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​Contrasting Lives

​Contrasting Lives

Book excerpt

Chapter One

Sliding the key card into the slot, Matt pushed open the door and stepped into the hotel room.  After the July heat outside, the air-conditioning, which steadily pumped cool air into the plush room, was a welcome respite.  He stood uncertainly in the doorway for a couple of seconds, then let go of the handle and listened to the door shut with a quiet whoosh.  What the hell was he doing?  The cold sweat breaking across his forehead had nothing to do with the heat outside, and everything to do with the reason he was standing in a goddamn hotel room at three o’clock in the afternoon.

He was a cop, for Christ’s sake.  This was a mistake, an error in judgment, which he knew he’d be sorry for later.  Tapping the keycard against his fingernail, he debated for a minute, trying to decide whether to stay, or if he would turn around, return to the lobby, and check back out immediately.

The problem was, he had been so desperately lonely, a situation which hadn’t improved for eighteen long months.  He needed someone, desperately wanted a woman to speak to, to hold.  If only for a little while, he wanted to think someone cared about him.  Sure he had plenty of people who did care about him – but not the way he needed right now.  The ache was constant, building up in his ribs until he thought his chest would explode.

This was all Paul’s fault.  It was his suggestion, over a couple of beers last Friday night, which led to Matt standing here now.  Paul Meccelli was an outstanding partner, a good man and a loyal friend.  He’d been hammering Matt for months now to start dating again; insisting Matt needed to get back on the bike.  When Matt had protested, Paul had needled endlessly until Matt had blown his cool, telling Paul he had no fucking idea how to date a woman.  It had been too long, he was too old, and he wasn’t comfortable with the idea in the first place.  Hence Paul’s suggestion that he knew someone who could help Matt out.  Matt had initially rejected the suggestion outright, especially once Paul spelled out exactly what his plan involved.

But he needed a woman.  Badly.  At first, it hadn’t been difficult to deal with, he’d been so swamped with grief, and such an abject sense of loss, the idea of sex was completely alien to him.  Now though, as the months had passed and his sexual desire began to return, he often found himself with an erection capable of slamming nails into a wall and he couldn’t bring himself to ease the problem himself.  Why he couldn’t, he didn’t know.  He wasn’t a shrink, and he certainly didn’t intend on visiting one.  All he knew was that he needed the softness of a woman, the comfort a woman could give him, and nothing else was going to ease the perpetual ache.

“Last chance, Matty.  Stay or go,” Matt muttered the question to himself, glancing around the room in search of an answer which wasn’t readily available.  It was a nice room, the hotel was downtown and distanced from the precinct where he worked – the last thing he needed was someone seeing him walk in here and guessing what he was doing.

Shit.  Could he actually go through with this?

Remembering Paul’s advice, he decided to stay, at least long enough to meet the woman.  He could always back out.  Ignoring the voice in his head, the one intent on telling him he was a coward, Matt strode across the room, and crouched to study the small safe sitting on the floor of the wardrobe.  He drew his wallet from his back pocket and placed it in the safe, along with his badge, and his car keys.  Despite Paul’s assertion that this woman was okay, Matt wasn’t taking any chances on her cleaning him out.  Years of work on the police force had made him naturally cautious with strangers.

The bathroom was sterile-looking, pure white and sparkling clean.  Matt splashed water over his face, staring at his reflection before he wiped the moisture from his skin.  The person looking back at him didn’t look too damn bad, considering what he’d been through in the past eighteen months.  A few more lines around his eyes.  His dark hair was beginning to show a few grays at his temples.  He thought he was still looking okay for a guy in his early forties, and for the thousandth time he questioned the decision he’d made.  What if he didn’t find her attractive?  Shit – what if he couldn’t get it up, after all this?  The thought was enough to have him breaking out in a cold sweat all over again, and he washed his face for a second time.

A soft knock at the room door startled him, and he clenched the bench top for a few seconds, breathing deeply.  With one last glance at his reflection, he heaved a steadying breath and walked to the door, feeling like a condemned man on his way to the gallows.

When he wrenched the door open, it became apparent that arousal wasn’t going to be an issue.  His penis had a mind of its own, taking seconds to become rock hard as he stared wordlessly at the woman standing in the doorway.

She wasn’t tall by any standards, even wearing elegant heels; she couldn’t be much over five feet five.  Immaculately dressed in a sexy little black number, her legs defied her short stature, by giving the impression of being much longer, perfectly shaped, and he was itching to run his fingers down the sleek black stockings she wore.  The dress accentuated her full breasts, narrow waist, and curvaceous hips.

Matt forced his gaze up to her face, catching a little smile on her lips and realized he’d been studying her for a lot longer than he should have.

She held her hand out and he took it, enjoying the soft silkiness of her skin.  “Matt?  I’m Sienna.”

“Sienna, hello.  Come in.”  He stood back and she entered the room, giving him the perfect opportunity to discover the rear view was just as goddamn sexy as the front.  It didn’t seem possible, but he hardened further as he watched the gentle sway of her hips when she walked.

Pushing the door shut, he followed her into the room, and stood awkwardly by the TV.  Shit, he’d never been awkward in his life.  What was he supposed to do now?  Was there a protocol for this sort of thing?  He’d never been with a hooker in his entire life – while he’d met plenty, and arrested more than he cared to remember, he’d never actually met up with one for sex.  Until now.

Sienna placed her purse on the table and turned to face him.  “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Matt.”

“You don’t look like a hooker.”  The words fell out of his mouth before he’d put his brain into gear, and the shadow which crossed her pretty features didn’t escape his attention.

“I’m an escort, Matt.  And funnily enough, you look exactly like a cop.”  She arched an eyebrow.  “Is this a bust?”

“What?  No, not at all.”  He wanted to reassure her, found he didn’t want her to leave.  He didn’t want to mess this up, even though he still wasn’t certain he could go through with having sex with her.  “Do you honestly think Paul would have given me your number, if this was a shakedown?”

Sienna considered for a few seconds before she responded.  “I guess not.  He’s a good man.”

“Yeah,” Matt admitted gruffly.  “He is.”

“Your partner?” she guessed.

“Yeah.  Eight years now.”  She was a pretty little thing – strawberries and cream complexion, rosebud lips, bright blue eyes that were filled with an inquisitive look as she watched him quietly.  Pretty didn’t do her justice, Matt amended as he returned her gaze – she wasn’t only pretty.  She was beautiful.  The blood coursing through his groin pulsed painfully as he considered what he’d like those lips to do, imagined pushing himself deep inside her mouth.

There was an extended silence as they watched one another cautiously and Matt cursed his lack of knowledge.  What was he supposed to do?  What did he say next?  The last time he’d dated was over fifteen years ago, and this wasn’t a date, he reminded himself firmly.  This was a business arrangement, a fuck he was paying for, the woman standing before him was a prostitute who sold her body for a living.

“Would you like me to strip?  Or would you prefer I undress you first?”  Sienna asked politely.

Matt sighed heavily, raking his fingers through his hair.  He didn’t like either option.  “Can we have a drink first?  Talk a little?”  He cringed inwardly, knowing he sounded like a damn fool.

Sienna studied him for a long moment, before she nodded.  “Sure.”  She drew a chair out from the small table and sat down, crossing her legs delicately.

Matt studied the contents of the bar fridge.  “Beer?  Wine?  There’s a chardonnay and a merlot in here.”

“Ah, actually, I’d prefer a soft drink, please.  Lemonade.”

Matt extracted a soda from the fridge and poured some into a glass, before handing it to her.  He selected a Corona for himself and took a slug from the bottle before he sat down.  He had the opportunity to be with a beautiful woman, and he was sitting here nursing a beer.  What the hell was he doing?

 

≈≈◊◊≈◊◊≈≈

 

The awkward silence stretched out through a full minute, and then two.  Sienna discreetly studied the man sitting opposite her at the table.  He was tall, broad shouldered, muscular.  Solidly built, he looked a little ridiculous perched on the insubstantial chair and she imagined he would appear more comfortable in a big leather recliner.  The dark grey suit hid what she imagined was a well-toned body, although at the rate he was moving, she doubted she would get to study it in detail before the afternoon was over.  Most of her appointments didn’t waste any time, getting down to business immediately.  She had a couple of clients who were into talking and she was fine with that, but this guy – he looked as if he might jump out of his own skin.  His nervousness was at odds with the strength and power of his physique, the hardness of his square jaw.  She could see the muscle in his jaw was ticking as he nursed the Corona and looked anywhere in the room but at her.

Sienna sensed that beneath the tough exterior, he was struggling with the current situation.  Paul had telephoned her after the appointment had been made, warning her Matt was going to be nervous.  Clearly, it had been an understatement; the man wasn’t just nervous, he was positively anxiety stricken.  Remembering Paul’s words and his promise of a bonus if she would help his friend, Sienna spoke  “Matt, I don’t know how things work in your part of the world, but I’ve generally found talking requires the use of words,”  Sienna picked up her glass and sipped the lemonade, a twinkle playing in her blue eyes.

Matt took another slug of his beer, chewing his lip thoughtfully.  “Shit, I’m sorry.  I’ve never done this before and I’m thinking it was a mistake.”  He stood up, sighing heavily.  “I’m sorry to waste your time.”

The guy was going to bail.  This was a first for Sienna and she smiled, sympathetic to his obvious discomfort.  She didn’t know a thing about him, yet she was already sorry for him, wanted to make him feel better.  Standing up, Sienna stepped across to stand in front of Matt, who was staring at the floor and avoiding her eyes.

“Matt, you’ve already paid for my time,” Sienna reached up and began to loosen his tie, “it’s fine if you don’t want sex, it’s fine if you don’t want to do anything at all.  It’s your dime.”  She offered him a tiny smile.  “At the very least, let me try and relax you a little bit, okay?”

“How are you gonna do that?”  Matt asked gruffly.

“I’m a woman of many talents, Matt.”  He was so tall, she had to reach on tiptoes to slip his jacket from his shoulders, and Sienna ran her fingers over his tense shoulders as she removed the jacket and draped it carefully across the back of the chair.  “Why don’t you lie on the bed, and I’ll give you a massage?”

“A massage?”

Good grief, he sounded so suspicious.  Typical cop; he probably viewed everyone with distrust, expecting every person he met to have some ulterior motive.  “Yes, Matt.  A massage.”  Sienna drew Matt’s tie from around his neck and dropped it onto the table, then slowly started to unbutton his white shirt.  “I won’t even ask you to get undressed, just slip this shirt off, and lie down on the bed.”

“Are you always this pushy?”  He grumbled, but Sienna was pleased when he let her lead him towards the bed.

Winter's Captive

Winter's Captive

Protective Hearts

Protective Hearts