The club appeared to be the classier end of the business, though Silje couldn't be sure, since this brought the total number of male strip clubs Silje had visited up to one. Although she had lots of practice hiding any nervousness she might feel, she was finding it hard now. Difficult, she quickly amended, squirming in her seat. She shouldn't let the talent turn her on; she was supposed to be working here. Hard described what every act displayed at the end. She'd never seen so much cock in her life before, much less the erect variety.
This was not her scene, or so she kept telling herself. The first two acts were interesting, but easily resistible, and nothing touched her psi senses, which she extended to detect any unusual activity.
She tried a gentle telepathic probe toward the performers and met two mental brick walls. Nothing, which in itself was odd. Only other Talents could block telepathic contact as decisively as that.
Candy was a shape-shifter, and Diane could receive telepathic communications, a useful skill for a mortal at the Department. Out of the corner of her eye, Silje saw the glitter of the diamante tips of Candy's outrageous manicure as she reached for her drink.
They're Talents, or they know about us, Silje sent to the two other women.
Candy's response was laconic. Yeah, I noticed that.
So do we take one each?
Depends what you have in mind, girlfriend. Candy's laughter echoed through Silje's head. It's your operation. You make the decisions.
So why exactly am I in charge of this? Her question was more from exasperation. She knew the answer.
Cristos likes to test his new operatives.
Silje gritted her teeth. She'd come highly qualified to the New York branch of Department 57, and the boss wanted to test her?
Fine, she'd pass his fucking test. With flying colors.
She would find whoever was dealing Cephalox in this place. First developed to help shape-shifters, now used against them, Cephalox was the shifters' morphine, necessary but dangerous, volatile, and addictive. It gave mortals a high, and it was the new fashionable designer drug of choice. Closing this particular leak was a priority, before New York really got the taste for the stuff.
Decisions were difficult when the feathers were coming off faster, and she had a very fine male butt in her face. Or nearly in her face.
Oh, it really was a fine ass. Telling herself the dancers wouldn't be interested in her didn't help. Candy claimed all the dancers here were gay, but personally, Silje doubted it. Regardless, they were still fine specimens, and they danced really well. The dancer moved on, but not before she caught a flash of speculative dark eyes glittering behind the bird mask.
She switched back to mortal eyes, and at once felt the loss of the enhanced cat-sense. But she'd seen enough, perhaps too much.
Now she knew what the difference was. These two performers were with the audience, not going through the motions. She felt their heat, their enjoyment of the moment, and knew they weren't acting.
They came together, and their tongues extended to touch just the tips to each other, then the dancers spun away as the music escalated, and other instruments played over the hypnotic drumbeat. Was it getting hot in here? She saw a few other patrons removing jackets, loosening their clothing, and Silje wondered if the management had turned the heating up, just a little. It'd be a good ploy.
No, she was sure they hadn't. The dancers made the temperature rise all on their own. Did they ever!
Their interest in each other and familiarity with each other's bodies enhanced their swaying, sensuous dance. Nearly naked now, except for a small, hip-swinging girdle of feathers, every movement threatened to expose everything they had, but by some miracle, didn't.
They joined spoon-fashion, the shorter one's butt hard against the taller one's cock, and they swayed. The man in front leaned forward. Their movements grew more explicit as the music sped up, and with the one behind leaning back, his mouth taut with ecstasy, he slid his hands around to his partner's stomach and traced his navel in a teasing motion every woman watching wanted to emulate.
This wasn't a hard-core club, so the audience watched, numbly, as two men went through the best imitation of sex anyone had ever seen. If they weren't doing it for real now, they would be soon; nobody had any doubt about that.
Silje heard the collective sigh when the hand slid further down. "No touchee," the signs festooned around the club read. She wondered, along with, she guessed, everyone else, if that was just for show.
The little feather kilt slid away, and at last the audience saw him.
Not that soft-core, then. Not soft at all. Shit, his cock--she hadn't known they came in that size. In her sixty years of life, with her pathetic tally of lovers that barely reached double figures, Silje had never seen one so beautiful, so fucking big. She tried to think aesthetic thoughts, how beautiful they were, how they'd make a good Bernini sculpture, but it didn't work. He was gorgeous, built, ripped. Hot, hard flesh, not cold marble.
When the taller man moved away, he took his partner's remaining feathers with him.
"If those two really are gay, they should be a bit smaller," Candy murmured in her ear. "They must have problems fitting in."
Diane overheard and laughed. "I could help them. Jesus, these guys are hot!" She picked up a coaster and fanned herself. "And you think they're--" she broke off, too experienced to say what she was thinking out loud--Talented?
Either that or they're after the same people we're looking for, Silje responded, on surer ground now. What better way to flush out drug dealers than getting a job at the club? We need to keep in touch with these guys.
Do we go backstage? Diane queried.
What, and show them who we are? An amateur's mistake and she was anything but amateur. The Department paid extremely well for its agents' services. Not that most of them needed the high pay, but it was nice to be appreciated. No, we follow them. Have either of you detected anyone else here who might be Talented?
A pause. Nope. That from Candy, and then another negative came from the only male they'd brought with them, the vampire Dubreis, currently serving at the bar. Dubreis managed to get a temporary job as a barman. She hadn't realized how ripped he was until she saw him in the topless getup the waiters wore here, but he didn't do what these two dancers did to her. She clamped her thighs together, but that only made the sensitivity worse, and she felt moisture seep between them.
She really had to get her mind back on the job and face her problems, as she always did. We'll follow them when they're done.
Oh, God. Just when she thought they couldn't take the audience any higher, they did.