Already convinced that love makes you weak, and therefore determined to never fall in love, Nate was dreading finding his mate.
He expected to want her, he knew he’d do everything he could to make her happy, but he would never give his heart.
What Nate never expected was to find his mate working in a strip club! he’s embarrassed, how can he tell his pack their new Alpha female was a stripper? Especially when he learns she didn’t even graduate high school!
Addison had raised her baby sister as her own, ever since their parents died in an accident when Amelie was only a few months old.
Being adopted herself, she never wanted her sister to be raised by strangers, even if it meant dropping out of school so she could work full time.
She’d do anything to support Amelie and her ill grandfather, even taking a second job in a strip club, singing and tending bar.
Offended by his embarrassment and unwilling to be with someone who won’t ever love her, Addison refuses to succumb to his charms or give in to the feelings he conjures within her, but is it already too late… for them both?
With enemies plotting against them from the shadows, will they realise how they feel before it really is too late?
How to purchase
Addison wanted nothing more than to lie down and sleep for the next ten hours. Her feet were killing her, and her uniform was in places no piece of clothing should ever go. Maxwell Carter’s idea of “provocative, yet modest” was very different from her own.
When she’d first been shown the costumes that Max wanted her to wear while working in his club, she’d flat out refused, no matter how much she needed a second job to pay the bills.
Right now, she didn’t know if she’d been lucky that she’d been looking for a second job when his singer had just quit, and so he’d been willing to negotiate to the more modest outfits, or not?
But considering she also agreed to work behind the bar as well, and all for less money, so she could retain a “modicum of modesty”. Well, she definitely thought he was getting the better deal.
Especially as her “modest” clothing seemed to be shrinking on a daily basis, since the day she had started a little over a year ago her “uniform” had more than halved in size. It was now so far from what she would choose to wear that she did all she could to blend into the background while she was wearing it.
The only time she felt comfortable wearing these outfits was when she was on stage singing, then she embraced the attention she got during those moments the only way she knew how, by putting up that shield she developed as a child.
Crawling behind that protective wall and putting on one amazing front.
So right then with aching feet and no front to hide behind the temptation to go home and sleep for a week was so tempting that only the six inch heels max insisted she wear and the fact that she wasn’t even half way through her shift stopped her from running home.
She really couldn’t lose this job, as much as she hated it, she needed it. The consequences of losing it were too much to bear thinking about. With that in mind Addison turned towards the clubs back door. Her one and only break over she walked back into the club.
Nate inhaled deeply as they walked inside, his eyes scanning the occupants of the room. He knew his betas couldn’t understand why he insisted they pull over to go into the club.
Although they knew he liked to play, though not as much as he liked to work, they also knew he had strict rules about how he did it and coming to clubs like this one wasn’t like him.
He knew that they were confused and curious but he also knew they would never voice that, not in front of a group anyway. That could be seen as a challenge and they all knew that they couldn’t win; Nate was Alpha for a reason, not just because he was the eldest son of the last Alpha. He’d earned the title over and over and even defended it.
But only once. Everyone had learned from that wolf’s mistakes.
Owens voice broke him out of his thoughts. He had been so intent on finding her he didn’t even know how long he had been standing in the clubs doorway scanning the crowd.
“So, do we have a business meeting in here you forgot to tell us about? Or is this my early birthday present?”
He should have known Owen wouldn’t keep his mouth shut. As Nates younger brother, Owen got away with a lot more than any of the others in the pack did.
“I picked up a scent as we drove past. I thought it belonged to the rogue you failed to catch last week little brother.
And I thought I’d give you the opportunity to prove to the others that you’re not a total screw up.
And, that I’m not crazy for not killing you all those times I probably should have in the past”.
Nate hoped they wouldn’t see through his lie. He didn’t want to admit that it wasn’t the scent of the rogue he’d picked up, but the scent of his mate. The idea of finding her working in a place like this would have them all laughing for years.
After all Nates talk about standards and the kind of mate he’d have, to find her working in a club like this could be a major embarrassment. He knew that she had to be working here, because it wasn’t the kind of place to have female customers. Women just aren’t their target audience.
Nate watched as his beta’s spread out through the room, searching for a rogue that wasn’t there. He felt bad about it, but knew that the exercise would be good training.
He also knew that with them so focused on looking for the rogue he could focus on finding his mate, and without worrying about his beta’s ogling her semi-clad form, he would hate to have to hurt one of his friends for leering at his woman or worse, becoming aroused by her. But his wolf wouldn’t allow it. He’d kill anyone who tried anything with his mate. The sooner he found her the better for everyone.
Addison was closing the till when she felt their eyes on her. She turned with her eyes lowered and went to the other end of the bar to give Hugh his change. Hugh was a regular and although he was a giant, he was as gentle as they came.
Always sweet to her he was her favourite customer. Unlike some, who frequented the place, he had manners. And he never treated her like a piece of meat. He had even started to come into the diner Addison worked in during the day for a slice of pie. They had become fast friends and it was nice seeing a friendly face especially after he started walking her home. Tonight was a Friday which meant she worked until 2am and she always felt better walking home with Hugh by her side.
Addison turned around to look down the bar. Jim was busy filling a large order for Janice to take over to the table in the corner, which only left her to serve the guys waiting for drinks. She had been hoping Jim would be finished by the time she’d given Hugh his change, but it looked like her luck was out. As she walked back down the bar towards them she kept her eyes lowered. It wasn’t that she was shy or submissive, but it was harder to blend in while making eye contact, so she’d developed a habit of looking down, except when she sang.
But as she was behind the bar right now and not on stage she fell into her habitual routine of trying to be invisible, well as invisible as possible while serving drinks.
She could still feel their eyes on her as she came to a stop in front of them. She could tell that all three were staring straight at her without looking up and did her best to pull her skirt lower.
“What can I get you guys?” she asked already getting glasses ready, as it gave her an excuse to look anywhere but at them.
“Scotch on the rocks, six of them. Oh, and can you bring them over to our table?” the one in the middle asked. He seemed to be the leader from their body language and she could understand why.
Although they were all handsome he had a care free edge to him that pulled you in and made you want to play. He was danger, the kind of danger that made a person forget about their responsibilities and that was something she couldn’t risk. She definitely knew that this was a man to avoid.
Addison started pouring their drinks. “Sure, tell me where you guys are sitting, and I’ll have someone bring them over”. She said, as she started placing the drinks on a tray.
“Why don’t you bring them over sweetheart, maybe keep us company? And a private dance might be nice”. The other two men nodded in agreement.
“Sorry, but I only pour the drinks I don’t dance around them. If you want some company ask one of her girls at the end of the bar. I’m sure they’d be glad to join you”. Addison waved at Janice to let her know she had an order for her.
She could tell he wasn’t going to drop it when another man came over and interrupted him.
“Hey Owen, shouldn’t you be looking for something?”
Owen shot her a dazzling smile before responding, “I think I’ve found something Marcus. And I was just trying to persuade her to join us for a drink”.
Marcus didn’t look impressed and said so. “Nate’s giving you an opportunity to clean up your mess. So at least look like you’re trying and have a look around.
“I already did and he’s not here” Owen said, looking angrier by the second. “So now I’m making up for this little detour, which wasn’t technically my fault because I never claimed the guy was here, by buying a round of drinks for everyone. And maybe organising a private show? What do you say sweetheart?”
It took Addison a second to realise that the last part of his comment was directed at her, but when she did she was pissed. It was one thing to be asked once, but she’d already said no.
She may try to fade into the background but that didn’t mean she was shy, quite the opposite. Addison had a temper and pushy guys set it off. Max didn’t much like that but, wearing what she did and working where she did meant a lot of guys tried it on and she had found the best defence was a good offence. By blending into the background she found most of the men left her alone and those who didn’t leave her alone got the point when she declined their offers. But occasionally someone still didn’t get the message and if they got pushy she usually ended up sticking it somewhere they couldn’t miss it.
Like down their throat.
Luckily that had only happened a couple of times while she had been working here; and that’s because those occasions were always followed by a thirty minute lecture from Max about why she couldn’t scream, swear at, or attack the customers. And Addison was working late enough tonight as it was, she really couldn’t stay after work for Max to yell at her. Addison knew she needed to put a stop to this before it went any further.
But before she could say something Owen spoke again.
“come on, you’ll have fun, we’re fun guys”.
She took a deep breath and slowly released it, counting to ten in her head before saying,
“Look, Owen, is it? I appreciate you wanna have a good time. And when you look at me in this ridiculously small outfit you think I’m probably willing to give it to you, but I’m not.
“I pour drinks. Like I said before, you want more, ask one of the girls at the end of the bar. Now, would you like to pay for these drinks now or start a tab?” Even trying as hard as she had she still ended up practically yelling her last statement.
Before anyone could say anything, Jim tapped her on the shoulder.
“Max says it’s time to do the second set”.
Addison looked at her watch. It was a little early to do the second of her three sets but the place was quite busy already. She said thanks and walked towards the backstage door leaving Jim to handle the money for Owens drinks.
She was almost at the door when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned expecting Owen but instead found Marcus.
“I’m sorry” he said.
Addison could tell that he meant it and so found it easy to smile back at him.
“You didn’t do anything. Besides I’m used to guys thinking that I’ll do pretty much anything for money. I understand why he was persistent I just can’t stand it when people get pushy”.
He cringed a little, “It wasn’t like that. Owen is a good kid but he thinks that he can talk himself out of anything, even a no from a pretty lady. He really is sorry. He asked me to apologise for him and he’s leaving you a very generous tip with your friend behind the bar.
“He wanted to let you know it was there, but… ah… he was scared you’d snap at him again if he tried to talk to you again”.
Addison had to suppress her laughter while Marcus openly smiled. Her laughter bubbled free when she looked over at the bar to see Owen watching them from behind his friends, ready to duck if she glared at him.
Marcus nudged her shoulder with his, “so are we forgiven?”
She laughed louder and couldn’t stop her smile as she answered him. “Yeah, I suppose so”. She couldn’t help but add “but behave, ok?” with a mock scowl. To which he laughed. Addison didn’t know why but she felt safe with Marcus, much like with Hugh, she knew it was nothing sexual, more like having a brother. Which made no sense because she hardly knew him. Even with Hugh it had taken a few weeks of talking to him to feel like this. Addison had great instincts and was really good at sensing who to avoid and who was safe, but she was still hesitant about trusting them. But with Marcus that flew out of the window. Within a few minutes of meeting him they were laughing and nudging each other like they’d been friends for years.
The moment came to an abrupt end when a man came up beside them. On second thoughts Addison corrected herself; a god came up besides them. He was the type of man she had only ever seen in movies. Standing at least six and a half feet tall he towered over her five feet six inches. He seemed to be the complete opposite to her in every way. Where she was light with fair skin and blonde hair, he was bronzed as if he worked out in the sun all day, except that the expensively made suit he wore obviously corrected that assumption. His dark hair was short, just long enough to run her fingers through, but not long enough to get a good grip on.
Addison shook herself out of that thought, she shouldn’t be thinking about running her fingers through his hair or her hands down his hard muscled body. Addison forced herself to look up at his face, where she saw the murderous look he was directing at Marcus. She took an involuntary step back and immediately regretted it when it drew his attention away from Marcus and straight to her.
Nate had been furious when he had finally found her. He had been tracking her scent all over the bar. It had taken him too long to realise it was the glasses and the money that held her scent. From that he realised she must be at the bar or carrying the drinks to the tables. Again, he’s wasted valuable time tracking down all the waitresses, only to discover that none of them were his mate. He had been finally heading to the bar when he had caught her scent again. When he had tracked it and found her in a corner, laughing and talking with Marcus he had nearly lost control of his wolf. He had barely stopped himself from grabbing her around the waist to drag her away from Marcus while growling “mine”. Especially considering what she was wearing.
Nate wasn’t even sure if you could call the leather wrapped around her hips a skirt. It was so short it aught to be just called a belt. And her top, he didn’t know how she breathed in the corset style top, it was so tight. Her cleavage, barely contained, tried to escape it and it road so high above her waist that her pierced belly button could clearly been seen. He followed the curve of her hips with his eyes and noticed the skirt didn’t hide the tattoo on her lower hip, he couldn’t see it all because it crept below her panties. His mouth watered at the thought of seeing it all. Of the idea of tracing it with his tongue and then he thought about the tattoo artist who had put it there, probably a man and his anger returned.
The idea of another man touching what is his.
The urge to cover her with his jacket while growling “mine” to every man here returned. It was only her taking a swift step back as if she was afraid of him that broke through his anger.
“No Marcus, stay”. Addison couldn’t believe that he had just ordered another human being to leave like that. Who did he think he was? Addison looked up at him in utter disbelief. She couldn’t understand his being so rude.
Nate repeated his order after Marcus just stood there. He could see his beta’s indecision. Should he do as ordered by his Alpha? Or should he stay and protect the human that he had clearly come to care somewhat about in the short time he had known her?
That angered Nate even more.
No-one should be closer to his mate than him, not yet anyway and no-one should think to protect her from him ever. That was his job.
Marcus must have picked up his Alpha’s increasing anger because with an apologetic smile toward the human he beat a hasty retreat.
Nate stared at the human and appraised her. She was beautiful and her body was amazing, slim but soft with curves and full breasts. Slim but still feminine and with her long blonde hair and angelic hazel eyes he knew that she could bring him to his knees. But he couldn’t allow that to happen. He had seen too many Alpha’s become soft with their mates and ultimately with their packs. While Nate didn’t rule the pack with fear he did run it with respect and he didn’t want to loose it because of a woman. Respect meant a lot to him and that’s why he wouldn’t let her know the power she had over him.
Also, with respect in mind, he knew that he would have to change a few things before he could introduce her to the pack as his mate. While he couldn’t control the fact that his beta’s would know what she had done for a living and what type of person she had been before becoming their Alpha female, he would ensure that the rest of the pack never knew.
“Did you want something, or were you just planning on scaring Marcus away so you could just stare at me?”
Addison’s question pulled Nate out of his thoughts. He had never dated before and didn’t really know what he was supposed to say.
Knowing her name seemed important though. He never normally bothered to get the girls name. He only slept with women once, and away from the pack. He didn’t want his future mate to be uncomfortable because he didn’t have enough self control to see to his need away from their home.
He always made sure when he did give into those urges, which was as rarely as possible, that it was with someone who knew it for what it was, a one night stand. And that it was someone who would never know his mate.
He could have indulged more, but he’d be damned if he was controlled by anything, especially his urges. He’d seen the damage that could do.
His father couldn’t, or wouldn’t, control himself and when his mother had joined the pack she couldn’t stand the fact that his father had fucked every unmated female in the pack. And most of the mated ones, before they had found their mates, as well.
So Nate could and would control his urges. Once Nate was married that would be different, he wouldn’t need to prove anything then and would indulge his urges with her constantly.
But he had been determined not to make his mate miserable like his father had made his mother miserable.
And to squash the rumours about him being just like his father.
He didn’t mind being like his father in most ways. He had been a great leader and father, a spectacular fighter, nigh undefeatable. But the man had had no self-control. If it wasn’t for the fact that after you mate you can’t sleep with others, that it becomes physically impossible to be aroused by anyone other than your mate, he most likely would have carried on fucking all the unmated females.
Nate had sworn to himself since puberty that a lack of self-control would be one way in which he would not be like his father.
So, having no dating experience to fall back on meant Nate wasn’t sure what to do.
He decided to treat it like he would a business deal. One: Gather as much information as possible.
Two: Make a proposal that appeals to their wants and needs but keeping your best interests first.
Three: Negotiate as necessary, and four: Close the deal. With that in mind Nate began.