Excerpt from See Me (Lightning Tales #3)
Adrienne addressed the audience. “So, you all like my outfit?” When the applause grew louder, she grinned. “Yeah, it cost a lot of money to look this cheap.” She moved toward another table amid more laughter to peer closely at a woman’s jewelry. “Oh, that’s a beautiful necklace, honey.” The woman thanked her and she nodded, bringing her hand to her neck to touch her choker. “People often compliment me on my necklaces. I tell them, thank you, it’s so people don’t notice that I have an Adam’s apple—or a penis.” Her eyes shone.
Raucous laughter erupted from a couple of the tables and Adrienne sashayed in their direction. She glanced back toward the curtains and called out, “Hey, girls, we’ve got ourselves another rowdy, sex-starved audience again.” She turned to her audience and grinned. “I’m going to have trouble with you, aren’t I?”
“Why don’t you get on with it?” a guy called out from the table nearest to her.
Adrienne arched her eyebrows once more. She held up a finger and wagged it, tut-tutting into the mic. “Now, honey, please, let me do my job. After all, I don’t go to Walmart and tell you how to do yours, now, do I?” There were gasps from around the table, and the guy who’d commented gaped at her, his face turning red. Adrienne flashed him a polite smile before moving to the next table, where Ric and the others were seated.
Connor picked up his phone and held it up to take a picture, Instantly Adrienne struck a dramatic pose in front of him, her hands framing her face. “Like this?”
Connor pressed the icon on his screen but nothing happened. “Damn, it didn’t flash,” he whispered to Ric, who peered over his shoulder to see if he could help. They tried again, but still nothing.
Adrienne kept the wide smile pasted on her face, speaking out of the corner of her mouth. “Come on, come on, boys, I’ve got a show to do.” Connor tried once again, with no success. Adrienne twisted her head to look at the diners around her and batted her long eyelashes. “Just talk amongst yourselves for a minute, please. We’ve got someone from the technically challenged brigade here. There are some boys having problems with their… equipment.”
Laughter broke out and Connor mumbled under his breath, cursing his phone. When the flash failed to materialize, Adrienne broke the pose and put her hands on her hips. “For God’s sake, will you just take this picture before my beard grows back?”
Connor flushed, while all around him people laughed loudly. Adrienne winked at him. “It’s all right, honey. I’m sure you make up for your ineptitude in other ways.” She leered as her gaze traveled up and down Connor’s body before fanning herself rapidly. “Damn, he’s a pretty one.” She met Ric’s gaze. For one second her expression froze, but the reaction was over so quickly, Ric was sure he’d imagined it. “I’m sure those fumble fingers of his are good for something, right?”
Ric almost choked on his drink.
She leaned seductively toward him. “You having a good time, sugar?”
“Yes, si—I mean, ma’am.” For some reason Ric was flustered, his heartbeat racing.
Adrienne straightened and skewered him with a lethal stare. “Were you just about to call me Sir?” There was a glint in her eyes as she gestured to her elaborate costume. “Do you imagine,” she said, enunciating slowly, “that I bought all this shit so you could call me Sir?” She looked to the rest of the audience and gesticulated with her hand, her tongue doing a slow rotation inside her cheek. Ric wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole when more discordant laughter ensued. He braced himself for the verbal onslaught he felt sure was coming, but for some reason Adrienne appeared to take pity on him. “It’s okay, sweetie,” she said, her voice cloying. “Just next time, get a stronger prescription for those contacts, okay?” Before Ric could even think of a comeback, she’d moved on to another table.
She stopped at a table where the occupants seemed to be celebrating a birthday, judging by the remains of a cake still bearing candles and the empty champagne bottles. Adrienne smiled sweetly at the five people seated. “So who’s the birthday boy—or girl?”
“That would be me.” The speaker was a woman in her late forties, as far as Ric could estimate, but it was difficult to judge under all that make-up. “And why aren’t you singin’ yet?” the woman slurred. “We didn’t come here to listen to you being a bitch.”
“Speak for yourself, honey,” the guy next to her muttered under his breath, which earned him a current of laughter from those near enough to hear.
The woman ignored him. “So go on, then—sing. You’re s’pposed to have this fantastic voice, so let’s hear it.” She smiled smugly. “Or are you one of those queens who can only lipsynch?”
Adrienne’s eyes flashed. She glanced at the audience. “Excuse me for just one moment,” she said sweetly, still flashing that smile. Then it was back to the woman, and the smile changed, her voice deepening, a definite masculine edge to it. “Bitch, if you don’t hush and let me get on with my act, I will rip that make-up right off your face and put it back on properly.”
There was a second or two of stunned silence before the audience erupted into a loud burst of laughter and applause. Adrienne grinned at them, and then blew a kiss to her victim. She moved back to the front of the stage and gestured to her beautifully made up face.
“Speaking of make-up, you don’t imagine that I can just go to my local CVS and buy my supplies there, do you?” She shook her head. “Uh uh. I have to go buy theatrical make-up if I want to look this good, because believe me, Covergirl does not cover boy.”
The women in the audience laughed louder than the men.
Release date late January / early February...