Authors: Emma Holly
Cooking up a Storm
This book is a work of fiction.
In real life, make sure you practice safe sex.
This book is made available in electronic form by permission of VirginBooks by RoverBooks.
First published in 1998 by
Thames Wharf Studios
London W6 9HA
Copyright © Emma Holly 1998
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
The author and publisher specifically disclaim any responsibility for any liability, loss, or risk, personal or otherwise, which is incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, of the use and application of any of the contents of this book.
To MFW and ERA:
For inspiration and information, for
friendship and laughter — and for the
courage to persevere.
Abigail Coates never would have guessed it, but she looked great in leather.
She turned from side to side in front of the cheval glass in her old-fashioned bathroom, trying to see if she’d misled herself. But, no, the tiny black bikini still hugged her bottom in its loving clasp, showing off her high, rounded curves and baring the crease between her cheeks and thighs. Despite her diminutive five-foot-two-inch height, her legs looked long and strong; her reward for many early-morning runs along the dunes of the Outer Cape.
She put her hands on her hips. She didn’t have a wasp-waist, but she didn’t have love handles, either. Her belly was another matter. She touched its gentle swell. With all the sit-ups she did, you’d think she’d be flat by now. Still, it wasn’t too bad. Sucking it in, she slid her palms up her ribcage and over her breasts. She pressed them together and watched the soft flesh swell over the edge of the bra. This bikini made her look like she actually had something up top. Better yet, her skin glowed milky pale against the dark leather, its translucence washed with pink.
She’d always thought someone as fair and blonde as she was should stick to pastels, but maybe she’d been wrong. Maybe Bill knew something she didn’t when he’d bullied her into wearing this get-up — or perhaps ‘pestered to death’ was a better phrase.
Her Cupid’s-bow mouth flattened into a frown. Abby loved Bill dearly but there were times when letting her long-time boyfriend have his way really put her back up. The fact that she liked the leather outfit, that it warmed her sex like a little electric coil, made her resentment all the more noticeable.
Why does it bother me? she wondered as she tugged the bra straps higher. A baby-fine lock of hair drifted over her eye and she absently smoothed it back. Everything she’d read said men needed visual stimulation to light their erotic fires. Why should she resent accommodating Bill now and then? Certainly, he could have asked for worse — a French maid’s outfit, or having her dress him in diapers. She loved him, right? She shouldn’t mind wearing this flattering leather bikini.
A quiet tap on the door told her she’d kept her partner waiting too long.
‘Don’t forget the shoes,’ he said, his voice muffled by the thick old wood.
Abby bit back a sigh. She cast a reluctant glance at the five-inch, patent-leather heels she’d kicked under the pedestal sink. The same day she’d agreed to Bill’s request to dress up he drove all the way to Boston to buy the things. He was like a five-year-old at Christmas when he returned, so excited he’d wanted her to ditch work and try everything on. He’d forgotten she couldn’t leave the restaurant this close to tourist season, not when she was doing double duty as manager and chef. But today was Saturday. She’d caught up on stocktaking and balanced her accounts — such as they were — and renewed her chef-wanted ad in
. Short of getting on her knees and scrubbing the already spotless kitchen floor, she had no excuse for not being here.
‘Ab?’ Bill said, sounding worried now. She wished the worry were all she heard, and not his underlying petulance.
‘Just a minute. I’m almost ready.’ Ordering herself to be a good sport, Abby strode to the open window and slid up the screen. A delicious gust of late-May Cape Cod air blew a few blonde wisps off her face. She drew a deep, calming breath. This side of the cottage faced the ocean. She smelt salt and fish — the fresh, living kind — and some indefinable scent she could only call sunshine. Fat yellow roses climbed the weathered cedar shingles at the back of the house, then flowed in lush billows over the roof trellis. Honey bees hummed among the blooms, furry with pollen, giddy with spring.
She smiled at their drunken swoops. She’d never been stung and considered, perhaps irrationally, that she and the bees were friends.
Grabbing a face cloth to protect her hands, she leant out and carefully snapped off one perfect bud. A quick rinse under the tap washed off any blackfly and nail scissors dispatched the thorns. She tucked the flower between her breasts and stepped into the tottery black shoes.
Her toes pinching already, she checked her reflection. The brief minute in the breeze had blown her upswept hair into disarray, but she supposed it didn’t matter. Her big green eyes blinked sleepily behind the tousled fringe. She looked different, sensual, not like her normal self at all. Following an inexplicable impulse, she removed the rose from her cleavage and slid it into the front of the black leather panties. The petals nestled against her navel, a fragrant, floral kiss.
For some reason, the change satisfied her nascent rebellious streak. The rose was her choice, not Bill’s. She would wear it as she wished.
I’m ready now, she thought, and pushed the door open before her.
‘Oh, sugar, can you cook!’ the woman purred as she thrust narrow hips off cream satin sheets and up his thick, driving cock.
Storm Dupré chuckled low in his throat, though he’d heard the joke so many times he was tempted to roll his eyes. Yes, he was a chef whose hobby was making love to women, but couldn’t any of his partners be original?
Unaware that she had made a misstep, the woman lifted her arms and gripped the pale wooden rails of his headboard. The bed was a queen-sized futon, low to the ground and very firm. He and the woman filled it nicely. Storm had to admit she was lovely. The thighs that clasped his hips were long and muscular. The breasts that cushioned his chest were as full and firm as science could make them. Her skin was spa-perfect, with an all-over tan that suggested regular jaunts to European beaches.
Forgetting his annoyance, he nuzzled her professionally depilated underarm. His cock hardened a fraction more at her shiver of pleasure. He would have trailed his tongue over the sensitive skin but for the fact that she reeked of antiperspirant.
What was wrong with the women of Los Angeles? Either they refused to shave at all or doused themselves in scent until a man could hardly smell the woman beneath the stink. Storm loved a woman’s natural perfume — the musk under her arms, between her legs, the way it changed not just with her arousal, but with her emotions. Nothing got him harder faster than the smell of a woman who wanted him — although a perfectly grilled plate of garlic shrimp came close.
He slowed his thrusting, ashamed of his lack of focus. This woman was who she was. No one had forced him to accept her advances. The least he could do was coax her body through its full range of pleasure. Aside from preparing soul-delighting food, helping women explore the true depths of their sensuality was his gift — his mission in life, he sometimes thought.
Storm smiled at his own hubris and shifted angles to catch the top of her cunt. The woman sighed with pleasure as the bulb of his cock massaged her hidden sweet spot. His smile broadened. He’d warm her up this way, nice and slow, then pull out and coax her up the slope again. He’d ply her with kisses and strokes, with pinches and whispers, with the sights and sounds of his own arousal. He’d show her how sweet delayed gratification could be.
But the woman had other ideas. She crossed her ankles behind his gently rolling buttocks. ‘Harder, darling,’ she demanded, arching her long, tanned throat. ‘I’ll never come unless you do it harder.’
Storm sighed to himself even as he obliged. Lately it seemed they all wanted it harder: harder and faster. Why did people treat sex like a cheap burger they had to wolf down between appointments or, worse, a notch on the bedpost of their self-esteem? To his mind, sex was a feast, and orgasm a treat best savoured after much anticipation. The palate, he believed, should be teased slowly, lingeringly, with an ever-changing assortment of
. Each bite should be allowed to melt in the mouth: this bite tangy, that bite sweet, each one worthy of appreciation. When it came to sex, hunger was a gift, not an inconvenience. It should be stoked to excruciating heights, not sated as soon as it rose.
Why was everyone in LA in such a goddamn hurry?
The woman groaned, picking up still more speed. Her hands slid up and down his back. Her long nails pricked his buttocks. Her cunt gripped his cock like a blood-pressure cuff. ‘Ooh, you’re so big and hard. Oh, yes. Ram it home, darling. Ram it hard.’
Storm rammed, his body delighting despite his philosophical disapproval. Since he knew he wouldn’t last long at this pace, he slipped his hand between their bodies. Her clit was a wet, hard berry swimming in cream. He should have been rolling it against his tongue. He should have been suckling it to screaming, jangling longing.
‘Harder,’ she said as he rubbed the slippery jewel. ‘Harder!’
Fine, he thought. I’ll give you harder. He jammed his thumb over her clitoris and slammed in full force, full speed. She began to wail in a way that sounded practised, though he didn’t doubt the genuineness of her body’s response. A flood of juice washed over his churning cock. He closed his eyes and put all his awareness into his penis, into the tight hug of her body, the warmth, the pre-orgasmic flutters. His glans squirmed happily against the hot, wet folds of her sheath. He could smell her now, tangy and rich. The pressure in his balls increased, the sense of impending crisis. His thigh muscles tightened.
Yes, he thought, ready to catch the wave. Yes.
‘Yes,’ she screeched, distracting him. ‘Yes, darling, yes!’
She sounded like a starlet auditioning for a pornographic film, rather than the successful caterer she was. In direct contrast to his usual pattern, he lost the urge to come entirely as she climaxed. Mindful of her needs, he continued thrusting until her shudders died, then pulled out and discarded his empty condom. The woman followed him to the edge of the bed.
‘Mm,’ she said, rubbing her naked front across his naked back. ‘You’re every bit as good as Sheila said.’
How the hell would you know? he wondered, less than impressed with his own performance. He eased her roving hands off his chest, consoling them with a gentle kiss. The last thing he wanted was for her to discover his erection and suggest a second round. He grabbed his silk robe off the sand-coloured chaise longue and tied it, careful to keep his back to her.
‘I’m sorry,’ he said, struggling not to let distaste creep into his voice. ‘But I’ve got to be at work in an hour and I need to shower.’
‘Oh, sure.’ She sounded disconcerted. ‘You won’t forget my offer, though, will you? I think we’d work well together.’
He looked back over his shoulder. She was pulling her bra on, a filmy green stretch-thing. Under other circumstances, he would have enjoyed the show, but now he felt empty — not to mention a little grimy. He was reasonably certain the bump and grind they’d just shared had been his real job interview.
‘I’ve been thinking of opening my own restaurant,’ he said, though until this moment the thought had been no more than a daydream.
‘Oh,’ she said, startled again. She wriggled into her matching green panties and smoothed her flat stomach with an air of satisfaction. ‘Well, you definitely should, darling. You’re much too gifted to be languishing at that dinky place on Melrose Avenue. Spago’s I could see. Of course, everyone is in Wolfgang’s shadow there and you’re not the shadow-standing type, are you?’
‘No,’ he said, amused by her combination of name-dropping and insult. For the past eight years that ‘dinky place on Melrose’ had paid him a salary so astronomical he could almost afford his own place — not in LA, he supposed, but somewhere.
The woman cocked her head at him, clearly gauging his prospects. He was personable, he imagined her thinking — charming as well as talented, determined, self-disciplined. She knew his boss and had probably heard stories of how Storm occasionally strong-armed Jimmy into letting him have his way — always to the eventual benefit of the restaurant. Storm’s culinary flair had put Jimmy Dee’s on the must-visit map. Producers ate there now; starlets, agents, people who mattered.
The woman fluffed her tastefully streaked hair and smiled. Storm knew the verdict had come out in his favour.
‘I’ll leave my friend Nancy’s card,’ she said, no doubt hoping to ingratiate herself with a man whose name might be worth dropping in the future. ‘She’s an estate agent. When you’re ready to scout locations, she’ll be happy to take care of you.’
I’m sure she will, he thought, pasting a fake smile over the queasy feeling this conversation was giving him.
To his relief, the woman was gone when he emerged from his shower. Rubbing his dark, shoulder-length hair with a towel, he paced to the open window and looked out over busy Santa Monica Boulevard. The ubiquitous palm trees wavered behind a haze of car exhaust. Fronds drooping, they looked more like weary drabs than harbingers of paradise. The same smoggy, salty breeze that set their fronds swaying blew sheer white fabric against his naked chest.
His decorator had chosen these curtains, along with the beige Berber carpets and the sleek modern furniture. ‘Serenity,’ she’d intoned, ‘minimalist earth- and sand-toned serenity’. The end result was serene and uncluttered and even, to a certain extent, him. But his flat felt more like a picture in a decorating magazine than a home.