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  • Writer's pictureAuthor K.L. Hall

Crushed Velvet & Cashmere Sneak Peek: Chapter One

© K.L. Hall and, 2023. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to K.L. Hall and with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.


Chapter One

Jrue Norwood

My hips instinctively swayed to the bass from the club speakers rattling the cheap vanity mirror in the dressing room. After closing the clasps on my oversized hoop earrings, I swiped my hands down my work “uniform,” a strappy black dress that fit me tighter than a fresh pack of Newport’s. I leaned closer to the mirror to readjust the bobby pin in my top knot bun while the rest of my honey blonde and black passion twists swayed against the tip of my ass.

“Jrue, Whip is looking for you. He said if you don’t get your ass over to your VIP section, tonight will be the night he fires your black ass,” one of the other bottle girls warned me.

I smacked my lips, knowing damn well I wanted to tell Whip he could keep this sorry-ass job, but he and I both knew that I needed the pay. “Aight, tell him I’m coming out in a minute. I just gotta reapply my lipstick.”

“Yeah, aight.”

I quickly brushed my finger underneath my long, coal lashes, giving them a quick fluff, before reapplying my cognac brown lipstick. I gave myself one last once over before tossing my lipstick back into my makeup bag and shoving it inside my locker. Aight, Jrue girl, let’s go get this money, I thought to myself.

The moment my heels clicked and clacked out onto the scene, the potent aroma of money, ass, and marijuana fanned past my nose. My eyes scanned the entire first floor as I braced myself for another night catering to Philly’s elite street clientele via bottle service in the VIP areas. Trap music blasted out of the speakers as girls from wall to wall twisted around on the poles as if they were auditioning for Cirque du Soleil. Others were shaking their titties and vibrating their asses so hard on the floor that it was enough to start an earthquake. Bliss was like the X-rated Disney World for all of Philly’s ballers.

As cliché as the name may have been, Bliss wasn’t the seedy ass hole in the wall pretending like it sounded better than what it could be. From the lavishly themed rooms to the 1,500-bottle wine cellar, it screamed class, luxury, and bigmoney. It wasn’t for the broke or faint at heart, and that’s precisely why I worked there. Being a bottle girl alongside all my other odd-end jobs was just a steppingstone until I could scale my interior decorating business, Jrue’s Interiors, to the next level. I was an entrepreneur at heart. My business was my baby, and launching it was a dream come true, but I’d be lying if I said being a young Black female entrepreneur was easy. I was tired of taking on clients with Prada ideas and Big Lots budgets. My most challenging feat had been finding ways to gain the visibility of potential clients who had the means to align with their big ideas. Taking the job at Bliss was my way of trying to find high-paying clientele so I could start to build a visually diverse portfolio.

I waltzed over to the bar where Whip stood with a smug look across his aging brown face. “What took you so long?”

“You can’t rush perfection.” I reminded him.

He rolled his beady brown eyes. “Yeah, whatever. The section upstairs just filled up with a new party. I know I don’t have to tell you this, but—”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Don’t fuck it up. Don’t worry. I won’t.”

Whip may have been an asshole to work for, but he knew his business. He took everything he hated from all the other clubs around the city and even the tri-state area and made sure the one he owned was ten times better. The drinks? Strong enough to put hair on your chest. The girls? Exotic and stacked on legs like stallions. The décor? Modern and sleek. The parking? Valet for VIP or a flat thirty-dollar fee plus the price of admission. The food? Five-star, finger lickin’ good. Whip wanted all of Philly’s hustlers and the surrounding areas to feel like royalty as soon as they stepped inside so they’d effortlessly hand over every single one of their hard-earned dollars.

“Who’s working the section with me tonight?” I asked him.

“Nobody, it’s just you.”

My brows crushed together in disapproval. “Just me?” I asked, pointing to myself.

“Yeah, Kara called out sick again. I think the bitch got the flu or somethin’. Now hop to it. You know my patrons don’t want to be kept waiting for shit.”

I rolled my eyes, knowing I would be in for one hell of a long night that ended with aching feet and an Epsom salt soak at four o’clock in the morning. With my tray in hand, I made my way up to my section, griping all the way. The moment I got up there, I was met with the smell of tequila as hundreds of one-dollar bills floated in the air. My eyes were met with a section full of gangsters with twenty-two different shades of brown asses shaking all in their faces. I drew in a sharp breath and then exhaled slowly. Why the fuck didn’t I hit my weed pen before I left the locker room? I thought to myself.

I surveyed the section and saw a man looking like he would’ve rather been anywhere in the world than in the sea of ass and titties that were currently swimming around him. The strobe lights flashed against his Mahogany brown skin, illuminating it in the darkness as I edged closer. Knowing I needed to talk to someone about what bottles they wanted for their section, I figured he may have been the least drunk and abrasive one to talk to. From the looks of it, he seemed to be well-groomed. I couldn’t see much outside of the single mole on his right cheek, the jet-black mustache, and the full beard covering the entire lower half of his face that looked as soft as cotton.

“Hey, you look like you need a pick me up. Can I get you anything? Patrón? Henny?” I asked him.

He shook his head before pulling his umber brown eyes up to meet mine. “Nah, I’m good. Two drinks in my system are my limit.”

“A limit? I thought you were celebrating.”

“I thought you were supposed to encourage me to drink responsibly,” he said, flashing a preview of his perfectly aligned white teeth.

“Not if it means you’ll tip better if you’re wasted,” I joked.

He let out a muted chuckle before licking his smooth, pouty lips. “Funny.”

“I was supposed to come over and ask what bottles you wanted for your section, but unlike your friends over there, you look like you need a cup of coffee instead of more liquor,” I said, referring to the niggas standing on the couches next to him with bottles of liquor permanently attached to their hands.

He turned his attention to them, allowing me to catch a glimpse of the neck tattoo etched into his flesh and the oversized diamond settled inside his small earlobe. Both sides of his head and the back were shaven low, while his hair on top was long enough to braid down or wear in a man bun. He currently had it braided down in small, neat braids.

“Let ‘em have their fun and bring ‘em whatever they want.”

“And what about you? What do you want?” I asked him.

“To know your name,” he said.

My mocha brown eyes popped wide for a split second before I responded. “Jrue. My name is Jrue. What’s yours?” I yelled over the music.

He leaned his body into mine. “They call me Kas,” he whispered in my ear.

I clenched my thighs. He smelled of warm vanilla and musk with a hint of marijuana. From his enigmatic eyes to the neck tattoo that extended past the crisp fold of his collared shirt, he screamed danger. I immediately felt the hairs rise on the back of my neck as every set of female eyes in the section landed dead on us. They began twerking harder, vying for his attention while giving me daggered green-eyed stares.

I took a few safety steps away from him, putting six feet between us. “I’ll go ahead and get those bottles. You need to start throwing dollars before shit starts getting real in here.”

“Why I gotta throw dollars just because we’re at a strip club?”

“Don’t you know you and your wallet are in shark-infested waters right now? So, when in Rome…”

He flashed a full smile that time, weakening me instantly. “Guess I’ll do what the Romans do,” he replied.

“Good. I’ll be back shortly.”

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