Excerpts for King's Pleasure
"Welcome to The Dollhouse, Los Angeles," Jeremy shouted above the pulsing music as he directed the Stro-zier bachelor party through the doors of the chateau-style building. Upon entering, the group of two dozen thirty-something men focused their attention on the main stage where the beautiful and incredibly talented Chocolate Dolls captivated and titillated the crowd.
"Pick up your bottom lips off the floor, boys." Jeremy laughed, taking in their awestruck expressions. "I can't afford too many workers-compensation claims when my girls start tripping over them."
"I've died and have gone to heaven," one man declared as his gaze locked on to an ebony Barbie doll, rolling her hips and sliding her tongue across her glossy lips.
Jeremy's smile doubled in size as he grabbed a cocktail napkin off one of the passing trays and handed it over to the young man to help mop up the saliva drooling from his mouth. "Please let me know if you need a bib," he said, laughing. Jeremy wrapped his arm around the brother's head and then led him and his boys toward the VIP room, where even more heavenly delights awaited them. Literally.
Heaven was tonight's theme. The Dollhouse Dolls wore costumes with glittering wings and halos. Everywhere their eyes roamed, the men at the bachelor party were welcomed by the sight of beautiful, well-oiled, well-toned bodies, dancing, twirling and gyrating on gold stripper poles. It didn't matter what their preference was, The Dollhouse showcased women in every flavor of the rainbow, and they were all willing and capable of fulfilling their clientele's every fantasy.
With a state-of-the-art sound system bumping, a dazzling light show swirling around, The Dollhouse featured the most beautiful women Los Angeles had to offer. Jeremy knew that the club had the potential to set another record-profit night. It was part of a little wager that he and his cousin Quentin had going since Jeremy had taken over the Atlanta club from his brother Xavier.
It had only been a few months, but Jeremy already missed having his brothers, Eamon and Xavier, involved the business. Hell, he still couldn't wrap his brain around Eamon being married and Xavier acting like a married man. He even had a bet going with his cousin Quentin as to whether Xavier was going to throw in the towel and pop the big question to his current girlfriend, Cheryl Grier.
Jeremy had ten grand riding on Xavier not losing his right mind completely. But Quentin made a very persuasive argument about all the signs that pointed to matrimony. Like selling his shares in the club, and bringing Cheryl's name up in every conversation. Hell, they were talking about a buddy of theirs who recently suffered a herniated disc, and Xavier somehow managed to find a way to weave Cheryl into the conversation.
The ten grand was going to be like taking candy from a baby, Quentin kept saying.
Married? Xavier? Jeremy just couldn't see it?and hoped that he never would?especially since Quentin would undoubtedly make him pay the ten grand in one-dollar bills, and he would make him sit down in front of him and count it all out. He could be an ass like that sometimes.
Sure he was happy for his brothers, but there was also a part of him that was more than a little irritated. They'd had a good thing going. Three bachelors?and their supposedly silent partner, Quentin?were running the hottest gentlemen's clubs in three different cities. Damn, talk about recession-proof! They had everything that any man could possibly want to wake up to every day with a smile on his face.
Hell, Jeremy usually bounced out of bed?sometimes even his own?because he couldn't wait to get to the club where he was surrounded by gravity-defying breasts and booty-popping goddesses. They were lucky sons of bitches to call what they did a job. As far as he was concerned, he was never going to understand his brothers' deciding to just punk out of the business.
Sure, he liked Victoria and Cheryl okay. They were nice considering Victoria initially tried to sue them for fifty million dollars and Cheryl had been working undercover in a drug-trafficking sting operation at the Atlanta club. He just didn't understand how you could fall in love with women who were either trying to put you in the poorhouse or behind bars. But whatever.
It was going to be a cold day in hell before he turned his leash over to someone. And yes, he knew perfectly well that he met the definition of "a dog" for at least half the women in the world. But that was not the half that he was concerned with. It was the other half that labeled him "a hell of a good time under the sheet" that he focused on.
Unlike his brothers, he was never going to leave this life. God willing, he was going to ride this bachelorhood thang until he was a hundred years old, getting a sponge bath from the hottest nurses he could find. Of course, if he had his way, he wanted to go out getting a lap dance in the club's VIP room with a smile on his face and a hard-on in his pants.
That wasn't asking too much, was it?
Besides the personal benefits, there was something quite noble in being a man who brought so much joy and happiness to guys who otherwise led dreadfully dull lives. Surely such an unselfish deed would guarantee him easy passage through the pearly gates when the time came. Of course, that all depended on if the good man upstairs was indeed a man. If not, then he would just have to soothe his conscience with the knowledge that while he was here on earth, he'd led one hell of a life.
Schlepping through life doing a regular nine-to-five terrified Jeremy. Always had. Dull and ordinary was not the kind of life he'd envisioned for himself. And thanks to his older brothers, Eamon and Xavier, that wasn't something he ever had to worry about.
Hopping up onto the VIP stage, Jeremy scanned the crowd with a huge smile on his face. "All right. It's that time?time to bring the man of the hour up on stage!"
The crowd roared with excitement, as a steady chant of "Cal-vin! Cal-vin" filled the VIP room.
"Come on up, big man!"
The shouts and cheers went up another decibel as Calvin "Hoopstar" Strozier shouldered his way through the cheering homeys.
Hoopstar, who was the NBA's Los Angeles Razors' third-highest-paid player, finally hopped up on stage, tossed two deuces to the crowd and just let his fifty-foot ego drink in the applause.
Jeremy laughed, and then when he was ready, shared a fist-bump with the baller.
"All right!" Jeremy laughed, grabbing a microphone. "It sounds like y'all are ready to par-tay!"
The volume cranked up a few more decibels as Jeremy slapped his favorite pro basketball player on his back and waited for the cheering to die down. "Well, my man. You know how this works?since it's our third time hosting a bachelor party for you at The Dollhouse in two years."
His friends laughed.
Hoopstar let the jab roll off him like water. "Hey. What can I say? I'm determined to get this marriage thang right."
"Well, you know what they say, 'If at first you don't succeed?'" Jeremy cheesed and shook his head. It seemed to him that the brother could cut down on the alimony payments if his boy didn't try to put a ring on every hot groupie he met. "With that in mind," Jeremy continued, "we at The Dollhouse will be happy to keep throwing you the best bachelor parties until you do get this love thang right."
"Bet!" The men exchanged fist-bumps before Hoopstar gave the crowd the thumbs-up signal for another round of cheers.
"All right, my man. You know I believe in bringing nothing but the best to the stage. I want you to know I found just the right flavor for all of you to enjoy tonight."
The room roared with excitement.
"A'ight, man. A'ight." Hoopstar clapped his hands and rubbed them together. "I know you ain't gonna let a brotha down."
"You know this, maaaaan." Jeremy slapped his boy hard on the back. "Y'all brothers ready for this?"
Joking, Jeremy stuck a finger in his ear and wiggled it around. "Then without further ado, you boys get ready to make it rain for the lovely?and the incredibly sexy?Caramel Swirl!"
The thunderous applause that followed as the Brazilian goddess took the stage penetrated the club's walls and probably echoed through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Meanwhile, inside the VIP room, gigantic ballplayers grabbed their money clips as Jeremy exited the stage and Caramel Swirl gyrated her oil-slicked body onto the stage.
Forget what you heard, absolutely everybody in the business knew that nobody made it rain harder than overpaid pro athletes. They were like grown children with impulse-control issues and more testosterone and money than they knew what to do with.
All in all, they were Jeremy's favorite customers.
In less than a minute, Caramel Swirl shook her money-maker in a green globe of Benjamins while the club's hostesses strutted in with their angelic wings and buckets of chilled Cristal.
Money, money, money, mon-nay! Jeremy grinned while the sound of cash registers filled his head.
"Looks like the boys love her," Delilah grudgingly admitted.
Jeremy whipped his head around and saw his head hostess. "Disappointed?"
Delilah brushed off his smug I-told-you-so tone with an eye roll. "I never said the girl didn't have talent. I just said that she carries a lot of baggage."
"Name one dancer up in here that doesn't have baggage. Scratch that?name me one woman who doesn't have baggage?and that includes Emilio behind the fourth-station bar," Jeremy said as he laughed. "Frankly, I'll be happy when he's off those hormone pills. His mood swings are driving me crazy." He turned and started to leave the VIP bar.
"That's a very sexist thing to say," Delilah said, trailing behind him.
"Jeremy Jorell King, you take that B.S. back."
His smile exploded across his face. "Not until you prove me wrong."
"Like you don't have baggage."
"Actually, I don't," he said with a lazy shrug as they headed down the stairs and through the main room of the club. The regulars immediately started competing to get his attention. Most of them knew that if Jeremy stopped by their table, it meant a round of free drinks and maybe a free lap dance with one of the club's hottest girls.
"Jeremy, my man!" "Dr. J!"
He ignored them all because he didn't have time to play the game tonight. The Dollhouse's side business, Bachelor Adventures, was pulling double duty. If he timed this right, he had only forty minutes to get from the club to Malibu for the second bachelor party.
His staff pretty much had the parties down to a science, so that everything ran like a well-oiled machine. His main role was to show up as the face of The Dollhouse, make a speech and introduce the first performer of the night. After that, it was usually time for him to get his party on.
Jeremy checked his watch and then picked up his pace. Undoubtedly he and Delilah would resume their pointless conversation about who had the most baggage another time. It just wasn't in Delilah to let something go.
Weaving through the crowd then out the front door, he hopped into his bright red Porsche Boxster S. He loved his car. It was his baby girl?his heart. Every time he slid behind the leather seat, it was like sliding in behind a good woman. It coasted and cornered like a dream. And when he got her on an open stretch of road, the power under the hood gave him a natural high that was second only to sex.
No surprise, he made it to the ten-million-dollar Malibu beach house with twelve minutes to spare. The music was already bumping and the house looked like it was nearing capacity. Malibu parties were always the best because there were always neighbors who crashed along with just about anyone who happened to be hanging out at the time?usually women in teeny-weeny bikinis.
Jeremy checked himself in the rearview mirror, and then smiled at his flawless reflection. "I got a feeling that this is going to be a good night." He winked and then hopped out of the car. As he strolled toward the modern glass-front beach house, he mentally raced through his nightly checklist.
Condoms? He touched his back pocket. Check.
Breath? He cupped his mouth, puffed out a pocket of air and sniffed. Check.
Swagger? Definitely check.
By the time he breezed into the house, Jeremy was seriously ready to get his party on. In his initial survey of the room, he saw that the women outnumbered the men by a ratio of three-to-one. Perfect. Most menages a trois happened at bachelor parties?usually involving the groom. But you needed to have the right ratio for that fantasy to be fulfilled.
"Heeey, Jeremy," his first fan of the evening cooed, sashaying her way up to him and looping her arm around his neck. "Long time no see," she said, poking out her bottom lip, and walking her fingers up the center of his chest.
"Hey, Keya." He lowered his gaze and caressed her petite figure. "I've been meaning to call you."
"Yeah, right." She playfully rolled her eyes at the lie, but continued to smile at him. "Tell you what, since we're both here, you can save yourself the hassle of trying to find my number and we can just hook up tonight."
"Tonight?" Jeremy glanced around, uncomfortable making plans before he had the chance to check out all the goodies this party had to offer. "Well, you know I'm working tonight."
"After work," she insisted, pressing her body against his.
He smiled. "After work, I may be tired."
"In that case," Keya said as she reached down and grabbed his crotch, "I have just the remedy to help you get your second wind."