Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross
Happy Hump Day! Let’s celebrate it with a Mid Week Tease, courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino. This week, I’ll be sharing another teaser from my WIP Behind the Iron Cross.
Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!
It took a few stops and some money exchanging hands, but they were finally led to the hallway deep in the bowels in the club that housed the performers’ dressing rooms. A dancer wearing strategically placed straps and nothing else pointed out the door at the very end of the hallway as the Siren’s dressing room. Kat led them down to it, knocking on the green-painted wood.
One of the tall, muscular dancers answered. His grey eyes swept over Kat’s fur coat and jewels, and he gave her a short, ironic bow. “Good evening, madam,” he said in a smooth baritone.
Kat nodded graciously. “Is Signorina Manente seeing visitors tonight?”
He gave Sam and Friedrich an evaluating look, followed by a slow smile. “For you and your companions, madam, she is.” He stepped back, swinging the dressing room door open and letting them in.
Kat noted the unusual size of the room; it was obvious the Siren was one of the more valued performers at the Eldorado. The usual smells of an artiste’s dressing room hung in the air — perfume, face paint, powder, old sweat, and dust. In addition, there was a faint, medicinal undertone that she assumed was some sort of intoxicant. All the performers used them — gossip had it that Anita Berber’s favorite indulgence was to mix ether and chloroform, then swirl the petals of a white rose in the brew and nibble off the frozen petals.
“Signorina,” the grey-eyed dancer announced. “You have some intriguing visitors.”
At the other end of the room, the Siren herself sat in a lushly upholstered chair, head tipped back. She still wore her heavy stage makeup, but was dressed now in a violet silk kimono and nothing else. She hadn’t bothered to fasten the little belt, and an expanse of smooth ivory skin was visible from her collarbones to just below her navel. Another of the dancers, still in costume, stood behind her and carefully brushed her long, wavy hair, while the third dancer attended to her discarded mermaid finery.
The woman raised her head, studying Kat, then the men behind her. “Intriguing,” she said in a throaty purr. “Oh, yes. Benvenuto, signora.”
“Benvenuto, Signorina Manente,” Kat said with a nod. “I hope we’re not interrupting. We just wanted to come back and congratulate you on your show — your voice is astounding.”
The Siren gave her a slow, languorous smile. “Grazie. I trained in Naples, you know. Six years at the conservatorio there.” She rolled her head in time to the dancer’s brush strokes. “They wanted me to sing in church. I wanted more. And here I am!”
Kat glanced around the dressing room, crammed as it was with bouquets, souvenirs, and bottles of champagne and cognac. It was a huge improvement on some stuffy church choir. “Naples — but your last name is Sicilian, yes?”
Manente gave a languorous shrug. “Mama was German, Papa was Sicilian. I am, how you say, internationale.” She sat up in the chair, dismissing her dancer/servant with a wave. “Mattina, fetch our guests chairs. Pomeriggio, cognac and glasses.”
“At once, signorina.” The two dancers moved to obey as the third dropped to the floor at the chanteuse’s feet, resting his head against her knee. He turned an angelic face up to her, seeming to plead for something.
She stroked his cheek, running one slim finger around the cup of his ear, and he shivered. “Soon, Notte,” she crooned. “I promise.”
He sighed in acceptance, pushing his auburn curls into her hand.
“Mattina, Pomeriggio, Notte,” Kat said, half to herself. “Morning, noon, and night.”
Manente laughed. “Si! You speak the beautiful language, signora.”
“Only a little bit, I’m afraid. And it’s signorina.” Kat nodded at Sam. “My fiancé.”
“Ah.” The chanteuse’s knowing eyes studied Sam. “Congratulations — he is a handsome man. Too dark for me, alas.”
“Yes, I noticed you prefer redheads. All genuine, I assume?”
With a sly smile, the Siren snapped her fingers. Obediently, Mattina put down the chairs he carried and untied the knot at his shoulder, letting his chiton drop to the floor. He was nude underneath, and posed so that they could see his lean, muscular body, slightly sheened with sweat, and the soft puff of deep auburn curls nestled around a very impressive cock.
“All of my men are redheads — I insist on it.” Manente said. “I’ve had blonds and brunets, of course,” she nodded at Sam and Friedrich, “and even the occasional silver fox when I took a fancy to one. But in the end I prefer my own kind — I’ve found that they’re much more delicious and inventive.”
Once they were all seated and the cognac poured, the Siren reclined in her chair like the throne it was, effortlessly claiming the center of attention. “You’re on the right track, darling, but you need another man,” she chided. “Every woman should have three men — one for mornings, one for afternoons, and one for evenings. That way, you’re never bored.”
“I see your point, but I’m rather busy with the ones I have now,” Kat said, tossing Sam and von Bader a teasing look. Sam grinned back, while the German simply grimaced. “Adding another might upset the balance of things.”
“Pah. That is easy enough to fix.” The chanteuse leaned forward, a wicked twinkle in her blue eyes. “You simply strap on a cock and take them from behind like a woman, as I do. It does wonders for any problems of attitude.”
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