Read an Excerpt
By LOGAN BELLE
APHRODISIACopyright © 2012 Logan Belle
All right reserved.
Chapter One"Are you nervous?" Mallory Dale's boyfriend, Alec, asked her.
"No. Should I be?" She surveyed the room, finally seeing the tangible results of nearly a year of work.
"It's a big night," Alec said.
"The first of many to come, I hope," she said, putting her arms around him. "And I'm ready."
In one hour, the club they had created would be unveiled to New York. Standing alone in the room, holding Alec's hand, she felt confident in the world they had brought to life. The Painted Lady was unlike any burlesque club in the city: After careful research and their investors' generous open checkbooks, they had managed to create a glorious throwback to the roaring twenties.
Mallory had always loved flapper style. It was fashion liberation. In that sense, flappers did for women of the 1920s what burlesque did for her: It shocked her, then irrevocably changed the way she saw herself. And now she'd helped create a space that would have made Zelda Fitzgerald proud: The Painted Lady burlesque club was a decadent tableau of unrestrained art deco. The red walls were decorated with portraits of Josephine Baker and iconic flapper Louise Brooks, a collection of Grundworth and Yva Richard fetish photographs, and illustrated pochoir prints by Erté. The brass and bronze chandeliers had been designed for the 1925 Paris Exposition. And the top-notch sound system was already playing Irving Berlin's "Puttin' on the Ritz."
"You definitely look ready. You are by far the sexiest flapper ever to grace a stage. Were women allowed to be this hot in the 1920s?" Alec asked. He pulled her over so she could see her reflection in one of the mirrored picture frames.
She'd never been more excited about a costume. Her former boss—and onetime owner of the famous burlesque club the Blue Angel—had created the pink satin flapper dress and beaded headpiece for her. Then, after scouring the best vintage shops in the city, she and Alec had found the perfect accessories: ropes of pink and black beads to wear around her neck, and black patent leather heels with ankle straps. Even her face was transformed to Old World glamour: Her best friend, notorious burlesquer, model, and actress Bette Noir, had spent an hour at her apartment earlier applying her makeup to look flapper chic.
Alec kissed the back of her neck, running his hands up from her waist to her breasts. She sighed, a swell of desire rising in her chest. But she forced herself to push his hands gently away. "We don't have time. Save it for later, okay?" she said. Still, she felt a twinge between her legs. Alec could always get her going, even when she had less than one hour before the beginning of the biggest night of her New York life.
"Now that you mention it, I am saving something for later," he said, the tone of his voice especially devilish.
She turned to look at him. "Oh, yeah? What's going on?"
"I have a surprise for you."
"You know I don't like surprises," Mallory said.
"Hmm. The last time you told me that, things turned out okay, didn't they?"
She knew he was referring to the night he took her to her first burlesque show on her twenty-fifth birthday at the Blue Angel. Now, just two years later, it was the opening night of her own club. Well, The Painted Lady wasn't technically her club. But she was the creative force behind it, along with Alec. It was their baby, and after designing the look and feel of the club, hiring the staff of dancers, choreographing the début show, and writing the script for the opening night's MC, it was finally the moment of truth.
Bette Noir strutted over to them. With her signature black bob, she already looked like a modern-day Louise Brooks.
She carried a large flower arrangement wrapped in plastic. "Someone has a secret admirer," she said, handing the package to Mallory.
"Is that my surprise?" Mallory asked Alec.
"No. It's not from me." He raised an eyebrow, as if looking at her with suspicion.
"Busted—my secret lover," she teased. A year ago, it might have been true. But all of that was behind them now.
Mallory tore the plastic wrapper away to reveal a remarkable bouquet of pink flowers that happened to match the exact shade of her costume.
"Will you look at this!" she said, almost afraid to move the arrangement, it looked so delicate and perfect—more like a sculpture than a flower arrangement. A dozen or so Phalaenopsis orchids brimmed over the top of a long, rectangular vase. Underneath the flowers, circles of grass were arranged inside the glass walls, as if an artist had painted green loops with a delicate brush.
Mallory detached the card. "For Mallory: Thanks for all your hard work. Tonight, we see it bloom. Our love, Justin and Martha."
"You gotta love those guys," Bette said.
Justin Baxter and Martha Pike were the money behind The Painted Lady, and they were among Manhattan's most visible—and unusual—couples. Martha had made her millions in the vaginal rejuvenation field: She'd invented a device called the Pike Kegel Ball, and many a bold-faced name over the age of thirty, when pressed, would admit it had helped take years off her vag. Justin was a drop-dead gorgeous former playboy who'd settled down with the less-than-attractive Martha when he was in his early thirties, and the two seemed extremely happy together. They both had an appetite for beautiful young women and kinky sex, and they happily indulged their desires together. They also threw the most decadent, incredible parties on both coasts and were major patrons of the arts. When their favorite burlesque club, the Blue Angel, was bought out by a woman they knew would run it into the ground, they decided to open a club of their own. That's when Mallory and Alec had gotten their dream jobs: The club was theirs to create and run. Martha would write the checks.
"Now I'm tempted to give you my surprise," Alec said, putting his arms around Mallory. She tilted up her face so he could kiss her.
"So give it to me, baby," she said.
"Ah, my favorite thing to hear," he said, pulling her close. "But you're just going to have to get through the show."
"You're such a sadist," she said.
"And you wouldn't have it any other way."
Violet Offender paced the dressing area of the club formerly known as the Blue Angel. She ran a hand through her short-cropped, white-blond hair, her cheeks flushed with irritation.
"What do you mean it's by invitation only?" she snapped at the petite redhead busily getting into costume. For once, the sight of the woman's luscious breasts bound in a corset wasn't enough to calm Violet's nerves.
"I did what you told me to do: I went to get a ticket for the show tonight, and the woman at the door told me the opening night was by invitation. Press and friends only."
"Jesus! Why do I have to do everything myself around here? Give me a phone." The girl scrambled to hand over her iPhone. Violet punched in the number of her reluctant business partner and bankroller, the magazine publisher Billy Barton. "Billy, I need you to get off your ass and do something for this club for once: We need press passes to the opening of The Painted Lady. Apparently, I am the only one around here who seems aware of the fact that a major competitor is opening up shop tonight. I didn't buy this fucking dump to get steamrolled by Mallory Dale six months later. Call me back ASAP."
"Baby, there's nothing to worry about," said the redhead, half-dressed in her costume, a sexy equestrian ensemble complete with riding boots and crop. "We've already been open for months and months."
"Don't be an idiot," Violet snapped. "This isn't the Internet: Getting there first doesn't mean shit. It just means you're old news. Change back into regular clothes. I'm getting you into that show tonight one way or another. And I want you to report back everything: the music, the girls, the costumes. Take photos."
"They probably won't allow photos," said the redhead. "I'm not asking you to get permission, I'm telling you to get photos. God, I'm tense," Violet said. She knew there was only one way to relieve her stress. Now that she was running the club, she barely had time for her former day job and favorite pastime, her work as a professional dominatrix. Fortunately, her latest fuck toy, a five foot two inch former investment banker with enormous breasts and the burlesque name Cookies 'n' Cream, was always willing to bend over backwards—sometimes literally—to accommodate her needs.
Violet locked the dressing room door. "Take off your clothes," Violet said. "But leave on the boots."
Cookies wordlessly complied, unfastening her corset and stepping out of her lace panties. Her legs were covered in black English riding boots with zippers up the sides. The rest of her costume, including a black riding helmet and riding crop, was by her feet.
Cookies' delicate porcelain skin was red from the pressure of the corset, and it gave Violet the irresistible urge to see matching welts on her ass.
"Turn around," Violet said, picking up the crop. Cookies obeyed, letting Violet push her down so she was leaning on a vanity table, her ass in the air. "Don't move," Violet ordered. She paused for a minute to look at Cookies' pale, creamy ass, a hint of russet pubic hair visible between her legs. She resisted the urge to get on her knees and lick the girl's pussy. She knew in order to get true satisfaction she had to do things in the proper order. Violet understood the need for control, something most of her lovers did not. At least, not until she taught them.
She raised the riding crop and brought it down hard on Cookies' left ass cheek. The girl cried out, but did not move a muscle. A satisfying red mark emerged almost immediately on her flesh. Violet repeated the lashing on the other side. She dropped the crop and kneeled behind Cookies. She pressed one finger into Cookies' pussy and was satisfied to find it very wet. Violet was surprised to feel the building pressure in her own cunt. There was something about Cookies that always got her excited. She wasn't sure what it was, but it was a relief to not be bored yet.
She worked her finger in and out, reaching up to graze Cookies' clit before resuming the sharp strokes inside of her. She slipped one hand inside her own underwear, mirroring the motions inside herself as she worked Cookies into a frenzy. She felt Cookies' pussy contract on her fingers, and the girl cried out as she came.
Violet quickly pulled off her jeans. She tugged on Cookies' hair to turn her around. Violet sat on a chair, spread her legs. Cookies knelt in front of her, hands on Violet's thighs, her tongue lapping at her wetness.
"Fuck me," Violet growled. Cookies darted her tongue in and out of Violet's pussy. Violet pulled on her head, trying to get her deeper. She felt a rush of impatience. "Use your hand."
Cookies moved her mouth to Violet's clit, her fingers pressing inside with the sharp, fast strokes she knew Violet liked. Sure enough, Violet shuddered to a silent climax. Cookies sat back on her heels, wincing when she accidentally put pressure on the freshly bruised skin on her ass.
Violet noticed her discomfort and said, "If you think your ass hurts now, you don't even want to know what it will feel like if you come back here tonight without photos of The Painted Lady show."
Chapter TwoMallory stood behind the red curtain. On the other side of it, center stage, Alec warmed up the crowd, reminding them that the more skin the performers revealed, the louder he expected the audience to get. "Foot stomping is appreciated, but not mandatory," he said to a few laughs.
"I see some familiar faces out there," he said. This was met with shouts and clapping. "As you know, this is a huge night for New York burlesque—and I don't just mean because Supersize Suzy is visiting us tonight." This brought another round of applause: Supersize Suzy was a six foot two inch, double D–breasted British transvestite who had recently been made infamous by her unbridled performance in a burlesque documentary called Fan Dancers. "And if that isn't enough, we are starstruck to have with us tonight—fresh off her latest movie set—the mysterious, magnificent Mistress of Delight: Bette Noir." More applause, whistles, and a few random shout-outs of her name.
From her perch behind the curtain, Mallory smiled. She remembered how, at the first show she'd gone to, the audience had gone wild when Bette's name was announced. And that was before she became world famous for dating the pop star Zebra, appearing in a national Dolce & Gabbana campaign, and getting rave reviews in an indie film directed by Jake Gyllenhaal. "But first, I have the great pleasure of introducing to you our opening performer: the sexy, sassy, incomparable Moxie!"
At the sound of her stage name, Mallory reflexively straightened her back. She tugged on her elbow-length white gloves to make sure they were easily removable, and straightened her headpiece. These were nervous, unnecessary tics. She was, as always, perfectly prepared for her performance. Maybe more so tonight than ever before.
The song "Puttin' on the Ritz"—the synth-pop 1983 cover version—filled the room. The curtain receded to one side, and Mallory felt the heat of the stage lights bathing her in a red glow. From the darkness in front of her, the full house roared. She knew she was a sight in her costume, but this wasn't a fashion show. Being a sight wasn't enough. Burlesque was all about the reveal—revealing parts of her body, yes. But in doing so, she would elicit a reaction from the audience that revealed something about them.
Mallory shimmied to the front of the stage, twirling the fluffy pink boa draped over her shoulders. She sensed the audience's collective anticipation. Although she'd practiced on the stage many times, it felt dramatically different to be in front of people. In the months since the Blue Angel had changed ownership and she'd stopped performing, she'd almost forgotten what it felt like to play off a crowd.
As the song kicked up-tempo, she swiveled her heels in opposite directions, launching into an improvised Charleston. At the same time, she tugged off one glove, throwing it into the audience to an appreciative roar. She loved the way the pink beaded fringe on her dress moved with her hips, and she exaggerated her kicks in the front and back to maximize the dramatic flair of silk.
When the song came to the lyrics "walk with sticks or umberellas," she retrieved a black walking stick from the floor and used the tip to tease off the spaghetti straps of her dress. With another shimmy, her breasts were exposed, her nipples covered in pink sequined pasties with pink tassels. The audience shouted her name, and she let the dress fall to the floor so she was clad in only the boa, pasties, a pink thong, thigh-high white fishnet stockings with garters, and her black patent heels. She used the boa to tease the crowd, covering her breasts and then revealing them in flashes. She turned her back to the audience, holding the boa in either hand, stretching it across her nearly bare ass and rubbing it back and forth. Then she bent forward and moved the boa so she was rubbing it between her thighs from the front to the back. This whipped the crowd into a frenzy, and when she turned to face them again, she dropped the boa and shimmied her shoulders so the tassels on her pasties twirled dramatically.
The red curtain closed.
"That performance would almost make Prohibition tolerable," said Bette.
Mallory was breathless and could only smile her thanks. She heard Alec retake the stage to introduce the next act.
"Another round of applause for Moxie, the sexiest flapper to grace the stage since Louise Brooks," said Alec. The audience clapped. "Moxie, come on back out here."
"What is he doing?" Mallory asked Bette. "He's interrupting the whole flow of the show."
"Better go humor him," Bette said. She handed Mallory a black silk robe.
Mallory quickly covered herself and returned to the stage. A few people stood to applaud her. This was embarrassing. What was Alec thinking?
"I don't know how many of you are aware of this, but in addition to being The Painted Lady's opening performer, Moxie is also the creative director of the club and producer of the show you are seeing tonight. And I'm hoping she might take on one more role—that of my wife!"
Excerpted from Naked Angel by LOGAN BELLE Copyright © 2012 by Logan Belle. Excerpted by permission of APHRODISIA. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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