Authors: Tara Crescent
Text copyright © 2015 Tara Crescent
All Rights Reserved
of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
his book is
a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
My editor Jim takes the comma-filled words that emerge from my keyboard and shapes it into a story worth reading. As always, my undying gratitude.
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Never on a Sunday
Stephanie Rice has her sex life all figured out. She fucks six different men on six days of the week. Monday is the Chef. Tuesday, the Technician. Wednesday is the Playboy. Thursday, Mr. Buttman has his way with her. Friday, she has an appointment with the Doctor, and on Saturday, the Dominant works her over.
On Sunday, she normally does laundry. However, on this particular Sunday, her worlds collide. All six men find out about each other, and they are determined to give Stephanie an evening she will never forget.
ew York is filled
with glamorous spots, but this bare room somewhere in Chinatown, illuminated by cheap fluorescent lighting and furnished with scratched particleboard tables and metal folding chairs, isn’t one of them.
I’ve just lost almost one hundred thousand dollars in a poker game that I’m convinced was rigged.
Belatedly, my skin is covered with goosebumps, and I can’t seem to stop shivering. The adrenaline has finally caught up with me. Outside, the night is warm and the air thick and humid. A storm is coming. I can sense it in the breeze that blows through the open windows. I can feel it in my bones.
Or maybe it’s just the money I’ve lost that’s making me fanciful.
Ninety eight thousand, five hundred dollars, lost in one night of poker. One bad hand after the other, and a sense of hubris that made me repeatedly ignore my more sensible self. I should have bailed and I didn’t. I wanted to figure out who was cheating and how, and I thought I could take advantage of the situation.
I have no idea what to do.
The guy that runs this underground poker room knows me well. I’ve been playing at his tables for five years now, ever since I moved to New York. His name is Sammy. He’s a big guy. Once upon a time, he would have been considered handsome, but now, all you can see is a guy gone to seed. Muscles have deteriorated to fat, and his shirt buttons strain over the expanse of his belly. His bald head shines with sweat that all the fans in the room haven’t been able to wick away.
“Gabriella,” he wheezes. “Rough night.”
“You said you’d give me credit, Sammy,” I say, a prickle of fear at the back of my neck. My head spins and the room shimmers in and out of focus. My mouth is dry. What have I done this time? I know I can be reckless, but until this moment, I would have argued till I was blue in the face that my risks were calculated.
“Of course, of course,” he agrees with a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. “You are one of my good customers, Gabriella. One of my best customers, in fact. For you, an extension is no problem.”
Sammy has two enforcers. They stand now on either side of him. One of them looks like a low rent version of Elvis, with sideburns and slicked-back black hair. The other is bald, like Sammy. Standing the way he is, with his arms folded in front of his broad chest, he reminds me of Mr. Clean.
I don’t know their names, but their work is legendary. Busted kneecaps are their stock in trade. It’s amazing how motivated you can get about paying Sammy when your ability to walk is at stake.
Fake Elvis licks his lips as he leers at me, and I repress my shudder. I can’t show fear here, not even for an instant. In the shark-infested waters that I swim in, any weakness is like blood.
“I can pay you back, Sammy. I just need a couple of months.”
He laughs and it’s a chilling sound. “Gabriella,” he chides me, “I’m a businessman, dollface. Even if you sweeten the pot,” his gaze rakes my body, lingering on my breasts, “I can’t wait that long. But I like you, and you have been playing with me for a long time. Two weeks.”
On a different day, I would have snickered inwardly at his term of endearment. Dollface. Sammy can’t be much older than fifty, yet he talks like he grew up in the forties.
But I hear the time I’ve been granted and a cold grip of fear clamps around my heart. Two weeks.
Fourteen days. One hundred thousand dollars.
I’m absolutely fucked.
the same dream every single night - the dream that prevents me from getting any sleep.
The images haunt me. Their fingers trailing over every inch of my skin… Tangling in my hair, pulling at it till I groan in pleasure-pain… Spanking my ass until my skin is crimson, tweaking at my nipples till I gasp and beg for more…
“Carter,” I whimper in my sleep. “Dominic. Please.”
One night stands are not supposed to have this effect.
“Did I give you permission to speak, Ella?” Dominic asks me. Gorgeous, beautiful Dominic, with his wavy shoulder-length brown hair that has me yearning to thread my fingers through it and pull his mouth closer to mine. His grey eyes gleam with warmth and twinkle with barely concealed amusement at my desperation, but his rock-hard cock betrays his own feverish arousal.
“He’s waiting for an answer,” growls the other man.
Even in my dreams, I notice the incongruity of that growl, and I have to bite my cheeks to conceal my smile. Carter has red hair and green eyes and a friendly smile. Growling is an odd sound coming from him. “No, you did not give me permission to speak,” I whisper, then I toss my head in defiance. “I don’t always do what I’m told.”
Another growl, another laugh.
A palm connects sharply with my butt. My legs are held open. A condom is rolled on, and a cock impales me.
Sharp, jagged lust is everywhere.
I moan and raise my hips to meet that thrusting dick. “Yes, yes, yes,” I moan, until another penis nudges my lips. “Open your mouth, princess,” Dominic says.
Fuck yes. That thick, long cock, with its perfect mushroom head dances near my face and I reach out to grab it and guide it into my mouth. “No hands, Ella,” Dominic breathes, his eyes closed, clenched need writ large on his face.
Gone now are the domination games we were playing earlier. Now, we just float in a sea of desire, hands and cocks everywhere. The pressure builds and I know the first of many orgasms is imminent. I’m holding on, pushing it back, knowing that it’ll be better if I can just wait…
just a few more seconds…
The blaring of my clock-radio sounds in my ear, penetrating my sexual fog, and wakes me up. As I sit up on the futon that masquerades as my bed, my skin drenched with sweat, my body trembling from the effort of staying poised at the cliff edge of climax, I think to myself,
Gabby, you have got to start dreaming of something else.
Then I reconsider. The other dream I could be having is one that’s too soon going to come to pass. I’m trying not to think of Fake Elvis and Mr. Clean with iron pipes, aiming at my kneecaps.
onday evenings after work
, I hang out with my girlfriends. It’s our standing weekly date, and very few things are allowed to interfere. Since it’s the start of the week, we don’t get too rowdy. We just drink a little and giggle a lot. Sometimes, we commiserate about the shitty men we’ve been dating, and rarely, we brag about the good ones. Not too often. Single women outnumber single men in New York City by a wide margin, and all the guys know this and take full advantage.
I walk up 11th Ave and across W 49th street to get to Piper’s restaurant after work. It’s eight at night, and I’ve been at work since seven in the morning. All fairly typical of a PR firm in New York. The expectation is that you work hard and you play hard, and because I moved to the city with a burning desire to prove myself, I’ll put in the time without complaint.
An Arsenal fight chant sounds from my phone and I answer without needing to look at the screen. My father programmed the ringtone into my phone himself when I was home last, chortling the entire time at the look of exasperation my mother was giving him. “Ola, papa.”
“Gabriella,” my father’s voice is thick with affection. “How’s my favorite daughter?”
I laugh. “I’m your only daughter,” I point out. Then I glance at the phone in puzzlement. “Wait, isn’t it two in the morning in London? Why are you calling so late? Is everything okay?”
“We were out at a party, honey,” my mother’s crisp voice fills the receiver. “And I thought I’d call you to make sure you are also doing something fun.” Her voice is a mixture of disapproval and concern, wrapped up in motherly love. “You work too hard.”
“Si,” my dad agrees. “When I was your age…”
I doubt my dad was doing anything too wild. He’s a retired soccer player, and when he was my age, he’d just been recruited from Rio de Janeiro to play for Arsenal in the Premier League. The club owners and coaches would have made sure the talent was in peak shape. Partying was for the off-season.
Ever since my twenty-seventh birthday, my parents have been hinting that it’s time I found someone. Their calls have been increasing in frequency. Any day now, they are going to offer to start setting me up. Given that the only young guys my father knows are soccer players, I’m going to pass. I’m not looking in that cesspool for fidelity and true love.
“I’m on my way to a party now,” I tell them. It’s only a half-lie. They don’t have to know that there will be no men at this gathering. “What’s going on with you two? Tell me what’s happening in London. Who was at the party?”
My attempt at diversion is successful. My mother launches into a story about her friend Paula, and we gossip as I walk. I say my goodbyes once I near Piper’s restaurant, promising my parents I’ll visit them soon.
should be trying
to figure out how to lay my hands on a hundred grand, but I have no good ideas. No one in the shadowy world of underground poker in New York will extend me any credit so I can buy my way back into a game. At work, I won’t get a bonus until November. My checking account has just enough money to pay the rent.
Again and again, I replay Saturday night in my head, trying to remember each hand. Normally, when I lose, I look for patterns so I can improve my game. But this time around, the images remain fuzzy and my recollections are tinted with panic. Though I try to sift through the evidence to spot the instant I knew that something was going wrong, nothing becomes clear. The only thing I know for sure is that I was taken for more money than I’ve ever lost in my life.
My palms dampen with sweat as I imagine how agonizing the pain will be when Sammy’s thugs break my bones.
Mom and Dad will loan you the money,
a sensible voice pipes up in my head. This is a smart voice. I should listen to this voice, unless I’m attached to the idea of spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair.
But it’s precisely because I don’t want to rely on my parents that I’ve crossed the Atlantic. In London, in the circles I’ve grown up in, I’ll always be the daughter of ace striker Manuel Alves. Had I stayed in England, I could have never been certain that my achievements were my own, and not engineered for me by someone who wanted to get close to my father.
There has to be another way,
I argue with the sensible voice. I lost the money Saturday night. It’s Monday today. I still have twelve more days to figure this out. Maybe I’ll win the lottery.
Maybe pigs will fly, Gabriella.
, I know, I’m late,” I say as I enter. “Sorry.”
Piper greets me at the door. “That’s okay,” she says cheerfully. “Wendy just texted us. She’s going to be another ten minutes. Gabby, want a drink? Rum and coke tonight, or is it tea?”
Those are admittedly a strange set of drink choices. My mother’s English and my father’s Brazilian, and as the product of two diametrically different cultures, my drink tastes are, well, a bit messed up. Sometimes, a very British yearning for tea will overwhelm me. Other times, the Brazilian side will rise up and I’ll crave a
, or a rum and coke.
Today’s the kind of day when tea’s not going to cut it. “Rum and coke, please,” I tell Piper and follow her to the bar. “And make it a double.”
“Rough day?” she asks me sympathetically. “Too much work?”
“Actually, I just finished a major project,” I tell her. “I’m at a loose end for the next two weeks. Nathan suggested that I take time off.”
“Are you going to?”
Wild thoughts of leaving New York have been running through my head for the last two days. But that’s a stupid idea. Nothing good ever comes of fleeing. “Maybe,” I reply. “I haven’t given it a lot of thought.”
I take the drink she offers me and carry it over to the table in the back where my other friends, Katie and Bailey wait. If only Miki were here, not in Houston, that’d be the entire gang.
Bailey’s blushing about something. “What’d I miss?” I ask, not sure if I want to hear the answer. I’ve given up on love and have no use for relationships, but I’m still a little envious of Bailey. In a city with an acute shortage of decent guys, she’s managed to find not one, but two of them. And the only reason she even hooked up with them for the first time was because of my own threesome with Carter and Dominic, the one that has taken center stage in every single one of my dreams.
I try not to remember being sandwiched between Carter and Dominic’s hard bodies. Of being caressed and held, and made to feel cherished and wanted. Until I’d panicked and run away.
I think they call this irony.
“Sebastian and Daniel are taking me to Hawaii on vacation,” she says. “I made the mistake of telling them I’ve never been there.”
She’s a lucky girl, and not just because they shower her with gifts. Bailey was dating a complete asswipe of a guy before she met Daniel and Sebastian, a guy who had ruined her self-image and made her think she was worthless. Sebastian and Daniel treat her the way she deserves to be treated. Like a goddess.
Wendy walks up to the table. She’s helped herself to a beer from Piper’s refrigerator, taking full advantage of the fact that the restaurant’s closed and we are the only ones here. “You know, I couldn’t help overhearing,” she says to Bailey, “and I want to register my protest.” Her tone is teasing. “The entire thing is not fair. It’s hard enough to find one good guy in New York, and you and Gabriella are taking more than your fair share.” She makes a face. “What about Piper and me?”
Everyone chuckles, but my response is instantaneous. “Leave me out of it,” I say flatly, “My threesome was a one-time experience, and I’m not interested in repeating it.”
“Still?” Katie frowns at me. “Gabby, I think you should reconsider this and try to find them. They might be good guys, you know.”
Unlike Piper and Bailey and Katie, who are all calm and reasonable and lovely, my temper is never too far from the surface. “Really?” My voice rises. “You think they are good guys? Let’s just run through the last two men I dated, shall we? There was Stan, who dined me and wooed me, until the moment he had sex with me, when he decided to reconcile with his wife. A wife he’d conveniently forgotten to mention in the two months we were dating.”
I take a long gulp of my drink, and the rum warms my throat. “Then there was Vinny.” A collective groan greets that. In an ocean of shitty guys, Vinny had still managed to rise to the top. Not only had I found him fucking some bimbo on my bed,
on my birthday,
but he’d also ended up stealing money from me.
“You really do have terrible luck with men,” Wendy says.
“No,” I correct her. “It’s me. I’m cursed. Normal guys turn to jerks when they start dating me.”
Every single one of them open their mouths to contradict me, but my glare stops them cold. “Not dating is easier.”
I’ve told none of them that I can’t stop thinking about Carter and Dominic. I don’t know why I’ve kept it secret. I sometimes find it difficult to talk about personal stuff. Maybe that’s my British, reserved, stiff-upper-lip side coming through.
I’ve also told none of them about my secret nights in underground poker halls, and I’m absolutely not going to mention the debt that’s hovering like a Sword of Damocles over my head. If they knew, Bailey would insist on emptying out her savings for me. As will Piper and Wendy and Katie.
I keep silent for the same reason I kept silent when I talked to my mom and my dad. This is my problem. I got into this crazy situation without any help. Now, I need to figure out how to get out on my own.