Adrian Velasquez — Naughty or Nice? Choose Your Ending

Two versions of this story’s ending are included below. The first part remains the same and is presented first. Comment with your vote for the ending you like best!

 

At the sound of his voice, Rachel spun the chair around. Adrian Velasquez. His dark gaze always caught her off guard. He was wearing a gray-black suit, damn him, with a white shirt open at the throat that dazzled against his Latino complexion. Not for the first time in his presence, her stomach quivered.

“What can I do for you?”

He eased his suit jacket open and parked himself in the chair nearest her desk. With a half grin and sideways glance, his hazel eyes undressed her. Shit. Nobody should be this good looking. His expressive eyebrows and chiseled features screamed seduction.

He looked at the ceiling for a second then shook his head. “One question.”

“The same one?”

He stood up and rested his fists on the desk, his eyes riveting her gaze. “Are you afraid?”

Her breath caught. Hell yes she was afraid. His whole body emanated tension. Everything about him made her crazy to have him. But the thrill of his pursuit filled her with excitement, so different from her routine of work then going home to an empty apartment, the silence echoing down her hallway as she went about her regular boring tasks.

The weekend stretched ahead with nothing to amuse her. Yes, she’d agreed to meet Harriet for lunch tomorrow before browsing through the new exhibit at the museum. They’d end up at the library where both of them would assuage their loneliness with a new stack of books to take home. She’d reached the point where everything she read seemed like something she’d read before.

“Not afraid,” she said, feigning boredom. “Same old same old.”

His expression toyed with amusement and something more as his eyes flitted to her breasts and then back to her face. “You have no idea,” he said with a grin.

“I have an idea,” she snapped, infuriated that his mere words could cause her stomach to knot. “I have listings to sell and so do you. Work, remember?”

“Soon,” he said. “You’ll answer my question.”

She glared at him until the office door closed behind him. “Shit,” she muttered under her breath. She threw herself into her chair and tugged on her shoulder length hair so hard it hurt. She’d never met a man who could destroy her as completely as Adrian Velasquez, so why couldn’t she stop playing his game?

It wasn’t him she wanted, she kept telling herself. It was her need for something new and exciting. Something she could care about besides listings and prospective buyers and writing up contracts. She felt like she was dying inside, one slow week after another melting off into the distance like a never-ending road to nowhere.

That’s what he offered, not that he himself was something she wanted, but that he was new, undiscovered, challenging. It wasn’t that she wanted a man. She’d had enough pointless relationships to last a lifetime.

She turned to her computer screen, blowing out breath slowly through her pursed lips. This was exactly what she would not do, this drifting off into romance land, thinking about things she’d long since put behind her. She had a plan for her life – make money, invest in real estate, and travel. See the world.

The day dragged by. By four-thirty, she needed a drink so badly she could almost taste the tequila on her tongue. Thank god the Manchester Lounge was only a half block away. She shrugged into her jacket, stuffed her water bottle and iPad in her bag, and let the office door swing shut behind her. The place had mostly emptied already, typical for a Friday when any and every excuse known to mankind hovered on employees’ lips as they grabbed a head start on the weekend.

A small throng of restless people waited for the elevator. She knew before she looked up that Adrian had followed her out. Damn it. The man didn’t miss anything.

A voice like dark chocolate purred at her ear. “Did I mention how lovely you look today?” he said. “You do the ice princess thing very well.”

Gooseflesh erupted down her arms. “Is that a compliment?” she retorted.

“Of course,” he said, rocking back on his heels with a smug smile. “Also the truth. You are a very attractive woman.”

“Same old question?” she said.

He grinned in reply and raised his eyebrows. The elevator opened and she found herself squeezed between Adrian and the back wall as the conveyance lurched through its descent. His shoulders blocked her view, straining the shoulder seams of his suit and making her mouth go dry. He purposefully held himself inches away, saving her from the crush of annoyed people packed into the small space.

Well, thank you very much. As if she hadn’t negotiated crowds in elevators all her life. As if she needed him. As if he wasn’t fully aware that his musky scent filled her nostrils and sent waves of need down her belly. Yes, thank you, Adrian.

The elevator spilled its contents into the lobby and people streamed off in all directions. Rachel set off without looking back. As she shouldered through the wide door, she slipped on her sunglasses and turned purposefully toward the Manchester. Christ, tequila. Now. Please.

What was it about him that made her panic like this? That made her body hum and her mouth dry and her mind focused like a laser on nothing but him. What he would do next. What he would say.

The cool air of the Manchester, faintly scented with the smell of whiskey and cigar smoke, hit her face in a gust as she pushed the door open. Bits of conversation and familiar strains of Getz-Gilberto met her ears. She glanced around the dim room before she spotted an open booth at the back wall.

A moment’s peace. That’s all I ask. She slid into the cool leather seat and briefly rubbed her forehead. Why did she let him get to her like this?

“Ma’am?” A waiter leaned toward her as he slid a napkin onto the table.

“Margarita straight up, easy on the sweet.”

She knew Adrian had a past. How did someone leave behind that kind of history—gangs, drugs, street fights?  He kept his tattoos well covered, but she’d seen him once without his jacket with his sleeves rolled up. Dark curled lines disappeared under the white cuffs. Her nostrils flared as she imagined the rest.

She couldn’t keep from asking Christine, the agency owner.

“What in the hell is going on?” she had asked, dripping creamer into her coffee.

“He’s amazing,” Christine confided. “Fantastic sales record. Yeah, he’s from the streets, but he knows the business. And you’ve got to admit—he’s got presence.”

“Is that what they call it?”

Christine chuckled. “He sells property, and that’s good for us. The clients want him.”

Unfortunately, so did she. Somehow his past only made him more desirable. In her weaker moments, her imagination ran wild envisioning how his body looked without clothes, working out, gleaming with sweat, all sleek lines and cut muscle.

Her strict self-discipline forbid more wild thoughts like that. Yeah, like that was working. It was as if she had stepped off the train at some deserted station in the middle of nowhere and Adrian was standing there. Waiting.

A frosted margarita glass slid onto the napkin in front of her. She flashed a ‘thank-you’ smile at the waiter and lifted the salted rim to her lips. The citrusy burn swept over her tongue and scorched an icy path down her throat. Some of the tension in her neck relaxed. She sagged back against the welcoming upholstery and let her gaze drift over the room.

As if drawn by a magnet, her gaze locked with Adrian’s intent stare. Damn him, he’d followed her. Okay, she didn’t know that. He could have planned to come here all along. Lots of the office people came here.

He stood by the bar with a half-smile and cocked eyebrow, his jacket eased open and the ‘V’ of his open shirt neck glowing white in the dim light. Her blood pressure shot through the top of her head. Heat burned her cheeks.

She couldn’t look away. She had to look away. The longer she stared, the more cocky his grin became.

God, please let me look down. She focused on the drink where she gripped the glass stem so tightly she thought it might snap. How would she know when he stopped staring? How would she turn him away if he showed up at her table?

What now? What the fuck now?

Her eyes flicked again to Adrian. He sat on the other side of the room, a spot with a clear line of sight to her table. While she watched, helpless to tear her eyes away, he lit a cigar and sucked the smoke, caressing the thickly rolled tobacco with his lips.

He knew exactly what he was doing with that slow sensual motion. Her panties moistened as if he had licked between her legs. She drowned her quiet moan with another gulp of her drink.

A group of people intervened, taking a table and blocking her view. Released from his hypnotic stare, she fiercely stared at the table before digging out her phone, praying for a text, anything that could occupy her attention.

Sanity would be required here. A reasoned plan of action. She would finish the drink then leave. Maybe even not finish. Find another bar. Go home. Throw things.

“Mind if I join you?”

Chills ran down Rachel’s back. Her gaze traveled slowly up Adrian’s body. His thighs strained the tailored lines of his expensive slacks. That damn white shirt nearly blinded her. He’d taken off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. Veins laced over the tendons at his wrist and forearms. Tattoos.

Jesus.

Enough tequila had begun coursing through her bloodstream that she felt daring. She smiled and cocked an eyebrow. “No, by all means, take a seat. I don’t see you enough at work, so why not be annoyed by you in my private time as well?”

He laughed and eased into the booth across from her. The man moved like a fucking panther, languid and taut at the same time. His hands toyed with his short tumbler. He stroked the rim with one long finger as if he touched her. Daring her, his gaze roamed over her breasts.

Exhausted as she was and without any will to resist his charm, her body reacted. Sensation ripped down her neck. Her breasts swelled and her nipples hardened to painful knots. Moisture pulsed between her thighs. Her heart pounded in her ears as the image of him over her in bed formed in her mind.

She must be out of her mind to play a game of chicken with this man. He would win. Was she ready for that? What happened to safe? What happened to her plans for the rest of her life?

This was so far outside her plans it wasn’t even written in the margins. But she knew it. Everything about Adrian Velasquez felt familiar, known like the shadow at the end of the hall. The monster you dare not look at for fear your gaze will cause it to spring.

As quiet shudder raced over her as she lowered her eyes to her glass and took another drink. The waiter appeared and disappeared before she registered on what had been said. She felt Adrian’s careful gaze, watching her like prey. He’d been stalking, waiting, watching, and here she was, cornered. A smile quirked the corner of his mouth.

“Adrian, Jesus Christ,” she hissed. “Save that killer seduction thing for your girlfriends. Surely you have a dozen.”

He laughed, sincerely amused. “Are you jealous?”

“Don’t be absurd.”

“You think I’m flirting?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. He clearly enjoyed seeing her flustered. A blush heated her face, a combination of his game and the liquor. It infuriated her that he could provoke her so easily. He snapped a lighter to tip of his cigar and mouthed the thick shaft as he inhaled. “Think I’m trying to seduce you?”

“Ha!” she exclaimed. “I don’t know what the hell else you would call it. I’m here trying to relax after a hellish week and you show up, uninvited, and start making suggestive comments,” she huffed. “I’ve seen all this before.”

“But not mine,” he said in silken tones.

Rachel gasped. Part of her—the sane part—wanted to leap up and run out of the building. The other part, unfortunately the part currently in control, wanted to rip off her blouse and hold her breasts to his mouth. The situation had suddenly changed into something charged and dangerous.

The monster she refused to see.

And he knew it, damn him. His smile formed deep dimples in his cheeks. He reached for her hand, covering it with his own and suggestively stroking the inside of her thumb.

Without warning, he leaned up and pulled her toward him over the small table, sliding the tip of his tongue against her lips. She loosened, her mouth parting slightly to give him entry. Her head reeled, wiped clean of every thought, every caution, she had made.

“Oh, god,” she groaned against his mouth.

She jerked back, her eyes widening as she looked at him. She threw herself into the seat and held the back of her hand against her lips as if she could erase the electric shock of their kiss. “Forget that,” she stammered.

Smile gone, his eyes darkened and locked on hers. “We’re going,” he said abruptly, standing up.

Say something. Say ‘no,’ say ‘wait.’ Make excuses.

But she didn’t say anything. She let him lift her elbow as she stood. She watched him throw money on the table. Her breath burned out in short gasps as she trotted out of the Manchester, her arm in Adrian’s grip.

On fire. Drunk on need so deep she couldn’t find the bottom. Drowning in everything Adrian.

She needed to stop before things went any further. Before she did something she would regret.

But she didn’t want to stop. Nothing mattered but Adrian and what he silently promised to do to her. What she wanted so much she could practically taste him.

“Where are we going?”

“To get a room,” he said.

“What?”

He stopped and pushed her against the front of a department store window. Fashionably dressed mannequins stared down in silent censure. Adrian’s hand slipped behind her and pulled her hips against his groin. “You heard me,” he said thickly. “A place where I can give you what you want.”

“How, what I…” Rachel struggled for words. The pressure of his body made her ears roar. She swallowed nervously. “I don’t…”

Madre de Dios, yes, you do,” he said impatiently. “Come on.”

 

Ending 1 — The Nice Ending

She pulled her elbow out of his grip. “No, Adrian. Maybe someday I’ll be ready for this, but not today. I’m tired, it’s been a shit week, and I don’t have the energy.”

As she turned to walk away, the expression on his face burned into her memory. Disappointment, yes. But something else, something that might have been the face of a very young man heartbroken in his first love affair. Briefly, his eyes had conveyed a message of more than desire, more than conquest.

The heels of her pumps beat a sharp rhythm on the sidewalk. Her lips formed a hard straight line. None of that could be real. She was reading into his expression, putting thoughts and feelings there that didn’t exist in reality. It simply wasn’t possible that he had any kind of emotional investment in her.

How could he? Why?

A strong hand grabbed her arm and spun her around. Anger and something else blazed in his eyes.

“You think you know me? You don’t know me, chica,” he said. “What have I ever done to make you afraid? Have I hurt you, threatened you? This is about the Reyes listing, isn’t it?”

She jerked away. “The one you stole from me? No, I’m not afraid of you. I’m just not interested.”

“You give me your words, but your body speaks louder. If you’re afraid to admit what you feel, are you also afraid to have dinner? We can talk about it.”

She shook her head, discarding retorts as fast as they formed.

“Dinner, Rachel,” he said, his voice softer. “Let me take you somewhere relaxing. We need to clear the air. I promise I won’t touch you.”

For some bizarre reason, his words and expression made her want to cry. She wasn’t a mean person but she felt mean.

“Christ, Adrian, you’re damn persistent. Okay. Dinner.”

A smile lit up his face, all white teeth and hooded eyes. What the hell was she doing, agreeing to anything he suggested? He might say he wouldn’t touch her, but his kiss still burned on her lips. He touched her lightly at the waist, propelling her forward along the sidewalk. At the intersection while they waited for the light, he pulled out the cigar and grinned while he puffed, turning the tip to a red coal.

And yes, since he brought it up, the listing for the Reyes property still pissed her off. It was a big deal, signing that project. An enormous commission and he’d slipped the entire deal right out from under her.

But that had nothing to do with his incessant flirtation. Unless…was he flirting because he felt guilty? She eyed him as they walked.

What was it about men and cigars? His lips clamped around the fat cylinder of tobacco, focusing her mind entirely on his mouth. He blew out the smoke in a disciplined stream and still she could not tear her eyes away from that mouth, those sensual lips tilting at the corner in a smile. Her gaze flickered up to his eyes. Yes, damn it, he was smiling at her in the most knowing way.

 

Dinner turned out to be a leisurely affair in the back corner of a rundown Mexican patio restaurant just a few blocks from the office. By the time they got there, she’d been seriously reconsidering her rash decision to accept his invitation. Now that their food had been delivered and she’d consumed half of her enormous margarita, an expansive feeling of pleasure penetrated to her bones.

“For one thing,” she said, pointing at him, “you didn’t tell me how strong they made the drinks here. I’m swimming.”

“You look lovely swimming,” he said, flashing another killer smile. “Do you like the chili relleno?”

For a moment, she battled her reaction to his pronunciation of relleno, the rolled ‘L’ somehow triggering a renewed throb between her legs. The relleno’s breaded flesh was thick and soft and draped in melted cheese. She’d never tasted anything that delicious. Tamales lay brimming in fiery green sauce beside a fat enchilada. Fresh salsa of chopped tomato, onion, and jalapeno heaped in a mound which she repeatedly carved with brittle, warm tortilla chips. “It’s fabulous,” she managed as the flavors mingled on her tongue.

It occurred to Rachel in that moment of sensory pleasure that this was how sex would be if she relented to Adrian’s persistence. Slow and full of heat. Delicious. Soft and languid with unexpected spice.

Her eyes closed as chills ran over her body. She had already imagined him without clothes, his muscled tan body rippling with muscle, tattoos spread across his arms, shoulders, and chest. She wanted to see him naked. She wanted to see his cock, which she felt certain was already hard. Waiting for her.

Yeah, way too much to drink. She wasn’t a lightweight when it came to booze, but something about the meal, Adrian, and the entire confusing situation set her off balance. Why did it have to be so hard? She giggled at the word—of course it was hard. A quick glance revealed his unflagging attention to her every nuance.

“Something amusing?” he said. “I love to see you happy.”

“I’m, uh, happy with the food. But we haven’t talked about the Reyes listing.”

He frowned and threw up his hands. “The fucking Reyes listing. Will you ever get over that?”

“Isn’t that why you keep pursuing me, trying to placate me?”

“That has nothing to do with it.”

“That commission was mine. He was ready to sign the papers. You must feel guilty.”

“No guilt. He wanted someone who understands the demographic. And a buyer who would appreciate what he created there. I simply pointed out that I am part of that demographic.”

“Bullshit, Adrian.” Rachel sipped the margarita and leaned back from the table. A row of yellow-flowering bushes bordered the fence behind them, attracting butterflies and birds, completely out of place in the busy intercity. It reminded her of the Reyes place with its gardens, fountains, and statuary of mythical creatures. “You know, anyone could appreciate what he created there. I did, and I’m not part of that demographic.”

“People with enough wealth to buy that place might not, you know,” he said, folding his hands on the table. Strong hands. Tendons and muscle lacing up from the wrists to forearms where the curl of ink hinted at more. “He was very emotional about it.”

Suddenly she realized—she didn’t want to argue. She wanted to skip over all of this and find herself stretched out on white sheets with Adrian over her, speaking to her in whispered foreign phrases. The thought shocked her.

“Look,” she said, struggling to form words. “I don’t think it’s a co—co.in—co-in-ci-dence that your come-on to me started with that listing. You feel guilty and you think by kissing up you can get me to forget about it. Well…” Words weren’t exactly rolling off her tongue. The day, the week, the margarita, and now this full court press by Adrian… She was weakening.

“Yes,” he said, leaning so close that his dark eyes seemed to draw her in. “Yes, it began then because that’s when I saw you for the first time. I mean, really saw you, your beautiful face, your perfect curves. More than that, I saw an amazing woman, a fighter, articulate, full of temper. Like a chili picante, sleek and hot.”

Wait. Was he comparing her to a chili pepper? She giggled.

His eyes blazed. “But guilt? I have no guilt. It was business. You want the Reyes commission, I’ll give it to you. It’s not important. What is important… querido Dios, do you not understand? You are what’s important. I want to get acquainted. I want to know what you like to read, what movies you like, where you went to school. Everything,” he said, waving his hands.

“Ha!” Rachel said. “That’s so fake. This is about seducing me.”

“You mean, do I want to touch you, taste you?” He smiled. “Yes, very much. I can’t get enough of your tart insults, the heat of your body with the cold of your words. I’m dancing on the end of your string, mija.”

She bit her lip. This wasn’t what she expected. Not at all. He couldn’t seriously mean he would give her the entire five-hundred thousand commission. This was just more of his ruse, his quest to conquer her. But damn, he talked a good game. It was easy to see why he was so successful selling real estate.

“Let me show you,” he said. “Let me prove to you that I’m the man to please you. I promise you, you will like it more than you can imagine.”

Why not, indeed? His words had become like a massage, rolling over her, loosening her shoulders and everything else. He made her malleable. How would it be to have Adrian Velasquez making love to her?

Okay, so she didn’t want another frustrating affair. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t have some random sex once in a while. That’s what this would be, totally random. But then, Christ, totally sex. Her panties had been damp since the office and even more so after that brief stolen kiss. All this drama since then had just made things worse. By an order of magnitude. Watching him eat, watching his expressions as he talked—she’d been falling down a hole the entire time, fixated on the barely leashed power of his body, the not-so-subtle old-world machismo that leaked off of him in little electric waves.

Face it, Rachel. This is exactly what you want and you’re a fucking idiot if you don’t take him up on it. She let her breath out in a slow hiss.

“Okay, Adrian. Let’s fuck.”

His mouth twitched. His eyes darkened and she thought for a moment he would push their chairs aside and lay her down on the earth-toned tiles. He signaled the waiter, threw some money on the table, and took her elbow as they stood up. Moments later she was hurrying down the sidewalk with his hand on her elbow, propelling her along.

 

He didn’t talk as the cab driver cursed and steamed through traffic. He remained silent as he escorted her through the entry of an upscale high-rise, as the elevator zoomed upward, as he punched in a code and shoved his condo door open. The door clicked behind them and he pushed her against it, his mouth against hers in a searing kiss that took away her breath.

His hands adored her, caught up her hair from her neck as his lips blazed a path down her throat. Crazy sparks dazzled through her body at his touch. So incredible.

His knee pressed between her legs as he pushed her jacket off her shoulders. Her breasts felt tight. Ripples of heat cascaded down her belly, centering low and wet. If he fucked her right here, she wouldn’t care. Her hands already gripped his shoulders, demanding the feel of his skin.

He made painstaking progress with the tiny buttons on the front of her blouse, pulling the shirttail up from her waistband and finally reaching the last button. The touch of his hands on her breasts, so hot and eager he was trembling, caused her eyes to roll back. The abrasion of his palms against the fabric of her brassiere filled her with desire so intense she could hardly stand.

Minutes passed in a blur. Everything he did made her want him more. The short time it took for him to unbutton his shirt and tear it off his shoulders seemed an eternity of deprivation. But then, there was Adrian Velasquez, bare from the waist up, a god in tan flesh resplendent over cut muscle. Her breath came in short desperate gasps as she looked at him. Tattoos of mythic creatures tangled across his chest, over his shoulders and down the bulge of his biceps. A thin line of dark hair disappeared at his belt, inviting her to the end of that rainbow.

The journey from the door across his kitchen-dining-living room left a trail of clothes. She hardly knew when he kicked open the bedroom door or when he laid her back on the bed. At that point she wore nothing but pink panties and he was down to black boxer shorts seriously deformed by what lurked inside them. The size of him startled her, waiting impatiently as she gripped him through the silk.

His hand slipped inside her panties. She was slick with want. There was nothing tentative about his touch, although he skimmed lightly over her most desperate bits. Teasing, stroking, slipping inside then back out until her hips lifted toward him. Gently circling, his fingers brought her to the edge of a chasm so deep, so intense, she might never escape.

He shifted position to bring himself between her legs. Only he didn’t immediately mount her. Instead, he tugged her panties down and licked her. His groan matched hers as he tasted her, nuzzling the crease between her mons and thigh, nibbling the swollen lips but avoiding any substantial contact with the tormented bud of flesh at the apex of her thighs.

His long fingers slipped inside. Her hips drove up, eager for satisfaction. He muttered against her skin, quiet little words she didn’t try to understand. Just the movement of his lips and brush of his breath sent her higher. When he finally latched his mouth over her throbbing clit and sucked it past his teeth, she screamed and came.

Then he was rolling on a condom and mounting her, pushing in, and she was thrashing side to side, her hands gripping his tight buttocks. He kept shoving deeper, filling her and spreading her and still there was more of him. Each stroke sent her spiraling into black space. All around her stars ignited. Flashes of brilliant light flared as he pushed further, rocking her now with the force of his movements.

Fire gathered, collecting from the tips of her fingers and toes, racing to her center where the flames grew more incandescent with each plunge. She looked on him in wonder, his muscle tight in exertion, his skin flushed with perspiration. He moved like a wild beast, intent on its quarry. Intent on her as he discovered her secrets, made her his.

An avalanche of sensation cascaded through her as her orgasm caught. Powerless in its onslaught, she dimly recognized that he too had reached the pinnacle. His hips seized then drove to the hilt, slamming so hard against her that his tight scrotum pressed between her legs. For an endless moment, their bodies locked together.

Even when he had spent himself inside her, he moved in slow short thrusts before finally shifting out completely. He settled next to her, pulling her against him. She curled into him, head on his shoulder, hand on his chest.

“I was afraid to talk,” he whispered after his breathing calmed, tugging a strand of her hair away from her cheek. “It was like a dream I have dreamed many times, chica, and I didn’t want to wake up. Only it wasn’t a dream, was it? It—you, are real.”

“Real, yes,” she said, kissing his hot skin. “There are no words.”

“Yes,” he said, pulling her tighter against him. “No words. Later, after I take you again, after I can taste nothing but your nectar on my tongue and think of nothing but the silk of your skin, we can talk. We can talk about when I see you next, where you’d like to go for a walk or a movie, what I can get you to please you most.”

“Words, Adrian,” she said, putting her finger across his lips. “For now, you are enough.”

She felt his lips spread into a smile.

 

Ending 2 – The Naughty Ending

He steered her to the front desk of the downtown Marriott conveniently located one door down, slid his card across the marble counter, and escorted her to the elevator where he waited, without speaking, until the doors opened on the eighth floor. She tried to reason with herself but reason wasn’t what she wanted. Later, she would think of all the opportunities she had ignored, a chance to walk away, to say no. Later, she would remember the low throb between her legs that said she had no choice.

He led her into the room and put out the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign. His hands gripped her shoulders as he lowered his mouth to hers. His lips gently brushed hers and her knees weakened.

Chica,” he murmured. “What I will do with you.”

“Wait,” she said, pressing her hands against his chest. “Just wait.”

He sighed and moved back. “Haven’t we waited long enough? I dream about you, Rachel. I see you watching me and I…” He took her hand and placed it over the front of his pants. “You see what you do to me.”

Her fingers curved over the thick hardness pressing the front of his trousers. Heat flooded through her, a slow tide of burning need that settled to a painful pulse between her legs. Could this really be happening? Was she really in a hotel room with Adrian Velasquez with her hand on his cock? Her heart pounded in her ears.

“Let me give you what you want,” he whispered, bringing her hand up and kissing the palm.

“We work together, Adrian,” she said, struggling to think.

“I’m not your boss, not your supervisor,” he said, slowly inflicting little nibbles down the side of her hand and across the pulse point on her wrist. “There’s no conflict here.”

“The conflict is in me. I don’t know you.”

He stepped back and lifted her chin, forcing her look into his dark eyes. “You know me. I am a man, a man who wants you. A man who promises to give you everything you dream of. If you say you want to leave, I won’t stop you. If you say yes, if you let me do what I have planned for you, I promise you it will be like nothing you have ever known. Better than anything you could imagine.”

“Modest, too,” she said, her mouth quirked.

His eyes glittered. “No false modesty, of that you can be sure. I am a man who knows women. It hurts my heart to see you so lonely. I want to know you in all ways. You have to decide, now, before another minute passes. Yes or no?”

The word ‘no’ hung on Rachel’s lips. She wanted to deny him, deny she was lonely, deny that he had any power to please her. Everything was happening too fast. His presence overwhelmed her, everything about him hard and demanding.

What did she want?

A laugh bubbled up from her chest, ignited just as much by the tequila as by the wanton desire simmering in her belly. What the fuck ever. Yes, she wanted this. She wanted him and his hard edges and his demands. She wanted him to throw her down and rip off her clothes and fuck her until she couldn’t form a single thought. She wanted what wasn’t safe or reasonable.

“Is that a ‘yes’,” he said, the corner of his mouth curling in a smile.

Her eyes rolled back as his hands surrounded her waist to pull her against him. His hard body radiated heat. His scent filled her nose, killing her with the mingled smell of spice and soap. Words didn’t form as he slipped the jacket off her shoulders and tossed it to a nearby chair.

“Tell me now, Rachel. In a moment, it will be too late. I won’t be able to stop. And you won’t want me to stop.”

His lips brushed along her jawline and down her neck, setting her on fire.

“Yes,” she said. “Yes, Adrian.”

He groaned, pressing his lips to her mouth. Firm lips, demanding her submission. She opened to him, meeting the touch of his tongue with her own. Maddening. She wanted to rip at his clothes. She’d become insanely wet. Panting, she parted her lips to his tongue. He thrust inside her mouth, forcing her jaw open.

Her hands tangled in his thick black hair. His breath whispered against her collarbones as his fingers tugged at her blouse buttons. He kissed her again as he eased the blouse apart.

His kisses devastated her. He tasted of ripe tobacco and whiskey. His firm lips caressed hers, told of secrets only he knew, made promises across her lips, against her cheeks, the base of her throat. His tongue filled her mouth, demanding her obedience.

Her bra and blouse slipped away unnoticed. His head bent to her breasts as he seized first one then another hard peak between his lips and sucked it against his teeth. He held her arms tight at her sides, forbidding her touch. She could only tremble as he savored her breasts, teased the aching points, pulled her flesh deep against his tongue.

“I have dreamed of this,” he growled, nestling his face in her bosom. “You are even more delicious than I had guessed.” He let go of her arms and stepped back. “But now, you must do as I say. Take off the rest of your clothes.”

Rachel’s body shook in the intensity of her need. Whatever game he played, she’d passed the point of questioning. This felt too damn good.

She stood, fingers trembling as she struggled to let down the zipper on her skirt. It fell to the floor around her ankles. A fresh round of shaking seized her as cool air hit the wet center of her panties. She hesitated.

He stood with his arms crossed.

“The panties,” he said roughly.

She hooked her fingers in the elastic and pulled down. The only things left were her thigh-high stockings and heels. He bent to remove the clump of clothing from around her ankles.

Bellisima,” he breathed. “Turn. Let me see you.”

She turned, oddly detached from the analytical part of her brain. This wasn’t her, this nude woman quavering before a fully dressed man, a man who knew he could do anything to her. This was a dream so utterly depraved she had forgotten she ever dreamed it.

But she had. And here he was, making her dream come true.

“Spread your legs. Show me how you pleasure yourself,” he said.

Her jaw dropped and she sputtered. He put his finger against her lips, stepping close so that his animal scent and the heat of his body surrounded her.

“Don’t talk,” he said brusquely. “Just do as I say.”

He stepped back and crossed his arms, pinning her with his intense stare. Reluctantly, she pressed her hands over her swollen breasts and then down her stomach. She wanted to yell, run. Instead, she touched herself.

A faint slick sound escaped as she slid her finger between the folds. He inhaled sharply. Her clitoris had long since stiffened. A sharp jolt ran through her as her index finger made brief tentative contact.

She gasped. With two fingers, she stroked the sensitive bud. She was so close. Her body was on fire. “Dear god. Please,” she begged. She didn’t recognize her voice.

He began unbuttoning his shirt as her fingers slid over her sex. Moisture glistened on her hand. Her pussy clenched on nothing. She had never needed anything as much as she needed him inside her right now.

She couldn’t ask. Didn’t want to ask. She wanted to stand here skewered on his smoldering stare, her body violated by her own hands as he watched.

He left his unbuttoned shirt gaping over his chest as he leaned back against the wall to watch. Tattoos spiraled across his wide chest. She felt like she had drifted into another world. Coils of need curled through her belly, incited by his flared nostrils, the thick column of his neck, his bared torso.

“Ohh.” She dipped her two fingers into the hunger between her legs then circled again over the pulsing tip of her clit. With one hand gripping her breast, she pinched the burning shaft of her clit and sent herself into orgasm. A sharp cry, little sobbing noises—fluid dribbled onto her thigh as her body contracted.

Adrian’s arms closed around her. His big warm hand covered her wet center, sending her orgasm deeper. His other hand gripped her buttocks and pulled her against his groin. His mouth caressed her neck, raining a flurry of soft kisses across her shoulders and jaw before clasping her mouth in a hard kiss.

“Beautiful,” he whispered into her hair. “Perfect.”

He unzipped his pants revealing silk boxers stretched by his arousal bulging into the opening. Slowly, he pulled his belt free and pulled his rolled tie from his pocket. He stepped close and bent his face to her ear.

“For now, I own you, sweet flower,” he said. “I’ll give you what you never had before, and you will thank me. Do you trust me?”

Ignoring the argument murmuring in her head, she nodded.

He slipped the knot of his tie around her wrists and led her toward the window. After moving the table out of the way, he fastened the tie to the window latch above, stretching her up so that her naked front pressed against the thick glass. Below her frantic gaze, traffic rushed along the street below. Across the street, windows of other buildings stared back at her. People moved back and forth.

“Oh, no. Adrian,” she gasped. “People can see us.”

“I want them to see you,” he said. “Every single thing I do to you, they will see.”

“No.” Her mouth dried. “That’s too risky. It’s…wrong.”

His hand slid between her legs, pushing her legs apart, stroking her buttocks. For a few blissful moments, his hands caressed and coaxed. Up her back, over her shoulders. Down her thighs and back to her swollen pussy gaping open as he moved her legs farther apart. She trembled.

“I want them to see you come,” he said in a rough voice. “You will have a bigger audience each time you have another orgasm.”

“Oh, god.”

Spears of arousal shot through her. Every inch of her body responded to his words and his touch. Her breasts swelled into his palms. Her clitoris jumped as he teased the sensitive knot. His long finger slid inside her, stroking in and out until her hips thrust uncontrollably. Another orgasm exploded inside her and he drew out the moisture, tracing wet lines over her buttocks.

“This is for your pleasure,” he warned. A second later, the belt snapped across her ass.

She jumped, trying to turn. “Oh, damn, that hurt!”

“Yes,” he soothed, smoothing his hand over the welt. Snap! Another blow burned across her upper thighs.

“Ooh, you bastard. You’re hurting me. Let me down.”

“It stings at first.” His hand warmed the seared skin. “I will never hurt you.”

He hit her again and again, uttering quiet comforting words and easing the welts with his hand even as his blows brought her to tears. In all her dreams of pleasure at the hands of Adrian Velasquez, she hadn’t imagined this outrage. Her ass burned. Her thighs throbbed. Her breasts pressed the glass and his finger returned to ignite her clitoris and draw her moisture until the pain and the pleasure mingled.

Her frantic glance found a man transfixed at a window in a building across the street. She knew he saw her. Could he see what was happening? A thrill shot through her at the thought. Let him see. Let him watch Adrian’s finger pushing between her spread legs. Let him watch her shudder with each blow of the belt.

Intense desire consumed her. Fire licked from her abused buttocks and curled deep in her belly. How insane that he unlocked part of her she’d never known. She’d never felt this wild, ready to burst.

Adrian’s chest pressed her from behind. Moments later, his iron-hard cock nudged between her legs. When the broad hot tip breached her opening, she lifted her hips backwards.

“Oh, dear God,” she moaned. “Fuck me.”

The thrust of his thick shaft shocked her. The scattered hair over his lower abdomen scratched her sensitized buttocks. His hands gripped her hips, pulling her back so that her wrists strung tight.

“Yes, I will fuck you. Until you forget your name.”

One hand came around to tease her hard clitoris. His cock drove in and out. She had no choice but to meet his thrusts with the hunger that had overtaken her. He stroked her clitoris as he fucked her, building the crisis to a breaking point.

“Ah, my god,” she cried as a massive orgasm surged through her.

“I love how your silk grips me,” he groaned, feeling himself at her entry, massaging her swollen vulva.

Without removing himself from her body, he reached up and released the tie, bringing her against his chest and her hands captured behind her head. Briefly, he massaged her arms then made a performance of touching her, spreading her vulva to the world outside and stroking her clit, squeezing her breasts until her nipples burned.

“Fuck,” he groaned. “Grab the chair,” he demanded, bending her forward so that they were sideways to the glass. He still wore his open shirt, and his pants hung on his thighs.

Let the world see. They could never know who she was or anything about her. She would only be the woman in the window, the woman getting fucked for the world to see. Why that excited her, she had no idea. She’d never even considered such an outrageous act. But it thrilled her more than she could have ever imagined.

She bent over and gripped the chair seat as he stood behind her, both of them visible now in the window as he entered her from behind. In one lunge, he sank his massive organ inside her. Oh, dear god he was huge. Gooseflesh erupted down her arms. Her hips spread as he began pumping into her.

Rachel’s breath came in short gusts as Adrian fucked her. The burn of his belt marks added to the flames licking inside her. Her breasts swung with each penetration, increasing her sense of wantonness. He had awakened every muscle, every inch of her flesh. Incredibly, another orgasm grew closer with each thrust.

She turned her head to see if the man still watched. And yes, even as day had started to shift into evening, as lights had come on along the streets and in surrounding buildings, the man stood at the window. He wasn’t alone, though. Two other men stood beside him, their eyes riveted on the scene. Two other windows also framed the shocked faces of watchers.

This was what Adrian wanted, she realized. Not just for these people to see them, but for her to see the people watching. With each stroke, Adrian pulled back so that the full length of his big cock came into view. He drove in hard, forcing her body forward, finding a place deep inside her that no man had ever touched before. Her head arched up. Her back bowed.

He pulled back again. Shoved in so hard he grunted. A relentless rhythm built, circling and surging. A deeper more primal need built inside her. She wanted more of everything—more pain, more fucking, more.

In one of the windows, a man had his pants open, his hand moving in a steady jerking motion over his cock.

“You see that?” he said, his voice thick. “Look at them. You see how you please them? They all want you. They will think of you again and again, remember you as they touch themselves. When they come, their cocks will be yours.”

Adrian’s hands swept around to seize her breasts, holding tight as he quickened his pace. Sweat filmed both their bodies as his hips slammed forward.

“Do you see?” His breath came in gasps as he paused. “Look at them.”

“Yes,” she said, forcing her eyes open to survey the distant faces, men and even women who stood at their windows watching. Christ, it made her so incredibly hot. Her teeth gritted in urgency. “Yes, yes.”

“Do you want me to make you come again?”

“Yes, god, yes.”

“Tight hot pussy. I want to lick you.”

He reached up and flicked on a lamp hanging above them. The shock of sudden illumination sent chills down her body. She couldn’t believe it. One thing to hide in evening shadows, entirely another for a bright light to frame them in the window, expose them like a spotlight. What might have been seen accidentally before would now draw attention. The thought of strangers seeing her naked, of her body being used by Adrian—a powerful spike of heat sliced through her belly.

He knelt behind her and gripped her legs, spreading them. She screamed at the touch of his tongue between her legs, flicking her hot clit and probing deep into her swollen canal. Her back arched as he teased and licked.

She shivered and convulsed with his torment of light caresses. More, she needed more. She hovered at the brink of orgasm, and every curl of his tongue kept her hanging at the precipice.

“Oh, please,” she begged. “I need you in me.”

“Yes, chica, soon. You will need me more than you need breath.”

Shivers raced over her. Hot and cold flashes ignited over her welted buttocks as he bit and nibbled between her thighs. His tongue pierced the tiny rosette of her anus, sending her hips into frustrated thrusts.

Dear god, he was killing her. The light hanging over them heated her back. His fingers danced over her clit and into her vagina while he fingered her ass. She’d never been this burning hot, this crazy with need. She pushed her ass back toward him, moaning as he built her hunger. She looked again at windows across the boulevard. Even more people watched.

“Please, fuck me.”

He chuckled. “Do you feel good?”

“I don’t know,” she whimpered. “Yes yes.”

A cool substance hit the puckered opening of her ass. Then a smooth tip probed. Before she could object, something pushed inside her. As the unexpected object invaded that forbidden place, a different kind of pain radiated through her bottom. At the same moment, his fingers gripped her clitoris. Distended, slightly sore from all the handling, the shaft of her clit connected to her anus like a live wire.

“Oh, God, Adrian,” she cried. “Oh God.”

Jesus Christ. People could see him probing her ass, see her submission to his abuse. The shame of her dirty exposure skyrocketed as he shifted position and his cock probed her opening.

“I’m going to fill you up,” he said. “Can you feel me?”

“It’s too much.”

“Just relax.”

He pushed in and began slowly fucking her. At the same time, that thing, whatever it was, moved in her ass like another cock. It felt huge. The rim of her narrow opening burned with the stretching. But the pain of having something in her ass submerged into the insane pleasure of how unbelievably good it felt to have double penetration.

Adrian’s cock thickened. It felt huge, crowding the thing in her ass. She’d never felt this full, this exposed, so turned on she burned from head to toe.

Again she turned to see their watchers. If the scene had begun to fade with lack of daylight, the light shining down on their sweating bodies had changed that dramatically. She could tell from his slow rhythm and the angle of Adrian’s body that he leaned back to expose the full view of his probe in her ass and the movement of his cock. The man in one of the lower windows jerked faster now. The three men in the first window were also jacking off.

The thought of those men with their cocks in hand seeing her penetrated sent her over the edge. It was as if they all fucked her, as if all their bodies crowded around her, filling her with their heat. Her vagina began contracting. His big hand pinched her tormented clit. The shaft in her ass moved in short fast thrusts. She cried out as Adrian’s cock blasted hot come deep inside her.

~~~

They sat at the small table near the windows. Mercifully, after wrapping her in a thick robe, Adrian had closed the curtains when room service delivered the meal. Residual tremors of her orgasmic frenzy continued to ripple through her body, triggered by the thing still lodged inside her ass. Wearing only his slacks, he brought another fork full of charred steak to her mouth. Food had never tasted this good. His lips curled in a smile as she moaned over the flavor.

“When you’ve rested, when our food had changed into new energy,” he said, “I’ll fuck you again. But first…” He paused to dab at the corner of her mouth with the large cloth napkin. “I will lick your pussy.”

“Jesus, Adrian.” Rachel clenched the thick terry robe between her legs. “Let a girl get through dinner.”

“You are so beautiful,” he laughed, reaching up to tuck a strand of her hair behind her ear. “Everything about you excites me—your green eyes, your smart mouth. I waited as long as I could.” He carved a piece of steak and put it in his mouth, then sliced a smaller piece to feed her. “You are my woman now.”

“I don’t know…”

His eyebrow cocked. “Only until you say ‘no.’ If that day comes—and I say ‘if’ because I want it never to come—then I will not be your man. But now, I am your man.”

He smiled knowingly and brought the wine glass to her lips. It would have been far easier to let her feed herself, but he refused to release the ties holding her wrists. She had to admit there was something about this captive thing that thrilled her down to her toes. Authority radiated from him like a warm light. Her gaze lingered on his wide shoulders, the curve of his biceps.

He took liberties with her body, occasionally reaching inside the robe to stroke her breasts or slide his finger over her sore clit.

“Will your flesh remember me?”

“My ass is on fire. I won’t forget that any time soon.”

“I will excite you even more,” he said, smiling. “In many ways.”

“Adrian…”

“No, hush, don’t spoil it. More wine?” he interrupted, feeding her the last of the mashed potato and roasted asparagus.

She nodded. The bittersweet of the wine fit her mood. Christ, his body was magnificent, muscled and writhing with ink. The patterns seemed like they had sprung from inside him, outward evidence of the mysteries lurking in his soul. Everything about him excited her from his perfect male body to his arrogant possessiveness. Maybe she’d never see him again, but for now, she felt powerless to analyze what they’d done, much less get dressed and walk away.

He pushed back her chair and crouched between her legs, carefully moving the terrycloth out of the way. He kissed a line from her knees to her thighs. He nuzzled her sensitive flesh with his jaw, rasping with his after-five shadow as he scooted her hips forward. Her fingernails cut into her palms as he proceeded to eat her with calm deliberation. His tongue probed and licked. He sucked on her clit, scrubbing it with his tongue.

He inserted a finger and pressed forward, stroking her sensitive g-spot. She lost control as her vagina began to ripple into orgasm. The only thing that mattered was Adrian kneeling between her knees, smiling, uttering tender words. Owning her and every secret of her body.

“Tonight you are mine,” he said. “Tomorrow I am yours if you want me. But also, it will be up to you. I won’t call you. I won’t follow you or come to you at work. Don’t be afraid, okay?”

She nodded, not able to summon words.

“I am yours to ask. If you want dinner, a movie, a concert—let me know so I can escort you. If you want a vacation, I will take you anywhere in the world. I know you’re tired of being alone. I could always see that in you. But if anything about us…” He gestured, touching his chest then hers, his dark eyes full of emotion. “Anything feels wrong, I will accept your decision.”

He turned her hand and kissed her palm. “After tomorrow, I will wait for three weeks. Only three. If you have not called me, I will close the book on us. My heart will break, but I will do it.”

“How could you care so much? You hardly know me.”

“I know you. You have spoken to me from your heart. I have watched you, how hard you work, how you have no one but yourself to depend on. It hurts me here.” He touched his chest again, bringing her gaze to the expanse of carved muscle and the fantastical dragon spiraling across his skin.

He turned on the shower and ministered to her with scented soap, paying careful attention to her tender areas. He dried her and carried her to bed. He slept curled behind her, his arms wrapped around her waist.

She woke sometime in the night with him over her in the dark, his cock already inside her, her hands caught above her head in the tie.

She smiled in the dark. Adrian fucking Velasquez. She twisted, bringing him deeper.

“No more questions,” he whispered, leaning down to kiss her.

~~~~~

Have a preference between these two endings? Your choice could end up in print! Just post your comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adrian Velasquez — A Short Story (Part 1)

At the sound of his voice, Rachel spun the chair around. Adrian Velasquez. His dark gaze always caught her off guard. He was wearing a gray-black suit, damn him, with a white shirt open at the throat that dazzled against his Latino complexion. Not for the first time in his presence, her stomach quivered.

“Did you ever hear of knocking?”

He eased his suit jacket open and parked himself in the chair nearest her desk. With a half grin and sideways glance, his hazel eyes undressed her. Shit. Nobody should be this good looking. He looked at the ceiling for a second then shook his head.

“One question,” he said.

“The same one?”

He stood up and rested his fists on the desk, his eyes riveting her gaze. “Are you afraid?”

Her breath caught. Hell yes, she was afraid. His whole body emanated tension. Everything about him made her sick with need.

“Not afraid,” she said, feigning boredom. “Same old same old.”

His expression toyed with amusement and something more as his eyes flitted to her breasts and then back to her face. “You have no idea,” he said with a grin.

“I have an idea,” she snapped. “It’s a terrifying vision. Now I have listings to sell and so do you. Work, remember?”

“Soon,” he said. “You’ll answer my question.”

She glared at him until the office door closed behind him. “Shit,” she muttered under her breath. Should she report him for sexual harassment? Was she overreacting to normal male flirtation?

She threw herself into her chair and tugged on her short dark hair so hard it hurt. She’d never met a man who could destroy her as completely as Adrian Velasquez. So why couldn’t she stop playing his game?

~~~

The day dragged by. By four-thirty, she needed a drink so badly she could almost taste the tequila on her tongue. Thank god it was Friday and thank god the Manchester Lounge was only a half block away. She stuffed her water bottle and iPad in her bag and let the office door swing shut behind her. The place had mostly emptied already, typical for a Friday when any and every excuse known to mankind hovered on employees’ lips as they grabbed a head start on the weekend.

A small throng of restless people waited for the elevator. She knew before she looked that Adrian had followed her out. The man didn’t miss anything.

A voice like dark chocolate purred at her ear. “Did I mention how lovely you look today?” he said. “You do the ice princess thing very well.”

Gooseflesh erupted down her arms. “Is that some kind of compliment?” she retorted.

“Of course,” he said, rocking back on his heels with a smug smile. “Also the truth. You are a very attractive woman.”

“Same old?” she said.

A cocked eyebrow was her only answer. The elevator opened and she found herself squeezed between Adrian and the back wall as the conveyance lurched through its descent. His broad shoulders blocked her view, straining the seams of his expensive suit and making her mouth go dry. He purposefully held himself inches away, saving her from the crush of annoyed people packed into the small space.

Well, thank you very much. As if she hadn’t negotiated crowds in elevators all her life. As if she needed him. As if he wasn’t fully aware that his musky scent filled her nostrils and sent waves of need down her belly. Yes, thank you, Adrian.

The elevator spilled its contents into the lobby and people streamed off in all directions. Rachel hurried along without looking back. As she shouldered through the wide door, she slipped on her sunglasses and turned purposefully toward the Manchester.

Christ, tequila. Now. Please.

What was it about him that made her panic like this? That made her body hum and her pulse race and her mind focus like a laser on nothing but him. What he would do next. What he would say.

The cool air of the Manchester, faintly scented with the smell of whiskey and cigar smoke, hit her face in a gust as she pushed the heavy wooden door open. Bits of conversation and familiar strains of Getz-Gilberto met her ears. Her eyes adjusted to the dim room before she spotted an open booth at the back wall.

A moment’s peace. That’s all I ask. She slid into the cool leather seat and briefly rubbed her forehead. Why did she let that man get to her like this?

It wasn’t like she was a trembling virgin straight out of girls’ school. There had been men. There had even been love, enough ‘romance’ to teach her the hard lessons of life. As in, steer clear of players like Adrian Velasquez.

“Ma’am?” A waiter leaned toward her as he slid a napkin onto the table.

“Margarita straight up, easy on the sweet.”

She knew he had a past. How did someone leave behind that kind of history—gangs, drugs, street fights?  He kept his tattoos well covered, but she’d seen him with his sleeves rolled up. Dark curled lines disappeared under the white cuffs. Her nostrils flared as she imagined the rest–the chest, the shoulders, smooth skin stretched like wet silk over straining muscle.

This! This was exactly what she couldn’t do.

Soon after he started working at Compass Realty, she couldn’t keep from asking Christine, the agency owner and sorority sister from college.

“What in the hell is going on?” she had asked, dripping creamer into her coffee.

“He’s amazing,” Christine confided. “Fantastic sales record. Yeah, he’s from the streets, but he knows the business. And you’ve got to admit—he’s got presence.”

“Is that what they call it?”

Christine chuckled. “Keep a lid on it, girlfriend. He sells property, and that’s good for us. The clients want him.”

Unfortunately, so did she. Somehow his dark past only made him more desirable. In her weaker moments, thoughts would take over as she envisioned how his body looked without clothes, working out, gleaming with sweat, all sleek lines and cut muscle.

She imposed her strictest self-discipline. Yeah, like that was working. It was as if she had stepped off the train at some deserted station in the middle of nowhere and Adrian was standing there. Waiting.

A frosted margarita glass slid onto the napkin in front of her. She flashed a ‘thank-you’ smile at the waiter and lifted the salted rim to her lips. The citrusy burn swept over her tongue and scorched an icy path down her throat. Some of the tension in her neck relaxed. She sagged back against the soft upholstery and let her gaze drift over the room.

Typical Friday afternoon crowd, mostly white-collar types glad to have the next two days to themselves. A few men in work clothes, maybe construction. Laughter. She closed her eyes, trying to climb down a few notches.

As if spellbound, she opened her eyes to looked directly into Adrian’s intent stare. Had he followed her? Maybe, maybe not. He could have planned to come here all along. Lots of the people from their building came here.

He stood by the bar with a half smile and a taunting expression on his handsome face, his jacket eased open and the ‘V’ of his open shirt neck drawing her eyes like a magnet. Her blood pressure burst through the top of her head. Heat burned her cheeks.

She couldn’t look away. She had to look away. The longer she stared, the more cocky his grin became.

God, please let me look down. She focused on the drink where she gripped the glass stem so tightly she thought it might snap. How would she know when he stopped staring? How would she turn him away if he showed up at her table?

What now? What the fuck now?

Okay, this was ridiculous. She didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to do. Adrian wasn’t a magician. He couldn’t force her. She had a mind of her own.

This was about her, not Adrian. Her not admitting the obvious. She was attracted. But that didn’t mean she had to act on it. She had reasons not to indulge in every little fantasy scene her sex-starved brain conjured up. Responsible mature reasons.

Her eyes flicked again to Adrian. He sat on the other side of the room, a spot with a clear line of sight to her table. While she watched, helpless to tear her eyes away, he lit a cigar and sucked, caressing the thickly rolled tobacco with his lips.

He knew exactly what he was doing with that slow sensual motion. Her panties moistened as if he had licked between her legs. She drowned her quiet moan with another gulp of her drink.

A group of people intervened, taking a table and blocking her view. Released from his hypnotic stare, she fiercely stared at the table before digging out her phone, praying for a text, anything that could occupy her attention.

Sanity would be required here. A reasoned plan of action. She would finish the drink then leave.

“Mind if I join you?”

Chills ran down Rachel’s back at the sound of his voice. Her gaze traveled slowly up Adrian’s body. His thighs strained the tailored lines of his expensive slacks. That damn white shirt nearly blinded her. He’d taken off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. Veins laced over the tendons at his wrist and forearms. Tattoos.

Jesus.

“No, by all means, take a seat. I don’t see you enough at work, so why not be annoyed by you in my private time as well?”

He laughed and eased into the booth across from her. The man moved like a fucking panther, languid and taut at the same time. His eyes burned into her as his hands toyed with his short tumbler. He stroked the rim with one long finger as if he touched her. Daring her, his gaze roamed over her breasts.

Sensation ripped down her neck. Her breasts swelled and her nipples hardened to painful knots, pressing the front of her tailored blouse. Moisture pulsed between her thighs. Her heart pounded in her ears as the image formed of him over her in bed.

She must be out of her mind to play a game of chicken with this man. He would win. Was she ready for that? What happened to safe?

She lowered her eyes to her glass and took another drink. The waiter appeared and disappeared before she registered on what had been said. She felt Adrian’s careful gaze, watching her like prey. He’d been stalking, waiting, watching, and here she was, cornered. A smile quirked the corner of his mouth.

“Adrian, Jesus Christ,” she said. “Save that killer seduction thing for your girlfriends. Surely you have a dozen.”

He laughed, sincerely amused. “See? This is what I love about you. Are you jealous? You spit and hiss like a kitten. But I know how to make you purr.”

“Get over yourself.”

“You think I’m only flirting?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. He clearly enjoyed seeing her flustered. Her face was on fire, a combination of his game and the liquor. It infuriated her that he could provoke her so easily. He snapped a lighter to tip of his cigar and mouthed the thick shaft as he inhaled. “Think I’m trying to seduce you?”

“Ha!” she said. “I don’t know what the hell else you would call it. I’m here trying to relax after a hellish week and you show up, uninvited, and start making suggestive comments,” she huffed. “I’ve seen all this before.”

“But not mine,” he said in silken tones.

She gaped at his blatant remark, belatedly remembering to close her mouth and think. Part of her—the sane part—wanted to leap up and run out of the building. The other part, unfortunately the part currently in control, wanted to rip off her blouse and hold her breasts to his mouth. The situation had suddenly changed into something charged and dangerous.

And he knew it, damn him. His smile formed deep dimples in his cheeks. He reached for her hand, covering it with his own and suggestively stroking the inside of her thumb.

Without warning, he leaned up and pulled her toward him over the small table, sliding the tip of his tongue against her lips. She gasped, her mouth parting slightly to give him entry. Her head reeled, wiped clean of every thought, every caution, she had made.

“Oh, god,” she groaned against his mouth.

Her eyes widened as she looked at him. She threw herself backwards into the booth and held the back of her hand against her lips as if she could erase the electric shock of his touch. “Forget that,” she stammered.

Smile gone, his eyes darkened and locked on hers. “We’re going,” he said abruptly, standing up.

A strange paralysis took over, partly residual shock waves from the touch of his mouth, partly the languor of alcohol making its way to her bones.

Say something. Say ‘no,’ say ‘wait.’ Make excuses.

But she didn’t say anything. She let him lift her elbow as she stood. She watched him throw money on the table. Her breath burned out in short gasps as she trotted out of the Manchester, her arm in Adrian’s grip.

On fire. Drunk on need so deep she couldn’t find the bottom. Drowning in everything Adrian.

His stride along the sidewalk forced her to practically run to keep up. She needed to stop before things went any further. Before she did something she would regret.

But she didn’t want to stop. Nothing mattered but Adrian and what he silently promised to do to her. What she wanted so much she could practically taste him.

“Where are we going?”

“To get a room,” he said.

“No.”

He stopped and pushed her against a department store window. Fashionably dressed mannequins stared down. People hurried past. Adrian’s hand slipped behind her and pulled her hips against his groin. “You want me,” he said thickly. “We need a place where I can give you what you want.”

“What I…” Rachel struggled for words. The pressure of his body made her ears roar. She swallowed nervously. “I don’t…”

“Yes, you do,” he said impatiently. “Come on.”

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

You choose! Lead in to Ending 1 or Lead in to Ending 2

Ending 1

He steered her to the front desk of the downtown Marriott, slid his card across the marble counter, and in moments, escorted her to the elevator where he waited, without speaking, until the doors opened on the eighth floor. She tried to reason with herself, but reason wasn’t what she wanted.

Later, she would think about all the opportunities she had ignored, a chance to walk away, to say no. Later, she would remember the low throb between her legs that said she had no choice.

He led her into the room and put out the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign. His hands gripped her shoulders as he lowered his mouth to hers. His lips gently brushed hers and her knees weakened.

Chica,” he murmured. “What I will do with you.”

OR

Ending 2

She pulled her elbow out of his grip. “No, Adrian. Maybe someday I’ll be ready for this, but not today.”

As she turned to walk away, the expression on his face burned into her memory. Disappointment, yes. But something else, something that might have been the face of a very young man heartbroken in his first love affair. Briefly, his eyes had conveyed a message of more than desire, more than conquest.

The heels of her pumps beat a sharp rhythm on the sidewalk. Her lips formed a hard straight line. None of that could be real. She was reading into his expression, putting thoughts and feelings there that didn’t exist in reality. It simply wasn’t possible that he had any kind of emotional investment in her.

How could he? Why?

A strong hand grabbed her arm and spun her around. Anger and something else blazed in his eyes.

“You think you know me? You don’t know me, chica,” he said. “What have I ever done to make you afraid? Have I hurt you, threatened you?”

She jerked away. “Yes, Adrian, you’ve threatened me with your lurid suggestions and constant attempts to seduce me. Haven’t I made myself clear?”

“You give me your words, but your body speaks louder. If you’re afraid to admit what you feel, are you also afraid to have dinner?”

She shook her head, discarding retorts as fast as they formed.

“Dinner, Rachel,” he said, his voice softer.

~~~

Coming soon — Part II of Adrian Velasquez

**This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are either a product of the author’s imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

December Specials!

Heads up, dearies — my monthly FREE newsletter, Liz’s Hot News, will feature coupon deals on novels and short stories plus special treats. Sign up before the December issue release date, Dec 1 to get in on the fun.

Psst! You can unsubscribe at any time! 

Now, for a taste of the holidays, a recipe for my favorite cake and to-die-for icing:

Applesauce Cake

2 ½ cups flour

1 ¾ cups sugar, or 1 cup sugar and ¾ cup honey

1 ½ teaspoon soda

1 ½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon allspice

1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce

½ cup hot water (⅓ c if using honey)

½ cup shortening

2 eggs at room temperature

Optional: 1 cup raisins and ½ cup chopped English walnuts

Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour baking pan, either 13x9x2 or 2 round layers 8 or 9×1½ inches.

Measure wet ingredients into bowl and mix thoroughly. If eggs or water are cold, the shortening won’t blend well.  Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well blended, then increase mixer speed and beat three minutes. Pour into pans.

Bake oblong 60-65 minutes, layers 50-55 minutes, until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

When cake has cooled, frost with Penuche Icing.

 

Penuche Icing (Yumm!)

½ cup butter

1 cup brown sugar, packed

¼ cup milk

2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Melt butter in medium saucepan. Stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir over low heat 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, then remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.

Stir in confectioners’ sugar then beat with mixer until fully smooth and of spreading consistency. If frosting becomes too stiff, heat slightly while stirring.

The Witness

Cara Lawrence drained the last of the martini and slid the shiny stemware away from her. A little world to itself, the elegant glass on its clean white napkin. A little white square with a world on it. She wanted to go there.

The muscles in her neck relaxed. God, she needed this. She’d chewed the inside of her cheek raw, driving mile after mile across land colored in faded shades of brown, tan, gray. Scraps of bleached vegetation. Peaceful in a desolate way. Like her.

At some point, she had redirected the air conditioner vent away from her face and slipped into a reverie. She could be anywhere in any time. Not much traffic on the highway. Cactus dotted the landscape. Finally, as late afternoon started to quench the outside glare, she’d been able to smile.

Now, not so much. Much as she needed her senses on full alert, she also needed a break. She sighed, not carried away, not in a different world. That man lurked in the back of her mind, dark and threatening. Looking at her intently as if he could read her mind. She wasn’t good at hiding her thoughts. He knew.

Not many people remained in the dim hotel bar, but it felt good to be tucked into this corner booth at the back of the room. Everything about the place comforted her, the scent of leather upholstery, the clatter of glassware, the faint drone of the television above the bar blending with distant voices, the bartender, a couple of nearby people talking. Facing the door, she could see anyone who came in. Not that he would come in. She was seven hundred miles away in another state. There was no way he could have followed her here.

But she felt like he had. That feeling crawled up the back of her neck like he was watching, waiting. For what? Why did it matter what she knew? Wouldn’t he fare better leaving her alone no matter what heinous act he committed?

A short laugh rolled up her chest. Fucking ridiculous, Cara. What the hell is wrong with you? She’d never been this paranoid. All this terror built on the flimsiest of evidence, a few minutes of unexplained noise, a brief encounter…so what? He’d been polite, said he was sorry, left her alone. A killer wouldn’t have done that. Would he?

She hadn’t seen anything anyway, not really. She saw him go in, heard a loud noise like gunfire. Maybe it wasn’t gunfire. Maybe the sound didn’t come from where he went. Maybe he just went in and came back out. Maybe leaving the door open didn’t mean anything. She drained her glass, satisfied that between the hearty chicken-fried steak dinner and a couple of strong cocktails, she’d have a good night’s sleep.

Okay, most of the dinner had stayed on her plate.

She wanted to sleep, a deep restful sleep with no restless half-awake time lying there, listening, waiting. Resisting the urge to have a third drink, she slid out of the booth, dropped a generous tip on the table, and walked across the room. Her legs hadn’t recovered from being in the car all day. And the day before. Walking felt good. A long walk in the twilight would feel fabulous.

No. He might have followed her. She had been his only witness. He would want her gone.

Cara got to her floor gripping her door card. If she had a Xanax, she’d take it now. She kept seeing the guy’s eyes, pale gray in a weathered face. A face that had seen a lot. And that scar. How many regular guys had a scar on their cheek?

How much of this was being off balance from the breakup with Travis?

A cluster of young men stood at the ice machine, talking and joking.

“I need your help,” she said impulsively, aware of the absurdity of what she was about to say. “Someone is following me,” she continued, thankful the young men looked at her with concern. “I’m afraid to go to my room,” she continued. “Would you help me get my bags, maybe let me sleep on your couch?”

The young men glanced at each other, all of them tall and athletic. Surely they’d defend her, if it came down to it.

Had she gone mad?

“Sure, lady,” one of them said. “Charter,” he said, straightening his shoulders and sticking out his hand, his valor ready. “Besom, Hank, Jason,” he said, waving his hand at the others.

“Charter, nice to meet you. I’m Cara.” Maybe she was drunker than she knew. What did they think about this, really? What the hell was she doing?

It was a brilliant plan, she decided as they closed her room door and walked with her to their suite. A rugby team. That explained it. Did it mean anything to her that their bodies radiated youthful male exuberance? Maybe she would give herself to them, yield up her flesh to their exploitation for however many hours they would have her.

What if she offered and they declined? After Travis, could she endure another rejection? Oh hell yes, this would be exactly what she needed to get Travis out of her mind forever. Travis hardly mattered now that she had a murderer on her trail.

What was she thinking? First she was thinking a murderer was on her heels and now she was imagining sex with a sports team. She shook her head. Did therapists have nervous breakdowns?

Maybe first thing tomorrow she’d look up a local therapist and try to get a session. Stay here long enough to get her head on straight. This whole thing with Travis had wrecked her equilibrium. Everything had been tossed in the air, years of shared goals, combined assets, promises about the rest of their lives.

She’d been a damn fool. And then she had to go and witness a murder. Or not.

Charter and the other boys jostled each other, joking back and forth as they walked down the hallway. She couldn’t believe she had invited herself to sleep on their couch. Or especially that she contemplated having sex with them. They probably had their pick of countless females younger and more attractive. What could they possibly gain from sex with a freaked out thirty-something woman clearly in diminishing grasp of her sanity?

Well, of course, they didn’t know that. The most obvious point was that they probably hadn’t thought about sex with her at all. They were upstanding young men, dedicated to their sport and their team, doing a favor for a stranger. She straightened as she hurried along behind them.

No one could say, actually, that she was losing it. Everything she thought could be true. She was intelligent and intuitive. There was something about that guy. He knew she knew what he’d done.

“Our team has six suites down this hallway,” Charter said. “So if we piss you off, you can check in with some of the other guys.” He grinned and the corners of his green eyes crinkled. His hand ran through short hair as he closed the door behind her. The room smelled of men, slightly sweaty, spicy. The television blared and she wondered if she would get any sleep at all.

“We’ll turn in pretty soon,” he said, as if reading her mind. “Game tomorrow, so no late crazy stuff.” He leaned slightly closer. “Tomorrow night, that’s when things will get wild. You’re welcome to stay around, if you want.”

He paused, his eyes searching. Oh, my god. He had thought about it. Her breath caught. She knew what he wanted to know.  Hell, she wanted to know too. How do you tell someone about a fear formed on so little basis? How do you explain something that makes no sense? She leaned up and brushed a soft kiss across his startled lips.

“Thanks, Charter. You can’t possibly know how much I appreciate you taking me in. Thank you.”

She watched him react, a slight blush, the inevitable thought of whether she wanted him, what he should do, if anything, in response. So young, so beautiful with his lean muscular body, perfect in so many ways. Her fingertips longed to smooth over his tanned skin. His scent filled her nose. If they had been alone, if she wasn’t on the run …

She stopped herself. Was she on the run? From what her marriage had become, from Travis and his selfish ways, yes, most assuredly. From the crazy incident this morning, something that even now at the brief memory, gooseflesh ran down her arms? Yes, that too.

But she was running toward something, too. A new life. On her terms.

She shook her head and gave him a thin smile. “Sorry, don’t mean to intrude. I’m just feeling worn out. It’s so good to feel safe. I’ll take the couch and get out of your way.”

He watched her with the eyes of an older man. Maybe that meant he felt desire. She had no energy to speculate. The day and the alcohol swept over her like a leaden blanket, and all she wanted, now, finally as she dropped her shoes, snugged her cheek against the pillow, and stretched her feet to the armrest at the far end of the couch, was to disappear into oblivion.

Sometime in the night a disturbance roused her. Light from the parking lot rimmed the heavy curtains and illuminated the room. Snoring, a cough. Someone moving around. Her head fell back onto the pillow. Probably someone going to the bathroom. She waited to hear the flush to know the coast was clear for her own trip to the toilet.

Sleeping forms reassured her as she returned to the couch, glass of water in hand. If her circumstances hadn’t been so completely bizarre, she would have been amused, even pleased, to be sleeping amid a room full of young men.

How long had it been since she felt the pleasure of men, their predictable ways with food, rest, entertainment. Simple and yet exquisitely complex, each one of them a world of contradictions and needs that would probably never be fully met. And yet so irresistible, sweet and funny and tender in so many ways. Nothing like Travis with his demands.

The pillow sweated her head and she couldn’t get comfortable. Alcohol did this, gave her that early crushing slide into sleep then later kept her awake. She lay on her back, forearm over her forehead as she wondered if the man in the truck had lost all his charming male attributes. What if anything did he still have in common with these young men? Not that she knew, really, anything about these young men. She turned to her side, pulling at her rumpled clothes.

She wanted to take off her clothes and lie naked on the soft upholstery, receive Charter and the rest one after another until their semen filled her like a warm flood. Let them kneel at the altar of her body, lavish her with their mouths and hands, spear into her with their hot cornucopias. They would fill her up and all her lines would vanish, her empty places, her loneliness and fear. There would be no place left untouched, no shadow not illuminated. Whispering, groaning, they would yield their youth and plenty to her age and hunger until she had been restored, reborn, resurrected.

“Cara.”

She felt his hand on her foot. Charter. His weight dented the couch where he sat by her knees. His hand ran up her leg.

“Yes.” Her voice barely penetrated the thick silence. His breathing told her everything — shallow, fast. Her legs eased apart, welcoming his hand to her thighs as he eased his way upward.

She sat up and pulled her shirt over her head. The bra fell to the floor, exposing her breasts to the cool air. Her nipples shriveled to hard knots, more from the certain knowledge that he would touch her than from the air conditioning. She lifted her hips to let him remove her skirt and panties then lay in blissful quietude as his hands explored her.

He wore nothing but a towel, she realized, now that her eyes had taken a cat’s sight in the dark. He leaned over her, his torso rippling with honed muscle, his thighs parted. She slid her hand onto his thigh where fine hair bristled her palm. Tense, hardened, his body arched over her.

“I want you,” he muttered, bringing his lips to her mouth. “Can we do this?”

“Yes.”

His mouth grazed over hers, his tongue explored gently. His hands brushed her breasts, her belly. Asked permission, discovered, got his bearings. How many young girls had felt his touch? She smiled into his kiss.

He drove himself into her, plunging in short hard lunges like a coiled spring, like iron, like a lion stalking and running and leaping on its prey. His mouth on her neck, biting. His back bowed, his hips tucked. Her fingertips brushed over the soft skin of his taut buttocks. Tears of relief burned her eyelids.

She swallowed her shouts, her screams, her groans of pleasure. Short gasping huffs escaped her in the last seconds as his motions peaked, his heat burning into her with long trembling ejaculations. Maybe the sounds were as much his as hers, their muted voices as mingled as their bodies.

As much as if she heard his words, she knew his thoughts. They echoed her own, whether they had done the right thing, whether the other person was satisfied, what to say or do now that it had happened.

None of that matters, she said back silently. We did what we did. It was good and that’s what counts.

He returned to his bed. She dressed in silence then lay quietly, waiting for dawn. It’s my life now, she thought, smiling into the dark.

Rainy Morning

4c8459483cc311c2f8ad282ae143bfc5

Rain spattered on the rock walkway around the outside garden. Rose turned in the bed, lifting her face to the narrow window opening to inhale the scent of wet grass. Misty gray dawn. She smiled.

With the covers tucked over her shoulder, she snuggled against the pillow. In another time, Jameson would have been behind her in the bed, awakening to her stirring. His big hand would settle on her waist, warm and reassuring. He would cuddle up behind her, bringing his hot silken skin against her back, her buttocks, and inevitably, his morning wood would press between her thighs.

Jameson. The one man she had loved without limit, without reason. She could see him now, suntanned, his chest wide as he stood with his fists on his hips wearing nothing but cutoffs and a straw cowboy hat that shadowed his face and its rugged features. His blue eyes penetrating the brim’s shadow in a heated gaze that spoke of his love, his promise.

His hand would slide up her side, inexorable as it traveled toward her breast. Already her nipples would have peaked, anticipating. The grip of his rough hand spoke of ownership but also affection, belonging, shared memories and a future yet to unfold. As he pressed her nipple between his thumb and forefinger, the gentle prod of his cock spoke of its need to find its natural home.

Rose turned, resting on her back to stare at the ceiling. Rain continued its drone on the roof, on the rock walk. Just yesterday the narcissus had bloomed, pale yellow blossoms releasing intoxicating scent. Over the last week, the yard had erupted in vibrant green. Dogwood and redbud dotted the woodland with their blossoms. Another spring.

Tears leaked from the corners of her eyes as memories of prior springs flashed like a slideshow in her mind. Jameson walking naked across the yard, grinning ear to ear as she ran then let herself get caught. Jameson sitting beside her on the porch in fragile sunlight, not yet hot, not yet summer. But not winter. Not cold.

Jameson, the father of her children. Jameson, the only man who brought her repeatedly to the pinnacle of pleasure. Jameson, the man who shared her dream of life.

She’d always love Jameson.

Twenty years since she sent him away. Twenty years living alone, remembering, wondering. How could it have been different? How could she have helped him reach inside himself to gain the strength he needed? How could she have changed, somehow, to accept his anger, his disease, in a way that didn’t destroy her?

There was no going back to a time when she might have taken a different path. When the dark side of Jameson would have told her to run and never look back. By the time the realization came to her, it was nineteen years on with three children and lives so intertwined that separation inevitably tore parts off of everyone.

Rose threw back the covers and stood up, shivering in the rainy morning air. Outside, fog had crept into the woodland, strangely luminous in the reflection of green from the nascent grasses.

Another spring. Another morning. Alone.

Jameson could never again be part of her life, but she could still admit she loved him. Nostalgia could sweep her away, make her sad about what no longer existed. Nostalgia crowded out the ugly truth, that Jameson hardly ever woke to touch her or murmur words of love. He bolted out of bed already angry—at the crying child who woke him, at the rooster crowing outside, at a job he hated.

That was the real Jameson. Young, eager to make her dreams come true, she had seen what she wanted to see, what she needed to see. As long as she could cling to her fantasy, she could avoid the truth and ignore the inexorable drip of poison slowly eroding her ability to live one more day with a man who hated himself.

Rose turned on the shower and waited for the water to steam warmth into the small bathroom. This was her life now, not a fantasy. Not misty memories that mostly weren’t true. She stared in the mirror. Aging, yes, no youthful beauty there. But strong, an experienced, determined woman. Weathered by storm, by life, by Jameson. But not beaten.

She grabbed the shower door and stepped into the hot spray. Behind her, Jameson waited.

The Escape

escape-cover-smallSometimes when I write a story, it keeps on living after I quit. I consider that a success as far as writing goes, but it can become quite the nag. After nearly two years, the nagging that surfaced after I finished writing “The Captive” became deafening. So I’ve written a second installment, “The Escape,” in what seems destined to become an even lengthier tale.

“The Captive” is a short story set in the late 9th century England when the Saxons and Danes were fighting over control of the land. Seeking a brief time of secret pleasure with a captured Danish warrior, Elspeth Lady of Hystead hides away in a remote cabin on her estate and has the man delivered to her. Her aging invalid husband will be none the wiser. Yet an unexpected problem arises and it has nothing to do with her husband. It has to do with this stunning man standing before her, tied and injured, his long blond hair partially hiding the disdain in his intense stare. This was not what she expected.captive-new-cover-small

Not at all.

Book 2, “The Escape,” is a novelette, available at your favorite bookseller.

Buy links for “The Captive” — Amazon, Smashwords

Buy links for “The Escape” — Amazon, Smashwords

Jarrod’s Valentine

manin suitA new short story starring Jarrod Bancroft

 

Macie’s face reflected the subdued outdoor light that filtered in through the restaurant window. Ignoring the clench in his chest, Jarrod studied her from across the noisy room. She looked like a work of art, the planes and lines of her face cast in shadow, her delicate skin framed by luxurious lengths of dark hair. One of those exquisite images painted by some long-dead artist where the woman’s pensive expression signaled vague internal conflict. His impulse was to rush over to the table, take her hands, and slip to his knees to ask what he could do to brighten her day. His mouth twisted and he turned back to his newspaper.

Whatever appetites Macie Fitzgerald provoked, today the situation at Bancroft Investments demanded his full attention. The stock report only reiterated what he already knew—their standing had slipped again. Somehow rumors had leaked. It was a matter of time before this blew wide open.

He quietly folded the paper, signaled the waiter and paid his check before slipping out the side door. Much as he wanted Macie right now, the ugly responsibilities in his real life could not wait.

The door to his dad’s office was slightly ajar. His father stood at the windows in the far corner, his back turned as he stared out into the city. The older man’s shoulders triggered Jarrod’s memory, all the times those same shoulders had loomed over him, an impenetrable wall of dark against dim light. An immovable object. Jarrod swallowed an ugly taste in his mouth. And it had nothing to do with his lunch.

So the bastard already knew.

“Took your time,” the old man said. He didn’t bother to turn. “You’ve never appreciated the value of a full day’s work.”

“Fuck you, Preston,” Jarrod said. He slipped off his overcoat and dropped it on the chair. He stood beside the desk and folded his arms, facing his father’s back.

“What do you plan to do?” Preston said. “Are you riding your white horse, ready to save the world?”

“Anything to sidestep the facts,” Jarrod said. “That’s been your strategy all along. I remember my first weeks here, when I went through the files for that mutual fund and asked you, and you shifted blame to Evers. Always somebody else’s fault. Always something I made up or misinterpreted.”

“So you’re going to bring the house down around our ears, is that the plan?”

“You assigned me the dirty work thinking I wouldn’t put it together.” Jarrod spun the desk chair around and gripped the thick leather back. “I’ve dug all the way down. I’m not buying any more of your bullshit.”

Preston whirled to face him. The flesh around his nose had turned white. “Whine, you little fuck. You have no idea. I’ve worked my ass off, dedicated my life to giving you and your mother the very best. I don’t answer to you.”

Jarrod swallowed his rage, sinking his fingers into the chair upholstery to keep from planting a fist in that smug face. The man might be a despicable cheat, but he was his father. “You’ll answer to the prosecutor. Evers won’t take this sitting down.”

“Evers is as big a baby as you are. Suck it up, boy. This is how things get done.”

Jarrod closed his eyes then slammed out of the room. Nothing he could say would change Preston Bancroft. Why had it taken him twenty-eight years to accept that fact? \

Odd how familiar this all felt. As if he’d seen it in a dream. As if he’d wished it a thousand times and only now realized it. He strode to his office and slid open his desk drawers looking for anything that might hold value, but after a few minutes, he grabbed his overcoat and stalked out.

~~~

Jarrod had no idea how long he’d walked. Traffic had thinned slightly but people still crowded the sidewalks. Snow whirled down from a pale gray sky obscuring the tops of the taller buildings. Even jammed deep into his overcoat pockets, his hands felt like chunks of ice. Kind of like his stomach.

What if his father was right? Jarrod released his breath between pursed lips. Did the world of corporate finance require this kind of deception and manipulation? Law school hadn’t prepared him for this. Would he look back in twenty years and realize he’d been hopelessly naïve?

Maybe he would. But right now, this day, he had to sit down and think about his options. Carefully. With whiskey.

He shook his head as the image of Macie formed in his mind. Macie in her boots and corset standing over him, her gorgeous breasts bulging at the neckline, her green eyes flashing as she demanded his complete obedience. He longed for the dungeon, the reassurance of bonds strapped firmly on his wrists and ankles, the blessing of a lash stinging his back and buttocks. He wanted to crawl to Macie’s feet and never leave, live by her command.

He snorted in disgust. What would Preston say if he had any idea about his role with Macie and her Academy? Jarrod couldn’t even imagine. He’d gone for the training to satisfy a long-held secret desire, the overwhelming need to explore an aspect of himself that he’d always managed to suppress. What he’d found there shocked him, even now. Every day of his enthusiastic submission to pain and discipline shocked him.

But he loved it. Craved it. Felt blissfully happy in ways he’d never imagined.

And finding Mrs. Fitzgerald? Macie Fucking Fitzgerald? How many restless nights in high school had he imagined touching her? How many history classes had he watched her walk across the front of the room, write on the chalkboard, pierce him with her intense gaze while he hunched over in his desk trying to hide his erection?

He’d been a boy then, but he wasn’t a boy now. The discovery that the harsh mistress overseeing his training at the Academy had been the same woman who opened his mind to the triumphs and foibles of human endeavor had left him without defenses. It wasn’t just her beauty or her unflinching skill at domination that awed him. It was the depth of her understanding of human nature.

Even more intriguing was the mystery in her that broke to the surface in unexpected moments. When she was vulnerable. When they had reached the point of exhaustion and satiety and she curled in his arms.

Jarrod stopped, staring blindly into a store window where a display of Valentine hearts and cavorting cupids barely penetrated his consciousness. A tall man with dark hair and a worried expression stared back at him. Fucking Valentine’s Day.

His arms felt empty without her. In the dark eyes gazing back at him in the glass, he saw the truth of what he really wanted from her.

Forever.

He wanted forever.

Backyard barbeques. Dogs. Long rainy evenings snuggled on the couch together. Walks along the beach. Macie watching him undress, opening her arms to his embrace. Her lips curved in that entrancing smile.

Jarrod shoved the heavy glass door open and stopped at the counter. The air smelled of warm chocolate, sugar, and a hint of cinnamon. Stuffed animals, shiny heart-shaped balloons, and confections of every shape and flavor crowded the surrounding tables. What the hell was he doing?

Would Macie take offense at a display of affection? He couldn’t exactly break out of a slave’s expected behavior and vow eternal love. He was acting on impulse. She might reject him entirely. He glanced up at the woman standing on the other side of the counter,

“Something small,” he said. “Friendly but not too much.”

She studied him, her carefully sculpted eyebrows knitted in a frown. “Chocolate?”

“Definitely chocolate,” he said.

The clerk’s thin shoulders jutted against her draped red sweater as she lifted a small heart toward him. The cellophane wrap rustled as she placed it on the glass countertop. “Top of the line chocolate truffles,” she said. “We also have creams or assorted bonbons in this size. What does she like?”

Jarrod paused, staring at the glistening red package. He had no idea what she liked. Maybe he was way off track with this idea. She’d never given him a gift. At her invitation after Academy graduation, he’d moved into her townhouse as her slave. It was a vacation from reality and the most fulfilling experience he’d ever known. A strict protocol ruled his activity there. Each day when he walked away from Bancroft Investments and the world of business, his existence narrowed down to Macie. He took off his real world life at the same time he took off his clothes. What she wanted, what she demanded. Macie in control.

But despite her assured control, he suddenly realized he’d always sensed an opening. His face heated as he remembered his brash act the night of Academy graduation. He’d taken her. The need she’d teased along for six weeks boiled to the surface and he barely been able to ask permission before throwing her back on the bed. She acted as though she expected it, as if she’d been waiting for him.

What the hell could he assume from that?

Even in high school, some part of him understood that he had the power to take her. At that point, he had no clue how to use that power on a woman ten years older. With the many females he’d bedded over the years, his actions had seemed like play. He toyed with women, watched them from a distance, predicted what they’d do or say. Teased them along. All of it bored him.

A few times since then, even as Macie’s slave, he’d pushed the boundaries.  Much as he loved pleasing her, he also loved the undercurrent of as-yet-unfulfilled promises they both knew but never discussed. That he would, someday, pin her against the wall and rip off her clothes one piece at a time. Hold her hostage at the end of his cock. Watch her nipples tighten under his gaze until they protruded like chocolate candies waiting for his mouth.

“The creams,” he said, jerking out of his reverie. His cock had stiffened. “Assorted creams.”

With the package caught under his arm, he stopped to wait for a light surrounded by a dozen other pedestrians bundled against the cold. Traffic snarls backed up to the next block, a typical Friday afternoon. Only it didn’t feel typical. It felt charged, like the ground could erupt any moment, like a tsunami rolled toward him.

He pictured her townhouse, the fireplace, the look in her eyes when he would start unbuttoning her blouse. How her skin would glow in the firelight as he leaned over her. How her dark hair would pool against the rug. How she would taste. The sound of her voice protesting.  How he would hold her wrists and make her gasp.

“Taxi!” he called, stepping to the curb. Yeah, the ground could erupt. To hell with Preston Bancroft and his criminal enterprise. To hell with doubt and protocol and silly rules meant to be broken. He knew what he wanted. He was taking it.

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Read the full incredible story of Jarrod Bancroft. On sale half price on Feb 14 ONLY. Your Valentine from me! Enjoy!

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