Archive for the ‘Salon Antics’ Category

Today’s post is dedicated to my good friend and fellow scribe, Graffiti Bleu, whose newest book, Poet’s Pursuit of Pleasure – Simony Chiavary 2.5, is now available in paperback and Kindle via Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

I am pleased and honored to have had the opportunity to work with GB on this particular project. Liam Irish, the main character of my book, Salon Antics, made his way into Simony Chiavary 2.5 by way of a collaboration between two writers open enough to experiment with characters and storyline to connect different tales of erotica in a magical way. And Ms. Simony Chiavary became Liam’s past love interest in Salon Antics, a character who I never imagined, but who wove into some of my chapters like silk thread.

Although we’ve never met, it was GB’s creative brilliance that brought us and our fictional worlds together, and it worked. So it is with great pleasure I announce, share, and support GB in this fine, proud moment. GB, I salute you.

And mark your calendars for April 27th’s gigantic book launch of Simony Chiavary 2.5.



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Posted on: November 22nd, 2011 by Madison Lake 3 Comments

Frances Del Monte, Vivian Furlish, and Amy Richardson sat in three side by side chairs  at Snippets Salon while Liam and Genevieve applied the appropriate mix of color to each of their heads of hair. Magazines lay open on their laps, but they were too busy talking among themselves to be bothered with catching up on the latest Hollywood gossip. With all the goings on, there was enough scandal of their own to keep them gabbing for a few weeks at the very least. 
Wearing a simple white blouse, thigh-high black leather boots with her signature mini-mini skirt, kohl black eyes and flaming red lips, Genevieve had the appearance of goth vamp meets school girl, which is likely the look she was after. Her newly cut and bleached hair was teased into a beehive up-do. Without a doubt she turned heads, and not because her look was outlandish, but because she was drop dead gorgeous.

“You ladies seem to be enjoying each other’s company,” said Genevieve. “I like it.” She smiled at the three women while she dabbed the last of the auburn to Fran’s roots. Liam had just placed the dryer hood over Vivian’s head.
“Can you keep it on low, honey? I can’t hear when it’s on high. I don’t want to miss anything, you know.”
“Not a problem, Vivian.” Liam set the dial and a soft purr followed. Then he returned to Amy. 
“Do you want yours on low too?” He asked sarcastically.
“Are you kidding me? Of course I do. Besides, Mrs. Furlish over there speaks very softly.” She laughed at the quizzical look on her face. She obviously hadn’t heard a thing. 
Liam placed a few more foils in Amy’s long locks before setting the dryer on her, while Genevieve came around and set down sterilized scissors and combs on the side tables beside each chair, and stacked clean, folded towels in the open cupboard. The front door was locked with a Closed for Lunch sign on it. The three women knew they were getting special treatment and loved it.
“All righty, I’ll leave you three alone to your chit chat while your color sets. Just holler if you need anything, okay?”
 Genevieve followed Liam into the staff room and closed the door behind her.
“I was wondering how long it would take those two,” said Fran casually. Fran, Vivian, and Amy looked at one another and giggled.
“This has been quite the week, hasn’t it?” She continued. “We’ve managed to corner and catch a thief, survive a club trashing and shooting, save a business from foreclosure, and play matchmaker to not one but three different couples.”
“And revive the marriage of another,” reminded Vivian Furlish triumphantly.
“How do you know that?” Asked Fran a tad defensively.
“Oh, you people aren’t the only ones who have their eyes and ears open around here.” She smiled coyly. “And you’re forgetting one more major news flash.”
Amy and Fran looked at one another, stunned. 
“Mrs. Furlish, since when do you use that kind of lingo?” Asked Amy.
“Lingo schmingo,” said Fran. “The question is, do you know who did the big buy-out of The Lady?” 
Both Vivian and Amy seemed shocked, but Fran wasn’t buying it.
“Don’t look so surprised,” Fran said, staring directly at Amy. “Someone with a big heart and a lot of moolah anonymously stepped up. You wouldn’t know who that would be now, would you, Amy?”
Amy looked sheepish. “Does it matter?”
Franny grinned and relaxed. “No, I suppose not. I’m just glad to be back in business, with my husband and The Lady, because I’m married to both, and it sucks when things aren’t working out.”
“You can say that again,” Amy chimed in, and Fran and Amy laughed.
“Who’s The Lady,” asked Vivian Furlish, finally revealing just how little she really did know, and how little she could hear. 
Just then Genevieve popped her head out of the staff room. “Anybody want coffee?”
“No! We want you to get back in there and make good use of the forty minutes of time you have before you have to remove this blasted color,” hollered Fran. Genevieve shut the door.
“I don’t know about you two,” Amy said. “But what do you say we turn the music up?”
Hesitantly, Genevieve approached Liam from behind as he stood in front of the coffee maker waiting for the coffee to brew.
“A watched pot never boils,” she said in a low whisper. Liam turned around. “Didn’t you know that?”
Liam just smiled, reached out and pulled her body in to his. “All I needed was a distraction,” he said.
Before Liam knew what hit him, Genevieve’s lips were on his. Warm and sensual, their kisses joined them together at long last. His large, strong hands wrapped around her tiny waist and felt the tautness of her belly and back, her thin but shapely hips, her small, round breasts that had the best nipples he’d ever seen protruding from anyones clothing. Now he knew. Her skin was deliciously soft and warm as he groped around her with gentle affection. She smelled sweet and fresh, like the day after it rains. He buried his face into her neck and she turned her head, craning to meet him. She enjoyed his touch, his attentions, more than she could say. 
He lifted her up on the counter and spread her legs so he could bring her body close to his. They kissed some more, open-mouthed, erotic, seductive. Then Liam pulled back.
“Do you know what I want to do?” He said to Genevieve, eyes staring dreamily at her. “I want to take you to my place. I have a great place, did you know that?” Genevieve shook her head but didn’t say a word, as if mesmerized by his melodic voice. “It’s near the glades, surrounded by giant oak and banyan trees. In the morning when I rise, the wild parakeets sing their wake-up call. I picture us there, lying in bed while shadows from the nearby trees cast their dancing light upon the bed.”
“And, I’ll light a fire in the small, cozy living room and lay out my fur rugs to lie you down on. Then, once the room heats up, I’ll peel off each article of clothing one by one until your naked body shimmers in the firelight. Don’t worry, you won’t be cold. The furs and fire will keep you nice and warm.”
“Then what?” She asked with a mischievous grin.
“Then I’ll ask you to remove my clothes so that we can both lie naked together by the fire. Of course I’ll have candles lit, and will have poured us each a glass of Shiraz that we will sip while we talk and touch, exploring each others minds and bodies. As my appetizer I will rub wine lightly upon your breasts, then lick it off. How does that sound?”
“It sounds like I need an appetizer too. I think mine will be your earlobes. They look soft, tender, and juicy.” Genevieve bent forward and with care, began to suck on Liam’s right earlobe. His heart rate increased ten-fold, and he squirmed and shifted on his feet. He felt his erection but didn’t care. He could have her right there on the spot if he wanted to – would have, if it hadn’t been that he intended to do things differently this time. No more random fucking, letting desire overcome sense or love. He wanted to show respect. He wanted to love Genevieve like she’d never been loved before, and maybe if he did, she’d love him back equally. 
She let him go, but not before brushing her nose against his cheek, following his jawline with her lips until she reached the crease of his collarbone and neck. There she breathed in his scent for as long as she could before sitting back again.
“What else?” She asked. 
Liam looked at her. There was so much love in his eyes that it took her breath away. Never had she encountered such passion before. She could hardly believe this was real.
“Well,” Liam continued, somewhat shyly. “We would make love like there’s no tomorrow, that’s what. We would discover each other’s inner and outer beings, and leave no question unanswered, no stone unturned.” He looked up at her again. “I want to know your essence, G. I want to soak you all in until we are one. I didn’t used to believe something so glorious could happen, but now that I’ve met you, I do. Do you believe this can happen, Genevieve, sweet, sweet, Genevieve?” 
Genevieve rested her head in Liam’s shoulder and sighed. 
“You know, I never would have expected this. I mean, I work for you, we’ve hung out together, and I knew we got along. The rest…well, I just never thought much about it. I never thought much about you in that way, although I did find myself gravitating to you without realizing it. Even after I met Miguel, it was the salon, it was you that kept leaping to the forefront of my mind. I didn’t plan it or think it, things just sort of happened.”
Liam gazed adoringly into Genevieve’s sea green eyes as if to say, I’m home
“That’s the best way”  

…stay tuned…Titillating Tuesday’s will continue after a short hiatus with a new story that will begin Tuesday, December 27th.

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Posted on: November 15th, 2011 by Madison Lake No Comments
It was mid afternoon on a Tuesday and although on crutches, Liam Irish had been released from the hospital the day before and was now with the others waiting for Officer Billy and his partner, Fred, to arrive at the club. The police cruiser pulled into the back alley out of direct view of traffic, as directed by Della the day before. With the trashing, and then the shooting, they didn’t want to frighten off customers any more than they had already. Della met the two officers at the side door. 
“Hi. You must be Savannah’s brother, Billy,” Della said, looking directly at the handsome young man who was the spitting image of his sister. Then Della looked over at the other, older gentleman.
“This here’s my partner in crime, Fred,” offered Billy. “Fred, this is…”
“Della. It’s Della,” she said, almost choking out the words as she melted under Fred’s gaze. He wouldn’t take his eyes off of her until, finally, she turned away.
“Uh, c’mon over, fellas. I’ll introduce you to the others.”

After over an hour of detailed discussion and questioning, Billy and Fred had gathered enough information and concrete evidence to track down the notorious crook, Dominic Diaz. The group discovered that although Dom had already been arrested several times, he always seemed to get off – either by someone paying his bail bond or someone paying off an officer, lawyer or judge. Billy and Fred had reams of paperwork on the guy, and were more than ready to put him away for a very long time nailing him with what ever they could. In this case it would be theft, attempted murder, and operating illegal sexual services for profit. They figured that was a good start. 
Meanwhile, unbelievable sparks were flying between Fred and Della. It was as if they were meant for one another and had just been waiting to be thrown together. Everyone around the table quickly became aware of this electric energy between them, but neither Della nor Fred seemed the least bit phased, let alone cared what anyone thought. Their easy banter and unguarded looks seemed as normal as if they had been together for years, and although Fred was serious about the case he was there to work on, he afforded himself enough freedom to laugh and flirt to ensure Della knew his intentions. 
During the interrogation process, which was really nothing more than a gathering of information from all possible witnesses, Savannah disclosed detailed events of what went on behind the scenes at The Lady. Although not news to anyone present, some points were shocking. For instance, Genevieve knew many of the girls who danced at the club sometimes brought clients backstage to their dressing room/boudoir after the show, but she seemed surprised that, as a way of making extra cash, a few of them also worked the streets for Dom. On the other hand, having been in the nightclub business for many years, Mitch had long since become accustomed to the other side of life, and had accepted the girls curricular activities as long as there was no trouble, which is where the line had recently been crossed with Dom. However, he was glad Fran had a “headache” and had decided to stay home. This was far too much unnecessary information for her to be privy to. Although all this talk was nothing new to Liam, he still seemed miffed by something. Genevieve noticed his agitation during the discussion, like there was something he didn’t understand. Miguel just sat and listened, like he’d heard it all before.
“Well,” Billy said finally. “That about wraps it up for the time being. Fred and I will head back to the department and begin tracking down this asshole. With his connections and track record, that shouldn’t take long.” Billy stood up and hesitantly, Fred followed. 
“I’ll see you out,” Della offered enthusiastically, and everyone smiled at one another. Della ignored them. 
“Billy, there’s just one thing I’d like to know before you go.” Liam asked. “Besides Dom having been bailed out by insiders over the years, why is it that the rest of you boys have let him run free all this time, let him continue getting away with all this shit, even when you knew he was trouble?”
“That’s easy,” Billy replied without hesitation. “We needed actual proof. Oh sure, we’d had opportunities in the past where we thought we could string him up by the neck, but he’s a wily son of a bitch, and well connected. Somehow that bugger managed to wriggle out of situations he found himself in, and therefore wriggle out of our hands. We’ve needed people like you to risk coming forward with clean, clear evidence.” He paused. “There have been plenty of witnesses over the years, all of whom were too scared to talk once the guy was arrested. Dominic made threats to everyone he duped. Even though those people knew they were being blackmailed, they also knew enough not to take Dom’s threats lightly.”
“So, why now?” 
“I think you can answer your own question, Mr. Irish.”
Liam thought for a minute. “Safety in numbers?”
“Absolutely. You folks have stuck together to make this happen. That’s the secret to success in these cases. It’s pretty hard to fight a gang.”
“Well, if that’s the case, Savannah and the girls could have come forward ages ago,” suggested Della. “They’ve known about Dom and his antics for longer than the rest of us.”
“Sadly, the girls didn’t feel they were enough of a force to scare the bastard off and remain safe,” replied Billy. “With time they might have been, but frankly I persuaded Savannah not to try. Dom’s too powerful a force in the underworld. I didn’t feel confident enough to let her risk her life or theirs to get him.” Billy looked supportively at his sister, and Savannah returned the attention of her protective big brother with glowing pride. “I think things have just naturally worked out, don’t you?” He said, in closing.
Liam and the other’s couldn’t help but agree, so they said their goodbyes as Della walked them to the side door.
“Thanks ever so much for coming out this afternoon,” Della said as she held the door open for the two men. “Fingers crossed that this all works as planned. Good luck.”
“Bye, Della. We’ll be in touch.” Billy walked to the cruiser that was parked a few feet away, close to the side of the building. Fred lingered, glancing between the car and the side door of the club where Della remained. 
“So, Della,” he stammered. “I’ll…I mean, we’ll call when we know more.” Fred shuffled his feet nervously. “But I might…”
“Please do call, Fred. That’d suit me just fine. Call anytime. I’m usually here, or else Savannah knows how to reach me.” Della was not the type to miss an opportunity when she saw one.
“Yeah, sure Della, I’ll do that. I’ll call.” Fred’s face flushed red, but his grin lit up the open doorway. “So, I guess that means I’ll see ya around.”
“You betcha,” Della replied, also grinning from ear to ear.

…Stay tuned…the last chapter of Salon Antics, chapter 19, will be posted next Tuesday, November 22nd…

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Genevieve, Della, Miguel, and Savannah Porsche sat huddled close together in the waiting room of Cedars Medical Center, waiting for blood work and x-ray results to come back from the lab.  The emergency physician had reassured them that everything would be alright, but there were concerns as to whether the bullet had torn into ligaments in his femur, which would require orthopedic surgery then plastic surgery. They were also concerned the bullet had nipped an artery when passing through his leg. There had been a lot of blood. 

It had already been a long night. They had been awake, on and off, for almost seventy two hours. Miguel snored softly, his head leaning against the seat back of a hospital waiting room chair. Savannah stood and began pacing across the shiny, freshly mopped floor. 

“Boy, could I use a coffee,” she said, glancing around for a beverage machine.

“Me too,” seconded Della drowsily.

“Let’s go find the cafeteria, Savannah. I wouldn’t mind a hit of caffeine either,” Genevieve suggested, ready for a breather.

“I’ll stay and sit with sleeping beauty in case the doc shows up with some news,” Della said, nodding toward Miguel. “Would you grab one for me too?”

Genevieve stood up and the two of them walked toward the elevators. When they got to the cafeteria on the sub-basement level, they each filled a Styrofoam cup with fresh steaming coffee and sat down.

“Listen, G. This may not be the time to talk about this, but then, I’m not sure when would be.” Genevieve looked into Savannah’s bright blue eyes that stared back at her with such innocence – such desire.

“Well then, go ahead…shoot,” said Genevieve. “No pun intended.” They both managed a nervous laugh.

“Has Miguel spoken to you yet?” Genevieve looked startled.

“Well, no. I mean, he tried. He tried when we were at the club, before the shooting, but then all the commotion and everybody coming and going, well…”

“So I guess he didn’t manage to tell you about us?”

“You? What about you?” There was a moment where Genevieve looked very confused, not understanding where this conversation was going. Then, like a lightbulb suddenly went on, her eyes brightened.

Oh my god! You. You and Miguel are…So that’s what he was trying to say, that’s what he so desperately wanted to tell me.” A relieved and happy smile broke out on G’s face.

“So, you’re not mad? You’re not upset?” 

Genevieve stared again at her friend in disbelief. Savannah began to shift uncomfortably in her chair. G took her hand and held it between the two of hers.

“No, Savannah, I’m not mad. I’m glad. I totally get it – now. I’m just kind of daft about stuff like this sometimes, and with all that’s been going on, well…you know.”

“Oh, do I ever. I mean even with me and Miguel, it just sort of happened before either of us could actually make any sense of it. G, you know I never would have betrayed you if Miguel hadn’t told me that you two weren’t really happening anymore.”

“Miguel said that?”

“Well, once we knew there was a connection, once the sparks started flying, then yeah, he sort of reassured me that it wouldn’t be a problem, that you weren’t really together anymore. Besides, it just sort of happened.”

“That’s the best way,” laughed Genevieve, and Savannah relaxed. “I have been going through my own turmoil about how to let Miguel down gently,” Genevieve said. “Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great guy, but I realized almost as soon as we started seeing each other that we weren’t meant for one another. We had fun and all, and the sex…well, you know…” Genevieve broke off, feeling ashamed she brought that up in front of Savannah.

“Don’t worry, G. We’re women, and we’re grown ups. There’s no point pretending there wasn’t sex involved, and I’m sure pretty it was good sex, if I’m not mistaken.” She blushed, and they both laughed.

“Well, I’m glad. I’m glad you have both found each other. In fact, I can’t think of a better match. I knew it wasn’t going to be me but, and I’m sorry to say, I didn’t ever think of it being you either – until now. Now I see how perfect it is. Really.”

Just then Della came barging into the cafeteria, breathless.

“Come, come quickly. Irish is out of recovery. He’s in his room and wants to see us, or at least see you, G. C’mon, hurry.” Della turned on her heels and headed back to the elevator.

“Hmmm, since we’re now sharing secrets, is there something you want to tell me?” Savannah asked, looking at Genevieve suspiciously. Genevieve smiled.

“You’ll find out soon enough. We’d better get upstairs now.” Before Savannah had a chance to grab her coffee, Genevieve was there. She put her arms around her and gave Savannah a warm hug. 

“That’s for all the things we’ve been through together.” 

* * * * *

Liam’s eyes flitted open and closed for the first half hour, while Genevieve held his hand and stroked his warm, rosy cheeks. She’d never had a chance to inspect his face for such a long period of time before, so she enjoyed getting to know this man even more intimately. By studying the curve of his jaw, the shape of his earlobe, the breadth of his brow, she was able to get a sense of who this mysterious, sexy, gentle giant was. His skin, although often covered with a two-day growth, was actually very smooth and rich in color. Her index finger followed the inked green, blue and yellow skin of the Indian Cobra whose tail ran from Liam’s left shoulder all the way to rest its head on the soft veins of his wrist, tongue spitting red. She could almost feel its scales they looked so realistic. He had other tattoos too; roses, so delicate she felt she could smell them, dancing skeletons symbolizing life and death, a face of a woman, and the word truth spelled out above his heart. She had never seen his body before, so all this art fascinated her and intrigued her even more than she was already. Bravely, Genevieve bent down to kiss him, his lips inviting her. The door opened before their lips touched, as did Liam’s eyes, meeting Genevieve square on. They held each other’s gaze while their hearts pounded like conga drums in their chests.

“Well, Mr. Irish, you had quite a close shave last night.” Dr. Hodgson, who looked old enough to be Liam’s father, put his stethoscope in his ears and approached the bed. Genevieve got the message and pulled back, but she didn’t let go of Liam’s hand, nor did he let go of hers.

“Everything sounds fine. How’s the leg feeling?”

“A little painful, I have to admit,” Liam sighed. “What news do you have? What did the tests show?”

Doctor Hodgson, white haired and slight of frame, walked around the bed and sat on the edge near where Genevieve was standing.

“So far we think the bullet just grazed your femoral artery. This was a serious concern for us at first, but the bleeding seems to have subsided for now. That doesn’t mean you are out of the woods. You must remain bedridden for at least another twenty four hours, is that clear?” Liam nodded. “That way we’ll be able to monitor the bleeding to see if any other issues flare up in the meantime.” The doctor cleared his throat and continued. 

“As for the torn ligaments, we’ve had our orthopedic surgeon take a look at the x-rays. He seems to think you might not require surgery after all, but again, nothing is set in stone. You’re going to have to stay here for a few days minimum. You’re okay with that, aren’t you Mr. Irish?” Liam nodded again, agreeably. “We don’t want to send you home with some unforeseen problem that might occur later.” Dr. Hodgson looked at Liam seriously. 

“That bullet went right through your leg, young man. At close range. You are very lucky, you hear me? Very lucky.” He stood up. 

“So, I’ll be back to see you again tomorrow, after my morning rounds. Until then, you have good staff taking care of you here. Make sure you ask for help if you need it and please, do yourself a favor. Don’t get out of bed.” 

“By the way,” he said before exiting the room. “Apparently someone from the Miami Metro is going to be paying you a call in the next while.” He turned and the door automatically hissed shut.

Liam looked at Genevieve’s worried face.

“Well, that man doesn’t mince words, does he?” She laughed, then buried her head in the crook of Liam’s arm. He wrapped his strong arms around her and brought her body close enough to his so that he could feel the soft fullness of her breast, hear her heart pounding against his own. Gently, he lifted her chin so that her face was close to his. One look melted her into submission and their lips were locked in a warm and passionate kiss before either one of them realized what had happened – that Della, Miguel, Savannah, Mitch, and Fran were standing in the doorway watching.

…stay tuned…chapter 18 of Salon Antics will be posted next Tuesday, November 15…

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Posted on: November 1st, 2011 by Madison Lake No Comments

Shock and disbelief swept over the lot of them as the extent of the damage began to sink in. It was two days after the horrible incident at The Lady. An old ghetto blaster had been set up to drown out the din of clean-up while Harry, the bartender, and a crew of bouncers set tables and chairs back in place and swept away shards of broken glass. The atmosphere was gloomy. No one had heard from or seen Dominic Diaz, which spoke volumes, but no one really wanted to see him. They all knew from their simmering anger and frustration that if he were to walk into the club right now he might not make it out alive.
As usual, Liam and Genevieve were sitting with Della at the back corner table when Miguel entered through the backstage door. What lights were still functioning cast a dim glow in the room. Although clean-up had begun, based on the dismal state of things, it was going to be a long, slow process despite the need to get things up and running swiftly. 
“Hey,” Miguel said as he approached the table. “Glad to see someone’s still hanging around. Anything I can do to help out?”
“Have a seat, Miguel,” Liam offered. He scooted over on the cushioned bench of the booth to make room. Miguel obliged. 
“Where’s the rest of them? Where’s Mitch and Fran?” 
“They went home,” Liam replied. “It has all been too much for them, especially Franny.” He looked at Della, then to G, who was slumped in the corner, head bent forward. “They just need a break. I told them we’d take care of things.”
“Oh for sure, man,” Miguel said, jumping in enthusiastically. “I’ll do what ever it takes. No problem.”
Normally Liam would have smiled at that, but he was too distracted trying to make sense of this blatant show of revenge by who was now their enemy. The game had changed. With unspoken thoughts, it was clear to them all that this meant war. Each one bore their own outrage, their own grief, each had a bone to pick with Dominic Diaz. And, if Dom was capable of this, what else might he do? The scope of their plan felt overwhelming now, and they all wondered if they were in over their heads. But they all knew they were in it together, and Dom must be stopped – somehow.

“So, I don’t know about the rest of you,” Della broke in. “But we came down here for a reason. As far as I’m concerned, we’ll wade through this shit Dom tried to place in our path and carry on with our plan. We’re not the types to let some piece of work like him ruin our lives.” Della put her hand gently on Genevieve’s shoulder and kept it there comfortingly as if to say, everything will be alright
“Damned if I’m gonna let that prick get away with this,” Liam suddenly blurted. Everyone was quiet for a moment, not knowing what to say.
“Irish, no one is going to let that man get away with this or anything else. No one.” Della said with gumption.
Just then the front door creaked open allowing a sliver of light to enter. A dark figure appeared, but they couldn’t tell who it was as the shadow that was being cast was larger than life. Thinking it might be Dom and his heartless thugs returning to the scene of the crime, they remained motionless while a lone, hooded figure slowly made its way through the darkness toward their table. Tension hung in the air. Liam’s body stiffened at the ready. Genevieve sat up straight, eyes and ears perked. It didn’t look like Dom, but was it one of his many goons? Then around the corner Savannah appeared, wrapped in a bulky, hooded terry cloth bathrobe, two sizes too big. A lavender silk dressing gown hung out the bottom. 
“What are you doing here, Savannah?” It was Liam who spoke first. Unlike her usual feistiness, she looked around the table shyly. 
“I was awake,” she started, and shot a quick glance over to Miguel, who smiled in return, which seemed to put her more at ease. “I just thought I’d come in to see if anyone was here…what was going on, that’s all.”
“Slide on in,” Genevieve said, and gestured for Savannah to squeeze in beside her. Miguel stood up, as did Della, to let Savannah in around the now crowded table. 
“Well, isn’t this very King Arthur-like?” Miguel said with a chuckle, noting the appearance of them seated around the table. No one laughed.
“Listen,” Savannah began. “I think I can help.” Liam looked at her, surprised.
“What do you mean help Savannah?” He asked.
“Well, I’ve been thinking, and talking with the girls…and Miguel.” Her eyes darted toward Miguel again, but she knew better than to let them linger, not now. 
“You see, some of us girls have been keeping notes, diaries, of the money we make, lend, and are owed. As you may know, Dom takes a cut – a huge cut, in our,” she paused. “In our after-hours work.” Savannah looked around at the inquisitive faces staring at her. Were they surprised at this news? She thought not. Were they disgusted, or did they judge her for her chosen lifestyle? If they only knew her story, they might understand, might have some sympathy. She knew G had been down the same road. Surely she understood. Really, any one of them should understand, given the situation of the club they all chose to hang out in. Lost in thought, Savannah almost forgot she was telling them vital information.
“Go on,” Liam said gently, coaxing Savannah on.
“Well, here’s the deal. Dom has been not only taking too big of a cut from our hard earned wages, he also borrows money from many of the girls. Not me, because he knows better,” she smiled. “But several of the other girls. He threatens them big time not to tell anyone, including me. Luckily we all confide in each other in this business, or at least we do here at The Lady. Anyway,” she took a deep breath. “He borrows money with the pretense that he will pay them back with interest of fifteen to twenty percent. He goes so far as to sign a promissory note, which I’m sure is a fake. He probably rips it up afterward. The point is, none of these girls have seen a dime, and for many it’s been over a year. The thing is, Dom has had the money and could have easily paid for this place by now,” she said, indicating the club by pointing at the surrounding mess. “He could have paid Mitch in payments with the money he’s been getting, but he hasn’t. Dom is spending it somewhere, and it wouldn’t be hard to find out where.”
“How do you figure that, Savannah? What do you know?” Liam’s interest was clearly piqued.
“I don’t know anything…yet. But, well you see, my brother’s a cop.”
“A what?” The question rang out in unison as jaws dropped around the table.
“Savannah, with all due respect,” Liam asked politely. “Does your brother know what you do?”
“Yeah, of course he does. We come from the same background, the same seed. You know the drill. We’ve both had to try to make a go of it, we’ve just chosen different paths. He knows that, and he knows I’m a good person, a decent person, so he protects me in my chosen career till I can work myself out of this hell-hole.” 
The table was quiet, but Genevieve put her arm around Savannah’s shoulder and gave her a squeeze. Savannah rested a tired head on G’s shoulder and closed her eyes for a moment while she gathered her thoughts. She knew G would understand, but there was so much to explain, so much to put on the table.
“I’m guessing there’s more,” Liam asked, trying to keep momentum going. Savannah’s eyes opened.
“Okay, my idea is this; we get my brother in on the plan.” 
“Are you joking?” Della broke in.
“It’s okay, Della,” said Liam. “Let’s wait to hear what Savannah has to say. Go on, Savannah.”
“Well, I was thinking that if Billy, that’s my brother. If Billy knew the whole story – about the club and the deal between Dom and Mitch, and the sleazy way in which Dom operates, then maybe he’d be able to come up with a way to nab him. You know, dig up some old shit on him, because I’m sure there is some. Or maybe he could work undercover, and with the help of the girls, catch him in the act.” Savannah looked around the table. “You know, this trashing of the club is just a warning. Who knows what he’ll do next, but let’s not wait to find out. All we need is proof – anything at all – and we can nail his ass to the cross.”
Liam nodded as he took in this new information. He had to agree she had some good points. And they had nothing to hide from the cops, except perhaps what went on backstage after hours, which the cops might overlook since they were handing them a much bigger fish to fry.
Just then their meeting was disrupted by a loud disturbance. Liam looked over to the side door entrance where the noise came from. 
“You stay here,” Liam said to the rest of the group. “I’m going to check things out. Be right back.” Liam rose and headed toward the bar.
“Wait, I’m coming too,” said Savannah, scrambling over Miguel and Della to get out. Before anyone could stop her, Savannah was bounding after Liam, who had no time to question her. 
Feeling anxious, and sensing a need to act, Miguel grabbed what he figured was his only opportunity to talk with Genevieve. It had been too long. They had been so distant lately, due in part to everything that was going down at the club, but also due to their drifting apart over the past few days. Miguel knew they needed to discuss things, but it had been next to impossible to find time alone together. 
He had felt Genevieve pulling away from him. On reflection, their last intimate time together had been at the beach, which seemed years rather than days ago. Since that time she had become aloof, had avoided being alone with him and made a point of being too busy to get together anymore. No doubt he was hurt, especially after the passion they had shared that day, and the freedom she felt for the first time in who knew how long. Somehow he believed he’d played a role in her liberation, yet that was as close as she’d let him get to her. For Miguel, it was a turn of events, and it had been that point when he realized that, no matter how attracted he was to Genevieve, or how amazing he thought she was, the connection they had was strictly physical. Ironically, rather than simply enjoy their erotic and often wild sexual encounters they had, he had been the one trying to make more of it, trying to create something that was not meant to be. Wasn’t he usually the no strings attached guy? Yet with G, he had been trying to drive their romance upstream rather than let it go with the flow. He had become his own worst enemy, and now had become hers. Ironically, Genevieve had changed the way he viewed relationships by playing at his game. And ironically, he had found the smart, sexy, independent woman of his dreams when he wasn’t looking, when he let go of trying. Once he met Savannah did he truly understand this. 
Lately it had become harder and harder for Miguel to be in G’s presence and not confide in her, not tell her the truth about what was going on, what had been going on, not only inside him but with Savannah. He wanted to talk about the choices they had made, or more specifically, the choice he had made, so they could end this now nonexistent relationship and carry on as friends. He believed they had a good chance of doing this, but they had to talk.
“G,” Miguel said in a whisper, turning to Genevieve in earnest. “We haven’t had a minute alone and…and so much has been happening. We just have to talk.” Miguel stopped and waited for her response, but she gave none, so he continued. 
“Listen, G, I’m not trying to mess things up between us or anything, but…”
“But what, Miguel?” Genevieve looked across the table, but Della seemed to be preoccupied with Liam and what all the commotion was about, so she turned back to Miguel. “It hasn’t exactly been a stress free time in anybody’s life right now, has it?” She continued. “So I’m sorry if I haven’t been there for you the way you’d like me to. I’m sorry, okay?” Miguel looked puzzled.
“It’s not you, G. It’s me. I’m the one. I…I haven’t been one hundred percent…”
Suddenly all the lights went out. The ghetto blaster quit playing, leaving only muffled sounds of confusion in the room. 
“What the fuck? Who turned off the lights?” Cried an annoyed male voice from somewhere behind the bar.
“I can’t see a thing,” said another.
“What’s going on? Irish…Irish?” Della was groping her way out of the booth, either on her way to find Liam, or on her way to the fuse box. Genevieve climbed out of her seat and met Della in front of the table. 
“Sorry, Miguel. We’ll have to finish this conversation later.” Then Della and Genevieve headed slowly and cautiously toward the hubbub.
“Irish, where are you,” Genevieve yelled in the direction that she thought Liam and Savannah had gone. 
“Someone have a light? We need light.” It was Harry who hollered from somewhere across the room.
“Shit. Where’s my torch when I need it?” One of the work crew could be heard fumbling around for a lighter.
“Get off me…quit touching me you queer,” came a voice all too familiar. It sent chills up and down Della and Genevieve’s spine. Their pace quickened, but in the pitch blackness and with the debris strewn around the club, they were limited.
Hands desperately grasped at the dark, panic stricken voices called out. Something, a beer glass or pitcher, fell to the floor and shattered, a bar stool tumbled over, landing with a loud bang on the concrete floor. For what seemed eternity there was mild chaos, then a tussle at the bar ensued, and out of nowhere a shot rang out, followed by a terrifying silence. 

…stay tuned…Chapter 17 will be posted next Tuesday, November 8th…

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