Sex, blood and betrayal: it’s all in a day’s work.
I strip for the fun of it. Don’t let anyone tell you different. It’s not the money. I could make nearly as much working at the mill and keep my clothes on, but then I’d have to suck up to the bosses. Up on stage, I’m the one in charge, and I like it that way.
Tony Pinelli hired me for a private dance. I was determined to give him his money’s worth. I didn’t expect to be caught in the cross-fire of a double murder. When his widow shows up at my door, I know I’m in way over my head. Now I’m everyone’s target. I can’t trust anyone – not even the police detective who was sweet on me in high school. My only chance at survival is to shift through the lies and expose the truth.
Play It Again, Lisabet
I’ve been a published author since 1999. Although writing is not my primary occupation, that’s enough time for me to have produced a large number of books. I’d guess I have over a hundred titles to my credit. In fact, it’s a bit difficult to enumerate them, because I’ve seen many of them go “out of print” multiple times.
In twenty-three years, I’ve survived quite a few publishers. In fact, almost every company with whom I’ve worked ultimately closed their doors. It’s not me, I swear – I’m not a jinx! It’s just tough to turn indie publishing into a sustainable business.
When your publisher decides to throw in the towel, your book rights revert to you – but the books themselves become unavailable. If you want readers to be able to appreciate your hard work, you’ve got to get those titles back on the shelves. This can be a challenge; many publishers don’t want to bring out re-prints.
Fortunately, self-publishing has removed at least that obstacle. Furthermore, if you’re creating a new edition of a book, you can spruce it up in a variety of ways: better editing, bonus content, new cover and blurb, maybe even a new title. If you’re lucky, you may be able to attract new readers who never noticed you before.
Anyway, I’ve been busy re-publishing a lot of my back list books, many of which were orphaned by a publisher folding last year. My latest release, Exposure, is actually a fourth edition. This erotic suspense novel was first published by Phaze Books in 2010. For the current release, I’ve done some significant editing to make my heroine more believable. I’ve also added a sub-title which I hope conveys the genre: Urban Erotic Noir.
If you’ve already read Exposure, I don’t know if it’s worth a second pass. If you haven’t though – why not give it a try? You’re one of those readers I’m hoping to entice by publishing it – yet again.
My next stop is the Fourth Precinct police station. It’s not in my neighborhood, and it’s not near the Hyatt, but I know someone there. I limp in, trying to look dignified, and ask for Detective James Ostermann. The huge grin that lights up his face when he sees me makes me feel better than I have all day.
“Stella! What a treat!” He pumps my hand with boyish enthusiasm. “What have I done to deserve this honor?”
Jimmy and I went to school together. There’s always been some kind of sexual tension between us, though we never did anything about it. He was one of the few guys who respected me, who didn’t try to get into my pants. Last time I saw him, at our fifth reunion, he had just been promoted from beat cop to detective. Then just six months ago I read an article in the paper about him heading up a new task force against organized crime. That’s how I knew where to find him.
“Hello, Jimmy.” I return his smile. “I wish I could tell you that this was just a social call, but in fact I’ve got something pretty serious to discuss with you. Can we talk in private?”
“Always a pleasure,” he teases, but his face takes on a professional expression as he leads me into his office. “Bill, would you mind taking a walk?” he asks his partner, a hefty black man that I haven’t met before.
“Sure, Jim, no problem. Give a yell if you need me.”
Jimmy closes the door and seats himself behind his desk. I sit across from my old friend. There’s a newspaper on the surface between us, the headlines screaming about the double gangland murder that claimed the mayoral candidate and his aide. Jimmy notices my glance.
“Hear about what happened to Tony Pinelli?”
I nod and swallow my nervousness. “Yeah. I was there.”
“That’s right. There at the Hyatt, Room 422, last night around eight forty-five.”
He looks grim as I relate my tale. Shakes his head when I describe Mr. Clean’s attack and Tony’s reaction. I don’t tell him my theory, though, about me being the target. I’ve got no evidence, and anyway, this morning it seems kind of crazy.
“So you didn’t see anyone else, other than Pinelli and Henderson?”
“No—though I guess there might have been somebody else in the bedroom of the suite. It had a separate door out to the hall.”
“How long after the shooting was it that you checked the bedroom?”
“I’m not sure. I was kind of in shock. Five minutes. Maybe ten.”
“Was the dead bolt on that bedroom door thrown?”
“I didn’t notice. I don’t know. I could hardly think straight.”
“And the corridor was empty when you left?”
“I think so. I was in a hurry to get out.”
My voice stays calm through my original story, but now, being grilled, I’m trembling. His questions bring it all back, all the fear and the blood.
“Did you go out the front door of the hotel?”
“And how’d you get home?”
“I took a cab…” My voice is shaking. “Look, this is really hard for me. I’ve told you what I know. If I think of any other details, I’ll call you.”
Jimmy looks up from his notepad. He suddenly sees how upset I am.
“Jeez, I’m sorry, Stella. Just doing my job. I get carried away.”
“That’s okay. It’s just—I really don’t like to think about it.”
Jimmy comes around to my side of the desk. “I’m so sorry. God, Stella, it must have been horrible.” He gives me a brotherly hug.
His strength feels wonderful. I relax a little and let him soothe me.
He strokes my hair back from my face, murmuring nonsense into my ear. “Poor girl, I’m so glad that you came to me. I’m sorry to be such a dolt. If there’s anything I can do…” Nothing has changed, but for a moment it seems as though the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders.
Then I notice two things. First, his arm is around me and his fingers are brushing against the side of my breast. It’s casual, almost unconscious, but my nipples contract and throb in response. Second, there’s a hard protrusion pressed against my thigh, conflicting with the supposedly innocent nature of this embrace.
I’m tempted to give in and accept more intimate comfort, but I have a feeling that would be a mistake, at least right now. Gently, I push him away, glancing down at his tented trousers as I do so. A blush creeps over his blunt features.
“Thanks for your support, Jimmy. The main thing that you can do for me is to keep me out of this as much as possible. Keep it quiet. If Joey from the Peacock found out, he might not be too crazy about having me work there.”
“There’ll be an investigation. There might be a trial. Will you testify?”
“If I have to. But I hope that it won’t be necessary.”
“I’ll do what I can, Stella.” He notes my limp as I stand up to leave, and grabs my hand. “Hey, are you hurt?”
“I’ll be okay, Jimmy. Hazards of the profession.” He doesn’t let go of my hand, and I see that his erection has not subsided. I melt a bit at the sight. “Thanks for everything.”
“Thank you, for coming out about this. You’ve made things a lot easier for us.”
There’s an awkward silence. He’s squeezing my fingers, hard, but I don’t think he realizes it.
“You look fantastic, Stella.”
“Maybe we could get together some night, for dinner, or something? Catch up? Or talk about old times? I feel bad that we haven’t kept in closer touch.”
I pull my hand away. Simultaneously, I lean over and kiss him lightly on the cheek. “Maybe. You could always come by the Peacock and catch my show.” He blushes again, mottled crimson. “Or maybe I can arrange a special performance.”
“Just teasing, Jimmy! I’ll see you around.”
I hobble out of his office, knowing that he’s watching my hips roll beneath my skirt. Sweet Jimmy.
Buy Links (Ebook)
Kinky Literature: https://www.kinkyliterature.com/book/100-exposure-urban-erotic-noir/
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09V19MLDR
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09V19MLDR
Buy Links (Audio Book)
About Lisabet Sarai
Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – more than one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (https://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (https://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads, Bookbub and Twitter. Join her VIP email list and get a free ebook, plus exclusive contents and other benefits: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh
Dark erotic suspense (Five flames, MF and FF)
Approximately 65,000 words, 218 pages
#EroticSuspense #EroticNoir #Pittsburgh #Stripper #ExoticDancer #DirtyPolitics #Lesbian #Dominance #UrbanSuspense #Murder #Mystery #GreekHeroine #HighSchoolSweetheart