Free Copy of SONGBIRD – an erotic romance

Her voice was sultry, throaty and reeked of cigarettes, whisky and dirty sex

 

If you haven’t read my erotic romance book, SONGBIRD, now is the chance to get yourself a FREE copy through Instafreebie. Just click on the link below.

https://claims.instafreebie.com/free/dVrTOwdO

About SONGBIRD:

Harry is a successful 36-year-old Dom who has had many transient relationships with submissive women, and is not looking for a permanent relationship – until he sees and hears a beautiful young woman singing in a club in London.  The woman sang with a throaty and angst-filled voice that suggested a dissolute lifestyle, but had the face of an angel and a body made for sin.  Harry fell head over heels for Pascale, the beautiful songbird, and was determined that she would be his.  Pascale, however, has had a difficult childhood with her mother’s brutal lover, Gaston, and escaped his clutches with the aid of Louis, her old pianist, and when Harry meets her she is traumatised by her experiences.  Eventually he begins to break through the barrier that Pascale has erected around herself, but is wary about dominating her, even though she seems to him to have submissive tendencies.  He is afraid of digging up disturbing and distressing images from her past.

His friend, Jake, the owner of the nightclub, is locked into a sterile and dead marriage, but cannot escape due to the financial hold of his wife and her father, who could bankrupt him if they so wished.  He has a fun-filled, kinky relationship with a young woman who works at the club, but is terrified of his wife finding out about it and depriving him of access to his darling daughter, April, as well as bankrupting him.

Harry and Jake share Dom tendencies, but they also share seemingly insurmountable problems to be with the women they wish to make their own.

Here’s the first page of the book:

The voice coming from over by the piano was sultry, throaty and reeked of cigarettes, whisky and dirty sex. I looked up from my glass of single malt and swivelled around on the bar stool to see if the reality matched the image now placed firmly in my brain. I expected to see a train wreck of a woman, whose dissolute appearance matched her voice, but the woman before me was no more than mid twenties, with long, sleek, dark brown hair and the face of an angel. I did a double take, unable to believe that the voice and the woman I saw before me belonged with each other.  Perhaps she was miming? If she was, she was damned good at lip-synching. She was singing the Billie Holiday song, Solitude, with all the angst of the original, accompanied only by a piano; played by an elderly black man.

The woman leaned casually on the piano, with one arm resting on its lid, and the other holding the microphone. She was wearing a simple red shift dress that clung to a lusciously curved body, and which ended mid-thigh to reveal long, elegant legs, and she had her eyes closed as she sang. Her hypnotic singing and with a body that every red blooded male in the club that night would love to touch, meant that, by mid song, all talking in the place had been stopped.

Reviews on Amazon:

“De Vine has a unique way with words, she knows how to draw you in and keep you reading until the very end. The beautiful cover captured my attention and I couldn’t put this down once I started it. In parts of this story I could feel Pascale’s emotions as she tries not to let Harry into her past. This is definitely one of my favorite stories. I cannot wait to see what De Vine comes up with next.”

“This story kept me captivated and on the edge of my seat as the life of Pascale unfolds.”

“Not your run of the mill D/s or BDSM book. The descriptive dialogue is the classic word painting, and this author does it brilliantly.”

“This was a wonderful love story that delved deeply into the characters feelings and emotions. I liked the way each character had their own chapter with their point of view. Pascale, the songbird was closed and fearfull but with love and support became stronger and more self confident. The secondary characters had their own story. This touching story was drew me in and didn’t let go until the conclusion.”

“Songbird was amazing and I adored it! It is a fun sexy story that will really have you on the edge of your seat wanting more!”

the face of an angel and a body made for sin

For your FREE copy, go to:

https://claims.instafreebie.com/free/dVrTOwdO

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News about my next book…

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Hello,

Sorry I’ve been absent for a while. I wasn’t well, but am now becoming better with each day. I’ve written an erotic romance, which has been accepted by Blushing Books, and I hope it will be published in the near future. I don’t have a cover picture yet, so I have used the rather saucy picture above. The new book is likely to be called Remembering Roxy, (although there’s always a small chance it will be changed before publication date) and here is the blurb and a couple of snippets from the book. (Warning: This is a BDSM book, between a loving couple, and contains references to spanking as well as some explicit language.)

BLURB

Roxy is a modern, independent, kick-ass woman, who hides a secret desire—she likes to be spanked. Will she ever meet a man who can satisfy her desires, without expecting her full submission?

Oliver is a man who loves some kink in his life, but doesn’t want to be tied down by a possessive woman. He also has a secret life that doesn’t bode well for a long-term relationship.

When they meet the attraction between them is immediate and electrifying. But Oliver’s secret other life stops their relationship in its tracks. Can they find each other again? Or will their relationship be doomed to failure?

Excerpt

He fastened a silk scarf around my eyes, before spinning me so I was disorientated. I heard his voice from behind me. “Take everything off—except the heels. Leave those on,” he growled. Soon my clothes littered the floor. “Now dance,” he commanded.

The music was a slow jazz number, very mellow. I ground my hips to the sound of a sensual sax, bending and swaying to the gentle rhythm. I had a slight smile on my lips as I anticipated what was to come. I delighted in winding him up very slowly.

I couldn’t see him, but I knew he would be sitting in the leather chair, probably sipping on a glass of whisky. He liked these little displays of mine. He liked choreographing them and controlling my movements. He liked his power over me and I handed it to him voluntarily.

“Move that sexy little arse of yours. Show me what you can do. Be my private dancer. Make me want to fuck you without mercy.” I swayed and undulated my hips, running my hands up and down my body, knowing his excitement would be mounting until he could resist me no longer. How I loved to torment him. And how he made me pay, deliciously, for it.

“Enough.” I stopped immediately. He reached out and ran his palm down the curve of my back and over my bottom. “Bend over.” I did as he asked and was rewarded by his hand slipping between my thighs and stroking my pussy. “You’re so wet already. So sexy. You’re my little slut, aren’t you?” From him that was a term of endearment. The more I was his slut the more he loved it. His touch made me groan with need. He grabbed me by the arm and pulled me down, over his lap. As my feet left the floor the shoes fell off with a clatter and lay at his feet. They wouldn’t be needed further tonight. My behind would be lathered and then I would be fucked – hard – just as I loved it.

Excerpt

As I walked along the corridor to my desk in the open part of the office, I received a couple of strange smiles and looks from co-workers, as I smiled and said good morning. Then I saw my desk. In the middle was a basket of white roses—about thirty blooms in all. It was enormous. I stopped dead and the men who occupied cubicles on either side of mine stood and applauded.

“Well you must have impressed someone over the weekend,” said Ben Short.

I coloured up and looked on the basket for a card. There was nothing.

“You mean you don’t know who sent them?” That was from Graham Jones on my other side.

I decided to play it cool. “Well it could be one of many of my admirers. I really couldn’t say.”

There was no way I could work with my desk almost entirely covered in flowers, so I retrieved a small vase from my bottom drawer, cut off a few blooms to place on my desk, and put the basket containing the rest on the floor, in the corner of the cubicle, out of the way, so they wouldn’t trip me up each time I got up.

Pretty soon the office filled up, meetings went ahead, and documents were studied. The novelty of my flowers dropped from the discussion topics. Of course they must have been from Oliver. Who else could they be from? But why no message with them? Obviously he wanted to keep our date a secret, which didn’t bother me in the slightest. But he could have put an enigmatic message that wouldn’t have identified himself to anyone but me. Still, message or no message, it was a very sweet, if slightly over the top gesture.

I passed the morning with the delicious perfume of the roses in my nostrils. Engrossed in checking a contract, I almost missed a text flashing on my mobile, sitting on top of my desk in silent mode. When I glanced over I saw Oliver’s name on the screen. I picked it up immediately.

 

Oliver: Hope the roses arrived this morning.

Me:       Oh, they were from you? There was no note.

Oliver: So who did you think they were from?

Me:       I made up a short-list of about three.

Oliver: And was I at the top of that list?

Me:       Well you were pretty near the top.

Oliver: I see. Perhaps I didn’t tan that hide of yours enough on Friday?

Me:       I’m sitting quite comfortably this morning, so perhaps not.

Oliver: I’m wearing a rather nice black leather belt with my suit today. Do

I need to come down at lunchtime and remind you a little more

severely, and ensure you have to stand up all afternoon?

Me:       On reflection, you are definitely at the top of the list. In fact, you

were the only one on the list for last weekend. So I guess I should

thank you for the roses. Did you buy up the shop’s entire stock?

Oliver: You’re welcome, and no. But I do like to make grand gestures.

Me:       Of course the whole legal department is agog and wants to know

which director I’m fucking. They know no one on this

floor could afford such an extravagant gesture.

Oliver: And did you satisfy their curiosity?

Me:       No. I don’t kiss and tell.

Oliver: Good girl. Well I have work to do in order to pay for those roses.

Me:       Me too. Thanks again.

Oliver: Bye then.

Me:       Bye.

I will post more details when publication date is known. In the meantime, Issue Number Two of my magazine-style newsletter, Rachel’s Retreat, is now available. Lots of interesting snippets to read, plus some humour and a decadent recipe. Don’t miss it. Simply send your email address to racheldevineuk@gmail.com. I only bring them out quarterly, so your Inbox won’t be swamped.

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Rachel’s Retreat

Rachel's Retreat FB promo-2

 

Hello readers, friends and fellow writers,

 I decided that I wanted to launch a newsletter, but I didn’t want an ordinary newsletter. I decided that what I should produce would be something between a newsletter and a magazine. So I have produced a 6 page pdf called Rachel’s Retreat. It’s a restful, relaxing place, where you can read snippets of work I am currently writing, the odd recipe (the one in the first issue is the positively orgasmic recipe for gin and blackberry cupcakes! What a fabulous combination. If I could I would make some and send you one each! Along with a suitable cocktail of course.)

 Then I have some fascinating facts about writers. Now which writer do you think collected male blue butterfly genetalia? Plus a short snippet from a Work in Progress. There’s some poetry from R.B. O’Brien’s about to be released poetry book, called, enticingly, Ruin My Lipstick. And to add to the mix, a few sizzlingly sexy pictures.

 I only intend to send out the newsletter four times a year, and promise that anyone signing up will not have to fear spam or the email address being passed on to anyone else. I intend to keep the list for Rachel’s Retreat entirely separate from other lists. I will only send the newsletter to anyone who specifically requests it, and if you find you don’t like it, let me know and I will remove you from the list immediately, so no one need fear becoming bogged down with unwanted spam and messages.

 I want Rachel’s Retreat to be a fun, light-hearted way of communicating with people, a little bit of a different type of newsletter. The response so far has been amazing, with people already signing up for the next issue, which will be in the spring. So if you want to see Issue 1, with absolutely no obligation to continue with it, simply send an email to me at

 racheldevineuk@gmail.com

 and I will send you the first issue. Thank you for reading this, and I hope you will request the first issue of my newsletter.

Love Rachel x

 

PS Sorry I’ve been rather absent lately, but I am still writing and hope to have more material to post before too long.

Rachel's Retreat Twitter promo -2

Happy Christmas to you all

I know that many people don’t celebrate Christmas, so to those people, Happy Holidays. Although I’m not religious, Christmas is a warm, engulfing, family fest for me, when my elderly father and I get together with my brother and sister and their extended families, for good food, good company and long walks, plus the usual games with the little ones. I realise that not everyone is lucky enough to have such a loving family, and I am so grateful for mine. Particularly at this time, when I have been facing serious illness. However, I am dealing with it and expect to be restored to full health by the spring.

I am still writing, but it is a long way from being finished, so I hope you will pop over to my other website and check out the short stories and books that are there. (http://www.racheldevineauthor.com/blog for short stories) and (http://www.racheldevineauthor.com for my Home page, with book excerpts.) There is more than enough material to keep you happy for a while.

I wish you all a Happy New Year, and hope that 2018 is full of promise for you all. And here is another seasonal message from my alter ego, Juliette Banks.

 

                                                        Rachel   x

The Homecoming – a short story

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I watched her from a distance, careful to remain in the shadows. It was hot and she wore just a flimsy top and cotton skirt that stuck to her skin with perspiration. Her body was as beautiful and magnificent as I remembered it. Soft, plump breasts rounded like juicy plums, pressed against the cotton material. Her sweat almost rendered it translucent; brown nipples clearly visible even from my vantage point. How many times had I fantasised about closing my hands around each of those luscious globes? Even with my eyes closed I could picture them. They cried out to be massaged and moulded by warm palms until the nipples became hard with desire.

As she leaned against the open doorway, the soft sound of music filtered out from within the house. Her hips swayed a little to a Latin rhythm, and she bent her neck backwards with eyes closed as though lost to the sound. I’d pictured this scene many times in my mind over the five years that I’d been away. The image never failed to stir my loins with desire.

I’d been just a boy of seventeen when I left, but at twenty-two I considered myself a man of experience. I left as a virgin, untutored in the art of lovemaking, not knowing how to make a woman groan and pant with need. But I discovered the sweet joys of a woman’s body in the long, hot summers spent in the vineyards up north. The quick, fumbled moments of passion in dark corners; the longer and more fulfilling encounters on the soft hay of a nearby barn; the older women who passed on their knowledge to me, and the younger women on whom I enjoyed practising my new found skills—all enticing memories.

Still, there was a part of my mind that drew me back to the sultry goddess now in front of me. None of the women I met matched her sensuality or her beauty. Their eager hands and breathless urgency robbed me of the excitement of the chase. Where was the thrill I felt when seeing her rolling hips walking away from me—a brief glance over her shoulder the only signal she was completely aware of the effect she was having? Where were the nuanced clues she offered to encourage hope in an obsessed boy that one day he would be man enough to satisfy her? I would have walked over hot coals for her—but she never asked me to test my devotion. I couldn’t find that in my time away—the conquests were too easy, and now I was back.

Did she know I was watching her? Was she aware of my presence? I was well camouflaged by the shadows, but perhaps she sensed me. There was no one else in the vicinity. Yet she moved as though she was performing for someone. My cock stirred in my pants, longing to be between those wonderful thighs. I yearned to lick the salty perspiration from them and slowly move my mouth upwards to that hidden place—the source of many fantasies. I longed to slip my tongue inside her and massage her clit, until she cried out with pleasure. Yes, I learned something in my years away, as well as picking grapes.

My body had filled out from the boyish figure of five years earlier. My shoulders broadened from lifting the heavy baskets, and my muscles toned. My self-confidence, too, had been shaped and honed. I no longer stuttered my words or looked at my feet when talking to a beautiful woman. I had learned to recognize the silent language conveyed by the look on a woman’s face and the movements of her body. And where it mattered I was most definitely a man. I knew how to satisfy a woman.

Yet still I hesitated to step out of the shadows. Was I afraid of rejection? Would she have forgotten her parting words to me of five years ago?

“Goodbye, Johnny. Go and seek your fortune in the wide world. But don’t forget to come back and see me one day—when you’ve turned into a fine young man. I’ll look forward to that.”

Would she remember her words? Maybe she had a man in her house. But would she be standing outside alone on this hot evening if that were so? Why was I still hesitating to find out?

I took my courage in my hands and stepped out of the shadows, walking slowly towards her undulating body. She heard my footsteps and turned to face me, her soft, luscious lips forming a slow smile. I stopped, just a few feet from her—legs a little apart, and hands down by my sides. She spoke first.

“Hello, Johnny. So you’ve come home at last. The good-looking boy returns as a handsome man. What brings you back to these parts?”

I smiled and spoke slowly and a little deeper than she would have remembered.

“Just passing through. Thought I’d look up a couple of old friends. See if anything’s changed around here since I left.”

“Not a lot changes here, Johnny. You should know that. That’s probably why you left in the first place.”

I looked her straight in the eye. “You’re still as beautiful I see, Rosie.”

“Why, Johnny, you still know how to charm the ladies. Would you like to dance with me?”

I didn’t hesitate, stepping forward and placing both hands on her hips. She responded by placing hers on my shoulders as we danced to a soft samba rhythm.

“I see you’ve got yourself a few muscles while you were away. In fact you’ve filled out pretty good it seems.”

“And you still have the curves I remember, Rosie. It’s good to see you again.”

She pulled me a little closer as our dance became more intimate. I knew that she would be able to feel my hardening cock, but that no longer embarrassed me as it did when I was a boy. Now I took pride that I could respond to her in this fashion. I knew she was woman enough to be flattered by my interest, even if she didn’t reciprocate the feeling.

I placed my hands on her firm, round bottom as it undulated to the music.

“You always did like my bottom, I recall,” she whispered into my ear.

My voice deepened slightly. “I didn’t like you walking away from me, but the compensation was the sight of your rear as you did. You don’t know how it tortured me as a seventeen year old boy.”

“Oh, but I did,” she whispered, “I just couldn’t show it. I waited until you became a man. I knew that one day you’d return.”

I bent my head and kissed her gently on her bare shoulder.

“I always knew I would return, Rosie. There was some unfinished business as far as I was concerned. What about you?”

“Well I guess we had better go indoors and finish it then, hadn’t we?”

She took my hand, and with a smile led me through the open door.

I was home.

 

Picture: Shutterstock

Weekend Writing Warriors for Oct 15

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Welcome to my snippet for Weekend Writing Warriors for this week. It’s where writers post 8 – 10 line snippets of their work for others to read and comment. When you have finished here I hope you will go along to see what other writers are saying. (www.wewriwa.com)

This is the final snippet from my latest book, Out of the Darkness. I shall be absent from the site for the next few weeks while I catch up on my writing. Plus I have some health issues that need sorting. But rest assured, I will be back.

Marianne has met William on the flight from London to New York, and their affair begins in William’s hotel after he persuades her to stay with him, rather than go to her own hotel. It is a little “cheekier” than previous snippets, but not (I hope) too erotic for your tastes. They are about to go down for dinner.

“The only improvement I want to make is for you to remove your panties and give them to me.”

I didn’t demur, and slipped off the scrap of lace and satin that passed for panties in my world, and handed them to William, who placed them in his pocket.

“Now, lead the way to the elevator please.”

I knew why he had me walk ahead. It was so he could get a good look at my undulating bottom, with the silk dress sliding gracefully up and down with each step. In the empty elevator, he drew me close to him and I could feel his hardness against my body. He put both hands on my bottom and pulled up the back of my dress until his hands were resting on my bare cheeks. After a gentle stroke, he dropped the back of the dress until I was again covered. It was only as I stepped out of the elevator that I noticed the small security camera in the corner. The sight of my bare bottom probably made someone’s day.

Oh I work hard..backless dress Twitter

Out of the Darkness is an erotic romance, with elements of Dominance/submission between the characters involved. But it is basically the familiar story of a woman’s search for a man who will love her, and she him. Out of respect for the other writers, I am not including much erotica. If you want to read spicier extracts, go to the FB page for this book.(https://www.facebook.com/outofthedarknessnovel/)

She is one of the most beautiful and photographed women in the world.

She is living every young girl’s dream.

But sometimes the dream and the reality don’t match up.

The missing father; the predatory stepfather; the abusive lover; they all let her down.

Then she meets the man of her dreams – but fate is cruel and she is left alone again…

… until a powerful and charismatic Dom, who excites her like no other man before, steps into her life.

Is he the man she has been seeking her whole life? Will he show her the way out of the darkness and into the loving, submissive relationship she has always craved?

This book is now out on Amazon at:

Amazon US             http://amzn.to/2fP9rnL

Amazon UK               http://amzn.to/2w5qE2r

Amazon Canada       http://amzn.to/2uTiHcW

Amazon Australia     http://amzn.to/2uTtfsG

She lived every young girl_s dream IDarkness Twitter 4).

The Mistress – a short, erotic story

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He always comes at seven, on Tuesdays and Thursdays—unless he has to attend a function with his wife. Occasionally, when she’s out of town, he telephones and we arrange another meeting. It’s always at my home. We can never go out together. He’s too well known. Tuesday is his wife’s bridge night, and Thursday she spends with the daughter and grandchildren from her former marriage. They have no children together.

I suppose people would think me foolish to settle for just a two or three nights weekly relationship. Others would condemn me for coming between a man and his wife. But actually I came into his life before her. We’ve been together for fifteen years, but they have only been married for seven years. He tells me that he doesn’t love her—that they are together for business reasons—but I expect that is what most men tell their mistresses.

He also says that they no longer have sex—don’t in fact even share a bedroom. I have to take his word for that, as I’ve never visited their home. I’ve seen them out together, and it’s true that I never witness any sign of affection or love between them. They frequently stand apart, and never give each other secret looks as lovers often do. She’s heavily involved in charity work and he accompanies her to functions as her escort.

Yes, its true that he pays me, so I know what that makes me in the eyes of the world. But I swear I’ve never had sex for money with anyone else my whole life. He pays the rent on my apartment and I have an allowance from him that enables me to live without working. My whole existence consists of preparing for him and being with him.

His sexual needs are great. He tells me that I’m the only one who understands this, and who can provide for those needs. Maybe so. It’s possible that he visits other people as well as me, but I don’t think so. He’s a wealthy man, but even so, paying for two mistresses in London would be exorbitant. Besides, he’s so well known that he would find it difficult to keep the secret. It’s hard enough keeping my existence hidden.

He’s coming this evening. I must hurry or he’ll punish me for not being ready. Of course he’ll punish me anyway, for something, so it hardly matters if I add to the score. He knows I crave his firm hand and my needs are as strong as his own. I climb out of the bathtub and put on a robe and a towel around my wet hair. There will be no need to dress. He’ll only rip my clothes off and I can’t afford to keep buying new ones.

I dry my hair in my bedroom, sitting in front of the dressing table mirror. He loves my chestnut coloured hair, which is long and thick and a little wild. He calls it gypsy hair. My mother used to hate brushing the tangles from it and tried to persuade me to have it cut short. But I resisted. He once told me that if I were to cut my hair, he would lock me in a room and not let me leave until my hair was long again.

I must hurry. He’ll be here in five minutes. I dab a single spot of perfume on my throat. He doesn’t like me heavily perfumed. The faint small of gardenias hits my nose. It reminds me of a plant he bought me many years ago, the fragrance from which was an ever-present reminder of him. Sadly it only survived for a few months. I wasn’t at all green-fingered. He never bought me another one, but the following year gave me the perfume, which he replaces from time to time.

I take my violin from its case. I no longer play in public. He forbids it. He is the only one who listens to my music now. He sends me a text the day before his visit, telling me what I must play for him the following day. Today it is to be Chopin, Nocturne No. 20 in C sharp minor. It’s one of my favourites, but I find it unbearably sad—mournful even. I never question him. His choice is final.

One minute before his arrival I hear the single chime from the entrance downstairs. I’ve no need to let him in. He has his own key. The bell is my one-minute warning before performance time. I raise the violin to my chin. My arm is poised with the bow. The second I hear the key in the lock I begin to play. Naked. In the middle of the room. I close my eyes. All as instructed.

I hear the door open and then close, but the carpet muffles any further noise as he advances into the room. My senses are on the edge. My whole body is primed. I tremble with anticipation.

The routine is always the same. He comes into the room and stands a few feet away from me, watching me. I can’t see, but I imagine him to be standing in a dark suit, immaculate as always. He probably has his legs slightly apart and arms folded, with one hand supporting his chin, as he listens to the music. He stands silently like that for a minute or so. I must not speak or open my eyes. I must not stop playing until he grants permission.

“Open your eyes.”

I blink against the light as the late sun, about to set, floods the room. He is standing just as I imagined him, wearing his dark, pinstripe suit with a crisp white shirt and a pale yellow tie. I continue playing. I know better than to stop. He advances and walks around me, observing me from every angle. I feel his warm hand running down my back and over the curve of my bottom. He loves that part of me. His hand remains for a few seconds, gently stroking my skin, before he returns to my front.

I know he wants to beat me, but so far I’ve given him no cause. I deliberately play a false note and I see the twitch of his lip. He knows I want it as much as him. He walks to the mantelpiece where I earlier placed the cane, a slender piece of willow. I continue to play.

The first stroke is a sting across the middle of my bottom, both cheeks. I concentrate hard so as not to interrupt my playing. The next stroke is slightly harder, in the same place. I breathe in sharply as a spasm of excitement shoots through my groin. I know that after just two strokes I’m already wet. He walks around me, striking where he pleases as I desperately try not to miss a note. A particularly hard stroke takes my breath away. From time to time, between strokes, he bends and places a kiss on my shoulder.

“You are so beautiful.”

Then as if to make me pay for the tender words, he will strike me even harder. We follow the same pattern again and again, but neither of us ever tire of it. He has a deep need to inflict pain, and I have a deep need to receive it. We are two sides of the same coin.

I hear a noise behind me. An unusual noise. It sounds like someone gargling. Then comes an almighty thud and I turn instantly. He’s lying on the floor, eyes still open, but his lips are blue and he doesn’t appear to be breathing. I stop playing instantly and drop to my knees beside him. For a moment I’m paralysed from the shock. But I’ve had strict instructions from him for such an event.

He told me once, “I know I am on limited time. My heart is hanging on a delicate thread and could stop at any moment. If it happens while I’m with you, you must not, under any circumstances, call for an ambulance. Just call my wife. She will know what to do.”

I’d promised faithfully, even though my every instinct was to call for help and start pressing on his chest. I reached for the phone and dialled her number. Thankfully she was home.

“It’s me. I…I think he’s gone.”

There was a pause at the other end before she responded.

“Don’t do anything. Leave him where he is. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”

I replaced the phone and sat on the sofa, the violin by my side. His body was just a few feet away. His face looked relaxed. The few faint lines that had been around his eyes and mouth had gone. He looked younger than his fifty one years. I was still naked. It didn’t even cross my mind to dress. Perhaps I was in shock.

The downstairs doorbell rang and I got up to press the button to open the front door. This would be my last moment alone with him. I knelt down by his side. Bending over him I kissed him gently on the lips and murmured to him.

“Goodbye, my darling. We had a wonderful time didn’t we? I’m glad you were with me, doing what we both enjoyed, when it happened.”

The bell on the apartment door went. I stood and walked to let her in. I made no attempt to hide my body with its stripes, already turning a little blue. Let her see what I was to him. I didn’t care.

When I opened the door we looked at each other for a few seconds before I stood aside to let her in. She seemed a little older than when I’d last seen her, but was still very attractive. She had never knowingly seen me before, although I had once attended the ballet and spotted them across the room.

She walked over to where her husband lay, going down on to her knees to check for a pulse; perhaps to satisfy herself that he really had gone. She turned to look at me, probably taking note of the livid stripes over my body.

“I can see what he had been doing when he had the heart attack. You know that he didn’t want resuscitating, don’t you?”

“Yes, he told me. He made me promise.”

“He knew it was just a matter of time. There was nothing they could do for him. He would have hated old age anyway.”

She stood up. “Now my dear we must call for an ambulance, or they will accuse us of deliberately withholding help. You must get dressed. Thankfully he is still fully clothed.”

She picked up the cane from the floor. “Take this and hide it in your bedroom. When the ambulance arrives we must tell them that my husband and I are friends of yours. We came to visit you and he collapsed and died. There is no reason for them to suspect anything. My husband wasn’t ashamed of his habits, but we don’t want the indignity of his picture being on the front page of the gutter press, do we?”

I nodded and did as she suggested. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be thought of as one of her husband’s habits, but I understood her wish to preserve his dignity. Being on the front page of the paper didn’t worry me in the slightest. I would never apologise for my lifestyle, but I understood about her need to protect his image.

In less than an hour the ambulance had been and gone, followed by the undertaker’s hearse. It was difficult seeing him carried away on a trolley, encased in a body bag, but I held myself together. His wife took care of everything.

After they had left she sat down beside me on the sofa. I was in awe of how clinically efficient she had been, while I was on the verge of tears.

“You must hate me, and yet you’re so calm.”

She put her hand on my shoulder. “I don’t hate you in the slightest. I knew all about you. My husband told me everything before we were married. Ours was a marriage of convenience. My sexual tastes lie far away from anything he could provide.”

I must have looked very surprised, for she carried on talking. “I was glad he had you. It would have been very lonely for him otherwise. He couldn’t risk going to—you know—professionals, for this sort of behaviour. There was always the danger of blackmail and bad publicity.”

“Oh,” was all I could say. All the years I had known him, and he never told me this. What had he told her about me? It was as though she was reading my mind.

“I know you weren’t doing this for the money—well not entirely, anyway. I know that what he gave you was something you craved from him. Am I right?”

I nodded. The tears began to flow down my cheeks. How would I manage without him? She put her arm around my shoulder and drew me towards her, holding me tight while I cried for the loss of her husband.

When I’d finished she looked down at my tearstained face for several seconds. Time stood still. She bent her head and kissed me gently on the lips. I didn’t pull away. I felt secure and comforted. She kissed me again, and this time I kissed her back.

“Don’t worry, my dear. I’ll take care of you. I’ll give you what you need.” I nodded and relaxed into her warm embrace.

 

Here is a link to the Chopin piece if you would like to listen.