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“We’ll see,” I grunt. “Let’s see what the club has for me tonight.”

But then Curtis frowns, his blue eyes darkening. I swear, the dude is handsome enough to be a movie star so I have no idea why he’s a UC like me. But some guys want real action, and not the kind made up with prop guns and toy whistles.

“You ever consider using a female UC to play the part? Could be worth trying. She’d be backup in case things go haywire, and we’ve got some cute girls on the force. Fuck, those Russians aren’t anyone to mess with and you need someone who can handle herself.”

I shrug.

“Yeah, but you know our co-workers. They’re upstanding women who are professionals. Too professional, in fact. They aren’t going to degrade themselves the way a trained pet would, and these mafia guys would spot even a hint of defiance a mile away. They’ve been in the business of breaking and selling women too long, and you know what would happen if they broke cover. Hell, our co-workers would be sold into sexual slavery God knows where, never to be seen again.”

My friend harrumphs.

“Yeah, you’re right,” he growls. “NYPD would shit themselves, and then the FBI and CIA, not to mention who knows who else would have to get involved. Besides,” he joshes, clapping me heavily on my shoulder. “Hell would freeze over before one of our female co-workers would take orders from an asshole like you.”

I shake my head ruefully.

“Don’t I know it.”

Curtis shrugs.

“Well, enjoy yourself regardless. I mean, those parties at Club Z are fucked up, but that’s the best part,” he winks. “In fact, I hope to get out there next week myself,” he adds. “For my case, of course.”

I guffaw at that.

“Yeah, right,” I snark. But then I shrug. “Hey, it’s all in the line of work. We’re the boys in blue, after all.”

We both get a good chuckle from that because we’ve risked our lives in the line of duty more times than we can count at this point in our careers. But it is what it is, and I didn’t sign up to fly a desk. No, I get off on the excitement, the rush of adrenaline, and most of all, putting fuckers away behind bars. If a few assholes get hurt in my line of work? Well, it’s pretty much par for the course, so I just shrug.

“Yeah, I’ll be headed over to the club in an hour or so. I’ll let you know how it is.”

With that, our conversation devolves into less serious topics, and I josh around with my buddy. Curtis is a great guy, and we always enjoy catching up because who knows when I’ll see him again? Undercover work is hazardous to maintaining a man’s sanity, and we come and go without notice much of the time. But even though my body language is relaxed, I’m on edge because I’ll be at the club in a couple hours, taking a hard look at the nubile female flesh on display.



One of the benefits of working undercover as long as I have is that I’m established. I’ve got the mannerisms of a billionaire down, as well as the accoutrements that accompany a supposed playboy who revels in NYC nightlife. I’ve got the car. The apartment. The gilded credit card. And most of all, a highly coveted membership to Club Z, where many of the most beautiful female entertainers gather for the pleasure of rich assholes like me.

Obviously, Club Z’s not open to everyone. Instead, there’s a rigorous screening process, and membership is only by invitation. It took a couple years to even get that invitation, but once I did, I was in like Tim. Now, I frequent Club Z on a regular basis, not only to keep up my façade, but also to make connects. Again, it’s not just the male criminals who belong to the club; it’s the women who work there, and their ability to pass on valuable information as they see fit.

Pulling up in front of the massive building, a valet immediately opens my door and I hand over my keys for him to park. To an outsider, the club looks exclusive, but normal. There’s nothing to set the compound apart from any of the other members-only organizations in the city.

Plus, when I enter, the first floor appears to be relatively tame. This could be the Continental, or the Meridian, or even the Mandarin. There’s plenty of plush leather seating, glass top tables, and of course, a concierge only too happy to help. The floors are polished marble, and huge chandeliers sparkle brightly as well-dressed men enter and exit the premises. I’d call them gentlemen, but we all know that they’re not

But once you get upstairs, things start getting funky. Tonight, I’m headed to the top floor where the lounge awaits. The golden elevator doors open at the penthouse level, and I step into a dimly lit hallway as the bouncer nods and greets me.

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