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Mistress christmas, p.15
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       Mistress Christmas, p.15

         Part #1 of Wild West Boys series by Lorelei James
 
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Page 15

  Author: Lorelei James

  “Yes. ”

  “Did he pay you for it?”

  Holly nodded.

  “How much?”

  “Umm. One hundred dollars. ”

  “Are you serious?”

  “Yeah. I-I didn’t know what to charge. ”

  Ivy mumbled, “Maybe I oughta put you in charge of pricing, since that’s quadruple the standard rate. ”

  “Ivy!”

  “Sorry. Dollar signs blinded me for a second. So what did you do after the lap dance ended?”

  “Hid—I mean, helped out in the dressing room. ”

  A slight smile curved Ivy’s lips. “And Nick returned the night after you performed the lap dance?”

  “Yes. ”

  “Did he ask you for another lap dance?”

  “Yes, but I refused, because I figured out the one I’d given him hadn’t been the norm. ”

  “Then what happened?”

  “I left him at the bar and mingled with customers. I changed clothes and Nick was waiting for me in the parking lot when I went out the back door. ”

  “Was that when he asked you to meet him off the premises?”

  “Yes. ”

  “At any time besides the lap dance did you ask him for money in exchange for sexual favors?”

  “No!”

  “At any time besides the lap dance did he offer to pay you for sexual favors?”

  Holly shook her head.

  “Any and all sexual contact, at every point, was completely consensual?”

  Once again Holly’s cheeks caught fire when she remembered how eagerly she’d let Nick tie her up. Man. That’d been hot as hell, her powerlessness and his determination to prime her body to reach dizzying new heights, by showing a kinky side of herself she hadn’t realized she had.

  “Holly?” Ivy prompted.

  “Umm. Consensual. All six times. ”

  “Six times?” Ivy repeated, her eyes wide with surprise.

  Crap.

  “In one night?”

  Holly notched her chin higher. “Yes. Six instances of sexual contact and that’s all I’m saying. ”

  “And that’s saying something. ” Ivy smirked. “At least you didn’t say that’s all you were copping to. ”

  “Ivy!”

  “What? It was funny. ”

  “No, it wasn’t. I can’t believe this is happening to me. I never ever ever do stuff like this. ”

  “I know, sweets, which is why I thought this experience might’ve lightened you up and you’d embrace—”

  “—my seamier, nastier side?” Holly blurted. “It’s just made me more paranoid. Now he probably thinks I’m a slut. You probably think I’m a slut. ”

  “Because you had a one-night stand, one time? Hardly. ”

  Holly just stared at her.

  “Look. I’m the one who should feel guilty for putting you in this position. It’s those damn dollar signs that cloud my vision. I shouldn’t have asked you. ”

  “Asked?”

  “Okay, demanded, that you fill in as Mistress Christmas. This whole thing could’ve been avoided—”

  “But that’s the thing. I don’t regret being with him. Nick is the greatest guy I’ve ever met. Sexy. Thoughtful. Sweet. Funny. Did I mention sexy? I just wish I would’ve been smart enough to come clean with him as me—the real me—because the other thing I’m afraid of is he’ll be disappointed I’m not some wild stripper. ” A deranged thought flitted though Holly’s mind and she laughed. “This whole debacle is like some bad movie of the week, Accountant Gone Wild. ”

  “Ooh, I’ve got a better title,” Ivy said, playing along. “Arresting Behavior”.

  “Omigod, Ivy! That’s not even…” But Holly erupted into giggles before she could finish the rest of the sentence.

  Steaming plates of pork fried rice and eggrolls arrived and they both dug in.

  Eventually Ivy said, “He’ll track you through Sugar Plums. ”

  “I know. ”

  “Probably tonight. ”

  “I know that too. ”

  “Do you know what you’re going to say to him?”

  Holly twirled her chopsticks through a puddle of hot mustard. “No clue. ”

  The meal was finished in silence. After the plates were cleared Ivy tried to hand Holly a fortune cookie.

  “No thanks. ”

  “Come on. Even if you don’t eat the cardboard shell, you have to read your fortune. ”

  “With my luck? Instead of the fortune saying, ‘Beware of men bearing Trojan horses’ it’ll say something like, ‘Beware of a man carrying a box of Trojans’. ”

  “Maybe I oughta have you doing standup in the strip club,” Ivy said dryly. She cracked open a cookie, fished out the little white paper and slid it across the table. “Read it. ”

  Holly’s fingers smoothed out the wrinkles and she read the words to herself.

  “Well? What does it say?”

  “You will meet a handsome stranger, indulge in the best sex in the history of mankind…and then he’ll cuff you and throw your candy ass in the slammer. ”

  “Give me that. ” Ivy snatched it and recited, “‘Worry not of the past. Fret not for the future. Live in the present; every day is a gift’. ”

  “See?”

  “See what?”

  “It’s total crap. ”

  “Wrong. That’s a damn good fortune. And it has that whole Dickensian A Christmas Carol vibe going. It’s Christmas and Nick is your gift. ”

  Holly rolled her eyes. “What it is, is utter claptrap, hogwash, and horse feathers. You don’t really believe in this junk, do you?”

  “Yep. Just like I believe in love at first sight, trusting your instincts and second chances, even when some unenlightened folks believe those things are as fictional as Santa. ”

  Couldn’t argue with that. “What does yours say?”

  “Doesn’t matter. It’s all claptrap, hogwash and horse feathers, right?” she teased.

  “Oh, just quit gloating and read the damn thing. ”

  Ivy crunched on the cookie and held up the tiny scrap of paper. “‘Wishes do come true. You just have to believe’. ”

  A strange feeling of déjà vu rippled through her. Hadn’t she and Nick talked about wishes? Christmas wishes in particular?

  “You look like you’ve seen a ghost, Holls. ”

  She muttered, “Damn Dickens. This is just coincidence. ”

  “Maybe this one was your fortune. ”

  “No way. I am not putting my faith and pinning my future hopes on the advice from a fortune cookie!”

  “There’s my practical girl. ” Ivy gave her an indulgent smile. “Come to the club after work tonight and we’ll figure out something logical. ”

  Nick rushed to Sugar Plums after his shift ended. Since he wore his sidearm beneath his topcoat, it was a good thing the overgrown elf wasn’t around to frisk him. Still, the lax security at the club made him uneasy.

  Truthfully, it felt weird, seeing the place nearly empty. Music pulsed and a rainbow of lights rebounded off the walls, but the stage was devoid of dancers. A few men were hunched at the main bar, staring into highball glasses, ignoring each other. He noticed a couple of bodies bent over the gambling machines in the backroom. The area for lap dances was cordoned off and completely dark.

  For the first time in a long time, Nick wasn’t sure how to play it. Should he storm through the door warning “No Unauthorized Admittance”? Should he demand to see the manager? Or should he just demand to see the good Mistress?

  “Hey, buddy. ”

  His head swiveled toward the gravelly male voice behind the bar. “Yeah?”

  “Whatcha want to drink?”

  “Arctic Ale. ”

  “Coming right up. ” The man popped the top on a brown bottle and slid it across the counter. “That’ll be ten bucks.


  “For one beer? Don’t you have happy hour prices?”

  The big man shrugged. “Everything is pricey in the entertainment industry. ”

  Nick jerked his chin toward the empty stage. “Don’t see any entertainment goin’ on. When’s the show start?”

  “In an hour. ”

  “Mistress Christmas here tonight?” He took a pull off his beer and hated the anxiety making his head pound.

  “Yep. ” Another customer garnered the bartender’s attention and he turned away.

  Nick chose a barstool in the corner that allowed him to keep an eye on the door to the backroom and the restrooms, where a mirrored section of the ceiling gave him an unobstructed view of the entrance. Holly wouldn’t get past him tonight. No way, no how.

  He waited. Sipped his beer. Thirty minutes ticked by. A few more customers trickled in. His cell phone buzzed and he looked at the caller ID. Shit. It was his captain. Nick slid off the stool and headed to the bathroom to take the phone call in private.

  Five minutes later he came around the corner and saw her. Mistress Christmas. Long, black leather-clad legs. Red bustier. Bare shoulders. Hair piled on top of her head, revealing the sexy length of her neck.

  Nick’s pulse throbbed in his temple.

  She kept her back to him and was gesturing and laughing with the guy who’d been sitting across from him. Acting as if she didn’t have a care in the world. As he stalked closer, he noticed a couple of key things. She must’ve been wearing stilettos because he wasn’t towering over her by a good five inches. She must’ve been wearing a wig because her hair wasn’t a shiny mass of auburn waves, but nearly black.

  Finally it was the smattering of freckles across her back that threw him off. Holly had freckles on her nose. His mouth tasted every alluring curve of her shoulder and he hadn’t remembered freckles.

  Nick tapped her on the shoulder and said, “Holly?”

  Unfamiliar cool blue eyes connected with his. “No. Afraid you’ve got the wrong person. ”
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