I’m lucky today, to be able to share with you an extract of Jane E James new best selling novel, which is already riding high in the Amazon charts.
I was very touched that Jane took the time to come up and say hello when I attended the second birthday bash for the Facebook book club TBC. She is a lovely lady and a very talented writer. I hope this her new book continues to a best seller.
Inside Cleopatra’s neon-lit lounge, the plush corner seats are made from blood-red velvet – as if it is a place used to concealing stains – and a shadowy line up of scantily clad women is silhouetted on its walls – women who once worked here but never will again.
A semi-naked dancer is curled around a shiny pole and no wonder all eyes are on her – she has long spraytanned legs and a mop of dark curly rockstar hair. Wearing a see-through fishnet body and stockings, she does things with her limbs that no ordinary human should.
But for a few unusually well-behaved customers, the place is empty. After all, it is a weekday afternoon, Thursday to be precise, in a side street off Leeds City Centre. The kind of street nobody really ventures down unless they happen to be on a stag night or leaving do.
Judging by their work gear, this group of men are builder types. They sip their beer sparingly, hating to have paid quite so much for it, and study the dancer as she spread-eagles herself on the pole.
Perched on the edge of a sofa and looking as if he might make a bolt for it any second, Clayton Shaw is the only one of the group to remain seated and his John-Boy Walton eyes are anywhere but on the pole dancer.
In his mid-thirties, Clayton looks at home in washed denim; the tighter the better, he’s been told. His corncoloured hair might be on the retreat but he clearly has a few more years good looking left in him.
The music changes to ‘Need You Tonight’ by INXS and the transition acts as a signal for the dancer to disentangle herself from the pole and strut toward the group of men. Her approach is greeted with cheers and whistles from the majority but Clayton springs to his feet; anxious to be someplace else.
‘I’m not sure this is a good idea.’
Bearded mate Crusher and silver-haired supervisor The Fox push Clayton back into his seat and playfully hold him down. ‘You’re not leaving your own leaving do,’ The Fox warns.
The dancer wiggles a nicotine-stained tongue at Clayton and gyrates against his leg; a grotesque move that reminds him of a dog humping a cushion. He keeps his eyes on a faulty spotlight on the ceiling that sizzles and flickers. Then, from out of nowhere, he produces a screwdriver.
‘I should take a look at that,’ he grins foolishly and groans go up all around. The guys know him too well.
‘Once a sparky, always a sparky,’ Crusher jokingly cuffs the side of Clayton’s head.
With that, they drag him out of his seat and thrust him ‘up close and personal’ with the dancer, who just happens to wear the same perfume as his wife – a fact that puts him off even more.
Laughing good-naturedly (he knows when he is beat) and enjoying the friendly ribbing of his mates, Clayton slips a twenty-pound-note in the dancer’s G-string.
‘My wife is going to kill me,’ Clayton warns playfully
Jane is a mystery/psychological thriller writer from Cambridgeshire. She comes from an editorial and marketing background and when she isn’t being mysterious, like her books, she enjoys living the ‘good life’ in the countryside with her husband and two dogs.