Title: Surrender by Violetta Rand
Devil’s Den Series Book One
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 239 pages
Fans of Abbi Glines will adore Violetta Rand’s novels about strong-willed women who must fight to survive—and the men who love them. Welcome to the Devil’s Den, a Texas strip club where the air is heavy with desire . . . and sometimes dreams come true.
Ever since her mother kicked her out, twenty-year-old Robyn Gonzalez has been working the poles at the Devil’s Den, saving up to finish college and travel the world. With only her wits and her gorgeous body to rely on, Robyn has learned to be independent—fiercely independent. She’s never been tempted to let a man distract her from her dreams . . . until she meets the dead-sexy Garrick Dempsey.
The club’s new head of security, Garrick had walked away from a career as a mechanical engineer to return to his roots in Corpus Christi. He hadn’t planned on getting to know someone like Robyn, with her sinfully sweet combination of vulnerability and strength, at the Devil’s Den. She acts tough, but only because she’s been hurt. Soon Garrick knows he will do anything to win Robyn’s trust. And if that means surrendering to the red-hot chemistry between them, all the better.
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“Don’t touch me again,” I warn, tapping the heel of my stiletto on the ceramic stage floor.
“What ya gonna do?” Robert, a regular customer, slurs. “Smack me with one of your big tits?” He laughs at his own stupidity.
I ignore him and turn around, my hips swaying to the tempo of the wild music. Robert stays glued to the corner of the stage. I move farther away, accepting a ten-dollar tip from a glassy-eyed redneck who has a silly grin plastered on his face.
“You’re beautiful,” he says.
“Thank you.” I mean it—I’ve never received compliments well, even as a kid.
The song is almost over. I can’t wait to leave. The pungent combination of stale beer, cigarettes, and male sweat is nearly enough to make me throw up tonight. Add strobe lights overhead and a smoke machine that the DJ likes to overuse, and I’m itching to get away.
“I’m sorry,” Robert blurts.
“Go back to your seat,” I say.
“Just come over here . . .”
I edge closer, hoping he’ll shut up. He holds up a fifty. I shake my head. A modern-day version of paying an indulgence fee. He thinks fifty dollars will absolve his sins. “I don’t need your money.”
“Liar!” he shouts.
“Be quiet,” I hiss. If he gets too rowdy, the bouncer will come over and make a scene. I hate being the center of attention. “All right.” I move next to him and squat. He tucks the bribe money in the side of my G-string.
Without warning, he grabs my left butt cheek. Instinctively, I punch him in the jaw. He stumbles backward, tripping on the leg of a chair. I stand. “I told you!” I shout this time. “Don’t. Ever. Touch. Me.” I grab my dress off the speaker near the corner of the square stage and leave.
That’s it. I make sure I slam the dressing room door, hard. I’ve had enough insults slung at me for one night. Strangers grabbing my ass. Other dancers judging me for playing by the rules. This wasn’t a career choice, just an unfortunate detour I took three years ago, as soon as I turned eighteen. That neon red sign out front in the parking lot had the same effect on me as a lighthouse does on a ship tossing in a watery void. It was a lifeline. I’d never go hungry again. Never sleep on another friend’s couch because I didn’t have anywhere else to go.
People compromise all the time to get where they need to go. Screw draconian societal values. And fuck anyone who judges me for it. Stripping off my black sequined bra and matching panties, I kick off my five-inch stilettos, then rub my feet. I walk to a row of freshly painted metal lockers hanging on the wall. I unlock mine, then grab my large duffel bag and toss it on the floor.
I sit cross-legged on the carpeted floor and dig inside my bag. I take out a pair of gray warm-ups and a matching ribbed tank top. Working tonight was a bad choice. The club is full of assholes. I stand, then drop my open-toed sandals on the floor. I’m not interested in finishing my shift, or sticking around to count my tips, or waiting for my best friend, Macey, to get off work. I need to leave. Dressing quickly, I scrawl a message on a bar napkin and slip it between the vents on Macey’s locker.
The message reads, Gone fishing. Secret code for I need to be alone. Macey knows where I’ll be: Bob Hall Pier on Padre Island. There’s nothing special about the place. It has a few wood picnic tables and benches, concrete showers, and bathrooms. It’s the view I love. Under a full moon, nothing is more enticing than the Gulf of Mexico. And if I get lucky, I’ll see the electric-blue glow of Portuguese man-o’-wars floating in the water.
I scan the room to make sure I didn’t forget anything and zip my bag. Noting the time on the wall clock above the vanity (eleven thirty), I’ll try to make it back in time to meet Macey after the club closes.
Raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Violetta Rand spent her childhood reading, writing, and playing soccer. After meeting her husband in New England, they moved to Alaska where she studied environmental science and policy as an undergraduate before attending graduate school. Violetta then spent nearly a decade working as an environmental scientist, specializing in soil and water contamination and environmental assessments.
Violetta still lives in Anchorage, Alaska and spends her days writing evocative New Adult romance and historical romance. When she’s not reading, writing, or editing, she enjoys time with her husband, pets, and friends. In her free time, she loves to hike, fish, and ride motorcycles and 4-wheelers.
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