Land is Grand but Wetter is Better...
Read IMMERSED IN PLEASURE by Tiffany Reisz
A Harlequin Spice Brief out March 1, 2012.
The girl, Xenia, reached for a silver chain and fastened it around her stomach. Little silver scales hung off it and dangled around her hips. She clasped silver bracelets on each wrist and connected them to the silver rings on her fingers. Around her forehead went a heavier silver chain like a small circlet. The body jewelry shimmered in the low light and rendered Xenia a creature of ethereal beauty.
She strode to the edge of the tall pool and dove gracefully into it. Derek ran back down the stairs and up to the side of the column. Around and around she swam, her long brown hair flowing behind her. She spun in slow graceful circles, arched under and around, and seemed to need almost no air. Derek watched her unable to look at anything else. She swam to the edge of the column and smiled at him through the water. He pressed his hand to the glass and she laid her hand against the inside to meet his. But she pulled back quickly and swam off again.
“Ahh…that little one. She may be my favorite,” said a lightly accented man’s voice from behind him. Derek turned around and saw the man from Cirque du Nuit, the one in the Victorian suit and the ponytail standing behind him with a cocktail in his hand.
“She’s amazing,” Derek agreed. “She’s the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“Merci. I found her myself.”
Derek stared at the man. Merci, he’d said. Found her…
“Oh my God. You’re Kingsley Edge,” Derek said. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to barge into your club. She told me I should-”
The man shook his finger and tsk-tsked him in a manner that was infuriatingly French.
“I know who you are, Mr. Prince. And I know who your parents are. Consider yourself on the guest list.”
Derek followed Kingsley to the bar. They sat on stools side by side and said nothing until the bartender—a beautiful young blonde woman wearing a shimmering sea-green dress—brought them both fresh drinks.
“Ah, Urs,” Kingsley said to the bartender as he took a drink of his Sidecar. “You are too good to me.”
“Nothing’s too good for our King.” She leaned up to kiss him on the cheek as Xenia had to Derek.
“So you really are Kingsley Edge?” Derek asked. While Kingsley Edge’s clubs were famous, the man himself was infamous.
Kingsley shrugged, a small smile playing over his lips.
“It’s a living.”
“A very good one. My God, these girls are incredible.” Derek counted at least a dozen stunningly beautiful naked girls swimming about the club or lounging on large rocks with their decorated feet tucked to the side. Not even the mermaids of lore could be more spectacular than the ones right in front of him.
“Incredible, yes. In many ways,” Kingsley agreed. “My mermaids are my pride and joy. I went to Japan ten years ago and met a geisha. Such a woman I’d never seen before. How she talked and teased and entertained us all. I recall thinking the world needed more women like that—beautiful, mysterious, untouchable.”
“Untouchable?” Derek asked. He glanced at Xenia who continued to swim languid graceful arcs in the transparent column.
“Oui,” Kingsley said. “Untouchable…untouched. This is no gentlemen’s club or brothel. If you’re here for a lap dance, you’re in the wrong place. All my mermaids are virgins.”
Derek nearly spat his drink out.
“Bien sûr. Those who come here wish to see something truly unusual, something magical or mythical. Beautiful women, naked, exquisite, and all virginal.”
“Even Xenia?” Derek asked.
“But she must be in her twenties, right?”
“She is. She started here at age eighteen and has been a mermaid three years now. I saw in the paper a little article about a girl who’d broken a record for holding her breath underwater. I met her the next week, and she’s been here ever since.”
“But that’s crazy,” Derek protested. “Why would women this gorgeous choose-”
“If I offered you an extraordinary sum of money to go a year without sex, would you do it?”