‘I own you,’ he says possessively. ‘You’re mine to do with as I please.’ Then he pins me on the bed and I watch with even wider eyes as he takes off his trousers and steps out of his boxers, a truly magnificent creature.

I stare at his c**k with fascination. It is thicker than my wrist and huge. Will it fit inside me? He picks up a condom by the bedside, tears it open, and puts it on. Then he bends over me, opens my legs and stares at my opened, freshly waxed pu**y. I feel my body tremble with anticipation.

‘What a beauty you are.’ He runs his fingers along the slit of flesh. It opens out further. ‘Like the petals of a pink flower,’ he purrs.

I flush with excitement.

‘Soaking wet.’ He takes his fingers out and puts them in his mouth. ‘And as I expected: sweet.’

My heart is hammering in my chest.

‘You want this too,’ he says so softly I have to strain to hear him. ‘As much as me.’ And I realize that he is right: I do. I want him as much as he wants me. I want from him what I have never wanted from any other man. I want him inside me, stretching me, possessing me.

I stare transfixed at his angrily throbbing, erect dick. I want all of that inside me. My hands come up and touch it. Rock hard but silky.

That small and tentative response from me drives him over the edge. ‘Sorry,’ he grates suddenly. ‘I just can’t do foreplay this time.’

He put his hands on either side of me and plunges into me. The shock of his sudden entry makes me cry out in pain. He hurt me. A lot.

He freezes. The ferocious lust is wiped away from his eyes. ‘Fuck,’ he swears, and pulls out of me.

I cannot help it. Tears well up in my eyes and escape down the sides of my temples. Ashamed to the core, I close my eyes.

‘Why didn’t you tell me?’

‘You didn’t ask,’ I sniff, feeling incredibly stupid.

His hard length shifts and he sits facing away from me. ‘It will be better next time,’ he says, and without touching me or attempting to comfort me, stands and begins to dress. Rejected and defeated, I watch his strong V-shaped back, the beautifully proportioned bu**ocks, and the columns of his muscular legs as he shrugs into his shirt. He buttons it as he walks to the door.

He cannot wait to get away from me.

It is obvious that I am a great disappointment to him. I should have asked Billie for some lessons on how to pleasure a man. Instead I have lain there like a pillow and then worse still, I screamed when he entered me. I cover my cheeks with my hands. Oh, the shame of it. And this was what I saved up for. A fine mistress I was going to make. I hear the door close and I am all alone in that stupendous apartment.

Blake Law Barrington

I punch the button on the elevator and curse audibly. I am in a state of shock. It is unbelievable, but I never suspected that air of untouched innocence was not cultivated. I pull my hand down my cheek to my chin. I should never have been so rough. I treated her like a common prostitute.

Strange how badly I want to go back into that darkened bedroom and to kiss that trembling mouth. How much I want to wipe away those tears, take her in my arms and hold her until she falls asleep. But a larger part of me hates the way I feel. The sick pull she has on me irritates and angers me.

It is unnatural. I have been with hundreds of women, some as beautiful, and others sexually accomplished, but none of them have done this to me. I don’t want to feel for her. I am glad I have left her body. Away from her essence I can think rationally.

Still I shouldn’t have done what I did.

I got carried away and lost myself in what seems to be a growing and undeniable need to possess her completely. I don’t exactly understand why, but whenever I am near her, I lose all my carefully cultivated ‘cool’. All I want to do is drag her by the hair to my bed and f**k her until she is so sore she is screaming for me to stop. What I want is to have total control of her body. And why shouldn’t I? I have paid for the privilege. The urge is strong now, I tell myself, but it will lessen with every single coupling.

She will never be more than a three-month itch.

A bottle-blonde is walking down the corridor towards the lift. The occupant of the other penthouse is an Arab sheik. I glance at her. She is wearing a tube top and white leggings. Her boobs are obviously fake, but she is beautiful in a hard sort of way. The way a mistress should be.

I think of Lana again. The way the helpless tears escaped. I had not expected that. I can’t understand it. Why would a virgin be propositioning someone like Lothian for money? For the first time I wonder why she had wanted the money.

The lift arrives and I stand back to allow the woman to enter first. She has a good arse. She turns around in the lift and our eyes touch. We neither smile, but her mouth twists. The air becomes thick with her unspoken invitation.

I let my eyes travel down her body and convince myself Lana is not special. Even this one will do too. Nothing has changed.

I will marry Victoria. I take my phone out of my pocket and leave a text for my secretary:

Red roses—Lana.

White roses—Victoria.

Thirteen

Lana Bloom

‘I’m baking a cake,’ my mother says.

‘You are?’ There is a brightness in my voice. My mother only bakes when she is feeling good.

‘Lemon, your favorite.’

‘Oh good.’

‘What time are you coming home?’

‘I’m leaving now, actually.’

‘Good. I want you to take a quarter over to Jack’s mum.’

‘OK. See you in twenty minutes,’ I say and after putting a jar of blackberry jam, two tins of biscuits, and a box of fancy chocolates into my bag, leave the apartment. I take the bus to Kilburn.

As I am running up the steps I meet Jerry’s sister who calls out, ‘Heard you snagged yourself a rich boyfriend.’

‘Not quite,’ I reply, and before I can be bullied into a confessional conversation step aside, saying, ‘Sorry, Ann, but got to rush.’ I run past her taking the shallow steps two at a time. Already the curtain twitchers have spread the story.

I turn my key in our blue door and am greeted by the fragrant smell of my mother’s baking. It is instantly familiar and dear. This is my home. My mother is at the kitchen sink washing dishes.

‘Hey, I can do that for you.’

‘No, I’m finished,’ she says, turning the tap shut and snapping off her rubber gloves. She faces me, but her eyes, assessing, careful, and worried, change when she sees me.

‘Oh my God!’ she cries. ‘Your hair. I can’t believe how beautiful you look.’

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