Dream Spinner (Dream Team #3) - Kristen Ashley Page 0,1

you, sweetheart,” he said gently.

I looked him right in the eye.

“I started with a tour jeté down the center stage. It was massive. I was the first solo to go out. Ian wanted their attention. And I got it. He wanted to make a statement right off the bat this was a change for Smithie’s. And I made that for him, and for Smithie, flying through the air in a titty bar.”

“I wish I’d seen it,” he lied.

“Well, I don’t,” I retorted. “Because you would have found something wrong with it. And you would have shared that with me. And I don’t need that. Because I thought I was magnificent, and I probably was not, but at least it’s nice to think I was, even if only for a little while.”

On that, I moved to my bag while Dad called, “Hattie.”

I said not a word.

I walked right out the door.

It was torture—stupid—but after that conversation, I did what I shouldn’t do.

When I got in my car, I cued up Anya Marina’s “Shut Up” on my iPhone, Bluetoothed it to the car stereo and listened to it on my way home.


Doing this playing the dance I’d choreographed to it in my head.

And thinking about the look on Axl’s face after I was done.

That first dance I danced for the first solo at Smithie’s on opening night five nights ago when Smithie’s Club became Smithie’s Revue.

The dance was slow, avant-garde, my movements staccato.

So when I’d do my double fouettés, arabesque turns, and the final grand jeté that was reminiscent of Kitri, it came as a shock to the system for the viewer.

And by that time, I fancied, they didn’t care I was dancing in a red turtleneck bodysuit that had the thighs cut up nearly to my underarms.

Even for the patrons of a strip club, it was about the dance.

Days before that, when Dorian had cornered me, saying he wanted to see all the girls’ routines so he could set the lineup, I’d performed it for him, just him and me.

And when I was done, he sat side stage at his uncle’s strip joint that he was reforming into something else, and he did this immobile.

“You didn’t like it,” I’d said, thinking the avant-garde part would be too weird for the gentleman’s club crowd and I should go back to my first thought, pulling something together for “Dancing Queen.”

“You’re first,” Ian had declared. “You’re also last. If they see you first, they’ll stay and drink until the lights go down on you.”

My heart had thumped hard at these words.

“So you liked it?” I asked hesitantly.

Ian stood to his impressive height and stated, “Hattie, you took something beautiful and made it cool. Sexy … and cool.” He nodded decisively. “You’re first, baby, and you’re last. Every night.”

I loved that Dorian clearly enjoyed what I did.

But I worried that this would make Lottie, the current headliner (and my friend … well, she used to be), mad at me, but since I was avoiding all the girls, and had been doing it for so long (weeks!) I had it down to the art, I didn’t know if she was.

Which was another reason why I was torturing myself with that song, that dance—a song I picked to a dance I put together to say things to Axl Pantera I wished I could in real life say because I knew he was going to be there.

And I was thinking all this, listening to that song, because if I thought about what I should be doing right then in order to get where I should be going that night, I’d break down, blubber like a child and probably get into an accident.

So yeah.

There it all was laid out, messy and unfun.

My life.

I had an abusive father that I, as a twenty-six-year-old woman, kept going back to and enduring his abuse.

I had Axl, a handsome man who’d asked me out, I’d turned him down, he started seeing someone else, but in the interim he saw me have a mini-breakdown, so then he tried to befriend me, which was worse than him just moving on to some other chick.

And I had a pack of friends I was avoiding because they all wanted me to go for that handsome man, even though now he had another woman, and he just wanted to be my friend. A pack of friends it had long since stopped being semi-kinda-rude (but understandable, considering how embarrassing the event was that started it) to constantly blow off