Dance for the Billionaire

By: Jewel Moore

Chapter One

Chantelle Payne adjusted her long woolen skirt and straightened the hem of her jumper before pressing the buzzer next to the heavy door painted an uncompromising black.

“Yes?” The door swung open without a sound and she was startled by the appearance of the man who looked as though he had to stoop to avoid hitting the tops of most doorways.

“I’m here to see Mr. Armstrong,” she explained, fighting the urge to run back to her car and speed away.

“For what purpose?” The man, obviously a bouncer, looked her slowly up and down and Chantelle cringed inside. She knew that she wasn’t dressed appropriately. She’d had to rush out of her last lecture and had risked getting a speeding ticket to get to the club on time.

“I have an audition.”

The man’s lips curved into a smirk. He dismissed her chances with the single word, “Sure.”

Instantly annoyed, Chantelle straightened her shoulders, glared up at him and said with all the hauteur she could muster. “I don’t have time to stand here all day!”

“Sorry,” he apologized, seeming to remember that it wasn’t his place to assess her suitability. “Please come inside. I’ll tell the boss you’re here.”

Chantelle stepped through the fire door into the lavishly furnished club. Never in a million years would she have imagined that she would be here today, but life had left her little choice.

“Are you Elle?” asked a cultured, well-modulated voice with an American twang from behind her.

Turning, Chantelle took in the man who was a blast from the past…well, her parents’ past, not her own. Wearing a psychedelic shirt and flared red trousers, Colin Armstrong looked as if he was playing the part of a pimp in a blaxploitation movie. He swirled a cane in his slim right hand and even from a few feet away, Chantelle noticed that it was professionally manicured.

“Yes,” she responded, willing herself not to laugh at his attire; she needed this job too desperately.

“I’m Colin.” He offered his hand and she shook it. “You’re a bit larger than I expected, but your face is gorgeous.”

Chantelle would have loved nothing better than to tell him to go jump into a lake, but she kept her features composed as he assessed her with unnerving thoroughness.

“If you can dance I would be willing to take you on, if you promise to start going to the gym regularly.”

“Do you mind if we start the audition, please?” Time was a precious commodity she had little of. The last thing she needed was to waste time making promises she would only have to keep if he offered her the job.

“By all means.” His lips pursed primly and Chantelle sensed that he didn’t like her taking control of the situation. She wouldn’t normally have done, but she had less than two hours to drive back to the university campus and eat her homemade sandwich before the start of her next lecture. He pointed towards a dark red door. “The changing rooms are through there. I take it you’ve brought an outfit to change into?”

“Yes, I have,” she told him and then hurried towards the indicated door.

Slipping off her outer garments, Chantelle rubbed her arms briskly as the chill air of the unheated dressing room caressed her body. Taking a deep breath, she pushed open the door and walked back into the club.

“Hot damn, girl, your body is fly!” Colin clearly watched far too many African-American movies. And they were obviously the much-older movies as his lingo indicated.

Chantelle smiled at his reaction—the eighteen-inch difference between her waist and hips was dramatic and at 5’10” she was tall for a woman. Her unusual measurements made it impossible to find properly fitting clothing. She tended to wear loose, flowing clothing which made her look larger than the size 12 on the labels of most of her clothing. Finding a pair of jeans was a nightmare—she inevitably had to end up taking them to her local tailor to have the waists adjusted.

“Why didn’t you tell me you had a body like this hidden under those ugly clothes?” he demanded.

“I would have done if you’d refused to let me audition for you.”

“You’re sassy. I think I’m going to like you.”

Chantelle wasn’t worried by his statement. She’d come by the club one evening and waited until one of his waitresses had come out on a smoke break to ask a few pertinent questions. The woman had said that he was a sweetheart and kept a strictly professional relationship with his employees.

But she needed this over and done with as soon as possible, so she prompted, “Do you mind if we start?”

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