Samantha Tyler—Sam to her friends and on the byline in her column for Behind Doors magazine—is sent to interview a magician, Raj Jayasuriya, who goes under the stage name of Fakiri, and his delectable assistant, Zabrina. After an unexpectedly risqué adventure with a cocktail waitress in the powder room of the Burlesque, a prestigious London nightclub and cabaret, Sam is taken on an erotic adventure into the mysterious world of magic. When a spectacular illusion does not go to plan, an outraged Sam has to decide how to punish the perpetrators.

Hocus Pocus
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“Sex on the Beach for you, madam?”

Samantha Tyler looked up at the smiling face of the cutest black cocktail waitress she had ever seen and smiled back.

She’s gorgeous, she thought. Especially in that outfit—burgundy taffeta corset dress, suspender belt, sheer black stockings, and stilettos. A pity that isn’t really an invitation. I think I could be tempted with her, given the right circumstances.

“Enjoy your cocktail and enjoy the cabaret,” the waitress said as she bent to set the highball glass on the table, giving Sam a better view of her ebony breasts as she flashed a smile of perfect white teeth. Her name tag proclaiming that she was “Dusty” was pinned just below her plunging neckline.

Hmm, she smells good, too. And I love that American accent. Sounds like Chicago, unless I’m mistaken.

Dusty turned with her tray and reached over to set a beer and a cocktail before the young Italian couple who were sharing the table with Samantha. As she did so, her thigh brushed momentarily against Samantha’s arm, the bare flesh above her suspender belt touching Samantha’s skin.

Did she mean that? I wonder…

“I hope you all enjoy the show,” Dusty said, holding her tray in front of her tummy and giving them all a tiny curtsy, which afforded an extra view of her dusky breasts.

Sam watched as she sashayed away between the crowded cocktail tables, making heads turn as she went.

Perhaps I could arrange to do an article on her? Ask about life as a cocktail waitress. Maybe even—?

The sudden dampness between her legs and the familiar warm glow in her groin made her smile. Not here, not now. She crossed her shapely legs under the table and sighed as she picked up her glass.

Stop it, Sam, she chided herself. You’re letting the effect of this nightclub lead you astray. So what if the girl turned you on? That’s why they’re all dressed in those skimpy, provocative outfits: to get folks aroused. Then the more aroused they are, the more cocktails or champagne they’ll drink. Stimulate one pleasure center in the brain and you’re more likely to stimulate others. Just settle down. You’re here professionally, so just have the drink, watch the show, and then arrange an appointment for the interview.

“Salute,” said the Italian, raising his beer. “I am Gino.”

“Cin Cin,” added the woman. “And I am Dona.”

“Cheers,” said Sam, clinking her glass with theirs. “My name is Samantha, but please, call me Sam.”

They chatted for some minutes. Soon, to her relief, the couple lost interest in her and, huddling close, fell into an intimate chat.

Sam looked around at her fellow nightclubbers and listened to the crooner’s dulcet tones as he sang a medley of Michael Bublé numbers. Burlesque was definitely a cut above most of the nightspots in London. It was a large room with a curved amphitheater around a raised stage. Gaslight at the bar at the rear of the room, and around the stage, recreated the ambience of the Victorian Music Hall. The women were elegantly dressed in designer-label dresses, sporting diamonds and rubies, real ones by the looks of them, while the men wore anything from tuxedos to the most expensive of smart casuals. In the semidarkness of the room, each table was illuminated by a flickering overhead gas lamp, giving enough light to show the features of the revelers as they drank or enjoyed the ultra-expensive nibbles in front of them. Among the rich playboy set she recognized celebrities from the worlds of film, television, sports, and the arts.

She caught the eyes of a couple of male celebrities she had interviewed for her column in Behind Doors magazine—both in and out of their beds.

Out of respect for their glamorous partners, she discreetly returned the knowing, secret smiles and acknowledged them with subtle movements of the corners of her mouth or eyebrows when she saw that their dates were not looking. She was proud of her professionalism and of her journalistic discretion.

At another table across the room, she spotted Jean-Paul Pascal, the French chef who had a regular column in Vogue. He raised his glass to her and blew a kiss, to the obvious chagrin of his date. Sam smiled demurely and nodded at them both.

The dampness between her legs intensified as memories of her recent interview with him came to mind. He had cooked a special tasting menu for her at his Mayfair apartment. She’d realized that every single dish contained an aphrodisiac. That, together with the champagne, the ambience, and his Gallic charm, led to more appetizing tasting of lips, tongues, and each other’s intimate zones so that the meal and the interview ended as an all-night orgy for two.

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