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by Diana Bold
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Historical Fiction
Description: When Amanda is forced to sell her body, she is pleasantly surprised to find herself in the arms of a kind, beautiful stranger. Can she help heal the wounds of Gabriel's past and convince him she is the mistress of his dreams?
eBook Publisher: Cobblestone Press, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: June 2009
5 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [31 KB]
Reading time: 15-21 min.
"Will she do, sir?"
Amanda kept her face lowered as she waited for the reply. The stranger's heated gaze scorched her, though he stood in shadow at the far side of the room. A shiver snaked up her spine as the moment stretched in uncomfortable silence.
Giovanni shifted with impatience at her side. He'd be furious if his client rejected her, but she found herself praying for deliverance. She wasn't ready for this, wasn't ready to give herself to the brooding stranger who stared at her with such intensity, his features masked in darkness.
The events of the last few weeks were still a blur--her patron's death, her eviction from the mansion where she'd spent the last few years, the realization that the man who'd been her lover and the father of her child had left her nothing. She'd turned to Giovanni in desperation, knowing he had no concept of the difference between a courtesan and a whore, but unable to think of any other way to keep herself and her child off the streets.
"She's lovely. Exactly what I was looking for."
Giovanni made a small, pleased sound. "You'll want her for the entire night, then?"
"Excellent." Giovanni gave a deep bow. "I'll take my leave. Please let me know when you have further need of my services." He gave her a warning glance and exited the room.
Amanda would have given anything to follow him. She didn't know if she could do this. She'd had a total of three lovers in her life, all of whom had been carefully screened by her mother--once a famous courtesan herself. The negotiations had taken weeks, and the men who paid for her companionship were wealthy, elderly gentleman who prized her mind nearly as much as her body. None of them had ever required more than an occasional fumble in the dark.
Though the man across the room remained mostly hidden from view, she sensed he was neither old, nor a gentleman.
"Take off your clothes."
She shivered, then lifted her hands to the bodice of her gown with great reluctance. As she stripped away the protective layers of clothing, she scanned her surroundings, noting the position of the door. Could she reach the fire poker near the marble fireplace if she needed a weapon? She knew she was in a flat above a bookshop in the merchant district, but she'd been so nervous during the drive here she hadn't paid her surroundings the attention she should have.
The man remained on the other side of the room, even after she'd shed everything except her silk stockings and garters.
"Get on the bed. I want to see you pleasure yourself."
Embarrassed heat rushed through her veins. She understood his request but had never before performed in such a manner. Blushing, incredibly aware of her nudity, she climbed on to the high bed and arranged herself into what she hoped was a provocative pose.
Was it possible he only meant to watch? She'd heard of such things, but found this worse than being pinned by his weight while he thrust brutally within her. At least then she'd be able to escape inside her mind, think of other things, until it was over.
Reclining against the soft pillows, she stared up at the coffered ceiling and uncertainly ran her hand down her body. Goosebumps covered her skin, and heat suffused her as her fingertips brushed her nipple, which tightened into a hard little nub. She let her hand travel down her belly, then the length of her thigh. She felt the stranger's burning gaze and knew she could never do what he asked.
She sat up abruptly, crossing her arms over her breasts. "I'm sorry," she whispered, bowing her head. "I can't do this. I don't know what you want."
"It's all right." His voice was deep and resonant, with the slightest hint of a Scottish brogue. She found it stranger by the minute that he still hadn't shown his face. Was he disfigured in some way? "Pretend I'm not here. Pretend you're alone in your bed."
She shook her head, afraid she'd give in to the hysterical laughter welling within her. "I don't do this when I'm alone. I don't do this at all."
"You don't?" Sounding surprised, he leaned over and lit a lamp, flooding the room with light.
Amanda blinked, and then blinked again. The man who'd purchased her services for the evening was young, probably not much older than her own twenty-one years. His thick, chestnut hair glinted with strands of red and gold. His face looked as though it had been carved by Michelangelo--high cheekbones, strong jaw and straight, classical nose. A tangle of thick, dark lashes framed his green eyes. He sprawled gracefully in the chair, all long, lean limbs and masculine arrogance. His white shirt was open to his waist, revealing acres of smooth, sun-bronzed skin. Black trousers clung to his muscular thighs and lovingly cupped the rather spectacular bulge of his erection. He was, quite simply, the most beautiful man she'd ever seen.
She swallowed and met his penetrating green gaze. "Hello."
"Hello." One side of his mouth quirked upward in a charming half-smile.
"I'm sorry." She flushed and dropped her gaze. "I'm still new at this."
He laughed, and there was an odd, bitter undertone to the sound. "If I didn't know Giovanni so well, I might actually believe you."
The doubt in his voice stung, but she supposed he had every reason to be wary. What she couldn't understand was why he felt the need to employ Giovanni at all. A man with his looks and apparent wealth shouldn't have to pay for sex. "Do you want me to leave?"
He sighed. "Only if you want to go."
In truth, she wasn't sure what she wanted. If she left, Giovanni might literally kill her. And there was little Grace to worry about. She'd been forced to leave her three-year-old daughter with one of Giovanni's whores for the evening, and she'd have a hard time getting her back if she failed to complete this job.
Also, she had to admit that if she were forced to sleep with a stranger in order to support herself and her daughter, it could be much worse than this beautiful man. When he'd smiled, she'd known a faint twinge of desire for the first time in her life.
"I'll stay," she whispered, letting her hands fall from her breasts, exposing herself to his intense gaze once more. "But I don't think I can do what you want. Isn't there something else you'd rather?"
He shook his head, his gaze riveted upon her breasts. "I want to see you touch yourself. I want to see your face when you climax."
A curious melting sensation flooded the pit of her stomach. "I don't know how. Tell me what to do."
"Perhaps I should show you, instead." Holding her gaze, he slid his shirt off his shoulders then stood and shed his trousers with masculine grace.
She stared. She couldn't help herself.
His chest and shoulders rippled with muscle, and his cock sprang from a dark nest of curls, the shaft nearly as thick as her wrist. He sank back into the chair and closed his hand around the stalk, stroking himself with such languid sensuality a flood of damp heat blossomed between her thighs.
Stunned, she leaned back against the pillows and tried to mimic him, touching her breasts in gentle exploration. She'd never fondled herself this way, never thought of her body as something to bring her pleasure.
"Good," he murmured encouragingly, rubbing the bulbous tip of his cock with obvious enjoyment. "Now spread your legs. I want to see you wet and open to me."