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The best of a generation of Brazilians universally acknowledged as the most astounding group ever to play the game, Pelé is a true legend in the world of soccer. He won the World Cup three times and is Brazil's all-time record goal scorer with 97 goals. This exciting collection gathers together some of the greatest images from Pelé’s long and storied career, from his first days playing at the club level to his astounding performances on the international level. Accompanied by commentary from Pelé himself, this is a beautiful compendium of the greatest player in the history of the beautiful game.
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Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known to the world as Pele, won the World Cup with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He scored nearly 1,300 goals in his professional career and is Brazil's record goalscorer with 97 goals. He lives in Brazil and the United States.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Belle Svetlana surveyed her nude image in a full-length mirror, readying herself for a thirty-thousand-dollar-an-hour sexual encounter with the fifteen-year-old son of an Arab oil tycoon.
Belle knew she was a beauty. What the hell, enough money had been spent along the way to make sure she was beautiful. A nose job ordered by her mother when she was a mere fourteen, a boob job shortly after - that was her decision. And then later, liposuction when needed, lip enhancement, regular facials and skin lasering treatments to make certain her skin remained the milky white she'd worked so hard to achieve (getting rid of her freckles had been a bitch, but she'd done it).
Ever since her teenage years Belle had strived for perfection, and now she'd gotten pretty damn close. Her hair was a pale golden-red, shoulder-length and wavy. Her eyes were a spectacular emerald green. Her body - a playground of delights.
Yes, she thought, staring intently at her unabashed nakedness, I am worth every cent of the thirty thousand dollars cash already neatly stashed in my safe.
Usually she did not go out on "dates" herself, but Sharif Rani - the oil tycoon - had insisted that it was she who should teach his youngest son the joys of the flesh. So, for a princely sum, she'd finally agreed.
Reaching for a peach slip of a dress, she stepped into it, powdered, perfumed and ready for action.
Thirty thousand an hour, not bad for a job which would probably take her no more than fifteen minutes to complete.
Of course, she could have turned the job down and suggested one of her twenty-thousand-an-hour girls, but sometimes it was fun to play - especially as she could pick and choose amongst her roster of rich, powerful and famous clients, which included everyone from Hollywood's biggest stars to several princes, more than one captain of industry, a few superstar rappers, dozens of sports heroes, and too many politicians to count.
Yes, Belle Svetlana - née Annabelle Maestro - ran the most exclusive, expensive call-girl business in town - the town being New York as opposed to Los Angeles, the city she'd grown up in, surrounded by luxury and all the opulence two movie-star parents could buy.
Thank God she'd escaped those two egomaniacs - Mom, the ethereal queen of quality independents - and Dad, the macho king of big-budget schlock. What a horror show, having them as parents.
When she'd dropped out of college in Boston and settled in New York, neither of her loving parents had given a rat's ass. Admitting to a grown daughter did nothing to enhance their public images, so they'd arranged to send her a monthly allowance, blithely told her to follow her dreams, and left her to her own devices.
Annabelle was no slouch when it came to following her dreams. She'd soon found herself caught up in the club and party scene - a lifestyle that had satisfied her for a while, until one night she'd been introduced to Frankie Romano - a popular deejay who worked private parties and the occasional hot club. One look at him and it was lust at first sight.
Originally from Chicago, Frankie was quirky and attractive in a Michael Imperioli kind of way. Fast-talking and edgy, he had longish dark hair, ice-chip blue eyes, and sharp features.
The trouble with Frankie was that he was usually broke, this on account of the fact that he was a dedicated coke-head, and whatever money came his way went straight up his nose.
Annabelle fell hard, for in spite of Frankie's drug use it turned out that he was a star in bed - whenever he wasn't too coked out to perform. She didn't know anything about his background, and she didn't care. As far as she was concerned, they were soulmates.
After a few weeks of crazy togetherness, Frankie had moved into her SoHo loft. Annabelle hadn't objected. The only downer was that she'd found herself spending her entire allowance keeping him in drugs, so it wasn't long before - at Frankie's urging - she'd called her dad in L.A. and requested that her allowance be increased.
Ralph Maestro, the self-made son of a Brooklyn butcher - a man who'd gotten shot by a robber when Ralph was twelve - told her no way. "I made it on my own without two cents to rub together," he had sternly informed her. "We've already given you a head start. If you want more money, I suggest you go out and find yourself a job."
Annabelle was furious. Her parents raked in millions, and Daddy Movie Star was telling her to get a job! Screw them! It was increasingly obvious that they didn't give a damn about her.
A couple of weeks later, she and Frankie had come up with a masterplan. They'd been lying in bed reading the lurid headlines about a married politician who'd recently gotten caught having sex with a series of high-priced call girls.
"How stupid is he?" Frankie had ruminated, scratching his skinny butt. "The dumb asshole should've paid cash. That way nobody gets busted, an' everyone goes home happy."
"Cash is good," Annabelle had agreed. "For special girls only."
"Yeah," Frankie had said half-jokingly. "Not some mouthy skank who's gonna sell her story, but very special girls. Y'know the kinda babes I mean. Models, actresses - they're always on the lookout for an extra score. An' here's the sweet part of the deal - we know 'em all."
"We sure do."
"So..." Frankie had said after a thoughtful few minutes. "You thinkin' what I'm thinkin'?"
She was indeed. And so their adventure had begun.
At first they'd both considered it a lark, but after a few months it had turned into one of the most successful call-girl businesses in town.
Flushed with success, Annabelle had soon created two identities for herself. As Annabelle Maestro, she was a girl struggling to make it in the fashion industry as a sometime designer. As Belle Svetlana (she got off on the exotic sound of the Russian surname), she was a woman of mystery who was able to supply the right girl to satisfy any man's fantasy.
For a price.
A hefty price, depending on what was required.
Annabelle's girls were not hookers. They were stylish, good-looking career women who enjoyed the extra income. Models, actresses, singers, designers, all classy, smart and discreet, and some of them quite well-known.
It was Annabelle's idea that the girls they recruited should wear masks when they went on jobs, to hide their identities. She was sure that the men would get off on the mystery, and the girls were happy too, imagining that wearing masks would conceal their true identities.
Finding the right girls was no problem. Frankie, a major cocksman before hooking up with Annabelle, knew them all, and he used his considerable way with words to talk them into anything. A shitload of untaxable cash income was the big temptation, and as Frankie pointed out, since most of the girls were fucking for nothing, what was the big deal if they did it and got handsomely paid? Especially if they were able to remain anonymous.
Frankie vetted all their would-be clients, while Annabelle liaised with the girls and arranged the appointments. Between them they pocketed 60 per cent of every assignation, and it didn't take long before they were rolling in cash. It was always cash, no paper-trails involved.
Now they'd been doing it for almost a year, and what a sweet money-making business it had turned out to be. Neither Annabelle nor Frankie had any complaints - that is, until they both realized they needed help.
After thinking about it for a while, Frankie had recruited Janey Bonafacio, one of his many cousins who lived in Brooklyn and worked as a bookkeeper. He'd asked her if she'd be interested in working for him, and since she'd always harbored a huge crush on Cousin Frankie, she'd immediately quit her job and was hired to take care of the phones and schedule the girls' appointments.
Janey, a 275-pound unmarried mother with a nineteen-year-old son, Chip, was delighted to get the job. Worshipping her cousin from afar was one thing, but actually working for him was a dream come true, even if the business he ran with his snooty girlfriend was fairly dubious.
Annabelle trusted Janey, but she wasn't so sure when it came to Chip - a surly slacker with way too much attitude and a complaining disposition. Annabelle regarded him as a not-so-charming Frankie in training. They used him to run errands and drive the car.
"At least they're family," Frankie had assured her. "They'll never screw us."
"Don't be so naïve," she'd retorted. "When it comes to money, everyone has an agenda."
"Hey!" Frankie had said. "We're payin' Janey plenty to make sure they stay discreet. An' remember this - Janey's got a thing for me. She'd never do anythin' to hurt me."
Annabelle was not so sure.
• • •
After making certain that she looked her most seductive, Annabelle buzzed downstairs to check that her car was waiting. Her main residence was a Park Avenue penthouse where she and Frankie spent most of their time, but she still kept the SoHo loft; it was the place where her parents and old friends could contact her. Not that her parents ever did - she heard from them maybe once every few weeks. As for her old friends, she was not interested in them; she had a new life now, and in her new life very few people knew who her parents were and where she came from. That's the way she liked it.
Earlier in the day, Frankie had driven to Atlantic City to spend the weekend with a couple of his guy friends, Bobby Santangelo Stanislopoulos, and Bobby's business partner, M.J. Annabelle knew both Bobby and M.J. from way back when they'd all attended the same high school in Beverly Hills. Yeah, fun times. Bobby and M.J. were a grade ahead of her, but she'd never forgotten the infamous prom night when the three of them had hung out, gotten totally high, and on a dare she'd ended up making out with the two o...
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