Find more from this author on:
About the author:
Ivy Mason is world traveler with a romantic heart. Though she has written professionally for twenty years, she has only recently succumbed to her secret desire: to write romance novels. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband.
What inspired you to write your book?
In my younger days, I wanted to quit my job and dedicate myself to writing. A friend convinced me to go down to Mexico City and get a job at the most elite and extravagant table dancing club in the country. In two months I’d made enough to live on for a year. I’d always wanted to write about what it was like there and the kinds of men I’d meet, behind the veil of fiction, of course.
Here is a short sample from the book:
The club was dark and lined with mirrors. Colored lights flashed on a long, narrow stage, where a chubby woman with thick, black hair was grinding against a pole. The air was thick with cologne. Mexican strippers in short dresses were scattered throughout the crowded room, draped flirtatiously over men’s laps, skirts hitched to mid-thigh, fishing for cash. Along a velvet covered bench at the back of the room, a fleshy bleach blond in a tiny red thong was sitting on a mustached man’s lap, riding him like a rodeo horse as he squeezed her breasts and nodded his head to the thumping bass of the music.
Madison had never been in a strip club before. And why would she? They were places that existed in the exclusive netherworld of men, along with brothels and pornography. She was only nineteen, after all, and sex was still relatively new to her. Still she had to admit, it was something she found deliriously thrilling. But there was sex, and then there was this: a sordid display of desperate libidos, so drunk with lust that they didn’t care who saw them doing what, which embarrassed her immediately.
She looked at Enzo and furrowed her brow. “You’re serious?” she said in Spanish, which was the only language they ever spoke to each other. After all, Enzo’s English was terrible, and Madison’s Spanish was flawless.
Enzo was wearing one of his casual-chic tee shirts tailored to flatter his broad shoulders and narrow waist, and she could see a lot of the dancers watching him hopefully. He put an arm around her shoulders and gazed slowly around the room, an amused half-smile on his face.
“Just for a week,” he assured her. “Para quitarte la pena. To get rid of the shame.”
Madison coming to Mexico City was Enzo’s idea. He knew what it was like to be desperate for money, and he had no patience for preciousness. Life is about sacrifice, he always told her. The world is indifferent, and no one owes you a thing. If there’s one thing you need to remember, he’d say, it’s that you make your own luck.
Madison looked around the room at the Mexican cowboys grabbing the strippers and licking their breasts, sometimes even biting them. Her hands went unconsciously to her own breasts in sympathy. She wondered how they would taste after being sampled by every slobbering, peanut-flecked mouth in the place. Howdy, stranger! Suck this lollipop and pass it on down! She stifled a shiver of disgust. This was not the kind of place where shame was taken away. Here shame shacked up in your bones and hung out for the rest of your life.
The woman on the stage called down to Enzo with a flirtatious wave. She pushed her tongue against her teeth and made porn star lips, the way most girls do privately in the bathroom mirror. Enzo blew the woman an effete kiss, and winked. It was stifling and airless, and Madison could feel her glasses sliding down her nose. She leaned into Enzo so that their shoulders pressed together. His body felt cool through his jacket, as if the suffocating heat of the place couldn’t reach him. Enzo was absolutely at home anywhere, from an embassy party to a seedy strip club. The world was his oyster.
Enzo was Madison’s best friend. He was a gay dancer from Cuba she’d met while spending a year in Mexico. She’d been studying Spanish at a private Mexico City high school that did a foreign exchange with her public school in Denver, and Enzo’s dance troupe once came to their auditorium to perform. Even though Enzo was two years older than Madison, they’d hit it off immediately. And because he’d already been in Mexico for two years, he drove her around to all the social hot spots where even minors could get a drink. Since then, his career had taken off, and he was now frequently cast in music videos, commercials, and as backup for famous Mexican pop stars.
He turned to look at Madison, his eyebrows raised expectantly. “Well?”
The stripper knelt down on the stage to let an old drunk man lick her thigh. Madison cringed and shook her head.
“I think I’d rather die.”
He just shrugged and laughed, though she knew he thought it was a mistake. How was a girl like Madison supposed to transform into a glamorous Gentleman’s Club dancer overnight? She couldn’t even turn a head in the street. Besides, everyone had to pay their dues. Start at the bottom, even if only for a week or two. After all, that’s what Enzo had done. But he didn’t chastise her. Instead he hooked his arm through hers and led her toward the exit.
“Okay, doll. I guess we’ll just go straight to the top.”