**Warning: This content is for 18+ ONLY!**
Exploring the dark side of social media and the human psyche, LoveClub takes the reader on a twisted journey into the mind of a sexual predator, and the dark world of LoveClub. The streets of Hungary are being hunted...
When a string of gruesome suicides are suggested to be the work of a serial killer, Lili, a young and aspiring journalist, wants to expose the details of the case to the public after one of her friends turns up a victim. The Budapest Police Department bring on renowned criminal psychologist David Lengyel to aid their investigation, but some are wary of his presence when they learn of his past.
All of them, however, are thrust into a world of sex, drugs, and death.
They enter the digital world of LoveClub.
What is sex for you? For me, it’s a kind of shelter, a burning hot burrow where I can hide away from the world’s critical gaze. Where I can truly be myself, and in a way, be divinely perfect. Sex is where I can free myself from all the masks that society demands us to wear. To be simply naked. Sex is a place where there are no more vicious tongues to whip me with criticism. It is a place where I can be praised; where my desires are more likely to be a virtue, rather than a shameful bit of human waste. Where a slap isn’t an act of hate.
Wednesday, 17th of August
The bar-pianist at the Juliet was playing a painfully mushy, joyous melody. This is the end! Lili felt vulnerable, but in a way, she didn’t really mind. Although she hated it, Lili secretly missed this feeling, the same way she missed the boy who had lured it out of her. Despite her self-respect constantly whispering that what she’s doing is absolutely crazy, she was unable to say no to herself. Had she skipped the last two glasses of red wine, she could have perhaps taken control of her desires, but being rather tipsy, it was out of the question. She was enjoying herself, greedily glancing at the boy who ruined her life eight months ago.
I need his cock! Back at home, she wanted Bence’s dick as a trophy. Now, here, she wanted it differently. What’s such a small amount of wine doing to me? I’m totally going to swing outside myself. She started to fantasize, and almost even felt his hand crawling up her thigh, pulling her legs apart. She imagined his body pushed up against hers, and while kissing, becoming one.
Come on Lili, put on your most rigid look! She was afraid that soon it would become obvious to Bence that she… well, wasn’t that indifferent about him. Stay mysterious!
“I’m really happy that you came,” Bence said to her. He seemed brainwashed with his timid, innocent smile.
He came across quite respectful, considering what a dick – actually, what a complete asshole – he had been before. Lili was musingly staring at him. Her gaze kept being drawn to his meaty lips, though they didn’t give the impression of a hardcore kisser. His green eyes, long lashes, and perfectly arched eyebrows gave him a passionate, warm look. The summer sunshine lent his hair a bleached feel and a bronze like tan to his skin. Yet, behind that angelic look, there was a sextremist. He was one of those dominant types, and it was in his nature to rule over others. As a teenager, he constantly tried to escape from the expectations of his wealthy family. As a consequence, he became set against, but never really managed to shake, the upper-class bourgeois values which were instilled within him from the moment of his birth. He really did enjoy being able to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. When Lili managed to put her pride aside for once and had to be honest with herself, she realized that she had fallen in love with the boy’s pompous style. At first his pride had angered her. Then she tried to resist it, but before she knew it, she had fallen victim to it.
The boy unexpectedly held Lili’s hand. His clammy touch made her realize that he was nervous too. But why would he be? He probably really wanted something from her, because he pretty much used all the tricks you could find in a ‘Dating for Dummies’ book: “Take the girl to a ridiculously expensive place… dress fucking neat… be stupidly kind.” Yet, he still didn’t make his intentions clear. This just wasn’t like him at all. Maybe he’s ill? Maybe he’s got me infected with some sort of disease that I haven’t realized yet?
Lili finally forced a smile on her face, and carefully pulled her hand away. Even if she wanted to, she couldn’t have reacted more keenly in this sort of situation. She still couldn’t get her head around what was happening. What am I doing here? She had, nonetheless, been seeking a good excuse from the moment Bence suddenly appeared a week ago, and invited her out to dinner at one of the most expensive restaurants in the city. Her first reaction to his phone call was frustration; had he asked her face-to-face, he would have most certainly received a vicious slap across the face. However, Lili’s anger soon gave way to thoughts of revenge, and so she immediately began to plot her villainous scheme.
She wanted vengeance for being used, for him acting like a prick, and for opening up the old wounds he had left behind. While she schemed and carefully selected the various physical and psychological tortures that she would inflict upon him, a curiosity arose within her. She wanted to know what happened on New Year’s Eve, when the boy suddenly disappeared from her life without any notice. Why did Bence leave her all alone, haunted with doubt? If he wanted to end their relationship, then why didn’t he just tell her straightforward? Why couldn’t he just say to her “Lili, my dear, it’s over”? She wanted answers. On her way to the lavish restaurant, the courage to get the answers she so desired raged within her. This won’t be a date; this will be an execution. However, when she finally arrived to the Juliet, she caught glimpse of the boy standing and waiting in a suit, holding a bouquet of roses. In an instant, all her evil little plans for revenge vanished into thin air. Bence’s look alone had disarmed her. She felt like someone had poured a whole bucket of warm love all over her. By the time they sat down inside the restaurant, she already had seamlessly drifted away with the flood, and was looking forward to hitting land.
But nothing in the goddamned world happened. Not even a word passed their lips while they were dining. They were careful not to make the slightest mistake, as to avoid upsetting each other. The only thing they achieved with this, though, was that they just didn’t say anything to each other. The conversation was hardly blooming. The questions seemed foolish and the statements were insulting. They seemed apathetic toward one another, acting as though they had to listen to each other’s boring stories everyday for years. Lili was lucky, because there was a large detailed painting hanging on the wall behind the boy that she could look at. However, she could not imagine what Bence found so interesting about the old women sitting at the other table. She even thought it might be funny to ask Bence if he wanted the old women’s phone number, but decided to keep her mouth shut. She couldn’t trivialize the situation; seeing as she’s the one who has been insulted, the boy should be scraping hard to get some sort of good atmosphere flowing.
“You look fantastic tonight,” Bence’s discreet look started to dissolve, as he slowly gazed towards her décolletage.
Here we go! Lili scowled and naively took a deep sigh – so deep that the cocktail dress she had borrowed almost tore apart at the bust. Clothes such as this normally made her feel uncomfortable, but Bence’s choice of restaurant demanded this kind of elegance. Seeing as her wardrobe was missing all basic elements of formal wear, she had to settle for her roommate Carmen’s size smaller, and in any case already tiny, red dress. She felt like a tied ham, not to mention the killer nine inch stilettos that were crushing her toes terribly. She felt like one of those floozy bimbos hanging around the bar, waiting for some rich, married businessmen hiding their wedding rings in the bottom of their jacket pockets. Or just like one of those characters out of Sex and the City who’s not that shy about getting laid on the first date with a fresh escort – who of course, isn’t as perfect as he first seemed at the murky bar. Maybe it’s the same gloominess making Bence appear so attractive?
The time was passing by in awkward silence. The discreet playing of the pianist somewhat raised the ambience of the place, but the recently opened and super hyped Juliet turned out to be fairly boring. Normal, everyday people seem to think that the rich are always enjoying life, living the dream, and are constantly throwing money away. The latter is true enough, but the marble-floored lounge looked more like a luxury crypt than a pleasant restaurant. This was probably because most of the guests there were suit and dress wearing business people, who hardly had anything on their minds other than new investments or stock exchange rates. Lili felt uncomfortable with the sterile environment and Bence was visibly uneasy with it, too. Although his family was part of the upper class, the boy never actually felt like he belonged to the luxurious lifestyle. He still maintained the look of a little puppy surrounded by the top dogs (which, as a matter of fact, he still was.)
Lili was hoping that Bence hadn’t intended on impressing her with the Juliet, because not only had he then failed, but had once again proved how much he actually misjudged her. She would have been much happier visiting one of the local bars and just talking about the latest buzz and gossip. Eat a burger, have a couple of beers. Barely audible, Lili started drumming with her fingers on top of mahogany table.
A waiter came over to them and collected their empty plates. Bence had pasta, while Lili was satisfied with a simple salad. Her stomach had knotted up because of all the excitement anyway, and it wouldn’t have been such a great idea to have an abundant feast wearing that tight cocktail dress. Not to mention that all the female guests were pretty much just pecking at their food like chickens, so it would have been unseemly to order anything more than a half portion of nothing.
Just as usual with Bence nearby, Lili’s thoughts automatically started wandering to sex. What is happening to me? Her body was revolting against her common sense. It wasn’t really much of a surprise as it had been a long time since she last had any physical contact with a man. She had only been with two guys since Bence disappeared, but neither of them had the spark she needed. There is a difference between an orgasm and an orgasm. She would rather wait for that spark, unlike all the other girls in her world, who would easily get laid with any nice stranger. However, in her abstinence, Lili had become a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. The only consolation she had was a plastic, vibrating friend. Should she feel ashamed about this? She’s passed nineteen! It’s totally normal for her to get excited from even the thought of sex, and it is the most natural thing for her to get fired up about when she's around someone who’s pushing the limits of handsomeness. Yet, her craving for Bence surely could not be natural. Not after the way he used her and treated her like a worn out blowup doll. Nonetheless, lots had changed since then, and now it was Lili’s turn to take advantage of the boy’s body.
She smiled. This was her first honest smile of the whole evening.
“So, still journalism…“ Bence wanted to start this off as a question, but thanks to two annoying beeps, his sentence turned into a statement.
A couple of people wearing suits turned their heads around with an unpleasant glare, as though some sort of Marilyn Manson gig was kicking off at the table. Lili didn’t give a damn though. She didn’t care about what those pricks thought and that she might have violated some of their basic principles. A text from Carmen lit the screen of her phone, and at that moment, she felt like her roommate was her savior. Lili never felt bored around her. Their views on life were entirely different, but somehow, they completed one another. Carmen with her vivid pink hair, colorful clothes, strong make up and extravagant style just adored life. All the wild parties seemed to find her, and her artistic soul demanded passion. Carmen was in love with freedom, so when the summer holidays arrived, she became even more intense. Sometimes there were occasions that she went to, let’s just say “too hardcore” parties, but she never really said much about those to Lili. She preferred to stay mysterious and enigmatic.
“I’m going to go and paint the town red. Nicole’s gone to bed, her head hurt. Look after yourself, Princess! Ps: Tell Mr. Softcock that the room is mine. LOVE”
Almost everyone had a nickname in their group of friends. These were the names they called each other, and these were the ones – well, some of them – used for chatting over the internet. Those who are not really immersed in the world of cyber living cannot really imagine how many people out there take part in risqué and naughty little conversations on the multitude of different chat sites. Lili only found out about this sort of thing when Carmen showed her a couple of gems from her own “lets-get-to-know-each-other” emails. The web is being slowly taken over by youngsters who are often considered to be eccentric in real life. They take advantage of all the opportunities the internet provides, and even the word “sexuality” has now got a whole new meaning to it. The borders seem to disappear; even the most harmless kitten can evolve into a bloodthirsty saber-tooth tiger with the help of cyberspace. Online relationships encourage self-expression, there is no one in control, and all of this can be deleted in a flash with the help of a single click.
Let’s take Nicole for example, the girl from Carmen’s text. She’s a discreet looking girl on the outside, but with the help of the internet, she managed to make bawdy drawings that would turn on almost any man with ease. Her works probably weren’t inspired by her own imagination: dirty men motivate her. There’s nothing really unbelievable about this, since all men have some sort of perversion. Bence wasn’t an exception either, and Lili knew this more than anyone.
The boy had a little black book, which listed all the extreme places where he wished to have sex. There were quite a few they had already ticked off the list together. I wonder if he still keeps a record of it?
Lili was just about to reply to Carmen’s message, but she got distracted by Bence gently clearing his throat. The boy had an inquiring look on his face that stopped Lili from smiling. She quickly fell back into her question filled reality. Forcing her mouth shut, she managed to keep her questions to herself. Why on Earth did you invite me here? She refused to initiate anything. No way! It was advisable for her to be careful with the questioning. The more she sought answers, the more Bence would hide away. Even in the past the best way they had understood each other was when they were moving their bodies instead of their mouths. Would bodily communication be the best bet again?
“Yes, I’m still interested in journalism,” she said, helping Bence out a bit. She quickly realized her slip in keeping distance and strongly restricted her next sentence. “Not long ago, I got a chance at becoming a freelance writer for News.”
Okay, so there was a little exaggeration in what she said. In the summer, she started an apprentice job at the nationwide newspaper, News. She had to write all those insignificant articles that people don’t really read, and she had to attend boring press conferences. Sometimes she’d sit in front of the editors’ telephone answering calls from all the unhappy readers while taking notes of all the crap they told her. In the beginning, there were ten of them working at this unforgiving summer job, but as time passed, people had left, leaving her and her classmate Szabo the only ones left. However, it was true that their editor offered them a huge opportunity a couple of days back. The veteran media executive found them quite talented, so he offered to employ them as freelance writers. They would be paid in cash if they succeeded in getting a couple of good headliners before the start of the new semester. The icing on the cake was that their names would be mentioned, too, right under the articles, just like realjournalists. Lili was so delighted about this that she had cried. She had come a long, long way chasing her childhood dream, and now, after all the energy, blood and sweat she put in, everything finally looked promising for her. At last she could show people who didn’t think she was capable that she had finally made it. Her dad, some childhood friends, and Bence were all part of this group. To be honest, though, the boy never really did put his concerns into words. It made Lili much more upset that he didn’t say anything. It didn’t matter if she told him cheerfully or miserably about her life at the university; he just didn’t seem to care.
“Really?” His eyes lit up and he poured some wine into their glasses. “We must make a toast! So, what are you working on now?”
His movements were like that of an animal carefully circling its prey. Let’s tame him!
“I’m sorry, but I can’t reveal any information. If I did, I’d have to kill you...” Lili smiled firmly, tilting her head slightly to one side, freeing her neck. She knew it would provoke him.
Bence leaned forward a bit. Lili could smell his strong Armani perfume that she had missed so much.
“No need to worry, I can keep a secret,” whispered the boy, lifting his index finger in front of his meaty lips.
Even though the flirting was obvious, Lili still tried to keep her distance. She knew that if she let the seduction to continue, they would soon end up in some kind of massive sex-battle. Not that she’d mind, but there was something more precious to her than Bence’s cock. She wanted him to overcome his pride and apologize for all the things he did. She wasn’t going to accept one of those lousy, quick apologies that are just for the sake of taking her to bed: she wanted him to give her an honest and meaningful apology that came straight from his heart. This meant that she had to take his mind off sex. This could be accomplished, for example, with the help of such exciting topics as the work she’s been doing as a journalist….
“In the past two months there had been an alarming number of suicides committed by young girls around the area. I know about three people, all under twenty-five,” she said, taking a sip from her wine.
The alcohol was doing its job. She had just enough to loosen her tongue. Not to mention that Bence’s sexy and – finally – interested look was also helping her feel confident. It might be time to stop drinking, or it could be the right time to have another.
“Do you think there’s a connection between the cases?”
The girl nodded, and after she struggled to force another gulp down her throat she continued.
“I think it’s some kind of new drug on the market.”
The boy quietly hummed. Clearly he was giving Lili’s theory a go.
“How do you know they all took drugs? Did you know them? Did you do any research on them?” he asked harmlessly.
“Nope, not yet,” as soon as it was revealed that Lili had hardly done any investigation, she quickly added. “It could also be related to a new cult.”
Immediately, that good old arrogant look appeared on the boy’s face, which made Lili’s stomach turn. It’s quite unusual for one’s sex appeal to be the same as one’s most annoying characteristic. In the past, Lili found this to be quite a turn on, but when it became his trademark of cruelty, she tried to think of it as the only reaction a cocky little punk could do.
“I think you’ve read too many crime stories. This is Hungary for God’s sake; there are no new drugs or cults with suicidal tendencies here.”
Lili felt her temper rise. Her sense of judgment took a dive, and her emotions were bouncing up and down like a yoyo.
“Do you think I’m stupid or what?” she asked with her eyes set to kill.
“No, I only think it’s a waste of time and energy to play about with this topic. If it was as interesting as you say, then the professionals would be all over it and the police would’ve already started investigating,” The boy was talking politely, but the grimace still remained on his face.
Okay, that’s enough!
“I’d rather put some effort into my job, than to spend all my energy on a dickhead!” Lili smiled. “Or, do you think I should do my research on boys who fuck off in the middle of New Year’s Eve from the apartment they rent?”
Bence acted like he was deaf. His eyes were moving left to right, looking for anyone who might hear them. With that kind of family background, it would’ve been especially unpleasant for him to end up in a noisy row right in the middle of the Juliet. Being driven by a sudden idea, Lili lifted her leg up to the boy’s crotch under the table. She’d never done anything like this before, and had no idea where she got the courage to do it. It might have been the wine.
This finally made the grimace disappear off Bence’s face, leaving a new, naughty look. He enjoyed the vehemence she had. What a little lecher!
“Now, it’s my turn to ask questions. What are we doing here?” Just so she could emphasize her question, she carefully pushed her foot against the boy’s genitals, the way people push down on a gas pedal.
Bence got tense.
“I wanted to see you,” he replied, and took another sip of wine before he continued.
Lili wasn’t too satisfied with the answer, so she pushed her foot in between his legs again. With slightly more force, of course, which almost made the boy spit his wine.
“I was curious about you!” he cried.
The noise made their neighbors turn towards them, frowning. Once more, it’s those ill-mannered, lowbred youngsters who can’t keep quiet. Staring eye to eye, the girl smiled and swayed her head. She considered a change of gear instead of pushing her last question. Rather than using the soles of the uncomfortable shoes she was wearing, she thought it would be more efficient to use the heels to torture him.
Bence made a slight hiss and painfully pointed his eyes on the table in front of him.
“There’s no need to worry, I won’t make a scene. We’ll sort this out, simply, just between you and me,” she smiled.
“What do you want?” Bence seemed to give in. Lili’s moment of glory has finally arrived. Did I only need stilettos to achieve this?
“Tell me you’re sorry,” she said, stylishly, the pitch of her sentence enough to make her feel like she was a self-confident woman.
Bence stared at her, expressionless.
“Who sent you the text?” he finally said.
“Tell me you’re sorry!” repeated Lili firmly.
“Was it your boyfriend?” Bence persisted.
“Tell me you’re sorry!” she stood her ground.
“Is he better than me?”
“Tell me you’re sorry, unless you want me to skewer you!” she said sarcastically.
They got caught up in a grinding silence before the storm of emotions came. Lili pulled one of her eyebrows up, urging him to say something, but it was in vain. As Bence remained silent, Lili’s face turned red.
“I knew you wouldn’t have the heart to skewer me. Why would you cause damage to something you love?” Bence broke the silence with his mischievous laugh, and stroked her calf under the table.
Enough! Once again, she had lost. Just as always.
“Let go of me!” she hissed, fighting her tears while pulling her leg from the soothing fingers.
The sudden movements made the chair legs screech on the marble floor. Thanks to the sharp noise, even the waiters now had noticed that there was something going on. I’ve truly had enough of this! Lili quietly started packing her stuff, and woozily stood up from the table with the wine glass in her hand. I can’t leave like this; he has humiliated me! There’s still time for one final speech before finishing the last drop of wine.
“You haven’t changed at all!” she growled, but Bence just sat there with a straight face, arms crossed and lips tightened. “I only wanted an apology from you. Not some worthless flowers. You should’ve known that I hate roses anyway. I wanted words. The only thing I wanted to hear from you was that you have regretted what you had done. Nothing else. Instead, you continue tormenting me. Who the fuck are you? A nobody.”
He’s doing it again, acting like he can’t hear me. Lili wanted to force the last of the wine down her throat, but then she thought she’d do otherwise. She actually made a scene. With a single swing of her arm, she poured the last of her wine on the boy. The red wine unstoppably soaked Bence’s white shirt. He flinched back, almost falling over with his chair. He even slipped out a brief ‘fuck you’, but cut off in time to restrain himself. Everyone’s eyes were now set on the pair. Lili pulled herself together and aimed for the exit with a numb leg. I have to manage until I get out from here. The receptionist nodded and the glass door opened as Lili walked out the building. She felt satisfied. No one dared say anything, especially seeing how resolutely she held on to the wine glass.
About the author
Are you ready to enter Levente’s crazy world?
Fulfill yourself! This could easily be the popular Hungarian writer, Levente Lakatos’s life motto. The twenty-seven-year-old author has been mesmerized by the magic of books and the literary world since his childhood but it wasn’t until his adult years that he finally put pen to paper and wrote his first novel. He spent his years studying to be an actor, working as a journalist and later becoming known as a television presenter before he fell in love with the art of storytelling. He self-published his first novel five years ago and it turned out to be the start of a whole new era in his life. After seeing Levente’s success and readers’ reactions, he was offered a contract with Ulpius-ház, Hungary’s largest publishing house. Over the past couple of years Levente has become one of Hungary’s youngest and most successful writers, whose book signings attract large audiences and have always been popular with local readers. His Facebook page boasts more than twenty thousand fans and he has nearly five thousand Twitter followers.
Apart from being a perfectionist and actively interacting with his fans, Levente keeps a close watch on the book production process from the very early stages right until his books hit the shelves. Whether it’s the cover design, marketing campaign or media relations, he is always present, which might be the reason why he managed to achieve such popularity. He’s been referred to as the Hungarian Bret Easton Ellis; his style has been compared to that of Quentin Tarantino and critics found his latest erotic thriller more exciting than Fifty Shades of Grey. Levente is now ready to take global audiences by storm and introduce you to the New Adult thriller genre.
Can you tell us a little bit about LoveClub? What does this book mean to you?
For me, LoveClub is complete chaos and insanity. For the most part, readers experience the story from a psychopath’s perspective, someone whose sick games are based on taking advantage of social media and all of its opportunities. The entire story is immersed in different forms of love, from the honest, crazy and suppressed to the perfect and fully experienced - because even the most devastating tragedies result from desire. The book combines elements of classic thriller with police procedurals and could be best described as a mixture of New Adult fiction and hardcore psychological thriller.
It’s rather an outspoken book, isn’t it?
Yes it is. It’s quite a mentally draining novel, especially because the psychopath’s memoirs which are embedded in the story are a lot more intense than what you would expect, so it’s definitely more suitable for adults than younger readers. But I think being outspoken is essential for credibility. I never write about torture or sexual games for my own sake, though. By the way, LoveClub is one of my favorite novels – I even got its title tattooed on my wrist.
LoveClub is the first book in a series. Is there going to be a sequel or are you working on anything else?
Yes, indeed. LoveClub is the first book in the Dr. Lengyel series. The sequel (originally published in Hungarian as Bomlás) is no doubt my most successful novel in Hungary. I’m currently working on my next book and I hope the rest of the series will be available for English readers soon.
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