A Pleasing Temptation(4)

By: Deborah Fletcher Mello

“When the hell have you known Mr. Straight-As-An-Arrow to pick up anyone from the club?” Trey asked.

Bryan shrugged. “There’s a first time for everything,” he said casually.

“You do know who you’re talking about right?”

The group laughed.

Wesley shook his head. Standing among his closest friends in the world, the men he’d known for too many years to count, he trusted them with his secrets. Knowing not one would ever purposely betray him, he also knew that any of them would take great pleasure at an opportunity to make him sweat.

Since his sophomore year at Grambling State, the men in that room had stood by him, offering a friendship that felt more like a family bond. He and Bryan had met first, college roommates. Biracial, Bryan had been the only blue-eyed blond with a porcelain complexion in their dorm. As much as he stood out, he’d fit in, and they’d become fast friends.

Trey Jackson had been their fraternity brother, pushing them both to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi. When the trio had bemoaned the stresses of financial aid or lack thereof, Victor Hudson had come with an answer to all their problems. Wesley remembered that defining moment as if it had just happened yesterday.

The party they’d been invited to had been a Who’s Who of Louisiana’s finest. A smorgasbord of beautiful, sexy, financially successful women looking for a night of entertainment. Before either Wesley or Trey could change their minds, someone had turned on the music, each had been given a stage name and the rest had been history. They had all started dancing to supplement their empty pockets. Now they each continued for a variety of reasons. Together, they were the hottest male exotic dance troupe to grace the state.

Bryan “The White Prince” Lackey, Trey “Hammer” Jackson, and Victor “Black Magic” Hudson were Wesley’s closest friends and they made up both the senior management team and talent at his newest venture: The Wet Bar. The newly purchased franchise was destined to be the hottest nightclub in New Orleans.

He turned toward his office. “Joke all you want. Being straight-as-an-arrow has kept me out of all sorts of trouble. You three should try it sometime.”

“Like that would be fun,” Victor quipped, and then turned the music back on.

* * *

Inside his office Wesley blew out a heavy breath as he dropped into his leather executive chair. Despite his joviality with his boys, he hated lying to his parents. Keeping secrets from them hurt his heart. It wasn’t how he’d been raised and it wasn’t at all indicative of the man he strove to be. But neither Leon nor Annie Walters would approve of his endeavors in the adult entertainment market. Although he knew his father would wink and make a joke about his situation, he also knew his mother would be mortified. And that’s why he had never bothered to tell them.

Dancing hadn’t been Wesley’s career of choice. It had been a means to an end, and with that goal just at his fingertips he could appreciate it for all it had been. He had preferred being called an exotic dancer, but in the adult entertainment industry stripping was what he had done. Stripping had helped pay for his bachelor’s degree in business management and his master’s in finance. And it was currently helping him purchase this franchise.

He aspired to be a corporate mogul, running his own multi-million-dollar business and The Wet Bar was just the beginning. He had danced to pay the bills and dancing had afforded him the opportunity to save and invest the money he’d made. The Wet Bar franchise was a viable business opportunity and he planned to transform and legitimize the business, making it the most talked-about venture in an industry some considered tawdry and decadent. Renovating the New Orleans location was just the beginning. He then hoped to purchase additional franchises and expand to multiple cities throughout the nation.

Despite his efforts to hide what he did from his family, there was no hiding that he knew the business like the back of his hand. He knew how to grow the client base and how to give them what they wanted. Stripping didn’t begin to define the entertainment business that would become the cornerstone of his empire.

The office door opened and the echo of Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” vibrated through the entrance. Bryan poked his head into the room. “Hey, you busy?”

Wesley shook his head. “No. Just trying to figure out what comes next. Come on in,” he said, as he gestured for his friend to take a seat. “What’s up?”

“We got a call from the corporate office. A local television news show is doing a profile piece on the company and since our renovations are almost done, they’d like to film here.”

Also By Deborah Fletcher Mello

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