Archive for May 7th, 2008

So back in August of 2006, my husband and I went on our first vacation without kids since we actually had kids. We went to Las Vegas, one of my favorite places in the world and we ate in restaurants without paper tablecloths and crayons and had pretty drinks at three thirty in the afternoon by the pool.

We also went to a burlesque club called Forty Deuce. Now, I have a thing about pin up girls and the whole glamour age of feminine beauty. I love the pictures of women from the 40’s and 50’s and burlesque embodies that era so very well. Burlesque isn’t stripping, it’s not about showing as much skin as possible. Rather it’s about the art of the tease, of sensual smoke and mirrors where it’s about what you don’t see more than what you do.

There’s dancing on stage and a live jazz band. The women are truly amazing dancers, lithe, sexy, they clearly put a lot of time and energy into their routines as well.

Anyway, as we made our way back home after our vacation it was with an idea for a story in my head with the heroine as a burlesque dancer. Dahlia Baker was born in my head and by the time my agent contacted me a few days after I’d been back to ask if I’d be interested in participating in a pitch she was going to make for a Vegas themed anthology, I just knew it was meant to be. Stripped isn’t about stripping, it’s about being stripped of preconceptions – by the way.

Stripped and the anthology, What Happens in Vegas is now out on store shelves and available through all the usual places for online book shopping too.

Here’s a very small taste of Dahlia’s world:

Copyright 2008, Lauren Dane
All Rights Reserved, Harlequin Enterprises

The low, sensual beat brought her onto the stage like a siren. One gloved arm wove through the slit in the curtain and then the other, parting them as she stood, framed for a long moment. Her dark hair was piled up on her head artfully. Long, fake lashes framed big brown eyes. A deep blue satin dress hugged every curve lovingly, her breasts pushed up and out of the scooped neckline and as she walked, the slit on each side of the dress would show her legs to the upper thigh.

She let the music grab her senses and her rhythm as she slowly sauntered out onto the narrow stage. Dancer’s heels, still very high, led her through the beginning of her routine as she carefully maneuvered the long feather boa to keep from tripping.

Caught in the music, Dahlia’s muscles burned as she did a high kick leading into a round kick swiveling her body away from the audience all in a seamless set of movements.

A feather from the boa stuck to the sweat on her neck as she slowly rotated her hips in time with the horns in the jazz band. Her hands rose, slowly taking the boa to wind around her body. Down it went until she finally stepped out of it as it lay at her feet, kicking it to the side.

Giving her back to the audience, she raised one hand into the air as she turned her head, winking over her shoulder.

Knocking her hips from side to side to the smoky jazz beat, she brought the tips of her gloved fingers to her mouth to grab the material and pull it off slowly.

The first glove went over her shoulder, into the bar pit the stage encircled. The second glove came off as she stood in front of the trumpet player and pulled it off around his body.

A bump and grind circling the band and she lay down on the side of the stage near where the bottle service tables were. Throwing a foot into the air, she gave them all a lot of leg to look at as the dress slid back. Rolling up onto her knees, she unzipped the front of the dress and shimmied out of it. Then she turned, cleverly giving them her back and a pair of boyshort bottoms with a winking kitty on the ass.

The dress dropped as her forearms came up to cover her breasts and she bent, looking at them all upside down through the vee of her legs.

The cheers and applause bolstered her confidence. Up there she was beautiful and desired and that was okay. More than okay, it felt marvelous.

Still facing the band she reached out quickly, grabbing the hat off Timmy’s head. The trumpet player widened his eyes in a choreographed move and she spun, clutching the prop hat just so to cover herself.

Sensual smoke and mirrors. Dahlia didn’t show the audience any more than she’d show at the beach. They wouldn’t see her nipples and her panties would stay right on her booty with the fishnets below that.

Playing coy, she waved with one hand, pretending to almost drop the hat as she took the first step back up to the dressing room. And another step and two more. Once her body was in the doorway she turned and tossed the hat back to Timmy. With a hand over her mouth stifling a pretend giggle, she kicked up her leg and was gone behind the curtain.

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