While I had nothing against strip clubs, it was kind of hard to enjoy them when you were in business mode, and I was definitely here for business, not pleasure.
Three years ago, the Bellamy Group came to Kendrick, and they’d wanted to join us in a new venture involving medical optics. After six months of proposals and crunching numbers, we’d brought them onboard, and we’re all richer for it.
Two years ago, Rob Miller, the Bellamy Group’s CEO, had stumbled into The Fourth Face, and he had fallen in love with the place. Having never been in here before that, I’d done some recon after he’d requested that we start finishing our business meetings in their VIP rooms. As far as strip clubs went, The Fourth Face was one of the better ones, and it wasn’t as sleezy as some people would assume.
So, for the past two years, every time that Rob and his team have come into town to discuss business, we’ve ended our day in one of the three VIP rooms of the club. While Rob and the guys were always busy getting drunk, snorting coke, or getting their dicks wet, I was always busy making sure that no one did anything stupid. Always water for me, I refused to get caught up in something that could be used against me later.
The guys in this room with me were not my friends. We’ve never been friends, and we will never become friends. We were business associates, and if they felt comfortable snorting coke and getting their dicks sucked in front of me…well, kudos to them. Still, that was not me.
I was smarter than that.
Always in the VIP rooms, we had top-shelf liquor, impeccable service, an excellent view of the stages below, and The Fourth Face employed nothing but beautiful girls, so the eye-candy was endless. Even sober, I could appreciate how we’ve always had a good time here, even if I did refuse to let my guard down. I also wasn’t a prude, so watching Rob and his people getting their dicks ridden didn’t bother me. I simply didn’t watch.
There was also the fact that I could engage if I wanted to. While my looks weren’t anything that I overly cared about, I knew that I wasn’t a bad-looking guy. I was six-foot-two, and most women loved that kind of height in a man. My hair was brown, and so were my eyes, but I’ve been often told that my lashes created that bedroom eyes look that romance novels depicted in their descriptions of the hero.
As for the rest of me, I worked out four days a week, but my commitment to exercise was more to reduce stress than it was to keep my six-pack intact. I was thirty-five, and with every birthday, those six-pack abs and that Adonis belt were getting harder and harder to maintain. Still, I wasn’t losing it just yet.
Holden was three-years younger than I was, but we’ve been mistaken for each other before. We both looked like our father’s sons, Holden having the same brown hair, brown eyes, and build. I just happened to look more…serious than my brother. However, that was just a side-effect of having to raise my brother all our lives. Sure, the nannies helped keep everything legal, but I’d been the one to raise Holden, not our goddamn nannies.
At any rate, I’ve had several of the girls here show their interest in me, and while I had nothing against how someone earned their living-again-I wasn’t going to get caught up in anything that could be used against me later. I had a multi-million-dollar company that I needed to protect, so that’s what I did. If I needed to get laid, I had a discrete escort service’s phone number programmed in my phone. Holden joked that I was the only millionaire on the planet who paid for sex, but that wasn’t true. I didn’t pay for sex; I paid for the peace afterwards.
“God, I love this place,” Lorne Traverse stated gleefully as he dropped on the couch.
As soon as we had arrived, we’d been met by the club’s manager, Lita Rogers, and led up to the grey VIP room. Like clockwork, she had promised to send up a few servers and had asked if we needed anything during our stay. Since Rob and his guys brought their own party favors, we had declined, happy with the drink service only.
Now, while I wasn’t sure what the policy was for bringing your own drugs to the club, we’ve never been searched or lectured on the party favors used in the rooms. The dancers and waitresses have never said a word or have ever objected to what happened in the room, so I assumed it was all good. That was another reason to stay sober during these nights out. Not only did I have no desire to get caught with my dick out of my pants, but I also had no desire to get arrested, either. The only good handcuffs came with fuzz on them, and even then, I was the one cuffing the woman to the bed, not the other way around. That took a level of trust that I just didn’t have in anybody right now.
Everyone took their seats, Lorne and Isaac Harbor on the couch, Richard Wells and Brett Arnold in the chairs near the pole-yes, the VIP rooms came with two stripper poles for our entertainment-and I sat in the chair nearest the window, so that I could keep an eye out. Rob sat in the chair opposite of me, but not to keep an eye out. Rob’s chair was located closest to the restroom. The VIP rooms also came with their own restrooms, and that’s where a lot of the fucking happened.
Within seconds of getting comfortable, the door opened, and in walked a steady train of gorgeous women, dressed in next to nothing. The first four were obviously the pole dancers, and the two behind them were our servers. The only reason that I knew this was because their outfits gave them away. The servers were dressed in the same club uniform that all the waitresses wore. Whatever could be said about The Fourth Face, the tailor that they used had to be the best in the business. The uniforms enhanced the women’s figures, rather than advertised them. I had no idea how Carver Sullivan managed to make a strip club seem classy, but he did.
The light thrum of music filled the room, and the dancers immediately headed over to their designated positions, two girls sharing one pole. The two servers began taking orders, me ordering an iced water, the rest of the group ordering shots of tequila, bourbon, whiskey, and cognac. No one in this room started out slow with beers. They had only one night in town, and they didn’t waste time.
“I’ve been waiting all week for this trip,” Rob announced as his blue eyes tracked the pretty redhead on one of the poles.
“No shit,” Brett added, grinning like a loon. “Every business meeting should end like this.”
Isaac was busy setting out the party favors to get caught up in the girls just yet. “I absolutely agree,” he said. “This should be part of our negotiating requirements.”
Not caring about banal chitchat, Richard already had the curvy brunette in his lap. To ensure we had a variety to choose from, Lita had sent in a sexy White blonde, a sultry Hispanic brunette, a stunning Black goddess with bright blue braids, and an exotic Asian with a short, neon-pink wig, and there was nothing better than being able to appreciate all women in all forms. At least, that’s how I felt.
The only distasteful thing about this kind of business wrap-up was the gold band shining brightly in the light as Brett’s hand reached back and caressed the Black goddess’ ass. Brett, Richard, and Lorne were all married, and while none of my business, the least that they could do was take off their damn rings while they were fucking around on their wives.
I watched Isaac pass the tray of coke to Lorne. “It should definitely be part of a hiring bonus at least,” Lorne joked as he took the tray from Isaac.
Now, these guys were professional partiers, so they didn’t just have that one coke tray. Isaac had also pulled out some weed, and Rob had added a few tablets of ecstasy to the mixture. While I wasn’t a choir boy, even if I had wanted to party, I wasn’t too sure about letting other people see me fuck a woman. I’ve done my fair share of risqué shit in my life, but orgies weren’t on that list.
Knowing better, the men kept their party favors to themselves, not offering me any. The first time that we’d done this, I had gotten a lot of shit for not partaking in any of the festivities, but I had thick skin. I wasn’t big on caring what other people thought of me, so peer pressure wasn’t an issue for me.
Soon, the door was opening again, the servers coming back in, but instead of the original two that had taken our orders, a third one had followed in, and if you’ve never been struck by lightning, you should count yourself lucky.
Now, as clear as day, I could remember the moment that Holden had come to my place to tell me that he’d just met the woman that he was going to marry. Maxine had been getting in a cab outside the same hotel that Holden had been staying in for an out-of-town business meeting. She had gotten in the cab, and Holden had immediately jumped in the cab parked behind Maxine’s, and he had paid the cab driver to follow her like a certified lunatic.
At the time, I had laughed at his story, letting him embellish with the theatrics of falling in love at first sight. However, now I was being forced to lend significance to the fact that my brother had followed a stranger for miles just so that she wouldn’t get away from him. I had to re-evaluate my stance on love at first sight, because holy fucking shit.
Without those heels, she couldn’t be taller than five-foot-three or so, and she had black hair that was tied up in a high ponytail with wispy bangs framing her face, a pair of dark blue eyes, lashes for days, and a face that reminded you of an angels’ chorus.
Jumping in a cab to chase a stranger didn’t seem so insane to me anymore.