Now let's hear from Mace, shall we? I wonder how he's going to handle working with Chantal. Enjoy!
Hustle Into Love
* * * * *
It hadn’t taken long for Mace to hear what had happened in the practice room that morning. In fact he’d been informed just after it happened. By a very irate Chin Zhao who was almost incoherent with anger over what Chantal had done.
Mace had listened impassively as the choreographer had gone on and on about how the changes she’d demanded were too much and how they would ruin the show completely. First off, she’d taken over the rehearsal, telling Chin she would be the one in charge from this point on. Her gentle warning to him about either cooperating fully or leaving was only the first of many offenses.
She’d told the dancers although she appreciated their hard work, none of their jobs were secure. They would have to prove themselves to her, and only if they met her standards would they be allowed to stay at The Golden Tiger.
Yet even as angry as he was, Chin had to say that during the practice time that followed, Chantal took her time working with each of the women. She had done what she could to get the best out of them. Then and only then had she scribbled down her notes and told the women and Chin she’d give them the results at the afternoon dance rehearsal.
And when Chin had protested saying there wasn’t an afternoon rehearsal, Chantal had only lifted a golden eyebrow and told them all there was now.
In fact, she’d handed out schedules for the next two weeks and all had been taken aback at the hours she expected them to work. Three sessions a day until she felt they were up to speed. Only then would she re-look at things.
Once the dancers had been released, she’d sat down with Chin and explained what her goals were. Since dancing was the biggest part of the entertainment, she was going to start with that. All the costumes, music and props were to be tossed. The staging would be completely redone. She was planning on bringing in other musicians and artists to add to the act.
But the choreographer was most upset about Chantal’s opinions of the dances themselves. She’d scrapped them all, saying bluntly they weren’t good enough to be performed. A personal insult since he’d been the one to create them.
It had taken several long minutes before Mace had been able to calm Chin. He’d sent him back with the promise he’d look into everything, but once the man left, Mace had shook his head and sworn lightly. In the position Lì had left him in, he couldn’t do anything about it even if he wanted to. Chantal had full autonomy over entertainment and even if he thought her decisions were wrong—which he wasn’t sure they were—he wouldn’t be able to change anything.
But he could see what was going on in person.
He showed up at the afternoon rehearsal about twenty minutes after it had started. Slipping into the back row of the hall, he slouched down and tried to stay out of sight. This would be his first chance to actually watch Chantal in a teaching situation. Lì often said how good she was, but Mace definitely had his doubts. Surely she could have handled the situation with Chin Zhao a little more politically.
“Attention everyone! Please line up at stage left,” he heard Chantal call out in flawless Cantonese. She was standing behind the piano in the shadows so he couldn’t really get a good look at her, but he was sure it was her speaking. Which surprised him. He’d been unaware she knew the language. Hadn’t thought she would bother. He considered her letting him deal with the porters and cab driver and had to chuckle. Seemed it wasn’t just Mace who’d been hiding secrets.
“This afternoon we are going back to basics,” Chantal went on. “Some of you have a natural aptitude and others will need a little more work. But I’ve decided to keep all of you for now. I know each of your talents just as I know where I want you to be. I will help you in every way I can, but it will be up to you to show me if you want to get there.”
Mace nodded. That sounded good to him. If the dancers didn’t want to work, they had no business being at the casino.
“This morning I watched you all dance and I know your strengths and weaknesses. I also know who learns quicker and who will take a little more time. Those that take longer to learn will just need to work harder, but it won’t preclude you from being in the troupe. All right?”
A small dark-haired woman with sultry eyes and a smug smile stepped forward. “Ms. Montgomery?”
The dancer sighed heavily. “For those of us who don’t need the extra work, will we allowed to take time off? I mean, really—” she glanced around arrogantly at the other dancers, “—I shouldn’t be punished for their amateurish attempts to dance.”
Mace groaned inwardly and slid even further down in his seat. He knew the dancer. Had been seeing her socially as a matter of fact. He had no idea how well she really danced, he’d been more concerned with…well…more physical things. But excellent dancer or not, he was pretty sure Chantal wouldn’t take that type of conceit from anybody. This wasn’t going to end well.
He was right. When she spoke, Chantal’s voice was like ice. “Your name?”
“I am Chóngdé Sun.” The Asian woman preened. “I am your lead dancer.”
“Not anymore you’re not.”
The blunt words set off another round of excited chatter from the dancers, and Mace groaned again. The shit was really going to hit the fan now.
Chóngdé’s dark eyes flashed her fury. “You cannot remove me.”
Chantal stepped out from behind the piano. She stood eye to eye with the Asian woman. “I just did.”
Mace stopped listening to the argument. His breath backed up in his throat, and it took several long moments for him to remember to breathe again. Bloody hell. If Chantal walked around in the casino like that, he was going to have a fucking riot on his hands.
She was dressed in a pair of spandex leggings the same brilliant gold as her eyes. And the white crop tank top ,which had the words, “If dancing were any easier it would be called football”, was so tight it showed off every line and curve of her beautiful breasts. Her long hair was pulled back into a simple ponytail, and she wore matching golden heels that were at least three inches tall. She was cool and sexy and confident, and it took everything Mace had in him not to race down to the stage and pull her into his arms so he could feel that beautiful body against his. He longed to touch and taste her, and if his throbbing cock was any indication, he wouldn’t just stop at a quick kiss.
But since the woman he was currently sleeping with was on the stage too, he figured that would be really bad form.
“How dare you!” Chóngdé squealed, stomping her foot and drawing Mace’s gaze back to her. “You obviously have no idea who I am.”
Chantal crossed her arms and looked grimly amused. “I actually don’t care who you are. You could be the queen of China and it wouldn’t matter a jot. All I care about is how you dance. And until I think you’re good enough to be the lead, you won’t be. It’s as simple as that.”
Chóngdé just gaped at her. Mace bit back a grin. He realized it was probably the first time someone had ever ignored the woman’s wishes. The Sun family was an important one in town, and Chóngdé was their only daughter. And very spoiled. The fact she wanted to dance had been met with resistance at first, but when faced with even more wild behavior, Chóngdé’s father had backed down and given his permission. Mace was pretty sure Chin Zhao had been pressured into taking her on as a dancer in the first place. It was the way of things here.
But now all bets were off. Chantal didn’t know who Chóngdé was and like she said, she didn’t care. Mace was beginning to see what she’d told him at the beginning was true. She was going to make the entertainment the best in Macau, and she didn’t mind ruffling a few feathers to do so. Which meant he was going to be hearing from a lot more people than just Chin.
Life was going to be very interesting for the next few weeks.
Well? Whatcha think? Should Mace get in between the two women? Or should he stay very far away? LOL Stay tuned next week and see what happens next.
And don't forget to check out my Chat Blog tomorrow when Mina Kelly comes to call! http://cjslivingdreams.blogspot.com/
Until Tuesday! You all have a great rest of your week!
Follow Your Dreams