I understood what Brad was asking of me. But he was a man. He didn’t realize. Everything he told me about her, her struggle, her life—he had intended the words to endear me to her. But they had only made me more wary. For as much as any woman wanted a man, they wanted a Prince Charming even more. For me, Brad was my soul mate. For her, he was a new life wrapped in that love. A way out of her current one.

He didn’t want to be cruel. But what is crueler? A slow, painful extinguishing of hope? Or truth—that bitch of life who smacks you into reality?

I knew what I’d want. A quick rip of the Band-Aid, Brad to look square in my face, and to explain reality. Right. Who the hell was I kidding? It would devastate me, knock all the life out of my heart in one painful burst. I was not the one. It would be a blow I might not recover from. The question was, how would Alexis recover? I worried she wasn’t the meek type, the one who’d wallow away on the couch in misery, scarfing down pizzas and rocky road ice cream. No, her recovery was probably of the plotting, sharpen-her-teeth-with-a-knife, stab-you-in-the-back-in-a-dark-alley type. And that scared the hell outta me.

It would do me no good to talk to her. Any news coming from me would be dismissed as skewed, delusional. It would have to come from him. And he seemed reluctant to rip off the damned Band-Aid.

♦♦♦

Alexis glanced up, her eyes on the curved wall of the upstairs VIP section. They were up there, the video feed off, enclosed in a bubble of privacy—their own little secret world. She knew what they were doing. Brad De Luca didn’t chit-chat, didn’t make polite conversation over martinis and cheese platters. Brad f**ked: long, hard, and perfectly. Just the thought of it made her thighs clench tightly around the thirty year old toothpick she was straddling.

Memories flooded through her mind. Brad, whispering words of sex as he f**ked her against the wall. Brad, bending her over an upstairs VIP table, his hands and mouth worshipping her from behind before he took her with slow, gentle strokes that increased in speed until she came. Brad, her soul submitting to his dark eyes as she danced for him, the club closed, the shock of his hands as he suddenly stood before her, skimming rough hands over smooth skin, his mouth following his hands. And then she was laid back, hard stage against her back, his mouth, hands, and c**k making the night, her worries, her life, disappear in a blur of orgasms and sex.

Soft hands surprised her, taking her out of the memories and she glanced down, seeing pale fingers excitedly traveling up her tight stomach. She shook her head with a smile, pulling the client’s hands off her and holding them together above his head, the action causing her br**sts to hover inches from his face. She ground softly against him, glancing down and trying to think about anything but Brad De Luca.

♦♦♦

I pushed all thoughts of Alexis out of my mind and focused on the unrelenting c**k beneath my body. It lacked social graces, the couth to understand that it was interrupting an in-depth thought process. It wanted only one thing: attention.

I laughed, meeting Brad’s eyes, intense and mischievous all at one moment. “You got me all excited,” he murmured, pulling me to him and stealing a kiss. “Surely you won’t leave him hanging.”

I looked out at the club, only lighting and walls a spectator to our alcove. Then I looked down, over the railing, my eyes dancing over sex at every turn. Not actual intercourse, but it was sex all the same, a flowing river of it, invading every pore, molecule, and breath of the downstairs space. An arched body, offering itself, in full glory, on stage. Lips against ears, whispered fantasies dancing between bodies. Spinning flesh, confidence via shot glass, sequins over tans, hands sliding over thighs, gripping ass, grabbing ankles. The sex crept up the walls, invaded the air, moved like invisible smoke upward, slithering into a hypnotic cloud into our room, curling around six feet two inches of sexuality. And underneath my body, legs spread, eyes potent, hardness impressively pushing up from below, was what I craved.

I moved, untangling from his arms and straddled him, sliding my dress upward, over my hips. His hands stopped me. “Let me,” he said, taking over the action, his hands drawing out the process, firm fingers teasing as they pulled the dress over my body. The fabric came over my head, and I emerged to find his eyes on mine, intensity in them, his hands traveling slowly back down, a hand taking each breast and cupping them, his thumbs moving over my ni**les lightly. “You know, I will never need anything more than you,” he said softly. He sat up, a strong hand sliding around my back and lifting me easily, my body now suspended over him, my br**sts soft cushions around his mouth. I moaned, his lips finding their way over the soft mounds and peaks of my br**sts, hard flicks of his tongue against sensitive places, gentle scrapes of teeth following his soft mouth. His fingers dove back into that wet apex, moving in and out, readying me, moving my body into place until I felt his head. There. And he thrust, softly, only the head inside of me. His hand, cupping my ass, carrying my weight, kept me in place as he moved slowly, with short strokes, just his thick head dipping in and out of my folds.

“Brad,” I murmured. “Please.” Even as I spoke the words, I didn’t mean them, didn’t want him to stop. It was too perfect, too precise. Enough to enslave, too good to release, but not enough to fully satisfy. I didn’t want satisfaction just yet. I wanted this, this incredible yearning met halfway, as a delicious crescendo of tongue and teeth danced across my br**sts.

“I mean it, Julia,” he groaned, lifting his mouth off me, stubble brushing roughly over my ni**les.

Slow. Teasing. Strokes. Not. Far. Enough.

“Please, Brad. I need more,” I gasped, gripping his hair, pulling his head back so I could look wildly into his eyes.

He lowered me marginally, his eyes locked in mine, his mouth forming words I didn’t understand. “I don’t need other woman, or to watch you with other men. What I need, all I need, is this.”

He thrust, taking me fully, three rock-my-world strokes before withdrawing, his hand lifting me slightly, resuming his slow, half-inside strokes that left me whimpering in his arms. I was so close, could feel the orgasm coming despite his short strokes, a mounting pleasure that I held on to with determination. And then it swelled, my muscles tightening as one, building intensity that was taking me closer ... closer ....

He stopped, his arms lifting me, my head snapping down, and my eyes flipping open. “What?” I gasped. “Why did you stop?”

“Not yet, Julia.” He smiled, his c**k taking one quick dip inside of me before withdrawing.

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