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Man of Action by Janie Crouch

Man of Action (Omega Sector: Critical Response) - Janie Crouch

I really enjoyed this. A great read and a good lesson on the bad effects of stigma. Andrea is employed by a law enforcement agency, but she has a past she doesn't want anyone to know about, especially Brandon Han, who is reluctantly working with her on a serial killer case. 


Andrea had one friend when she was working as a stripper, a fellow stripper called Keira. 


Keira gives Brandon the lowdown on stigma and judgementalism:


“Maybe Kimmie got knocked up by someone who took off. Or has a husband who can’t get a job. Or hell, maybe she’s always dreamed of being a stripper. Whichever. She finds a job here. Any of that make you think less of her?”
“Not really.”
“She comes in every night, smiles at all the guys. It’s not hard for the good-looking frat-boy types. Maybe a little more difficult for the old ones or fat ones or ones that sneer at her. But she still does it, because, well, that’s how you make a living at this job. Think less of Kimmie now?”
Brandon knew where Keira was going with this, but didn’t stop her. “No, I don’t think less of her.”
“She gets up onstage and takes her clothes off and smiles. She works down on the floor serving drinks and smiles. She smiles. Because this is her job. Giving men something to look at is her job. And she does it well.

“There are some girls who have to use drugs in order to do it. Kimmie isn’t one of those. There are some girls who make some extra money by going out in back and having sex with guys. But Kimmie doesn’t do that, either. Because Kimmie’s just trying to live—support her family or whatever—off the money she makes at this job. She doesn’t give guys come-ons. Doesn’t tease them. She just dresses up her admittedly beautiful body in a somewhat revealing outfit and smiles. Nothing more.”


Keira continues:


“You got a problem with what Andrea’s doing here tonight? What she did four years ago?”
Brandon shrugged. “I didn’t think so until I saw her up close and in action. It’s hard to watch. Hard to accept.”
“Whose hang-up is it?” She gestured toward Andrea. “That sweet girl right there? I don’t think so.


“You see me? I am what I am. I go up onstage and I’m confident and strong and hot. It’s not every guy’s thing, but it’s enough that I’m pretty popular. Do you think you could make me feel bad about myself?”


You go, Keira!


There were a couple of good plot twists at the end, but this book was more about Andrea coming to terms with herself, and Brandon coming to terms with her and his own prejudices. Recommended.