CHAPTER ONE – MASON
The club is the kind of place I’d have liked back before I knew better. Red velvet rope caging in a long line in front, trendy-ish people standing in it, tough guy at the door trying to keep those people out.
I never understood this. I mean, I get the bouncers. I’ve bounced many a club in my day. But why do people stand in line? Hopeful. Waiting. Wasting their Saturday night.
Don’t they get it? They’re not good enough. That line isn’t there because the club is crowded inside, it’s there to keep them out.
I want to walk up to every single person standing in this line and shake the fuck out of them. Tell them to get a life, or at the very least, go do something else besides beg this asshole at the door to let them play with the cool kids.
That’s not what happens.
Instead I shove my hands into the pockets of my jeans, meet the eyes of the bouncer at the door as he unhooks the velvet rope, and slide on past him without comment.
It’s a work night. I don’t have time to babysit the masses.
Inside it’s predictable. Too fucking loud. Too fucking dark. Too fucking hot.
And this club is crowded. So maybe I was wrong about those assholes in line outside. In fact, it’s probably over capacity, so yeah. OK. I was wrong about that.
But none of my other opinions about this club, or the people inside it, will change tonight. That’s for sure.
I sigh, glancing around at the hundreds of men, all dressed smart casual and looking like good little drones. So alike, I can’t even begin to understand what women see when they scan the crowd like predators, trying to choose one to take home tonight.
Most of the men are in light colors because the beach is just a block over and that’s pretty much the dress code around here. Tight, white t-shirts with a short, perfectly tailored tan linen jacket, rounded out with chinos and boring loafers on their feet.
Not me. I’m all in navy blue. Tonight I’m sporting my version of smart casual. I have on a button-down shirt, expensive, well-worn jeans with a black belt, a short cotton jacket pressed to perfection, and black, polished dress boots.
Every man in here was chosen at the door to be a part of the scenery because that’s the meat-market expectation. But even though I also meet that expectation, that’s not why that bouncer let me in. I greased his palm earlier in the day with five crisp Benjamins.
Still, I reluctantly admit that I fit in. All the ladies look my way as I push my way through the crowd, scanning faces for my target. Some of them wink. One even grabs my ass.
I don’t even turn around to see who that was.
I studied up on the dress code for tonight because I don’t want to be in this place any longer than I have to. This is not where I shop for meat and none of these half-dressed girls are worth my time. Not even the one I came for.
Though that’s not completely true or I wouldn’t be here, would I? I need her for something. It’s just not sex.
And I’m not being a dick about this. Not really. I know their type. Rich girls. Privileged girls. Bratty girls. The kind with snarky comments on the tips of their tongues and condescending looks in their eyes. The kind who think the world owes them a good time every second of the day. The kind who run away from their fiancés because they don’t love them.
Like it matters. They’re gonna play house for a few years, maybe have a kid or two, and then they’ll get divorced and go back on the market to do it all again.
Maybe I’m a cynic? I dunno. The whole thing is so fucking pointless.
But what do I care? “It’s a job,” I whisper under my breath. Find her, take her out back, throw her in the back of the van. Drive her back to her father. Collect my money.
Simple. I’ll be out of here in ten minutes tops.
I glance up at the VIP area and spot her immediately.
She’s hard to miss.
Skin-tight gold dresses kinda have that effect under the strobe lights.
Seriously, it’s gold. And it hugs her curves like a second skin. Revealing her large breasts—probably fake, they are that spectacular—and accentuating her tiny waist. The back is open all the way down to her ass. Two thin straps hold up the low-cut front and meld into the fabric that runs down her sides. Curving in towards her stomach and revealing her hip bones.
I just want to shake my head at that dress. Sexy as fuck, for sure. But no way in hell would I let any woman I know walk out in public wearing it. Especially to a club.