Saturday, January 3, 2009

London for the Holidays by Stella and Audra Price

Double Duce was all the decadence one would expect in a high-class strip club run by Succubi, from the ornate gold columns to the rich burgundy velvets and oxblood leather covering pretty much anything nailed down. It even smelled of decadence, the ghost scents of the dangerously potent opium dens of the East, and the rich cloying sweetness of the sultans’ lairs in the Mediterranean.

It was, beyond a doubt, a haven for the darker things in life, as Leandra not only dealt in skin and sex, but the more creative and perverse desires of the populace. Luckily Thisbe wasn’t part of that scene, not that she would know what to do in it, anyway.

As a featured dancer, Thisbe had three sets a night, all involving a unique act and costume. It wasn’t any different than Pinkys in that respect, except here she didn’t have a well-worn crowd, one used to her charms. London was a whole new animal she had to tame, and the challenge thrilled her.

Behind the thick brocade curtain of gold and silver she waited, rolling her shoulders. Her ice crystals costume, something that changed every time she danced due to her whims of what she felt like making to wear, shined and sparkled in the low light, and she knew she would be dazzling come show time. Marcus, the stage boy, smiled at her and she winked and nodded. The curtain opened and she strolled out, her music growing to a crash before the song actually began.

She danced, melting the ice from her skin as she did by raising her body temperature from the sub zero of the Conglacio to the temperate warmth of humanity, the humans in the club thinking it a trick of the light and smoke machine. She used the pole to her advantage, climbing it, spinning, and wrapping her legs around it as she lay on her back on the floor and arched, moving her body in an undulating motion.

She heard the calls, the deep sighs, and groans as the ice fell away from her breasts, her nipples tight and covered with sliver glitter. She felt the change in the room when the ice thong melted off, revealing the little blue snowflake tattoo just about her perfectly manicured landing strip. She turned and her brand, that proved her status as a Conglacio concubine, glittered with a sheen all its own in the lights, and the men went wild. She enjoyed it, being watched and the calls as she touched herself, closed her eyes, and gave over to the abandon of the moment. Pinching her nipples and slipping her hand between her legs momentarily before taking her fingers into her mouth, she shuddered under her own ministrations. That got the crowd rolling, and as she sauntered off stage, the groans of disappointment not lost on her. She was going to enjoy London, and all it had to offer.

She walked backstage and turned as the lights went up, noticing one pair of eyes as they locked with hers. Piercing, startling blue eyes under a neatly trimmed mop of sandy blondish hair and a pair of lips that made her pant. She nodded, and winked just as the curtain closed, intrigued as all hell as to who the luscious piece of candy was on the main floor.

* * * *

Mal’s jaw would have hung open if he could stop gritting his teeth. Taylor was out of his mind if he truly expected him not to touch that beauty. Stunning wasn’t the word, for once in his life he was at a loss for words. Damn Taylor! Damn him to Hell, no way was Mal going to last the night without pressing himself against her. He could feel his heart pounding and his blood rushing faster, all of it going to a notably engorged part of his body.

She’d already spotted him, giving him a delightful little wink, the cheeky minx. The beer in front of him was untouched, something unheard of. The next act had started but he wasn’t interested, he wanted to keep Thisbe in his sights. After all, that was his job.

A bouncer walked over to him and glared, trying to look threatening. “You’re done here.”

“Am I?” He lifted the beer, tipping it to his lips.

“Yeah, show’s over and your girl just left through the back.”

“Shit,” he cursed. Beer still in hand, he jumped up and moved through to the door, leaving the bouncer at the table.

The thug whose arm he’d broken stepped in his way, trying to take the bottle. The thing had cost him seven quid and there was no chance in hell he was leaving it. He barreled through the man, sending him face first into the door. Hopefully the fuck would have a broken nose for his trouble. Mal severely doubted he’d be allowed back in there again, but that was the boss’s problem, not his. All Mal could think about was catching up with Thisbe.

He sniffed the air, trying to find her scent. Not an easy task when he’d never smelled the woman before, but he managed to pick up the small, faint scent of ice he’d come to recognize with the Conglacio and followed that. Jogging, he followed it along the street to a small alley where it was joined by another, more masculine scent. That was wrong, she should have been by herself unless Taylor had sent someone else. It was then he picked up the stench of beer. Fuck, he’d messed up already. Growling, he turned the corner, instinct taking over.