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Dreamtime Sensuality by David Russell

Dreamtime Sensuality

by David Russell

Extasy Books: Devine Destinies

eBook ISBN: 9781487400101

[ Contemporary Romance ]

The characters in this quartet of stories are intelligent, sensitive and literary. They are also supremely voyeuristic and open-minded. Their intelligence is counterbalanced by inhibitions, which they can only lose by premeditated seduction scenarios, which relate intimately to their professional, creative and cultural lives.

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Blood in Berlin by Celine Chatillon

Blood in Berlin

The Kindred Vampires, Book 3
by Celine Chatillon

eXtasy Books

eBook ISBN: 978-1-77111-737-1

In 1938, Vampire Edwin Carstairs joins British Military Intelligence. A Nazi scientist, Madame V, is creating vampire-soldiers. What will Edwin do when his lost love Ophelia Jones is discovered taking an eager part in experiments that risk the very survival of human and vampire-kind alike?

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Lovers in the Wood by Ann Raina

Lovers in the Wood

by Ann Raina

eXtasy Books

eBook ISBN: 978-1-77111-530-8

Rayenne thought this would be an easy police job—take the suspect to Belson Park for interrogation and make it fast. However, there is a strange wood to cross with stranger creatures to encounter before she gets rid of him. Can she withstand the challenges of both her male companion and dangerous animals to reach her destination and not lose herself on the way?

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The Pledge by Laura Tolomei

The Pledge
Virtus Saga, Book 5
by Laura Tolomei

eXtasy Books

eBook ISBN: 9781771112949

While love and passion rise, enemies and misunderstandings become stronger. While resolves strengthen, the world and its nightmares stand in the way until one thing, and one alone, will save them–the pledge.

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A Wicked Ride
The Wicked, Book 1
by Avril Ashton

eXtasy Books

eBook ISBN: 978-1-55487-784-3

In order to save her family from jail, Sasha Forde must steal evidence hidden in a lawyer’s office. She sets out to do what she considers a simple B and E, but someone else has arrived first. He holds her life in his tattooed hands, but not for long.

Note: Prologue omitted.
Chapter One

Dust and cobwebs tickled her nose.
In the cramped stillness of an overhead air duct, Sasha Forde stifled a sneeze. She gritted her teeth, but kept her watery eyes trained on the activity in the lawyer’s office below her. Through the grate, she had a fairly unobstructed view of the three men dressed like her-all black, ski masks and gloves.
A rat, the size of a small cat, scurried past. Sasha bit back a scream. Someone would pay dearly for this. She’d been handpicked to break in and steal the evidence in the room below, but it seemed the men didn’t get the memo this job belonged to her.
She inched forward on her elbows, Baby Glock in hand, and rested her forehead against the grate. A bead of sweat escaped her cap and slid down her left temple.
“Go through every scrap of paper,” one of the men instructed. His deep voice appeared to rumble in the otherwise quiet room.
Was he the man in charge?
The two men fanned out to the row of file cabinets against the eggshell colored wall.
She studied the one who spoke. He stood like a linebacker, ready to move at a moment’s notice. Wide shoulders and lean, hard muscle dominated his frame. He wore a plain black sweatshirt with the hood covering his head. Black jeans were tucked into black combat boots laced halfway up. From her vantage point, his eyes were two black holes through the tiny slits in his mask.
As if he’d heard her silent appraisal, he turned. His sure footsteps brought him to the large oak desk located below her position. She held her breath while her heart raced.
He pulled out the high backed chair and it slid smoothly across the plush dark carpet. The linebacker flipped off the hood of his sweatshirt, folded his giant frame into the chair, and switched on the computer.
The tap-tap of his gloved fingers on the keyboard punctuated the silence. Over in the corner of the spacious office, his men went about their search. Sounds of cabinets opening and closing, and papers shuffling grated on her nerve endings.
She bit the inside of her cheek to stave off a groan. This is going to be a long ass night.
“Niko, it’s not here.”
“Here either.”
Hushed words brought her out of her pity party, as the two men rifling through the cabinets reported their non-findings to the man at the computer.
Niko, huh? She filed the name away.
“Then it has to be here. She made two copies, and we already have the one from her house.”
She being attorney Harper Royce, the one whose office they currently occupied.
Niko paused and fanned himself with a yellow envelope lying on the desk. Turning back to the computer, his fingers beat double time on the keyboard. His men walked over to him and stood like sentries while he worked.
Damn, they’d already been to Harper Royce’s house. Sasha planned to do the house job last, since it posed minimal challenges compared to this one, but now she’d have to scratch it off her list.
How did these men know about Harper Royce’s investigation into Johan Vicente? From what she gathered from skulking around, the only other person Harper told about her extra-curricular activities was the informant feeding her Vicente’s business. Someone other than the man who’d sent Sasha didn’t want the authorities to get the incriminating evidence.
Sasha wiggled her left foot. Her clothes were damp with sweat. She needed a drink. Hell, she needed two. And she also needed a bath. No doubt the rodents and bugs in this particular part of hell had pissed and laid eggs all over her.
Oh, heads were going to roll over this. One of which was sure to be the linebacker’s below her. Her foster parents’ lives were at stake, which was why she chose to do this herself.
Everything had been going according to plan: Harper left her office at nine-thirty. The building shut down at ten. And at eleven Sasha had been set to slide out of the duct, then drop onto the desk below. The whisper of the door halted her plans.
She glared at her pink Timex. 11:46.
“Found it.”
The triumphant words were barely spoken above a murmur, yet they resonated through her like a punch to the stomach.
Niko inserted a tiny blue flash drive into the USB slot on the computer. She watched in horror as the information she’d come for downloaded onto the drive. A stranger held it. He couldn’t know he’d just sentenced her foster parents to death, and her to an orange prison jumpsuit. The useless color fucked horribly with her skin tone.
Niko tore off his mask and stood. “Good thing there aren’t any cameras in here. I’m burning the fuck up.” His men murmured in agreement. He walked around the desk and stood facing her position as he held up the flash drive. She got the first glimpse of his face and her pulse stuttered. Sasha understood the implications of him having the information on the flash drive, yet her eyes devoured his brutal beauty.
Sweat dripped from his face onto the carpet. The overhead light glinted off his shaved head, the color of smooth copper. His high cheek bones and square jaw belonged on a New York runway, and the bump on his nose bridge indicated it’d been broken at least once. A neatly trimmed goatee framed the most suckable lips ever.
And tattoos. They poked from underneath his shirt like dark talons, wrapped around his neck from the left, then dipped back under his shirt. Even more spread up his nape, unto his skull and curled around his left ear.
She had the urge to see what the rest of his body looked like.
“Where’d you find it?” One of his men asked.
Niko wiped his brow with his sleeve. “Buried in a list for Christmas decorations. Two years old.”
His men chuckled. A smile shadowed Niko’s lips.
She wished she could see his eyes, but he stood too far away for her to tell.
“Alright.” Niko hustled his men. “Maysin, take care of the flash drive so we can get the hell up outta here. J, with me.” He motioned to the third man.
The one called Maysin sat in the chair Niko vacated. His dark ponytail escaped from the back of his mask and hung to the middle of his back. He pulled out a drill no bigger than the palm of his hand and proceeded to dismantle the computer. Niko and J stood guard on either side of the door.
Maysin drilled holes into the hard drive he’d removed from the computer’s innards. The handy little tool barely made a purr as he decimated the best evidence anyone ever had against Johan Vicente, gun runner, drug kingpin and all around nasty motherfucker. More importantly known as the man promising to end the lives of Sasha’s foster parents, if she didn’t produce the information on the computer.
Done drilling, Maysin rummaged in the pockets of his dark jeans, only to reemerge with what looked like a couple of magnets the size of Sasha’s BlackBerry. He used the magnets to scrape against the hard drive, again and again, making it so nothing on the drive would ever be recovered.
Nice really. Except now she’d have to hurt him and J. Niko? Well, since he appeared to be the mastermind of this little OP, she had other plans for him.
When he’d accomplished what he set out to do, Maysin left the magnets on the hard drive and they left the way they came. Through the door, single file.
Niko brought up the rear and at the door he turned. His dark gaze swept the room one last time. With a curve to his lips, he pulled his ski mask back on and turned around. The door closed behind him. He disappeared.
She felt his absence like a physical ache, until she remembered he had something she needed. She’d get the drive soon.
As head of the notorious Shadow Gang, she led her team in retrieving the most sought after and hard to find items. Retrieving had a more sophisticated ring to it, unlike the more common term. Stealing. She’d disbanded the group a few months go, choosing to go legit and partner with her brother in the nightclub business. Her identity and that of the other members were safe, or so she’d thought, until she had a face to face with Vicente.
He laid it all out for her as if she still wore knee highs on the playground. She’d break into Harper Royce’s office and make sure the evidence the lawyer had against him disappeared. Sasha didn’t question why a hotshot lawyer, and not the state, had the evidence. If she refused to do Vicente’s bidding, the world would know the identity of the members of The Shadow Gang, and her foster parents would be killed.
Hell of a choice. She could go to prison, but she wouldn’t sentence the others to the same fate. Not if she could prevent it. And there was no way in hell she’d allow him to hurt one hair on her foster parents’-the Hughes-heads. So, she’d booked the Hughes on a two week cruise to the Caribbean, mumbled something about an early anniversary present, and waved them off yesterday. In the end she agreed to Vicente’s terms. He knew she would. She’d procure the evidence, be the good little thief she once was.
Times like these were when she missed Terry the most. Terry Garraway founded the Shadow Gang, and recruited her when she was eighteen. He became her lover and best friend. Sasha could’ve used some of his cool logic right now. Unfortunately, he died three years ago. Gunned down in the streets for his wallet. She swallowed the bitter taste thinking of him always left in her mouth. Her failings, not his.
Now here she was; all alone since she chose not to tell the others about her deal with the devil. She’d been thwarted by a linebacker with a pretty face and bitable lips.
Sasha grinned in the darkness, present discomforts forgotten. A few more minutes and she’d finally be rid of this place. She had a flash drive to recover, a couple skulls to crack, and a brand new toy to play with.
The homeless Wino she’d paid a Benji to watch her car in the alley behind the building reported three men dressed in black, hopping into a like-colored SUV. He squinted up at her from his bed of cardboard, while she questioned him on the direction the SUV headed. A bony finger pointed down Broad Street, toward the Central Waterfront. She gave him an extra five and got into her car, smiling.
If prompted, Mr. Wino would never be able to identify Sasha. He saw and spoke to a woman with short spiked black hair, a ring in her nose and a long ugly slash across her right cheekbone. She also had a thick and distinct southern accent.
None of those characteristics matched Sasha at all. She tipped her invisible hat to Paula Deen for the cooking lessons, and the borrowed accent.
She stepped on the gas.
Central Waterfront in Seattle’s downtown area, once the oasis of maritime activities, was being converted over for urban and recreational uses. The piers, centuries old, were now housing restaurants and storefronts. There was an aquarium, several parks, and one hotel. Over the water, no less.
She drove straight down Broad and turned left on Alaskan way. The Edgewater Hotel sat on pier 67, and since she didn’t want to announce her arrival, she parked two piers over. She’d back to check out the vehicles, see if any matched Mr. Wino’s description.
She sat in the car and peeled off the fake wound on her face, and unclipped the ring in her nose. “Ouch!” That motherfucker pinched. She shoved the pieces of her disguise into the glove compartment of the rusted ten year old Ford Fiesta she used for jobs, and slammed it shut.
She checked her image in the rearview as she pulled off the wig, and tossed it onto the backseat. Her fingers combed through her hair. She winked and blew herself a kiss. Unlike the Wino, Niko would meet the real Sasha Forde.
Poor, unsuspecting fool.
Her linebacker didn’t know it yet, but Sasha had him in her sights and she always caught her prey.

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To Capture a Star
by N.S. Howard

eXtasy Books

eBook ISBN: 978-1-77111-116-4

Carlie is giving up her career as an actress to marry wealthy Philip Nystum. But someone with a grudge has Carlie captured, and placed in a slave training facility. Detectives Jill and Nathan are hired to find Carlie, but their search for her across the galaxy puts them on a discovery of their own.

Chapter One

Jeremy Raskin frowned as he observed her through the electronic field glasses. He considered that she might be mistaken for a manikin at first glance. Perfect skin, crystal clear blue eyes, blonde hair that could have been a wig made to order and the figure of a model.
However when she moved there was no doubt there was a lot of life behind her smile, and the face that had made its way into a half dozen low budget movies. Jeremy sighed.
Too bad for her someone has chosen her. Now to contact this Beverly Anderson and get the plan rolling.
* * * *
Most of the passengers wanting to board the Starship Twilight waited in the busy lobby for one of the shuttles to transport them to the low orbit rendezvous point. Those shuttles were noisy, crowded with the seats designed for easy maintenance and not comfort.
Boarding officer Reggie Johnston didn’t need to check the image sent to him earlier to recognize Carlie Simmons. He continued on with his work, making sure all the other passengers were accounted for in the VIP lounge.
By contrast, those waiting in the VIP lounge had a relaxing time in the comfortable surroundings. The quiet shuttles for the VIPs were not large but each over-sized padded seat offered extra legroom. During the forty-five minute ride refreshments were offered to the pampered guests.
A chime sounded and Carlie stood, along with her assistant Beverly Anderson. She glanced at the heavyset woman with the dark complexion.
“I’m getting nervous, Bev.”
Beverly patted her arm. “Your wedding isn’t for months yet. Don’t get yourself worked up.”
“I know, but there’s so much planning to do that I can’t do until I arrive on Mars. I can’t wait until I see Philip again.” She sighed. “He’s so good to me.”
Beverly smirked. She had gone through Carlie’s two other marriages, and this one seemed to her another of her future disappointments. She fingered the new bracelet she was wearing, feeling a twinge of guilt.
* * * *
Carlie walked the distance of the short ramp to the waiting shuttle. She sat next to Beverly and ignored the usual announcement about the safety features of the shuttle and the advice of making sure the harness was secured properly. The shuttle taxied away from the main terminal and shortly after the shuttle lifted off.
Carlie felt the deep vibration of the engine needed for the shuttle to reach low orbit and looked out the window to watch the planet Farlough drop away. As the shuttle climbed higher the artificial gravity began to increase to balance the loss of the normal gravity. She relaxed as the shuttle reached orbit and turned to talk to Beverly.
“This is it, Bev. Goodbye, Farlough. Hello, marriage. God, I hope I’m doing the right thing.”
“You thought about this a long time. It’s time for a new life. You know your career as an actress can only last so long so it’s good you’re going to be doing something else.”
“Yes. The acting is fun but I want to settle down now. I hope you don’t mind I have to let you go as my personal assistant. I tried to give you as much severance pay as I could.” She smiled. “My accountant was annoyed with me for that.”
Beverly touched her hand. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. I guess maybe I’ll retire from being a personal assistant. I’ve saved some money and with the severance pay I can live comfortably if I do just some part time work.”
“Good for you. I know I’ve told you this before but I think of you more than my assistant. You’re also one of my best friends and have a special place in my heart.”
Beverly’s lips trembled for a moment as she looked away.

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Neverending Dream
Four Cups, Book 4
by Regan Taylor

eXtasy Books

eBook ISBN: 9781554879748

At her 100th birthday, at the end of a long, happy life filled with songs, books and good friends Amber Curtis looks back at the moments that meant the most. To her surprise, the one and only love of her life, Bruce, is there beside her. Can love transcend time and place?

Chapter One

“There…oh, Bruce…yes. Right there. Oh God, Bruce. Oh-h-h-h.”
“Oh yeah. Amber, Amber, baby, come with me, come with me baby. I love you so much.”
Sweat slicked from a marathon love session Amber grasped her husband’s buttocks, squeezing and kneading his well-formed posterior while her vagina clenched around his cock.
Lifting her thighs to draw him deeper inside of her she hissed as the pleasure of an orgasm rode threw her.
The satiny smooth slide of his chest against her breasts sent a thrill of desire and sheer bliss from top to toes. How she loved to feel him nestled between her thighs and the pleasant weight of his body on top of hers. The romance novels she kept hidden between her mattress and box spring had nothing on what she shared with Bruce. Bruce Curtis was the only man for her. She knew it in kindergarten on the playground when he snuck that quick little kiss on her cheek—something she’d be appalled if some boy did it to one of her daughters!
She knew it in junior high when he asked her to her first dance. There was no doubt in high school bath when Regina, aka Queenie, Taehlor formed their girl band, the Four Cups that this was the only man she could and would ever want to be with. He was the inspiration for every love song she ever wrote and the hero of every one of her romance novels.
And that was before she sampled sex. Only sex with Bruce wasn’t just sex. It was the pinnacle of existence. The be all and end all of what life was about. She didn’t need to try out other men to know Bruce was all she’d ever want. He was her forever guy.
Even their first time, the night of her eighteenth birthday—just so the consummation of their love was all legit and legal, was sublime. Of course it hurt a little bit that first time. In Bruce’s case the theory of big feet and big hands meaning a big other part held quite firm.
Amber giggled to herself. Bruce was definitely…firm…in all the right places. She couldn’t remember a time he wasn’t in her life and they weren’t in love.
Amber climaxed again and this time Bruce came with her. The couple joined in a shuddering climax.
“Who would have thought after this many years making love with you would still get better and better?”
Amber threaded her fingers through the now sparse, gray hair on her husband’s head.
Wait…they had been on a beach. Making love in a secluded alcove. It was the night after the Four Cups’ show in Hawaii that coincided with their anniversary, before a sell out crowd. They’d done four encores that lasted almost as long as the main show. She and Bruce stole away moments after the show ended.
So why did he now look so old?
Amber turned to look at her husband again and sighed in relief. There he was, a buff twenty-something with a killer smile. A woman hadn’t been born who didn’t turn to look at that fine physique of his. He ran every morning, lifted weights every day and every night they made love.
Well, almost every night.
The weeks before the birth of each of their children things ran a tad slow. At least for her. Those were the weeks when she nightly sampled her favorite flavor of Bruce delight. And he more than made up for it the day the doctor gave them the go ahead to do the deed again. The twins slowed them down for awhile…
The twins? Wait…
She looked up, into his eyes. Warm brown eyes filled with love gazing deeply into hers. “Push, baby. I’m right here. Just a little more. They’re almost here. One more push. You can do it.”
Sweat poured off her body. Only this time it wasn’t from making love. With a groan she pushed and pushed again.
Somewhere in the distance she heard a woman announce the arrival of the first baby and shortly after, just before he planted a kiss on her forehead, Bruce told her the second healthy girl had been born.
Amber slipped back into sleep. But for just a moment. It was only a moment…really…wasn’t it?
Where was he?
“I’m here, darling. I’m always here. No need to rush. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy the party. I’m with you through thick and thin and will wait until you are ready.”
“Bruce? I can’t see you?” She looked around, frantic. Where was he? Where did he go?

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The Pirate’s Surrender
Sequel to To Seduce a Soulmate
by Laura Tolomei

eXtasy Books

eBook ISBN: 9781771110365

All right, so he did it! Marin seduced me. And the sex is fantastic, blows my mind every time, no complaints there. But that thing about being his soul mate still doesn’t sit right with me. Yet there seems no way around it except…but can I do it? Do I want to do it? No, I don’t know if I’m ready to surrender. Me, the pirate, and to the blond devil, no less…talk about fucked up destiny!

Chapter One

Sitting on the toilet, Drake stared at the unfamiliar bathroom. He was still groggy from a deep sleep, which could account for his forgetting where he was or how he had gotten there. The peeing was not helping either, since it kept him focused on his aching bladder, so full it actually hurt, and the terrific erection doing its best to empty it. Maybe the two contributed to clog his senses at the moment…who could tell?
Safe to say, the bathroom was nothing like his own, the piping too old and in some places too rusted to be his. The sink was also old fashioned and with two faucets, rather than the solitary modern one he had at home. Turning his head, he would have examined the bathtub, too, if the pee had not stopped its furious rush, so after a vigorous shake at what remained as rigid as marble, Drake got up and stumbled back to bed.
He did not have far to go. The bathroom adjoined the bedroom and everything he saw on his way confirmed he was not home. From the iron-wrought bed, the massive chestnut closet to one side, to the quaint wooden window shades, filtering pale, trembling light, nothing was a standard fixture of his house in Atlanta, Georgia, or in many other American homes for that matter.
But it was no use to keep wondering when light was scarce and his eyes needed to adjust to it. Instead, he crawled back to bed, curling on his favorite side. The only thing he knew was that he had just woken up from a deep sleep with the swollen bladder and the impressive hard-on he now grasped firmly, sliding the soft skin up and down the tight stem. He did not indulge, though, just a couple of strokes before returning to the problem at hand. Where was he?
Someone stirred behind him. And with whom? Drake did not turn immediately, waiting for whoever was there to settle in a new position. Then carefully, he rolled on the opposite side, shifting the thick cock until it pressed on the other person’s naked back. It was a man, no doubt, light-skinned and a lithe build smaller than his for sure. But if Drake dominated him with his more muscular frame, what attracted his attention was the sexy ass rubbing against his rigid dick. At first, Drake thought he was imagining it. Maybe he was confusing his own slide on the tempting cleft as that of the other man. Stopping for a second, though, he realized the butt was stroking the shaft of its own will, independently of Drake. Fucking arousing, no doubt, made the erection swell to a gigantic dimension, still did not give the man away. What did the trick was the flash of blond hair, short and thick like the devil’s, so unlike his long black strands, which could only mean—
“Good morning, Pirate.” The heavily Irish-accented voice caught him off guard. “How was your first night in Cork City?”
Ireland! That’s where I am! “Not as great as my first fuck on Irish soil.” He grinned, increasing the slide between Martin’s buttocks.
“That was just the appetizer.” Rolling to face him, Martin had the same broad smile, lighting his handsome features and the startlingly green eyes. So Drake’s heart stopped.
It had all happened so fast, he had not gotten used to Martin’s beauty or to the fact they were actually together. Not that it had been easy for the good-looking devil to seduce the pirate. No, not at all, despite the short time that had passed from their first meeting, since Thanksgiving to be precise.
“Now you’ll be treated to vigorous sessions of Christmas fucking, which is the reason I brought you all the way over here.” Stretching closer, Martin gripped the hard cock. “And since today’s Christmas Eve, I might as well get started…” Cocking his head in understanding, he threw open the sheets. “Right after I’ve seen to some pressing matters.” Then he got out of bed and moved to the bathroom.
Yes, just one short month convinced him to have sex with a man for the very first time in his life. Sure, Martin and his technique, a slow circular maneuver that replaced his initial blowjob slip, had left Drake no choice except capitulation a few days before they left for Ireland. So good was the blond devil, he had crumbled the pirate’s resistance, not to mention his many objections, to the novelty of having sex with a man. Impressive, to say the least.
From the room next door, Drake heard the bladder being drained like a waterfall tumbling down a mountain. To be honest, if Drake had never considered it an option, it was not out of any prejudice, simply did not think it was something a pirate would do. Why a pirate? Because it was his alter ego, the way he saw himself since he was a little boy and growing up had only reinforced the role model to the point of creating doubts where none should have existed. Luckily, his friend Peter and the Greek philosopher Plato straightened him out on that count. “Would this qualify as my Christmas present?”
“Not entirely.” Back, Martin slipped between the sheets, pressing to him again. “What you got last night was only a…first installment.” His warm palms cuddling his twitching piece had a long experience. Never one to choose between genders, the Irishman had done his time with both, enjoying them for their differences as much as their similarities. And he was not just an expert on cocks. He loved them in whatever shape or form they came, knowing their most intimate desires and providing the comfort they needed. Like now, for instance, slipping below the covers to close his hungry mouth around the bulging head, then sliding his lips to the balls and sucking it practically to the throat. The swallowing effect drove Drake crazy, which had also been his undoing in his parents’ house on Lake Lanier.
Unusual, completely unexpected and unprecedented to come so quickly and without any restraint in a stranger’s mouth, for such had been Martin at the time. Women rarely, if ever, had the privilege to drink his sperm. They never seemed to hit the right spot on his sophisticated dick that did not surrender easily to a vigorous lapping, however practiced the tongue. But Martin had set a different standard from the start, bypassing all Drake’s mechanisms and sucked him dry the first time around. Now it seemed no different.
Swinging his hips forward, he made Martin take more, past the tongue’s blocking to reach the plunge, if a tight curl had not stopped him. Just a temporary setback, though, to allow for a gulp of air before the cheeks pressed again on all sides, while the hands took firmer control of the situation. God, he had a wonderful touch. Strong, forceful yet not hurried, it adapted to the pirate’s rhythm until it was too late to contain the tide. Holding the blond head to screw it deeper, Drake shoved one last time and everything spilled out, soul included, in the warm cavity opening wider to receive it all.
Evidently unsatisfied, Martin did not let go of his prize, which explained why it did not go limp, remaining stiff and ready for more action. Despite their limited sexual activity, the pirate already knew how insatiable the devil was and how irresistible his urgings were. And it could definitely become a problem. Already Drake could not get enough of him, whether down his throat or up his ass, Martin’s mastery over his dick was something unique and seldom experienced before, like coming with a blowjob. To Martin, cocks had no secrets, none he had not discovered and put to good use, with the pirate in particular, judging from the healthy erection rising so fast after an explosive climax.
“Just love them when they’re hard.” Coming out from underneath the covers, the devil kept jerking him.
“So they can stick better in your ass.” Chuckling, Drake toppled him, pressing his stomach down on the mattress.
“Can’t wait to get it as a matter of fact.” Raising his behind, the blond Irishman captured the tip of the erection in his cleft.
“Just open wide,” Drake teased, poking the tight entrance. Knowing Martin, he would not need too much of a preparation, his ass always ready to receive thick pieces. The bulging head was drenched enough anyway, to have no problems breaking through and sliding up the cramped passageway Mother Nature provided.
Hell! Simply fucking delicious. The back end was Drake’s favorite also with women, so at least that had not required too many adjustments. Maybe what he still had to figure out was how to handle life with a man, a prospect he really did not feel ready to face. Martin did not seem to have much experience in that department either, considering he was coming from a failed marriage.
“Fuck! You sure know how to screw an ass.” Moving seductively beneath him, Martin raised his hips to get more inside, something Drake had no trouble delivering. “And to think I had to wait an entire month to get it.”
“Not many resist you, eh, Devil?” It was not a question, merely a statement. Martin’s allure was undeniable. Drake, too, had been fascinated upon first seeing him, but it could have ended there had that disturbing feeling not kicked in to change everything forever.
“No, Pirate, practically no one resisted in my entire life.” Swinging faster, he accelerated the tempo. “Particularly not after one of my great blowjobs ever.”
“So I’m a little slow.” Long hair brushing Martin’s shoulders, Drake went along, stepping up the shoves to ram the narrow hole to a pulp.
There was a moment’s silence on Martin’s part that Drake used to penetrate to his balls and pump with greater force. Then the blond Irishman moved in such a way the pirate had to pull back and allow him more leeway. When it became clear the man wanted to change position, Drake reluctantly left the snug confinement for the time it took Martin to lie on his back. After the change, it was only a matter of seconds to slam back in his ass, legs cradled to Drake’s chest.
“No, Pirate, you’re anything but slow.” Now the devil caught his face between his palms. “Your only problem is that you’re scared shitless.”
And he was right, too. “Oh, come off it!” Shoving harder on purpose, Drake tried not to think of it. “No way am I going to be scared of a great ass like yours.” Maybe humor worked better. And fucking was having its results, too. The deeper he sank, the more pressing his need to come again and forget about everything.
“You know what I mean.” Arching his back, Martin brought the dick all the way inside with a suddenness that cut off Drake’s breath…or rather the little still left after the devil pulled him down for an avid kiss, which blew the pirate’s mind to outer space.
Martin’s tongue pushed down his throat, wrapping around his when it did not have to battle it for supremacy. An exciting addition for sure and had Drake’s shaft not been stuck in Martin’s butt, it might not have had any consequences. Instead, the two effects combined the second the ass squeeze became irresistible, the fleshy walls cramming it on every side. On top of it, his pounding was jerking off Martin’s dick, caught between their bellies, until everything spiraled to the point he felt the wetness on his stomach before he realized the devil was coming. So he let it go, plunging with a muffled groan into Martin and bursting.
“You’ll see how much better it can get once you accept it, too.” Martin’s voice breathed in his ear as he cuddled his head to his chest.
Right! He had almost forgotten the goddamn catch.
“Our connection, I mean.”
He was his fucking soul-mate, for Christ’s sake, and there seemed no way around it either.

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Demon Master
by Simone Bern

eXtasy Books

eBook ISBN: 978-1-55487-105-6

Vankor is beautiful and pitiless. Rianne is his victim, her innocence repeatedly sacrificed to the demons that answer his call. She is also his wife and bound to him by a spell more secure than any chain. Rianne burns with hatred even as her body betrays her passion. But when the old gods answer her prayers, she finds herself with a choice. Does she truly desire his death… or his heart?

Chapter One

“Come with me.”
The words penetrated her sleep-fogged brain and terror surged through her body. She mastered it quickly and opened her eyes. Her husband stared down at her with distant coldness. The long face, with dark slanted eyes and a sensual mouth, had once seemed handsome to her. She had been such a fool.
Rianne climbed out of bed and followed him down dark corridors, the flickering candle in his hand their only light. The stone walls radiated cold and her bare feet were turning to ice with each step. She was numb, both in body and spirit. It was better this way. In the beginning she had made this trip screaming with fear and defiance. Then there had been the times when she’d been carried, a quivering, sobbing parcel held tightly in his arms. It was only this past year that she had learned to mechanically follow her husband to his workroom.
Vankor opened the heavy door. She knew what was required and walked over to the coffin-like box in the center of the room. The lock on the door clicked shut behind her. Rianne glanced toward the large table on her left and tried to spy the pattern he had drawn for tonight’s working amidst the scattered papers. She could recognize most of them by now and it would tell her something of what to expect.
“Lie down,” he snapped in response to her hesitation.
Rianne stripped off her nightdress and fit herself into the box. She pulled her long blonde hair to one side and then placed her wrists on the wooden supports. Vankor lowered and locked the bars which held her feet and arms in place. There was no need for adjustments, this box had long been fitted to her dimensions.
She could feel her heart hammering against her ribcage. The arched ceiling with its beautiful mimicry of the night sky swam before her eyes. Rianne focused on remaining still. The more she strained against the wood encasing her fragile wrists and ankles, the worse the bruising. Of course in another minute she would no longer have control of her body and might find herself thrashing so violently that bones broke. She hoped for a calling which would fix her in frozen rigidity or plunge her into limpness. It all depended on which demon came to feed.
Vankor’s melodious baritone began chanting. Rianne heard the name of the demon and experienced a slight lessening of fear. Birishla was one of those that left her whole and reasonably sane afterward. Still she could not restrain a sob as she felt a leaden weight begin to press down on her. An oozing darkness embraced her and the demon slowly pushed himself into every crack and crevice of her body. She could sense his hunger and desire. She whimpered, knowing what came next.
The chanting ended and Rianne was staring up into inhuman eyes, solid black gateways into hell framed by an impossibly beautiful face. The demon smiled and lowered his lips to hers. A dagger of his amorphous being entered her mouth and stabbed into her soul. She would have screamed had she been able to.
Birishla swept in and stole every bright and glittering moment she had accumulated over the last month. The beauty of sunlight glinting off the waves, a moment spent absorbing the soft scent of early spring, the peace of walking alone along the beach, the sound of Nicco’s bold laugh and the feel of her sister Mya’s small body curled up next to her. The demon took them all and left behind only the taste of ashes and an echoing emptiness. Each theft was accompanied by a physical thrusting, like a man taking a woman, but this came through every pore and carried only agony. Fourteen times the demon spasmed into her.
Birishla pooled into a human-shaped body and lifted off her. Relief made her weak. The price had been very small this time. Her body did not scream with pain and her mind felt unsettled, but not ransacked.
“The payment becomes less sweet with every visit.” Birishla’s voice was like brushed silk. “This one’s innocence has been corrupted.”
“My spell ensures that she remain a virgin,” Vankor said.
He had worked that spell on their wedding night. Any other man who touched her with even the faintest hint of desire suffered immediate and painful paroxysms. Vankor had spoken a great deal about duty and sacrifice that night. She had replied with tears and screams of anger. But the chain had already been forged.
“There are ways to become tainted even so. You know that,” the demon replied. “Do not presume to call me again until you can offer a more satisfying payment.”
Vankor stood at the foot of the box and studied her naked body. A slight smile lifted the corners of his mouth and something kindled in his eyes. He casually stroked her thigh and whispered. “What have you been up to during those long, lonely nights, my dear?” Vankor turned his attention back to the demon. “Another is ready for you. The boy is fourteen. Strong enough to endure your caresses.”
A new terror clutched at Rianne’s heart. Her brother Nicco was fourteen.
“What is it you wish of me tonight? Some fat merchant to terrorize into insanity? A philandering husband to make impotent? I must say your recent chores have lacked artistic merit.” The demon sounded bored.
Vankor chuckled. “That is why I enjoy working with you, Birishla. You have a much finer sensitivity than most of your kind. And you do not damage my property to the same extent.” He began to instruct Birishla on the task which needed to be performed.
Rianne’s body trembled within the confines of the restraints. Her bid for freedom had worked, but she had not thought through the consequences. For years she had believed there was no way around the spell that bound her. Only recently had it occurred to her that, although she was condemned to virginity, there were things she could do which might result in her tasting less sweet to demon-kind. It had been relatively easy to sneak out of the house at night and she had learned much by paying to sit behind the walls at a local brothel, watching through a spy hole. Last month Rianne had even gone so far as to buy time in a whore’s bed. Apparently the gamble had worked.
Nicco. She imagined his slender limbs forced into this box, saw his bright blue eyes go wide with terror and pain. What had she done? She’d believed that Vankor killed her parents to tighten his control of her and also to bring her siblings into this big, old house. Her brother and two little sisters provided most of the rich memories the demons stole. Now she understood the longer term planning behind such a move. Her husband had been stocking the larder in preparation for the day when she lost her usefulness.
Vankor was undoing her restraints. She sat up, rubbing her wrists as she looked around. Birishla had as usual disappeared without fanfare. Rianne climbed out of the box and bent to retrieve the discarded nightdress. She felt hands on her buttocks and heard Vankor’s indrawn breath. She straightened and froze. His lips brushed her shoulder. After three years of treating her like a piece of meat staked out to feed his demons, her husband was responding to her as a woman.
“Ah, Rianne,” he said and his sigh was soft against her neck. “Part of me has been hoping for this to happen.”
He turned her face toward him and kissed her…tenderly. His lips just brushed hers with the faintest of touches. Then he let her go.
“You have been through enough tonight.” Vankor turned his back on her and went to tidy his worktable. “Best you get to bed.”
She said nothing as she pulled on her nightdress and let herself out of the room.
Rianne crawled into bed and let the shaking consume her body. Vankor had fed her to demons, he had killed her parents and soon he would subject Nicco to his torments. The man was evil and she hated him. How dare he pretend at kindness? Yet memories crept into her mind, memories of Vankor binding her wounds and skillfully resetting her broken wrists. She dimly recalled a gentle hand stroking her face as she sobbed and raved. His liquid voice had murmured encouragement as he made her drink healing potions that burned her up from the inside, but restored her body far more quickly than normal.
She barked a harsh laugh into the still silence of her room. He took care of his property, nothing more. She must have slipped into madness tonight after all to imagine her husband as anything other than cruel and heartless.
Rianne turned her mind away from Vankor and focused on finding a way to save Nicco. A simple solution presented itself and Rianne considered taking her little brother to a brothel. This time, however, she gave careful consideration to potential consequences. Hanna was twelve and Mya only seven. If Nicco was corrupted, would her husband then move on to Hanna? Very likely, even though it might kill the girl. What use did he really have for her siblings except this? If Rianne ensured they were all rendered useless for demon feeding, she did not expect any of them would live long.
A darker alternative crept into her thoughts, a magic as old and powerful as the demon calling. There was a way to rid herself of his evil, if she was willing to pay the price.
* * * *
Rianne reached for the bread and hoped no one could see how her arm trembled. She had managed to stay out of Vankor’s sight all day, but there was no way to avoid him during the nightly ritual around the grand dining room table. Vankor’s gaze seemed to be tracking her slightest movement, heavy with intent. Even little Mya, who usually chatted with the blithe self-centered confidence of the truly innocent, sensed the tense atmosphere and squirmed in silent discomfort. Hanna’s serious blue gaze darted between Vankor and herself while Nicco just scowled down at his plate. Rianne forced herself to smile and make a casual remark about the changing weather.
Finally the servants lifted the last plate from the table and Rianne rose to leave. Vankor stood and blocked her passage. Without a word, he took her arm and steered her out of the dining room and up the stairs. She followed obediently as she had been trained to do. They did not go into his workroom, but rather to a room that she had never entered before. Dark red velvet curtains hung over the windows and a plush red and cream rug covered the cold stone floor. A grand canopied bed took central place against the far wall.
Vankor put his arms around her and she felt him quiver through the satin of her gown. One hand buried itself in her hair and he tilted her head back so that his lips could find hers. Again the kiss was surprisingly sweet. A delicate exploration of her mouth that demanded nothing from her. She held herself limp and lifeless as a rag doll in his embrace. It meant nothing, she told herself. All sweetness, all kindness, was only a ruse. She knew him too well to fall for such a pretense. Yet something deep within her yearned to respond. Perhaps she was a fool still.
“You do not know what to make of me do you?” he asked very softly, then stepped away from her and striped off his black dinner jacket. The white silk of his shirt glowed like moonlight next to the deep copper of his skin. She turned away from him and stared at the fire. She knew what he was, a monster—he was beautiful only on the outside. His beauty and charm had won over her child’s heart when she was but seventeen. Rianne pulled up sharp memories of his cruelty and drew them tightly around herself like a thick cloak in the dead of winter.
“I am a man for all that I have done to you. Demon calling is my skill, as it was my father’s and his mother’s before him. There is a heavy price to practice that craft and you have paid it these past three years. Unfortunately, it is the only way I know how to live. I do not expect you to believe me, but I am sorry for what has been done to you.”
“You torture others to afford this mansion and all the luxuries within it,” she replied bitterly.
“Would it change anything to know that I suffered every torment you have been through? I endured five years with my father.”
She turned to stare at him. He had never told her that before. But surely it was a lie. “Your father sacrificed you to demons?”
Vankor lifted one broad shoulder in a small shrug, acknowledging the disbelief in her voice. “It is the way things are done in my land. The families with this…gift know the source of their wealth and are expected to contribute in their time. I should have gone south and found myself a Vandorian bride, someone who would have understood and accepted her role.” He smiled and seemed almost sad. “But I saw you and could not resist. I have regretted my decision often enough.”
“And now you will use my siblings to feed your demons.” Her voice was cold.
He nodded. “They will survive. Is that not how the north works? The strong prey on the weak.” Vankor suddenly stepped forward and put his hands on her waist. His gaze bored down into hers. “But I do not believe you are weak. After everything you have endured, there is fire in you yet.”
“Fire enough to hate you,” she spat at him.
Something flicked in his eyes, but disappeared quickly behind a veil of amused condescension. “Of course. And I allowed you that hatred as a shield. But it is time to begin tearing down the walls between us.”
He pulled her tight against his body and this time there was a rough edge of hunger in his kiss. When she parted her lips in protest, he plunged his tongue into her mouth. Shocked by the warmth that surged through her, Rianne tried to push him away. He merely held her even more tightly, pinning her arms to her sides. She knew it was useless to fight. It would only amuse him. Rianne forced herself into stillness. She would not give him that satisfaction.
“The spell preserves you from all other men,” he whispered into her ear. “As long as I live, the only touch you will know is mine. You have endured pain. Now I offer you pleasure.”
His lips moved down her neck and a hot tongue found the hollow at the base of her throat. What arrogance, that he thought he could balance out torment with a skilful tongue. She stood with her fists clenched at her side as he unbuttoned her dress and eased it off her shoulders. Soon she stood in a pool of fabric, shivering slightly as the chill air pressed against her bare skin.
When he stepped back and began to strip off his own clothing, her eyes were drawn to his long-fingered hands. She stared as he undid the buttons of his shirt. The muscular expanse of his chest gleamed like polished metal. He began to unbutton his trousers and Rianne tore her gaze away. She had no desire to see the fabric slide down over his slim hips.
Staring past him at the wall, Rianne moved mechanically forward as he took her hand and tugged her toward the bed. She lay down, composing herself as if for the sacrificial box in his workroom. Vankor’s mouth pressed on hers, teasingly asking for entrance, but this time she kept her jaw locked. It annoyed her that her nipples hardened into involuntary points when his hand stroked the sensitive skin of her breasts. She closed her eyes and imagined he was another demon taking her flesh.
A strong hand slid over her belly and moved between her thighs. She told herself that the finger passing slowly in and out of her vagina, rubbing maddeningly against a nub of swollen nerves, was nothing but another new torment.
She felt nothing as he mounted and entered her, not even pain. Nothing as he moaned and thrust, calling out her name. Nothing but relief when he rolled off her. A glow of triumph warmed her belly. His breathing was ragged, hers was level and smooth.
Vankor lifted himself up onto an elbow and regarded her appraisingly. As his dark eyes probed hers, a corner of his mouth twitched up. A disturbing question crept into her mind in response to his knowing smile. Had the battle she just fought been against him—or herself? Rianne yanked her eyes away and glared at the embroidered white canopy.
“Go to your own bed, my wife. I do not think I trust you to sleep next to me.” The merest hint of amusement colored his tone and cut into her like the keen edge of a blade.
Rianne threw on her dress and ran to her bedroom down the hall without bothering to do up the buttons. She lay on the soft bed and closed her eyes, but her mind roiled with bitter thoughts. She should have known that Vankor would not simply use her body in this new fashion and leave her inner being alone. It was far more amusing for him to attempt to overcome her resistance. Vankor was playing a twisted game of seduction with her. One he was clearly well practiced in.
Rianne snarled into the pillow, caught up in a tangle of emotions. She would not give him what he wanted, no matter how beautiful his body or how skillful his hands. She had been able to conquer her fear of demons, she would be able to quash this unwelcome ache between her legs.
After an hour, Rianne rose and dressed. She pulled on a warm, wool dress, black boots and a black cape. Then she slipped into the corridor and walked in near total darkness toward the kitchen. The front door would be locked and guarded, but the servant’s entrance through the kitchen was protected only by a deadbolt and the fat cook who lay snoring in his cot beside the warm oven.
Rianne used the small gate at the back of the garden and followed the familiar path down to Wainstown. There was enough light being cast by the plump orange moon that she could see the bumps and puddles along her way. Untrimmed hedges poked at her with new shoots and the smell of fecund growth filled the air. The night carried a chill even though spring was well on its way to summer.
It was only a few minutes before the dirt track joined the main road that lead to the jumbled collection of inns, ale houses, brothels and cheap residences, which skirted the edges of town. Wainstown had burst past its walls some fifty years ago, after the Vandorian Empire had conquered the north and installed peace over this fractious region.
Rianne strode through the warren of crooked and foul-smelling streets. There were still people about at that time of night. Street whores and drunkards, wealthy young men seeking thrills of one sort or another as well as the pickpockets and cutthroats who hunted them. She did not fear for her safety. The men who attacked her during her first few explorations ended up writhing on the ground, their screams filling the air. Now the locals whispered witch behind her back and left her alone.
Rianne wondered again how differently things might have turned out if she’d been attacked by someone who did not feel desire at the sight of her rounded curves and delicate features.
She turned into a narrow passageway, a finger of fetid, black air that ended at a battered door. This was the place the whores had told her about, where enough hatred could buy you a death. Rianne did not hesitate. She lifted her arm and knocked loudly on the wooden door.

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No Fool: An Undercover Mission
by Ann Raina

eXtasy Books

eBook ISBN: 978-1-55487-619-8

When agent Michael Tessler gets his new job, he doesn’t know that he has to deal with sex, love and criminals, who don’t shy away from murder. In between, he meets Alyssa, but their romantic ideas are crashed by hard reality. Will they get to each other in spite of the obstacles?

Chapter One

“You are late, Michael.” Greenburg’s face was concerned as he marched beside his friend through the large office. “And if I may add, again.”
Michael fumbled with the tie, drawing his chin low to see what he was doing. “I know.”
Greenburg stopped and pushed away Michael’s hands to tie the knot in practiced haste. “And you shouldn’t wear a woman’s perfume on a Monday morning.”
Michael flashed a grin. “Remind me on Tuesdays.”
“What?” They walked on. Lester Greenburg shook his head. “You always do that. Don’t you know it angers them? And Patch, not to forget? Why can’t you use an alarm clock like everyone else does?”
Michael did not need to answer. They reached the full conference room. All faces turned in their direction. Greenburg lowered his head and hurried to sit down while Michael took a deep breath. He could read the men’s and the women’s faces as if they spoke to him aloud. Here comes the agent with the questionable qualification. And they wondered how he managed to stay with this honorable group of agents serving their country.
Hiding his thoughts behind a mask of pretended ignorance, Michael took his seat at the table. It was big enough to replay the battles of Flanders and Waterloo and then some. His father had collected tin soldiers and the wholesome memory of afternoons with his dad and hundreds of armed soldiers, no bigger than his finger, still lingered. His father, officer with the highway patrol, had taught him much and always stressed how important it was to find a place in life and serve the people.
He looked up to his boss, an almost bald man, who stood at the small end of the table. He was dressed immaculately in a dark gray suit and white dress shirt with an elegant silken tie. Perfectly knotted, of course. Involuntarily, Michael fiddled with his collar.
Keen eyes swept the audience, neither friendly nor scolding though his appearance alone demanded the word stern. Jonathan Bellard had had a severe motorcycle accident in his youth and the scar on his temple looked like alien tissue, a patch that didn’t fit his square, manly face. Hence the nickname Patch, which, of course, no one would ever use in his presence.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, now that all personnel have found their way in here, I want to tell you the reason of this meeting. Intel sources have collected information about Lady Katherine Summerston, born Katharina Schramm, widow of Charles Summerston, owner of Summerston Resorts.” He used the remote control to show a picture of a gray-haired lady in her late fifties on the beamer. “You have her portfolio in the files before you. She is very wealthy and—besides the hotels her husband left her—owns an estate in Virginia. We cannot confirm that the lady’s deceased husband made his money with illegal businesses, but the estate is the biggest I’ve ever seen. I don’t know what firm pays for this, but it should be a second Bill Gates.” An aerial photograph was projected on the wall. Eight buildings, gardens, stables, swimming pools and large paddocks for horses triggered admiring whistles from the agents. “Lady Summerston lives on this estate with a crowd of employees, bodyguards, personal secretaries etcetera. She uses one wing as a private residence, but most of the complex was modified into a wellness farm with various possibilities for relaxation and sports.”
“You mean, like Thai massage?” George Malone, an agent with a gray moustache and wrinkled face wiggled his brows, leaving no doubt about the intention of his statement. He worked at op-tech and was known for his debatable attitude toward women.
Bellard’s glare wiped the grin off everybody’s face. “Additionally, as we were informed, Lady Summerston arranges an exclusive escort service. That service is restricted to high-standing ladies with money or influence or both. The list of customers is long and reads like the Who’s Who of Washington, DC, Boston and New York. Our agent was able to verify that the service includes gentlemen who accompany women on social occasions. She could not verify if it goes beyond that, but it can be assumed that the men also serve as callboys.”
“Well, isn’t that nice,” a female agent said and leaned back, smiling, a pen turning between her fingers. “You book a wellness weekend and if you’re up to some sex, you just add a callboy to your exercise program.”
Again, laughter welled up and died quickly, knowing Bellard’s mood.
“I repeat, this assumption is not backed by facts. The idea behind the firm is not entirely clear, but the agent assumes that Lady Summerston achieves intel and favors that way. But there is more.” He turned a page in his file and lifted his gaze again.
Michael’s thoughts drifted to the night before and how lovely the blonde had been. First, her bare tits. So pale they looked like milk with a dot of dark chocolate in the middle. Then her lovely bare back. Bare ass. That sweet little tattoo of a mouse or was it a—
“Agent Tessler, would you mind being with us? Mentally?”
Automatically, Michael’s lips twitched—a hint of a boyish grin. The small apology was not well taken.
Director Bellard’s face darkened. “In spite of rumors, Agent Tessler, this is the CIA Washington, DC, and we’re not here to drool over some weekend adventures.” His tone put the word adventures in a never before known sexual connotation.
Michael canned the grin, but it was too late. Everybody in the room, even those agents who did not know Michael personally, looked at him in an unfriendly way. He did not blush, but was close to lowering his head in shame. Why did Bellard always do that? Yes, I dreamed with open eyes, but, hey, who didn’t on a Monday morning? Yet, when he looked around, he didn’t find others still lingering over yesterday’s occupations and their earnest made him feel worse.
Bellard pursed his lips and Michael knew this had not been the last reminder of his misbehavior. “Our agent abroad tells us that many employees are not Americans by origin. While she observed the compound several times in irregular intervals, she found out that the employees change frequently. She also reported that parts of the estate are excavated for a basement. It’s used as a vinery, but there might be more. She had no access to it.” Bellard looked up again, inhaling deeply. “Given the unclear background of Lady Summerston’s brother-in-law, George Summerston, and a high amount of money recently placed in offshore accounts run by firms Mr. Summerston owns, the agent recommends gaining deeper insight into the wellness farm and its purpose.”
Michael nodded to himself. Getting in was easy, mostly. After that, it was skill and sometimes pure luck what you found. He imagined to break into the office, open the safe and copy everything Lady Summerston and her brother-in-law had gathered on customers and then come back and present enough evidence to clear out the whole organization. It was a job he loved doing—quick in and quick out, without the enemy knowing he was there. The moment of closing the file after the last report was always great. It was the utmost reward for hours of danger and hide-and-seek. The moment the director shook his hand to congratulate. Yes, he would love to have such a moment again.
Malone from op-tech grinned. His voice held a low, skin-tingling growl. “Now listen to that. Hope there are some nice ladies around there, too. I’d vote to play customer anytime, anywhere. Any position.”
Bellard stopped Malone with one hard glance and turned back to the audience. “It is imperative to place an agent on the farm to gain access to more detailed information without arousing suspicion. We need to learn about Mr. Summerston’s hidden agenda and what else there is to know. Agent Tessler, you stated in your profile that German is your mother’s language. Lady Summerston’s ancestors also came from Germany. Additionally—and compared to other field agents—you qualify best for this kind of operation.”
Michael’s mouth twitched. He had thought about a break-in, but being on the farm for a longer time? This is a joke, right? They thought him to be a man of many women and… He cut the thought before it slipped. The idea was absurd. But there they sat and stared at his face and his fair hair, which looked disorderly due to the morning haste. They looked satisfied like cats with cream. Hey, now you get what you deserve! A shiver ran down his spine.
“You mean, I shall work there for…a week or more?” He knew he shouldn’t have said that, but the words just slipped. The agents around the table raised their brows in unison. He could feel their laughter just below the surface of pretended seriousness.
“Of course, you can bring forward your objection.”
Michael thought about a belligerent answer, but only came up with, “I don’t think that I qualify for long-term undercover operations.”
Miranda, a Latin beauty and owner of uncounted admirers, arched her brows. Her voice was low, husky. “Funny, I thought you work very well under cover.”
Michael couldn’t help but stare at her, ignoring the colleagues’ desperate attempts not to burst with laughter. His stomach was one tight knot. He was an adventurer—that went with the job description—but he did not want to think about what would await him there. He turned to Bellard again. “You are aware that I’ve not worked like this before?”
Bellard, masterly trained in non-telling facial expressions, put down the folder. “I know your list of operations very well, Agent Tessler, but I think you underestimate your value. It is very clear that your knowledge of the German language could prove very advantageous for this operation.”
“This is not a job as an interpreter,” Michael mumbled, again triggering suppressed laughter. He dared to glance at the director. “You expect me to gain intel by posing as a…” He couldn’t say it, but the women around him formed the word hooker with their lips.
“Your first task will be to get employed as a handyman.” Bellard opened a second file. “The wellness farm is constantly hiring people for several jobs so it should be quite easy to pass the test and be employed. Hopefully, workers get access to more areas than guests. That might be enough already. See what you can gather this way. As our agent explained, it is unavoidable to be on the premises the whole time to observe daily routines of employees and the lady’s brother-in-law.”
“What about the lady?” Miranda asked and stroked back her hair, expertly knowing the effect she had on men. “Is there a chance to get close to her, maybe as a personal secretary?”
“That approach was already made and didn’t work out. The present secretary is Lady Summerston’s godchild. Only an accident would rob her of the position, and there are others in line she would choose first. Further questions?”
Michael flipped through the file. “Is there any indication of what is happening on that wellness farm—aside from the obvious?”
“No. However, possibilities are that people are brought into the country to reach green card status and move on. The fluctuation indicates such a maneuver. We don’t have enough information to prove an illegal act, and we want to know—if the assumption is correct—why those people are brought into our country. If they are trained for a special reason and if they pose a threat toward political personalities or else.” Bellard closed the files in front of him. “One more thing. Our agent confirmed that all areas of the premises are frequently checked for bugs. The measure is understandable to avoid any blackmailing or publishing by press or TV stations. However, it makes contact and transport of information difficult.”
“Hu-hu, safety for the noble guests,” another agent said. “So they go there, get a massage, swim a few rounds in the pool, then slip away for a nice hour of entertainment. Sounds great.”
Bellard nodded. “Such procedure prohibits technical equipment of normal standards.” His gaze found Michael again. “Bugs, transmitters and other electronic devices would be detected immediately and cannot be used. Alternatives are in progress, but until then, you will have to use personal contact and dead drops to let us know what you found out.”
Michael thought that it meant to fly blind, but kept his mouth shut. The knot in his stomach was tighter still. He was angry that he had been exposed so easily. If he had come in earlier, he would have known the file and the consequences. No use crying over spilled milk.
“As far as our agent found out, the men of the escort service live on the premises in a separate wing. The lady obviously likes to control their doings. Meetings with customers take place in the same separate wing which other guests cannot access. Guards are likely.” He faced Michael again. “Your mission therefore is two-fold. One, you need to identify callboys and customers and their intentions and find out if they are friends of Lady Summerston. Maybe she keeps a log with notes which she can use for blackmailing if she sees fit. Two, you have to prove if George Summerston is involved in illegal activities and with whom he cooperates. So far, our knowledge is based on few hard facts. Further comments or questions?” There were none, so Bellard nodded briefly. “Dismissed. Agent Tessler, please, wait.”
Michael would have bet his income on that request. The ladies in the room shot him mocking glances. More than one had once shared his bed or he had shared theirs. There was a rule that forbade fraternization with colleagues, but few considered it risky to break it. He held their stares. Some looked away, some smiled and some were indifferent. He couldn’t care less.
“Agent Tessler, the assignment for the operation might come to you unexpected.”
Michael watched his friend, Greenburg, close the door from the outside, then turned to Bellard. He didn’t say that short-term operations left him more freedom for his private life and that he felt squeezed into an uncomfortable role. “Unexpected is not the right word for that, sir. I haven’t had enough time to get prepared for this kind of operation and as I see it, you want me to depart within three days. My qualification—”
“I think, it is about time that your talent is used to its full extent.”
“Yet, you expect quite more than just the supervision of the enemy’s doings. If I got it correct, I need to be employed as an escort to get the intel needed. You expect acts which are considered illegal in several states.”
Bellard took the folders. His expression did not change. “I know, the order might demand more devotion from you, but circumstances are what they are. Consider it an opportunity to extend your qualification and prove yourself.”
Michael added what Bellard did not say. It is about time that you do more than take every female officer to your bed.
* * * *
Greenburg waited at his desk, rearranging files that did not need to be rearranged. He looked up when Michael came out of the conference room. “Come on, Mighty, tell me, how did it go?”
* * * *
Michael did not know if he should smile or be angered by Lester’s beaming happiness. “Bad. I couldn’t change his mind. He’s a ruthless misanthrope.”
“Whatever that means. You know, no matter what, I really envy you.”
“You do?” Michael sighed about Lester’s breathless admiration. “I don’t envy myself for changing my life to become a handyman or a gardener.”
“Ah, come on, Mighty! I bet you won’t work a day in the garden or in the spa!” His hands formed a very female figure in the air. “They’ll probably check out what kind of guy you are and then it’s fresh as a daisy! You don’t worry about that job, do you?”
Michael hung his head, hands propped on his hips. There was nothing he could say.
* * * *
Lester grimaced and thought of a strategic way to cheer Michael up. They had been friends since the day Michael had moved into the office in Washington, DC, as a rookie without a coherent thought about the CIA’s central tasks. With the months passing by, Michael had proven more than once that he learned fast and brought acceptable results. Nevertheless, his reputation as a charmer outran his reputation as a successful agent. Lester always wondered how easily his friend caught the women’s attention.
Then Lester compared his looks to Michael’s and knew all the reasons. Opposite to Greenburg, Tessler was slender, the wiry type with muscles in the right places, nice and harmless looking in a suit. He was the type of man who appealed to men and women alike without the touch of homosexuality. Michael always stated he was cursed with a crooked nose. Not as bad as an eagle’s beak—though some of the pupils at school had said so and mocked the puny child with more than words—but bad enough to ruin an otherwise good-looking face. Still, Michael always got invitations by women, much to the chagrin of the mockers nearby. Those ladies who didn’t take him to be drop dead gorgeous changed their minds when he smiled.
Lester had asked Michael how he managed to have women on his hands other only dreamed of and Michael had shrugged it off with a smile. With envy that was only held in check by friendship, Lester realized that Michael never thought about his appeal. He simply enjoyed female attention without the backwash of bragging to his friends. Michael took his chances, hoping that one day the right woman would come along.
Lester would have given an arm and a leg to be like him. “Okay, okay, I shouldn’t say that, but look at it from a positive angle. You’ve always wanted a responsible position, something worth it. Your words. Not mine.”
* * * *
Michael turned to leave. He didn’t like his words back at him. Lester followed, ignoring the other colleagues’ gloating.
“So why don’t you live up to the occasion and find out what it’s about? The job description doesn’t say that you have to have sex with all customers coming along, right?”
Michael pushed the door open and went for the small café on second floor. On the stairs, he turned. Lester almost bumped into him. “Listen, this isn’t just for the fun of it. I’ve never done anything like that before. Live another man’s life and forget what I am while I play handyman or whatever—convincingly. And still keep my eyes open and break into basements, rooms and what else more, I don’t know, and keep my cover. And I just don’t like everybody assuming—and that includes Patch—that I’m into casual sex! He’s using this against me!”
“Wait a minute, pal, are you afraid of ruining the job or of having too many women on your heels?”
“Can the mockery.” Michael ran a hand through his already tousled hair, thinking. Lester was the only guy he was honest with to the bone. “You know what I did so far. Short time ops, going here one day and being on another location two days later. It wasn’t a lie that I’ve never worked undercover the way Patch demands!”
“Hum, Miranda’s reply wasn’t that bad either. Ah, right, right,” Lester hastened to add when Michael turned with an angry glare. He followed him upstairs. “She was wrong in a certain way, but that doesn’t matter now. Bellard trusts you. Hey, that’s more important than you think! And you did a good job so far. I mean, you were excellent, even got a handshake from the great white chief. Listen, if you were dumb they’d have had your ass in a basket long ago.”
Still, Michael’s face didn’t lighten up. He thought of a vice and him in between. He couldn’t even name a time when this would be over!
“Concentrate on what’s important. You’ll get a complete new history, and then you get employed as a handyman. Piece o’ cake. Right, Mighty?”
“Maybe, yes.”
“That’s the right attitude!”
Michael shot his friend a short-lived, lopsided grin. “Who knows what they search for? Maybe I don’t fit their profile and they look for an old man with gray hair.”
They reached the café. Michael greeted two ladies who gave him bright, shining glances usually reserved for film stars. One of them lowered her eyes and blushed.
“Hell, then they would’ve taken George, that old dork. No, no, you’ve got all qualifications needed.” Lester smiled at the same two ladies, but they turned to their coffee mugs instead. He sighed. Maybe he should do something about his portly figure. “Why don’t you just let it flow? You’re predestined for that job! And I don’t mean it the way Patch might’ve meant it. If he meant it like that.”
They got two mugs with steaming coffee. Michael was still angry and had trouble keeping his voice low. “Bellard sends me because he thinks that I will sleep with everyone getting close to me. That’s the main reason! He assumes that it would be easy for me to sell my body. Like…swimming for others.”
* * * *
Lester’s brows twitched. Rumor had it that Michael had been in more beds than a traveling salesman, but Lester wasn’t willing to believe it. Given his own scarce success with women, he would have been too jealous to breathe.
They sat down. Michael lit a cigarette while Lester warmed his hands on the mug. His voice was sincere. “I think you shouldn’t just look at that more-than-escort-service thingy. Concentrate on surveillance. How many employees? From which countries? Asia? Middle East? And what about that brother-in-law? Does he do crooked jobs? How does he earn money? What’s his task on the premises?”
Michael sipped coffee and shook his head. “Bellard expects me to get closer to Lady Summerston. She’s the key to all of this. I’m sure of that.”
Lester nodded emphatically. “Then that’s what you’ll do. Don’t underestimate yourself, Mighty. You’ve not been trained for nothing.”
“Training, yeah. What good it will do.”
“Do you know something about plumbing?”

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