Pleasure for Pleasure, страница 1
Josie tied the scarf around Trent’s eyes
“Is that really necessary?” he asked.
“Absolutely. When vision is impaired, the other senses are heightened. And I told you not to ask questions.”
“I thought all teachers liked curious stu—” She cut him off with a soft, slow kiss. And then she was gone. A moment later he heard a slow jazz tune start to play, heard the barely audible fall of her footsteps on the carpet coming back to him. He could see her in his mind, wearing the sexy black lace bustier and garter belt. The image was almost more tantalizing than the real thing.
She unbuttoned his shirt, opened his jeans. Trent let out a soft groan when her hand brushed him.
Her breath tickled his neck, and then she whispered, “Do you like it when I touch you there?”
“Yes,” he said, his voice strained. “I do.”
She slid her hand down his thigh, and back up, continued up his belly to his chest. She pulled aside his shirt and her hair brushed against him as she trailed kisses up his chest to his neck, her hand once again drifting south, lightly teasing.
Trent gasped and let his head fall back.
“Do you want me to touch you…more?”
I once saw a scene on a TV show where the heroine gets even with a guy who had done her wrong by seducing him out of his clothes and then kicking him out of her car before driving away. I thought it was a funny scene, but I couldn’t help reimagining it. What if he hadn’t done anything to deserve such treatment? What if she had a reason for driving away besides revenge? And what if the two would-be lovers met again a few years later, with their own agendas—his being revenge and hers being seduction?
That is how Pleasure for Pleasure, my first Harlequin Blaze novel, was born. I had great fun writing this story of sensual revenge and its many unexpected side effects. And only in Blaze could those side effects be so steamy!
Josie and Trent’s story is set in San Francisco—a city of romance and possibilities. San Francisco holds a special place in my heart. My husband proposed to me there, and we’ve shared many memorable moments in the city since then. I hope Trent and Josie’s romance touches you, makes you laugh and inspires you to find your own romantic spot to share with someone special.
I love to hear from readers, so write and tell me what you think of Pleasure for Pleasure. You can reach me via my Web site, www.jamiesobrato.com, or you can write to me care of Harlequin Enterprises Ltd., 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario M3B 3K9, Canada.
Books by Jamie Sobrato
911—SOME LIKE IT SIZZLING
PLEASURE FOR PLEASURE
To my mother, Sherry Bush, for instilling in me a love of reading that grew into a love of writing
DOGS…DOLLS…DONUTS…but no Dominatrixes? Josie Marcus flipped through the D section of the Yellow Pages again to make sure she hadn’t missed anything, maybe a tiny listing that read, “For Dominatrixes, see Erotic Service Professionals.” She scanned the pages more carefully. No, nothing.
Now she had no idea where else to find a last-minute guest speaker on the topic of Introductory S&M. Her scheduled dominatrix had just canceled, leaving her with twenty-four hours to fill a slot, or face dropping yet another seminar from the already spotty schedule. There had been a Rolodex full of phone numbers for past speakers at the Lovers for Life Center, but last week the center’s resident cat, Eros, had decided to use it as his own desktop litter box, and now said Rolodex was in the garbage.
Two months running the center and Josie was only driving it deeper into financial ruin. Taking over her mother’s business had been a huge mistake. Josie was a marriage counselor, not a sex therapist, and she didn’t have her mother’s vast experience in the subject, either. She also didn’t know squat about running a business, but her mother had begged, and Josie had given in, as usual.
She’d been wanting to come back home to San Francisco anyway, and a year of counseling about-to-divorce couples had skewed her perspective enough to believe that leading seminars with titles such as “Fifty Ways to Drive Him Wild” might be fun.
Josie stared at her discussion notes and tried not to think about the fact that in a matter of minutes she would have to talk about multiple orgasms like an expert when she’d never even encountered the mythical phenomenon herself. The elderly attendees of the seminar about to start, “Reawakening the Goddess: Great Sex After Sixty,” were going to eat her alive.
Noise from the busy street outside invaded the lobby as the front door opened, and Josie looked up from the registration counter to see Miriam MacAfee, a long-time attendee of the center’s seminars, heading straight for her. She had that purposeful look in her eye that people always get when they’re about to scrub the toilet or offer advice. She stopped on the other side of the registration counter and placed one liver-spotted hand on top of Josie’s.
“Is your mother coming back soon, dear?”
“Hi, Mrs. MacAfee. I’m afraid not. She’s planning to stay in Prague until next year.”
“That’s a shame. The center just isn’t the same without her.”
“Tell me about it.”
“You’re doing a fine job, though,” she said, studying Josie closely.
“You just seem a little uptight.” She leaned forward and dropped her voice to a whisper. “Having a bit of a drought?”
“Your sex life, honey. Is it all dried up?” She gave Josie’s hand a reassuring squeeze.
Josie’s face burned. Was Miriam MacAfee, seventy-year-old piano teacher, really asking her about her sex life? Could this get any more bizarre?
“It’s okay. I understand.”
“Oh, sure. Your professional reputation hinges on your having a frisky sex life.”
“It does?” Boy, was she ever in trouble.
“And it’s embarrassing to a young girl like you to admit things aren’t happening in bed. But let me tell you, once you get to be my age, you learn there’s no shame in needing a good roll in the hay.”
“Hmm.” Josie set aside the phone book and made a show of studying her class roster.
Miriam leaned over the counter and peered at the class discussion notes Josie had set aside. “Looks like we’ll be having quite a discussion tonight. Have you had any practical experience with multiple orgasms?”
“Oh, dear, you haven’t, have you?”
“Actually, I’m very familiar with the subject,” she lied.
Great, she might as well sew a scarlet L for loser on her chest, if near-strangers were able to look at her and see that it had been far too long since her last sexual encounter. Maybe if she formally announced her problem, some willing male would take pity on her and turn her into a well-sexed woman. She already possessed the intellectual knowledge of sex to talk like a woman of experience, but what she needed was the action to back it up.
And now she had no idea how she was going to conduct tonight’s seminar wondering if the entire class could tell by looking at her that she desperately needed to get laid.
Desperately was the
Miriam finished nosing through the class discussion notes and gave Josie an apologetic grin. “I’m being quite the pest, aren’t I?”
“Not at all.”
“I just hate to see a young woman like you not having the time of her life, that’s all.” She patted Josie’s hand and wandered over to a group of women chatting near the window.
Several more students filed in the front door and gathered in the reception area, talking and laughing. Josie counted gray and silver heads. Six, seven, eight, nine—that meant all attendees were present and she could begin the seminar anytime now. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. The idea of discussing sensual lubricants and unreliable erections with a group of grandmothers didn’t exactly sit well with Josie, but here she was. Too late to back out now.
She’d left San Francisco precisely to avoid this kind of humiliation. In fact, the Lovers for Life Center was one of the main reasons Josie had fled the city after college. She’d wanted to establish a life of her own far away from her mother’s scandalous reputation in the psychological community, and she’d hoped to distance herself from sex therapy.
So much for distance.
“Okay, ladies. If you’ll find yourselves a seat in the class area, we can get started.”
Every client present was a regular at the center, so they automatically headed for the comfortable circle of armchairs that made up the formal classroom. For more hands-on classes, or if the students just preferred it, a floor area with mats and pillows was also set up for seminars, but these women weren’t interested in getting themselves to and from the floor.
Josie shuffled through her class notes, suddenly feeling panicked. They were going to eat her alive. Miriam MacAfee was right; she had no sex life. How could she speak knowledgeably about sex to women who’d already spent a lifetime building their knowledge and experience?
Her intellectual understanding of sex would have to be good enough. Her mother had started teaching her about the birds and the bees before most girls had even thought of putting Barbie and Ken dolls in scandalous positions. Josie understood the chemistry of sexual arousal the way some women understood how to throw together a perfect dinner or to match up a great outfit. She knew what made an unforgettable sexual experience.
Intellectually, anyway. But sex wasn’t the kind of thing you could simply study in a book.
She glanced out the front picture window at a passing cable car and briefly contemplated escaping, running away to some place where no one had ever heard of the Lovers for Life Center or her mother, Rafaela Marcus. No time for fantasies though; she had nine frisky grandmas waiting to talk sex.
Josie went to the seminar area and took her seat in the circle of chairs. The murmurs of conversation stopped and silence filled the room.
She cleared her throat, sat up straight in her chair, and began. “Sensual lubricants. Necessary evil, or the easy way in?”
THE SIGN IN THE WINDOW of the Lovers for Life Center read, Finding Your Inner Orgasm: Learn To Make Loud And Lusty Love A Reality In Your Life! Sign Up Now For Classes.” Trent O’Reilly had seen quite a few weird topics advertised on that sign over the years, but this was definitely one of the most bizarre.
Only in San Francisco could a sex school exist without anyone batting an eye. Trent knew the owner, had even grown up with her daughter Josie, although she was another matter.
Dr. Rafaela Marcus was a local celebrity in her own right, and she’d turned her school for the sexually impaired into a San Francisco landmark. Trent had never liked the idea of giving directions to his own sporting goods store by saying it was right next door to a place called the Lovers for Life Center.
He peered in the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of Josie Marcus. No luck. The lobby was empty. A class was probably in session, but he had no idea when it would let out, and he wanted to catch Josie before she left the building. Trent had avoided an unpleasant task for too long. He couldn’t put it off any longer.
But his feet remained frozen in place. He never had been able to resist Josie, and he couldn’t help worrying that now would be no different. She was, after all, still the object of his erotic fantasies, still the girl he’d grown up chasing but never catching. What if nothing had changed?
No, that was just crazy thinking. Everything had changed since that night three years ago. That Ocean Beach fiasco had marked the last time he would ever be a fool for Josie again.
Trent glared across the sidewalk at his car, parked at the curb. Fueling his resolve to face up to Josie and to demand the back rent was the brand-new dent he’d spotted a few minutes ago on the formerly pristine pearl-white bumper of his Porsche.
A dent with traces of red paint. And a foot away sat the bumper of the offending vehicle. An all-too-familiar red Saab convertible with enough body damage to suggest the owner was a lousy driver, as he knew Josie was. She was especially lousy at parallel parking, he remembered from the time in high school when she’d parallel parked right up onto a curb and into the window of a Thai restaurant.
Trent entered the Lovers for Life Center and surveyed the reception area, a gathering of overstuffed purple-velvet chairs and love seats. The entire place was done up in pale birch wood and shades of purple, a color Rafaela must have determined was conducive to sex talk.
Beyond the reception area, there was a registration desk and a library area of books and videos to one side. Trent wandered over and glanced at the spines of the books, titles such as Every Woman’s Fantasy and The Language of Lovers catching his eye. Just past the library he could see the main classroom, beyond which there was a smaller classroom and a door marked Office down the hallway toward the back of the building.
Trent perked his ears up to listen to the seminar in session. Okay, so maybe he shouldn’t be eavesdropping on people’s sex problems, but he’d always wondered about the details of what went on here.
“…and multiple orgasms are still certainly achievable.”
Laughter from the class. Someone commented on her husband not being aware of such a thing. Then another woman spoke up to offer her experience on the subject.
Hey, Trent had experiences to offer on the subject, too. He imagined the reaction his popping into a class in session might elicit in Josie. Grinning, he headed for the classroom.
Just as he reached the doorway, Josie was saying, “How many of you here feel as if your partners have less sex drive than…” Her voice trailed off when she spotted him standing at the back of the room. Her face instantly lost its color. “…you do?”
Murmurs, several titters from the students, all of whom were female, sitting in a circle of chairs, and old enough to be his grandmother.
What the hell was going on? This wasn’t the crowd he usually saw wandering into the center.
Trent was beginning to regret his decision to pop in on the class in session when he caught the look of pure panic on Josie’s face.
The sight of her live and in person, only twenty feet away, made his stomach drop to his feet. It had been too long; it hadn’t been long enough. She both repelled him and attracted him with some mysterious force he couldn’t resist.
And damn if she still didn’t turn him on.
She looked even better than before—and she’d been a knock-out back then. Her wavy blond hair was shorter now, falling to her shoulders in a professional-woman sort of style. It made her look grown up, and inexplicably the thought of Josie the Tease being a woman now got him hard. The curves beneath her black suit were more grown-up, too, soft-and-naked-in-bed grown-up.
He shouldn’t be thinking such thoughts. This was how she always lured him in. But not again.
“I—I’m sorry, no visitors allowed in this class,” Josie said.
He considered slipping out gracefully, but a plump woman with frizzy white hair spoke up.
“Aw, come on, let the young stud stay. We could use a male perspective on this topic.”
“Yeah, let him stay,” someone else called out.
Trent flashed a weak grin. Talking sex with a roomful of grandmas was about as far as he could get from his idea of a good time. He was suddenly feeling like a bumbling schoolboy for reasons that had nothing to do with the presence of his childhood playmate or her maddening sex appeal.
But if staying meant driving Josie any crazier, he was all for it, and she looked as if she’d just swallowed a bowling ball. Perfect.
“Everyone in the group would have to agree to having a guest present.” Josie paused, apparently waiting for a voice of protest. “Please raise your hand if you’d like him to stay.”
All of the women raised their hands, and Josie shot Trent a menacing glare. “It looks like you can stay. Our topic is how women over the age of sixty can maintain an exciting sex life. I’m sure you’ll be intrigued.”
So maybe he didn’t have much to offer on the subject, but he took an empty seat near the door anyway and settled in to watch Josie squirm. Collecting the rent was turning out to be a hell of a lot more interesting than he’d imagined.
“Okay, who can share solutions you’ve found to reinvigorate your partner’s interest?” Josie asked, her voice almost imperceptibly shaky.
A woman to the left spoke up. “I once dressed myself up in nothing but the sports pages. Problem was, once he got the newspaper off of me, he sat down to read it and I fell asleep.”