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Authors: Tiffany Patterson

Tags: #Black Burlesque

Black Dahlia

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Jessica Watkins Presents

Black Dahlia

Book 2 of the Black Burlesque Series

 

 

Tiffany Patterson

 

 

Copyright © 2015 by Tiffany Patterson

Published by Jessica Watkins Presents

 

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Without limiting the right under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form by means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

Acknowledgements:

 

I cannot believe this is already book number 2! How crazy is that?? I want to start off my thanking my mom and my entire family for the outpouring of support and love. I appreciate every time you tell me about a new coworker whose read my book, shown support, or wants an autograph! I love you so much.

 

Secondly, I would like to thank my publisher, Jessica Watkins and her whole team of beta readers, editors, cover creators, marketing team and more. Thank you all for your expertise and input in helping me to publish a quality story. I would also like to thank my fellow authors at Jessica Watkins who constantly show support, guidance, and laughs along this journey.

 

Third, I want to take the time to acknowledge and thank the authors who I have connected with who constantly encourage me to do better, either through their own writing or their words of support.

 

To my beta readers, thank you so much for taking the time to help me create a better story. Your time and effort is greatly appreciated and never taken for granted. I appreciate you so much.

 

Last, but CERTAINLY not least, I would like thank all of my fans and readers. To everyone who has read my books, shared them with others, written a review, tweeted me, sent me an email, a message or comment on Facebook, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I am truly grateful, appreciative and humbled by your outpouring of support. My goal is to continuously become a better writer and to publish stories that you all will enjoy reading years from now. I am truly grateful and inspired by your messages. I cannot say thank you enough!

Prologue

 

“So, are you going to finally take me up to your room or what?” Mercedes watched as the most piercing brown eyes she’d ever seen widened in surprise, before dark brows wrinkled as he smiled. The wanton smile was attached to none other than one Raul Santiago. Raul and Mercedes had spent the past hour dancing and making small talk after both their recently-married, best friends, Nikola and Devyn, had left for their honeymoon. Mercedes, serving as the maid of honor, and Raul, one of Nikola’s two best men, had been sneaking sly glances and exchanging light flirtations since the night of the wedding rehearsal. Mercedes had grown tired of the innuendos; she was ready for the real deal.

Raul dipped his head so his lips hovered just above Mercedes’. “Is that what you want?” he asked in a low, seductive tone. Mercedes moved her gaze down to the full lips that were so close, and unconsciously licked her lips. She closed her eyes and bit her lip in an attempt to prevent a moan, then felt his hand slip around her waist to the small of her back. While her eyes remained closed, she felt the lightest touch of soft lips to the corner of her mouth. She had her answer. She opened her eyes and nodded, saying, “More than anything.”

Obviously pleased with her response, Raul moved quickly, pulling her to his side and guiding her out of the reception towards the elevator. As soon as the elevator doors opened, he pulled Mercedes inside and pressed the button for the top floor, to where his rented suite was located. Using his six-foot-two, solidly built frame, Raul pressed Mercedes’ back into the elevator wall. At five-foot-nine and in four inch stilettos, she was in the perfect position to wrap her arms around his neck and pull his head down for a kiss. But just before their lips touched, Raul paused staring into her eyes, as if searching for something. The scorching look he gave her made Mercedes’ belly flip flop. He slowly lowered his head, sticking his tongue out to lick Mercedes’ plump bottom lip. He nipped at her lip, before sucking it into his mouth and licking to soothe the bite. Letting her lower lip go, Raul moved in for a full kiss, using his tongue to ease her mouth open. At the same time that his lips and tongue assaulted her mouth, he let his strong hands move down Mercedes’ waist and stroke her thighs. He deftly found the end of Mercedes’ bridesmaid’s dress and rolled the ends up to touch her smooth dark chocolate colored thighs. Mercedes pressed her breasts into Raul’s strong chest and pulled him in even closer when she felt his hands moving up to rub her ass. She made a mental note to thank Devyn for choosing the shorter length bridesmaids dresses, instead of the floor length gowns.

Easy access is the gift that keeps on giving tonight
, she thought when she felt Raul’s hand move around to the front to cup her panty-covered mound. Raul moved away from Mercedes’ lips, over her jawline, and down her neck, nipping and sucking as he went. He was so caught up in the feel of her beneath his hands and lips, and her breasts pressing into his chest, that he nearly missed the ding of the elevator. They reluctantly pulled apart, staring at one another. Both were stunned by the amount of chemistry between them. Despite having their fair share of lovers in the past, experiencing this level of desire so soon after meeting was new for either one.

“We’re here,” Raul said, his lips brushing over Mercedes’.

“Mmmm, ‘bout time,” she moaned into his mouth.

Raul grabbed Mercedes’ hand, pulling her off the elevator, and quickly made his way down the hall to his suite. Once they reached his door, Raul’s urgent need to feel Mercedes in his arms again got to him. He spun her around, pushing her back into the door and pressing his lips to hers. For long moments they stood outside his suite, allowing their hands and mouths to become reacquainted with one another. With Raul’s lips on her neck, Mercedes moved her hand over the front of his tailored tuxedo to cup his very large erection. Impressed would be an understatement for how Mercedes felt as she stroked his large cock through his pants. 

“Querida,” Raul moaned, as his breath hitched from her touch. He continued to pepper kisses along her jawline, and allowed his hands to move around to grip her firm backside. The only sounds that could be heard were the small moans coming from Mercedes’ mouth, and the words of endearment, mostly in Raul’s native, Portuguese. Finally, Raul broke away to take out his key card.

Mercedes took in his eyes, lidded heavily with desire and his slightly swollen lips. She imagined his face was a mirror of her own desire. Opening the door, Raul moved to the side to allow Mercedes’ entrance. Within seconds of stepping into the room, Mercedes knew something was wrong. Two feet from the door lay a pair of women’s high-heeled shoes. A few feet away from the shoes lay a red dress. Mercedes continued to follow the clothing trail until her eyes landed on a woman, laying completely nude on the suite’s couch.

“What the fuck?!” Mercedes heard Raul’s voice boom over her shoulder.

“What the hell is this?” Mercedes asked incredulously, as the nude woman appeared shocked at seeing them both standing there.
Raul ignored Mercedes’ question and asked one of his own of the naked woman in his room.
“Cindy, how the hell did you get into my suite?” His face was a mask of anger.

Cindy stood up from the couch without bothering to cover herself.

“I thought since we seemed to have a connection downstairs, we could bring the party to your suite. I’m not opposed to threesomes,” she said, looking at Mercedes, and then back to Raul.

“What the hell?!” Mercedes nearly yelled. She turned to Raul. “Is this what you planned? For us to have a threesome with some floozy I don’t even know?!” She didn’t wait for Raul to answer. She began retreating to the door when Raul’s hand on her arm stopped her.

“No, this was not my idea at all. I barely even know this woman.” But Mercedes didn’t care to hear his excuses. She was well aware of how men lie, cheat, and play Mr. Innocent when caught red-handed. She did not have time for any of that nonsense.

“Whatever. I don’t have time for this shit. I’m leaving,” she huffed, and snatched her arm out of his grip. The intense yearning she’d felt just moments before completely fizzled out and was replaced by fire. Mercedes heard the Cindy woman call Raul’s name as she exited the suite.

Mercedes contemplated taking the stairs to get away from Raul, but they were on the twenty-fifth floor, and she was in four inch stilettos. Before she could even make it to the elevator, Raul caught up with her.

“Wait. I didn’t...this is not what it looks like,” Raul tried to explain. But Mercedes was not hearing it. She’d heard those words before and she knew those were the words of a liar and a cheater.

“Leave me alone and go back to your girlfriend or whoever the hell she is!” Mercedes said, angrily.

“She’s NOT my girlfriend. I barely know th-”

“I don’t care,” Mercedes interjected with the wave of her hand. “This was a mistake anyway. I’m going home.” She didn’t even turn to look over her shoulder at Raul, but she heard his loud sigh just as the elevator doors opened. She quickly stepped on the elevator and pressed the button for the ground floor, only turning around once the doors closed.

On the elevator ride down Mercedes chastised herself for feeling as angry as she was. She didn’t know Raul. He wasn’t her man, or even in the potential running to be her man. They were part of a wedding party hooking up for the night. So why was she so angry that he had someone else waiting for him in his room?

As Mercedes stepped off the elevator she was greeted by Lorenzo, a stern-looking man, whom she knew was working security for Devyn and Nikola’s wedding.

“Hello, Ms. Holmes. Mr. Santiago asked me to be your escort home,” he said, managing a half smile.

“Excuse me?” she asked still angry.

“Mr. Santiago asked me to make sure you got home safely. I have the car right out front.”

“You work for Rau-Mr. Santiago?” she asked, recalling that Devyn did mention something about Raul working in security.

“Yes, ma’am. I can deliver you home or wherever you would like to go.” Mercedes figured Raul must have called this man while she was on her way down to make sure she got home safely. Maybe he wasn’t a complete ass. Still…

Mercedes smiled tightly and allowed Lorenzo to escort her to the car. On her way home, she mentally kicked herself for feeling disappointed in Raul. They did not have a commitment, and she didn’t even do commitments. Well, not long-term commitments anyway. Mercedes knew that type of relationship wasn’t for her. Yet, she couldn’t explain the sense of longing that grew in the pit of her stomach the further away from the hotel the car drove.

Further away from Raul.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eighteen months later…

 

 

Chapter 1

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, I know who you’ve allllll been waiting for!” The audience cheered as Mistress Coco began her introduction. “This next performer is hotter than a cat on a hot tin roof, Angelina Jolie’s lips and Beyonce’s ass put together!” Coco’s voice reverberated through the dimly lit room. “Give a warm welcome to the one, the ONLY, BLACK DAHHHHHLIIIIAAA!” 

Outfitted in her red and black Moulin Rouge costume, complete with a huge feather tail, top hat and cane, Mercedes strutted to the middle of the stage, pausing as the opening chords of Usher’s
Bad Girl
began to play. Mercedes smiled wickedly. Tonight she was taking the audience on a ride.

  Planting her cane and pivoting her hips so her butt faced the crowd, Mercedes rotated her ass and swiveled her hips in time to the music, before turning and walking to the edge of the stage. She hooked one of the front male audience members with her cane, and shook her breasts in his face before pushing him back into his seat.

The audience roared at her antics.

She took the cane in both hands in front of her and dipped down, spreading her legs wide and gyrated her hips. Turning her back to the audience, she dropped the cane and removed her top hat, flinging it to the side of the stage for the stage kitten on the side to retrieve. Rolling her shoulders, she unbuttoned her corset and spun, teasing the audience by showing one breast then the other, until she finally removed it, tossing it to the side just like her hat. Mercedes dropped down to her knees, grabbed her cane, and thrust her hips forward in a suggestive motion to the beat of the music. She dropped the cane and raised herself on her forearms, her ass high in the air, and only her toes and forearms touching the floor. She slowly dragged her toes forward, lifting her hips higher in the air, and rotated them in time with the beat. This was her signature move. It always got the crowd going, and tonight was no different. The whistling, clapping and stomping from the crowd got her adrenaline pumping even more. She dropped down, spun over so that she was laying with her back on the stage and knees bent, lifting her hips and rotating in a circular motion and up and down in rhythm with the music. Finally she stood, turned her back to the crowd one last time and removed the feather tail, which was attached to her shorts with Velcro, exposing her barely there panties. She finished her set in her stockings, purple pasties and panties. She bowed and blew a kiss to the cheering audience before exiting the stage.

The rush she felt performing was like no other. In this space, Mercedes felt free of her worries. She didn’t worry about being assistant principal and the school year that was ending, or her upcoming dreaded visit back home to see her family, or the strange hang up calls she had been getting. Around the Black Kitty, Mercedes was just Black Dahlia, smoking hot performer. Mercedes had, had her share of lovers, many of whom were very good, and even they didn’t compare to the pure animalistic pleasure she derived from performing on stage. The beat of the music, the adoration of the audience, and the support of the other dancers all touched a part of her spirit that nothing ever had before. On stage, Mercedes was unbidden by her family’s conservative expectations, demands of her job or societal expectation of how a “proper” woman was supposed to behave. She was even thrilled to know her best friend, and fellow performer, Black Pearl aka Devyn Collins was in the audience cheering and supporting her.

Mercedes strolled down the long hallway adorned with new and old images of burlesque performers. Mercedes always felt a sense of pride seeing the images of women such as Josephine Baker, Jean Idelle, Lottie the Body and others. To be amongst the images of these groundbreaking women was an honor in the world of burlesque. Reaching the changing room, Mercedes entered and prepared to change as she waited for her costume. Roxxy knocked on the door and entered bringing Mercedes her discarded clothing.

“You were fantastic, Dahlia!” Roxxy, the dark, brown-skinned beauty, beamed at Mercedes. Roxxy, like most of the stage kittens, were up and coming performers who were looking for a shot to perform one day on the big stage. Roxxy was fairly new to the club, but was enthused as the other kittens to learn from the main performers.

“Thank you, Roxxy,” Mercedes said taking her costume from the younger woman.

“Maybe you can give me a few pointers sometime?” Roxxy asked.

“Maybe, but it won’t be for a while. I have a busy schedule over the next few months.”

“Oh o-”

“Roxxy come on girl! These costumes aren’t going to move themselves!” Mistress Coco’s voice boomed through the door.

Roxxy hesitated.

“You better go. Rule number one, NEVER keep boss lady waiting!” Mercedes joked. Owner of The Black Kitty, Mistress Coco, was a five-foot-three powerhouse and former burlesque dancer herself. She was known to run a very tight ship when it came to her club. Even though the woman was in her mid-sixties, she was not someone whose bad side you wanted to get on. 

“Yeah, I’ll talk to you later,” Roxxy said before rushing off.

Mercedes turned to look at herself in the mirror. She admired her strong, shapely legs, her flat stomach and perky breasts. She examined her fishnet stockings, smoky eye makeup and done up lips. This is how she felt most comfortable. At times she felt like the business suit professional was just a facade, but Black Dahlia was who she was meant to be all along. This made her think of the trip home she was scheduled to take in a few weeks. Her family knew nothing of this Mercedes. She’d learned long ago that sharing all of who she was with her family was not acceptable.

 

****

 

Ring! Ring! Ring!

“Dammit!” Mercedes cursed as she exited her bathroom.

It was the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, around 10am and she was already running late. Today was not only Devyn and Nikola’s Memorial Day picnic, but also the 1st birthday party for the couple’s identical twins, Theodore and Jacques. Mercedes had a few errands to run before making her way over to her friend’s mansion, on the other side of town. If she was lucky she’d make it there by noon, but this was Atlanta, and traffic was horrible. Mercedes knew she wasn’t going to be lucky today. 

“Hello,” Mercedes answered, picking up her apartment phone.

Silence.

“Hello!” Mercedes said, a little more forcefully.

Silence.

A chill ran down Mercedes’ spine. This was the third hang up call she had gotten that week. It was beginning to make her feel uneasy.

“Look, either you have something to say to me or not.” Mercedes’ anger was beginning to grow at the thought of someone intentionally trying to scare her.

Click
.

Mercedes looked at the telephone receiver in her hand and felt the tension grow in her stomach. She looked at the caller ID as she’d done with the previous hang-up calls, and just like before, the number came up “Unknown.”

Sighing, she hung the phone up, just before hearing the buzz of her cell phone. It was a text from Devyn.

Hey, what time do you think you’ll be here?

Mercedes paused before responding, thinking of the errands she needed to run, which included picking up the gifts she’d ordered for the boys.

Probably around 1pm. I woke up late and need to run a few errands first.

She waited a few minutes for Devyn’s response.

Alright. No problem. We’ll see you then.

Hey, you didn’t just try to call me on my home phone did you?
Mercedes knew it was a long shot, but she silently hoped it was Devyn who called and hung up due to a bad connection or something.

No. Why?
Devyn responded.

No reason. I’ll see you later. Give the boys a kiss for me.

Once the conversation ended, Mercedes went to finish getting dressed. She styled her naturally kinky hair in a loose chignon and left a few curls hanging down the sides. She opted to wear a white chiffon relaxed mini long-sleeved dress. The slits extended the length of the sleeve, allowing the wearer to feel comfortable wearing the dress in warm weather, while also allowing Mercedes to show off her toned arms. She paired the dress with a pair of three inch strappy sandals. Checking the mirror once again, she looked over her light summer makeup, which usually consisted of a bit of concealer, some powder, eye shadow, and a bright lipstick. Today, however, she opted to wear a shimmery pink lipstick. The bright colors against her dark skin made her skin glow even more. Mercedes smiled, knowing she looked good. 

Stepping out of her front door and walking to her car, Mercedes wondered if she would see Raul at the birthday party. For the past year and a half she’d seen him only a handful of times. Mercedes knew from Devyn that he often traveled for work and to visit his family in Brazil. The only times she’d seen him were when they both were christened as the twins’ Godparents, another time when Devyn and Nikola hosted a holiday party this past December, and a few times in passing when Raul and Mercedes had been visiting their friends’ home. She’d done her best to keep conversation to a minimal. At both the christening and the holiday party, Raul had a different date on his arm. She knew he wasn’t hurting for female attention. Mercedes went out of her way to maintain her physical and emotional distance whenever he was around. Despite the emotional boundaries she tried to set, she’d often find her eyes wandering and landing on his perfectly sculpted body. She couldn’t help but notice the lingering stares he would send her way whenever they were in the same room. The same combustible chemistry that pulled them together on the night of Devyn and Nikola’s wedding, was still there. Mercedes often told herself it was simply because they’d never had the chance to finish what they started that night, but even after all this time she’d begun to wonder if it wasn’t something more.

Getting into her car, Mercedes closed her eyes to purge herself of thoughts of Raul Santiago, instead she found herself picturing a set of big twinkling light brown eyes.

She sighed.

Of course Raul would be there, he was the twins’ Godfather and she was their Godmother. She was not going to give him an opportunity to explain away his behavior or make her believe he was something other than what he was…a rich, incredibly sexy playboy. Devyn still questioned Mercedes about what happened the night of her wedding with Raul, but she refused to tell her. She just admitted that things didn’t work out between them and that was all. She knew Devyn didn’t believe her, but she was not up for sharing anymore details than necessary.

****

Devyn greeted Mercedes at the front door “Hey gorgeous.” Devyn and Nikola lived in a huge mansion in the exclusive community of Buckhead.

“Thank you. You’re not looking too bad yourself, Mrs. Collins, mother of one year old twins.” Mercedes eyed Devyn in her coral sleeveless romper, paired with white sandals. What made Devyn’s look complete was the stunning smile and glow on her face.

“Thank you. How was the traffic?” Devyn asked as she pulled Mercedes into the house.

“Hell on Earth. You know how traffic is out here,” Mercedes answered.

Mercedes lifted the package she had tucked under her arm for the boys. “Where do I put these?” She’d gotten each twin a specialized baby book with all the pictures she’d taken over the last year, from the first day of their birth until now, and a number of specially made clothing items with their names embroidered on it, along with books and other smaller toys. She loved spoiling her Godsons.

“I told you not to go all out.” Devyn tried to pin Mercedes with a serious look, but Mercedes waved her off.

“Girl please. You know it’s my job to spoil the hell out of my Godchildren and then send them home to you and Nikola when they start crying.” She laughed as Devyn rolled her eyes.

“Whatever,” she said, with her hands out. “I’ll take those and put them with the rest of the gifts. You can head out back. Mostly everyone’s already here.” Devyn took the gifts and walked towards the back of the house where there was a room for the children’s gifts and toys.

Stepping outside into the backyard, Mercedes surveyed the entire scene in front of her. It was huge, with a custom-made outdoor grill, bar and patio on one end, and a large in ground swimming pool on the other end. Mercedes could see a number of Nikola and Devyn’s family members and friends laying around or in the pool, while others sat at the tables that had been set up to accommodate the guests. Not far from the grill she spotted Nikola holding one of the twins, while Raul held the other.

Mercedes was once again caught up in the sheer beauty of this man. No matter how many times she’d seen him in the last year and a half, or how many times she’d remind herself that he was probably a no-good cheater, she couldn’t help but stare. Her lips began to tingle as memories of their explosive kisses danced in her mind. He wore light-colored linen pants, and a light grey Polo shirt that was tucked in at the waist. The shirt’s short-sleeves showed off his rippling biceps. Mercedes bit her lip, as her eyes moved up to the big smile he wore, as he tickled the chin of the twin he was holding. When the twin laughed, his smile was filled with almost as much pride as Nikola’s. Her heart rate sped up as she took in the picture he made before her. One of pure masculinity and strength, but just enough vulnerability to play and laugh at the antics of the one-year-old child in his arms.

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