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Strolling down the busy downtown street, Tania Pelligrini swayed her hips in their tight leather pants. Her stiletto sandals clicked along the sidewalk, their laces tied in neat little bows just above her heels. Bright red nail polish gleamed from her toes in the same shade that shone on her perfectly manicured fingernails. Long tawny hair, swept up into an untidy ponytail, curled tendrils of silk around the sharp features of her face. Her ample bosom, barely contained in the short-sleeved stretch top, bounced enticingly with every step.
Keeping her chin tilted down, she looked up through long lashes and smiled coyly at every man she passed. Whistles filled the air as she passed a construction zone and she waved and grinned at the men leaning from the beams to look their fill. A woman pulled a little girl from her path and scorn crossed Tania's face. She had no disease the child would catch. Except joy in her own sexuality. And that, Tania wished for the little girl with all her heart.
During business hours, Tania dressed with the decorum expected of one who worked in a prestigious law firm, even if she was a lowly research assistant. The pay was good, the hours predictable and at the age of thirty-five, Tania had no aspirations to change her career. The lawyers in the firm treated her well and she got along with them all. From the custodian to the head lawyer affectionately known as the Old Man, all knew her name and she knew theirs.
Except today was Saturday and Tania was horny. With no one special in her life, she hadn't had sex in almost a year. Long ago she had decided that dating coworkers was too messy when things didn't work out and sometimes even when they did. She enjoyed her independence. No one's sensitive ego to tiptoe around, no one's schedule to have to match. No one she had to prod into action when she was in the mood.
What had happened to all the "take charge" kind of guys? Had the women's movement succeeded in bleeding all the life out of men?
No, she was better off alone even if it meant taking her pleasure by herself. She'd lost count of the late-night sessions she had with the variety of toys she had purchased to keep herself occupied. For a long time, the toys had satisfied her. They didn't talk back or walk out on you, even though she did need to clean up after them and feed them batteries every once in a while. She grinned at the thought and added a lilt to her step.
Unfortunately, the motor had burned out of her favorite toy two weeks ago. And while she knew she could go buy another one, Tania just didn't have the urge. She wanted more than what her toys could offer.
And so this morning, after dressing for fun, Tania had headed out her apartment door and aimed for downtown. The malls provided better shopping for the masses, but tucked away in the corners of the city were shops infinitely more interesting than the mass-market offerings of the suburban malls. With no agenda in mind other than doing a little shopping and striking up a conversation with the first handsome man she found, Tania sauntered along the street.
Jim Delaney had no idea what was about to hit him. His fortieth birthday loomed not too far away and he'd been waking up feeling his age more and more every day. He ate right, visited the gym three times a week and biked to work in addition to his daily regimen of exercise and a three-mile walk. In spite of all this, his body still protested when he forced it out of bed each morning.
He changed his walking route every day, as much for variety as for other reasons. Although his old girlfriend had finally stopped stalking him, threatening retribution for her own guilty interest in kinky sex, Jim still chose not to settle into a routine she could count on. Currently dressed in khaki walking shorts and a white T-shirt, Jim's physique made him the envy of his friends and turned the heads of many women on the street. No paunch hung over his belt, no flab gathered under his chin. Trim and fit with just a touch of gray at the temples in his otherwise black hair, Jim's sexy appearance called to mind the predator of the boardroom, a place he thrived.
The fact that he had inherited his company from his father didn't take away from his accomplishments since taking the helm. He'd expanded their market while keeping both the products' and the company's integrity. For that, his male employees admired him. His female employees adored him. He knew that women primped and preened when he walked by, but his attention was never more than polite. How could he ever explain to a modern-day woman that his sexual interests were politically incorrect? His last foray had proven disastrous.
This Saturday, Jim chose a route that would take him through a quiet section of downtown rather than the more residential areas. With no one special in his life right now, he found himself in need of some company, even though he had adopted a scruffy appearance for the day. He hadn't shaved and he had let the summer wind dry his hair any way it wanted to. His purposeful walk led him along the secondary streets preferred by the city's native pedestrians and into some of the busier neighborhoods.
A sociable man by nature, he didn't subscribe to the attitude held by so many city people. He looked people in the eye as he passed them, knowing only a few would meet his gaze to make a small connection in the sea of people surrounding them. Men more than women returned his glance, which did not surprise him. Over the years he discovered women tended to shield themselves, cloak their bodies in invisible armor to keep strange men at bay. Not that he blamed them. Too many lunatics out there on the street. Playing it safe was totally understandable. But there was no reason he couldn't look and appreciate the beauty of the women he passed.
The smile in his eyes remained as he passed a woman and her little girl. The woman stared straight ahead, as if her eyes could bore a hole that would tunnel the two of them straight to their destination. The little girl's manner was still innocent and untrained, however. She looked around her with the curiosity given to the very young. Her eyes met Jim's and she smiled up at him, revealing a pretty smile that was all the better for the missing two front teeth.
Jim winked at her as they passed and his heart lightened. As long as there were children in the world, there was hope. A sappy thought, but one that sustained him when the mother gave him a dirty look and sniffed. He wished happiness on the child as he continued his brisk walk.
A small café, its four tiny tables nestled under an oversized awning, beckoned to Tania's thirst. Surrounded by a low wrought iron railing, the café would give her respite from her heels, yet still allow her to watch the passersby. It was just too charming to pass up.
Entering the outside enclave, she took the last available table. Using one painted wrought iron chair for her packages, she sank into the other, leaning back with a grateful sigh. Smiling cheerfully at the older but still handsome waiter, she gave him the once-over and accompanying nod of approval before ordering water with lemon.
Her morning had been productive. One small shop, run by a woman from India, produced a beautiful sleeveless silk dress that would go wonderfully with the flat sandals she found in a Moroccan shop. Just two shops down from the café, she'd found a lingerie shop but, after considerable window shopping, did not go in. She had no one to buy sexy things for.
The thought distressed her only a little. Her sister married early and soon gave Tania nieces to dote on. Perhaps someday she would like a family of her own, but for right now, she found being the favorite aunt was actually a role she very much enjoyed. It let her play the heroine when she offered to take the kids for the weekend so Sarah and Rob could have some time together. And on Sunday night, she could give the kids back.
Leaning back with a contented sigh, she took in the view. Tourists and businessmen in their professional attitudes would never find this little out-of-the-way side street. Just the locals knew and populated it with their diversity. Across the street, an older, established Greek market vied for customers with the new Korean market just moved in next door. Shouts in Greek and Korean mingled with the languages of Mexico and Indonesia. Somehow a French café seemed to fit right in with the polyglot cacophony.
And into the mix walked a tiger. Jim Delaney's unshaven appearance did not hide his controlled demeanor, nor his obvious enjoyment of the life that teemed around him. His step, almost cocky in nature, bounced him into Tania's line of sight, and her breath caught in a way it hadn't in quite some time. So when Jim's gaze roved over the patrons of the café, Tania made sure their eyes met.
The striking woman's eyes did not fall or look away. Instead they held a challenge and Jim paused on the sidewalk to smile back at her. His mind filtered through his acquaintances and came up empty. Besides, that smile was a come-hither look if ever he'd seen one. And he was a sucker for those tendrils of dark golden hair that curled around her face.
A waiter approached her table, being sure to lean in to get the full effect of the woman's low-cut top. She rewarded him with a smile and a straightening of her shoulders, flicking her glance back toward him to see if he might also like a closer look.
Jim grinned at the woman's obvious flirtation and it appealed to his ego. Giving her a once-over of his own, he noted the stilettos and the tight pants. The table blocked his view of her waist, but it didn't matter. Her other attributes were presented for display and he liked a woman with ample breasts.
By the time his gaze returned to her face, lust had settled in his groin. Probably a hooker, he decided, then shrugged. He wasn't one to turn down an afternoon's delight just because he would have to pay for it. And his libido could use a good workout, even if it came from a professional. It had been far too long since he had gotten what he wanted from a woman. Another glance around the tables showed only one empty chair, fortuitously the one that held the sexy woman's packages.
The sexy beast sauntered into the shade of the café, casting an inquiring glance in her direction. She nodded and sat up, removing the bags from the chair beside her. Tania watched, intrigued by the bulge in his pants as the tall, handsome stranger pulled the chair closer to hers as he sat.
Tania liked the way his look covered her entire body and she tilted her head to smile at him, almost demure in her own appreciation of his appearance. No beard to tickle her when he kissed her, she noted...only a little weekend scruff. Cunning dimples that played hide-and-seek in his cheeks. Dark hair long enough to tousle and hold on to in passion, and deep blue eyes that twinkled even in the shade of the café awning.
The breeze tossed his scent in her direction she inhaled deeply, trying him out. A light cologne greeted her, mixed with the perspiration of a walk in the sun. Leaning forward to give him a close-up view of what he'd ogled from the street, she put her hand out in introduction.
"Hi, I'm Tania. Looks like you could use a glass of water."
"Jim Delaney." Decorum dictated that he simply shake her hand and then release her. But her fingers were cool as they wrapped around his and he held it for a moment longer than he would have in polite society. His eyes were again drawn to her breasts, their rounded hills glimmering with a slight sheen in the heat of the day.
"May I take your order, sir?"
Jim barely glanced up at the waiter's abrupt tone. "Water with a lime twist. And then a menu, please."
"Two menus." Tania looked up at the waiter through her lashes and smiled at him. "Please."
Almost tripping over himself, the waiter hurried off to comply.
Oh, she was good, Jim thought to himself as he watched the old man turn into a puddle of jelly. There was another who would willingly pay for the privilege of seeing more of the sexy woman who now turned her attention back to him and smiled.
"Glorious day, isn't it?"
"It is." Now that he sat beside her, he noted the tight leather and tall heels. Weren't those the kind called "fuck me" shoes?
Jim considered the direct approach, but then shied away from it when a uniformed patrol officer strolled by on the sidewalk outside the small fence that separated the café from the passing traffic. Narrowing his eyes, he considered whether she might be setting him up.
"So tell me, Tania. What's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" He smiled after delivering the corny line and Tania laughed. It was a pleasant sound, he decided. And he liked the way her eyes crinkled at the corners when she found something funny.
"Just resting my feet. Shade and a seat are a necessity after an exhausting morning of shopping." With an exaggerated motion toward her packages and an overacted sigh, she met his levity, then raised the stakes. "And what's a handsome man like you doing in a neighborhood like this?"
Tania leaned forward on the table, resting her chin in her hand and giving him a full view of her cleavage.
Jim's eyes fell toward her breasts before he glanced up at her again. No blush painted her cheeks, only a coy smile and an invitation in her eyes. For a moment he was discomfited. While women often flirted with him, they were never quite so transparent. And Jim's tastes in sexual activity weren't every woman's cup of tea. Was she truly up to what he thought she was up to? His cock, semihard and beginning to be a bit uncomfortable, certainly voted in her favor.
While Jim still considered his answer, the waiter returned with water and menus, and the question was forgotten as they spent the next several minutes perusing the choices, exchanging small talk about what might be good and discovering neither of them had ever visited this café before. "Fate" Tania called it. "Fortuitous" Jim thought.
The waiter took their orders and disappeared again into the cool recesses of the small restaurant, leaving them to find the threads of their mutual flirtation. Tania reclined in her chair, once more leaning against the heart-shaped back, stretching her legs under the table at an angle to his.
Jim turned to face her, leaning his arm on the back of his chair, ignoring the way the hard, thin metal bit into his skin. Easing his hips, he allowed his cock more room, noting Tania's eyes taking him in. Even though still constrained by the material of his walking shorts, Jim was not a small man. When his college roommate had given him the nickname "Big Jim", it hadn't been because of the width of his muscular shoulders.
Stretched before him, Tania's body was a feast for his eyes and Jim ate up the sight. Her long, slender legs, cased in skintight black leather, led to full hips accentuated by a narrow waist, tightly belted. As his gaze lingered on the curves of her blouse, lust bloomed in his cock and he gave it full rein. This hooker was certainly a looker, as the guys in college used to say. And a hooker would accept his need to dominate her in the bedroom without all the feminist angst that other women seemed to have. The thought of stripping the tight clothes from her and pinning her under him as he ravaged her body with his touch brought his cock to full and uncomfortable hardness in the confines of his walking shorts.
Tania saw him growing, and grinned openly. She loved having that effect on men. This one was hooked. Now all she had to do was decide whether to keep him or throw him back. If he recognized she was more than just a great body, she would play the line a little longer before deciding whether to land him or not. And she did like that little touch of gray at his temples. Very sexy.
"So do you walk this way often?" Tania almost winced at the banality of the question that popped out of her mouth, but the idiotic question was already between them. Instead she grinned, letting him know she knew the question was lame.
"No, rarely, in fact. I take a different route each day." Toasting her with his water glass, he downed the entire contents in one long, thirsty pull.
Tania sat, mesmerized by the way his Adam's apple bobbed up and down as he drank the entire glass of ice-cold water. The perspiration that had clung to his brow when he first sat down was rapidly evaporating in the shade. Tania glanced down at his cock. Still as hard as ever. She resisted the urge to reach over and feel if it was real.
The waiter brought the salads they'd ordered and Tania did not miss the dirty look he gave to Jim as he set the plate in front of her new acquaintance. All smiles for her, the waiter gave one last venomous glance at Jim before disappearing into the cool interior of the café.
Tania laughed out loud. "You might want to switch salads with me. I think the waiter has it in for you."
Jim's grin, rueful and dimpled, played about his lips as he answered her. "Something tells me I can take him on. Or would you rather I not provoke a brawl in the name of your beauty?"
"Oh, it's getting deep in here!" Tania laughed and a woman from the table beside her flicked an envious glance in her direction. "But keep it coming, I like your compliments."
Over their salads, the two talked of nothing of consequence and everything of importance. She discovered his favorite color was light blue and she told him hers was deep purple. She liked seafood, he liked steak. He preferred the arcade and she preferred the roller coaster.
Jim decided Tania couldn't be more opposite to his own tastes, yet was still drawn to her overt sexiness. All through lunch, Tania's eyes remained focused on him as if he were the most important man she had ever met. Only the waiter ever got her attention, and in increasingly smaller increments. The salads were done, the check would come soon. If he wanted her for the rest of the afternoon, it was time to make his move.
"Tania, I would like to spend more time with you. Do you have any plans for today?"
Her smile deepened into a lopsided grin and she gave him her best Mae West imitation. "What did you have in mind, big boy?" Leaning forward, she rested her hand on his bare thigh, caressing the soft, dark hairs with the backs of her fingers.
Jim reached up and played idly with one of her loose strands of hair, curling it around his finger and pulling her face closer to his. Deliberately, he kissed those teasing lips, inhaling the scent of her perfume. And when he was done, he released her almost casually, leaning back in his chair to sip from the water the waiter had replenished. "That's what I had in mind, sexy."
"Oh, I like your style. I do, very much." Tania almost purred. That kiss had left her almost breathless. Playing with her toys would never be the same again.
The waiter came with the bill on a small tray and pointedly placed it beside Jim's plate. Without even glancing at it, Jim pulled a credit card from his wallet and placed it on top of the bill. As Tania started to protest, Jim held up his hand and motioned to the waiter to take care of the matter. With a small look of triumph, the waiter stalked off, bill and card in hand.
"Jim, you shouldn't pay for my lunch."
"Why not? Meeting you and sharing your table was an unexpected pleasure today. And I'm hoping to have more of your company this afternoon." The last time Jim had been in the company of a hooker had been over a decade ago and he couldn't remember if he had bought her dinner first or not. Whatever the etiquette, he was about to get laid and he was sure it was worth far more than the price of a lunch salad.
Tania smiled. "I'd like to have more of your company, too. But that's beside the point."
"What is the point?"
That stopped her. For the life of her, Tania could not think of a single reason why he shouldn't offer to pay for her lunch. And this guy had been pretty quick with the card the waiter now returned. Was he rich?
Not that it mattered. She had no illusions about what Jim wanted. The man wanted sex and that was fine with her. The feeling was mutual. Her foray into the city looked like it was about to pay off.
"Walk me home?" Tania reached for the bags she had accumulated in her morning's foray through some of the neighborhood's more interesting shops, but Jim beat her to them. With a gallant flourish, he lifted them and extended his hand to her as if she were the Queen of England. Grinning, she accepted his hand, slipping into a royal pose and smoothly weaving her way through the café's occupied tables.
Tania kept her eyes down and the coy smile on her lips as she sashayed down the crowded street, a man at her side to carry her packages. What was that old film where the man took the packages from the woman and showed her how to walk and get men's attention? Easter Parade, that was it. Tilting her chin up and putting on her best Judy Garland face, she enjoyed every glance, stare and ogle.
Continuing to flirt with Jim as they made their way back to her apartment, Tania found herself more and more intrigued by the tall man beside her. With each passing step, her attention became less and less focused on those they passed and more and more focused on the man beside her. This one had the makings of a real keeper.
All too soon they came to the brick building that was home for her. While they'd walked, Tania debated how to play this one. Invite him up now and she might never see him again. Play him out too long and he would disappear forever. She paused at the door of the building, giving him a long look, starting at his sneakers and working all the way up as if considering just what she was going to do with him.
Jim let her look. Turnabout was fair play after all, and he had certainly looked at her long enough. There was no way she could miss his cock, hard and becoming painfully so, in the tightness of his walking shorts.
"Well, thank you for lunch and for the escort home, Mr. Delaney." Tania's voice purred with invitation.
"It was my honor, Miss Tania. I had a very pleasant time." He took a step toward her, his voice dropping to a murmur. "And I would love to continue that pleasant time."
"Mmm...you would, would you? And how would you like to continue that?" Ostensibly retrieving her bags, her hand closed over his.
"Oh, I'm sure we could think of something." He nuzzled her hair, inhaling the scent of her perfume. Her hand brushed against his cock and he gasped.
His cock was larger than she expected and Tania's knees grew weak. Praying that he knew how to use it, she brushed her fingers over his cock again, deciding she didn't want to wait. She wanted him now. Tipping her face up toward him, she invited his kiss.
He obliged her, brushing his fingers over her breast as he raised his hand to her face. The feel of a very hard nipple was a temptation he did not wish to miss. Mentally going through the cash in his wallet, he wondered if he had enough for more than a quickie. Just what did hookers charge these days?
"So what's your fee?" he murmured into her hair.
"What?" He missed the sharpness in her tone that should have warned him.
"I don't want to shortchange you." The apricot scent of her hair filled his senses as he nuzzled along the back of her ear.
The woman in his arms froze. Standing very still, her voice was sweet and deadly.
"Tell me, Jim. What do you think I charge for?"
Still befuddled by the nearness, his cock throbbing with need, he blindly stepped into the abyss. "Sex, of course."
"So you think I'm a hooker?" Her smile of steel did not waver.
The question threw him off guard and he stepped back, confusion clouding his thoughts. The set of her jaw and the flash of controlled anger in her eyes further confused him and he stammered an answer. "Well, you are, aren't you? I mean..." His gaze took in her tight blouse and the twin delights barely hidden there. He didn't need to gesture to the tight leather pants. Who else would dress this way on a Saturday afternoon but a hooker looking for a john?
"Thank you for a nice lunch, Mr. Delaney. Go away."
Tania turned on her stiletto heel and slid her card through the magnetic lock on the outside of the apartment building. Tears stung her eyes, but she would not let them fall in front of him. How could he think that? Just because a girl liked to look sexy didn't mean she did it for a living.
"Tania, wait, I didn't mean, well, that is..." He fumbled, trying to understand what had just happened.
"Yes, you did, Mr. Delaney. Goodbye." She let the door shut in his face. So she liked to show off her figure and she liked it when men appreciated it. What right did that give him to jump to conclusions? Anger at his assumption warred with the hurt caused by his question.
Walking quickly, she made it up the inside stairs to her apartment and just inside before she broke into heartbroken sobs.
Copyright © 2005 by Diana Hunter