First Page: The Belly Dancer and the Billionaire – Contemporary Romance
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Peony drew a breath and held it. The butterflies in her stomach grew more active as the elevator ascended closer and closer to the penthouse floor. Normally, she didn’t do private dances, but the amount of money she was promised was too much to pass up.
If she was anything, she was a girl with bills. She sighed.
Two more years. Only two more years of dancing at the Lebanese restaurant. Only two more years of office temp jobs, then she could start her career. Get a job that actually paid something. A job with benefits like healthcare and vacation days. She cheered herself with these thoughts.
It wasn’t that she disliked belly dancing–on the contrary, she loved it. What she didn’t love was spending every weekend shimmying her hips, trying to entice customers to tuck tips into her coin-scarf or worse, her bra-top. Which was why this party–this private performance–was so important. With the money she was promised, she could get completely caught up on her bills and even have a little left over as a cushion.
The elevator stopped, the doors opening directly into the penthouse, and she stepped out. She was in a foyer. It had dark wood floors, light walls and modern art. It seemed sparse, minimalist and to her, almost sterile. She took a sassier approach to decorating. She preferred warm textiles, playful colors, and whimsical objects that made her smile. And they had to be a great bargain.
Whoever decorated this penthouse was not on a budget or interested in eliciting smiles.
“Good. I hoped it was you.” Robert came around the corner. He was about thirty, tall and lean, with dark blond hair and devilishly handsome features. There was a wicked curl to his lips, a glint in his blue eyes that warned he was trouble for the fairer sex. She hadn’t known him before last night, but he had been outrageously flirtatious when he was trying to convince her to dance at this party; a birthday party for his older brother. She had been impervious to his charm–she had too much on her plate to waste her time with a playboy–and the only reason she agreed was the outrageous amount of money he offered her.
She glanced around the foyer once again and thought about the luxury building they were in–on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Well, it was an outrageous amount of money to her, but to him it was probably pocket change.
“Do you need to do anything to get ready? You can use the spare bedroom.” He smiled at her.
She shook her head and dug into her tote bag. “Just start the music whenever you want me to begin.” She handed him a small drive. “Is it okay if I leave my things here?” She slipped off her flats.
He took her tote bag and raincoat. His eyebrows raised appreciatively when he saw her outfit.
“I think I like this one more than the orange one you wore last night.” He flicked a coin that was dangling from her bra top. It clicked into others, creating a pretty, musical tone.
“Tangerine,” she corrected automatically. Tonight she was wearing a dark green top embellished with gold beads and coins. Her skirt was made of divided panels of dark green and pink fabric attached to a gold bead-and-coin belt and her beaded armbands had the same green and pink fabric panels. The colors complimented her warm skin tone and rich brown hair that tumbled in loose waves around her shoulders and down her back.