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Authors: Eden Bradley

A 21st Century Courtesan

BOOK: A 21st Century Courtesan
Praise for the Novels of Eden Bradley

Forbidden Fruit

“Bradley delivers the goods. There is intense intimacy and
heart-wrenching emotions… This is delicious and
delightful from the first page until the conclusion.”

Romantic Times

“Graphic, loving, and incredibly well-written, the sex scenes
ratchet up the
, with unbelievable intensity … sexual
desire intertwines with emotional intensity, resulting in a
book you won't want to put down.… A thoroughly
delightful read. Don't miss
Forbidden Fruit.”


“It was perfect… The emotional intensity of [Bradley's]
books and characters is like none I have ever read.
should not to be missed.”

“Eden Bradley is one of the best erotic authors out there.”

The Darker Side of Pleasure

“Bradley's excellent prose and clear shifts in point of view
create well-rounded stories that are sure to satisfy… This is
a very enticing read.”

Romantic Times

“Ms. Bradley's writing is intelligent, insightful, and lays you
into a hotbed of complexities, placing her on my supreme
list of favored authors.”

The Dark Garden

“[A] riveting tale of complex relationships. Bradley's
well-crafted descriptions help you to visualize the edgy
and erotic scenes … strong characters surround the main
couple, and a deftly handled subplot rounds out this amazing novel.”

Romantic Times

“Everything about
The Dark Garden
worked to
perfection … the most beautifully written BDSM novel this
reviewer has ever read. Ms. Bradley has a masterful touch to
make pain the ultimate reading pleasure.”

To my father:
I love you, Dad.


This book would never have come together without the help of my clear friends, R. G. Alexander, Crystal Jordan, and especially Lilly Feisty, and as always, my fabulous and loyal critique partner, Gemma Halliday. You all know what you did for this book, and what you mean to me. I couldn't ask for a more creative, dynamic, and supportive bunch of people in my life. I am eternally grateful.

I also must acknowledge my editor, Shauna Summers, for her guidance, and for allowing me to take some unusual risks with this story, for trusting me that much. Thank you!

Chapter One

the finest imported champagne and custom-blended cologne fill my nostrils as I straddle his prone figure on the big bed. I love these beds at the Beverly Wilshire—plush and lovely, with soft Egyptian cotton sheets. Only the best for Enzo Alighieri. Including me.

“Fuck me now, my Valentine,” he says, his elegant, Italian-accented voice rough with desire. “You know just how to do it,
mi tesoro?

“Ah, Enzo …” I sigh in pleasure as I lower myself onto his erect cock.

I have always loved Enzo's cock. The skin is a deep gold, as it is all over his body, which is still fine and beautiful, no matter his age. He is strong, well muscled. And he has the stamina of a twenty-year-old. Which is the only way he manages to please his wife, his mistress, and me. And he does please me.

I squeeze the walls of my sex around his cock and he moans a little. Pleasure is swarming my system already and I smile down at him, moving my hips, grinding onto him.
“Touch me, Enzo.”

He reaches up and takes my breasts in his hands, plumping them, kneading them, playing my hardened nipples between his fingers.

“Oh, yes …”

I reach back and slip my hand between his thighs, caressing his balls. He loves this. He loves my every touch, to hear my panting breath, to watch me come. Oh, yes, I know exactly what he loves, what he needs. It's my job to know. And I am nothing if not a perfectionist.

He pumps up into my body, shafts of pleasure filling me, spreading, making me shiver. One of his hands has snaked down and is teasing my clit, tugging, rubbing, pinching. He knows how to make me come. After all, we've been together nearly a decade, Enzo and I. My mentor, my friend. My client.

Why is that the most important part? But I don't want to question it as his thrusting hips take on a more urgent rhythm. His breath is a panting gasp now, and I feel him tense beneath me.

“Ah, just another moment, Enzo. Give it to me … I know you can do it.”

“You will be the death of me, Valentine,” he says, his voice rough.

But he does it, pistoning into me, his clever fingers never leaving my throbbing clit, my swollen nipple, until I'm coming in a flood of heat onto his thick, lovely cock.

“Oh, yes …”

I throw my head back, let it wash over me. And he tenses beneath me, cries out, his hands going to my hips, his fingers digging into my flesh.

And I catch that scent I adore, the scent of arousal, the
scent of come, beneath his expensive cologne. And underlying it all, the scent of money.

called suspension of disbelief a number of years ago in one of my English lit classes. This is when a writer must make the reader buy into the unusual long enough to be drawn in and believe in the world the writer has created.

It's something like that with my line of work. Our clients must suspend their disbelief long enough to believe the girl likes it. My particular “talent,” if you want to call it that—my particular perversion, really—is that they don't have to do that with me. The truth is, I love it.

This is my dirty little secret. Because this is supposed to be taboo among the professionals of my world. Call girls. Prostitutes. Hookers. It doesn't matter what you call us. The fact is, I get paid for sex. And it's the only kind of sex I can get off on.

Who knew a nice Jewish girl from the Valley could end up here? Well, half Jewish, anyway, my father being a lapsed Catholic. And maybe I've never been all that nice.

I grew up in Van Nuys. Van Nuys is possibly the most generic, boring place on earth. Middle class, cardboard-box houses that all look the same, block after block. The entire area looks as though a dull film has settled over it.

My family was at the lower end of the middle class. Not that we were poor. We always had a roof over our heads, food on the table. My father, a construction foreman, worked a lot, but he spent his money anywhere but at home. My mother never did much other than drink. Strange that he wasn't the drinker. Jews don't tend to be drinkers. Not that it ever
stopped my mother. But my life has been a combination of the utterly dull and the most perverse, in every way, on every level. Classic hard life story, I know, but that's my story. Or it was. Too fucking bad.

I make a lot of money. Enough to keep me very comfortable in my Hollywood Hills home. Enough to pay for the expensive clothes I buy at Barney's and Kitson, my weekly facials and massage at the spa. Enough to pay for the breezy little Mercedes I drive, if it hadn't been a gift from a happy client. This is why I do it.

Actually, that's a lie. It's what I tell myself when I'm not in the mood for the kind of deep, soul-searching honesty that keeps me up at night. How I justify it in the most basic, simple terms.

The truth, or part of it, anyway, is that I began in this business because I needed to distance myself from what I was before. From that lower-middle-class Jewish girl from the Valley whose mother was always passed out on the couch, surrounded by a sticky puddle of whatever she was drinking on the floor, the overflowing ashtrays. Repulsive. I won't even allow my clients to smoke around me. If they don't like it, they can find another girl. I'm at a point in my career where I can make a few demands of my own, and I do.

I am someone else entirely now.

I look different. I
different. No one from my old life would even recognize me. And truly, I wouldn't care if they did. My life before this is almost in another dimension, in my mind. I like it that way.

I don't look like the average girl from the Valley. My one gift from my mother is a fine-featured, beautiful face. I don't mean to be vain; I am beautiful. People who pretend not to know these things are full of crap. I have long legs, a great
body, hard and tight, even this close to thirty. My brown hair, highlighted in gold and caramel, hangs in layers almost to my waist. Most men prefer long hair on a woman, so I rarely cut it. My eyes are green, without the colored contacts the other girls wear. High cheekbones, a full, lush mouth. My ass is superb. I've been told so often enough. But what really gets them is that I love what I do. I love sex. I don't care who I'm doing it with. I just like to fuck. I like to suck cock. I love the anonymity of these men not knowing who I really am. I get off on it.

But there's one catch. I have to get paid.

I have never had an orgasm with a man unless he's paying to have sex with me. My first trick was like an epiphany. The moment he handed that wad of cash over into my greedy little hand, my body started to heat up, my legs began to shake, and I was coming almost as soon as he touched me. That's when it became magic for me.

Which brings me to Italian film producer Enzo Alighieri.

He was one of my first clients. Enzo found me at this cheap call girl outfit where I got my start. And he knew right away I was different from the other girls there. He told me I was too beautiful, in his lovely Italian accent. I adored him on the spot. Not the way a normal woman might adore a lover. It was never that complicated. I liked him the moment he walked into the room. So sophisticated. Elegant. And he's sexy. He really is, even at nearly seventy now. He has that commanding air about him; I'm sure everyone else in his life kowtows to him. Everyone but me. He lets me get away with anything.

I understand perfectly well that I'm nothing more than a sort of pet to him. A project. And a priceless piece of ass. He often tells me so. But it was Enzo who took me under his wing, got me out of that dump of a whorehouse in Hollywood, and made me go to school.

Yes, school. Because if you're going to be what amounts to a modern-day American geisha, a 21st-century courtesan, you must be well educated, just as the geishas are. Just as the old Venetian courtesans were.

In addition to having studied history, literature, business, and political science, I now know how to play golf and tennis, although not too well. Men prefer to win, don't they? I read the
Wall Street Journal
I've studied massage therapy, I know wine. I've learned to speak German, a little French and Italian, and even a few words of Japanese and Arabic, both of which are a necessity in my line of work.

The Middle Eastern rich have tons of money. More than the usual wealthy do, and they aren't at all shy about spending it on whatever brings them pleasure. I admire that in a person. They're the ones who fly the girls to Miami for a week, to Europe, even. Give us entire wardrobes of designer clothes. They like to have a lot of girls at once. I don't mind. We all get paid, regardless, and it makes the workload a little easier. And the food is always superb. Unfortunately, I'm thinner than most of them like, so I don't get those dates the way some of my friends do. But once a man is with me, he'll always come back for more.

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