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Authors: Eden Bradley

A 21st Century Courtesan (5 page)

BOOK: A 21st Century Courtesan

His hands are on my thighs, making little circles on my skin. I love when he does this; it's a dual sensation, as though I am being touched everywhere, making my skin hot, sensitive. It's a lovely sort of distraction from what he's doing to my pussy, so that I won't come too quickly.

His fingers trace a long line down the insides of my legs, to my ankles. His fingertips skim the bones there, tickling a little, as his tongue laps at my clit, gently, featherlike, until I can hardly stand it.

“Make me come, Louis. Make me come in your mouth. You know I love that. You know you love that.”

He moans, his tone as gentle as everything else about him. And he licks me in a slow, steady rhythm, his fingers now teasing at the lips of my sex, adding to the sensation, layer upon layer. Pleasure swarms my system, and as the first wave of climax shivers over my skin, Joshua's face appears before me. And I let him be there, let it be
licking me gently to orgasm as the waves come crashing down on me. Pleasure courses through me, sharp, sharper, with Joshua's beautiful face in my mind, Joshua and the knowledge that it's Louis between my thighs. My paying client.

I'm coming harder and harder, can't seem to stop. I'm
shaking with the power of it, and Louis is moaning now along with me.

Finally it's over. He lifts his head.

“That was spectacular,” he says, his voice low.

“Yes it was,” I agree. I don't have to tell him why. “You're going to fuck me now, aren't you, Louis?”

“You are a very dirty girl, Val,” he says, chuckling. “But yes, I am.”

I sit up and help him out of his clothes, taking a few moments to run my hand over his skin, making sure to keep that sensory contact with him while I grab a condom from my purse on the floor by my feet.

When he's naked I pull him down on the bed and climb on top of him, slip the condom over his cock, then hold myself over his body, tucking the head inside me with my fingers. I leave just the head there for a moment, savoring that first sensation of fullness, needing more. I need to come again. Once wasn't nearly enough, not today.

Louis's hands are on me once more, cruising over my skin, making me shiver. His fingers tease my nipples, and I lean into him, almost wishing for once that he would tug on them, pinch them. But that's not Louis. And I'm here for his pleasure. My own is secondary.

I press down onto his cock, a little at a time. He groans, thrusts gently up into me.

“Yes, that's good, Val, so good.”

I'd love to really ride him hard, to fuck him like I would Enzo. I'll do it with Louis sometimes, but I know he likes these long, slow fucks the most. I force myself to keep it slow, to tease him, to tease myself. My body is full of need, my sex pulsing once more. And his fingers brushing my nipples are driving me mad; they're so damn hard. Joshua's face in my
mind again, his mouth coming down to cover my nipples, pulling them in, sucking deep inside his mouth.

Oh, yes!

I tilt my hips, pressing a little harder on Louis's cock, a little faster. I can't handle slow anymore.

“Ah, you're a wild one today, Val,” Louis says, but there's no admonishment in his voice.

“I need it today,” I tell him truthfully, my words coming out between sharp, gasping breaths.

I move faster, grinding my mound into him. He's panting now, his hands on my breasts a little rougher than usual.

“Oh, yes, Louis. Touch me, yes …”

He pumps up into me, his fingers brushing my nipples, and that's all it takes. I come, hard, pleasure gripping my body in long spasms. I'm moaning, gasping. And Louis tenses beneath me, groans aloud, his hips jerking.

My climax is short and sharp, the sensation stabbing into me. When I stop shivering I look down at Louis. But all I can see behind my orgasm-glazed eyes is Joshua's face.

Chapter Three

I don't have a date set up for tonight. You'd think my afternoon with Louis would have been enough, but no. I need more. I need to come again. Again and again. I need to know that it is these men making me come, my clients, my lovers who pay for sex.

I need to know that Joshua Spencer has absolutely nothing to do with it.

I have never, ever fantasized about another man while with a client. I don't have to. And I feel as if I've betrayed Louis.

Ridiculous, I know. He is not my lover. He certainly has no delusions of faithfulness. He sees other girls besides me. Of course he does. He has enough money to do whatever he wants, and we working girls cannot have any sense of possession over our clients. And I don't. But he felt my change in mood as soon as I rolled off him; he told me later. I'd gone to the bathroom and brought a hot towel to him, slipped the condom from his softening cock, cleaned him up as I always do. He knew from my touch, somehow. I tried to tell him I
was just tired. But I can't risk this happening again. My trademark, what I'm known for, what my entire career rests on, is that I'm the girl who is
right there
, in the moment, getting off on whatever I'm doing with my clients.

What the hell is wrong with you, Valentine?

It's him. Joshua. But is that really all it is?

I hate when I get philosophical. Better for a woman like me not to ask herself too many questions.

My mind flashes back to my very first trick. The client was your average guy. Not attractive. Not unattractive. Didn't matter. What mattered was that thrill coursing through my body, simply knowing he was paying to have sex with me. I was thrilled and just guilty enough to make it even better.

He wasn't a very good fuck, but I came and came. I flooded the bed. I made him come twice. I could tell he was surprised. In shock. But he came back to see me once a week after that, every payday, for months. Until Enzo took me out of that place.

I'm getting warm all over, remembering. Either I need to get up from the sofa and make myself a cup of tea, try to calm down, or I need to slip my hand between my thighs and try to get myself off. But I know how that will end. I'm disappointed enough in myself already. I get up to go put the kettle on but pull the bottle of Tanqueray out instead. The kitchen floor is cold on my bare feet, making my toes curl, but I don't care. I need to cool down. Need to do something.

I pour a shot of the gin over ice, add a little tonic water. I lift the glass to my lips and pause, a small shudder of self-loathing rippling over my skin. Turning to the booze again. Two days in a row. But fuck it, I deserve it now and then—to feel a little sorry for myself. I'm careful enough never to let it get out of control. No, control is my thing, my modus operandi.

I'm feeling a little out of control right now.

That's when I remember my pretty silk evening bag is still on the console table in the hall. And in the bag is his card.

Don't do it, Valentine.

But I'm moving toward the hall, my half-forgotten gin and tonic in my hand. I eye the pale gold bag as though it were a poison apple. Dangerous. Tempting. I take a breath, take a sip of my drink, letting the alcohol burn down my throat. A drink for courage.

When have I ever needed that? I've always been brave. An adventurer.

The scent of the gin in my glass hits my nostrils, and I have one of those vague, unpleasant flashes I get sometimes, of my ugly, lonely childhood, the bars my mother would sometimes drag me into looking for my absent father. Dad and his famous disappearing acts.

I hated those bars. It was always far too late for a kid my age to be out; she'd drag me, half asleep, from my bed. But it was there I first saw them, the women in their makeup and high-heeled shoes, beautiful to me in their false glamour. These were the women who got the attention from the men. The men were absolutely fawning over them. It was years before I understood that many of them were working girls. And even then it was as glamorous to me, as exotic, as it was dirty. But when I was really young, those places scared the hell out of me. My mother scared the hell out of me, with her sour breath and her tears.


Alright, maybe I haven't always been brave. But I don't think about those times anymore. I try not to, anyway.

What the hell has gotten into me?

I step forward, put my hand out, let it hover. I feel ridiculous.
Yet my heart is pounding in my chest, the same way it does when you're on a roller coaster, and about to fly down that first long drop into the empty air. I am that breathless.

Setting my drink down on the long, narrow table, I take the bag in my hand, twist the jeweled clasp open. His card sits in the red satin interior, nestled like a pearl in an oyster between a tube of lipstick and a small enameled compact.

My fingertips flutter against the paper for a moment before pulling it from the bag. I swear I can almost hear the slide of it against the fabric. I turn it over in my hand and look at it.

A simple business card: heavy linen paper, very fine quality. His name in raised black ink. An e-mail address. A telephone number.

I swallow hard, my throat parched, tight. Then I remember my drink, pick it up and take a sip. Yes, better. I carry my glass and the card back to the sofa, sit down, turn the small rectangle of paper over and over. Each time I see his name my pulse races. I feel like I am twelve years old. I want to call him so badly it hurts, my chest pulling as though someone has tied it in a knot.

He has tied me in a knot.

Don't do it.

Do it.

I reach for the phone on a side table. It feels heavy in my hand, as though I am acutely aware of every single thing around me on some cellular level. The fading orange sunlight coming through the windows. The scent of the gin in my glass, sweeter to me now than it was a few moments ago. The rhythm of my own breath, which is coming a little too fast. I dial the number.

It rings once, twice.


Three rings, then it stops. Shit.

“Hello.” A statement, not a question, in his deep, lovely voice.

“Hi. Joshua?”


“This is Valentine Day. We met last night at the opera.”

“Valentine. Hi.” Real pleasure in his voice, and it goes through me like a warm wind, bringing gooseflesh up on my arms, the back of my neck.

I am being far too romantic about this man.

“You asked me to call.”

“I'm glad you did. I hoped you would. How are you?”

Ah, a little small talk. I can do this. Even if my pulse is hammering like thunder. “I'm well. And you?”

“I'm fine. What have you been doing since the opera?”

I almost say “working,” but I don't want to open that can of worms. “Nothing really.” I walk over to my window full of orchids, touch a fingertip to one delicate petal. It's smooth and cool. “Nothing exciting. What about you?”

“Working. And I played hockey this morning.”

I can imagine him in one of those bulky uniforms, flying around the ice, getting into one of those angry crushes, a pile of male bodies pressed together. And I'm getting wet.

“Did you win?” I ask him.

“It was just practice for a team I coach. A few of the guys in my league work out with some of the at-risk youth in the city. We figure it helps them to skate off some of their aggressions, learn to work together. No one went home with more than a few bruises; that's always a plus.” There is another brief pause and I don't know what to say, but I'm smiling to myself. He's a nice man, this Joshua Spencer. Then he says quietly, “Have dinner with me, Valentine.”

“Oh, well…” I want to say yes. I really do. I never should have called. My stomach is a hard knot of fear and need. Fear
of need.
“I don't know, Joshua. I'm sorry. I know that sounds stupid. But… look, I should go. Okay? I'm sorry.”

I start to hang up, but I hear him say, “Don't do it, Valentine. Don't hang up.”

His voice is low, yet there is an air of total command in his tone. Maybe that's what makes me pause. I bring the phone back to my ear. “I'm here.”

I look out the window at the last remnants of the dying sun. The top part of the sky is already dark as velvet.

“Valentine, I want to see you. I will be a perfect gentleman. But at the risk of making a complete fool of myself, I'll tell you this: I need to see you. I don't know why. No, I don't mean that the way it sounds. Just… say you'll see me.”

My heart is pounding harder than ever. I should hang up the phone

“Alright. Yes, I'll see you.”


“I don't know …”

“Drinks, then. I can come and pick you up. Or if you'd prefer, you can meet me. What about the bar at Yamashiro? Do you know it?”

“Yes, of course. Alright. Drinks. When?”


But I can't do it. I need some time. To think. To breathe. To talk myself out of it.

“Tomorrow night,” I say, not even knowing if I'll have a client. A client I will have to refuse in order to keep this date.

I really must be losing my mind.

“Tomorrow night,” he says. “If we're there by seven we
can see the sunset. Unbelievable colors this time of year. It's beautiful from up there; you can see the whole city.”

beautiful. I know this because I've been there with clients a number of times. But I've also been there with friends.

Stop analyzing everything!

“I'll meet you there at seven,” I tell him.

Another pause. He's a thoughtful man. Then, “I'm really looking forward to seeing you, Valentine.”

I nod my head, even though he can't see me. “Good night, Joshua.”

I hang up before I say anything foolish. Before I tell him how badly I want to see him, to watch his lips as he speaks, to feel the heat of his hands on me.


I throw back my drink in one gulp.

What the hell have I done?

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