Tricks is Out! Win a FREE autographed copy with Rick R. Reed

October 12, 2015


I confess: the world of sex workers fascinates me.

And what fascinates me more is how love can flourish in such an environment. This was the question I posed to myself when writing TRICKS.

I also love the idea of an opposites-attract love story. What could be better, I wondered, than taking a male stripper and a kind of nerdy, straight-laced guy who hardly would ever even frequent a place where male strippers dance and…have them fall in love?

I based my stripper bar, Tricks, on an actual bar I went to once in a while back when I lived in Chicago called the Lucky Horseshoe (it’s still there, if you’re a Chicagoan or visiting, on Halsted, just south of Belmont Ave,). The Lucky Horseshoe was good sleazy fun with an endlessly rotating roster of young male dancers (and a mostly older clientele). The times I went in there, I was probably storing away the details for the romance novel I would one day write. Once I got beyond the tight pecs, firm asses, and bulging straps of the men on stage, the writer in me wondered if they ever met anyone engaging or special in their work. And, if they did, were they able to sustain a relationship? It’s an interesting question. Could you let your significant other go out night after night and strip down to almost nothing for strangers? Quit laughing! It’s a serious question! Could you allow him or her to be fondled by those same strangers for money? And, if you could, how would you make it work? My male dancer, Arliss, besides being super-hot, is also a real sweetheart. He’s deserving of love. But how would Sean, whom most of us would think of us as pretty conventional, answer those questions?

If ever the path to true love never did run smooth, TRICKS is one story that proves the old saying…in spades…or jockstraps.


Tricks can mean many things: sex partners, deceptions, even magic—or maybe all three.

Arliss is a gorgeous young dancer at Tricks, the hottest club in Chicago’s Boystown. Sean is the classic nerd, out of place in Tricks, but nursing his wounds from a recent breakup. When the two spy each other, magic blooms.

But this opposites-attract tale does not run smooth. What happens when Arliss is approached by one of the biggest porn producers in the business? Can he make his dreams of stardom come true without throwing away the only real love he’s ever known? This question might not even matter if the mysterious producers realize their dark intentions.

To win a free autographed copy of TRICKS, simply comment below (leaving an e-mail address so we can get in touch if you win). And, just for fun, let me know: could you allow your significant other to work in a stripper bar? I will draw a winner from all entries submitted by October 19. Please note that this offer is only available for US residents (because of the prohibitive cost of foreign shipping). Those outside the US will win an ebook of TRICKS.

Attired in a costume that would make the construction worker from the Village People look demure, Arliss turned in front of the mirror to ensure he was the perfect fantasy specimen of pornographic machismo. He was grateful he had added the angel wing tattoo to his back and the snakes that twisted around each bicep. And the one on his chest, the tiny heart with the name “Helena” in it, always brought a lump to his throat—or a splash of bile to the back of it, depending on his mood and how forgiving he felt. But now was not the time for being sentimental! Arliss was glad for the tattoos because they added a bit of manliness to his six foot two inch frame that held only 160 pounds in weight. He was what the older men at Tricks referred to as a twink and, thankfully, was a desirable commodity in some circles.

He set the cigarette down in a tin ashtray and took a swig of vodka. He could feel as much as hear the heavy bass of the techno music playing in the bar and knew that Antonio, a Puerto Rican dude with a shaved head and heavy stubble, was probably just about finished with his set, which meant his boxing ensemble cluttered the small stage.

Arliss would come out, dance briefly and flirtatiously with Antonio, and then have the stage to himself. He didn’t know how he did it, night after night, but somehow he managed. He had always been the shyest boy in Ruskin, Florida, where he had grown up. He remembered his hometown with no nostalgia, only with relief that he’d managed to escape its flat, charmless stretches, so unlike what most people thought of when they conjured up images of Florida. Ruskin had no coastline, no beaches, and no picture-postcard landscapes. If they could see me now…. Well, if they could see me now, they’d probably still call me a fag and try to beat the crap out of me, as they once did. Once again, my dear, now is not the time for sentimentality. He took another swig of vodka, draining the glass and feeling the warmth of the liquor as it spread through his chest and extremities. Showtime!

Arliss hurried to the door that separated the cramped dressing room from the bar proper. Tricks didn’t really have a stage, although the dancers liked to think of the bar upon which they danced as one. It was Friday night, and from the rise of conversation and laughter beneath the pounding electronica beat, it sounded as though they had a sizable crowd. He sucked in a breath, looked down at his perfectly smooth pale skin and six-pack abs, and told himself he was gorgeous.

“Don’t forget to smile, toots! You always look like some gloomy Gus out there!”

Leave it to Emmett Myers, owner of Tricks and Arliss’s boss, to try to unsettle him just before he went on stage.

Arliss flashed the man a big Farrah Fawcett smile. If the prissy older man with the pencil moustache recognized it as fake, he gave no indication.

“There! That’s what they like to see! For heaven’s sakes, you have to remember that if they think you’re having a good time, they’ll have a good time. And a good time means more money for all of us.”

Arliss listened as the song wound down, morphing into yet another bass beat that signaled him it was time to stride out through the door, amble across the crowded room, ignore the covert feels and pinches he got as he made his way to the bar, and climb up on it to join Antonio in front of the crowd.

This moment, just before he went out, was always almost surreal. There was a paradoxical rush of nerves that made him feel both nauseated and tingly with electric anticipation. He felt as though he became someone else when he opened that door, or more properly, that his everyday world changed when he opened it. It was kind of like when Dorothy opened the door to Oz and saw the hyper colors of Munchkinland. But instead of munchkins and good witches who descended in translucent bubbles, his world was populated with bitter old queens, alcoholics, and trolls trying to put some oomph into their libidos by staring at boys young enough to be their sons—and in many cases, grandsons.

“Get out there, gorgeous! Shake your groove thing!” Emmett cackled and placed a hand on Arliss’s back to propel him forward.

Just as much to get the hand off his back as to get to the stage, Arliss threw open the door, plastered on a big smile, threw his shoulders back, and strode through the crowd, keeping his eye on the narrow strip of bar that would, for the next fifteen minutes, be his stage.

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Also available at Amazon, AllRomance, and other fine booksellers.


Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction.  Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”




18 Responses to “Tricks is Out! Win a FREE autographed copy with Rick R. Reed”

  1. Jen Valencia says:

    Goodness! That excerpt certainly piqued my curiosity about this book. :) As far as “allowing” my significant other to work in a stripper bar…well, we’d discuss it and if it’s for income purposes and it was exclusively about stripping and not doing any “extras”, I would be okay with it. But that’s just between you and me (and whoever else reads this comment). Hehe. :)

  2. Susan says:

    While I would not strip myself, if my significant other felt there was no other way to generate income that we needed (even though I’ve always worked), I’d consider it. Having had my share of lousy jobs, I know sometimes we take whatever is at hand for the money.

  3. H.B. says:

    Congrats on the new book.

    I think I could be okay with my significant other working as a stripper as long as the person doesn’t cheat on me with a patron.

  4. Trix says:

    This premise sounds fantastic! I’d have to think about that question…on the one hand, I have no problem with people taking jobs in that industry if they feel they need to, but I admit that I’m the jealous type and wouldn’t know how I’d feel. If he was a stripper when we met, though, I’d absolutely keep any misgivings to myself. I’m sure there’d be plenty of conversations about boundaries in any case, though…

  5. Trix says:

    Forgot: vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

  6. Sara says:

    No, absolutely not! I’m a jealous, controlling and sort of squeamish person who wants my partner all to myself ;-)

    Even though I don’t mind the sex work setting/character in fiction (in fact I like it, since no human was put in harms way while it was written), but in real life it makes me a bit uneasy (and if you’ve been to let’s say Red Light District in Amsterdam,you’d probably understand why) and sooner or later it makes me question what a person’s free choice really is and means in a wider definition.

    I love the cover of this edition and despite my reservations I have Tricks on my wishlist.

    sorgbarn (at) hotmail (dot) com

  7. Nadja says:

    Your books aside, I think working in a stripper bar is much like working in any other bar. It’s a job. You flirt. You smile. I know someone who paid her way through college with a job in a stripper bar. According to her, it’s just a job like any other. Occasionally the clients touch, but a good bar puts an end to that quick.


  8. Debra E says:

    Congratulations on the re-release! I really don’t know if I would be OK with my significant other working as a stripper. I’d like to think I would, but I’ve never actually been in a strip club so all I know is from books and TV/movies. I guess it would depend on the place and the reasons for doing it.


  9. Heather says:

    I don’t think it’s a matter of allowing or disallowing. He’s a grown man and capable of making his own decisions. We would, however, discuss what would take place and what the limits would be. I would expect the same if I was the one dancing.

  10. Andrea says:

    I would be ok with it.

    The excerpt reads interesting and I love that cover :)

  11. JoAnn says:

    It would be tough to know that night after night my love was being leared at, fantasized about, grouped and molested at work. I’m not sure I’d be strong enough to not resent it.

  12. Ann Byassee says:

    Maybe this is odd, but I could accept it more easily if my spouse did it because he loved doing it and it made him feel free. In a don’t touch, well-regulated place, of course, but I would there sometimes to cheer him on. (He wouldn’t do it for love or money, though, so it’s a rhetorical… answer!)

  13. Pete says:

    No, not if we were truly in love. It might be easy money, but I would rather work twice as hard to provide the funds rather than letting old trolls and ugly men stare at my naked lover. Call me possessive or jealous, I don’t care. My lover is too dear to me to allow such a demeaning situation to devolve!

  14. Elizabeth Gray says:

    At first I would say no. But if that was what they wanted to do, I could not stop them. It would lead to so much drama, which could lead to separation. I would have my say, if we could handle the controversy and not do any more than strip, I think I would accept it. May not like it, but we could work through it I think.

  15. Juliana says:

    I’m not sure how I would feel about it. I guess if he liked it it wouldn’t matter. But I wouldn’t like the hours, I hate leaving the house after 8, so I feel it would mess with our time together. I don’t think I would even feel comfortable voicing my opinion on the subject for fear of angering him or hurting his feelings.
    OceanAkers @

  16. Z.H. says:

    Sounds like a good read!

    Strangely, when my partner first asked me out he had a couple of things he wanted to make clear from the start – one of those being that he wouldn’t be okay with me working in a strip club, which he knew I was considering. I felt it was fair given that if I thought about the situation in reverse I realised I wouldn’t be too happy if he was the one to do so either.


  17. Charlessorge says:

    “I haven’t seen you in these parts,” the barkeep said, sidling during to where I sat. “Personage’s Bao.” He stated it exuberantly, as if word of his exploits were shared by way of settlers hither assorted a verve in Aeternum.

    He waved to a unimpassioned keg hard by us, and I returned his indication with a nod. He filled a telescope and slid it to me across the stained red wood of the bench in the vanguard continuing.

    “As a betting houseman, I’d be assenting to wager a fair speck of enrich oneself you’re in Ebonscale Reach for the purpose more than the carouse and sights,” he said, eyes glancing from the sword sheathed on my hip to the bend slung across my back.

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