Scandalous Moves is a hot contemporary series not recommended for those who blush easily! But if you like your romance novels with sexy heroes and scorching hot sex scenes, read on! Or if you prefer to listen, Dared is also available from your favorite audiobook retailer with bonus material not found in the books! If you have a preference for more tame romance, I have something for you, too. Check out my award-winning and bestselling Angel Ridge Series.
Maybe you’ve made some Scandalous Moves of your own. Share your stories on Facebook and Twitter using #Scandalous and be sure to tag me @deborahgracestaley.
Have you ever made a daring move?
Di Jenson is a successful Broadway dancer who makes a bet with bad boy Van Vanzant to dance at Vanz, his exclusive gentlemen’s club. The bet? That Di can make more money with one dance than all the rest of the club’s dancers combined — without taking her clothes off.
Van accepts the bet because he hasn’t been able to forget his blind date with Di the year before. He wants to show her he’s more than a guy whose name is synonymous with adult entertainment. Despite the fact that Di is drawn to the bad boy in Van, she knows she can’t respect a guy in his line of business. But when she dances at his club, the bet turns into something neither will soon forget.
Can a bad boy with secrets win the heart of a dancer who dares to make a Scandalous Move?
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EXCERPT FROM DARED
Copyright © 2016 by Deborah Grace Staley
She sat at an out-of-the-way table in a shadowy corner of Vanz. Loud music thrummed through her veins, heating her body as she watched a woman on stage do a quite competent, yet seductive dance. She had started out wearing a shimmery dress that clung to her generous curves, but now she was down to only a lacy bra and matching thong. Since she was sitting in Van’s club, she couldn’t resist imagining what it might be like to dance like that with him watching.
To cool her suddenly dry throat, Di took a sip of chilled Chardonnay just as the waitress delivered another glass of wine to Di’s table. “I didn’t order this,” Di politely said with a small smile for the attractive, young woman.
“Compliments of the gentleman in the corner booth.” The waitress inclined her head towards the person in question, but Di didn’t turn.
Di was used to men buying her drinks. She took another sip of her wine — the wine she’d ordered herself. Taking her chances, she looked up at the waitress and said, “Thank you.”
She wondered, not for the first time since she’d arrived if Van might be here. Maybe he’d sent the drink. Unable to resist, she glanced over at the booth the waitress had indicated. The booth was empty. She needed to get ahold of her rampant imagination. Owning the club didn’t mean he’d be here every night. Relaxing a bit, she said to herself, “Who am I to let good wine go to waste?” Lifting the glass, she admired the golden liquid then inhaled the light scent of peach with a honeyed-oak undertone. She tasted it. Pinot Grigio — Italian if she wasn’t mistaken. And pricey.
Awareness pricked down the back of her neck when she heard the low, easy tones of the man’s voice. Her body’s instant reaction gave his identity away. She glanced up for confirmation. “Van.”
Dressed in an impeccably tailored, black suit, his white shirt was open at the collar providing a stark contrast to his tanned skin. He wore his dark brown hair longer now. It curled attractively over his collar, marking him as unconventional. Di smiled to herself. What an understatement. She remembered all too well how deliciously unconventional he could be.
“The wine is excellent.” And since good manners dictated, she added, “Thank you.” Manners also dictated that she should invite him to join her, but she didn’t.
“I’m glad you like it.”
He sipped his own drink, something dark in a heavy, crystal tumbler, same as the first time she’d seen him. Whiskey or Scotch, she guessed. The silence grew, but Di chose not to break it.
“I’m surprised to see you here.”
“Thought I’d see what all the fuss is about.” She sipped the wine.
He smiled but didn’t comment. After a moment, he surprised her by asking, “How have you been?”
“Well. Thank you.”
“I caught your show a few weeks ago.” She raised her eyebrows. “It’s fantastic.” He paused then added in an intimate tone, “You were incredible.”
“You saw the show?”
“That surprises you?” He sat. His scent and warmth enveloped her in the small space, and the memories flooded her system.
“It does surprise me,” she confirmed. “But you’re certainly free to see any show you want.” He glanced at the woman on stage, then back at her. “As are you.” He leaned towards her. “Why are you really here, Di?”
“I told you. I was curious.”
“I see it still bothers you.”
She grasped for something to say and came up with, “You sitting at my table uninvited? Yes, it does.” Why did her voice have to betray her by sounding so breathless?
He tilted his head, his gaze sweeping her face and then points south. When his dark eyes finally locked on hers again, he said, “I was referring to your response to me. You still want me.” “Don’t flatter yourself.”
He rested his elbows on the table and loosely clasped his hands, pointing at her. “The pulse in the side of your throat is throbbing and you’re flushed.”
“You mistake anger for desire,” she corrected, but he wasn’t that far off the mark. Wanting him, it would appear, was a natural response for her, one she intended to keep in check this time. “I’m not surprised,” she continued. “Someone like you would make that mistake. You think you know what men want,” she swept her hand toward the club and stage, “and you create the fantasy that fits women into that mold. You’ve made a fortune from it, haven’t you?”
“I made my fortune the old-fashioned way. I earned it.”
“You mean the women who dance at your club earned it for you,” she corrected.
“It might surprise you to know that I don’t actually own Vanz.”
Di laughed. “Your name on the building says otherwise.”
“Appearances, as they say, can be deceiving.”
“This is one of the most exclusive gentlemen’s clubs in New York. The performers are trained dancers, such as yourself, who are experienced in club dancing.” He swept Di with a cursory look that said she came up lacking. “It’s no criticism of your ability, but dancing in my club requires a particular skill set that goes beyond,” he paused to consider his words, “technical dance moves.”
Di laughed, relaxing into the plush upholstery of the booth. “When did dancing naked become classified as ‘a particular skill set’?”
“There’s more to it than you realize.”
“I’ll bet you $5,000 I could dance here and make more than all your dancers combined without taking my clothes off.”
Van’s bark of laughter turned several heads. “Not possible.”
She tilted her head. “Provocative does not necessarily equate to naked.”
“You’re missing the obvious. Men come to a gentlemen’s club to see beautiful women take their clothes off.” Van gave Di another assessing look that clearly said she didn’t fit the profile to dance at his club. Translation: not tall, not leggy, boobs too small. Oh, and not blonde. She felt her blood pressure rise along with the need to make a point.
“What’s wrong?” Di goaded. “Afraid I’ll make your dancers look like amateurs?”
Van laughed and the sound pinged off Di’s spine and detonated a powder keg of white-hot anger. “Oh, no. Quite the opposite,” he said.
Son of a…
“Friday,” Di said, “after my show. I can be here around midnight.” Van didn’t speak. He stared at Di long enough for her to, with difficulty, manage to not squirm. “Are you afraid I’ll prove you wrong?” Di asked softly.
“On the contrary,” Van said. “I’d simply hate to see you embarrassed.”
“Don’t pretend to care about my feelings, Van,” Di said, her tone hard.
“Someone might recognize you. What would your producers think about their lead dancer slumming at a gentleman’s club on the west side?”
“I’m not concerned.” Di said. “Producers from Broadway shows don’t troll gentlemen’s clubs looking for talent.”
He laughed. “You have no idea who you might find ‘trolling’ here.” Van sat back, looking relaxed. Too relaxed. “Before you commit to this, you need to understand a few things.” “Such as?”
“As you can see, this isn’t the type of club where women dance on a stage with a pole in the center while men stuff singles in their G-strings. The clientele at Vanz is upscale. Suits — businessmen entertaining clients and blowing off steam. Sure, there are parties, too, but it’s sophisticated.”
Di lifted her gaze to the ceiling, then after she’d regained some control over her emotions, she gave Van a look.
Undaunted, he continued. “The waitlist for the club is extensive. In order to get in without a reservation on the weekend, there’s a line that winds around the block. If they’re lucky, some might get inside a couple of hours before closing.”
“Great,” Di said. “So the clientele have deep pockets. Even better.”
“What I’m trying to get across here is that Vanz isn’t some seedy strip club on the wrong side of town. The women here are called ‘entertainers,’ not strippers. They never see the money. The club handles all transactions.”
“I don’t see the problem. It sounds too easy.”
Van turned to watch the woman on stage finish her dance and walk away as she blew a kiss to the audience. “The stage dance is to generate interest,” he said, watching her closely now. “The real money is made from private dances.”
Di closed her eyes, took a deep breath, then opened them. “Excuse me?”
“Table dances are chump change: twenty dollars most places; fifty at Vanz. The real money is paid for private dances in suites upstairs.”
Di felt her heart drop but refused to let Van see her hesitance. No way she’d back out now. “So, I’d have to dance on stage and go into a room alone with some sleaze to give him a private performance.”
“Again, it’s not what you’re thinking. You won’t be alone — not really. The rooms are monitored with cameras.”
“Oh, well, that makes all the difference,” she said sarcastically. “And just so we’re clear, I won’t be naked for either dance.”
“As you wish,” he said with a nod.
“And how many of these private performances would I have to do to win the bet?”
“As many as it takes,” Van said with a wicked smile. When she sat quietly, not responding as she gave the situation further thought, he added, “It’s okay. You can bow out gracefully.”
“Oh, no. Just considering my terms. How much are the private dances?”
“Depends on the dancer.”
Di nodded. “No table dances, only private dances, and those will be $10,000. Each.”
Van threw his head back and laughed. “You’re making this too easy. No one’s going to pay that.”
Di lifted one shoulder and laced her fingers together. “We’ll see.”