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Authors: Cara McKenna

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BOOK: Curio
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Thank goodness I don’t have any credit cards, lest my penchants for artisan cheese and Turkish silk and Parisian men tempt me away from reason. Which, sadly, they are on the verge of doing. I needed to talk to Didier about that, but not just then. Perhaps in the morning.

I found him in the living room, cuing up a record on his gramophone. He angled the old-timey brass horn and noticed me behind him.

“Oh. Those
are
adorable.”

“They’ve got goldfish on them.”

He smiled and approached to inspect my ensemble. “
Il te rehausse les yeux.

It brings out your eyes.
He rubbed a thumb over the shiny satin and one of its little fish. “You’ll be cold, though. Do you want a blanket, or shall I turn the radiator up?”

“A blanket’s fine.”

And that’s how the evening went. We sat on the couch, sipping wine, chatting and listening to the croony old records Didier had inherited from his mother. I pictured her as a French, brunette version of Marlene Dietrich, though that assumption was likely the fault of the music. Still, in my head she spent endless hours perched before her vanity, smoking and brushing her hair, lamenting the failure of a recent love affair, all in grainy black and white.

After an hour or so of lazy flirtation, Didier found us a deck of cards and taught me to play
piquet
. I did terribly, but he kept kissing me so I don’t think my poor performance was strictly my fault.

Didier is very…playful. Off the clock, as it were. He’s also very convincing, which would probably have worried me if the pleasure it inspired hadn’t been so potent.

Rarely while I’m with Didier—but often after I’ve left, perhaps the following day—will it occur to me exactly what he is. I’ll catch myself thinking of him fondly, then an ugly part of my brain will pop in with, “Don’t be an idiot. You aren’t actually dating him. Plus think about it. You saw him Thursday, Sunday and Tuesday. Who was he with those other days?” I would wonder, “Does he like them more? Are they prettier or more exciting than me?”

But funnily enough, the thoughts always slip, like an egg off a greasy pan. For the first time in my life, I’m not jealous of the other women in a fantastically handsome man’s bed.

As we sat playing cards, I put my finger on the crux—Didier’s body isn’t sacred to me.

When all this had begun, that was all he’d been—a body, one I’d been prepared to suffer a less-than-stellar personality in order to enjoy. That he’s kind and likeable was merely a bonus. But it took shockingly little time for his body to become incidental, and the thing I anticipate now goes far beyond his physique or face or even his skills in bed. It’s how he makes me feel…like a woman worthy of his extraordinary company. And the glow from that lasts far longer than any post-orgasm haze.

It’s scary, because I never expected any feelings I might develop for him to go beyond the sexual. I assumed the sheer fact that he’s a whore would erect a wall and keep my heart safely on one side.

No such luck.

When yet another hand of
piquet
dissolved into a make-out session, he took our cards and tossed them on the coffee table. I was hauled onto his lap, back to his chest. Didier in boyfriend mode moves quite a bit faster than his professional self. His cock was hard from the kissing, feeling impatient against my backside.

He put his mouth right behind my ear, breath hot against my skin. “I want you.”

“I want you,” I murmured.

His hand glided up my slippery top to cup my breast.

I fumbled and turned around, straddling his thighs.

He fondled me as we kissed. I felt one tiny strap slide over my shoulder, then the other. Satin slipped away, replaced by his palms.

His lips left mine to find my ear. “I want to taste you.”

“Okay.”

A happy, cocky noise heated my skin.

I thought I could guess which words would come next—
where, how, in my bed?
Silly me. I’d forgotten who I was with tonight.

Didier leaned over to grab a throw pillow from the chair, tossing it to the far end of the couch. He ousted me from his lap. My heart beat fast as I leaned against the cushion, nerves and excitement stirred together, capped and shaken. Exactly as I’d longed to know how he looked naked, how he kissed and tasted and sounded in person, now I wanted to know how he’d feel, taking me simply as himself.

Just as I got my camisole hoisted back up, he was slipping free the bow of my drawstring. I lifted my butt and let him slip my shorts down my legs. He pushed the coffee table away, kneeling before the settee. A week ago I’d have been afraid of how I looked or smelled or tasted, but not tonight. Not seeing that gleam in his eye, that expression that told me I was far more exquisite a delicacy than any you could sample at the cheese shop.

I ran my fingers through his hair as he brought his face close. His nose glanced my clit, then his lips, his tongue. It felt nothing like I’d imagined. The opposite of sloppy. He indulged me with caresses, soft and teasing, deep and decadent, hungry and insistent. I felt imperious with this man on his knees before me. Utterly spoiled.

Spoiled felt wonderful…for ten minutes or more. Then my attention was drawn beyond his face to this room, the flat; his private world, where I’d learned far more than the mere mechanics of lust. As good as his mouth made me feel, I wanted more of him. At a gentle push on his shoulder, he let me go with a final deep lap.

“Stand up.”

He got to his feet.

“Take your shirt off.” As he did, I freed his buckle, brushing his hard cock as I opened his fly. When his jeans were kicked away, I clasped his erection through his underwear and gazed up at him. Marvelous. I’ve never before met anyone whose outside so matched their soul. You could drill clean through Didier and find nothing but layer upon layer of beauty, dark and strange and kind and prurient, but all of it perfectly, utterly pure.

I stroked him for the sheer pleasure of feeling his weight and heat in my hands, until his breathing grew labored and he spoke.

“I need to fuck.”

“Good.”

He pulled me to standing, pressing our bodies tight together, that bossy palm on my rear. “
À mon lit. Maintenant.

As ordered, I headed for his bedroom, his energy right behind me, tangible as echoing footsteps. No candles tonight. No patience. We tumbled across the sheets and my camisole went missing, followed swiftly by his briefs. Being trounced was as lovely as being seduced, perhaps even lovelier after so many nights of caution and gentle firsts. At moments I felt we were nearly wrestling, fighting to be the one touching, kissing, stroking. Kneeling, he pulled me onto his lap, his cock pinned against my pussy. His hands issued orders, drawing my wet lips along his shaft, friction so hot I scraped my nails down his back in retaliation and bit his ear.

He groaned and pushed me onto my back, leaning over me to open the bedside table drawer. With a smooth stroke he was sheathed, half a breath and he was at my entrance.

“Didier.”

He sank deep, claiming my cunt with the smooth, sure thrust of a lover who’d known me for ages. No pause for reverence. He took me fast, not quite rough, until I was dizzy and frantic and high.

“Fuck me,” he said.

One forceful flip and I was on top of him, no time to worry about my performance. No need. All I needed was to feel this hard, thick cock moving inside me. I gave my body everything it wanted from his, shutting my eyes and letting his moans and murmurs fill my ears. His fingertips grazed my thighs, my belly, my ribs, finally my breasts. The brush of his palms over my nipples set my whole body on fire. My clit was rubbing his base with each motion, and though I wasn’t practiced enough to make myself come from it, just knowing maybe someday I
could
, that someday I
would
, filled me with giddiness.

“I want you like the last time,” I said.

“On your knees?”

“Yeah.” On my knees, with a rough, selfish man taking me from behind.

The moment his cock slid from me, I wanted it back. But first I got his hands on my hips and ass as I was turned over, his thighs nudging mine wider. When he took me again I sighed from the sheer, dirty completeness I felt.

“Make me come.”

That voice, low and dark. “I will.”

The sex was hot and fast and noisy, a flurry of slapping skin, his moans, my whimpers. I hadn’t known I was capable of sex like that. Animal sex. There were a thousand things I hadn’t thought I was capable of, not until I’d found the one key that fit my lock. I came hard against his taunting fingertips, the deepest, scariest orgasm I’ve ever experienced. When I recovered, he urged me onto my back.


Regardez-moi.

I did as he ordered, eyes on his laboring muscles in the dim light leaking from the living room. I watched the only man who’d gotten to know my body this way, watched him grow frenzied with lust until he couldn’t hold on, then watched him succumb. He ground our bodies together as he came, so hard my hip may bruise. If it does, I’ll miss the mark when it fades.

He tumbled from me in a sweaty heap, stripped the condom and grabbed me around the middle. Powerful arms held me close, possessive and familiar, and after a few wordless minutes Didier whispered, “Spend the night.”

“I will.”

He sighed and released me, rolling onto his back. “Oh good.”

“You knew that already. I brought my pajamas.”

“Yes, but it’s nice to hear it again. Perhaps I should hide all of your clothes and your shoes, in case you change your mind…”

I propped myself on my elbow and smiled at him. “You really care that much about my sleeping over?”

“Very much. I want to make you coffee. And see you with your wonderful curls, all wild against my pillows.”

My grin deepened.

“I want to see you with your hair wet from the shower, and the morning light in your eyes when you wake.”

I hope everything he says is true. I hope he’s not just lonely. Or that my company only feels so good because he’s forgotten what it’s like having friendships and romances, out in the real world. Then again, this flat is real. I’ve had some of the most genuine and eye-opening experiences of my life inside these walls. And damn it,
I’m
real, this night more than ever. Maybe I
was
alluring. Maybe I ought to quit letting my decades-old insecurities dilute every wonderful thing he says and just fucking believe the man.

I used the bathroom and put my pajamas back on. As I joined him in bed, the world felt lovely. He wrapped his naked body around my satin-clad one, and he was my boyfriend. I’d dreamed of sleeping with a man exactly this way for half my life, and here I finally was.

It really had been worth the wait.

* * * * *

I woke as the sun broke through the curtains, and I felt so much. Cool silk on my skin, Didier’s warm arm cradling mine, a sweet soreness between my legs once more. I rolled over and stroked his chest until his eyes opened.

“Good morning.”

“Hi. This is your chance to see me with my hair a mess, before I take a shower.”

He tousled it, gaze taking me in. “Very nice. Thank you.” He squinted at the window. “My goodness, I don’t know when I was last awake at daybreak. Or indeed asleep by midnight.”

“Keep sleeping if you want. Do you want me to go down to the baker’s and get us breakfast?”

“That would be very nice, if you don’t mind. Let me know when you’re leaving, and I’ll bathe and make us coffee.”

I nodded and left him in bed, stealing a long look before I exited. This was exactly how Didier ought to be styled—stripped to the waist in the morning light, sage-green sheets wrapped around his legs. Click, click, click went my mental camera.

It was nine by the time we’d showered and dressed and pastries and coffee were served in the living room. I picked at my croissant. Worry had caught up with me at the bakery, right as I’d handed my money to the clerk.

“I need to talk to you about something,” I said.

Didier set down his mug. “Oh?”

I shifted in my seat, addressing the hands fidgeting in my lap. “I won’t be able to come by as often as I have. It has nothing to do with wanting to. Or from getting to know you better, or the sex, or any of that.”

His forehead wrinkled. “All right…”

I laughed sadly. “I just can’t afford to.” My throat was tight, heart hurting to admit aloud what we are, what’s brought us together. I’d let it become so much more in my mind. Even in my gut. But it had always been just checks slipped in his mailbox, hadn’t it?

“I’m very sorry to hear that.”

I nodded. I wasn’t foolish enough to expect to be told I needn’t pay, or that I merited some discount. I didn’t want to hear anything that underscored what a transaction this entire arrangement was, behind the glittering veneer of romance.

“I would always welcome your visit, no matter how infrequent,” he said.

“Thank you. I’d still like to come by, just not this often.”

“Of course. And that’s very normal. Usually when I meet a new client, we see each other several times very swiftly. Then soon enough it slows, one, two, three times a month.”

It made me inexpressibly sad to be told I was typical. A typical
client
. I felt my heart retreat, like a little crab scuttling back inside its shell.

“Though I won’t lie,” Dider went on. “I’ve become rather attached to your company.”

I looked in his eyes. “I think I’ve learned more about myself in the past week than I’d gotten figured out in almost thirty years, so thank you. I’m a better person for having met you.”

A look of great melancholy transformed his handsome face. “This sounds very much like a goodbye.”

Was it? Did he know what I ought to? That the time for deluding myself was over? “I don’t know.”

“Perhaps you’re ready to go out and find a real man.”

“You’re real.” I said it loudly, too loudly, panic hijacking my voice.

A weak smile. “You don’t need to protect my feelings. You deserve a man who is capable of taking you out. Literally
out
. You come here and all I can give you is a few hours of make-believe. I can’t walk you out that door and take you to dinner, see where you live and work. You deserve far more than what I can offer.”

BOOK: Curio
7.23Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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