Aleese had escaped the confines of her hotel room and was sitting in an outdoor café facing the square, a balmy breeze fanning her face. Whatever Keith was doing no longer concerned her. She was only glad she had the morning to herself away from him. After working her way up and down the hilly cobblestone streets of San Juan, she had decided to take a rest and enjoy the sun before the inevitable return to the hotel, and to Keith.
Sipping a steamy hot coffee, she bit into a flaky chocolate croissant—letting go of the tension in her shoulders. Rich, decadent chocolate brushed her tongue and as she brought it up to the roof of her mouth, Aleese held it there. No, she wouldn’t swallow it—she’d leave it, letting the sinful flavor in light buttery pastry pleasure her senses. Endorphins delightfully bounced in her brain, elevating her into a state of euphoria.Yet, she still needed to keep the captured sinful cocoa prisoner. But it was out of her control. No matter how much she willed it to stay, her mouth watered with the delicious, thickness, enticing her to savor it until there was no choice. Aleese swallowed the chocolate nectar.
Closing her eyes, she let the marvelous liquid glide down. As her eyes opened, Aleese’s gaze fell upon a dark-haired stranger casually dressed in jeans and white shirt striding towards a nearby table.
From her proximity to his table, Aleese could observe him unnoticed as he sat down. His unruly, black hair brushed his collar. The white cotton shirt did nothing to disguise the powerfully built shoulders and forearms—so unlike Keith. Her eyes trailed down the length of his long denim-clad legs, stretched out as he leaned back in his chair. Picking up a newspaper left behind by another patron, he started reading just as the waiter returned with a coffee, as if already knowing what the stranger wanted.
He drank it black. Keith liked his with thick cream and lots of sugar, which reminded Aleese he hated to be kept waiting. Keith would get that look on his face, purse his lips and say something pompous. From out of her wallet, Aleese dug up some coins and tossed them on the table, all the while wishing she could see the stranger’s eyes. Tracing her finger along the curve of her lips she stared at that sensuous mouth. The handsome stranger glanced up from the newspaper. Was he looking back? It was too hard to tell with those mirrored shades. His eyes were a secret, as were her own.
Outside a clouds covered the sun. Aleese took off her sunglasses and stood up. On her way out she edged her way to the exit still holding on to her sunglasses, undecided as to wear them or not. At the last minute, she turned and looked back at the man. He, too, had removed his sunglasses. Dark smoldering eyes met hers—burning a hole in her body.
* * * *
In the hotel room, Aleese lay on the bed resting, imagining the sexy stranger. From the bathroom, water rushed rhythmically. Keith was taking a shower.
Tugging a purple lipstick-like object from her purse, she placed it on the bed. The thin cotton of her spaghetti top easily pushed down as her hand smoothed over the rise of her breast. Fingertips curved around forcing the soft mound out of the push-up bra. Funny how her left nipple always seemed erect, even without gently manipulating it. With one hand, she cupped a breast, while the other stroked and teased a nipple.
The stranger appeared on the bed. He brought his mouth to the eager peak and sucked it—drawing it in and releasing it ever so slightly until it was gripped tightly once again between full sensuous lips.
That tingle between Aleese’s legs grew stronger, but she ignored it, shoving the top down allowing free access to the other breast. But the material kept creeping back. Impatiently, Aleese jerked the straps down. Her breasts would be his. The stranger straddled her, stroking and playing until her nipples swelled and hardened. And of course, he wanted more.
Aleese listened for signs of activity from the bathroom. The water was still running steadily. She had time, yet precious little of it.
Pushing her skirt up, she poked her finger under her panties, gliding down over her soft skin to the moist opening below. Arousal had made her wet. Lifting the edge of the lacy panties, she dipped the end of the purple toy down into the sticky nectar gathered there.
Aleese had only one plaything, which she had boldly ordered on the internet. Too shy to go into the local novelty shop and ask for a clitoral vibrator she had gone all out and bought this little miracle maker along with some sensational lube that delivered ecstasy in a bottle. No one would ever have expected this little lipstick to be a mechanism for pleasure. In combination with the lube she always reached a mind-blowing orgasm.
Stanchy Keith never suspected she had such a thing. Middleclass, from a conservative family, not to mention having a massive ego—he’d find the whole thing offensive. Why would any woman need a vibrator if he, the stud machine was around to fuck her?
Before she switched it on she coated the tip with the silky lube. The pheromones gave it a sweet scent. Switching the pliable toy on, she pressed the button until the strongest pulsing sensation vibrated. One hand dove under her mini skirt while the other pulled her panties slightly down to allow the magic to press against her clit. Rolling onto her side, Aleese jerked the panties lower over the curve of her butt and gripped a cheek. How she wished a third hand was there to stroke both breasts and nipples.
Fantasizing dark hair falling over her mounds, she pictured full lips sucking a nipple. Urgently, he reached around and pushed the vibrator away. Substituting a finger, he slid it up and down over the soft folds. She squirmed with pleasure as her imaginary lover, sensing her need, brought his mouth down.
Her clit pulsed with the beat of the vibrator and she imagined a thick, strong rod entering her. The stranger fucked her so hard she—Aleese contracted her pussy and groaned loudly as the sensation surged to a new height. She was almost there. Sweat filmed under her arms and her juices flowed. Tightening her thighs, she struggled to keep the toy on her aching nub. Aleese needed to retain the tension to reach orgasm. Images whirled in her brain. Fire ignited in her core. Shuddering, the intense vibes pushed her over the edge. With a scream, Aleese came.
The water turned off in the bathroom. “Aleese, you okay?”
“Just bumped the bed,” she managed to reply. Fighting the urge to just lay there enjoying the aftermath of the orgasm, Aleese hastily covered up, and quickly tossed the magic lipstick into her tote bag.
Keith had been oblivious to her leaving—that was the way he was with everything. He was a Brit. Intelligent, cool and calculating. That wasn’t the bad part. It was the engineer part that irked her.
A few months back, when they’d first met, she’d been im-pressed. Only a year older, Keith already owned a house and a BMW, while she rented a condo and had a car loan. First year teachers didn’t earn much in Canada. Owning a house would be a long time coming.
At first, Aleese had been happy. With the beginning of winter, Keith was eager to learn to ski. How romantic to be in the snow together on a sunny day. She volunteered to teach him but instead of appreciating this, he went on and on about how much better he was. In fact, he was a natural. His first day skiing was so much better than her three years of practice. It was macho bravado, but nevertheless, it hurt. It made her doubt her decision to stick it out in a relationship with a man like him. But there had been too many boyfriends—none of them right. Six months with Keith was coming up and she wanted to prove to herself she wasn’t flighty, with no substance.
“Hey, clumsy! What happened?”
“Bumped the bed with my knee.”
A towel wrapped around his waist, Keith made his way over to the bed. The room had two double beds and she’d made the one closest to the window hers. “Bought shoes, I’d bet.”
Aleese glanced at her tote bag, containing a packaged gold metallic bikini. “Nope. No shoes. What about you?”
Keith lay down on the bed beside her, his arm draped over her hip. “Talked to a few boat owners,” he said, before lowering himself on the bed.
Before he could kiss her, Aleese blurted out, “I’ve got a headache, Keith.”
Bringing his face closer, he said soothingly, “You’ll be fine. Relax. You’re just not used to the sun and the heat of the tropics.”
He kissed Aleese, thrusting his tongue in between her teeth—flicking it in and out. Aleese lay passively, accepting his lizard-like thrusts. Neither resisting nor participating, she zoned out. Keith seemed oblivious of her lack of enthusiasm. He lingered, unlike a gentle summer breeze. More like a pushy autumn gale that chilled the bones, especially so when he squeezed a breast. Did he test the ripeness of a grapefruit the very same way?
Lifting up her top, he tugged it high until she was forced to bring both arms up. In his eagerness, he left the top covering her face. Aleese pulled it off. She supposed the sex could be satisfying. After all, she had trained him to give her oral—something she guessed his poor ex never got.
Keith unclasped her bra and burrowed his face in the valley between her breasts before he squeezed them tightly together so that her nipples were only inches apart. She felt like some blowup doll but she was so aroused already he didn’t dampen her fire.
He chuckled. “Almost, but not quite big enough.” He let go of his treasures and tweaked the nipple of one breast between his thumb and fingernail.
Aleese winced. That was just plain mean. What was with him? He never knew what she wanted.
Keith ignored her reaction and cupping the mounds, brought his mouth down to suckle a nipple while he gripped the other breast. He always started the same way. Lips tugged enthusiastically, but instead of having an arousing effect, it made her feel used. Maybe if he said something romantic, but he didn’t. She squeaked at a sudden nip and pushed his head away.
“Do you want me to…” Keith asked, tugging at her panties.
Aleese lifted her ass up, willing to try something new—anything to get a G-spot orgasm. He snatched the fabric and shoved them off, tossing them on the floor.
“Um-mm.” She tried to muster up some enthusiasm, but wasn’t looking forward to it.
Keith spread her legs and started to lick. She had a Golden Retriever as a child and somehow the steady up and down rhythm reminded her of the overly friendly dog. When he tightened his grip on her thighs, pinning them in place, she squirmed uncomfortably.
Mistaking her reaction as excitement, Keith, dropped his towel. Shoving a pillow under her ass, he kneeled in front of her and lifted her legs up. His cock slipped in easily. Thoughts of the stranger popped back into her brain—eyes smoldering with lust.
“Ah-hh!” She sighed.
Keith held her ankles tightly up to his shoulders and thrust. This position must have aroused him. His breathing grew ragged as he picked up a rhythm.
Aleese began to feel ridiculous in this position. Her muscles tensed. Why did Keith feel this need to confine her? That vice-like grip was painfully uncomfortable. If only he’d loosen his hold or let her assume another position. She needed to rub against him. Her clit was screaming for stimulation. Aleese was tempted to get out the lube again but Keith was such a tight-ass. There’s no way in hell he’d allow that. There’d be a bruise on her thighs if he kept this up. Stroke my clit…please! But the Brit wouldn’t. Could she do it? No-oo, he’d be angry.
Her body protested. Any second now, the pussy juices would dry up. With one last effort, Aleese, fidgeted, struggling to free her ankles. An ankle slipped away from Keith’s grasp and she kicked out at his shoulder.
Irritated, Keith barked, “What the hell, Aleese?” Abruptly her legs landed on the bed.
“I need to feel you,” she coaxed. Tightening her pussy muscles she squeezed.
“Oh, yeah!” he groaned.
Aleese flattened her legs, lifting her hips higher to give her clit a chance to brush against him. Finally, she had just the right amount of sensation.
Keith’s eyes gleamed as he heaved into her.
Aleese’s hands slid down his sweat-filmed body.
Puffing with exertion, Keith muttered, “Hot little bitch, aren’t you,” he said, thrusting in a frenzied rhythm.
Drops of sweat tinged with a potent woodsy cologne dripped on her. She tried to block him out and imagine the sexy stranger taking her powerfully, his cock tight inside.
“Say you want it, Aleese!”
“Mm-mm,” she murmured, lost in her fantasy.
“Say it!” Keith shouted, as his dick missed her G-spot.
“Touch me!” she urged, hoping he’d push his fingers into her ass. If he gave her that, she might come. But it was too late. It was over. Keith had gone limp inside her and once again, Aleese knew she was cursed.
She glanced up to see him beaming, his moustache soaking with cum. Had she really been that wet?
“Good job, Aleese. Headache gone, eh?” He pinched her nipple affectionately. “Get a shower and we’ll go visit the old town. I need to pick up a few souvenirs.”
Aleese took this as her cue to leave. Dragging herself up, she padded to the shower, a trickle of cum running down her inner thigh.
* * * *
Aleese didn’t mind going back to the charming old colonial section of San Juan. Similar to New Orleans’s French Quarter, the colorful rose, green and pale yellow buildings, had wrought iron railings around the arched windows and balconies. It would have been a fabulous stroll if it hadn’t been for the company.
“I don’t know how you walk in those things. You should buy yourself some practical shoes.” Keith frowned at her cork platform sandals, sparkles in the leather glinting in the sunlight.
“They’re no problem for me. The cobblestone is a little awkward, but the sidewalk is level. Besides, I love these sandals.” Aleese thought her scarlet toenails looked particularly attractive peeking out of the straps.
Keith dropped her hand abruptly as a couple came towards them. At a narrow sidewalk, he let the other couples walk hand in hand while he stepped behind Aleese. He always did this. It would take a few minutes of walking side by side before he’d take up her hand again. Other couples strolled romantically. Not them. Some people would think he was quite the gentleman, but inwardly, Aleese thought it was because he hated the intimacy of handholding.
They’d been browsing in the tiny shops for a while now, but neither of them had bought anything. When Keith spied a store window displaying rocks and semi-precious stones, he stopped abruptly, his attention focused on some purple quartz. Aleese found the jewelry equally fascinating but she didn’t think Keith would buy her any.
“You want to go in?” she asked.
“Yup. You can wait out here if you want. I saw a nice piece of quartz for my collection.”
“There’s some great turquoise jewelry.”
“Well, come in if you wish.”
Thanks, Master. She kept her sarcastic remark to herself. That’s all they needed, a fight at the beginning of their vacation.
Inside the tiny shop, she eyed the turquoise pendant on the counter. When the gray-haired, bespectacled owner came over, she asked, “How much is it?”
The Chinese man nodded, his eyes inscrutable dark pools.
Having been to Mexico, Aleese knew no one just bought something at the asking price. Bargaining was standard procedure in Latin culture. Handling the turquoise, she admired the black strands in the bright stone. “Twelve dollars?”
The old man said persuasively, “You are a rich Americana. I am but a poor merchant.”
She glanced over at Keith who was staring at her, listening to their exchange. Well, hopefully he was learning something. If he figured it out, he could bargain for the quartz. Of course, if he asked her nicely, she’d do it for him. Buying two things in one store lowered the price.
“I’m a teacher and a Canadian. We don’t earn very much.”
The old man’s eyes narrowed. “Twenty dollars.”
“Do you want the quartz, Keith?”
Keith frowned. “I’m not sure.”
She smiled at the old guy. “Surely, if we buy two, you can give me a better price.”
“If the gentleman buys the quartz, I am willing to give you the turquoise for eighteen.”
“Fifteen and it’s a deal.” Aleese reached into her tote and dug out the money. The man hesitated a moment before he nodded in agreement. Wrapping her pendant in tissue, he tied a ribbon around it before he handed it to her. When she tossed it into her tote, the old man turned to Keith.
Keith asked the merchant, “How much for this piece?”
The old man displayed his yellowish teeth in a toothy smile. “Twenty dollars.”
Silently, Keith gave him the money as Aleese waited.
“Adios,” Aleese called out happily on her way out.
Outside on the sidewalk, she reached over to grab Keith’s hand, but his limply slid off hers. On the other side of the street, she recognized the café where she had seen the stranger. “That’s a great café. You want to stop and have supper?”
Keith grunted. Aleese assumed that was a yes and kept on going. When they were shown a table overlooking the street, she was suddenly nervous. This was the exact table where she had sat earlier in the day. She glanced around, but was disappointed to see that the stranger wasn’t there.
A waiter appeared. “Buenos dias, señoros.” He presented them menus. “Something to drink?”
“We have several, but I would recommend the Medalla.”
“Right. Two beers, then.” Keith opened his menu and sur-veyed it.
Aleese was not big on beer. It always made her feel fat and bloated, but Keith was paying and she knew they’d have only one anyway. Keith wasn’t a drinker. Beer was Keith’s way of melding with the natives.
“Find anything you like?” Keith asked curtly.
“A rice dish with chicken.”
“Hm-mm,” he said, scanning the menu. “I’m surprised you chose this place. Stuffed beef tongue and breaded calf’s brains? We should have eaten at the hotel.”
“It has atmosphere,” Aleese said, checking out the locals walking by, “and I wanted to try something different.”
Keith laughed dryly. “Different is right. Civilized people have no need to eat dog food, which I’d say,” he pointed at the menu, “these items are.”
“There’re a lot of chicken dishes on the menu.”
He didn’t have a chance to comment as the waiter appeared with their beers.
“Could you recommend a chicken dish for my friend?” Aleese asked.
“Asopao or the arroz con pollo. Are you very hungry, señor?”
“Then perhaps the arroz con pollo. It is the specialty of the house.”
“We’ll both have it, right?”
Aleese nodded. At least they were in agreement with this. She’d been afraid he’d drag her out of the café and insist on roast beef at the hotel.
As they waited for their order, Keith tapped his fingers impatiently. His jaw clenched as he sat staring out at the passing crowd.
This was Aleese’s first vacation since she’d started teaching two years ago. To go on spring break vacation to a place with a decent beach meant booking six months in advance. She didn’t have any close female friends and since Keith had been eager to explore San Juan, she’d booked it with him, splitting the cost. But glancing at Keith’s sullen composure, she wished she’d gone by herself. It was altogether too stressful to be with him. He liked to sulk until she dug the truth out of him. Most of the time, she had to apologize to smooth his ruffled feathers. Obviously from the look on his face, he was punishing her for some slight. What was it this time?
Aleese’s thoughts drifted to the stranger. Sex had been bearable because of her fantasy man. Right now with Keith giving her the silent treatment, she immersed herself in the memory of the man she’d only fleetingly seen. What had he been thinking when their eyes met?
From inside the restaurant, the band played a sultry salsa. The seductive music made her think of his forearms, exposed by his white shirt. He’d been slim and strong. Keith wasn’t short, but when she had her high heels on, he was almost on eye level. There was something very attractive about a tall muscular man, she mused, visualizing the dark-haired stranger.
When the chicken with yellow rice arrived, she was sure Keith would lighten up. Something to do with his blood sugar level. He wasn’t a diabetic, but he had problems if he didn’t eat on schedule. When he explained this to her, he’d go on about his need to eat immediately or he’d be ill. After the fifth glycolic sequel, she had tuned him out.
Sure enough, Keith took the dinner as his cue to focus on the meal. He didn’t seem to mind not talking while eating. He’d told her it had to do with boarding school back in England. If a boy wanted seconds, he’d have to eat fast or be left with nothing. Aleese downed some beer and found it agreeable, even though she would have preferred wine. Her former boyfriend had been a maître d’ with a penchant for aged burgundies. He’d hooked her on reds. Lately, she’d tried almost every kind of Australian Shiraz available, and with this chicken she would have enjoyed a deeply flavorful berried wine, but it was not to be. Keith had decided she should drink the local beer. It wasn’t a pleasant meal. In between mouthfuls, he stared at her, his eyes accusingly shooting daggers.
Otherwise, the dinner was delightful. In fact, as the waiter removed their plates, Aleese started thinking about a scrumptious dessert—chocolate mousse would finish the dinner perfectly. “Excuse me,” she called out to the waiter rounding their table, “would it be possible to get a dessert menu?”
“Si, señorita,” he said, “I will be right back.”
She glanced over at Keith, who was examining his fingernail. “Wasn’t that old man funny?”
“The old man in the shop. I think he gave me a good price. What about your quartz?”
“It was reasonable, Aleese. In fact, everything was reasonable, Aleese—except you!”
“What do you mean?”
Keith glared. “You were inexcusably rude. I have never been so embarrassed in my life!”
Surely he wasn’t referring to Aleese negotiating for the jewelry. She’d been so proud of herself for pulling off that deal. “You mean because I bargained for the turquoise?” Aleese asked hesitantly, completely thrown off by his accusation.
The waiter returned with a dessert menu and Aleese opened it up.
“What do you think, Aleese?” He motioned for the waiter to return. “Check.”
Aleese stiffened. It was customary to bargain, wasn’t it? What did he mean?
The server took Keith’s credit card and trotted off.
“It was the most humiliating experience. Can’t you see we are in a third world country, Aleese? I’d bet the Chinese fellow doesn’t even have a pension plan.” He signed the bill and pocketed his card.
A knot twisted in the pit of her stomach. Maybe, Keith was right. Bargaining shouldn’t have been her priority. She should have paid the old man what he had asked. Her shoulders slumped in her misery. But a glimpse of a tall dark-haired man entering the restaurant pushed her guilt to a back-burner. With a family leaving another table, her view was blocked. She peered around Keith but didn’t see where he had gone.
Keith stood up. “I paid. Come on.”
“I want to stay and have dessert.”
“I don’t want to stay.”
Something welled up inside of Aleese—pent up anger and frustration topped with an abundance of hurt. “Go, then!”
Between closed teeth, Keith hissed, “Aleese!”
He looked as if he would have liked to have dragged her out by the hair, but his rigid private school training won out and all he could do was stand there and glare.
Aleese gazed at him defiantly and said, “I’m staying.”
Keith’s eyes narrowed, but he didn’t argue. His jaw clenched, he spun around on his heel and strode out the café without another word.
Aleese half expected him to come back and apologize. Her eyes watered. She hadn’t done anything wrong. He didn’t understand. She wouldn’t cry. And then she panicked. Did she know where the hotel was? She took a deep breath. Of course she did. She didn’t want to walk the streets alone at night. Was there enough money for a taxi? She frowned. Digging in her purse, she sighed in relief when she spotted her wallet. A twenty dollar bill peeked out at her.
“Would you like a moment to decide on a dessert, señorita?” the waiter asked from behind her shoulder, “…or?”
Aleese started. She glanced down at the menu in confusion.
The waiter pointed. Her eyes followed his finger to the dessert selections. Methodically she read, hardly understanding what was before her. A tear drop welled up and slid down her cheek. She was beginning to regret her impulsiveness.
“Polvo de amor,” a husky voice said softly.
Aleese glanced up and met the smoldering dark eyes of the stranger. Her heart raced and she could only stare speechlessly.
His lips twitched. “It’s not as good as chocolate, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.”
“Chocolate?” Aleese’s forehead furrowed. “How did you…”
“Know?” Wavy dark hair blew onto his forehead. He gave her an engaging smile. “I was moved by the way you ate that croissant this morning. You enjoyed it so much.” He motioned to the chair next to her. “May I join you?”
Aleese nodded, speechless—her brain waves spinning.
The stranger sat down beside her. Leaning back, he stretched out his long, jean-clad legs and tilted his head, gazing at her.
He said his name quickly, the words flowing musically, “Arman.”
Arman? Aleese was confused, lost in the mysterious waters of his whisky eyes, but when he raised an eyebrow, she pulled herself together enough to return, “Aleese.”
He reached over, his hand outstretched and she gave him hers, but instead of shaking it, he met her eyes a second before he slowly brought it up to his lips and kissed her wrist. Shivers raced down Aleese’s body. She waited, but he didn’t release her hand. He studied her. Placing his other hand on top of hers, he let it rest there lightly while he spoke. “I’m glad I caught up with you again.”
His deeply masculine voice activated tingles in her pussy. “We didn’t really meet,” she murmured.
Arman released her hands. “No. You left too soon.”
“Señorita, señor,” the waiter said sidling up to them. “Sorry to interrupt. Have you decided?”
“We’ll both have the polvo de amor,” Arman said. “Is that alright, Aleese?”
The waiter took up the beer glasses and waited.
Aleese nodded uncertainly. She watched silently as the waiter made his way to the rear of the restaurant. Turning to Arman, she asked curiously, “What is it?”
Aleese’s eyes widened.
Arman laughed. “Coconut baked in the oven. It’s an island favorite.”
“Next time, I’ll get you something with chocolate.”
His dark eyes shimmered golden. “Yeah.”
The waiter suddenly appeared, and deposited their dessert with a flourish.
“Thank you,” Aleese said distractedly.
“Try it,” Arman said, watching her.
Dipping her spoon in, Aleese cautiously took a mouthful.
The dessert was crispy yet soft—an interesting combination that stimulated her taste buds. “It’s good.”
“Good,” he repeated, smiling. “I can see we must find a chocolate dessert or your faith in Puerto Rico will be lost.”
“No-oo, I really do like it.”
“Don’t worry. I understand. I know how chocolate makes you feel.”
“I have a love of chocolate that transcends rational thought.”
Aleese relaxed. “I’ve never met a man that loves chocolate. What I mean is, men say they like chocolate, but none of them have chocolate cravings.” She thought of Keith and how he’d laughed when she’d finished the box of Lindts he’d given her for Valentine’s Day, all in an afternoon. It had been a condescending type of laugh, as if she were somewhat flawed for enjoying it so much.
“We could have a chocolate feast.”
Aleese paused in the middle of a mouthful and fantasized Arman covered in chocolate. She would be licking up the dark creamy chocolate, starting at those full sensuous lips. Her mouth would suck up a truffle strategically placed at his nipple and then journey south.
Tilting his head, Arman stared at her, his mouth curled slightly up at the corners. “What did you imagine?”
Aleese blushed and hurriedly scooped up some more coconut dessert.
“Tell me. Did you like what you saw?” Arman pressed.
“Will you let me in on it?”
Arman’s eyebrows raised questioningly. He sat back and gazed at her thoughtfully.
“I was thinking about you,” Aleese admitted hesitantly.
“And I you. All day.” He forked up a chunk of dessert. “Intermittently, of course. What were you thinking?
“I wondered if you’d come back.”
“I was passing by tonight when I saw you.”
“I live near here.” Shoving his bowl away, Arman asked, “Are you finished?”
“Good. Do you feel like walking?”
“Sure. Where to?”
“I’m tempted to show you my condo—we could sit outside and have some wine.”
“But it’s a little crowded today.”
“My roommates just came back.”
“Lucky them. Vacation?”
“They’re flight attendants with American Airlines—we all are.”
“Oh-hh!” Aleese sighed. A guy in a uniform—why did that turn her on so much? She looked at him suspiciously. He must know how hot he was and how women liked uniforms.
“Where are you staying?” Arman asked.
Why did life seem so much like a classroom—comments and questions just like show and tell. If she confessed to being on vacation with Keith, Arman might leave and that would be the end of the beginning. Aleese bit her lip. But if she did tell him, she wouldn’t have to worry about being a slut and succumbing to her urges.
She gathered her thoughts. “The Del Mar Hotel.”
Arman looked as if he were about to comment on that when the waiter appeared with the check. Before Aleese could reach for her tote, he paid the waiter. “It’s on me,” Arman said, standing up. “Come, I’ll show you my favorite bar.”
He took her hand and they wove their way around the tables to the door. His hand was warm and strong and his touch was electric. She glanced up at his rugged features—a strong chin, full lips and a long slightly hooked nose combined asymmetrically, yet every imperfection oozed sexuality in a way that pricked her nerve endings.
The night air was balmy and warm—sea salt in the breeze. Bordering the sidewalk, palm fronds swayed softly. Occasionally, a group passed by and Arman would wrap his arm around her and pull her close to allow them to pass.
“Is it far?” Aleese asked, glancing into Arman’s changeable eyes.
“A block or two.”
Aleese gazed down at her platform shoes. Walkable, she thought.
“You look good with high heels.”
She smiled. “I like wearing them. I know they’re not practical.”
“Practical is boring.”
She shot him a look.
“Useful, practical and logical—all boring. Necessary at times, but ultimately hum-drum.”
“Oh.” Aleese didn’t know what to say to that. Keith was always telling her to be more practical.
“You are small.” Arman studied her. “A pixie.”
Was he joking? “You mean like a fairy?”
“No, you’re pixie material.”
“Pixies are,” Aleese mulled this over, “naughty?”
“Hm-mm. Haven’t been much of that lately.”
“No?” Arman smiled slowly, pushing his dark waves away from his eyes. “Change is a positive thing.” He glanced at a building set back from the street. “That’s it.”
Down a narrow road, there was an open-air bar with a palapa roof. As they approached, Aleese could hear the rush of the ocean. The floor was raised and the seats surrounding the oval wooden bar were wide swing chairs. Lanterns lit the area, casting an inviting yellow glow.
“Hola,” the bartender called out. “How’s it going, man?”
“Great. Hey, Emilio, I’d like you to meet my friend, Aleese.”
“Welcome, señorita.” Flashing pearly whites, he grinned widely. His café au lait coloring spoke of his mixed heritage. “Watch him. He’s fast.” he warned. “You won’t know what hit you.”
“Don’t listen to Emilio. He’s loco—the girls run when they see him coming.”
On the other side of the bar, a couple of men snickered at that remark. Aleese looked over at a blond man and his brawny companion, dashing in their blue uniforms. Pilots or maybe…
“Flight attendants,” Arman whispered in her ear as the blond nodded in his direction. “Hey, Jack. How’s it goin’?”
“Can’t be better. First day of layover,” the blond drawled. “How are you, Arman?”
The dark-haired man next to Jack waved.
“Hey! Talk to you guys later, ’kay?” Arman’s eyes shot to an empty swing chair. “Let’s sit in that one.”
Aleese placed a hand on the wide rattan chair. Suspended by thick ropes from the rafters, it swayed with the sea breeze. “Will it hold us?”
His heavy-lidded eyes gleamed in the dim light. “It’s strong. We’ll fit nicely.” He held the chair steady for her to climb into.
On tip toes, she grasped the rope before she thrust herself into the basket. Backed against the cushion, her legs dangled over the edge.
“I’ll take your shoes off,” Arman said, without waiting for her reply. Slipping them off, he set them on the wooden planked flooring. His eyes slowly swept down the length of her body. “Beautiful legs, perfect for high heels.”
Aleese smiled shyly, pleased by his compliment.
“You want your usual,” Emilio called out, “and perhaps a piña colada for the lovely lady?”
“That sounds nice.” In fact everything was nice—the moon peeking from behind the clouds, the sea-scented breeze and the white caps glistening in the dark Caribbean waters visible from her vantage point in the swing. It was magical.
“Could you hold these?” Arman asked, handing her two drinks as he slid in beside her. “Emilio knows how to make an exceptional piña colada.”
The creamy-white drink was in a plastic glass, but every care had been taken to make the drink a decorative masterpiece—a scarlet hibiscus flower adorning the edge along with a slice of pineapple.
“Relax, Aleese. Put your feet on my lap.”
An offer she couldn’t refuse. Leaning back against the cu-shion, her feet on his jean clad thigh, Aleese sipped her drink. “Arman is an unusual name.”
“Oh, I thought you might be Puerto Rican.”
“My mother is. Taught me Spanish—a requirement for the job.” Arman’s lips curled up at the ends. “Your name suits you. Für Elise. A haunting piece. Beethoven must have had you in mind.”
Aleese felt her cheeks grow hot. “Not quite. My father wanted me to have a traditional German name and he would have won, but for once, my mom stuck to her guns. It’s a different spelling, too. My mom wanted me to be an original.”
Arman tipped back his beer before he murmured, “And you are.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Everything about you.”
“Now you’re doing exactly what Emilio said.”
“Saying things to flatter me.”
Reaching out to the bar, Arman set his bottle down. “You are far too wise to fall for that from a mere mortal.”
“Because I’m a pixie, right?”
Arman’s lips turned up slightly at the corners. “You’re a pixie goddess. A tricky beauty that has secrets.”
How did he know? Had he seen Keith leave? Aleese frowned.
Arman picked up her foot and examined her toenail artistry. “A dainty, pretty foot.” Holding it with one hand, he stroked it with the other. “Tell me about you. Why did you come to San Juan?”
His question was easier than she’d anticipated. “It’s school break and I’m a teacher. I thought San Juan sounded lovely from the brochure and,” her eyes lit on the ocean, “it is.”
“The island has more than white beaches and casinos.”
Aleese nodded. “History.”
“Would you like to see the fort with me?”
“You have time?”
“I have a few days before I head back.”
That wasn’t a long time. Aleese didn’t know why, but that made her suddenly sad. After all, she had just met him.
Leaning back in the chair, she closed her eyes. At first, light strokes caressed her foot in the most pleasing manner. And then his thumbs took up the job, solidly pushing against her instep in a circular motion, releasing all her stress and at the same time, awakening her senses. When he suddenly brought her foot up to his mouth, she giggled. What was he doing? The pressure of his lips sucking her toe jolted her like low voltage electricity. Aleese squirmed unprepared for the pleasure of his assault. A soft moan escaped.
He withdrew his lips only to tighten them on another toe. She could hardly hold on to her drink the tingling between her thighs was all she could think about. “Arman,” she whispered.
Still sucking her toe, he eyed her a moment before he stopped and released her foot. “You’re very tasty.”
She hardly knew what to say. No one had ever done anything like that to her. Massaged her feet, yes. A New Year’s party. She hadn’t known that guy either, but she’d had zero attraction for him or she might have clued in to the fact that he was coming on to her. But in this case, the man was hot and she was getting tingles just sitting here.
“We’ll go to the beach tomorrow for a while and later go to the fort?”
Later. After what? There was a gap there. “Mm-mm.”
He grinned. “I take that as a yes?”
What was she thinking? She couldn’t. There was Keith. But if she didn’t tell him… “I could meet you at the beach.”
“That would work for me.”
“Where?” Aleese asked.
“The beach at your hotel? I’ll bring a blanket, towels and drinks. You bring…”
“You.” Arman sat back and closed his eyes a second before he opened them. Speaking softly, he said, “I’m seeing a sexy woman in a bikini.”
“You have one, don’t you?”
“Of course,” she said, thinking she’d better go shopping for a matching cover-up tomorrow. She had to look hotter than hot.
“Then I’ll look forward to it. All night, I’ll dream of you and me on that perfect stretch of sand.”
“Is it? I haven’t been to the beach, yet.”
“No? When did you arrive?”
“Yesterday. In the afternoon.” Keith had decided they should shower and have sex. She’d missed the sunset, too.
“But you’ve seen it?”
“From my balcony. The water is brilliantly blue and the beach is unbelievable.”
“The island has great beaches. What else do you like?”
“I like…” she hesitated, not knowing what he wanted to hear—something concrete or something more elusive.
“I don’t mean sports or hobbies.”
“Interesting. You’re not free?”
“I’m free and I’m single. And you?” She waited anxiously, sure that his answer would disappoint her. Someone that delicious must be taken.
“I was captured, but I’m free now.”
Aleese took another sip of her drink and thought about his choice of words. “Captured. That’s a funny word to describe a girl friend. You were in a relationship?”
“You were married?”
“I was in love. We lived together for a year.”
“And it made you feel bad?”
“Only later. At first it was everything I ever wanted.” Arman’s whiskey eyes glimmered in the dim light. “And you, goddess? Have you felt that all consuming feeling that mortals call love?”
“I’m not sure.” This brought thoughts of Keith back to mind. Was he in the room now, waiting for her? He’d be angry. “I need to go, Arman.”
Arman raised an eyebrow. “You’re not a night person?”
“Sometimes. I can be, but I need to do some things tomorrow morning and I’m afraid I’m a bit jet-lagged.”
“A goddess needs her sleep, I suppose.” He slipped off the seat, took her glass and helped her down. Taking out his wallet, he threw some bills on the counter.
Aleese heard light tinkling laughter. In the glow of the lantern, a striking brunette with long wavy hair, her bangs side-swept over one eye, stood between the two flight attendants.
Arman’s eyes flicked to the woman. “Come, let me introduce you,” he said, his husky voice to her ear. Taking her hand he brought her over to the group on the far side of the round bar. The woman in a clingy white dress, her chest thrust out, was the focus of all the males at the bar. Emilio had let his beer glasses soak in the sink to lean in to hear her throaty comment. She teased him with her finger bringing it to his lips. Aleese felt vaguely envious.
Whatever the siren was about to say, she forgot as she swung around, her large brown eyes taking them in. “Arman! They didn’t tell me you were here. Now I know why.” she said, her voice smooth as silk, studying Aleese. “Who is your lovely amiga?”
Aleese felt suddenly embarrassed at the way this woman examined her so intently, but she extended her hand politely. “Aleese.”
“Bellesica.” The woman ignored her hand and pulled her close, planting a kiss on each cheek. “My name is Francisca, but they call me Cisca.” She turned to Arman. “Where did you find this flower?”
“You must get out more, Cisca.”
“Always the man of mystery. Watch out for him, Aleese. He’ll charm you.”
Jack chuckled. “Emilio already warned her.”
“But they never listen, do they?” she said speaking to the men before she turned to Aleese again. “I’m Arman’s roommate.”
The dark-haired man beside Jack spoke up, “And I’m his roommate, Jamy.”
“Hi,” Aleese said.
“Hey, nice to meet you. Why don’t we go, Jack? Arman can take care of the ladies.”
Jack smirked. “Maybe Cisca would rather come with us.”
“All right,” Cisca purred, “why don’t I? Arman already has his pescado.”
Jack slid off his swing chair and took her elbow. “Coming, Jamy?”
Jamy followed the pair reluctantly.
When they disappeared around the corner, Aleese had to ask, “What was that all about?”
“I sensed Jack liked Cisca, but what’s with Jamy?”
“Well, she is attractive and Jack is the one she likes…”
“Not that simple, Aleese. Jack is bi. He’s been after Cisca for weeks. This is the first time she’s noticed him.”
“And Jamy? He likes her, too?”
“Come,” Arman said, taking her hand. Once out of the bar, he explained with a grin, “Jamy’s in love with Jack.”
They started walking on the sidewalk before, he continued, “Cisca likes the drama.”
“Are Jack and Jamy together?”
“No. Jack is a player.”
Arman laughed. “She’s a law unto herself.” He stopped to stare at the high-rise hotel ahead. “You like it?”
“The Hotel Del Mar?”
“I’m on the tenth floor and the view is breathtaking.” It would have been romantic with the right person to share it with…
“I’d like to see it.”
Wouldn’t she just love to be standing on the balcony, his arm around her, watching the waves roll in, but there was Keith. “Rain check?”
“I like the rain.”
“Me too. It’s romantic…” she mused, “walks in the rain.”
“And thunderstorms. Like them?”
“The clouds rolling in, the rumble and then the flash. Yes, very much.”
They neared the revolving door of the white building. Arman stepped back to let her go in. She brought out her hand to stop him from following. “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”
Arman gazed at her curiously before he said, “I’ll meet you out on the beach at one. Bring a change of clothes and we’ll see the fort afterwards.”
“One question. Something puzzled me.”
“Why did Cisca call me a pescado? What does that mean?”
His dark eyes glowed in the lamp light. “A pescado is a hooked fish.” He ran a finger down her cheek. “But maybe I’m the one that’s hooked and you’re a mermaid goddess.”
* * * *
Aleese didn’t feel like much of a goddess of any kind as she walked into the lobby. She was in a fix and she knew it.
Off to the right of the lobby, she noticed the casino. She hadn’t been in there yet. The concept of playing blackjack with wealthy jet-setters perked her fancy. It wouldn’t hurt to appease her curiosity and at the same time avoid the inevitable confrontation with Keith.
The Del Mar casino was not in the least like casinos in Vegas. It was quiet. The slot machines were in another room outside the casino. Inside, the croupiers spoke in hushed whispers and the plush red carpet dulled the gamblers’ voices. Each blackjack table was marked with a minimum bet ranging from ten dollars to five hundred dollars. Craps and poker tables were situated in the corner. Waiters strolled around serving the players.
Aleese was invited to sit at a table but she shook her head and explained she was only watching. She wished she had brought some money with her because in her unconscious mind she knew she had a gambling itch that ached to be scratched, but she also had a cautious side that combated that wild side.
In the course of a half hour, she wandered from table to table observing the game and the people playing. Many were obviously wealthy, unless of course the diamonds were fake, but to her untrained eye, they had that special sparkle that was undeniably real. She was just about to give in to temptation and sit at a table when she spotted a man in a charcoal suit with his back to her. He was playing blackjack at the hundred dollar minimum bet table. It was Keith.
There was no point in staying now. Exiting the casino, she rushed to the elevator. Luckily, he hadn’t seen her. It wasn’t something she had expected. Keith was logical and to her mind, unexciting—not exactly gambler material. But as an engineer, he knew his math. He could easily count cards. She frowned. No one would have thought she were the type either, but if Aleese had been prepared, she would have chanced playing just to have had the opportunity to play in a proper casino, the European type featured in Bond movies.
But she had more to lose by staying. There’d be no conflict if she were in bed asleep. Satisfied with her problem-solving, she hustled into the elevator.
Once in the room, she hurried to brush her teeth and remove her makeup. The last thing she wanted was sex with Keith, so she quickly donned a pair of boxers and a top. Settling herself in bed, her mind wandered to Arman and how delicious he’d looked in his white shirt and jeans.
Unconsciously, her fingers slid under her top and smoothed over her breast, circling and kneading her nipple. She pulled on her already swelling nub and imagined Arman’s hand cupping her breast and his lips sucking her nipple to hardness. She felt an ache between her thighs. Bringing her other hand down into her boxers, she stroked the velvety folds that covered her clit.
She spread her legs slightly to allow her fingers easier access. She made contact. Her clit was moist. Sliding her finger further down between the lips of her pussy, she stuck a finger inside before bringing her exploration back to her clit. Arman’s rugged features and his enigmatic whiskey eyes flashed in her mind. Fingers tightened around her nipple. His tongue would lick the valley between her breasts. She let her fingernails lightly graze her skin, as they trailed from her breast to belly button where her hand rested on her silken skin.
Would he like the way she tasted? Did he really mean that? Would he want to bring his lips to her clit and tease her with his tongue, savoring her scent and her juices? Her forefinger stayed on the bud of her clit and she stroked it until her body writhed lost in the rhythm. Aleese floated in the sensation. Her breathing becoming ragged, she almost didn’t hear the click of the door. But there was no mistaking Keith’s voice.
“Aleese?” he called out. “Are you there? Wake up. You’d never guess—I won.”
She curled up in a fetal position, her eyes shut, Aleese pretended to breathe deeply as if she were asleep.
He shuffled around before he approached the bed and sat down. She heard his shoes hit the floor with a bang. It was getting harder to pretend to be asleep with all the noise he was making. When a belt-buckle clanged on the tiles, Aleese figured the rest of his clothes had joined the shoes.
Lifting the covers, Keith shoved himself close. “Celebration time, Aleese. To the victor go the spoils.” He chuckled. “In this case, guess who gets spoiled?” He touched her ass. “What’s this? Clothes?” He tugged at her boxers pushing them down over the curve of her butt. “Lift up.”
When she didn’t respond, he edged right up to her. She could feel his hard cock poking into the fabric. “Come on, Aleese. I know you’re awake.” He groped her breast, but she rolled away from him onto her stomach.
Not to be ignored, Keith tugged once again on her boxers. “You like it this way…”
“No,” she murmured.
“Come on. You know you like it.”
He didn’t get any further as Aleese felt fury build up inside her. Her hand formed a fist and she backhanded Keith. As it happened she struck his face—his cheekbone.
It must have hurt. The noise he made sounded a bit like the sound her cat made when she accidentally stepped on his tail. “Aleese! What the hell?”
She heard the bed clunk as Keith got out and this time she didn’t pretend. Feeling tremendously exhausted, she sighed with relief and drifted into a deep sleep.