Definition of Stripped
Lia Peele

Author: Lia Peele
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance,
Initial Price: 99 p / 99 c
Amazon Rating: 4.5
Release Date: 5th March 2018
Key Words: Contemporary erotic romance, second chance romance, alpha male, alpha female, male escort, stripper, urban drama,
Lust. Secrets. Lies.
A girls’ night out. A handsome stranger. A lifetime of secrets.
Scarlett Trent, is a young, gorgeous, and successful career woman who is fiercely protective of her reputation in the local business community. Behind her well-constructed façade she’s equally protective of the kinky secrets she’d like to keep under wraps. When she meets someone from her past, their instant chemistry throws her off balance, and that’s the last position she wants to be in. Especially with him.
Brilliant, charming, and handsome, Dev Jackson never chased women. They chased him, and that’s how he played the game until now. No woman excites him as much as Scarlett. She’s hot, sexy with a sassy edge and represents everything he thought he never wanted. And it scares the hell out of him. Their chance meeting is the beginning of what will be the most exhilarating experience of his life … and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s got secrets too; lots of them, and as the heat between them rises, doubt begins to plague him.
His attitude isn’t the only thing threatening their budding romance. Someone else wants to see them sever ties.

“Come on all you sex-starved ladies, let me hear you scream!” Miss Interpreted, a drag queen and our MC this evening, hollers into her handheld mic. “Aaannd … pump it, pump it, pump it, pump it!”
Taboo Burlesque Club is packed with 300 oestrogen-loaded women. The noise ripples through the glitzy throng as 299 voices scream their appreciation.
As guests with hen party status, we’re seated in the alleged VIP section giving us a perfect view of the entertainment. If this is the VIP section, then who are the people occupying the three rooms with one way mirrored glass on the other side of the club, I wonder? They’re obviously far too important to be seen stage-side. Empty shot glasses crowd our alcohol-drenched table and the pervasive, sweet smell of vodka and Red Bull fills the air. Underfoot the wooden laminate is sticky with the spilt drinks of drunken partygoers.
Why did I agree to this? I usually spend Friday nights at home, my nose buried in reports. Taboo isn’t the place I’d choose to be, yet here I am waiting for the headline act and eighth member of the male striptease performance group, the Alphas. It’s not as if I know the people I’m with, for the most part. They wouldn’t notice if I disappeared to the loo and didn’t come back. Well, maybe one of them would, and she’s the reason I’m still here.
It could be worse, I guess, because at least the club is finished to a high standard. Chandeliers laden with fat black crystals vibrate to the sound of George Michael’s, Outside, and black walls provide the backdrop to a stunning trompe l’oeil depicting Hades. Blood red and ochre tipped flames scorch the scene. Hades’ unwilling subjects, visible by the whites of their eyes, keep their distance beyond the fire. It’s so realistic, I feel a visceral connection urging me to touch it and discover whether the inhabitants would drag me to the dark side.
A waiter’s fine body, bulked up with muscle, severs the link as he walks past my line of sight, forcing my attention on him instead. He’s cute and I shouldn’t judge, but I immediately think shared custody followed by bathroom slot.
Startling me out of my reverie, my best friend, Sian, snaps her fingers in front of my jaded, glazed-over eyes.
“Scarlett, look at me, not him!” she shouts.
“Sorry about tonight.”
She rubs my cheeks with both hands and purses my lips with her fingers. Sian knows me so well it’s annoying. Inseparable since meeting at uni, I’m allowed to be irritated by her meddling because it’s what she does best. We bunked together, worked together, and got drunk together. I can’t count the number of times she’s dragged me to parties I didn’t want to go to. She thinks she’s doing me a favour by handing me a bespoke social life.
I remove her hands and force a shot glass into one of them. “You should be sorry, Sian. When you asked me to Lisa’s hen party, you didn’t mention the Alphas would be the entertainment.”
She thrusts an impatient hand through her short, black hair, and shakes her head with exasperation. “You wouldn’t have come. That’s why I didn’t.”
Quirking an eyebrow at her, I take another sip of my red wine. “Ah, come on, Sian, you know I was up for a celebration after the news I heard today.” I glance at the crowd, chewing my bottom lip. “It’ll screw my rep if anybody sees me.” 
With a look reminiscent of something between boredom and sympathy, she takes my hands in hers and sighs. “Look here, Ms. IQ. I know your nomination for the award means like, everything, but go on, tell me what it’s for one more time.”
Sian’s referring to my public persona, the one she labelled Ms. Ice Queen, or Ms. IQ. I created her to handle the hits a business owner takes. Now we’re inseparable and I can’t pinpoint my transformation into the person I’d projected at will.
“Nah, you’re taking the piss. I’ve told you twice already.”
Bumping shoulders with me, she says, “Humour me, chick, I can see you’re busting at the seams to tell me again.”
“Once more, and that’s it. It’s for the North East Businesswoman of the Year.”
“Yay, the NEBY, I knew that,” she says. “You’ll walk it, chick, so chill. Trent:ches is getting stronger, but hey, it’s your baby and I’d expect nothing less. But you’ve got to worrying about someone spotting you. You’re allowed to enjoy yourself, you know.”
“I enjoy myself just not in seedy places like this.”
“Oh my God, have you heard yourself? This place is not seedy, okay? I think it’s kinda cool. Anyway, you’re my mate, and I need you here. Lisa may be my cousin but we’re a million miles apart in every way. I mean seriously, take a look.”
We glance at Lisa and her cronies.
“What’s the problem?”
“Are you kidding me?” she shrieks. “They’re clones, Lettie. Ten women who share the same hairdresser, train at the same gym, shop at the same designer shops, and have their eyebrows tattooed by the same artist. No imagination, that’s their problem.”
I look at Sian’s perfectly arched black eyebrows, Chanel makeup, gym-streamlined body, Vivienne Westwood dress, and Michael Kors handbag. “Pot and kettle mean anything to you, hon?”
“What? Me?” she screeches, “don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Speaking of Lisa,” – I nudge Sian slyly, out of sight – “have you seen her? She’s already out of her skull on champagne, and now her friends have got her on shots.”
After a quick peep at her cousin, she murmurs, “Bollocks.” Eyes widening, Sian giggles into her hand in the infectious way she does when she’s tipsy. “Fuck, I’m supposed to be looking after her. Who the hell has stuck those condoms to her glass?”

About Lia Peele:
Lia Peele is from the NE of England and is the author of the five book Definition series. She enjoys getting to the grit of the story and writes stories about flawed, dysfunctional, extraordinary characters. She wants to capture your attention and have you thinking about the book the day after you finished, and the day after that, too. If you're after a Happy Ever After, you'll get it, but she makes you sweat along the way. She's just a little twisted like that. 

Stalker Links: