Sex, blood and betrayal: it's all in a day's work. Stella is just minding her own business and having a bit of fun, working as an exotic dancer at the Peacock Lounge. Through no fault of her own, she witnesses a double murder and gets pulled into a shady dance of deceit with political bigwigs, mob bosses, dirty cops and scheming widows. Now she's everyone's target; her only chance is to sift through the lies and expose the truth.
Warnings: Contains M/F and F/F sex with hints of dominance and submission, violence and threats of rape (but not in an erotic context).
Word Count: 65,000
The next night I show up at the designated room number, at eight on the dot. I like to be professional. I've tried to dress as elegant as I can, in a nice peach linen suit that hugs my curves and makes me look dark and exotic. I'm nervous, though, as nervous as I was that first night I stepped onto the Peacock stage. Taking a deep breath, I rap three times on the door like Mr. Clean told me to do.
I recognize the man at the door immediately. I may be a stripper, but I read the papers. It's Anthony Pinelli, leading businessman, local power-broker, candidate for mayor. Hey, I was planning on voting for him, in spite of the stories about his mob connections. Nobody's lily-white these days. From what I've read, he seems to have the kind of strength that you need to run this tough town.
I've seen his picture lots of times, but in person he's even more impressive. Big but not fat, with a shock of shiny black hair and bushy eyebrows to match. He has a nice straight nose, lips that look decisive, and dark eyes that seem to go right through me.
But more than his good looks, I'm impressed by the sense of power that he projects. Charisma, I think the word is. He looks me over, those firm lips curve into a warm smile, and I suddenly feel like I'd do anything he asks.
"Please come in, Ms. Xanathakeos," he says, standing aside so that I can enter the suite. His voice has a round, mellow sound to it. It slides over me.
"Call me, Stella, please." I look around the fancy suite curiously, noting the modern paintings on the walls, the horseshoe-shaped sofa, the bar set up in the corner. The closed door next to the desk must lead to the bedroom. My heels sink into the thick, plum-colored carpet. I'm afraid that I'll damage it. Maybe I'll have to dance barefoot.
"Well, then, Stella, you must call me Tony." He takes my hand in a kind of old-fashioned way. His touch sends shivers through my body. My nervousness is gone, replaced by a feeling of breathlessness. I won't have any trouble at all getting turned on enough to dance, that's for sure.
"Can I offer you some refreshment?" Tony asks, gesturing toward the bar.
"Just water, if you have some."
He hands me a long-stemmed glass full of carbonated water. I watch the bubbles dancing. It feels as if there are bubbles inside my chest, too.
He pours himself a tall scotch. We sit together for a few minutes on the sofa, not talking, sipping our drinks. I feel flushed and sweaty, as if I've already danced for him. His body gives off waves of heat. It's like I'm lying under a sun lamp. I don't know what to do next.
Finally, he puts down his drink. "Shall we get started? Let me get a bit more comfortable." He shrugs off his suit jacket and places it over the desk chair. I gasp as I see that he is wearing a revolver in a shoulder holster. He smiles, just a little, as he removes this and hangs it over the chair on top of the jacket. "I'm a dangerous man, Stella, and I have many enemies. I have to take care of myself." I nod vaguely. I'm not exactly reassured.
This book was added to our catalog on Monday 20 October, 2014.