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Authors: Lace Daltyn

Masquerade (6 page)

BOOK: Masquerade
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“Yeah, it’s a little
scary going out there at the beginning.” Holly shook her head. “I’m not sure
what Sally is thinking putting a greener on the floor right off the bat. Look,
gotta start waiting tables. Take a few minutes. Get
used to the outfit and shoes, and then come find me.”

Beth grabbed the
lifeline, nodding her gratitude.

Holly opened the door,
turning back with a brief smile. “Just don’t take too long. You’re on the

“’kay,” Beth said, feeling
her bravado slip a notch.

After Holly left, Beth settled
her mask into place and turned to the full-length mirror. She re-did her hair,
pulling it back into a clip, so it cascaded down her back. The mask somehow
made her eyes seem larger and more dramatic. She could see the flush to her
cheeks, enhanced by the foreign red making her lips a focal point.

The bra top had some
major push-me-squeeze-me going on. Beth looked like a sensual, sexy woman, with
curves in all the right places. She twirled, seeing butt cheeks that had never
known the light of day. No amount of tugging would cover them.

Glancing at the clock,
she knew
been in here too long. It was time to
see how much courage she really had. Taking a deep breath, Beth stepped into
the club.

A quick scan of the room to
find Holly proved a near impossibility considering all the masks and uniforms.
They looked the same in the low lighting. Already, several more tables had
filled up, and soft music emanated from deftly hidden speakers. Patrons wandered,
chatted, and lounged in anything from jeans and a t-shirt to outlandish
costumes, some skimpier than the uniform Beth wore and some looking as though
the lord of the castle had called for a celebration.

Masquerade truly was a
place you could become someone else, if only for a little while.

Several girls were making
rounds and Beth still had no
idea which
one was Holly.
She wobbled over to the bar, thinking someone there could point Holly out to
her. Two bartenders were tossing drinks now, both shirtless. In black slacks,
black mask, and Chippendale’s bowtie, they looked sexier than anything her
imagination could conjure up. One was a blond
hadn’t yet met, and the other—her eyes widened as she recognized Anthony. The
felt cocoon her earlier stumble now
showed as clearly sculpted in perfect symmetry. Wide shoulders and biceps that
screamed regular workouts trailed off to a sparsely haired chest and the abs
felt when he caught her from falling.

Images of that chest
pressed against her, naked and strong, sent damp heat pooling between her legs.
Beth grabbed hold of the bar for support as her already shaky legs threatened
to send her sprawling. She gaped as she watched him move with a fluid grace,
mixing drinks like a pro. The man had a body honed to perfection, and she
wanted to run her hands over every chiseled bit of it.
lips, too.
Beth could feel the muscles between her legs clench as she
imagined doing just that.

At that moment, he looked
up and her world stopped turning. The intensity of his gaze as he eyed her up
and down with agonizing slowness, stopping for a long, delicious moment at her
breasts before raising darkened eyes back to her face, sent shivers of need
thrumming through her.

Anthony’s look said he
knew how to make a woman moan in ecstasy.
Beth so
wanted to moan.
care. She just wanted to climax, to remember
what it was like to be so treasured.
to be able to
drive a guy equally as nuts, so he couldn’t hold back and would shout her name
as he came inside her.

Someone bumped into
Beth’s arm as they walked by, bringing her back to reality. She rubbed a still
sore elbow, glancing again at Anthony. He worked in a bar, so of course he knew
how to pick up women. He probably did so, and frequently. He therefore had
experience and was perfect for her needs.
he was
off limits, so an attraction to Anthony meant trouble, especially since he
could already turn her insides to mush.
shown yesterday
that he could walk away from her, and Beth knew that a one-sided fling wouldn’t
do her any good at all.

He flashed a slow, come-hither
smile that threatened to send her back into a sensual tailspin.
Oh, yeah.
Anthony was trouble with a capital “T.”

Beth glanced down and saw
liquid running over the lip of the drink he was filling with a bar gun and
laughed. Maybe she
the only one affected. With
a boldness she
known before, Beth tried the
bartender’s own tactic against him. She smiled, giving him the same slow
given her.

Satisfied with the way
his Adam’s apple bobbed, Beth began to believe that maybe this job would be fun
after all.

She leaned over the bar,
knowing it added even more to her cleavage. “Do you know where Holly is?” Her
voice, all throaty and low, sounded unfamiliar.

He closed his eyes for a
long moment,
searched the floor, finally pointing
to a waitress on the far side. “That’s—” He cleared his throat. “That’s Holly,

“Great,” she said. “Thanks.”

“How’s the arm?”

Beth flexed her elbow.
The wrap
applied was staying put, and it felt
comfortable. “Minimal pain, thanks to you.”

He nodded.

“You know, Anthony’s a
great name,” Beth said, cocking her head. “I used to know a Tony. Good guy.”

“I used to go by Tony,”
he said, his voice still off timbre.

Small world.”
She kept her eye on Holly as she answered, afraid to lose
her again. “Well, I’d better get to work.”

She strutted off to join
Holly, knowing that the extra swing of her hips was because Mr. Chippendale was
watching her.


Tony’s cock was in an
extreme state of pain. He’d dreamt of this for such a long time, and now, he
didn’t know if he’d be able to stand by and watch her, in that skimpy outfit,
night after night after night. Wow. Beth was a knockout.
grown more beautiful than even his imagination had envisioned.

Why had he ever thought
again would be a good idea? Instead, it was
turning into the worst form of torture.

what was up with her purse being stolen? He
signed on for putting her in danger. Had that been manufactured or real?

He watched her sashay up
to Holly and squirmed to find a more comfortable place for his dick, which was
still at full attention.

It was going to be a long

Chapter Seven


Six hours later, Beth had
gained a
new level of respect for waitresses.
Her feet ached, her back ached, and her smile felt frozen in place. Her work as
a hygienist was nothing like this. Waiting tables was backbreaking work. Thank
her shift was over for the night.

Beth sat in the locker
room trying to rub some life back into her feet. Wearing heels when you
normally, amplified by long periods of standing, was
not conducive to happy feet.

The evening had proven to
an eye-opener
. Beth looked down at her uniform, amazed
gotten comfortable walking around in it. In
even flirted some. The outfit had
emboldened her.

Except for the
she turned around and seen Anthony’s dark, smoldering
gaze focused on her.
There was something about him that made
her hyper-aware.
Just knowing he was there, watching her, could make her
go weak at the knees and wet in between them. That was something new for her.
it gave her a smidgeon of hope that maybe, just maybe,
her ex wasn’t right.

An idea hit her like a
sack of wet cement. Had Anthony really been staring at her?
been shadowing Holly all evening. Maybe
wrong. Maybe he and Holly
an item.

Beth frowned. Sally said
no fraternizing with guests or employees. Would Anthony and Holly disregard
those orders?

They would if they were
in love. Despair settled like a green web of jealousy around her heart,
tightening like a vise as she thought of the two of them together.
only just met Anthony and had no right to feel the way
she did. How could she be jealous?

night pretty tough?”

Beth dropped her foot and
shot off the bench mid-breath, unable to finish. The voice, rich and low,
spooked her more than the question as she looked up to see Anthony standing
just inside the door.

“Um, it’s different from
anything I’ve ever done before. It takes some getting used to.”

He took a step toward her,
and Beth toyed with the short skirt of her outfit, having nothing else to
occupy nervous hands. Anthony’s eyes dipped to her hands and she froze. When he
raised them back up, he paused again at her breasts. Surprised that she liked
it, Beth knew she wanted him gazing at her. She wanted his eyes feasting on her
body, his hands roaming over her skin, caressing spots too long ignored.

She sighed,
caught herself. She could have sworn she saw a quick
flare of desire in his eyes before he squelched it, probably because he already
had a girl.

“What did you do before
coming here?” Anthony took another step closer.

Unprepared to answer
questions about her life, Beth hedged. “I, um, had an office job.” She took a
step back, the bench against her knees stopping her from going any further. He
moved closer and Beth kept her breathing even, though it
easy. Sweet heat filled her.

There was a barely concealed
look in his eyes, like a man staring at the addiction forbidden to him. Beth
felt the strangest sensation infuse her body as if a slow burn turned warmth
into fire and tried to consume her. Old visions of tangled bodies filled her
mind with ideas.

“I’m guessing you’ll be
sore tomorrow.”

“Sore?” She wanted to be
sore. Gloriously sore from a long night of lovemaking

He pointed.
“Your feet.

She mentally shook
herself. “Yes.
My feet.
They’re already sore.”

“I can help with that.
Sit back down.”

Beth, still half lost in
the dream she
want to end, envisioned Anthony’s
hands doing wonderful things to her body as she sank to the bench.

Instead, he went down on
one knee in front of her and settled her foot on his thigh. Beth wanted to dig
her toes in, let them creep up and feel his cock rise underneath her. She
wanted to know that he hardened for her. That she could have that effect on him.

Then his fingers pulled
her out of the sensual haze
immersed herself in.
If a foot could sigh, hers would have as Anthony performed his magic. Starting
with her heel, he massaged her muscles with tender care. She forgot everything
as his thumbs moved over the ball of her foot and up to her toes, then back
again. Heel to toe, back and forth, turning her muscles into pliant, relaxed
strands of tissue and bone.

Beth took a deep,
satisfied breath and closed her eyes as he pulled all the ache and tension out
of her body with his skilled hands.
Hands that glided over
the contours of her ankle and made long, fluid strokes along her calf.
back and forth motion lulled Beth into a peacefulness that had eluded her for
too long.

Without thought, her legs
parted as he worked his way up to her knees. When his hands stilled, Beth
opened her eyes.
saw stark, naked need showing behind
Anthony’s mask.

Every bit of yearning,
every ache for a lover’s touch rushed back, flushing her skin, filling her with
a hunger that pooled low in her stomach, making her wet with a too-long
unquenched yearning. Beth licked her lower lip, wishing it were his tongue
moistening her lips. She brazenly parted her legs further, begging him to put
out the raging fire burning her from the inside out.

The grip he had on her
knee tightened and Anthony’s eyes darkened, matching the lust she knew her own
eyes reflected.

Certain he was the
one, that
this was the moment, Beth leaned back, giving him access.

Anthony’s jaw clenched
once, twice, and a third time before the sledgehammer hit her. He let loose of
her leg, his face turning from feral to neutral like the flick of a light
switch. There would be no satisfaction tonight for either of them.

Humiliated, Beth clamped
her legs shut. Then anger took over. Anthony
seen the lust in his eyes, and his
hands fisted at his sides. So why did he always stop? Something more had to be
going on. Did it have to do with Holly? He was hiding something from Beth. She was
certain of it. She stared at him, trying to decipher the look on his face but
the mask made it almost impossible to read his expression.

“Take off that damn mask.”

He smiled that slow lazy
grin of his.
“Uh uh.”

Beth crossed her arms over her breasts.

Anthony shrugged, and she
almost missed how his eyes paused on her chest. “It’s like a second skin to me
Besides, better to keep some mystery, right?
all, this is Masquerade.”

BOOK: Masquerade
12.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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