Well, it's the weekend, and our party is now officially started. I'll be here until midnight, my time, which is noon EST time. But anyone can come and play while I'm getting my beauty sleep. LOL
I hope you're enjoying the story. I'm falling a little bit in love with Li, even though he's the older brother type. LOL And if you are liking him, just wait until you meet our hero! That will come next week.
Anyway, the party will begin with some special questions at the end of the blog, so make sure you look closely. And enjoy today's installment. I know I had fun writing it.
Hustle Into Love
“Just like that?” She shook her head, trying to clear it. “You snap your fingers and boom, I’m a legend?”
He laughed. “No. But I will give you the tools to make it happen. And as you said, it will take much hard work. Success is always sweeter when you’ve worked for it.”
“My mama said that, too.”
Lì bowed his head. “Another intelligent woman.”
“Well, this woman is smart to know when she’s being offered a chance of a lifetime.” Excitement ran through Chantal’s veins like liquid fire. “But what’s the catch? I know you aren’t just going to hand over a bazillion dollars and say good luck.”
“I will do with you as I did with the others. You will give me a list. A wish list I think you Americans call it. This list will tell me all you believe you require to make your dream a reality.”
“I will go over the list. Anything I do not understand or question, we will discuss. I have advisers who will tell me if something is necessary or not. Those same advisers will help me make sure you receive the best of everything once you and I have agreed on the plan for your future.”
She just stared at him. “Are you for real?”
He laughed again. “I am very real. But there is one thing I would like to do different with you than I did with the others.”
Her eyes narrowed. “And that is?”
His face took on a pink hue. “I find your dream…interests me. As do you. More than the others I have helped in the past. Once I set their finances up, I have bowed out of their lives. I may see them once in a while, but we are not close.”
Sadness filled her heart. What about the family he’d talked about creating earlier? Where were his mother and his brother? Did he know how alone he sounded? How much he was crying out for companionship. She’d thought she’d been lonely after her parents died, but this…
“If you would agree—and if you don’t, it will not affect me helping you in the future—I would like to look in on you from time to time. See how you are doing. Maybe take you to dinner so you can fill me in on your progress.”
“You want to…look in on your…investment,” she said slowly. “Make sure it’s going okay.”
His dark eyes went bleak. “If that is the way you see it, yes.”
There was no way she could walk away from the look on his face. It would take a stronger woman that she was. He was too genuine. A real man with morals, scruples, and a loving, giving heart brighter than all the lights in Las Vegas. A person she would like to get to know better. She could always use another friend…or a big brother. Besides, she was a sucker for lost puppies. If she would have her dream, why not let him be a part of it?
So, she cleared her throat and prepared to step out on stage. “I don’t think, so, Mr. Yeung. I’ll take your money, but the rest of it? Sorry, that’s not how I roll.”
Lì blinked in confusion and then, if possible, his eyes went even emptier. “Ahhh, I see.” He took a deep breath. “Then I will await your list. If I have any questions, Ms. Montgomery, I will contact—”
She grinned and shook her head.
Puzzled, he blinked again. “I—”
“I think you can call me Chantal,” she interrupted gently. “Anyone giving me a gazillion dollars should be on a first name basis, don’t you think?”
He frowned, but nodded slowly. “If that is your wish—”
“Or—” she reached out her hand and waited until he took it, “—you can call me Channy if you like. You see, that’s what I like my close friends to call me.”
He went very still. “Close friends?”
“Yep.” She smiled and squeezed his hand. “But I’ll have to change your conditions a little. I don’t think I can manage a dinner now and them.”
“You can’t?” Now he was looking thoroughly bewildered.
“No. I figure anyone who has the guts to sit through as many acts as you had to do to get a seat to see me—”
“Six,” he interrupted. “I had to watch six other women who called themselves dancers.”
“See? Just saying. Someone who does that deserves a lot more than a measly dinner now and then.” She winked at him. “In fact, I think that person deserves to spend Thanksgiving and Fourth of July with me.”
There was another long silence, then understanding lit Lì’s dark eyes. His lips curved in a joyous smile. “I also had to drink the foulest bourbon I’ve ever tasted.”
She laughed and let her happiness overflow. “Well, hell. That means you’ll have to come for Christmas as well.”
“Are you sure, my dear?” He looked briefly worried. “I do not want to push in where I am not truly wanted.”
“Lì—” Chantal knelt and gave the slender man a hug, “—I only met you an hour ago and already I know you’re an amazing man. The things you’ve shared with me today about yourself? You say my gift is rare and special?” She eased back on her heels and shook her head. “You should look in the mirror, mister. You’ve got a gift, too. Generosity of spirit? Love of life? Talk about rare? You better believe I want your friendship. You’ll be hard pressed to get rid of me. I know a good thing when I see it. Remember, you said I was intelligent.”
He chuckled and she saw him relax. “So I did.”
“You just offered to make all my dreams come true, and you would have bowed out if your presence made me uncomfortable. But honestly, right now, I can’t imagine wanting to share this with anyone else.”
His dark eyes were suspiciously moist. “You humble me.”
“No.” And this time her tone was serious. “Your gift humbles me. And I swear on everything I hold dear—and that now includes you—I’ll not squander this opportunity. I’ll make you proud of me, Lì. Just like a big brother is supposed to be.”
“A big brother,” he repeated, his voice breaking, “I have not had much practice with that.”
Picking up her bottle of Evian, she tapped it against his. “Then give your baby brother a call and get to know him. But I don’t mind being your guinea pig until then, if you don’t mind an artist’s temper.”
Lì laughed and there was excitement in the sound. “Then we have a deal?”
~*~Hugs and see you tomorrow!
It's getting interesting now. Will she or won't she? And what will happen next? Leave your comments and let me know how you liked today's installment.
And here are a few questions for you to answer for today's fun and games. If I get 10 answers, I will put everyone's name in a hat and draw a winner. The prize will be a special gift for Halloween! But it's a surprise!!!! Ready?
1. Tell me a fun and sexy fact about Josephine Baker.
2. What exactly is the Folies Bergère?
3. Why, as a dancer, does Chantal refer to the Moulin Rouge?
4. Give me a shocking fact about Paris' dance history.
and as a bonus question...
5. Have you ever given a lap dance? *grin*
Thanks for dropping by. Be back tomorrow with more fun and games, and a quick look at our principle characters.
Follow Your Dreams