can tell I’m hard. I want him to know. I want him to be as tormented by lust as I am. I want to give him a dance he’ll never forget.
I smile, showing some teeth, as I move over to the music controls and select a song. It’s not actually the longest song I’ve got. I mean, really, there is no fucking way to make “Alice’s Restaurant” sexy, believe me, I’ve tried. If anyone could inject that song with some sexuality, it would be the queer kid from the mountains of North Carolina. But even all I got can’t make that song sexy.
I choose a song with some edge, not industrial exactly, but heading that way, with a driving bass line and some honest-to-goodness hardcore drums. The song is about seven minutes long, which is plenty for a private dance. I’d never choose a song like this for a woman. It’s too aggressive, too rough, not playful enough. But for a man—no, for this man—it’s perfect.
When I turn back to my audience-of-one, he’s made himself comfortable on the couch. He’s not all sprawled out or anything, but his legs are spread slightly, and he’s leaning back more than forward. I take a deep breath and start to move, letting the innate aggression of the music fill me, make me cocky. Like I’m not cocky enough? When we make eye contact, I’m riveted. The connection is instant, intense. I step forward; his head goes back. I bite my lip; he licks his. I put a hand on my lower back and swivel my hips forward; he drops a hand across the bulge in the front of his jeans.
An invisible tether runs from his bulge straight to my hips, and some invisible force tugs me closer. At this point, I’m beyond aware of Alex. He’s not just sharing the room with me; he’s under my skin, prickling along every nerve. I shudder, and suddenly, that motion propels me forward. I need to be close enough to smell him.
He spreads his legs a little wider and smiles invitingly at me. At the next heavy drum beat, I slap a hand down on the back of the couch, right behind his shoulder, and I grind down, my cock mere centimeters from his. I never break eye contact, even when his eyes drift closed and he groans, a raw, heavy sound. My other hand hits the sofa, and his eyes snap open, his hands gripping his thighs when he meets my gaze.
The delicious tension in his body is the greatest compliment a man could ever give me.
I lean close to his shoulder and breathe his scent from the shadowy corner where his neck meets his shoulder. Ooh, yeah. He rolls his head to the side in response, and I see, actually see his hips arch up out of the corner of my eye. I know it’s going to happen a second before it does, but that whisper of touch of his cock up against mine is shocking anyway.
I shudder again.
The power has slipped from me to him, even though he doesn’t try to touch me again, I feel stripped bare, as if the joke of a g-string keeping me legal is gone. It’s good—it’s so good to be naked in front of this man, even if the naked is a metaphor and not actual naked, it’s…So. Damned. Good.
“Alex…” I groan, and this time, I’m the one who breaks the rules, I’m the one who thrusts against him, and it’s his breath all sharp and shuddery in my ear.
“Seamus,” he whispers back. My name on his lips is like gravy over biscuits. It’s warm and comfortable and probably hell for my heart, but I don’t care.
For a long moment, I close my eyes and let the music flood my limbs. When he turns his head and his lips brush my forearm, I let him have that. When one of my hands brushes his cheek as I straighten, he lets me have that. Before either of us is ready, I realize the song is drawing to a close, and I start to back off. I see the frustration in his eyes, know it’s mirrored in my own, and I’m breathless under the intensity of it all.
I know I need to take him back downstairs. I know…and yet…
In our little room, the silence following the end of the song would be oppressive, except the sounds from downstairs fill in the void. He stands and approaches me, and I feel suddenly vulnerable.
He presses a tip into my hand. A tip I don’t even look at, because I can’t pry my eyes away from the half-twist perfection of his smile. The contact of his palm to mine is electric. Once more, I find myself caught in an involuntary shudder.
“How late do you work? Can I buy you a drink later?” he murmurs.
“I’ll be here until two.” I turn my head to the side, unable to meet his gaze, though I hear the huff of frustration in his chest.
“Do you get a break?”
I meet his eyes then, and see the warmth there. Oh, that’s good, so good. I bask in it for a minute, then I’m on, performer-me, Shameless Seamus—not James, the given-name-me I eschewed the day I exited the train in Penn Station with a duffel and a debit card. Tonight? I really want to be James.
“Not if I spend half the night flirting with you I don’t.” I wink. Then Seamus disappears and James emerges, totally unexpectedly, leaving me raw. “Maybe. I understand if you have to go. But if I can get a break, I’ll find a way to let you know.”
He smiles again, black eyes glittering in the low lights that flicker once—a warning it’s time to get back downstairs.
“I’ll wait, if you don’t,” he murmurs.
I can’t believe he’s for real, and he’s conjuring James up out of nowhere.
Let’s get one thing straight. I adore being Seamus. Seamus is the superstar in a sequin-studded g-string. Seamus gets the applause and it’s a helluva life.
But Seamus can’t be vulnerable to guys like Alex, and when I look at him, I don’t just see the swagger and the crooked smile. I see the guy who looked at his feet and asked for the longest song I got.
And I want that guy like whoa.
I don’t get that break.
It’s the way these things go on Friday nights. Bachelorette parties, girls’ night outs, the end of the evening at the gay bars. It’s all just a bit too much, and it’s quarter after two by the time I manage to cash out and push through the employee door onto the street.
The voice is gruff, but I recognize it down to my toes. Alex. I turn, see him waiting, that crooked smile hovering just there. He knows my real name, and I don’t really care, because something huge and gooey is swelling in my chest.
“I said I would.”
“Yeah, but you disappeared about an hour ago. I thought…”
“I called my roommate. I live close…I don’t want to assume anything…” He looks at his feet then, and I remember the moment when I asked him about the song. What’s the longest one you’ve got?
“It could have been ‘Alice’s Restaurant,’” I blurt out. “Eighteen minutes thirty-four seconds, but hell, I wanted it to be sexy.”
The smile on his face then cracks way past sexy and well on the way to dear…
“You coulda made ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ sexy. If anyone could.”
I don’t know who reaches first but yeah, it’s nice to hold someone like this after all the strutting and posturing on stage. I like to be touched, and if that makes me shameless, I’m down with that. I pull him back with me to the wall of the building. I let him be the aggressor this time, let him push me back and tilt my head so I’m looking at him. I don’t want to recognize the emotion in his eyes, crowding out the hunger. His lips quirk on one side and he sweeps a finger across my nose.
“Freckles,” he whispers, as if they’re a miracle, but the real miracle is what I feel pressing up against me when he crowds even a bit closer. Fuck, is this guy ever going to kiss me? I rock my hips forward, desperate for some more contact.
“Don’t be greedy.” He chuckles, tilting my chin up. When his lips finally close over mine, I’m so far and away beyond greedy. He’s got both hands on my face and he’s controlling everything and I want to push back, to take him in, to own this thing between us. He won’t fucking let me do anything but take it, and it’s good, so good. The whisper of his lips on mine, the gentle way he uses his thumbs to put a little pressure on my jaw, opening me wider. His tongue sliding against mine is divine, and the little catch in his breath before he groans into my mouth…
“You live close?” I pull back and then bury my face in the warmth of his neck. He nods, and I feel his Adam’s apple bob in his throat as he swallows. I turn my head, trace it with my tongue. Then he’s tilting my face and kissing me again, but this time he lets me own some of the kiss, and I give as good as I take.
I don’t hear the door opening next to us, but the wolf whistles and catcalls from my fellow dancers aren’t to be ignored. I blush, because, yeah, I’m not on stage and this is so damned personal. Now we’re all laughing because Devlin hoots something sounding suspiciously like “Go get it, Shameless!”
I lift my head from where I’m giggling into Alex’s shoulder and I wave and give a little bow to my friends, who are wandering off into the wee hours of a New York morning.
I lace my fingers through Alex’s and let him lead me away. We pause on a street corner to kiss again—I can’t get enough of him. When we finally stumble up the steps to his apartment, and he’s fumbling in his pocket for his keys and kissing my neck, his stubble abrading the soft skin there, I remember…
“Fuck, you have a roommate.”
“He’s not coming home tonight,” he mutters against my neck and then he fucking bites me, and I think I might come in my pants. It’s almost a laugh when he continues, “Remind me to thank him tomorrow.”
He produces the key and grins, and we’re inside. Thank hell.
“God, James.” He groans and maneuvers me back against the door, rocking our hips together. His erection presses against mine through our clothes. Why the fuck are we still wearing clothes?
“How do you know I’m James?” I murmur as I attack his belt buckle.
“One of the other dancers told me.”
“They aren’t supposed to do that.” I don’t fucking care at this point because I’ve got the belt off and it’s hitting the floor. I think the only word to use for what I do next is dive.
I dive into his pants and my knees hit the floor right about the time I get his cock free and it touches the side of my face. Oh, hell. We both groan at the contact and I look up to see black eyes glittering down at me. I’m Shameless, I’m Seamus, and I’m James, all three as I take him in my mouth, let his wide crown stretch my lips as I taste his salt and musk.
He scrabbles backward. His shoulders brace against a wall, and I’m with him, following him on my knees. I’ve got one hand wrapped around him and one in my own pants, fisted hard around the base of my cock—I don’t want to come just from sucking him off. The sounds he makes as he thrusts forward, nearly gagging me, are delicious and exciting.
“Bed.” He pulls my hair hard as he says it, and hauls me off his cock.
I snarl my disappointment even as I let him drag me to my feet and push me across the room to the doorway leading to what has to be a bedroom. We haven’t turned on any lights so I can’t see anything, but I don’t care, just get me in bed now.
Alex pushes me down on the bed, drags my shirt off and tugs my pants down my legs. He’s totally manhandling me and I love it. I grin up at him in the dark, and he starts laughing.
“You wear the g-string home?” He snaps the side of it against my hip.
“Yeah, fucker. I was in a hurry to get out the door tonight.” I grab his hands and tug him onto the bed with me, pulling his own shirt off him and dragging him close. He’s got the perfect amount of hair on his chest. I have to wax mine for the job, but I love the way he feels against me, the coarse hair abrading my chest. He reaches up to pinch one of my nipples and God that feels good.
I’m frotting up against him now, desperate to get some friction on my cock. He slaps my thigh with one hand.
“Slow down,” he grunts.
I hear a drawer opening. I hear a rustling meaning he’s grabbing a condom and lube, and I try to still my hips.
“Please tell me you’ll top,” I whisper, surprising myself how much I want it.
“God, yes.” He kisses me again, gentle this time, almost reverent.
I feel a slick finger against my opening and I sigh and relax into his kiss as he touches me, readies me. The darkness around us feels warm and intimate. He’s just so gentle and sweet as he works a second finger inside. This side of him is different, and I do get greedy then, greedy for the bossy guy who pulled my hair, the guy who—
Oh, sweet fucking fuck.
He does this thing, then, which I should have been prepared for, right? It’s not like this is my first time or anything. But when he slides his fingers across my prostate, I can’t help it, I groan and push back into his hand. I’m so fucking ready.
“Fuck me, please, just fucking do it.” I beg.
Yeah, he’s got me begging and I blush when I do. I guess I really am shameless. Thank God he doesn’t make me ask again, he just rolls me to my back, slicks lube over his condom-covered dick, and presses inside so slowly I could scream. Still, even slow, it’s just right because he’s making me feel every inch. When he’s all the way inside me, I let out a shaky breath and he kisses me, hard and deep and sweet.
He looks in my eyes as he fucks me. Every few thrusts I have to turn my head and close them tight because it’s too much, so much more than I can take, to see all his emotion. Some guys can just fuck, and it’s like combing their hair or tying their shoelaces. It’s just a thing they do and it doesn’t have to be anything.
Alex isn’t one of those guys. He’s staring into my soul while he fucks me, and it’s everything.
Every time I turn my head, he brings me back, makes me see the intensity in his expression, the heat and the longing and the…oh God.
I gasp, reaching for my cock. I’m right there. I slide my hand over the sensitive head and tug twice. Then I can’t keep my eyes open anymore, because I’m coming, and I’m shouting, and I hear his shout tangled up with mine.
I drag my eyes open to see him shudder and gasp, and it’s so fucking pretty I could cry. I reach up and finally, finally get my hands in his curly hair, and pull him down for a kiss.
After a night of dancing, and then this, my body is wrung out. I’ve overdrawn my energy supply. Still, when he rolls off me and throws away the condom, I ask…
“Where did you really go, when you left the club?”
He snorts and then flops down on the bed and kisses me again before he answers. “I told you, I called my roommate. I left you three messages, fucker.”
I laugh then, because he always teases me about leaving my phone at home, and sure enough, it’s there next to the bed.
“What did the messages say?”
“Lucky threw my ass out, said I was distracting you, and he didn’t care if I bought a private dance, he wasn’t going to have you mooning over me the whole night.”
“You were distracting me. This pretending to be a stranger thing was hot.”
“‘Alice’s Restaurant?’” He giggles into my shoulder. “Fuck, Jamie, I almost lost it.”
“Next time you come to the club, buy another private dance and I’ll make it happen.” God, I’m fucking crazy over this guy, so I tell him. “I love you.”
He makes a happy, breathy noise. “Love you too, Shameless.”