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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hustle Into Love - Chapter Eight, Part Four

Hey all,

Hmmmm... Today's installment was a total surprise.  Didn't see this coming at all.  Enjoy!

Hustle Into Love


* * * * *

“That’s it, Dié,” Chantal encouraged.  “A little higher with the kick…yes…perfect!”  She nodded in approval.  “That’s exactly what we want.”
“This is a very difficult routine, Madame,” Dié panted out.  “But I will not let you down.”
Chantal grinned.  Little Dié was without a doubt the hardest worker she’d ever trained.  And it showed.  Within the last week, since it had been announced the small dancer was their new lead, Dié had not only learned the dances Chantal had been doing, but was working on several new ones.  The girl had the raw talent and the drive to succeed, and Chantal would make sure her newest protégée would go as far as she wanted in the dance world.
Call it giving back…call it working towards a future, but it made her remember what Lì had done for her.  So, it was only right she pay it forward with another deserving dancer.
“Should I do it again?”
Dié’s voice brought her back to the present.  She glanced over at the sweating dancers all standing tiredly onstage and took a quick look at her watch.  “Yeah.  We’ve got a few minutes left, but let’s do Larger Than Life, instead.  The BSB version.  We’ll start with that this evening.  It highlights everyone.”
“Are you going to dance tonight?” Bryan asked.
She nodded.  “Yes, but it’s a private gig.  One Mace set up for some charity—I forget which.  I’ll be doing that in one of the small theatres, not on the main stage.”
“My aunt is on the charity’s invitation committee,” one of the other dancers—Jaio—offered.  “Many important people are coming.”
Intrigued, Chantal cocked her head.  When he’d asked her to dance, Mace had said it was for a worthy cause, but at the time she’d been distracted by his lips tugging on her breast.  She’d forgotten what the charity was if he’d ever mentioned it. 
Ever since their first night together they’d been inseparable.  The only time they were apart was when they were working, and even then the man showed up at the oddest times.  He was an inventive lover, and her lunch breaks turned into lovemaking sessions that kept her limber and satisfied all through the long afternoon workouts.
Though she still kept her own suite at the hotel, it was rare when she didn’t wind up in Mace’s bed for the night.  And while in the past that type of intimacy would have terrified her, with Mace it just seemed right.   She’d decided she was addicted to the taste of his lips.  With a smug sigh, she pushed the thought of his kisses out of her mind and smiled at the Asian woman.  “What charity it that?”
“CATW.”   Jaio giggled at Chantal’s blank look.  “The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.”
“Hmmm.”  Chantal narrowed her eyes.  “I remember watching something at immigration while I was waiting on my work visa to be processed.  It made me sick to my stomach.  All those poor girls.  Kidnapped and brutalized.  I guess it’s a problem here just like it is in other countries.”
Jaio nodded.  “Yes, Madame.  It got worse with the coming of the casinos—prostitution became a countrywide concern—so last year the government started a program to put a stop to it.”
“It is a terrible thing,” Dié agreed in a whisper.  “My neighbor’s cousin was taken right off the streets in Hong Kong.  They still do not know what happened to her.”
Shaken, Chantal stared at the dancer.  “God, Dié, that’s horrible.  I’ve heard of it, but I had no idea it was so widespread.”
“It is not something spoken of.”
“Don’t want too much bad press, I’ll bet.”  Chantal shook her head in disgust.  “But now that you mention it, I’ve heard reports on CNN and such.  Some celebrities have taken notice and spoken out.”
“And your dancing will call attention to it as well.”  Jaio gave a satisfied smile.  “You are a famous celebrity, too.”
Chantal blinked.  “I guess I am.”  She laughed.  “I sometimes forget I have pull.  But I think this is a great way to use it.  If I can help even one woman, I will.”
“There are young men taken for labor and prostitution, just like they take girls.”  Bryan looked grim.  “Many are just children when they are kidnapped or sold into slavery.”
Shuddering, Chantal wrapped her arms around herself.  “That breaks my heart.  Kidnapping is bad enough, but sold?  By who?  Their families?”  At the young man’s nod, she shook her head.  “I promise you I’ll dance until my feet bleed.  It’s the least I can do.  I just hope it will make a difference.” 
“You are the famous Chantal.”  Dié’s eyes were filled with admiration.  “They will listen.”
Chantal took a deep breath.  She still wasn’t comfortable with hero worship.  Shaking herself, she put the dark mood away.  “From your mouth to God’s ear.  But if we’re going to impress anyone, we have to practice.  So let’s line up and work on that first number.  All right?”

* * * * *

She supposed she had impressed those she’d danced for. She’d chosen several numbers, starting with the crowd favorite—her prayer dance, then going on to both traditional Chinese folk dances and some standards she’d done both in America and France.  In the back of her mind the whole time was the conversation she’d had with her dancers.  She wanted to knock her audience’s socks off—and get them to open their checkbooks.
Now, as she peeled off her show costume and took a quick shower, she could only hope she’d accomplished her goal. The crowd had responded quite favorably.  Especially for an Asian audience of adults.  They weren’t known for wild applause or shouting, but the nods of approval along with the steady clapping was enough to make her smile in relief.
As she toweled off, she thought of Mace.  He’d been the perfect host, mingling with the charity goers and then later introducing her on stage.  He’d made her grin by calling her, “an American treasure of art and culture transplanted for a time to Macanese soil.”  And his knowing wink as she’d blown him a kiss had made her go warm in places she had to concentrate hard to forget.
Slipping on her silk robe, she brushed through her long hair and then creamed off the worst of her stage makeup.  It was time to go mingle, and though she usually enjoyed that part of her job, knowing why they were doing it had put a shadow over her usually bright countenance.  For the life of her she couldn’t understand why it should be necessary in the first place.
Human trafficking.  How could one person do that to another?  To a vulnerable woman, or even worse, a helpless child?  What kind of depraved monster thought it was okay to humiliate and use a fellow human being like that? 
As she was chewing on those horrible questions, she heard the door to her suite open.  She froze for a long moment before relaxing with a frown.  “Damn it, Mace.  You could knock.”
There was no answer, and the back of her neck prickled in sudden alarm.  “Mace?  Is that you?  If it is, this isn’t funny.”
It was still completely quiet, the only sound the soft click of the door as it closed.  Her heartbeat sped up, and instinctively, she grabbed her hairdryer, the only thing she could use as a weapon.  Silently, she tiptoed out of the bathroom and down the hall.
Easing around the doorjamb, she peeked into her sitting room.  Her heart pounded harder as she saw the huge shape of a man standing near the sliding doors, silhouetted against the lights of the city.
Anger and fear flashed through her.  How dare someone break in?  God, what would he do to her?   She was trying to decide whether to scream and run for the door or hit him over the head with her hair dryer when suddenly the man jerked something from around his head and turned to face her.

Well... Like I said, a surprise.  Who is it and what will he do to Chantal?  Find out on Tuesday's installment.

And if you haven't already, please make sure you head over and read my full length free read at my TMDRA BlogTruly Madly Deeply is a great sexy story about love found in a very unexpected place.  And don't forget to sign up for the contests.  The first one ends in only a couple of days!

Also, is anyone having trouble getting the feedburner email posting that should come out each time this blog goes live?  My notification has stopped as has a couple of other people.  I'm not sure what's going on, but if everyone is having problems, I need to know so I can get it fixed.  If you are having this problem, please email me at womanofthewind1@yahoo.com with the addy you signed up under.  I'll see what I can do.  Thanks!

Hugs and I'll see you on Tuesday! 
CJ England

Follow Your Dreams


Chele Blades said...

oh such a tease....now i hafta wait for 5 days...Chantal can handle herself...but having Mace come to the rescue will be great as well....

so did you have an inspiration photo for Mace? curious in my head i am conflicted on the final result of his looks

respectfully a fan

CJ England said...

Hey Chele,

Thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying the story. LOL

If you want to see the inspirations for the story, go back to the first week of the blog. Pics are there. Here's the addy...


Carrie said...

Love the cliffhangers. Can't wait until Tuesday.

CJ England said...

Thanks, Carrie!

I just can't seem to help myself.

Mannouchka said...

Dear Cj,

oh, my god what will happen to Chantal I hope she will not be sent to human traffic and hope Mace will be there to save her or it's a mystery.....
So I have to wait until Tuesday oh oh la......
Have a wonderful week-end CJ,Did your son enjoy his trip.

Phylis said...

AUUUGHH!!! You did it again! lol This was nice to come home to! Thanks CJ! Even if I have to wait until Tuesday to know who the stranger is.

Ashley L said...

I want to know so bad!!!! Did you have to do that on a weekend? I can totally imagine attacking someone with a hairdryer. So who's the guy in the room?!?!?

CJ England said...



I'm glad you're enjoying yourself with the FREE READ.

And we had a wonderful time with Jeramiah. Too short, and exhausting...but worth every minute!

CJ England said...


LOL I just love hearing you say things like that! Makes my day!

CJ England said...


Of course I had to do it on a weekend. Muhwaahahahahahaha....

It's the way I roll. LOL