Belle Tori, Book 2
Nestled between the covers of this novel you will find the second part of a great love story; the heart-stopping, toe-tingling, sensual romance of Victoria Lane and Jason Hunter.
Book One—Club Belle Tori—introduced Jason Hunter, a handsome, self-made millionaire playboy. Tricked by his best friend Samuel Grimes into joining the very exclusive Club Belle Tori, a Las Vegas swingers club, named for its beautiful sexy owner, Victoria Lane.
Jason, known to his friends as Jase, is a headstrong determined charmer, used to getting what he wants. He was confident Victoria would be no different from all the other women over the years. His seduction of the beautiful Victoria did not go exactly as planned; he never expected to fall in love, any more than he expected her to flee his arms at the first possible opportunity.
Pierre DuMonte, best friend and business partner of Victoria, aided Samuel Grimes in his plot, along with the staff of Club Belle Tori. Tony, the bartender, Sophia, the club’s customer service coordinator, and Yvette, Victoria’s secretary. These five people twisted fate to their will and fanned the flames of desire.
Victoria Lane, lovingly nicknamed Tori by her grandmamma, did not want to fight any longer. Pierre was determined to see her in a one-on-one relationship. Believing her wild life as owner of a swing club was not enough, he railroaded her into agreeing to meet Jason.
Stunned silent from the moment they met, Victoria surrendered to Jason’s well-executed moves, once again allowing a man below the surface of her womanhood. It did not take long for memories of her husband Matt, killed in some random shooting seven years earlier, to crash in. Dread and fear seeped deeper into her heart, when during an evening on the town, she witnessed Jason fight for his life with a knife-wielding drunk.
Only seven days after their first glorious moments together, Jason, injured and worried, was forced to return to his office in New York City. Afraid to leave, unable to stay, he needed three short days to resolve the problems plaguing a client, before he would be free to return to Belle Tori. Knowing her fears were unfounded, Jason reluctantly kissed her good-bye, promising to return and devote the rest of his life to loving her.
Victoria, driven by the deeply rooted terror of losing another man, and against the advice of Pierre, decided this budding relationship with Jason would never work. Putting aside her growing feelings, letting go of the joy she felt in his arms, and with uncertainty in her heart, she gave into her dread. Only hours after Jason left for New York, Victoria boarded a plane and disappeared into the setting sun.
Monday morning Jason returned to Club Belle Tori as promised. Pierre was waiting at the top of the stairs when his limo arrived. While Pierre did his best to soften the blow, he knew if Jason was the man he believed him to be, the shock would quickly run its course. He was not disappointed as Jason took control.
Has it only been four months, Jase wondered to himself. It seems like a lifetime. Yet the search was no closer to completion than the day he started. Four long months of loneliness, frustration and dead ends, as days melted into weeks. One hundred and twelve days of longing, yearning for the woman he held in his arms for only a moment in time, the night they met, forever etched on his soul.
He closed his eyes and dreamt of her skin, soft and smooth, as her naked flesh responded to his touch. The remembrance of her lips warm and hungry, as her tongue sought the very depths of his mouth. In his mind, he saw the way her hair curled, framing her face. The satisfaction in her eyes as she reached the edges of ecstasy. To hold her again, the driving force behind his months-long search of the world for the woman he loved.
It was not fate which had brought them together. It was careful planning and plotting by two friends. His best friend, Samuel Grimes and her best friend, Pierre DuMonte, took destiny by the hand to work fate to their will. They lured him here to Las Vegas with a simple plan in mind: open the doorway to passion by introducing man and woman, stand back, and watch the heat build until the flames of love ran out of control.
In his wildest dreams, he never imagined finding a woman so closely matched to his needs. She was open, honest, and headstrong. The last quality not his favorite, for it was her inability to accept fate which led her to flee from his arms. The chance encounter with a knife-wielding drunk, a small yet bloody cut on his chest, and her damn fear of losing a man, driving her to run before their love could grow strong enough to overcome all.
After a quick trip to his New York office, he'd returned to Belle Tori to find her missing, turning the dream into a nightmare. Never one to lose control, Jason came close that day. Stupid, childish, selfish. All words he used to describe her behavior, as he yelled like a lovesick schoolboy.
Pierre offered no interference when he took control of Club Belle Tori. This was where he felt closest to Victoria, here in her club, her home, with her staff. He moved into the residence, commandeering her office and Yvette, her secretary. Never doubting success, he hired a private investigator to find her. All he needed to bring her safely back was for someone, anyone, to tell him where she was hiding.
It is ironic, Jason thought, her fear of losing me to death, has driven her to lose me in life. Was it only four months, it seemed like a lifetime?
* * * *
The cold November air, driven by unseen forces, swept over manicured gardens, knocking the last late buds of fall from their stems. Winter snows were still a couple of weeks away, yet the bitter cold of the French countryside seeped in to steal body heat quickly. At the far end of the valley lay the Parker family estate, its granite manor built in the eighteenth century, protected by high stone walls. It was mid-afternoon, the sun just starting its descent on the horizon. Church services ended mid-morning and the Parker clan gathered to celebrate the birthday of the heir apparent. His coming of age party had been planned to the last detail, complete with gifts and advice from the many friends and relatives invited to share this occasion.
Yet those who knew this outgoing young man best were aware he needed some time alone. Daniel James Parker Senior walked quickly away from the milling guests, leading his grandson toward the solitude of the balcony. As they stood in silence overlooking the fields below, Daniel tried once again to make amends. “Take as much time as you need son, I will keep the wolves at bay,” referring to the fifty-plus people attending the party, mostly well-meaning family members, wishing to share sage advice on his plans for the future.
Turning to look his grandson in the eye, Daniel smiled weakly, “Just remember we all believed it was best to wait for you to come of age before allowing you to set out on your journey.”
Gregory Parker was a fine young man, strong, determined, and highly intelligent. “You were all wrong, Sir,” the bitter tone of his voice a telltale sign of his steadfast anger. “The last three years have been hell, and why? What grand purpose was served by making me wait?”
“Your mother was and still is concerned, Greg. She had her reasons.” Knowing they would never agree, Daniel did not wait for a response. Instead, he briefly tapped Gregory’s shoulder in reassurance before turning to leave him alone with his thoughts.
* * * *
Thinking back on the last twenty-one years, he knew his mother loved him completely and wanted only the best for him. However, he had a right, a right to know his father, even if it was twenty-one years after his birth. There was no lack of male role models in his life, his grandfather and uncles provided all the companionship a young growing boy needed. Yet from the time he was five years old he'd known that an important person was missing.
Outsiders, looking in, believed Gregory’s life was perfect. But, there was a void in his life only a father could fill.
Time and time again, he questioned his mother about his father. Each time she told him the story needed to wait until he was older. Three years ago, on his eighteenth birthday, Gregory took his mother aside, to this exact same balcony, and told her it was time. He did not give her the opportunity to put it off again. After several minutes of arguing, she finally agreed to tell him.
“I was seventeen and my father consented to my spending the summer in Paris with friends. He rented an apartment for us on the Champs de la Rouge. We left right after school let out,” she started to explain.
Anxious to get to his father’s name, Gregory tried to interrupt her, “I don’t need a long story Mother, just his damn name.”
Ignoring his outburst, Babbitt Parker drew her lips tight, her well-shaped brow lifting slightly at her son’s use of foul language. “There is no need for vulgarity young man,” she stated flatly. “And, before I continue with this story, I want you to promise me something,”
“What do you want mother?”
“You will promise not to leave in search of him until you are twenty-one,” she replied.
“Twenty-one!” he shouted. “Mother I’ve waited eighteen years for you to tell me about my father and now you expect me to wait three more to go find the man. What kind of bullshit is this?” Her earlier admonishment about swearing, brought to mind by the lifting of her brow, reminded him to remain calm. Reining in his temper he again tried to reason with her. “I am sorry mother, but I’m unwilling to put off the search for my father any longer. You should have told me years ago who he is.”
“Be grateful for what I’m willing to tell you son. If you would prefer to await your twenty-first birthday we can rejoin your grandparents in the salon.” Her voice held a note of finality. Gregory knew he would have to consent to her demands or wait; something he was not willing to do. With little hesitation, he agreed to his mother’s stipulation. Less than an hour later, he knew the entire story.
Now here he was, twenty-one years old, standing on the same balcony of his mothers’ family estate. Tomorrow he would be boarding a plane to the United States where he would finally meet the man who should have been part of his life from the beginning. Gregory was excited, nervous, and relieved.
For the last two weeks all his mother could do was warn him about the dangers of American culture, as well as worry that his father would refuse to see him. She had driven him to distraction, which in turn led to his continued use of foul language, causing her to chide him repeatedly. Now with less than twenty-four hours to wait, all he wanted was to speed up time and get to the airport.
Thinking fondly of his grandfather and silently thanking him, Gregory descended the stairs heading toward the stables. Hoping to delay his return to the party, he saddled his horse, riding out into the windswept fields.
Seven long days after leaving France, Gregory Parker finally arrived in Las Vegas. He had spent his first three days in New York, waiting for the Parker family law firm to locate his father, while he played the tourist, seeing the many sights the city had to offer. He enjoyed the ride to the top of The Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty. Grand Central Station was too crowded, but the nightlife was wonderful.
He found freedom in New York City. Away from the watchful eyes of his family, he was able to be himself, do what he wanted, and enjoyed being on his own for the first time in his life. The excitement and noise of this great city appealed to his youth. He decided he would return to this exciting city and play, after his search for his father was complete.
The bright lights of Vegas rivaled New York’s; the weather on the other hand was very different. Here in the desert it was sunny and warm. He spent a wonderful night with a beautiful woman and basked in the glory only obtained with independence. Gambling was a new pastime he planned to cultivate over the coming weeks.
And the women, so unlike those in France. Here in sunny Las Vegas, the women wore very little clothing. Dresses cut down to here, and slit up to there, barely concealing soft curves of breast and thigh. With so many willing women to bed, he might just have to remain here for months.
His mother, thank heaven, was still in France. He loved her with all his heart but hoped she would stay there. She was not happy about this trip to the States. Every time they had a phone conversation, she assured him she would be arriving soon to bring him home again.
Frustration was an emotion Gregory had not dealt with often during his life, and the dire warnings from his mother about looking for the past were wearing on his nerves. He'd decided three years ago he would find his father and tell him what his mother should have told him twenty-one years ago.
With the help of the Parker family’s New York attorney he tracked the man to a private club here in Vegas. Finally, knowing where his father was, Gregory mistakenly assumed it would be an easy matter of calling, requesting an appointment and showing up to announce his existence. What he never anticipated was the trouble it would be to get inside Club Belle Tori. Twice a day, once in the morning, once in the evening, he called. Each time the voice on the other end of the line told him they were not accepting new memberships. He left messages each time requesting Pierre DuMonte call him as soon as possible. For whatever reason there might be, all of his messages went unanswered.
Never one to wait for others, Gregory decided a face-to-face conversation would be best. He rented a car and after getting directions to the club, headed down the Vegas strip toward the desert, the distant hills, and his destiny, which ended at the barred gates of the driveway leading up to Club Belle Tori. Stepping from the car, he scanned for an intercom system. Finding the correct button to call the main house, he pushed it three times and waited for a response.
* * * *
Customer relations and membership information for Club Belle Tori were handled by twenty-six-year-old Sophia Edwards. She'd started working at the club five years ago as an assistant bookkeeper. Now in addition to her other duties she was also the person responsible for the communication systems, which included the closed-circuit camera link to the front gate.
It was just after nine in the morning, while sitting at the control panel resetting the phone message, that she noticed a young man step from his car. He looked around for a moment, then hit the intercom button. Unannounced guests were very unusual for the club, especially this early in the day, before the club opened. Hitting the correct switch to open a line to the front gate she responded, “Hello, may I help you?”
“Qui, I would like for you to open the gate, tout de suite.”
“And you are?” She was not comfortable with his response, open the gate right now, how dare he issue commands?
“My name is Gregory Parker; I am here to speak with Pierre DuMonte.”
Sophia experienced a moment’s hesitation on hearing his name. He had called the club several times and been told they were not taking new members. This one did not seem to understand the concept of the word no. She was about to tell him to leave when something about the way he stood there caught her attention. She peered into the screen focusing on his features, surprise hitting quickly. Turning away from the intercom system, she picked up the phone. After several seconds she spoke softly, “I need you to get in here, now,” she directed, before settling the receiver back on the cradle. Turning back to the intercom system and she spoke. “I’m sorry young man; Mr. DuMonte is in a meeting. Was he expecting you?”
“No, he is not expecting me jeune femme, however I have traveled a great distance and waited several days for a call from the man. I am done with waiting chéri; ‘tis time to open the gate.”
Sophia hit the button to close the open intercom line, disgusted with herself for the spark of interest she suddenly felt. “He starts by calling me young woman and ends with beloved, who is this guy?” She turned to the man now standing beside her, Tony the club’s bartender and currently Pierre’s right hand man, involved in the day-to-day running of the club. “Well Tony, what do you think? This kid isn’t taking no for an answer.”
“Why did you call me in here honey, tell him we are not taking new members. Send him on his way.”
“Tony, this is the same man who called several times this week asking for Pierre. I do not think this is about membership. Look at him Tony, I mean really look at the kid.”
Leaning closer to the screen, Tony studied the man for the first time. Surprise lit his eyes and he turned to Sophia, “You’re sure this is the same man who has been calling for Pierre?”
“Yes, I’m sure.”
“Tony, what do you want me to do?”
Tony looked at the screen one more time then spoke in a firm tone, “Buzz him in, and take him to the bar. I’ll get Pierre and meet you there.”
She watched as Tony left the room, then returned her gaze to the screen. He stood in the driveway waiting, “If you will please proceed to the front door, someone will meet you there.” From her vantage point in the security room, Sophia watched as Mr. Parker saluted the camera, returned to his car, and drove through the gates. Her stomach did a flip. He looks just like his father, she thought. Yet, was he his father? The resemblance she first recognized and pointed out to Tony was unmistakable.
Realizing she was wasting time, she left the security room, heading for the foyer to meet Gregory Parker and escort him to the bar.
Water flowed over Jason’s body, relaxing muscles tight with stress, as soapy foam washed downward to the drain. A whirlwind of memories stirred with remembrance of lips, soft and gentle, as his cock throbbed. The longing to hold her in his arms once again, was driving him to distraction. Leaning his forehead against the cool Italian marble tiles, he tried to gain control of the raging need building deep inside.
Thinking of the day when he would find her hiding place, he concentrated on what he would do to her body. How he would make her pay for leaving him here alone and wanting. He breathed deeply as the steam created by the hot water swam in his lungs. Exhaling, he pushed away from the wall, turned the handles to cut off the water, and stepped from the shower. Masturbation was not what he wanted. “Fuck!” The word echoed off the tiled walls of the bathroom, loud and angry.
Reaching for a soft oversized towel from the warming rack on the back of the door, he dried his body. Still naked, Jason moved into the bedroom to dress for yet another day of dead ends, frustration, and longing.
His cock still hard, he stood in the middle of the bedroom and closed his eyes. It took complete concentration to clear his mind and replace thoughts of her with a mental picture of his office in New York City. He struggled to think of himself sitting at his desk, reading a legal description of the property a client was buying. Slowly, ever so slowly, he regained control of his mind and drove desire from his body, once again bringing his cock under control.
Taking a deep breath, he walked to the closet to dress. He chose black linen slacks and a soft blue, short-sleeve shirt. Winter in Las Vegas in no way compared to the icy cold of New York, the only benefit to being stuck here. Successful at driving thoughts of Victoria deep into his subconscious, Jason went out onto the balcony to make a call to Sam.
“Hunter Consulting, may I help you?” The friendly voice of the receptionist on the other end of the line welcomed.
“Good morning Suzette, put me through to Sam’s office please.”
“Good morning Mr. Hunter. Sir, did you forget Mr. Grimes is on vacation?”
“No. Yes, actually, where did he go again?”
“I believe he will be staying at the Ocean Club in Nassau, however at the moment he is in St. Thomas. Would you like me to try patching you through to his cell phone?”
“Yes, see if you can pull him away from whatever important thing he is doing.” He heard a soft laugh, as she hit the hold button, sending him into silence while he waited for the connection to go through.
He thought about Sam, his best friend since high school. They had grown up together, attended the same college, and ended up in business together. Their close relationship was something most men never experience. He felt lucky to have enjoyed such a lasting friendship.
Sam was the person who had given him the moniker Jase, a shortening of his name that many of their other friends soon adopted. Before they finished their first year in high school, most people, including teachers and coaches, used this nickname. Before long everyone he knew called him Jase, yet the only one he wanted to hear it from at the moment was a very stubborn woman hiding somewhere out of his reach.
It could not have been more than thirty seconds before the sound of Sam's voice pulled him back from his thoughts. “Hey old man, how are things in sunny Las Vegas.”
“Don’t be an ass Sam, nothing is going well, and your chipper tone is only going to piss me off, so stop it.”
“Hey old sport; don’t take it out on me, I didn’t do anything to drive the lady into hiding.”
“Why the hell do you keep calling me old, you son-of-a-bitch, you’re three months older than I am.”
“True, but I don’t look as old.”
“Christ, Sam. It is not how old I look that bothers me, it is how old I feel after the last few weeks. If this damn P.I. doesn’t have good news for me this morning, I’m liable to choke him.”
Noting a change in Sam’s tone, Jason knew he was getting serious. “Jase, we will find her, it might take a little longer, but we will find her.” There was a short pause, as if he were deciding to continue. “I can’t believe she hasn’t called Pierre, just doesn’t make sense.”
“So you think DuMonte may be in contact with her. Damn it, I’m going to kill him.”
“Wait, Jase don’t be stupid. Pierre wants her home as much as you do. If he’d heard from her he would have told you, I’m sure of it.”
“But you said…”
“Never mind what I said, just thinking aloud. Trust me if anyone on the staff at the club finds out where Tori is hiding, they will tell you.”
“You still insist on calling her Tori, don’t you?”
“It’s her name.”
“No, her name is Victoria. Tori is a stupid nickname someone gave her as a child, which in my opinion does not compare to the beauty of her real name.”
“You know, if the only reason you called is to be nasty and ruin my day, I can always hang up.”
“I’m sorry, Sam. Don’t mind me; I’m just losing my mind.”
“Jason, listen to me. We have known each other a long time and I usually do not give you advice, you know. Under the circumstances though, I don’t think anyone would blame you if… well you know, you fucked someone.”
“Jesus Christ Sam, I don’t want to discuss this with you.”
Seeming to ignore his outburst, Sam continued, “Remember why you and Tori are so perfect for each other to begin with. Open sexual freedom. Do you really believe she is sitting… wherever, waiting for you to find her, without enjoying what pleasures may be available?”
“She damn well better not be screwing anyone else.”
“Come off it Jase. Damn it, she owns a swing club, is most likely a member of swing clubs all over the world. We know she visited one in Key West. Do you honestly believe she is celibate, just because you are?”
“No, I’m sure she is dancing naked through the streets of some small island in the Caribbean, fucking everything in pants. Hell Sam, why is it so hard for everyone to believe she might be denying herself sex? After all, she is an expert with the tools of the trade and can easily please herself. Do you honestly believe she needs a man to make her sex life enjoyable?”
Sam’s voice took on a resigned note. “I just don’t want to see you getting so crazy Jase. If you do not want to get involved in an orgy, at least let one of the girls give you a blowjob. Christ, have you ever gone four months without, well without…?”
“That is none of your goddamn business,” Jason interrupted. “Now leave me in peace and tell me about what is going on in the office.”
“How the hell do I know, I’m on vacation!”
Jason heard Sam’s laughter and his anger exploded again. “Enough fun at my expense asshole, go back to your damn vacation and let me worry about my sex life.” The receiver slamming onto its cradle did nothing to stem Jason’s quickly returning frustration.
He stood silent, his eyes taking in the sweeping expanse of lawn below. He looked beyond high walls protecting the back of the estate, gazing out at the distant hills, now carpeted in emerald green. Unlike the normal brown cracked surface of summer, a little rain brought forth a riot of color as wild flowers bloomed, and small green plants sprouted across the desert floor.
His eyes drifted skyward, deep blue with wisps of transparent clouds, a single bird floating along, pinned against the velvet sky by an updraft. Glancing back down at the enclosed estate, he reminded himself the private investigator was waiting in his office. Returning inside, he inhaled deeply, shook the frustration from his body, and left the residence.