Rick had been drifting in and out of my thoughts since I’d danced for him on Thursday night. Since starting at Dreamland, I had probably given fifty lap dances, a few of them for some very good-looking men. None of them ever stayed in my head like this. Yes, he was definitely fine, well dressed and generous, but there was more. Right from the beginning I sensed a compelling air of isolation about him. Something deeper drew me to him. Something that completely eluded me.
That’s why I was so shocked when Deion came back to the dressing room a little while later. “Jet, you have a request. Remember the lawyer posse from Thursday night?”
“The guest of honor is back.”
My stomach flipped when I pictured the handsome, subdued brother whose massive shoulders filled his designer suit so perfectly. I hadn’t expected to see Rick back so soon. In fact, I hadn’t expected to see him again at all after his celebration was over. Perhaps I’d been wrong about him feeling out of place on Thursday night. He’d obviously liked it enough to return.
“Is he alone this time?”
“No. He’s with the dude who arranged the party.”
“Listen, Jet. He said he doesn’t need you to dance for him, that he just wants to talk.”
Whenever I heard that request, alarm bells went off. It meant I was getting ready to deal with a man who wanted more than a few minutes of harmless entertainment. They usually tried to convince me to meet them somewhere after working hours. During his first visit I hadn’t seen a wedding band, but that meant nothing. Some men removed theirs before they entered the club. Was taking off the ring supposed to remove the guilt? Or did they actually think the dancers cared whether or not they were married? That issue was between them, their wives and their god. So, it was possible Rick might be among the Discontented Married Men after all.
“You know how this works,” Deion continued. “If he wants something freaky that you don’t want to deal with, excuse yourself and come see Tree or me. We have girls who’ll do freaky. If he doesn’t want one of them, Tree can escort him to the door.”
Deion Washington was an enigma. All of us who worked at Dreamland considered him our guardian. He protected us and never insisted we do anything we felt uncomfortable doing. In spite of his goodness to us, he wasn’t a saint by any stretch of the imagination. He was the one who made arrangements to fulfill any requests for kinky liaisons in the VIP rooms.
“That’s okay. He seemed decent. Tell him I’ll be out in a minute.”
After several minutes of nervous waiting, a potent rush of desire washed over me as Jet appeared. She strolled toward me in a shiny red wrap-around robe that hit her mid-thigh. She obviously knew it was her best color. The innate sensuality in the way she moved showed her confidence. What was happening to me? Normally I didn’t react to women this way. In the past I had always prided myself on my ability to control my emotions. It was one of the reasons I was a good trial lawyer. Yet in Jet’s presence I felt as if someone had lit a fuse. I was helpless to do anything but stand there and watch it until I burst into flames.
“Hello again, Rick.” Her fingers rested on the belt of her robe. “Do you want me to take this off?”
“That’s not necessary. Could you sit with me for a few minutes?” I slid a fifty across the table, remembering Camp’s instructions.
“Sure.” Her gaze went to the bill, yet she made no effort to reach for it. Instead, she sat and crossed her legs. The edges of her kimono separated over her thighs, and one corner of her mouth rose slightly when my gaze dropped to the tempting display.
I wasn’t sure of how to start the conversation. “Would you like a drink?”
“No, thank you. I don’t do alcohol when I’m working. It dehydrates me.”
I nodded in understanding. An uneasy silence lingered in the air. “I wanted to thank you for how you handled the lap dance the other night.”
Her soft, round face eased into a small smile, and her light, fresh perfume-free fragrance instantly took me back to Thursday night.
“You’re welcome. You didn’t seem like you wanted to put on a show for your colleagues. I was hoping I’d read you right.”
“You did. Are you always so intuitive?”
“Most of the time the reactions are the same, if you know what I mean.”
As she spoke, I couldn’t take my eyes from her mouth. Her dark lipstick made her full lips even more tempting, like ripe blackberries. Why did everything about this woman remind me of something delicious to eat?
Jet caught me off guard when she asked, “So, what is it you wanted to talk about?”
“You certainly are direct, aren’t you? All right then. Would you have dinner with me one night this week?”
Her exotic slanted eyes narrowed. “Dinner?”
“Yes. You know, the meal between lunch and breakfast. We could make it somewhere very public, in case you don’t think my intentions are honorable.” I took a business card from my pocket and placed it on top of the fifty in the center of the table. “And you can Google me if you want to be sure I’m not a serial killer or anything.” It was the first thing smart women did before dating a man they knew nothing about, so I wanted to make it easier for her.
She glanced at the card. “Just because you work for the biggest black law firm in Atlanta doesn’t mean you’re not a serial killer, just one with a good job.”
I laughed out loud.
“To tell you the truth, I rarely have evenings free.”
I wasn’t giving up that easily. “How about lunch then? We could meet someplace.”
“Umm … I go to school during the day.”
“Georgia State, Downtown.”
That really rattled my cage. I was usually pretty good at estimating a woman’s age, but with Jet’s toned body and flawless skin, I could’ve been way off. Being an officer of the court, the last thing I needed were legal complications from getting involved with an underage girl. I figured she had to be at least eighteen in order to work in the club. Yet, I wasn’t like Camp. I had no interest in tenderonis. They couldn’t relate to where I was in my life right now. I preferred a grown woman. “Every day?”
“My, aren’t we persistent? I’d certainly hate to be cross-examined by you. I see why you’re a lawyer.”
“It’s the secret of my success. So how about lunch on your day off? You must have one day off. The choice of the restaurant is yours.”
“All right.” She stood, claimed the fifty and my card then folded the bill and tucked them into her amazing cleavage. “Meet me at Twist in Buckhead on Thursday at one.” Before she walked away from the table, she leaned in and whispered in my ear, “My name is Tamyra.”
She had just broken the first rule of exotic dancing, according to Camp. Tamyra. Unique just like her. We hadn’t spoken long, but she seemed to be intelligent as well as beautiful. She’d recognized the firm name when she’d looked at my card, and her sensitivity to my predicament during my first visit to the club had struck a chord in me.
I raised my glass in a silent toast to Tamyra then guzzled what remained, trying to cool the heat that engulfed me as I watched her walk away. She went through an unmarked door at the back of the room. That heat cooled a bit at thoughts of what she might be doing back there. I wasn’t one of those naïve guys who’d just gotten off the bus from Podunk and fallen in love with the first stripper who rubbed her stuff up against him. I was well aware of what went on in these places. Just because the on-stage performances were tame, the back room routines were pretty vile. Camp was sampling some of that at the moment.
I’d just asked this woman for a date knowing I might need to repent later. Nevertheless, I couldn’t shake the urge to find out more about the beautiful ebony-skinned Tamyra.