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Authors: Immodesty Blaize

Tease

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Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Dedication

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Twelve months later

Acknowledgements

Copyright

About the Book

Tiger Starr has risen from nothing to become burlesque’s most sensational showgirl . . .

Her life is a whirlwind of glamour, diamonds, celebrity parties and more than her fair share of suitors. She seems to finally have it all. But although she may have the talents to bring any man – or woman – to their knees,
Tiger never usually lets her friends or lovers get too close. Only now, she’s finally ready to take a chance on love . . .

But beneath all the glitz and the feathers, Tiger is hiding more than her modesty. As she prepares for the most important show of her life, it seems somebody is intent on exposing the dark secrets of her carefully guarded past.

Unfortunatley, there’s more than one likely candidate. Is it one of Tiger’s discarded lovers? A rival showgirl? Or even her jealous sister? As her whole world starts to unravel, Tiger will have to fight for survival, by delivering the performance of her life . . .

About the Author

Immodesty Blaize is an international showgirl superstar. Her breathtaking performances are in demand the world over, and she has dazzled audiences across London, New York, Hollywood, Cannes, Vegas and back.

A long time fan of Jackie Collins,
Dynasty
and all things glamorous,
Tease
is Immodesty’s first novel. To find out more about Immodesty visit her website at
www.immodestyblaize.com

For Ellen

Chapter 1

‘Okay, girls, tighten me up and tie me off!’ roared Tiger Starr, clinging to the wall with both hands. The energy in the dressing room switched instantly, the nervous undertow shifting through the gears into hyper excitement and bootcamp-like efficiency. Tiger’s dressers Cherry and Brandy jumped for her corset strings. They each wrapped a length of the silk cord round their wrists and heaved smoothly in opposite directions while Cherry held her foot in the small of Tiger’s back. This was the second tightening process of the night.

Tiger had been sitting in the corset for ten minutes already, flexing her ankles in her crystal-covered
pointe
shoes, whilst waiting for her internal organs to resettle themselves before going in for the last couple of inches with the corset. Her waist shrank eye-wateringly before everyone’s eyes.

‘Ooof,’ exhaled Tiger, bracing herself against the wall, ‘have you got that last inch?’

‘Yeah, just gonna tie it off, that good for you?’ replied Brandy.

‘Well, I can’t breathe any more … perfect …’ Tiger gasped, wriggling uncomfortably. ‘Holy cow … okay,
Mario, it’s time to batten down the hatches!’ Tiger purred breathlessly to her hairdresser who was already hammering hair pins through the feet of the stuffed doves perched on her hair so that they nested firmly among her teased pink curls. She was now feeling the familiar warm tickle of butterflies in the pit of her stomach as Mario worked away at her immaculate coiffure as only a creative genius could. Tiger never liked her tension to show; only her stylist and best friend Blue could detect a faint tremble in her hands from across the dressing room.

‘Geev ’em a shake, darlink,’ Mario ordered. Like a good girl, Tiger shook her curls back and forth, flicking her head from side to side, testing any movement that might dislodge the birds on stage. Gone were the days of her wearing real doves. Bird shit in the hair was a price even Tiger was not prepared to pay for the ultimate in insanely glamorous accessories.

‘Spray!’ came her next command. On cue, everyone in the room covered their faces. Cherry paced evenly round Tiger wielding an industrial-sized aerosol can of diamond powder, spraying her liberally and smoothly. Tiger knew instinctively when to turn each limb so that every square millimetre of her was sparkling.

‘This is your ten-minute call,’ crackled the stage manager over the intercom.

‘Oh god!’ wailed Tiger. ‘I almost forgot, but I have presents for you all!’

‘What – now?’ started Blue.

‘Here. I want you to have them before the show starts! Just a little something to say thank you for all your hard work …’ said Tiger hurriedly dishing out four small giftwrapped boxes.

‘You’re kidding?’ squealed Cherry.

‘Well, I couldn’t look like this without you guys,’ she murmured softly, before passing a Fortnum and Mason bag to Blue. ‘These are treats for the crew – can you give them out in the interval, darling?’ she whispered. Cherry and Brandy had already ripped their presents open and were gasping at the expensive-looking sparkling pasties – bejewelled nipple covers – nestling in beautiful velvet-lined boxes.

‘Jeez! Come on, guys, this is no time for unwrapping!’ bellowed Blue impatiently. ‘Chop chop!’ he clapped his hands together loudly. Cherry and Brandy hurriedly put down their gifts, snapped to attention and swooped to collect all Tiger’s pre-sets.

‘Stilettos.’

‘Check.’

‘Diamond g-string.’

‘Check.’

‘Bath towel.’

‘Check.’

‘Fans.’

‘Check.’

‘Dress.’

‘Check.’

‘Liberace coat.’

‘Check.’

‘Let’s go!’ and off they whisked towards the stage with military precision, grinning from ear to ear. A wave of excitement surged through Tiger Starr as they left the dressing room and she hopped up
en pointe
in anticipation, her arches like taut little semi-circles in her ballet shoes. These were precious final minutes to psyche up for her opening night.

‘Mario, get outta my hair,’ she pleaded as the Italian hovered about her, pushing more pins through her curls. Tiger was purely focused on channelling her energy, and she couldn’t care less about hair grips right now. Pre-show anxiety was a feeling Tiger had trained herself to embrace, and feel comforted by. Nerves gave her a mean adrenalin hit, which always gave her the edge when she made her entrance. Tonight she most definitely wanted her show to go that extra inch – for she had all her chips riding on this one.

Tonight her first number would be her infamous ‘reverse strip’. Inspired by the late, great, burlesque star Lili St Cyr, with whom Tiger’s grandmother Coco Schnell used to perform, it involved Tiger actually putting her clothes on, rather than peeling them off. People travelled miles to see the spectacle, especially as from the audience’s vantage point, Tiger – ever the tease – never quite showed everything. Of course there was always the hope in people’s minds that tonight her bath towel might slip just that little too much,
and occasionally an overzealous fan would convince himself he had caught a rare glimpse of ‘landing strip’, but in reality Tiger’s diamond-encrusted merkin was always firmly in place to preserve her last bastion of mystique. As far as Tiger Starr was concerned, that was the art of the true showgirl – to be mysterious, otherworldly and untouchable for mere mortals. If that meant people thought she grew diamonds down there, then that was just perfect.

For the show’s big finale Tiger would lay on her
pièce de resistance
, playing the part of a 1940s
femme fatale
vixen on her giant vintage glitter telephone with spinning dial, accompanied by the ‘Starrlets’, her gorgeous troupe of sparkling, leggy chorus girls who paraded, slinked and kicked in exquisite symmetry around her. For Tiger’s final dénouement, the Starrlets all posed on stuffed black panthers that had been automated to rear up and roar for the crescendo, baring their porcelain fangs. It was a camp fantasy that made
Lawrence of Arabia
look like a low-budget student pilot.

Tonight, standing in her dressing room, Tiger was as radiant and as ready for her close-up as ever. ‘Blue, honey, whaddya think?’ she asked her stylist with puppy dog eyes, reaching for a compulsive squirt of Chanel No. 5. Before each show Tiger would seek Blue’s approval as a matter of course; not that she really needed it, but Tiger was curiously modest about her considerable charms. If only she saw in the mirror what others saw, she would realise that she could make a bin liner look like
haute couture
.

‘You’re stunning, darling,’ answered Blue, giving Tiger the once over. ‘I must say the boys are looking breath-taking tonight,’ he sighed, ripping his eyes away from the sight of her incredible tits to smile at her reassuringly. Slowly he surveyed the towering glamazon standing before him. He took in her firm caramel skin, her miniscule waist spreading into full rounded hips. She had legs that could only be described as a masterpiece – long enough to reach her armpits, with powerful thighs strong enough to crack a pistachio nut. Her large, pert breasts, dressed with the most eye-wateringly expensive diamond-encrusted nipple tassels had the kind of delicious weighty bounce to them that was the preserve of only the most natural of assets. Her make-up accentuated her striking features, making her lips even more pillowy, her eyes more cat-like. Even her hair, cascading into her trademark powder-pink curls, looked as if it would have smelled of delicate rose powder. Put simply, she dazzled.

This was what Blue lived for. He had decided many years ago that what
he
lacked in physical beauty, he lived to hone in others. Although as a tall, strapping beefcake with a soft effeminate accent, a striking face often diplomatically described as characterful, and a garnish of impeccably designed stubble, he was pretty hard to miss in a room himself. He and Tiger had met seven or eight years ago when Blue was the reigning queen and Fashion Editor of
Below
magazine. He had decided to shoot her for a ‘La Dolce Vita’-inspired story. Needless to say they had clicked
as though they had known each other for a lifetime.

Blue ended up putting Tiger on the cover. When Blue had been usurped by a bitter rival, followed by the spreading of one too many vicious rumours alleging plagiarism and an all-round lack of talent for Blue to have any hope of finding another job in the industry, it was Tiger who had come to his rescue like an angel out of the mist. She had offered him a full-time job as her personal stylist and wardrobe mistress, and Blue was thrilled to have a welcome niche in which to let his true creative talents shine, away from the incessantly fickle politics of the fashion industry. Even though Blue found joining Tiger’s hard-working team to be a thoroughly warm and fluffy experience, he had experienced one or two ‘entry difficulties’ in his professional relationship with Tiger’s manager, Lewis Bond. But over the years, Lewis and Blue had developed a grudging respect for each other. Blue now lived with Tiger in the Diana Dors wing of her Regency London mansion, as much her confidante and occasional dog-walker as her professional eyes and ears. Tiger was without doubt his best friend; an honour for Blue, knowing how cautious she was about who she allowed into her inner sanctum. Although he had also seen many times just how generous she was with anyone she thought she could lend a hand to.

‘Well, if Lewis doesn’t crack a smile tonight at the sight of you then squeeze me into a unitard and call me a eunuch,’ sighed Blue. ‘C’mon, Mario, let’s go sit with him out front and get him in the mood.’

‘Oh god, Lewis! Where’s he sitting?’ Tiger quivered.

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