Authors: Destiny's Surrender
For Bette Ford
illie’s orgasm tore through her like a lightning bolt. As it expanded and gathered speed, her body shook with echoing thunder and her throat opened on a hoarse cry. The man supine beneath her smiled with tender satisfaction and with his hands guiding her hips kept up his powerful strokes. This was just one of the many orgasms he’d treated her to in the past few hours, and as the resonance continued to buffet her like waves on a storm-tossed sea, she sensed him on the cusp of his own ending, but knew he wouldn’t surrender until they both had nothing left. As if reading her mind, he eased her to a slower pace to give her a moment to rest but continued to entice her with tantalizing, languid thrusts.
His long lean body was perfect for this and she loved every delicious inch of it, especially the ones impaling her and making her ride. Spellbinding hands toured up her waist to circle over the hard points of her breasts, pausing a moment to tease and linger before recapturing her waist and upping the pace until the big bed began rocking and groaning again. No man matched him in stamina or in the joy he took in hot, raw lust, and she loved that about him as well. Just when she thought she might faint from the glory, he growled in Spanish and quickly turned her on her back. The erotic assault continued. The heat in the room mated with the heat rising from their bodies. She was covered in sweat. He was as well. He raised her legs, pulled her closer with a hold on her ankles and plunged in and out of her flesh like a scandalous hummingbird seeking the most wanton of nectars. Seconds later, his own orgasm exploded and her body broke apart in shuddering carnal response.
Later, lying boneless in his arms, she was too sated to move. Unlike the other men she entertained he always held her close in the aftermath. She felt the soft kiss he placed against her damp brow.
“Thank you,” he whispered.
Humor rumbled in his chest. “You are that, Mina.”
Her name was Wilhelmina. Most called her Billie but this remarkable man had given her a unique name all his own: Mina. Being addressed as such always opened a space inside her heart that had no business existing because their relationship was based solely on coin, nothing more.
Casting aside the melancholy thought, she slipped from the bed and stepped behind the screen to remove her sponge and to wash. Seeing the tear in the sponge widened her eyes and she hastily looked over her shoulder as if he might be watching. Making a mental note to spend more on her protection in the future because the last thing she needed in her line of work was a child, she discarded it, cleansed herself and went back to stand beside the bed. “You should let me change the sheets.”
He raised himself up on an elbow. Andrew Antonio Yates was the most handsome man on earth, and his seductive smile also resided in a secret place in her heart. “We’re just going to dirty them again.”
“There is that,” she replied, taking a seat on the edge of the plush mattress. “With you around no amount of clean bedding is enough, I’ve learned.”
“Has a lot to do with the company I keep.” His hands found her waist and gently dragged her back so she could lie beside him again. “How about a meal? I’m famished.”
They were in one of the costliest suites in one of the most expensive hotels in San Francisco. Without his patronage, a girl like her would’ve never been allowed inside. “That would be nice seeing as how I’m famished, too.”
He eased her closer. “And well you should be.”
They were from two separate worlds yet when they came together in bed, it never mattered that he was one of the wealthiest men in the state and a lawyer to boot, and she a simple whore. Mutual pleasure and passion was their only concern. Turning over so she could see him, she gently moved aside the damp strands of coal black hair covering the edges of his chiseled face. No man had the right to be so beautiful. His patronage made her the envy of every girl she knew. He could’ve picked any number of soiled doves, but he’d chosen her, and whatever the future held she’d remember him always.
He traced her cheek. “Penny for your thoughts.”
She knew better than to confess. To do so would send him running for the door and out of her life forever. “Just enjoying being with you.”
“The enjoyment is mutual. Now let’s see about that meal.”
He left the bed and padded nude across the room to summon the hotel staff via the bell on the wall. She ran approving eyes over his lean hips and thighs, the powerful shoulders and the reddish, sunburst-like birthmark in the middle of his spine. He was gloriously made.
While they waited for the meal to be delivered, she donned one of the fancy silk wrappers he’d purchased for her and stood in front of the window that looked out over the city. San Francisco was bustling. Newly constructed buildings were sprouting like mushrooms and every day the trains and ships arrived with scores of individuals seeking adventure and a new life. A decade ago, she’d been one of them. Fresh off a train from her native Kansas City, she’d never seen so many people in one place. Her lack of education and domestic training made securing a decent job impossible, so to keep from starving she used the only attribute she had, her well-endowed charms. She had been fourteen, and now called the Barbary Coast home. It was San Francisco’s living cauldron of whores, cutthroats, extortionists and opium dens, where any and all vices could be purchased if you had the coin.
With a sheet now girding his waist, he walked over, fit himself behind her and gently locked his arms around her waist. The brush of his lips over the edge of her jaw made her hidden feelings soar like gulls over the Bay.
“I’ll be leaving for Mexico City tomorrow. Might be a good seven or eight months before I return. I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll miss you, too.” It wasn’t her place to ask why he was going, but she hoped he’d return as quickly as he could. It was every whore’s dream to be taken out of the cribs and dance halls and set up in her own residence. She’d known Drew going on two years, and although they’d had good times, he’d never proposed officially making her his mistress. She’d convinced herself it wasn’t necessary because no matter the amount of time they spent together, be it a few hours or a few days, his presence enriched her life. His talking to her about world events, what was in the newspapers, and the places he visited on his travels helped fill in many of the holes in her education and sand down a lot of her rough edges. He’d taken her shopping for gowns and nightwear that she wore exclusively for him. Upon learning she had a sweet tooth, he often surprised her with expensive chocolates from Gevalia’s, the most famous chocolatier in the city. Unbeknownst to her madam, Pearl DuChance, he even slipped her extra money, which allowed her to purchase essentials like female supplies and the occasional bauble. He also footed the bill for her monthly doctor visits to ensure she stayed clean and healthy. “While I’m away, I’ll leave my carriage and driver at your disposal.”
She turned. “What am I going to do with a carriage and a driver, Drew? It’s not like Pearl will let me use it, or allow me to go anywhere my legs can’t take me. Has the bed play left you so addled you’ve forgotten who I really am?”
He looked contrite then chuckled. “I think it may have. My apologies.”
“No need.” That he cared enough to make the offer was endearing. “I would like to go back to the opera when you return though.”
“I thought you didn’t care for it?”
“I didn’t. All that high-pitched singing gave me a headache, but I did like scaring the bejesus out of those old hypocrites.”
Memories of that night amused them both. “Had fun did you?”
She leaned back against his solid chest and his hold tightened. “I did. When the judge saw me I thought he’d pitch over and die right then and there.”
The judge in question was a member of the state’s Supreme Court and one of her regular customers. Seeing her on Drew’s arm at the opera widened his eyes and immediately sent him rushing off in the opposite direction.
“He ran away so fast, he almost bowled over his poor wife. I wasn’t planning on approaching him—I know better.”
And as that evening at the opera progressed the scene replayed itself again and again because many of San Francisco’s movers and shakers had shared her bed. “And when you get married you’ll act the same way.”
“Liar,” she countered softly. “No man introduces his wife to his whore, and I don’t expect you to be the first. I know what I am, and it doesn’t make sense for either of us to pretend otherwise.”
Discomfort played over his features but she had no problems handling the truth. Neither of them was well served by viewing their relationship in a false light.
To make them both feel better, she placed a kiss against his cheek. “But until then, we can have as much fun as your money can buy.”
That made him laugh. “Remind me to take you back to bed just as soon as we eat.”
Wrapping a hand around his maleness, she stroked him expertly until he was hard and thick once again. In a voice as sultry as her eyes, she promised, “Don’t worry. I will.”
rew watched her eat. Her table manners had been atrocious when they met initially but now had improved a hundredfold. He had first set eyes on her posed in a window at the Black Pearl. Such tableaus were common in the bordellos of the Barbary Coast, but there’d been nothing common about her beauty. From her sultry eyes and painted mouth to her bared breasts in the opened red corset, to the long legs in the dark thigh-high hose, she’d been the embodiment of a man’s erotic dream. He’d wanted to taste her mouth, course his hands slowly up her legs and part them so he could fill her with the erection the sight of her instantly evoked. Wasting little time, he’d gone into the establishment, put his coins in the hands of Pearl DuChance and purchased her services. Since that time, he’d gifted her with clothing, expensive perfumes and whatever else his money could buy. In turn she gifted him with a skill that would make a man sell his soul a thousand times over.
When they first met, he was surprised to learn she couldn’t read, and although she still had a difficult time with the printed words, she had a quick mind and was so eager to learn it wasn’t uncommon after their lovemaking for him to spend time in bed reading to her from the newspaper while she asked a hundred and one questions so she’d understand.
ater, as dawn lightened the sky, Drew stood before the same window and watched Otis, his driver, hand Billie into his carriage for the ride back to her room at the Black Pearl. Parting from her invariably left him melancholy; a mood that made no sense considering what type of woman she was, but her departures always made him want to call her back. Frankly, he adored her. Not just for her exquisite talents in bed, but she made him laugh, and introducing her to things like the opera, world events, and Gevalia chocolates filled him with a quiet joy. On the outside his Mina was as hard and jaded as a woman of her profession tended to be. Inside, however, she was as green as spring, and just as refreshing. Having to distance himself once he took a wife didn’t sit well.
The carriage pulled off and he turned away. But distancing himself was a necessity. He was in his thirty-first year and it was time to find a wife.