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"I'm sorry," the oversized bouncer stated with crisp gruffness. "Your name's not on the list."
Quinn Andrews straightened her shoulders and stared the man down. He might be over a foot taller than her and could probably squash her with one swipe of his palm, but she wasn't running away. "I realize that," she replied, pulling up the calming tone of a patient mother. "If you would please contact Vanessa Delcour, I'm sure she'll clear things up." She flashed her red-carpet smile and belatedly realized the charm was probably lost behind the cat mask.
"Would you please move to the side, miss?" The overhead light glared off his shiny, bald head and seemed to highlight the dark scowled on his brow. He leaned around her and pointedly looked to the next people in line.
Undeterred, she leaned with him and tried a different tactic. "It's really cold. Could I just wait inside until Ms. Delcour gets here?" She tugged her trench coat tighter, gave a mock shiver and opened her eyes wide. The puppy-dog eyes always worked.
"Oh. My. God." The not-so-subtle exclamation came from behind her. "This is a private club, lady. Move on."
The bouncer had already explained that to her and he didn't seem interested in repeating it. "Step aside, or I'll be forced to move you."
"I'll do that for you," a deep voice boomed. "The little sub could use some discipline."
The round of laughter and agreement that followed finally persuaded Quinn, but she gave them all a haughty glare before inching just far enough away to let others pass. The temptation to use her status wasn't an option now. Not that it had really been before. At this club, it was likely to get another round of ribbing and jokes instead of the access she wanted.
Of course, that was pretty much true of any club lately. Years of practice held her chin high as she met the eye of everyone who paid her any mind. Most barely spared her a glance on their way into The Den. Membership cards in hand, it only took seconds for the bouncer to swipe the plastic and log their entrance into the computer. It was all very efficient and high-tech. She hadn't expected a Midwestern leather club to be that hip.
The stream of people continued at a steady pace, and Quinn's curiosity was even more intrigued with each costume that passed through the door. Many were hidden behind long coats like her own, but there were a lot of men who'd brazened the October chill in nothing more than a leather harness and pants. Only she didn't know if those were Halloween costumes or not. Her internet research had shown outfits like that as normal BDSM wear.
Quinn pulled out her cell phone and tried calling her contact one more time. When the call rolled into voicemail, she disconnected and typed another text to Vanessa. She'd never met the woman, but her publicist had assured her she was sharp, professional and the best PR manager in Minneapolis.
And how that skill applied to a sex club, Quinn wasn't sure. But if the steady line of people was any indication of the woman's abilities, then maybe she should think of hiring Vanessa for herself. Given that the building was nothing more than a brick warehouse with a simple gray door and a sign with The Den on it, it wasn't the flash that was drawing the people in.