Friday 3 October 2014

Dance Hall Days by Amy Jo Cousins - Book Excerpt from All in a Day's Work
Today Amy Jo Cousins has joined us to share an excerpt from her story "Dance Hall Days", part of the All in a Day's Work anthology from Dreamspinner Press.

Thanks Amy Jo!

From the Blurb:

A guy’s got to make a living. He can do it the conventional way—by selling cars, scooping ice cream, or delivering sandwiches—or he can earn his money as a spy, a historical interpreter, or the host of a myth-busting television show. Whether the men in this anthology are working hard to build their own business or performing in drag at a dance hall, every day has the potential for surprises and the chance to satisfy their lust or maybe find something more permanent. For the guys in these stories, what’s all in a day’s work might be anything but what they expected.

Excerpt from "Dance Hall Days":

London, 1932. Laurie is a singer at Lady Jane’s Revue, a drag dance hall in London, constantly under threat of police raids. Frank Armstrong works the door, keeping an eye out for troublemaking patrons and undercover coppers. The bouncer has made it clear that, as much as it seems like he can’t keep his eyes off Laurie, he has no interest in the songbird. But when he finds Laurie in the cloak room after a humiliating encounter with a patron, instead of ignoring Laurie, Frank lectures him on looking out for himself.

“Here now.” Frank shifted his weight and looked anywhere in the tiny room but at Laurie. “Man’s an arse. Don’t be weepin’ over him.”

“I’m not.” Frank wasn’t the only one who could stare at the ceiling.

“I’m thick, not blind.”

He jerked his head down, glaring at Frank. “You’re not thick.”

Frank didn’t meet his eyes. “Dumb enough that standing in front of a door is the job what I got.” His voice was flat, as if it didn’t matter, but the muscle at the corner of his jaw tensed as Frank switched from staring at the ceiling to nailing the floor with a narrow gaze. “They ain’t worth it, boy. Crying.”



“My name is Laurie.”

“Know what your damn name is, Laurie.” Frank trod hard on those two syllables. “I know all the silly singing boys what Jane’s got faffing about onstage.” He tugged the lapels of Laurie’s robe closed.

Laurie jerked back, pulling free. “I’m not a silly boy.”

“Eh, grown men don’t cry in the cloakroom.”

“Fuck you. I’m a grown man.”

“Then stop mucking about with that lot. You’ve got a proper voice on you, don’t you?” That got him meeting Laurie’s eyes. Frank didn’t have nearly as much trouble lecturing Laurie as he did talking about himself.

“How many joints in London do you think there are hiring boys in dresses to sing?” Laurie arched an eyebrow and waved vaguely at himself.

Frank flushed but kept arguing with him. “Those boys on the radio sing like girls anyhow. You’re as good as any of them.”

“Aren’t you a sweetheart to think so?”

Frank’s mutinous face looked like he disagreed with the idea that he might be anybody’s sweetheart.

“I wonder how much you do like me, after all? Because that’s a soft heart speaking, if ever I heard one. Or a soft head. I’m no Ruth Etting.”

He didn’t know why he did it. Named the singer who’d made famous the song he’d sung for Frank that one night.

Is it a sin, is it a crime? Loving you….

He knew it was a mistake as soon as the words left his mouth.

Frank’s engaged expression fell off his face like a guillotine dropping. He pulled his shoulders back and lifted himself to his full height. “It’s a soft head you’ve got, going off with these punters. One of these night, yer gonna have worse than a bit of tears after, no mistake.”

Laurie scrubbed harder at the wreck of his face, ignoring the way Frank kept lecturing him as if he were a stupid, silly child who couldn’t be trusted to make decisions on his own, and might have finished by whapping Frank in the face with the wet, stained cloth. But then the shouting and piercing whistles began, at first distant but then rapidly overwhelming their own conversation until they froze.

Anyone who’d worked at Lady Jane’s long enough knew exactly what the sounds of a riot breaking out in the dance hall meant.

And it was almost never a brawl between the dancers.

Getting swept up in a police raid was going to be a hell of a lot worse than getting lectured.

Laurie glanced down at himself. Going to jail in a kimono and a dress? “Fuck.”

Way worse.


About the Author:

Amy Jo Cousins writes contemporary romance and erotica about smart people finding their own best kind of smexy. She lives in Chicago with her son, where she tweets too much, sometimes runs really far, and waits for the Cubs to win the World Series. Please say hi at!

"Dance Hall Days" by Amy Jo Cousins is part of All in a Day's Work anthology, released by Dreamspinner Press on September 22, 2014.

Find this book at: Amazon | Goodreads | The Publisher