The Crying Game

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Chapter Three

Club Rose de Sang stood impressively over Janice as she made her way out of her car, pulling at the tight dress she wore and frowning slightly. The line was packed with a group celebrating a bachelorette party, a group of friends taking out their friend who had clearly had her heart trampled on, a lot of men and women just looking for a no strings attached hookup, and the occasional clearly under twenty-one kid who was trying to pass themselves as older than they actually were.

Janice wasted no time in skipping all of them, listening to the groans and protests behind her as she made her way over to the bouncer.

"Let's cut the crap," Janice said, folding her arms across her chest as she stared up at the large man impatiently. "It's a sausage fest in there and we both know it. Your employer undoubtedly needs someone with ovaries in there and quickly because those men are going to get bored not having someone to follow around. Let me in."

The bouncer opened his mouth to say something, then he hesitated, seemingly thinking about what Janice said. Pursing his lips, he ushered her forward. When she was close enough, he asked her to hold out her hand and he pressed a stamp on her outstretched hand. Finally, he stepped back and lifted up the dark red velvet rope to let her pass. There were cries of outrage as the people who had been waiting here far longer than Janice had watched her get through effortlessly.

Janice heard the bouncer saying he'd take ten more women as she looked around at her surroundings, eyes taking in everything and missing nothing.

There was a remixed rap song thumping through the speakers and a sea of bodies bouncing up and down, dancing to the beat of crude lyrics and insane bass. There were three sphere shaped objects that were decorated with lights. Women were dancing suggestively inside of them as the sphere twirled lightly. Rose de Sange's interior was dark—dark booths, dark chairs, even the bar was made of dark wood—but the dance floor shot off bright neon lights. The place smelled a lot like food and liquor, but Janice could smell the underlying scent of sweat and smoke. This was the kind of club where things happened. Where things got out of control.

That, she could feel.

Janice made her way across the room, heading straight for the bar. She looked at her hand as she made her way across the room, studying the stamp. It was in the shape of a rose with a drop of blood falling from one of the petals. It made sense. Janice spoke fluent French and she was well aware that the name Rose de Sang literally translated to Blood Rose.

That was an interesting name, Janice thought wryly as she sidled up against the bar. The bartender, a man with dark brown hair and light blue eyes, asked Janice what she'd like. When she ordered, he prepared her drink and told her with a wink it was on the house. Janice had smiled tentatively—not sure how to feel about being flirted with—and glanced around as she nursed the drink in her hand.

Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. From the outside looking in, it seemed like any old nightclub. It was alive with dancing, people practically having sex inside the booths and laughter and they got drunk and enjoyed themselves.

But there was something about this place that Janice couldn't put her finger on. Something about Club Rose de Sang made Janice uneasy. Every instinct that had kept her alive as she hunted murderers and some of the most dangerous people on the planet told her this place was unsafe.

This place...

Janice looked around and her eyes met a pair of green eyes across the room. In that moment, her gaze locked with his and she couldn't look away, even if she wanted to.

Caramel colored hair pushed away from his face regally, expertly. His green eyes—somehow icy, like emeralds encased in ice—watched her seriously. He was incredibly beautiful. The kind of beauty that defied everything that should be possible. His lips—not too full and not too thin—quirked up strangely as his perfectly shaped eyebrows drew together, almost as if he were confused.

Janice was so confused, she almost didn't notice the fact that he was sitting with a crowd of women surrounding him. Each of these women were of different races and Janice was sure that, if they had been anywhere else, these women would be considered beautiful. But, it was hard to truly see their beauty when she had already seen beauty in its truest form. The man with the caramel colored hair had to be the most beautiful thing that existed.

Janice forced herself to look away from the depths of his icy green eyes. Beautiful or not, Janice knew his type. He was the kind of guy who lived for being attractive and—judging from the way he was dressed—rich. He lived for women throwing themselves at his feet and that honestly didn't appeal to Janice in the slightest.

Besides, how would Janice ever be able to have a relationship in the first place? The last relationship she'd had ended terribly. In fact, since Janice had started her career as a freelance detective, all of her relationships had ended horribly. They all had the same statement for Janice when they broke up with her: she was too focused on her job and not focused enough on her relationship.

Finally, Janice had simply just given up. It was the right thing to do. Her job was too important anyway, for her to be distracted.

She finished her drink as she gave the room a quick once over, her eyes sharp as she took in as many faces as she could in the sea of unfamiliar people. She tried to commit as many of them to memory as possible just in case one of them lost their lives tonight.

She sat her glass down a little roughly. The thought of another innocent girl losing her life to this monster made Janice's blood boil.

Janice closed her eyes, struggling to get a hold of herself. But when she closed her eyes, all she saw were innocent brown eyes staring back at her. All she saw was the kind smile that had been snuffed out by one sick, sadistic asshole who thought another person's life was theirs for the taking.

"Would you fancy another drink?" Asked a smooth, melodious voice dressed up in a warm British accent.

Janice's eyes snapped open in surprise when she realized how close the voice was. Her open eyes met the same pair of ice-like green eyes hers had met from across the room not even two minutes ago.

Up close, he was even more handsome. Janice hadn't even thought it was possible, but there he was. The epitome of what it was to be too attractive for your own good. His face was very close to hers as he leaned casually against the bar, his eyes resting on her, his smile all charm. He was dressed in expensive clothes from head to toe and putting every other man in this entire building to shame. Janice pitied them all.

Despite his looks, though, Janice's detective skill kicked in immediately. There was something...strange about this beautiful man. Something about him that wasn't quite right.

Janice felt her lips purse and she tried to brush him off.

"I can buy my own drink, thank you very much."

"You could," he agreed, nodding once in confirmation. "But you shouldn't." He waved a hand and flagged down the bartender who Janice had once thought attractive. The bartender's good looks had paled in contrast to the perfection of the man sitting beside her.

"Get the lady another round. On me."

The bartender nodded and prepared Janice another drink. Once he had set it down in front of her, Janice felt her lips pull down into a scowl as she faced her attractive new "friend."

"I suppose I should say thank," she said wryly.

His lips turned up in a remarkably sexy smile and he cocked his head to one side.

"That's unnecessary. What's a drink between friends?"

Janice watched him shrewdly, her gaze moving from his head to his toes. He was pleasing to the eyes, that much was true, but he was slippery and Janice could sense that. Her eyes flickered back to where he had been. The women on the couch were looking over at Janice and the man, their gazes interested but definitely not unhappy.

"I have a feeling your version of a friend is very different than mine." Janice's tone was disapproving to her own ears.

The man's smile never wavered, if anything, it got bigger. Something in Janice was telling her that this man was dangerous. The way he stood before her was too relaxed like he wasn't worried about her going anywhere because he'd catch her and drag her back before she could. His eyes were sharp, cunning. Janice got the strange feeling that he was fast and strong. Like he could kill her at the drop of a hat.

Janice's eyes shifted toward the girls again and she felt her eyes narrow as she really took them all in. All extremely attractive, nothing in common with each other save for the fact they ended up at Rose de Sang before their murders.

Was it possible...?

Janice's eyes shifted back to the man who was studying her intently, his expression madly curious.

"Who are you anyway?" Janice asked, tightening a hand on her purse where she kept her taser.

"My apologies," he murmured, the apology sounding even smoother because of his beautiful accent and his intoxicating voice. "I was so taken with you, I forgot to introduce myself. I'm Aiden Mercier. It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss...?" He trailed off, looking at Janice expectantly.

"Cooper," Janice replied, all the while burning his name into her memory. She would start research on him as soon as she got home.

"Well, Miss. Cooper, do I get a first name?"

She smiled tightly. "I'm afraid not."

His eyes drank her in more, moving from the top of her head to the tips of the high heels she wore and back again before he met her eyes. Despite the fact that he carried a dangerous aura and Janice didn't trust him, her body flamed.

He leaned forward suddenly, his eyes capturing hers and for those few moments, Janice felt stuck. She was glued to her chair, lost in those strange green orbs. Her breath caught in her throat and her heart raced in her chest when a lock of his hair fell out of place and softly brushed her forehead.

"If you let me take you home, I'm certain I could get those answers out of you." His voice carried assurance, confidence. He seemed to think he had this in the bag.

"I'm sorry, I'm not into threesomes. Or foursomes. Or group sex of any type."

He raised a brow. "I was thinking of something more along the lines of just you and I together. I have a feeling that you're enough to..." His eyes trailed down Janice's body hungrily. "Sate me."

For a moment, Janice almost agreed to it. She almost agreed to go home with this handsome, possible serial killer. But then she remembered that he was possibly a serial killer. And then she wondered if this was how he led his victims away. Did he offer to take them all to his place and then murder them, somehow managing to drain their blood and gouge out their eyes.

That steadied her and suddenly, Janice was herself again. She took a deep breath and stood, forcing herself back and away from the handsome stranger. Aiden watched her with barely concealed surprise in his eyes.

"It was nice to meet you, Mr. Mercier, but I've got to get going now."

And then Janice turned on her heel and all but fled.

The first thing Janice did when she got home was kick off the ridiculously uncomfortable high heeled shoes she was wearing. Then, she stripped herself out of the skintight dress, leaving it in a pool on the ground. She then proceeded to head to her computer and look up the name 'Aiden Mercier.'

What she found shocked her.

Aiden Mercier was very well known. He was the co-founder of Club Rose de Sang. The very first club had been opened in his hometown of London. Apparently, his father was a huge business mogul in London and seemed to run the city. He had two brothers—one older brother and one adopted brother who was around his age. According to the Insider, he had opened Club Rose de Sang in New York because he "needed a change of scenery."

He was seen with a different girl every week. Some of the pictures even showed him with two girls at the same time. Each girl was a different race, different body types. They ranged from blonde to brunette, skinny to curvy. He didn't seem like he discriminated. The only thing these girls shared was that they were all enviably attractive. Although, admittedly they didn't seem quite so attractive standing next to Aiden.

Janice frowned, gritting her teeth and leaning back in her chair.

As public of a figure as he was, could he really get away with murdering these girls? Surely, if he had, one of the families would have spoken up. They would have surely told the police that Aiden was the last one their daughters were seen with.

In the end, Janice cropped Aiden out of the photos with these girls and ran a facial recognition scan. If these girls were dead, then Janice would be able to keep her theory that Aiden was behind these killings. If the girls were alive, then she'd have to return to Club Rose de sang.

As the computer scanned the girls' faces, Janice hopped in the shower, her tense muscles relaxing underneath the hot water. Despite herself, Janice found her thoughts corrupted by a certain someone with intoxicating green eyes.

Janice had never been wrong about someone before. She knew she was right. She knew the warning bells that had gone off in her head from being close to Aiden weren't just her imagination. There was something off about him. Something about him made the hairs on her neck stand up, made chills rocket down her spine.

At the same time, though, she couldn't deny the attraction she felt for him. Then again, Janice had a very tough time imagining anyone who couldn't be attracted to Aiden.

She pictured his too perfect face in her mind right as her computer chimed, letting her know the scan was complete. Reaching forward, she shut off the water and, wrapped herself in a towel, went to check the results.

In the end, the facial recognition software directed Janice to all of the girl's Instagram pages. On those pages, they showed themselves hanging out with Aiden and the other girls who he, undoubtedly, slept with. The most recent photos being twenty-four hours ago.

Janice scowled and shut off her computer. Clearly, she was right in thinking that Aiden had his own personal sex club.

At least, she was seventy percent positive he'd had nothing to do with the murders of those girls. But that still didn't mean she trusted him.

Janice knew without a doubt that Aiden Mercier was no good.

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