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Jake Macmillan won’t take no for an answer anymore. He wants Ameril, and he’s determined to have her. She’s everything he wants in a woman, but convincing her of that is going to take more grit than he’s ever had to muster. Money and power can buy a lot of things, but it can’t buy the woman he loves.
Ameril Haverton has been running from Jake for longer than she cares to remember. Handsome, rich, powerful and completely dominating, most women would give their eyeteeth for him. Continually saying no has required more strength of spirit than any other trial in her life, but she doesn’t know if Jake is the man of her dreams … or the man from her nightmares.
Yet, when love is Desired, nothing is for certain.
“So, babe. What do you want to dance to?”
Ameril Haverton cocked her head to the side, watching as a stream of men plowed through the turnstile of the Classy Lady.
The melodious piano intro from Cold Play’s “Clocks” drummed through the excessively loud speakers, and she tapped her fingers against her thigh, harmonizing with the music.
Glancing down at the smooth expanse of legs showing beneath her spaghetti-strapped, one-piece dark blue velvet mini skirt, Ameril was surprised. For the first time in her five years on six-inch stilettos her knees actually shook.
Shifting her apprehensive gaze toward Fred, she finally answered his question. “I-I don’t k-know. I don’t know what I feel like dancing to. I can’t decide.”
“Am… this isn’t like you, doll. Why don’t you go for Metallica? You always like dancing to them.” When she didn’t respond, his bushy brows lowered. “Or maybe we should go for some ole school. Maybe some Duran Duran?
Ameril raised her eyes, looking into the paunchy, familiar face. “I don’t know? Why don’t you choose something? I-I just want to get it over with.”
“What’s the stress, hon? The men are horny, and there are plenty to go around tonight. You could dance to Pat Benatar and it wouldn’t matter.”
Ameril tugged at the edges of her skirt, rolling her eyes past Fred.
The flickering, multi-colored glare from the stage cast reams of light upon her face, and she flinched as ghostly shadows etched across her skin.
Resisting the urge to blink, her stare roamed across the room.
Without conscious thought, her sight settled on a pair of glittering, familiar eyes.
“Just play something. I don’t care what it is,” she muttered under her breath, trying to control her emotions, though she was still unable to tear her gaze from the intent look disrupting her composure.
“You don’t have to go up there, you know?”
Startled, Ameril finally broke free of the powerful gaze.
Peeking slowly at Fred, her forehead creased, as she scrunched her face tight.
Specters of vulnerability crawled across her skin.
She would have liked to turn around and retreat toward the dressing room, but she couldn’t forestall this any longer.
“No, I’ll be fine. Just play anything. Go with something you think will be best.”
“Are you sure?”
Ameril tried to inject some strength in her voice. “Yes, play whatever you like. I’ll be fine.”
“I’m not sure about that, but how about we go with a set of classic SoundGarden.” Fred grinned, wriggling his eyebrows, as he twisted knobs and pressed buttons in his lighted DJ booth. “Rusty Cage? Outshined?”
The corners of her lips lifted faintly as memories of grating guitar strings played in her head. “Grunge is good for me.”
“Alrighty then. Go clear your head. Take your time. I’ll keep the crowd hot until you’re ready.”
She yearned to assure Fred she was already prepared. But as her sight fixed on the marble-topped, rectangular stage – sparkling lights like shiny candy for the taking – Ameril knew she wasn’t.
Shutting her lids, she waited a moment before lifting them again. Her breath caught when her gaze again clashed with a dark, passionate stare, and she swallowed against the sudden dryness in her mouth.
Whoops and hollers echoed throughout the club. The pungent aroma of musk hung heavy in the air, teasing her nostrils. The blaring music echoed, but strangely all her senses dulled as she contemplated a heated regard she’d rather forget.
Any moment she’d have to ascend to the stage. She’d have to perform an exotic strip tease for a room crowded full of men… and one hazardous, fiery glare.
Ameril couldn’t stop the jitters shivering down her spine. Fear tightened the muscles in her stomach, and she forced her head to turn away from the piercing stare.
Blinking at Fred’s expectant look, she mumbled. “J-just give me a couple of minutes.”
“You got it, doll. Holla at me when you’re ready.”
Ameril nodded, before walking back toward the dressing room. Her shoes slid against the soft carpet, and the pointy soles of her heels caught. Stumbling, she took a calming breath as she picked up her feet.
A part of her wanted to glance over her shoulder – wanted to see if those memorable eyes were still watching. But, she couldn’t gather the nerve.
Knowing Jake Macmillan, he would definitely be looking. He wasn’t the type of guy to go away without a fight. Her fists tightened, and Ameril reminded herself she wasn’t the type of person to lie down without protest.
So, why was she scared?
You know why. And try as you like, there’s no putting this off any longer.
Just as she reached for the golden handle of the dressing room, the door swung open. A shaft of light spread across her skin, and she flinched as darkness fell and Flavia Bruening stepped through the frame.
“Ameril, I was about to look for you. Rachel says you have to go on stage.” Raising her arms, she halted Flavia’s agitated movements. “Slow down. I’m about to go on. I-I was just coming in to find a new outfit.”
“No! But… but I told her you couldn’t because of that weirdo guy.”
“He’s not a weirdo…” Ameril stopped herself, realizing she was protecting the very man she was scared shitless of seeing. “Don’t stress it. Tell her I’m going to go on.”
“Are you sure? You’ve been a basket case ever since this dude started coming here. You haven’t even been on the stage, much less danced for anyone. Maybe you should just go home.”
The suggestion had merit, but Ameril shook her head, moving past her friend to step into the large, well lit dressing room. “I can’t go home, Flav. I’ve got bills, and they won’t get paid if I don’t make any money.”
“Well if you’re sure. I guess you should do it. But, be warned.” Flavia’s face scrunched into a pensive frown. “He’s got a look about him tonight.”
“What do you mean?” Ameril asked, pausing before taking a seat in one of the vacant leather chairs scattered about.
Flavia peered at her, her gaze stark and uncompromising. “I mean that in the month he’s been coming here, I’ve never seen him look so dangerous. Seriously, girl, I don’t think you should go out there.”
Ameril sighed loudly. “Why shouldn’t I?”
Flavia grasped her shoulder, and forcibly turned the chair while she was sitting. Having no choice but to look up, Ameril connected with a pair of scrutinizing dark eyes.
“I’m for real. Don’t go out there. This guy means business. I don’t know what you did to him. And frankly, I don’t want to know, but trust me when I say he is serious.”
That really wasn’t a surprise. Jake Macmillan had always been… serious. Though, in Ameril’s mind, she didn’t think the word really did him justice.
If she had to pick some adjectives to describe him those would definitely be among the ones she’d choose.
Ameril was about to open her mouth to repeat the trite ‘I’m fine’ expression, when a loud commotion across the room halted her before she could speak.
“You don’t dance for my customer, Amber. Bitch! I told you that before.”
“It’s a free country, Cynthia! And you don’t own him.”
Ameril rolled her eyes, shaking her head, before reaching to grab the make-up case setting near her heeled feet.
She had wanted to change clothes, but after hearing the arguing she decided against it.
“I can’t believe those two are at it again,” Flavia murmured. “You’d think they just do a duo for the dude and save themselves the hassle.”
Ameril sighed. “But then they’d wouldn’t be able to fight all the time, and where would the fun be if they didn’t?”
Flavia chuckled. “If you ask me, I think they’re gay and desperately trying not to fall in love.”
Ameril laughed tonelessly. “I wouldn’t doubt it,” she replied.
Glancing over her shoulder at Amber and Cynthia, taking in their flushed postures as they stared at each like two eager combatants, she snorted thinking maybe there was some truth to Flavia’s statement.
Smiling, Ameril turned back toward the mirror and began to apply more makeup to her already painted face. Frowning, she tightened the rim of her eyes so she could put on more liner, as her mind tuned downed the arguing and music in the club so she could concentrate.
She liked working for the Classy Lady, but with Alex gone, things just didn’t seem the same.
Alexandria Houston, her best friend, had worked with Ameril for two of the five years she been dancing. She could still remember walking her around her first day on the job.
Dan, ‘the jerk’, had still been the manager then, and a lot of the old faces were gone.
Things had been so different.
A part of Ameril wished to return to those days of old, but she couldn’t.
The growing restlessness inside her soul wouldn’t go away. The haunting eyes that had been following her every move wouldn’t leave her alone.
Shaking her head, Ameril lifted her gaze to stare at the mirror. A bright reflection of herself stared back, and she flinched, watching as a woman with long, golden blonde hair and wide pale blue eyes mimicked her every movement.
Lifting her chin, she stared at skin that appeared translucent under the lights. The remnants of her tan were hardly seen, and she scowled, thinking she needed to hit the beach soon.
As her lips lifted, straight, white teeth gleamed under the bright lights, and Ameril was glad she spent the five grand for orthodontics five years ago.
She could still remember the time when her mouth looked haggard, and ill kept.
Grimacing as memories she’d rather forget haunted her mind, she stared at the mirror once more.
Peering into the reflective surface, Ameril realized she’d been dancing for too long, it was definitely time to hang up her g-string. She’d never planned on making this a career, and already she felt like she’d been at it for eons.
Most of the girls who retired had an elaborate ceremony where all the dancers from the club toasted her, and undressed her on the stage.
She remembered Melissa’s retirement a year ago before she became the manager of the Classy Lady. Ameril had been one of the many to help to undress her. She recollected smiling playfully as she knelt between Melissa’s legs, licking the soft tissue of her cunt.
It had all been in fun and games. She’d enjoyed it.
Ameril scowled, watching the woman in the mirror scowl back.
She’d had a lot of fun and games during her stripping years, but she realized slowly… it was time to lay it down and move on.
Ameril closed her eyes, and turned away from the mirror.
Tonight would be her last dance, but she wouldn’t have an elaborate ceremony to see her out. She would go with a bang in her own way… and after that Jake Macmillan could go to hell.
“I’m bringing a special lady to the stage for ya, she’s been missing from action for awhile, but she’s back tonight. And she’s dancing to one of my most favorite bands, so be prepared to moan… scream… and holler…FOOOORRRR… Amy.” Ameril blinked, at the blue and red light glaring at her, that was her cue and she stepped forward automatically, not really feeling the carpet beneath her feet or the men staring with lust.
She always felt this way before she went on stage. It was like the world faded away, and she could only hear the music pounding through the speakers.
Her hips swayed automatically, and she walked gracefully, the high stilettos moving her body in captivating angles.
Ameril took the steps slowly, allowing her hips to swing seductively, the strident strings of “Rusty Cage” echoed in her ears, as her gaze lighted on the man of all her dreams, and nightmares.
She lost herself in the music, letting the beats take her where they would. Her hips moved in sequence to the drums pounding, rolling with a rhythm that she knew looked pagan and forbidden.
Grabbing one of the gleaming poles placed at the end of the stage, she flipped her head, sweeping her long golden tresses till they rested between her legs, at the base of her spread ankles.
The super short skirt she wore rose just under her butt cheeks, highlighting her muscular thighs. The crisp blue satiny material of her g-string nestled against her cunt seductively.
Rubbing one hand against the soft curve of her inner thigh, Ameril swung her ass back and forth, before lifting her head.
Flipping her long locks back, so her hair swung wildly, she re-positioned her hands to clasp the glistening apparatus. Using her hands as an anchor, the muscles in her arms strengthened till both stiletto shoes lifted off the floor. The motion of her hasty movements swung her around with the force of inertia, and she held to the golden symbol of virility, as her legs formed a tilted, upside down ‘V’.
Ameril captured hold of the pole with one knee, keeping her other leg straight and pointed, as she gained control of her movements.
Sliding down like a talented enchantress, she didn’t let go till the tips of her shoulder touched the cool marble stage.
Bending her legs, she let her thighs fall wide to the side, using her hands to caress the clothed portions of her breasts and stomach, the raucous rhythms causing her hips to bump seductively against the floor.
The men hollered, as she rolled onto her stomach, rising on all fours, to crawl about the stage.
Ameril barely heard them, her sight frozen on one man amongst the crowd, seated near the corner of the stage.
Crawling toward him, her gaze didn’t move as dark, dirty green bills floated around, drifting about like tribute to a heathen Goddess.
Hazel eyes glittered with wicked intent, and Jake’s jaw tightened perceptibly. She almost flinched when he rose from his seat, and she cursed herself for feeling anything for the man, a part of her realizing she’d been afraid he was about to leave.
Yet he didn’t though. Instead he sat back down with a large, silver clipped billfold in his hand.
Nonchalantly, he tossed the money on stage, and Ameril paused.
She knew what that meant. Jake had made it known numerous times.
The green bills clasped in that fold would be nothing but hundreds. It was probably thousands of dollars.
The course of his actions was crystal clear.
He was willing to pay anything and everything for her, and he would not be denied.
Ameril couldn’t help the slight trickles of awareness rolling down her spine.
Frowning, pushing the thoughts from her mind, she let the music take control of her movements again. Lowering her head, she swept her hair along the blacktopped stage, swinging it about wildly before lifting her eyes, and crawling closer toward Jake’s chair.
Fred only played two minutes of each song, and if her internal counting was correct, Rusty Cage would soon follow Outshined.
Ameril always like to wait to take her clothes off. The first song was always the intro, always the prelude to the desire she wanted to induce.
But, this time, things would be different.
Creeping toward Jake, Ameril arched her back, appearing like a cat stalking prey.
His eyes narrowed, and the expression on his face became implacable.
Stopping in front of him, she curled her back till the blue velvet dress pressed against the hard floor, smashing her breasts.
Listening to the sounds of beating drums she let the music tell her when it was time to turn, when it was time to shift her legs into that seductive view, and allow him – and only him – the sight every man in the club was aching to see.
Her hands caressed her g-string, pulling the fabric until it massaged against her clit.
But she wasn’t aroused.
Ameril was angry, and as she rocked on her spine to bring her legs beneath her so she could rise to a standing position. She looked down at Jake with fury rioting through her pores.
The beat roared, as Ameril lifted a hand to grab hold of one of the spaghetti straps on her shoulders.
Tantalizing, surging her hips till they rocked forward with abandon, she pulled the thin material till it left her skin. Achingly revealing one plump breast.
The dangerous emotions coursing through her body were in tune with the riotous song blaring from the speakers. Anger, dark and fiercely hot, scorched through her veins.
The crowd cheered, but Ameril kept her stare glued to Jake’s.
As the music changed, slowing the pace, she walked back and forth in a circle above Jake, finally tearing free the rest of her dress.
Clad now in only a blue g-string, she kicked loose the material pooled around her ankles, absently watching it float to the back of the room.
Jake stayed still, his hand pinned to his side, a muscle ticking in his jaw.
He looked ready for murder.
Ameril lifted the corners of her lips, but it wasn’t a smile of seduction.
Gracefully coming to her knees in front of him, she rocked back and forth before finally pushing away the last scrap of material from her body, the g-string sliding down.
Naked, her body flushed from her dance, Ameril spread her legs so he could see her vagina, knowing that her raised position let him see all the secrets between her thighs.
Knowing that by just looking at him her pussy was shining from with moisture.
Swinging her legs, till she rolled like a gymnast in a straddle roll, she raised back on all fours again, peering into his eyes.
Crawling closer, using the golden railing that circled around the stage to steady her, she didn’t stop till her face was inches from the man in front of her.
The people in the club would think she was working to entice him, but she knew better.
“Is this what you want, Jake. You want this,” Ameril murmured, one hand trailing along her naked breasts, as the other hand anchored her on the high stage. “You want to fuck me right now don’t you?” she asked, though the question was rhetorical since she already knew the answer.
Jake leaned forward slowly, and she could see the heaving in his chest. “You push when you should retreat, Ameril.”
“I’m trying to make a point.” She frowned at his narrowed eyes. “This is it. No more. I won’t be back her tomorrow or the next night. Find some other girl to fixate on and leave me alone.”
The music played around her, but there was silence even through the raucous guitar strings.
Jake’s lips pinched tight, and under the colored lights Ameril could see the angry flush highlighting his cheeks.
He leaned forward, till his lips were centimeters from hers. “Go put some clothes on before I beat your delectable little ass.”
Startled, Ameril held control of her emotions by a thread. She wanted to rail at him, slap his face. “This thing between us,” she gritted. “If it ever was a thing… it’s over… and I better never see you again.”
Jake smiled slowly, but she could still see the anger blazing from his eyes. “Get off the stage now, Ameril. Or I swear to God you will regret this moment for as long as you live.”
Rearing back, she couldn’t help but take note of the seriousness of his voice. Her eyes widened and she rose shakily on her heels, ignoring the shouts around her, ignoring the fact that the song of her set still played.
Moving rapidly toward the stairs, she didn’t even collect her money.
Absently she noticed Flavia’s worried eyes as she descended the steps hastily. “I’ll get your stuff and deal with Rachel,” she said, frowning. “Get out of here, Ameril, while you still can.”
Ameril took heed of her words and ran as fast as her stilettos would allow for the dressing room, remembering Jake’s heated words from long ago.
Don’t play with fire. You will get burned.