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by Lauren Gallagher
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Jocelyn Rhodes is a single mother with a demanding career and a long-neglected libido. Frustrated with the dating scene and way overdue for some satisfying sex, she takes a friend's advice and hires Sabian, a deliciously sexy escort. He's well worth the money, and the sheets haven't even cooled off before she's ready to call him again.
The more time she spends with him, the more she realizes she and Sabian have important things in common. For starters, she's a single mom, he's a prostitute, so when it comes to dating, they're both damaged goods. To most potential mates, Jocelyn and Sabian are in a category akin to dented soup cans, but if the two of them can look past each other's respective dents, they just might find something they've both been missing.
But even if they do find that something, how on earth can she make a relationship work with a man who sleeps with other women for a living?
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: August 2011
11 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [277 KB]
Reading time: 183-256 min.
Eight fifteen, the blue numbers on the clock beside the bed announced without enthusiasm. Fifteen minutes till showtime.
It was a decent hotel. Not the Four Seasons, but not a roach-infested shit hole. A pair of queen-size beds. Thick drapes to block out the rest of the world and its prying eyes. A couple of watercolor prints so bland they almost disappeared into the pastel wallpaper.
It was the kind of place with people in nearby rooms and reassuringly thin walls. The murmur of room 412's television was just barely audible, and earlier, room 416's shower had added a whisper of white noise for a few minutes. At least this place wasn't Hotel No-One-Can-Hear-You-Scream, though if everything went according to plan tonight, the guests in the adjacent rooms would probably wish it was.
Rather than staring at the other bed, which was already turned down in undeniable anticipation of the next few hours, I focused on one of the watercolors on the wall, though I had virtually no interest in the lifeless image of some flowers in a vase. I'd once heard that there'd been studies performed that determined pastel colors had a soothing effect on people. Rumor had it some sports teams had painted the visiting team's locker rooms with that scheme in mind. I couldn't say if it ever worked on a rival football or baseball team, but it didn't do a damned thing to slow my pounding heart or unwind my knotted stomach.
What the hell am I doing here?
Groaning, but not loud enough for it to carry into neighboring rooms, I rubbed my eyes.
I had everything. The husband. The kids. The white picket fence and the moat of perfectly manicured grass encasing a flawless suburban four-bedroom on a street where nothing ever happened except gossip and barbecues. A sensible car. A refrigerator covered with grade-school pictures, grocery lists, and Garfield magnets. A calendar full of meetings with prestigious clients and blowhards.
Oh, and a drawer full of sexy lingerie I hadn't worn in years.
I had had everything.
I did still have most of it. The kids, the car, the house. The overloaded calendar and neglected lingerie. Thanks to that calendar, the grass wasn't so perfectly manicured anymore, but my son kept it trimmed enough to appease the homeowner's association.
The husband was long gone. Amicably divorced, happily remarried, completely oblivious to where I was tonight while the kids were with him.
Yeah, I had everything. Which was, of course, why I now reclined on a rented, rock-hard, queen-size bed, waiting for a male prostitute to show up.
No, not a prostitute. An "escort." So said the company's site, the woman I'd spoken to on the phone, and Kim, the friend who'd referred me to Elite Escorts to begin with. An "escort" who'd meet me in a hotel room and do anything I asked in exchange for three hundred prepaid dollars.
Not a prostitute at all.
Eight twenty-one. Nine minutes to go.
"Trust me, Jocelyn," Kim had said. "These guys are top quality. You won't regret it."
Wouldn't I? I wouldn't regret admitting I was so desperate for headache-free sex that I'd pay money to skip the crap and get to the fun part. I was buying sex. Nothing to be ashamed of or regret or hope to God no one ever found out about.
I groaned again, and this time the other guests might have heard me, but the TV noise didn't falter, nor did the silence in the other room. This was a bad idea. A really bad idea. What was I thinking?
I knew exactly what I was thinking. I was thinking about the fact that I hadn't had a decent night of no-strings, no-bullshit sex in entirely too long. I'd wondered for a while if it was even possible to have sex without first killing an evening feigning interest in the uninteresting, talking about anything except the reason we were both there, all the while dancing the dance of "I want this; do you want this?" until someone finally broke down and made a move. And even then there was no guarantee the sex would be good.
That was just the headache that went into trying to get a one-night stand. The very thought of what it took to kick-start a relationship these days made me want to scream.
Why was I here? Because I wanted to skip the song and dance, cut to the chase, and maybe have some sex that wasn't so hilariously bad it warranted a "you won't believe this" conversation with my girlfriends. I had more of those stories than I cared to admit.
I checked my cell's sent messages for the thirtieth time to make sure I'd sent the right room number to the phone number the agency had given me. The room was correct, the message had transmitted, and my stomach tightened a little more.
Now that he was mere minutes away, another thought occurred to me: what if I wasn't attracted to this guy at all? Every photo on the site had been gorgeous, but that didn't mean a thing. I'd done enough online dating to know how deceptive a profile picture could be. It wasn't that I was excessively picky, but the fact was love was blind, lust was not. I didn't need Adonis, but I could do without the Elephant Man.
Kim had spoken highly of the agency, though, and she was the princess of pickiness. Any man for her had better be well-dressed, well-groomed, and well-hung, and if he couldn't get her off at least twice with his mouth, she wouldn't return his calls. Couldn't imagine why she was thirty-nine and still single.
That pickiness was why she'd started using Elite Escorts to begin with.
"Once in a while," she'd told me, "I just want a long night with a beautiful man who wants nothing more than to make me come and fuck me senseless." And in spite of the fact that I eventually wanted a husband, or even a lover who stuck around for more than a few months, that was all I wanted tonight.
Of course, that wasn't addressed directly in my interactions with the agency. We'd discussed the things I didn't want and didn't allow, all the while very carefully avoiding saying I wanted to have sex with the escort or that he'd be willing to do so. I paid for his company tonight. What happened during the allotted time was up to me, and it cost the same if we spent the evening playing chess, discussing the weather, or...not.
All the cloak-and-dagger of coded phrases and carefully worded questions added to the thrill, but it also made me nervous. What if I got caught? What if my man of choice tonight--a tattooed, goateed escort named Sabian--had a badge in his pocket instead of condoms?
An arrest for soliciting sex from an undercover cop. Oh, Lord, I could only imagine how that would go over at the advertising firm where I worked.
Fuck, what am I doing? I had kids to think of. And a career. My ex-husband had never tried to take the kids from me, but if he found out about this little indiscretion, then what?
I glanced at the clock. Eight twenty-seven. Blood pounded in my ears. Sabian would be here any minute.
I could always go the cowardly route and simply take what I'd paid for: his time and company. Sex wasn't required. It wasn't all that unusual for an escort to do exactly as his name suggested and escort his client to a restaurant, the opera, wherever. Perfectly legal. Perfectly socially acceptable.
And perfectly boring.
To hell with chickening out. I hadn't shelled out this much money to sit with the guy and talk about bland watercolor flowers. Odds were, he was legitimate, and my libido was pretty persuasive with its suggestions that it was worth the risk that he wasn't.
But if my ex found out. If my boss found out. If my kids found out.
I need this. I want this. I'm going to do this. Shit. I can't do this.
A sharp knock startled me.
Too late for second thoughts.
Gulping back my nervousness and ignoring the swarm of cracked-out butterflies in my stomach, I rose and approached the door warily.
I took a deep breath. Turned the deadbolt. Opened the door.
Madre de Dios.
Standing across the threshold was the kind of man who'd never have noticed me if I hadn't just put a few Benjamins into his pocket. In photos, he was gorgeous. In the flesh, absolutely stunning. His light brown hair was playfully mussed, the look that was just shy of an engraved invitation to run my fingers through it. His hazel eyes edged closer to green now than they had in his photos, which was probably just a trick of the light. He was several inches taller than me with a flat stomach and broad shoulders, and I immediately had the impression he could throw me around and get rough if I wanted him to, and I did. Hell yes, I did.
The Elephant Man he was not.
Most of the guys on the site were completely clean-shaven, but Sabian had a neatly trimmed goatee. It was thinner than it had been in his photos, like he'd recently shaved it and was letting it grow back, and it framed the most mouthwatering set of lips I'd ever seen on a man.
"Some clients don't like the escorts to kiss them," the woman at the agency had said. "Is that something that would be an issue?"
"No," I'd said, "kissing is fine."
Looking at his mouth now, wondering just what those lips were capable of, kissing was more than fine.
He raised an eyebrow. "Deanna, I assume?" Disappointment fluttered in my stomach for a split second, thinking he'd come to the wrong room, before my brain caught up and reminded me of the false name I'd given the agency.
"Sabian." He extended his hand, and light skittered up the deep blue fabric of his shirt. Silk, I guessed, from the way it caught the light. The material begged me to touch it, to run my hands over it, and I wondered if that was why he'd worn it. This whole situation got a hell of a lot weirder when it dawned on me that I could run my hands over it, could touch it and anything under it as much as I damn well pleased, because I'd paid for the right to do so.
I just shook his hand before gesturing for him to follow me into the room. He closed the door with a quiet click, and my heartbeat drowned out the television in the next room.
Neither of us spoke. I stopped and faced him, unsure just where we went from here. This was one part I hadn't considered: getting from the initial introduction to the reason I'd paid him to be here. The whole point was skipping all the games and headache that inevitably accompanied even a one-night stand, but presumably we didn't just drop trou and go at it. Or maybe we did. How much of an overture did something like this require? Was there some kind of sacred prostitute-client etiquette I didn't know about?
I bit my lip and folded my arms across my chest, fidgeting between the man and the bed. "I, um..."
He smiled. "You've never done this before, have you?"
My face burned. "Not with..." I gulped. "A professional."
"There's a first time for everything." He took a tentative step toward me, pausing to let me breathe before he took another. "Just tell me what you want."
I searched his eyes for signs he was searching mine. Was this the part where I incriminated myself and said I wanted sex, at which point the cops came in and busted me? Or he handcuffed me in a decidedly unsexy manner?
Finally I said, "I want what I paid for."
He laughed softly. "You're already getting what you paid for." He gestured at himself. "I'm here for two hours or until you kick me out, whichever comes first."
I moistened my lips. "Well, I wasn't thinking of kicking you out. I can't say I'm sure how we...where we..." I paused, clearing my throat. "I'll be honest, I'm completely clueless about this." There was something oddly liberating in admitting that. It was a reminder he wasn't here to judge me, that his opinion or evaluation of me was irrelevant. I didn't have to impress him.
Which was good. I didn't doubt my sexual prowess, but I doubted there was much I could do in bed to impress Sabian of Elite Escorts.
He shifted his weight. His eyes darted over my shoulder, presumably at the downturned bed. When he looked at me again, he raised an eyebrow and gave me a playful grin. "Are you worried I'm a cop?"
My cheeks got hotter, and when I dropped my gaze, I nodded. "A little, yeah."
Without speaking, he put a hand on my waist, and I think I inhaled all the air in the room in one sharp gasp. When I'd relaxed--sort of--he did the same with his other hand. I couldn't say if he pulled me to him or if he came to me, or if the space between us simply folded in on itself until it ceased to exist, but somehow we were against each other, and he kissed me.
His kiss was gentler than I expected. That may have been because I had no idea what to expect anyway, but I definitely hadn't bargained for the soft, still presence of his lips against mine. I tensed as soon as our mouths made contact, and he waited for some of that tension to ease before he made another move. After I'd tensed and relaxed again, he deepened the kiss, and I almost fooled myself into believing I wrapped my arms around him just to keep my balance.
Like no kiss I'd ever experienced, his was an introduction. It was a chance for my body to get accustomed to his, for my senses to get the hang of his overwhelming presence. His soft goatee brushing my skin when his jaw moved, his tongue sliding past my lips. The faint suggestion of cologne. Cool silk over hot skin beneath my hands
His hand drifted down my back. I thought he was about to squeeze my ass, but he stopped at the small of my back and pressed in with his fingers, pulling me to him so I could feel his erection. I shivered. No, we were not going to spend this evening discussing weather or watercolors.
As gently as he'd started it, Sabian broke the kiss.
"If I was a cop," he whispered, "I wouldn't have done that." He gave me a knowing grin. "And if you were one, you wouldn't have let me, so I'd say we're in the clear now, wouldn't you?"
"I guess that clears things up, yes." I couldn't believe how badly my voice shook. Dropping my gaze again, I added, "I'm sorry, this is so..."
"Don't apologize. A lot of clients are nervous the first time." The softness of his voice matched his kiss, and desire for the latter made my lips tingle. He raised my chin so our eyes met when he said, "You gave Becky your list of limits when you set this up. I won't do anything you put on that list, and if there's anything else you decide you don't want, all you have to do is speak up. Okay?"
"So now that we've cleared that up," he said with a playful lilt, "and we've established that neither of us are cops, why don't you tell me what you do want me to do?"
I'd never been the one to take the reins in the bedroom. Ever. The faint scent of his cologne made me want to tear that blue silk shirt right off him and demand he fuck me, but nerves conspired to keep me still and tongue-tied. I must have looked like a complete idiot to him.
If I did, he didn't let on. Instead, he kissed me again, and at least one of us wasn't tongue-tied. When his hand moved on my back, I half-expected the "is this okay?" touch beneath the back of my shirt, but it moved up instead of down. Right up the center, leaving a trail of goose bumps along my spine and across my ribs before trailing over the back of my neck and into my hair. Barely there fingertips brushed over my scalp, making my breath catch and sending a shiver right through me.
Then his light touch became a firm grasp, and in the same instant that he pulled my head back, he broke the kiss and descended on my neck. I whimpered and dug my fingers into his shoulders, certain every bone in my body was a heartbeat away from liquefying.
Oh, Lord, the things this man could do with his mouth. He searched my neck for erogenous zones, and whenever he found one, he teased it with the tip of his tongue, his lips, even his goatee. His shirt bunched in my hands as I tried to keep myself upright. It seemed a shame to wrinkle such fine fabric, but it was about to be in a rumpled heap on the floor anyway, so to hell with it.
I grabbed the front of the shirt I'd already started wrinkling and took a step back, hauling him with me. That first step was a leap of faith, and once it was taken, I was sure I could do this. I could definitely do this. The second was more confident. The third was shaky because his lips were on my neck and his breath was on my skin and his hand was on my hip, sliding around to my lower back and keeping me against him, close to him, as close as two fully dressed people could be.
He raised his head and reached into his back pocket. Then he leaned past me to set a few condoms on the table between the beds. Their presence made this all more real. I was suddenly less certain I could do this and doubly sure I wanted to. Especially when I glanced at them again and recognized both the logo and distinctive gold foil. I'd only been with a few men who'd needed Trojan Magnums and one who thought he did. With Sabian's hard cock pressed against my hip, there was no mistaking that his condom preference was more than just an ego extension.
With uncertain fingers, I went for his top button. The first few buttons were easy. The more they fell away, revealing more and more of his chest, the more both my knees and hands shook. They didn't get any steadier when he gently freed my blouse from my skirt. The warmth of his fingertips on the small of my back straightened my spine, and when he slid his hands up my sides, lifting my blouse up and off, I suppressed a whimper.
Shoes came off. His belt and pants. My skirt that was ridiculously long for this situation. Without that skirt, I still felt ridiculous, this time because of my simple white cotton bra and briefs. I'd thought about wearing something out of the sexy drawer but chickened out at the last minute.
Sabian didn't mind. He unclasped my bra with ease, dropped it on top of the rest of our clothes, then pushed my strictly utilitarian briefs over my hips.
The man obviously had a thing for silk, and I couldn't resist running my hand over his hip, telling myself I just wanted to feel the smooth, warm texture of his black boxers. Sabian wasn't so easily convinced, though. He must have known what I really wanted, because he closed his fingers around my wrist and guided my hand to the front of his shorts. The first thing that crossed my mind when I squeezed his erection through his boxers was, "this is going to hurt." The second was, "I can't fucking wait."
I closed my eyes, forcing a deep breath into my lungs. This was a dream. Men like this simply didn't exist. They sure as hell didn't join me in a hotel room with a mouthwatering hard-on in silk boxers.
"Doing okay?" His voice startled me. My eyes flew open and met his. His eyebrows lifted with concern and alarm.
"I'm fine. I'm fine." My cheeks were on fire. "Just...still...this is..."
"It's new. It's okay." Like his words, his smile was anything but patronizing. "You're allowed to be nervous."
I laughed softly. "Thanks."