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Dance for the Billionaire

By:Jewel Moore

Chapter One


Chantelle Payne adjusted her long woolen skirt and straightened the hem  of her jumper before pressing the buzzer next to the heavy door painted  an uncompromising black.

"Yes?" The door swung open without a sound and she was startled by the  appearance of the man who looked as though he had to stoop to avoid  hitting the tops of most doorways.

"I'm here to see Mr. Armstrong," she explained, fighting the urge to run back to her car and speed away.

"For what purpose?" The man, obviously a bouncer, looked her slowly up  and down and Chantelle cringed inside. She knew that she wasn't dressed  appropriately. She'd had to rush out of her last lecture and had risked  getting a speeding ticket to get to the club on time.

"I have an audition."

The man's lips curved into a smirk. He dismissed her chances with the single word, "Sure."

Instantly annoyed, Chantelle straightened her shoulders, glared up at  him and said with all the hauteur she could muster. "I don't have time  to stand here all day!"

"Sorry," he apologized, seeming to remember that it wasn't his place to  assess her suitability. "Please come inside. I'll tell the boss you're  here."

Chantelle stepped through the fire door into the lavishly furnished  club. Never in a million years would she have imagined that she would be  here today, but life had left her little choice.

"Are you Elle?" asked a cultured, well-modulated voice with an American twang from behind her.

Turning, Chantelle took in the man who was a blast from the past … well,  her parents' past, not her own. Wearing a psychedelic shirt and flared  red trousers, Colin Armstrong looked as if he was playing the part of a  pimp in a blaxploitation movie. He swirled a cane in his slim right hand  and even from a few feet away, Chantelle noticed that it was  professionally manicured.

"Yes," she responded, willing herself not to laugh at his attire; she needed this job too desperately.

"I'm Colin." He offered his hand and she shook it. "You're a bit larger than I expected, but your face is gorgeous."

Chantelle would have loved nothing better than to tell him to go jump  into a lake, but she kept her features composed as he assessed her with  unnerving thoroughness.

"If you can dance I would be willing to take you on, if you promise to start going to the gym regularly."

"Do you mind if we start the audition, please?" Time was a precious  commodity she had little of. The last thing she needed was to waste time  making promises she would only have to keep if he offered her the job.

"By all means." His lips pursed primly and Chantelle sensed that he  didn't like her taking control of the situation. She wouldn't normally  have done, but she had less than two hours to drive back to the  university campus and eat her homemade sandwich before the start of her  next lecture. He pointed towards a dark red door. "The changing rooms  are through there. I take it you've brought an outfit to change into?"

"Yes, I have," she told him and then hurried towards the indicated door.

Slipping off her outer garments, Chantelle rubbed her arms briskly as  the chill air of the unheated dressing room caressed her body. Taking a  deep breath, she pushed open the door and walked back into the club.

"Hot damn, girl, your body is fly!" Colin clearly watched far too many  African-American movies. And they were obviously the much-older movies  as his lingo indicated.

Chantelle smiled at his reaction-the eighteen-inch difference between  her waist and hips was dramatic and at 5'10" she was tall for a woman.  Her unusual measurements made it impossible to find properly fitting  clothing. She tended to wear loose, flowing clothing which made her look  larger than the size 12 on the labels of most of her clothing. Finding a  pair of jeans was a nightmare-she inevitably had to end up taking them  to her local tailor to have the waists adjusted.

"Why didn't you tell me you had a body like this hidden under those ugly clothes?" he demanded.

"I would have done if you'd refused to let me audition for you."

"You're sassy. I think I'm going to like you."

Chantelle wasn't worried by his statement. She'd come by the club one  evening and waited until one of his waitresses had come out on a smoke  break to ask a few pertinent questions. The woman had said that he was a  sweetheart and kept a strictly professional relationship with his  employees.

But she needed this over and done with as soon as possible, so she prompted, "Do you mind if we start?"   





 

"Sure. I want you to try a special song for me. Something about you  reminds me of Grace Jones. If you can get the routine right, your act  could become a club special."

Chantelle's hopes plummeted at his words. She'd expected him to let her  choose her own song. She'd come prepared, but not for this.

"I had planned to dance to Rihanna's Rude Boy," she told him,  desperately. She had learned the song by heart and perfected her  routine. "I have it here on my brother's iPod in case you don't-"

"No, no! I want something a little classier for you."

Chantelle folded her arms around her midriff and watched helplessly as  he hurried across the room to the DJ booth. She didn't know any Grace  Jones songs. This wasn't what she'd expected. Why was he insisting on  her dancing to music of his choice when he usually let the dancers  choose their own? This wasn't going to work out, she acknowledged with  resignation, but it was probably for the best.

Pull Up To The Bumper started playing as Colin hurried back to her side  and Chantelle almost laughed in relief. The Grace Jones' hit had become  popular again when Patra had released a cover version. A lifetime ago  when her mother had been a happy-go-lucky young wife she used to put on  music and dance along with her children to the Reggae and dancehall  music she'd grown up with in Jamaica.

"I've put it on repeat. Get up on the stage and let me see you move,"  Colin instructed once he was close enough to be heard over the music.

Dancing came naturally to Chantelle. Even as a child when she'd attended  parties, grown-ups soon notice that she wasn't simply mimicking the  moves she had seen in music videos as most of the other children were  going, but actually moving to the beat of songs and even making up her  own little dance moves as she went along.

She paused when she got to the middle of the stage and took a deep  breath. She was unaccountably nervous-there was so much riding on her  getting this job. Closing her eyes, she raised her arms above her head  and started to gyrate her waist and hips.

"Wow!" Colin said after a couple of minutes and she opened her eyes to  find that he had moved closer to the front of the stage. He watched her  for another minute or so and then enthused, "You can dance, girl!"

"Shall I stop, then?" she asked hopefully. There would be more traffic  heading towards the city as she would be on her way back. It would take  her twice as long, if she was lucky.

"Yes, get dressed again and we'll go to my office to talk business,"  Colin instructed, turning once again to walk towards the DJ booth.

Chantelle hurriedly slipped her clothes back on, almost as nervous about  the request she needed to make as she had been about the audition.

Colin was waiting for her just outside the door.

"I've seen hundreds of women dance since I opened the club twelve years ago, but you're something special."

Please God! As Colin led the way to his office, Chantelle surreptitiously crossed her fingers behind her back.

"Sit down," he invited, indicating a dark brown leather swivel chair in  front of a solid desk of a slightly darker hue. The office was as  immaculate as the man, but rather more conventional in styling. To  Chantelle's relief, he got straight down to business. "The pay is five  hundred pounds a night, but you can make as much as five or six times  that amount by giving private lap-"

"I'm not interested in giving lap dances," Chantelle interrupted.

"Then I guess that I won't have to tell you that sex with clients is strictly forbidden."

"Mr. Armstrong, all I want to do is perform my routine and leave the club as soon as I'm done."

"Are you sure that you want to work here?" He looked at her quizzically. "You're a great mover, but you don't seem the type."

"I need the money," she explained simply.

"I suspected as much." He nodded his head as if she had confirmed his  suspicion. "But I'm a little surprised that you won't take lap dance  requests and make more of it."

"No thanks. And I would like to be paid cash in hand."

"I run a legit business here, young lady." Colin bristled as if she'd  accused him of running a brothel. He lost all traces of the American  accent as he continued, "Each employee has to pay tax and National  Insurance."

"I'm not saying that you shouldn't deduct the appropriate amounts from  my pay," Chantelle explained hastily. "I just don't want to appear on  your books."

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