by Nigel May
About the book...
If you keep dangerous secrets you’ll pay the ultimate price…
In the South of France, playground of the rich and famous, world renowned chef Dexter Franklin is organising a night to remember. As he opens the doors to his exclusive restaurant for the first time, he’s handpicked a list of guests, as hot and dazzling as the St Tropez sun itself:
Mew Stanton: Fashionable, beautiful and a notorious TV chef, Dexter’s ex-girlfriend has all the ingredients for success. As her books fly off the shelves, a secret from her past is about to surface with explosive consequences.
Holly Lydon: Ex girlband star who has fallen on hard times. Forced to make ends meet she’s having to sleep her way to the top. Now she’s making headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Rosita Velázquez: Brazilian actress extraordinaire and girlfriend of Dexter’s brother, Leland. When she’s in town everybody needs to know about it, but this is one show-stopping entrance she’ll live to regret.
Three women have a past with Dexter and a grudge to bear against him. As fireworks ignite in the jet set capital of Europe, there’s murder on the menu. Who will be served their just desserts?
The sun is setting in the South of France. Pour yourself a glass of champagne and sit back for a read of revenge, regrets and shocking revelations that will have you hooked to the very last page.
Revenge by Nigel May - Prologue
Iguazu Falls, Brazil
Ripping her supersize false lashes away from the tender flesh just above her eyes, showgirl Cher Le Visage looked into the mirror in her makeshift dressing room, softly lit by an array of light bulbs. Not having used her favourite designer lash remover – she’d plumped for the best brand she could afford these days – she watched as her skin started to turn an angry shade of red. Cher felt her eyes sting and smart, a film of moisture blurring her vision as she experienced the force of her own fury now that her titillating moment on stage was over. She’d regret it in the morning, but right now Cher wanted to remove every trace of her performance outfit and not think about what her life had come to – even if that meant red raw eyelids. The skin would bruise, no doubt, but she’d become more than adept at covering up those telltale signs with clever shading and blending lately. Needs must when the devil strikes.
Throwing the lashes into the mesh bin, Cher cast her attention to the poster on the back of the door. It spelt out the name of the event she was appearing at: The Iguazu Falls Charity Blast. An event to raise awareness and as much moolah as possible for the ongoing conservation of the area and wildlife at Iguazu Falls, the magnificent collection of waterfalls cascading across the border between Brazil and Argentina. Cher hated charity gigs – no matter how beautiful the location – as they never paid well, but she was fully aware that she had only managed to blag her name onto the bill because one of the organisers was a lifelong fan of hers. She should think so, seeing as she’d once blown him rather expertly, backstage at a gig he’d organised back in New York. When was that? Oh yes, back when she almost had a career and almost had her name written in lights. These days her name was no more than half an inch tall on the lower reaches of a raggedy poster.
She read the other names listed, all above hers. Crazy Sour, the world’s favourite girl band, were headlining. Oh, the shame of that. A woman skilled in the art of showgirl tease having to play underling to that frothy trio of pop tarts. That wasn’t what Cher had gone to school for. Put in all the hours for. Not that the girls in Crazy Sour were as wholesome as the world seemed to think. Any fool could see that.
Cher bent down to loosen the straps on her dual platform cage boots and kicked them off as she walked over to the poster to study the other names: Madhen, the ultimate good-time party band; Jemma Louisiana, the country and western star; Ellie Sweetrose, the hot soul sensation every trendy young thing and their dog were currently making out to if the newsstands were to be believed. Names, names, names – blah, blah, blah. All hosted by LA reality star Nova Chevalier, Latina actress Rosita Velázquez and some third-rate comedian who’d managed to scrape in to finish in the top five on America’s Got Talent.
There must have been about a dozen acts on the bill and yet her name seemed to be the smallest.
She’d come such a long way in her time, even if her career highs hadn’t been as astronomically sky-high as she’d once hoped, but surely there had to be life in the not-so-old corsets, suspenders and basques yet? She was a burlesque queen. A performer skilled with feathers, frills and flirtation. A temptress of tease. She would not be a washed-up glamour puss at the age of twenty-eight. She would make sure of that. She had options. There were always options.
No, tonight may not have been lucrative when it came to being paid for her services on stage, but maybe it would be in other ways. There was enough potential from those she’d seen tonight. Even if the professional world had decided to place her at the bottom of the bill, she was more than aware that her shapely legs and ample breasts could still attract a lover when required. And not just the one. Not that any of her lovers seemed to be providing her with love in its most romantic form right now. Passion, excitement, sex, variety, kink and on occasion brutality seemed to be washing over her in abundance, but when it came to hearts and flowers and Cupid’s heart-seeking arrow, her love life was emptier than her bank account. Others found their soulmates, why couldn’t she? At least one that she truly wanted. Why was the grass always greener?
Cher sat herself back down in front of the mirror and tugged gently at the specialist burlesque pasties covering her nipples. After years of dancing in the spotlight, a place where thankfully the drama of her act could momentarily camouflage the heartache of her unsatisfactory love life, Cher was adept at removing the small, sequinned, decorative saucers that every showgirl wore without too much discomfort. She stared at herself in the mirror and contemplated her own misery.
People would say that she deserved to be unhappy. Years of bitching and playing the diva were bound to rub a few people up the wrong way, and when word spread that a star was difficult to work with, and maybe not as popular as she once was, then the writing was very much written on the wall – in sparkalicious, glittery letters you could see from another galaxy. Cher Le Visage was seeing her own star descend quicker than the waters of the nearby Iguazu Falls. And she knew that she only had herself to blame.
Cher had enjoyed spending a few days in Brazil, but it was obvious from the position of her dressing room – furthest from the stage, at the back of the huge marquee erected to house the ‘talent’ – that neither the celebrity crowd nor the event organisers saw her as a big draw. Crazy Sour’s dressing room was no doubt all champagne, white lilies, scented candles and overhead fans to combat the stifling Brazilian heat. What did Cher receive? A six-pack of water and a desk fan that lacked the power to blow out the most pathetic of naked flames. But at least the money, meagre though it was, would be enough to keep the wolf from the door for another few weeks. And if it wasn’t, she’d be on eBay, Twitter and Facebook selling her outfits to the highest bidder in double-quick time.
No, screw the lush Brazilian forest and the furry little coati critters that she’d been gushing to the press about over the last few days, charity needed to begin at home, and Cher was determined that tonight would be a turning point to move things in a beneficial direction for her. Things would be so much better from now on. She would make sure of that. She’d look after number one – at whatever cost and no matter who it hurt.
Lovers, haters, past, present… She’d seen them all tonight. Well, fuck them all.
Cher was interrupted from her thoughts by a gentle tapping at the door of her room. She’d been expecting a visit. She picked up her gossamer robe and slipped it around her, all that she could cope with given the intense heat backstage. Underneath the flimsy material she was naked apart from her underwear.
She answered the door. The person standing there let their eyes scan down Cher’s body. Even with the robe on, there was little left to the imagination.
‘What are you staring at?’ snapped Cher. ‘It’s not like you haven’t seen it all before. You’d better come in. We have to talk.’
‘No expense spared, I see,’ mocked the visitor, stepping in and looking round.
‘Funny you should mention money, that’s what I need to talk to you about,’ said Cher. ‘You owe me, or else…’
It was about an hour later that a whisper of news started to scuttle its way around the backstage area of The Iguazu Falls Charity Blast. Some people were shocked, a few cried, some stated their surprise that it hadn’t happened before, many asked ‘Who?’ and one person just smiled, knowing that their work for the evening was done.
Cher Le Visage had been found on the floor of her dressing room wearing nothing but her underwear and the gossamer robe, strangled by a feather boa. Her eyes bulged from their sockets, a look of panic written across them for all to see. Her body was a map of bruises. The showgirl had teased for the very last time.
About the author...
Nigel May is a true all-rounder in the media world, working as a TV presenter, author, journalist and craft personality. He has written two glam-fiction books, Trinity and Addicted, as well as featuring in Sunlounger – a chart-topping anthology of short stories.