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Authors: Louise Bagshawe

Tags: #Romance, #Chick Lit

A Kept Woman (29 page)

BOOK: A Kept Woman
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so cocky. She felt her temper surge again. She wanted to lash out, and without thinking, she drew back her a, rm and made to hit him again.

But Michael was far too quick for her. His hand lashed out and caught her at the wrist, holding it secure. She struggled, but she couldn’t move. In an instant he tugged her to him, and then his hands were cupping her face, forcing her mouth up to meet his, and his lips were on hers, kissing her savagely.


Chapter z7

Dawn broke over Rome, golden and warm, with the promise of another blistering day to come. Felicity Metson sighed. It was so dreary here; traipsing round the world after darling Ernie was more taxing than it seemed. She hoped that he would drop his plan to buy one of the multi-million-dollar apartments set into the two-thousand-year-old Theatre of Marcellus. She. really couldn’t care less about the endless monuments of ancient Rome, a playground now for wild poppies and quick little black lizards that darted around like the tongue of Ernie’s new maid. As for the Renaissance churches with their Da Vinci sculptures and paintings by RalShael and what have you, Felicity felt uncomfortable in them. Such silly moralising. Why keep such art treasures out for the plebs to gawk at? Something in her revolted against the idea of Moses by Michelangelo, say, in Santa Maria Maggiore, being kept there so that fat Italian mammas and working men with their sunburned hands and cheap suits could gawk at him after mass. How could they possibly appreciate such refinement? Better it go to a museum, or, preferably, be sold off. Perhaps to her.

Felicity indulged in a small daydream where Moses was delivered to her new townhouse which Ernie would buy her after the wedding, in a hail of media interest and TV cameras. Of course, he didn’t have that kind of cash just yet. Hopefully the new deal brewing with Signor Bertaloni of Media Cinque, the Italian conglomerate,




would put all that to rest. Why think small? Hadn’t Michael Eisner proved that you could get real we,alth simply by running a company?

She rang for room service. The Hotel Consul Marcus was Rome’s newest and most luxurious haven, a few blocks from the Colosseum and providing all amenities to the more discerning traveller. Felicity had told Ernie that she simply must have a separate suite.., partly so that her beauty treatments could be applied without him witnessing any of them, and partly so that Jung-Li, the latest of the oriental ‘maids’ she had hired for her fiance, could have unfettered access to him in the mornings. Her success in this relationship was al/ about keeping Ernie happy, Felicity reflected. And it suited both him and her to pretend, that the other had no idea what was going on.

The fact that Jung-Li and all her predecessors had been hired by” Felicity from a vastly expensive and seriously discreet madam on the West Coast was something Ernie need never know. Or anybody else for that matter. Felicity paid cash and used a false name. She also used pay phones and the good old US postal service, sending her packages from different stations around the city once, even, from one of the better parts of Brooklyn.

Yes, it was, objectively speaking, a bit humiliating, Felicity thought. But Ernie didn’t know she knew and nor did anybody else. The Diana affair had tipped her off as to what it would take to keep Ernie satisfied, and Felicity wasn’t into domination. Nor was she into social exile, and Ernie had proved her way out. Felicity could sit on the small part of her heart that still longed for true love, for a soulmate. Love was a fairy tale; at best a matter of luck. You needed to meet the right man in the right place at the right time. The odds had beaten Felicity, and she had never considered giving it a serious shot with her Marine escort. It was hard to live without money. She looked out over Rome, and congratulated herself for her




honest),. Yes, her therapist had helped her understand that you needed to be true to yourself.

There was no denying she liked her creature comforts. If other girls wanted to be poor and romantic, that was up to them. Felicity was a realist.

Room service materialised; a handsome waiter with a charming accent. Felicity made sure to flash him a lot of thigh, tanned and toned and peeking from her peach satin negligee as she directed him to the sun-drenched balcony. He smiled and bowed, producing Irish crystal glasses, porcelain and silver-plated cutlery. Breakfast was a small grapefruit, some dry Melba toast, a glass of fleshly squeezed orange juice and a half-bottle of champagne; Perrier-Jouet ros6. There was nothing like champagne in the mornings, or any time of the day, really. She liked a drop first thing, just to soften the edges.

The waiter brushed against her breasts as she handed him a ten-thousand-lire tip. Felicity arched, very slightly, at the deliberate pressure of his rough fingers. It had been so long since she’d had an orgasm with a man. Ernie wood never be able to satisfy her - or any other girl, for that matter. But she pulled back, and contented herself with a frosty smile, dismissing the help.

Felicity knew what they said about Italian men and the bedroom. But no half-hour thrill could possibly be equivalent to her new diamond engagement ring, or her fantastic wardrobe, or the summer cottage in Martha’s Vineyard that was Ernie’s latest little present to her. Felicity had been highly successful in shepherding her charge through the divorce; a few well-placed charity donations here, a pleasantly coordinated dinner party there, and Mira Chen was forgotten.

Ernie laughed about the fevered imaginations of the tabloid rags and nobody snickered - at least not to his face.

Felicity poured herself a glass of pink champagne and toasted herself. By constantly deferring to the married




ladies of New York society, and making no attempt to outshine them, she’d done better than Diana. After ,all, the girl was English, and didn’t understand that if you show up members of the club, you’re liable to be kicked out.

Diana had proved herself to be unworthy of the notice of the Jodie Goodfriends of this world, Felicity thought, picking at her sharp grapefruit and gazing out at the scooters that roared through the cobbled Roman streets below. The girl riders in faded denim bitsy shorts, their bronzed, slim legs clutching the metal, wearing no helmets. Here everybody smoked and drank and didn’t start the day without an espresso srong enough to stand a spoon up in. Everybody ate gelati all day long and weighed to ounces, until they had babies and suddenly morphed into black-shawled, pudgy mammas. It was as though “the sun made you immortal. Perhaps Diana Foxton had thought herself immortal, disappearing from the scene without a trace. Nobody knew where she had dived off to. One lousy million, and she was never heard from again.

Felicity sipped and let the icy champagne flow down into her stomach to warm her up. Diana was not her problem; she was nobody’s problem any more. The most pressing thing she needed to concern herself with was making a positive impression at Ernie’s little party for the Italians. Soon she must buzz her PA to bring her the Rolodex. Signor Emarti liked Cuban cigars; Signorina Vitello was a baseball freak, and Felicity had obtained a signed Mark McGwire ball just for her. She had no doubt that Ernie and she would make the most incredible splash.

The sunlight crept up the ancient walls, bathing the ochre houses in vanilla light. In about an hour, she thought, Jung-Li would have finished off Ernie’s ‘personal treatments’ with a ‘massage’. After that she woud




call him as he went to work; a housekeeping call, to let

her dear fianc know how treasured he was.


‘So that wraps it up then.’

Ernie stood, glancing around the small, dark-panelled

room with satisfaction. The offices of Media Cinque were cramped in comparison with his glass and chrome palace, but the money behind them was serious cash. He could wing it in any setting. Madison Avenue, Wall Street or even this burgundy and mahogany old gentleman’s room, with the quiet air-conditioning failing to remove the smell of cigar smoke and the faint whisper of aniseed from the Sambuca bottle old man Bertaloni liked

leave on the table when he served the coffee. It had


been aggravating, sure, the way the fuckers had snickered when he asked for decaff. Nobody in the whole of the wretched country ate low fat, or drank diet sodas or decaff. So fuck ‘em, let ‘em laugh. He’d have the last one, when Blakely’s debuted with a toy division and a slice of European TV action. He, Ernest Foxton, had already taken the publishing house out of the dark ages, and now it was time to spread his wings. He felt invincible.

‘Si, si.’ Bertaloni was giving him that tight little wop smile, but Ernie made sure never to let his warm expression flicker for a second. The businessmen here were just like the mafia in all those movies; big on respect. Bertaloni had carved out a multi-million-dollar empire in this country with its crazy politics and lousy lire, and the old geezer insisted on making out like a uomo rispettato. Ernie could handle that, though. He was an expert ass-kisser when it paid for him to be one. ‘Tonight we drink, we celebrate, I will meet your wife.’

Ernie thought of Felicity and hoped she had her shit together, all the little gifts and stuff. She must do, right? He had no doubts of her.

‘Actually, she’s not my wife. She’s my fiancee. I’m




divorced,’ he said, instantly regretting it. A dark shadow flickered over the old man’s craggy face.

‘Divorce? Is not good. Famiglia is molto importafta.’ ‘Yeah, I agree. My wife left me, though.’ Ernie tried to look heartbroken. He grinned inwardly. ‘The divorce came through just recently, and me and my fiancee hope to be married very soon.’

‘Ah.’ Bertaloni nodded. ‘Wife leave, that is very sad, Signor Foxton. But marry is good.’

‘You’ll meet Felicity tonight,’ Ernie promised him smoothly, ‘and I’m sure you’ll just love her.’

His people nodded and chatted to the Italians on their way out of the door, and Ernie was proud of them. He had the ability to select the right men for the job that much was. sure. Once he got back to the States - he gave himself a mental slap on the back - he’d announce the new dels, poach some people for the toys division and become an even bigger star in the entertainment business than he already was. Ernie imagined how all the little bastards who ran scared of him now would just scatter into their corners. He’d be the new Donald Trump, with Felicity at his side, going all the right places with all the right people. And meanwhile his enemies would be crushed. Just like Diana, that stupid hint; she’d had the chance to enjoy all this with him and she’d blown it, big time. And just like Michael Cicero. How sweet it had been to pull the cand out of that baby’s mouth! He thought he was such a big man, making Ernie grovel, trying to bully him like some-nightclub bouncer.

I crushed him like a bug, Ernie thought. Maybe when I get back to New York I can find out what he’s doing now, and crush him some more. It was important to let people see just what happened to boys who crossed him.


Diana didn’t think about what she was doing, because Michael didn’t give her time. His mouth on hers was




ruthless. A second later, his arms wrapped around her, half-crushing her to him. He was so strong, so incredibly - big. She had never felt a man with muscles like this. His arm was almost as big as her thigh. She felt herself overpowered, overwhelmed, her soft breasts pressed up against his pecs. There was a wash of heat in her lower belly, worse than any frustrated wanting she’d felt before. In her head, Diana knew sex was never good. But in her warm belly, she wanted him. The downy hairs on her arms and skin lifted, she felt her nipples, betraying her, hardening into nubby cherries, filling with blood. Her pussy tightened, she felt herself getting wet. She tried to draw back, but he wasn’t allowing it. Cicero’s breath was hot on her face, her neck. He was hard against her dress. He was huge. He was so different to Ernie’s. thin, disgusting cock. He seemed a little longer than usual, although she wasn’t used to many men, but it was the thickness of him. She half wondered if he would hurt her, taking her. His hands were all over her bottom, stroking and kneading it, rubbing the tender place at the small of her back. Diana’s breath quickened. She felt maddened with wanting him.

Michael pulled back an inch, just enough to let him see

her face.

‘We’ll get out of here.’

His voice was low and insistent. It seemed ridiculous

even to think of protesting. He just would not permit it.

He gave her no room to breathe, no way to see straight.

‘Yes,’ she muttered.

Michael opened the door and walked straight out.

Opie was marching up to them again. Diana felt a sudden panic that he might change his mind, regain his sanity, return to work.

‘We have a meeting,’ Michael said, snapping at Opie

like a turtle. He backed off. When Cicero was in this hungry-gator mode, it was best not to mess with him. He




shot Diana a look of pity. Obviously she was in deep shit this time.

Diana kept her head bowed and followed Michael but. She was in an agony of lust and embarrassment. She didn’t want any of her colleagues to see her flushed face, her glittering eyes, her lips, moistened and parted. She must look feverish. She fixed her gaze on the strong muscles of Michael’s lower back, sliding about under the skin. Maybe she was insane. She was. She should back out now

‘Michael,’ she said, softly.

A cab screeched to a halt in front of Cicero. He turned to look at her, peeling the clothes from her skin, his gaze stopped right between her legs. It was like a touch of rough fingers trailing over her belly. Unable to stop herself, she gasped.

‘Get in,’ he said, flatly.

She got in the cab and he piled in beside her, He leant forward to speak to the driver and put his hand on her knee.

‘West Broadway and Hudson,’ he said.

BOOK: A Kept Woman
8.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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