Friday, December 17, 2021

Read an Excerpt from Santa Baby by Taylor Lee



•Dancing to Eartha Kitt’s sultry list of all goodies she expected Santa Baby to put under her tree, Lily slid down the pole and stifled a sigh. A blue convertible? A sable? A Tiffany ring? Right! Like Lily could expect anything remotely like that under her tree! How about first making sure she had a tree.

•At that moment she saw him. The big man with the shaggy blond hair and gleaming dark eyes was leaning casually back in his chair. His narrowed expression was hard, knowing. It was clear that he was studying her.

•Stunned, she quickly looked away, her carefully honed rules fleeing in her panic. The imposing man had “cop” written all over him. Squashing down her terror, Lily pasted a professional smile on her face, waved to the screaming crowd, and fled the stage.

•Anyone who’d ever tangled with dirty cops knew that the hard blue line protected the most egregious acts committed by one of their brothers. If anyone doubted that was true all they had to know was that Aiden was a free man and Lily was on the run.

•Lily’s only hope was that this time she and Gabriella had gone far enough, fast enough, that he wouldn’t be able to find them.


Chapter 1


Zach took a hefty swallow of Maker’s Mark, draining his glass. Plunking the empty schooner on the tabletop, he reached for the bottle and poured himself a healthy portion. Not waiting for his buddies’ certain approval, he refilled Danny’s and Mark’s glasses with the amber liquid, then raised his tumbler in a mock salute.

“Here’s to—what, men, our fourth, or is it our fifth Christmas—celebrating at the Xpose? Damn, I never thought anything could be worse than canned Christmas music everywhere, from Walmart to the barber shop.” He shook his head and pointed with his chin at the stage. “But two nearly naked faux reindeer pretending to have sex to the beat of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”? Damn, that’s over the top, even for the Xpose!”

When his buddies roared in agreement, Zach tried to remember when he’d been amused, hell, even a little intrigued at the Xpose’s Christmas decorations. Leave it to Lecherous Lenny, as he and his men had nicknamed the proprietor of the sleazy strip joint, to create the scene in front of them. Who else would decorate his fake Christmas trees with gargantuan silver and gold phalluses? Not to mention every kind of sex toy the most perverted imbiber of kink could imagine. Zach admitted that once he’d even been amused by the plastic breasts decorating the trees. In an apparent imitation of Rudolph’s nose, they were topped with pointed red nipples that blinked on and off.

Zach took another slug of the potent whiskey, welcoming the harsh burn in his throat. With a heartfelt sigh, he acknowledged that the garish sex-saturated displays were no longer funny. They were sad.

Watching the women gyrating on the stage, he shook his head. Their glassy eyes and occasional stumbles confirmed that they’d deadened their bleak lives with the plentiful crystal Lenny provided to keep his girls in line. Disheartening as the women were, the ugly hoots of the drunken men egging them on were sickening. Zach was about to finish his drink and call it a night when the girl-on-girl reindeer tableau came to a merciful end.

As he rose to his feet, about to slap down a bill, another song hit the sound system. Instead of a cheerful, inappropriate children’s tune, it was Eartha Kitt’s taunting tribute to materialism, “Santa Baby”. But it wasn’t the saucy lyrics that made Zach change his mind about leaving. Rather, it was the long-limbed dancer sauntering across the stage toward the brass pole in the center of the stage. Deciding that leaving was premature, Zach allowed himself to sink back in his chair and appreciate what was an anomaly at the Xpose: a stripper who knew how to dance. Zach marveled that the woman not only moved her beautiful body in the expected, provocative fashion, but she did it with a sinuous grace that snagged his breath.

Danny’s appreciative whistle and muttered expletive confirmed that Zach wasn’t the only one agog at the apparition before them. “Wow! I haven’t seen that little piece before. Don’t tell me Lecherous Lenny is adding quality to his lineup. Fuckin’ A, that babe looks more like a beauty pageant contestant than a stripper.” He added with a hearty laugh as the music throbbed, “Bet she’d win the talent portion, if not the whole damn crown.”

Gratified that his cohort was as flummoxed as he was, Zach tried to decide what was different about the dark-haired woman working her way to the pole. Like all the other strippers, she was wearing Lenny’s sexy de rigour Christmas attire. A tight, red, low-cut halter captured her full breasts, and skimpy boy shorts cupped her curvy ass. The red velvet stocking cap with the sassy white fuzzy ball on the end perched on the shiny curtain of curly black hair streaming over her slim shoulders and back. But unlike the other women, who looked sleazy instead of sexy, the new dancer almost looked proper. More like one of Santa’s prettiest elves, not a woman who was about to shed her clothes for the voracious men who were screaming at her to “take it off”.

The girl-next-door morphed enticingly when the dancer responded to the crowd’s lewd demands. With a flick of her fingers she allowed the straining halter to fall to the floor. Bodacious breasts topped with sparkling rhinestone pasties revealed a tantalizing glimpse of rosy nipples that stole Zach’s breath. The gasps from his surprised teammates confirmed he wasn’t the only one stunned by her lush body. He almost didn’t want her to lose the boy shorts, not wanting to share more of the erotic vision with the leering men. He was glad that the city fathers had decreed that no matter how loudly the crowd insisted, the G-string would stay in place.

Zach watched in amazement as the stripper-turned-erotic-gymnast skillfully used the shiny pole to display her stunning athleticism and beautiful body. She shimmied up and down the pole, twirling from one gravity-defying move to another. When she landed in a flying, breathtaking leap and stood upright once again, Zach captured her gaze. The look in her eyes when she met his open appraisal surprised him. Not just because of the sudden shyness that flickered across her face, but because her expression changed dramatically. If he was any judge of women who shed their clothes for a living—and Zach most certainly was—he recognized her startled, wide-eyed expression. He’d seen it far too many times in his line of work. It was fear, pure and simple. Seeming to realize that her mask had slipped, the accomplished performer quickly recovered her poise. She turned back to the chanting crowd and showered them with a cheeky grin. Tossing her head, she shook her booty, eliciting a thunderous roar from the appreciative audience. Then with an impudent wave, she turned and literally dashed from the stage.


As she sauntered onto the stage, Lily ticked off the hard and fast rules of the game. She knew well what she needed to do to survive this nightly charade. The first rule was to never make eye contact. Knowing that the leering men would soon be demanding that she take off her clothes, she focused on a spot on the wall above their heads. Not meeting their eyes protected her privacy. Let her pretend that she was dancing for herself, not a gang of drunken men. The second rule was to listen to the lyrics and then weave her body into the beat. Let her body talk for her. The third rule was the most important. Even if her facial muscles were aching with the effort, she needed to paste a glowing smile on her face and never let it drop.

Hearing Eartha Kitt tick off the goodies she expected Santa Baby to put under her tree, Lily swallowed a soft snort. A blue convertible? A sable? A Tiffany ring? Right! Like she could expect anything remotely like that under her tree! How about first making sure she had a tree.

At that moment, she saw him. The big man with the shaggy dirty-blond hair and gleaming dark eyes was leaning back in his chair. His casual pose couldn’t hide his lean, strong body. Muscles rippled beneath his tight, long-sleeved black t-shirt. His narrowed expression was hard, knowing. It was clear that he was studying her. Stunned, she quickly looked away, her carefully honed rules fleeing in her panic. The imposing man had “cop” written all over him. Dear God, he looked like he might even be a PI—which was worse than a copper. Squashing her terror, Lily pasted a professional smile back on her face, waved to the screaming crowd, and fled the stage.

Fritzie, the floor manager and Lenny’s long-time squeeze, sauntered up to Zach’s table. She ran a sparkling magenta fingernail across the back of Zach’s neck and chuckled. Her throaty voice spoke to the clouds of cigarette smoke she’d sucked into her lungs over too many years.

“Well, well, to what do we owe this honor? I thought all you badass policemen were supposed to be out working your Blue Santa Toys for Tots operation. Don’t tell me that some of those ‘tots’ are at the ‘pleasure me’ stage, and you boys are scouting for more mature toys.” Pinching Zach’s cheek, she purred, “Why, lookie here. Even the captain of the renowned Vice Squad has deigned to honor us with his presence.”

Zach laughed good-naturedly. “C’mon, Fritzie, you know that my men and I can’t handle more than a day or two without seeing you.” He added with a grin, “In addition to checking up on you and your shy performers, we keep hearing rumors that Lecherous Lenny is hawking more than womanly flesh.” He took a sip of his whisky and said with a thoughtful frown, “Now, you wouldn’t happen to know anything about your boss’s ‘side interests’, would you?”

Fritzie assumed what she apparently thought was an innocent expression, a challenge given the years she’d spent in the trenches. “Now, now, big guy. You know a lady never tells her secrets—or those of her latest lover.”

She waved her hand dismissively and cooed, “But enough of that, Lieutenant Zachary Meloy. Tell me what can I do for you and the rest of your studly officers.” She winked and said with a foxy grin, “More whisky? A seat on the rail? An introduction to one of our shy waitresses?” She added with a daring smirk, “Or maybe you’d like to interview one of our dancers up close and personal?”

Brushing aside her provocative teasing, Zach pointed to the nearly empty bottle in the middle of the table. “No, Fritzie, my men and I have had enough of your whisky.” He added, “Thank your boss for not trying to snooker us with that watered down swill he foists on the rest of your clientele. As for your dancers, we know them better than we need to—or want to. Fortunately for them, our commander is more interested in crystal than prostitution.”

Before Fritzie could object, Danny broke in. “I don’t know about Zach, but I for one would like to know more about that new dancer we just saw. Daaamn, Fritzie. Watching her work that pole and the floor, I might be inclined to encourage the city council to lift their nudity ban on titty bars like yours.”

At Zach’s groan, Fritzie laughed. “Sorry, Danny me boy. Even if the full monty were allowed, you’d never see that one naked. And before you ask about her other inclinations, she’s a loner. Doesn’t hook up with men.”

Danny’s chagrin was apparent. “You mean she works the other side of the street?”

Fritzie was uncharacteristically serious. “No, I mean that her ‘hands off’ vibe isn’t an act. Understand that she’s new in town and I barely know her. For what it’s worth, she says her name is Lily—which I guess is as good as any name, given what she does for a living.”

Reaching for Danny’s cigarette, Fritzie took a long drag. She flicked the ash onto the floor and rubbed it in with the pointed toe of her black patent stiletto. Blowing the inhaled smoke into the air, a thoughtful expression crossed her face.

“She’s not hard, like most of them are. It’s more like she’s brittle. Like she might shatter if she’s pushed too hard. She comes in here at night and barely speaks. If you could see her backstage, you’d know what I mean. She stands in the wings before she goes on and anyone would think she was about to mount a guillotine. She looks that scared. Then the music starts she comes to life, like the pro she is. Becomes one of the most accomplished dancers we’ve ever had.”

Fritzie chortled dismissively, then added, “I know that isn’t saying much. But I’ve never seen a transformation like hers. She goes from a frightened rabbit to a scintillating vixen. But it’s a short-lived conversion. By the time the grunting animals in the front row have settled their tabs and are fighting to see who can get to her first, eager for the snatch they’re sure she’s peddling, she’s outta here.”

Zach was impressed. He never thought insights were Fritzie’s strong suit. But he couldn’t have described the gorgeous creature who had invaded his psyche more cogently than the hardened madam had. Like Fritzie, Zach knew that “Lily, the exotic dancer” was but one persona of the mysterious woman who’d graced the stage. The fire ants crawling up the back of his neck confirmed that her other guises were unlikely to be any more wholesome—or any less intriguing.



No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...