The butterflies in Cassandra Willisâs stomach hatched their own butterflies as she waited for the owner of Club Ecstasy. Seated on the visitorâs side of an antique mahogany desk, Cassandra flipped through the pages of the photo album Madeline Shawâs assistant had given her. Madeline would only be a few minutes late, the young woman had assured Cassandra, and suggested she might spend the time selecting the man who would serve her.
For a moment, the assistant had sounded ready to say the man who would âserviceâ her. If she had, Cassandra might very well have dropped the book and fled. Paying a man to serve her in bed was bad enough. She might have come here for a stud but not for stud service. Semantics aside, reality remained. If she went through with this scheme, and her body would never give her any peace if she didnât, in all probability, sheâd end up making love with one of these beautiful strangers before the evening was over.
No, not making love. Having sex or maybe even that other, coarser word that had never passed her lips. She would not make love with any of these men. Sheâd only made love with one man in her life. Now that Howard had died, she might fall in love again. After what her parents would consider a respectable number of years, of course. Until then, no lovemaking for her.
But sheâd have sex. Tonight. With one of these men. Oh, God, what was she doing?
Still holding the book, she got up and paced around the room. In her normal life, she never would have considered coming to a place like this, no matter how elegant, to hire a man to give her pleasure. But Howard had died months earlier, and sheâd had nothing other than the vibrator that had come delivered in plain brown paper to take the edge off the aching need that plagued her waking moments and stole into her dreams.
The desperation had driven her to Club Ecstasyâto the only place in the city where a woman could safely and discretely find not just relief from sexual frustration but fulfillment of all her fantasies. Sheâd had to take a risk to visit a facility owned by one of her husbandâs acquaintances. Madeline Shaw had known Howard longer than Cassandra had. But Madeline also had a reputation for strict confidentiality. After all, she had herself to protect as well as her clients. An operation like this couldnât be legal.
Cassandra paced some more and stewed, half wanting to run like hell and half vibrating with excitement at the prospect of finally having a virile lover of her own age after a marriage to a much older man. She couldnât afford to get caught here, but neither could she stand to go home without finally experiencing the sensual pleasures sheâd been denied in her marriage.
âPlease excuse me for making you wait.â Madeline Shaw swept into the room, bringing a hint of San Franciscoâs cool climate with her.
Cassandra started, nearly jumping. When her heart settled, she smiled. âIâve been entertaining myself.â
âGood.â When Madeline removed her coat, the scent of an elegant perfume wafted from her. Perhaps something from Madelineâs own line of colognes. Very sophisticated, but Cassandra would not be able to carry it off for years and years.
âSee anything you like?â Madeline asked.
âLike? Of these men?â Cassandra held out the photo album. âThatâs an inadequate word. Theyâre all so . . .â
Madeline chuckled and took her seat. âThey are, arenât they? All my men are top-notch.â
Cassandra also sat. âWould you mind if I asked you a question?â
Madeline folded her hands together on top of the desk. âFeel free. I wonât answer if I donât care to.â
âAll this?â Cassandra gestured around her. âWhy?â
âWhy have an exclusive club for women?â
Put that wayâas no more than a clubâthis place made perfect sense. Women needed to get away from the stresses of life, and a facility like this one, with its spa and gym, beauticians, and private shoppers, didnât seem unusual at all. But then, there was a lot more to Club Ecstasy than that. âNo, that isnât what Iâm asking, I guess.â
âYou really want to know why I have male sex providers,â Madeline said.
Cassandraâs cheeks warmed. Sheâd be blushing brightly enough for Madeline to see. Sheâd be doing worse than that in a few hours if she could keep up her courage.
âDonât be embarrassed. Thatâs what everyone asks,â Madeline said. âMy men are here to give my clients pleasure. Women deserve that as much as men do, perhaps more.â
âBut youâve been so successful with your careers, first modeling and now your perfume and makeup lines. You donât need to do this.â
Madeline leaned back against her chair and smiled. With the elegant cut and style of her hair, her perfect makeup, and her designer clothing, Madeline made the very picture of understated wealth. She didnât have to run a facility that would earn her scorn if its existence became public.
âLetâs just say Club Ecstasy has always been a dream of mine,â Madeline said.
âDo you use the men . . . that is, their services?â Darn it all, there was that wordâservices.
âWell, now, Iâm not dead yet.â Madelineâs smile broadened. âBut letâs talk about you. That way, Iâll be sure we can find you just the right match.â
Cassandraâs fingers clenched together in her lap. âThereâs not much to tell.â
âAu contraire. Thereâs a lot to say about you.â
Cassandra had done her best to rehearse some explanation for why sheâd shown up in search of, well, sex. Nothing had come to her, and for sure, nothing would now, either. Cassandra and Madeline had been in the same social set for years. She couldnât possibly share the fact that Howard had been a considerate lover but not what every young woman dreams of. Certainly not the stuff of the books she kept in a box in the back of her closet.
âIf you wonât put it into words, I will,â Madeline said after a moment. âHoward was too old for you.â
âHoward was a wonderful husband.â
âOf course he was. He was a dear man, but he was still too old for you. How many years, exactly?â
Cassandraâs stomach twisted. She always hated confessing sheâd married someone only a year younger than her father. The difference in age made her seem like a gold digger, which was exactly what his sons were trying to prove in court so they could invalidate the will.
âThirty years,â she said.
Madelineâs brow creased, the first mark of imperfection on her beautiful face. âHow old are you now?â
âTwenty-seven. I was twenty-two when we married. Howard was fifty.â
âAnd were you . . . how shall I put this . . .â
âA virgin? Yes.â
âOh, dear Lord,â Madeline said. âIt was your fatherâs idea, wasnât it?â
âNo. I loved Howard. I was happy to marry him.â Her parents had encouraged her, despite the fact sheâd just graduated from college and hadnât begun to figure out what to do with her life. Her mother had insisted sheâd be âset,â and her father went on and on about what a good man Howard was. He hadnât mentioned the business deal heâd hope to win through the match.
And then, Howard had seemed so dignified when theyâd met. The grey at his temples perfectly complimented the cut of his business suit. Theyâd joked about how he didnât do apps or social media, even though he bought her all the latest electronicsâher toys, as heâd called them. Theyâd both insisted age was a number.
But underneath the clothes, heâd still been a middle-aged man. Would she have changed her mind if theyâd made love before the engagement? The woman who loved him said no. The young woman whoâd never shared a bed with a young man might give a different answer.
âStill, your father was happy for the marriage and moved things along quickly, didnât he?â Madeline asked.
Cassandra might have wondered at that if she hadnât been so excited about being in love and planning a gorgeous wedding. Now that sheâd inherited much of Howardâs company and could complete the merger her father had wanted for years, she didnât have to wonder. Of course, if Howardâs sons got their way, Cassandra wouldnât inherit anything, and her father would lose the business connection heâd married her off for. None of them could find out sheâd visited Club Ecstasy.
âNever mind that now.â Madeline nodded toward the photo album. âLetâs see what we can do for you.â
Cassandra opened the book again and flipped through the pages. One of them men wore a tuxedo with the bow tie undone and hanging from his neck. Like Howard, he looked fabulous in clothes, but the planes of his chest and flat abdomen promised a firm body underneath. The next page revealed a surfer dude with a warm smile and naked torso above swim trunks snug enough to outline his genitals. Quite an impressive display. She barely noticed the surfboard next to him. For a moment, Cassandra could imagine the scent of sunscreen as his slick body moved against hers. Definitely tempting.
âJeff would be a good choice for you,â Madeline said. âI imagine youâve had enough of elegance and would like some fun.â
âIâm sure heâd be wonderful.â The closer it came to coming true, the more ridiculous the whole plan seemed. And the more inevitable. She simply couldnât go back home unfulfilled. Not to more days and nights of denial and misery. âEverything I do here will have to remain secret.â
âOf course. All my clients need privacy.â
âItâs not only a matter of general principle,â Cassandra said. âHowardâs sons would love to brew a scandal around me.â
âAh, yes. Cynthiaâs boys,â Madeline said.
Theyâd never seemed like boys to Cassandra, what with the eldest being a few years older than she. And now, they were making her life miserable. First, the lawyers. Then, the faceless men who followed her everywhere. Even if she had planned to sleep with someone after a few dates, the boysâ private investigators had ruined that plan by scaring off any man sheâd stepped onto a public sidewalk with. No, Club Ecstasy was her only option, as unbelievable as that sounded.
âTheyâre putting out the lie that I slept around during our marriage,â Cassandra said. âIf Iâm caught with another man, they will claim I was involved with him before my husband died.â
âBut, surely, that wouldnât invalidate Howardâs will,â Madeline said.
âNot that in itself, but theyâre claiming he had early-onset dementia. They even have a quack of a psychiatrist whoâs looked through Howardâs medical records to make his diagnosis.â Her fingers made air quotes the word around âdiagnosis.â âThe sons accused me of taking advantage of his mental status by drugging him and getting him to change his will in my favor.â
Madeline scowled, actually showing the lines in her face. âI see they inherited their motherâs temperament. And love of money.â
âI didnât help things, Iâm afraid.â She cringed inwardly remembering her stupidity. âI dared to go out on a date shortly after Howardâs passing. To a club with a man Iâd just met.â
âSurely, thereâs no crime in that,â Madeline said.
Most of the details of that evening had dissolved into a blur of light-headedness and wobbly legs. Then bright flashes of light and yelling. âI drank too much. I was a mess when I came out of Le Cabaret, leaning all over my date. The press caught it all.â
âI didnât pay much attention to that. It was you?â
âHoward Junior has all the pictures, and heâs shown them to the judge,â she said. âWhoâs a member of his yacht club.â
âI see.â Madeline clucked her tongue. âWell. We practice strict confidentiality. My men know theyâll be fired if they kiss and tell. The other patrons wonât even see you here.â
That fit with everything sheâd learned about the club. One of her friends had gotten tipsy at a party and mentioned privately to Cassandra that, as a young widow, she might want to try the place out. Even after too much to drink, Tina wouldnât give her many details for fear she wouldnât be allowed to come back if she said too much. Sheâd only given Cassandra an e-mail address and code word. Then, Cassandra had waited to hear back that sheâd been accepted. The whole time her anticipation and, yes, a certain amount of titillation had grown.
âEverything seems secure,â she said.
âGood. Shall we get Jeff for you?â Madeline asked.
âLet me look a bit . . .â Cassandra turned a page, and the rest of her thought flew right out of her mind. The man in the picture was like no one sheâd ever seen. He had a fabulous body with broad shoulders and well-defined biceps, but she could have said that about all the men in the book. Unlike the others, however, he wore clothes that molded to his bodyâa snug T-shirt and leather pants. Rather than an affectation, the pants made sense, given that he sat astride a motorcycle. Spiky blond hair and a gold earring in one ear gave him a decidedly dangerous air, but what really made her breath catch was the expression on his face. The insolent smile on his ample lips and the light of defiance in his eyes suggested heâd like to eat her up and he knew how to make her enjoy it.
Madeline glanced at the page. âYou found Bobby.â
âYes, I think I did.â
âHe could be right for you, although . . .â
âAlthough what?â she asked.
âBobbyâs new, and heâs a little rough around the edges,â Madeline said. âBut, his clients have complimented him on his stamina, if you get my drift.â
That he wouldnât fade but could make the sex last for a good, long time. She almost melted at the thought. âAnything else?â
âHe can be adventurous, but of course, you decide what you want to do.â Madeline reached over and placed her hand over Cassandraâs. âYouâre very nearly a virgin. Are you sure youâre ready for a wild ride like Bobby?â
âThereâs one way to find out, isnât there?â Her mind may have hesitated, but her body had decided the moment sheâd set eyes on his image. Bobby was everything sheâd dreamed of ever since sheâd learned she was a sexual creature with powerful urges. Urges that had never been fully satisfied. They would be tonight.
âI want Bobby,â she said. Possibly the first time sheâd ever made a direct statement to anyone about what or who she wanted. Her first step toward sexual freedom.
âBobby you shall have.â Madeline rose. âIâll show you to your suite.â
Madeline hadnât exaggerated when sheâd called Cassandraâs space at Club Ecstasy a suite. It included a small sitting room with a desk and shelves full of books, a walk-in closet that could serve as a dressing room, and of course, a bedroom. She also had a private terrace with a hot tub. That would have allowed a view of the city if it werenât for the wall of bamboo curtains that ran around the perimeter. A shame, perhaps, but the barrier guaranteed her privacy. Still, some sun penetrated, allowing the potted cymbidium orchids to cover themselves in sprays of blooms. It was quite lovely and intimate.
As much as she craned her neck searching for prying eyes, it appeared no one even inside the restored mansion could see what went on, which meant she could climb naked into the hot tub, if she wanted. And she might just decide she wanted to.
She left the terrace and went back into the bedroom. After removing the jacket of her business suit and draping it carefully over the back of the chair at the dressing table, she stood in the middle of the room with her hands together in front of her skirt. What did one do in this situation? Get undressed and climb onto the bed? Surely, theyâd end up there, probably rolling around on the huge mattress. Still, she and Bobby would at least introduce themselves before getting on toâwhatever they got on to.
At least she could get out of her shoes. Sheâd worn low heels, but with her shaky knees, she wobbled a bit in them. If she did that, should she also remove her panty hose? Why did it all have to be so complicated? And why didnât he show up so she could get past these jitters? He must have dealt with shy clients before. Surely heâd have some way to soothe her nerves.
Finally, the outer door, the one to the sitting room, opened and closed, and then the man from the picture appeared on the threshold to the bedroom. Taller than sheâd expected, he dominated the space around him. He wore jeans rather than leather, but they fit him like a second skin, the faded denim inviting her fingers to explore the muscles beneath. His T-shirt stretched over his chest. Not an ounce of softness on his entire body that she could see. Exactly what sheâd hoped for. His blond hair was just as wild as in his picture, and the earring sparkled as if winking at her. His blue gaze settled on her, lingering on her breasts for a moment before moving to her face.
âNice,â he said.
âThank you.â The words came out on a croak, so she cleared her throat before walking toward him, her hand extended. âIâm Cassandra. Iâd rather not use my last name.â
âWe donât need names at all.â He took her hand in his, but instead of shaking it, he brought her fingers to his mouth and nibbled gently on the tips.
She could have laughed at the absurdity of having her fingers in a strange manâs mouth if he hadnât given her exactly the look from his pictureâas if she were something particularly tempting to eat. After a few seconds, she began to tremble, so she pulled her hand back.
His eyebrows rose. âNervous, princess?â
âNo, I . . . well . . . that is . . . princess?â
âThatâs what you look like to me,â he said. âThe beautiful princess whoâs been locked in the tower her whole life. Letâs bring you down to earth.â
He put his big hands on her hips and turned her around. Before she could protest, ask him what he intended, or ask what she should do, he moved his fingers upward and massaged kink after kink out of her shoulders and neck. Her muscles became pliant beneath his touch, and rather than trembling, she swayed backward toward him,
He put his mouth against her ear. âThatâs it, princess. Relax.â
âYou do that very well.â Her voice had dropped a couple of octaves from its earlier croak, and even to her own ears, she sounded, well, sexy.
So when he lowered his lips to the space just behind her earlobe, she didnât flinch or jump but accepted the caress. As sweet as it was, the kiss lingered in that sensitive spot until her head grew heavy and tipped to the side, exposing her throat to him.
âNow weâre talking,â he murmured. Reaching around, he grasped the ends of the bow that fastened the top of her blouse and undid it. That bared more of her skin, and he trailed kisses down her neck and onto her shoulder. She almost groaned with pleasure. This was exactly what sheâd come for: pure sex with a man who knew what he was doing. She didnât have to worry about propriety or spying eyes. She could simply take whatever he gave her, and if this tiny sample indicated what he could do, sheâd made the right decision.
Somehow, heâd made her surrender simple. No discussions or intellectual decisions. She only had to allow herself to enjoy his caresses. How could she not? His touch was exquisite. Just the right amount of pressure, kissing, nibbling, and touching her with his tongue. She leaned against him, silently asking for more and giving him permission to explore.
âI love the way you respond, princess,â he said. âYouâre making me hot.â
âYes.â Sheâd agreed to something with that word. Who knew what? Who cared as long as he continued to set fire to her nerves?
âOh, yeah.â His hands rose to cup her breasts and squeezed. Their first step across a sexual border, and it felt so good. Her flesh seemed to swell and press against her bra, becoming sensitive enough to ache with need.
âYou like that?â he asked.
Instead of answering, she gave him a moan that turned into a sigh.
âGood.â He found her nipples through the layers of clothing, rubbing his thumbs over the peaks until they stiffened.
A conscious thought formed at the back of her mind. Iâve become aroused. And was she ever. This was what sheâd imagined while reading the explicit parts of her novels. Sensuality that could pull you under, drowning out the real world and washing away any objection with its power.
Excitement like this shouldnât be possible. It should only exist in fiction, but here she stood, feeling the tug. Giving in to it. Letting it rob her of thought, of breath.
âYouâre amazing,â he said. âLetâs see if youâre wet.â
The word scarcely registered, but when he reached to her skirt and tugged up the hem, his destination penetrated the fog in her mind. She had no time to object or even to tense as his fingers brushed against the fabric covering her mound. They landed on the lips between her thighs, so swollen and sensitive. Her legs gave out, and she sagged against him.
With an evil laugh, he caught her around the waist and held her upright. âLet me guess. Panty hose and panties.â
âI didnât think women wore panty hose anymore,â he said. âThatâs okay. I like a challenge.â
Challenge. She was a challenge. Whatever that meant as long as he didnât stop. He didnât. His hand returned to her mound, rubbing back and forth, back and forth. Heat swirled inside her, building.
âYouâre wet, princess,â he said. âAll the way through your clothes. Damn, but I want to fuck you.â
Sheâd never used that word. Not once. Sheâd always thought it filthy. On his lips, it was the sexiest thing sheâd ever heard. He wanted to take his erection out of his pantsâLord, let it be bigâand put it inside her. Plunge it into the place that ached for it.
Sheâd have that, and the knowledge let her spirit soar toward the ceiling. Sheâd experience the glory of truly great sex. They could go all night until she couldnât stand any more. In the meantime, he kept pushing her toward orgasm without having removed an article of her clothing. She would climax. Sheâd passed the point where sheâd have any choice. The only question remaining was how good he could make it.
Then his finger landed on just the right spot. The most sensitive flesh above the entrance to her body. Shuddering in his arms, she released a cry.
âFound it,â he said. âLetâs get down to business.â
If business meant driving her wild, he already had her there. Now he severed her last tether to reality. A red haze surrounded her mind as he pressed against her hot button, stroking and rolling it.
Blindly, she clutched at his arm. âDonât stop.â
âYes, yes. Just donât stop.â
He didnât. If anything, he increased the pressure against her, rubbing hard and fast. She throbbed now, each second closer to flying apart. The arousal tightened like a fist inside her. Just one more second, one more press of his finger. Here. Now. Now!
The orgasm started low in her belly and radiated outward to her whole body. Her throat opened, and she shouted as the spasms started in her sex. The waves came hard, each one cresting over the other until she hit the peak. She hung there for several seconds, and he never stopped his stroking until sheâd finished and leaned back again, her head resting against his shoulder.
He eased her around until her face settled onto his chest. Beneath her ear, his heart raced. An odd fact sheâd have to analyze when her mind was once again under her control. In the meantime, she could only wonder at the softness of his T-shirt against her cheek and the gentleness of his palms stroking her back.
When breath returned, she sighed. âOh, my. That was . . . wonderful.â
âImagine what I can do when weâre undressed.â
Good heavens, he had a point. He hadnât undone anything except for the bow of her blouse. How absolutely bizarre. Howard had made love to her during the day, but heâd never come up behind her and given her an orgasm standing fully clothed in the middle of a room. Heâd approached sex the way heâd approached everything: deliberately and with precision.
She stepped away from Bobby and glanced down at herself. Aside from her lack of shoes, she could simply do up the bow of her blouse and join polite company. No one would know what had just happened to her or the fact that her sex still fluttered with aftershocks.
Bobby crossed his arms over his chest and studied her face. âWhatâs going on, princess?â
âNothing.â Her cheeks warmed.
âWhy should I be embarrassed?â she said. âI came here for sex, after all.â
âYeah, but itâs not the same thing as getting your hair done, is it?â
She lifted her chin and held his gaze. âWe should all try new things. Otherwise, weâll never learn and grow.â
He laughed. Loudly. âThatâs the most creative excuse Iâve ever heard for paying some guy to fuck your brains out.â
âI beg your pardon.â
âPersonal growth.â He continued laughing. âWhy donât you toss in a little Zen? We can practice some yoga later.â
âI donât see why you have to be so crude.â
âCrude is what you wanted.â
She straightened to her full height, not that it matched his. Not even close. âI did not.â
âThis club is full of men who know how to make a woman happy. If you wanted refinement, you could have chosen any one of them whoâd wear a tux and quote poetry,â he said. âYou chose me.â
âI can change my mind, I imagine.â
âYou sure can.â He put his hands on his hips. âUp to you.â
Maybe heâd deliberately taken a posture to show off his body at its best. And to reveal the outline of his erection behind the fabric of his jeans, and oh my, was it ever impressive.
Yes, she could call Madeline on the house phone and ask for a change from Bobby to someone more like the men she encountered in her normal life. And yes, the new man would be an expert at sex and no doubt well-endowed. But no one else would look quite like Bobbyâforbidden and delicious.
âIâm sorry. Iâm not used to this,â she said.
âNot too many women are.â
She lifted her chin and looked him in the eye. âLetâs proceed, shall we?â
He raised an eyebrow. âBy all means, princess. Any idea what youâd like to do next?â
Well. He wanted her to decide. She hadnât considered that she might have to make decisions. She could ask him to direct things, of course, but that might make her appear even more inhibited than he already thought she was, and sheâd already made herself look like a nervous virgin. She shouldnât care what he thought, of course, but sheâd already been more intimate with him than she had with any man other than her husband. That had to mean something.
She glanced around the room, and her gaze automatically fell on the bed. Maybe she ought to simply ask him to âfuck her brains out,â as heâd said. The words would probably stick in her throat. Then she remembered the terrace.
âThe hot tub. Why donât we sit in that for a while and get to know each other.â
âYou didnât bring a bathing suit, did you?â he asked.
âNo. Should I have?â
âPrincess, youâre adorable.â He draped an arm over her shoulder and guided her toward the doorway leading to the terrace. âI donât want anything between you and me, not even the skimpiest bikini.â
âYou were kidding me.â
âYou take things too seriously.â He reached down and swatted her bottom. âGet in the hot tub. Iâll join you in a second.â