All material, copyright Cassie Caine. Thank you!



Maria stretched out on her sun lounger, flinging her arms above her head and pointing her toes and elongating her petite, brown, 5'2” body to its fullest extent. It was a beautiful morning of early June, and she was loving life. After months of renovations, she'd finally gotten the house the way she wanted it. The garden was coming along well, too, the borders a riot of flowers in on-trend pastel colours. And now, thanks to this glorious weather, she could snatch a modicum of well-deserved rest and put in some serious work on her tan.

Burying her fingers in her dark, wavy hair and exhaling with pleasure, she pointed her perky little bust towards the cloudless blue skies. She was too conventional, too conscious of her status as the wife of a wealthy and successful businessman, to sunbathe topless or nude, but the bikini she was wearing was a painted-on designer piece that left little to the imagination.

And why not? She was in amazing shape for a woman of thirty. Amazing shape for someone half that age. Lifting her head, she gazed contently at her flat stomach, hourglass waist and firm, slender thighs. Gorgeois! Her nipples prickled with narcissistic pleasure.

She imagined Greg walking in and seeing her like this, all spread out for his delectation and shiny with sunblock. She pictured the look of naked desire on her husband's ruggedly handsome face, the lust in his blue eyes, the swell in the front of his trousers. The way he would yank out his cock, already aggressively stiff, like the barrel of a pump-action shotgun. He would advance on her and seize her ankle. Both ankles …

Or maybe not. The image evaporated, and she wrinkled her mouth, displeased. Ugh! The truth was, she hated being grabbed at. She had no idea why the image had even suggested itself to her.

Maria liked everything to be neat and tidy. And being pawed, even by a man as good-looking as Greg... well, there was nothing neat about it. Not that there was the remotest chance of it happening – Greg would be out of the house until the evening, and anyway, he was too well trained to go in for any grabby stuff.

Even so, the thought had disturbed her. She forced herself to relax, closing her eyes, shrugging her shoulders, willing herself to forget about it, attempting to summon back the good vibes of only a few minutes before.

She was nearly there when a series of noises assaulted her sensitive ears. Someone was blundering around in her immaculate bespoke kitchen. They'd put the TV on, and they were scraping chair legs across the travertine floor tiles and crashing things down on the polished granite worktops.

No need to ask who. There was only one person in the world who would dare.

That little bitch Tori.

Tori (short for Victoria) was Greg's daughter from his first marriage. Now aged nineteen, she lived mainly with her mother, but spent a few weeks with them every now and then on the basis, Maria supposed, that all bad things in life eventually get shared out equally.

Maria snuggled deeper into her sun lounger, trying to ignore the racket, but her temples had begun to throb. She hated Tori. Nasty little chippie. Surly and rude, always breaking things or borrowing them without giving them back. No respect for rules or the norms of civilized behaviour. And almost certainly a predatory lesbian! Exhibit one: a photo on Tori's Facebook page, for everyone to see, of her snogging a redhead in a stripper outfit – no peck on the lips, either, but her tongue right up the poor girl's tonsils.

Tori had been out till the small hours last night, probably getting drunk and doing drugs and tongue-raping yet more girls. Now, by the sounds of it, she was staggering around still half-wasted, attempting to fix herself a late breakfast.

Close your eyes. Keep calm. Let it slide.

Bang! Thump!

No! Crash about it your own kitchen! Pretty lips pouting, Maria sat bolt upright. The next thing she knew, she was marching across the terrace, bottom wiggling bossily, little fists tightly clenched at her sides.

She stopped in the open doorway, aghast, her slanted eyes taking in everything in one bitter gulp. Her beautiful kitchen was a disaster area. Wrecked. Violated. Well, all right, maybe it wasn't quite as bad as all that, but it was still totally unacceptable and thank God she'd decided to come and put her foot down.

A battered milk carton was standing on the ebonized teak dining table in a puddle of what should have been its contents. There was spilt yoghurt and coffee grains everywhere. And now Maria knew what most of that thumping and crashing had been: it was the sound of Tori, at the breakfast bar, hacking up a mango with a carving knife in one of Maria's ultra-pricey Royal Copenhagen cereal bowls.

Maria shuddered as she thought about what the heavy steel blade must be doing to the delicate bone china.

“We have chopping boards for that,” she said stiffly.

“Ooookay.” Tori carried on butchering the mango.

“And can you put the milk back in the fridge when you're finished with it, please?”

“Yeah, yeah. In a minute.”

She punctuated the end of the sentence with an extra-hard stab, and a chunk of fruit escaped the bowl and plopped in a juicy mess onto the floor at her feet.

Crossing her arms, Maria glared at Tori, waiting to see whether she was going to pick it up. Even without her rudeness, she would have been a provocative figure – tall and slender as a flagpole, just like her bitch of a mother, with fair hair which managed to hang straight and glossy even when she'd just rolled out of bed. (Maria hated blondes, especially tall blondes.) She always dressed rock chick style, and a sleeveless tee emblazoned with a grinning skull and drainpipe thin skinnies (had she slept in her clothes? Ew!) accentuated her annoying willowiness. There'd been talk of her becoming a model, but her inability to keep appointments or to be even vaguely personable had put the kibosh on that, a fact that never failed to give Maria deep satisfaction.

At last, she could stand it no longer, and blurted out, “Are you just going to leave that piece of mango on the floor?”

“Looks like it,” replied Tori, glancing down disinterestedly.

“Looks like it?” Maria planted her hands on her hips. “What kind of answer it that, young lady?”

“A pithy one.” Smiling faintly at her own wit, Tori drizzled half a jar of manuka honey over the chopped mango, getting a fair bit on the breakfast bar too. She sucked her finger and shot Maria a challenging glance.

Maria knew Greg would have preferred her not to rise to the bait, but she couldn't help herself. “You're such a slob!” she snapped. “Someone ought to teach you some manners!”

Tori treated her to a try-it-if-you-dare sneer, before drawling, “Look, if you're so bothered about it, pick it up yourself. It's easier for you, you're already much lower to the ground.”

What? Maria's bottom jaw swung open. She couldn't believe her ears. In this house – or indeed anywhere she went – her shortness of stature was a taboo subject. It was something she hated to be reminded of. She had destroyed people for saying less.

She saw red.

“I'm nowhere near as low as you, you filthy little tramp! You have the morals and breeding of an alley cat! Just like your mother!”

Tori had settled one skinny buttock on a bar stool to hear her out, but now she hopped down, face like thunder. “What was that about my mother, bitch?”

It all happened in a flash. One moment she was advancing, the next she was twisting her long, bony fingers in Maria's exquisitely layered locks and yanking downwards, causing a shooting pain in Maria's scalp and forcing her to bend over double.

Maria felt a chill of panic. She tried to shake herself free, to prise away the fingers with her own, but Tori's grip was like steel. Who would have thought she would be so inhumanly strong?

“Ow! Tori! Let me go! Let me go!

“Not a chance. You asked for it, and now you're going to get it, you poisonous munchkin.”

Maria gasped as she felt her bikini bottoms being tugged down at the back. She flailed, trying to claw them back up. Then, to her shock and horror, a heavy wallop landed on her rear. She yelled in outrage – the sound being cut short as a second and third blow followed in quick succession, knocking the air out of her lungs and almost throwing her off her feet.

She couldn't believe it. She was being spanked! Spanked by Tori! Spanked by her nineteen-year-old stepdaughter.

“That's for what you said about my mother! That's for being so annoying! That's for being so short!” Tori's voice was dripping with malicious glee. “And that's because it just feels so fucking good!”

The blows kept on coming, increasing in venom. Red-hot pain radiated through Maria's body. The petite beauty fumbled at her bikini bottoms, but her fingertips were trembling, going numb. And then, to her shame, she began to shake with sobs, the tears splashing from her long, feathery eyelashes down her nose and cheeks.

“Serves you right for sticking your hooter in!” said Tori. “Better get it through your thick skull, you stupid whore – don't mess with the grown-ups.”

Tori wrenched her hair one last time and let her go. The harsh, stabbing words still ringing in her ears, Maria straightened, her body trembling all over, her shoulders hunched, more tears spilling down her face every time she blinked. She tugged up her bikini bottoms, cautiously, terrified of doing anything that might trigger another onslaught.

“Now I'm going to back to bed and I don't want to be disturbed. Got it, bitch?”

Scooping up her bowl of mango, a pot of mascarponi and a mug of coffee, Tori gave Maria a hard, unpleasant stare.

Maria dropped her eyes.

“I said: Got it, bitch?”

Oh God, this was too humiliating! Maria wanted to fight back, but she knew that Tori was far too strong – almost as strong as a man, but without a man's scruples. She nodded, gulping back tears.

“Fucking right. Little slut.”

With a thin, evil smile and a toss of her straight blonde hair, Tori sauntered off upstairs. As soon as she was out of the way, Maria collapsed onto a chair – or tried to, but her poor backside was too sore to support her weight. Scuttling into the lounge, she threw herself onto a sofa and gave herself over to a bout of sobbing, burying her face in a cashmere cushion to stifle the noise. Outside, the sun was still shining, but the loveliness of the day now seemed like a cruel joke. All of a sudden, her perfect life had turned into a nightmare, and something told her that worse was still to come.

CHAPTER ONE (exerpt)

“Oh my God!” Kelly peered over the park railings, shrinking back in disbelief. “They're really naked.”

“It's the World Naked Bike Ride. What did you expect, top hats and tails?” Jess tugged on her arm, forcing Kelly to fall in behind her as she wriggled through the milling crowds towards the park gates.

They were eighteen years old and enjoying their first summer as adults rather than school kids. Jess was very much the leader of the pair, although the shorter by a head – a small, sparky spitfire of a girl with a pixie-cut newly dyed Christmas-tree-bauble red, her curvy little body clad in a bikini top and a pair of white hotpants under a half-unbuttoned camouflage jacket with the sleeves ripped off. Kelly was tall, tan and willowy. She had dark wavy locks and misty blue eyes. Just recently she'd made the transition from gawkiness to loveliness, but she hadn't quite gotten her head around it yet.

She cringed as Jess, too excited to stand on ceremony, made good use of her pointy elbow on a woman with middle-aged spread who had the misfortune to be in her way. Jess was zany and out there, just what you would expect from a girl soon to be studying at St Martins College of Art and Design. Ever since she found out that Dalchester would be playing host to its own leg of the World Naked Bike Ride, she had hardly been able to talk about anything else. And Jess talked a lot. Kelly had never so much as heard of the WNBR until a short while ago, but she was now practically an authority on the subject after listening to Jess rabbit on about it tirelessly.

To be fair, Jess's excitement seemed to be widely shared. The ride wasn't due to start for at least another half hour, but people were already massing in numbers, both outside the park and in. Police, a camera crew from a local TV station, a smattering of protesters, and then those who had come to gawp, their camcorders, mobile phones and digital cameras at the ready. 

Well, who could blame them? The route would take the cyclists through the heart of historic Dalchester – down the High Street, past the university buildings, then in a circle around the cathedral and past the water meadows, then eventually back to the park, which was also the assembly point. All those gorgeous, timeless settings, suddenly thronged with naked bodies. It wasn't the kind of thing you saw everyday. 

In the case of the Municipal Public gardens, with its Victorian bandstand and its duckpond and its gravel walks and flower beds, the revolution had already arrived. The cyclists, about eighty of them, had commandeered a grassy knoll on the south side of the main promenade, where they had been joined by about the same number of onlookers. Bikes were propped against trees or laid on the ground, banners and bodies being painted, last minute preparations being made.

Jess made a bee-line for the action, Kelly following as slowly as her long legs would carry her. Where were all the women? That's to say, there were plenty of women among the spectators, but the nudes were mostly male. Of the handful of girls who had stripped, several of them were cheating by wearing panties or even whole bikinis. 

Jess twitched her pretty nose, thinking the same thing. “A forest of willies. Why are blokes always so eager to get their kit off? Not that I'm complaining. Their willingness to do daft things most girls wouldn't do is a crucial part of their charm.”

Not that anyone was totally nude in the classical sense, she went on to point out pedantically, because wherever you looked there were cycling helmets, sunglasses and trainers. Which was comforting in a way, Kelly thought. Put a cycling helmet on a naked body and it instantly became slightly comedic.

“Get a load of him, he's fit.” Jess darted forward suddenly, fiddling with her camera, a Canon digital SLR that had been her eighteenth birthday present.

Kelly heaved another sigh as she followed her petite friend into the green shade under the beech trees. But this time, she had to admit, she was curious too. There, on the other side of the shade, a man was posing for photos. A very good looking man. Deeply bronzed. A head taller than most of the encircling crowd. Girls were taking turns being photographed with him. 

Left to her own devices, Kelly probably wouldn't have had the nerve to investigate further. So thank God for Jess, who seized her hand, remarking with a sharp little grin, “Let's go and see if he's a swinger or a bobber.”

Jess divided penises into two categories depending on how they moved. If a penis was long and heavy enough to get a pendulum effect going, it was a swinger. If not, it was a bobber. Guess which she preferred.

This guy's penis was neither a swinger nor a bobber but something better. Perhaps eight inches long flaccid and thick to match, it pointed at the ground straight as a plumb-line as he shifted from foot to foot.

They squeezed into the circle. Jess went into pap mode, snapping away with the Canon. The loose threads dangling from the armhole of her camouflage jacket tickled Kelly just above the elbow as she stood beside her guiltily.

He was around 6'4”. Hardly a hair on his body apart from a sprinkling on his forearms and his calves, which made it all the harder to ignore his great tan and superb muscle tone. Late twenties, to judge by the laughter lines that appeared around his eyes and mouth as he exposed strong white teeth for the cameras.

He was quite an eyeful, and having a fully clothed woman tucked under his arm threw his nakedness even more into relief. The woman – she was in her thirties, plumply pretty, and dressed in a roomy smock and pale summer slacks – was tickled pink by the situation and hardly able to stand for laughing.

Camera shutters were chattering like insects in the bright sunshine. A lot of the people clicking away were male. Kelly had a strong suspicion that they wouldn't ordinarily have taken pictures of a naked bloke, but the presence of the woman, in her clothes, added a new element to excite their interest.

When the woman surrendered her position, another quickly took her place, and the clicking resumed. 

“Let's get you in there next,” Jess whispered, lifting her face from the Canon to flash a watermelon grin.

“What? No way.”

“Yes way, babe.”

Kelly groaned and hugged her boobs. Since her transformation into something of a stunner, Jess had become a pain, always pestering Kelly to model, and she was in a perpetual state of exhaustion from finding polite ways of saying no. Ever tried rolling a boulder uphill? Nothing compared to saying no to Jess.

But she knew that once she said yes, Jess would want to get her into some kind of skimpy costume, and then get her out of that and into her birthday suit, and Kelly lacked the self-confidence to make that kind of an exhibition of herself.

As she was mulling over this and biting her lip, the man's current posing partner made an exit and he looked around for another. Kelly stared pointedly at her feet, only to receive a powerful shove in the base of her spine.

Jess! You bitch!

There was something like an ooh from the onlookers when she went tripping into the circle – an ooh that turned to a moan when she spun on her heel to walk right out again. 

Don't you dare, Jess mouthed, raising the camera with one hand and shooing her back with a flap of the other.

Kelly glanced uncertainly at the man. She'd been half afraid he might make a grab for her, but he was standing relaxed, brawny arms at his sides, politely waiting for her to make up her mind.

Despite being big and naked, he was much less scary than Jess. Oh well. She drifted towards him, summoning a dazed smile.

The circle looked thicker from the inside, or perhaps it had suddenly filled out. It was close-packed and two deep in some places. Jess was frantically clicking the Canon. Others were thrusting out mobile phones or sweeping her from head to foot with the dark, glittering lenses of camcorders.

“Put your arm around him, babe!” 

Jess's voice, cutting through the whir of shutters.

Glancing at him apologetically, Kelly did as she was told. They had been standing side by side. But as she slid her left arm around his waist, he pivoted towards her slightly – to get his own arm out of the way, she realized, because the rules seemed to be that she could touch him but he wouldn't touch her.

Whatever the reason, the effect was to bring his chest nearer to hers, and to put everything else into closer proximity, too, including that long, sandy cock of his.

She didn't look at him, but she was suddenly very aware of him. His haunch was hard and smooth and very warm under her hand, like a stone polished by a river and then grown hot under the sun. 

Her plan was to let Jess reel off half a dozen more or less identical shots, then get away from here as fast as her legs could carry her.

But then she glanced down and became dazzled. 

This is me standing next to a naked guy.

The thought suddenly hit her. And it was like she was seeing herself, really seeing herself, for the first time. Her long, slender legs, showcasing her pale, flawless skin. Her narrow waist. And, heaving away beneath her stretch jersey tank, her breasts, which had bloomed into DDs in the last year or so.

I really am beautiful, she thought. And sexy.


Sophie sat at her desk on the first floor of the Dalchester Public Library and stifled a yawn behind her hand. It was only just past ten O''Clock but she felt half asleep and the day seemed to stretch endlessly ahead of her. 

Usually she very much enjoyed her job, dealing with people's enquiries, bustling around among the shelves, and after almost twenty years it still gave her a childish thrill every time she stamped out a book with a satisfying whump. But this morning it was raining heavily, a summer downpour that drummed on the windows and made the library seem stuffy and dank, and the weather had kept everybody at home, which meant there was no one to help.

It wasn't just that, though. Sophie was usually a cheery soul, but last week she'd turned forty, and she was struggling to come to terms with this watershed. Forty! She was getting old. Not that she looked old. She still had a cute, almost girlish air to her, what with her slender 5'6'' frame and her small, pretty features set in a striking oval face under a ragged bob of shiny chestnut hair. But it was hard to ignore the fact that time was marching on; it was the sort of thing that made you question whether you were making the most of your life.

What life? she thought, suddenly becoming gloomy. You've always been a bit on the boring side, Sophie … and now you're middle-aged as well.

Sophie frowned, and then just as suddenly chuckled to herself. Self-pity didn't suit her, and she could never keep it up for long. Sitting forward, she peeled her tight sweater up over her head, thinking she might feel fresher and brighter without it. As she wriggled, she was aware of her T-shirt riding up almost to her bra, but she didn't rush to yank it back down, since there was no one around to see.

She was wrong about that, though. Because, when she finally succeeded in getting her head out of the sweater, she saw a girl standing there waiting for assistance. Sophie gave a little flick of her head to get her fringe out of her eyes, smiled apologetically, smoothed down her T-shirt, and at once became attentive. 

“Sorry! Got myself in a muddle there! How can I help?”

The girl laughed. She had a lovely big smile that at once put Sophie at ease and made her forget about her unintentional tummy-flash. She was very pretty in a tawny way, as pretty as anyone could be who had just stepped in from a deluge and was wearing a dripping anorak.

“I was wondering … do you have a noticeboard for local events?”

“It's downstairs. There's a place too for loose fliers. Would you like me to put something up for you?”

“If it wouldn't be too much trouble.” The smile flashed again, and the girl went delving into her shoulder-bag. “I'm an artist, and I'm trying to get a nude figure drawing class off the ground. Got funding for it, just need the bodies … Here we are.”

Taking care not to get it wet, the girl handed her a glossy A4 sheet. Nude figure drawing class, it read. Tutored by award-winning fine artist Clodagh McDowell, this class aims to reinvent life drawing in an informal, intimate atmosphere. Come and experience the fun of drawing from live nude models – you'll soon be hooked. The words trailed down one side of the page but the lion's share of space was taken up with a colour-washed pencil drawing of a naked girl, seen from the back, stretching, her arms clasped behind her head.

Noticing that Sophie was looking at the drawing, the girl, Clodagh, laughed pleasantly and said, “I've got some plain ones too if you'd rather not put that one up.”

You could see the girl's bottom and the edge of one breast, that was all. Sophie didn't think it would be a problem. “No, it's fine,” she said, jumping up from her chair. “I'll put it up right now and run off some extra copies so people can take one home. Can't draw for toffee myself, sadly, but it looks really interesting, so good luck with it.”

“Well, if you'd really like to be involved, I'm also looking for nude models.”

Sophie's face must have been a picture of consternation, because Clodagh burst into laughter and said, “Whoops – see I've stunned you into silence. Well, posing nude isn't for everyone. It's the sort of thing you either love the idea of or you absolutely hate it.”

“I don't absolutely hate it,” Sophie said quickly, not wanting to seem impolite.

“Then you must love it.” Clodagh gave another one of her flashing, ear-to-ear grins before turning on her heel. “Anyway, thanks tons!”

Sophie smiled uncertainly as she watched the girl go trotting off down the stairs and towards the exit. She stood there for a moment, feeling a little numb from the exchange. Then, slowly, bits and pieces of it began to sink in, and she suddenly felt the need to sit down.

Who would have believed it? A complete stranger, a girl nearly young enough to be her daughter, had just invited her to take off all her clothes for the sake of art. Sophie was friendly and approachable, so she was always getting asked to do things, but even so ...

She had to admit that she was actually quite flattered. She thought back to her tummy-flash; the girl must have liked what she saw, otherwise she wouldn't have been so keen to see the rest. Not bad for an old lady of forty. Plus, it was reasonable to suppose that Clodagh had asked her not just because she liked her looks but because she liked her as a person, sensed that she would be jolly to work with, could perhaps contribute something to that informal, intimate atmosphere mentioned in the flier. And that was flattering too, perhaps even more flattering; it was always nice when young people seemed to think you were worth knowing. 

But then she thought of what was actually involved. She looked at the drawing of the naked girl. That could be a drawing of her. Her bare bottom, her arching back, twisted slightly so that the swell of one breast – her breast – was visible. And look at the flier. Fliers for life drawing classes were usually quite terse and uninformative, downplaying the nudity aspect, but Clodagh had gone the opposite way. The word nude was all over the place. It had kept on popping up in her conversation too. “I'm also looking for nude models,” she'd said. It was as if she'd wanted to underline to Sophie just how bare and naked she would have to be. 

As she thought of herself standing exposed in front of Clodagh and God knows who else, she coloured up and her heart began to thump. It was frightening, a little sickening, but exciting as well. At any rate, her encounter with Clodagh had accomplished one thing; she was no longer in the least sleepy. She seized the flier and, chestnut bob swaying, denim-clad backside swinging, marched across the floor to the photocopier; she needed to be active and was glad to have something to do.

She ran off thirty copies. By the time she'd finished, three or four people had finally percolated up to the second floor, bringing a smell of rain and wet clothes with them. As she walked past them towards the stairs, she suddenly had the absurd feeling that they were all imagining her naked. 

It was also busier downstairs now, a queue at the front desk and a chatter from the cafeteria area. The fact that she was carrying around thirty pictures of a naked girl suddenly struck Sophie, and she hugged them to her small, pointed breasts. She ducked her head so that her fringe tumbled forward into her eyes. Hopefully no one would notice her putting the thing up. She plopped the photocopies down on the shallow ledge in front of the noticeboard, and pinned the flier in place quickly and almost furtively.

She hadn't quite finished when a short, bespectacled Asian girl who couldn't have been any older than in her late teens sidled up and began reading the flier.

Sophie blushed but the girl didn't seem at all embarrassed, despite being in some ways quite meek-looking. In fact, she smiled at her warmly and said, “That looks amazing.”

“Yes, it does, doesn't it?” Sophie crossed her arms, their bare skin prickling. She felt as slender as a moonbeam standing next to the girl, who was quite broad in the hip and wearing layers.

“I love drawing, especially life drawing,” the girl added, which surprised Sophie because she seemed young to have already tried it. “Do you think they'll be able to get models and everything?”

“I expect so. Are you hoping for a guy or a girl?”

“Oh, a girl, definitely. It's such fun drawing the curves.” She helped herself to one of the photocopies and tucked it away in her jacket pocket before moving off.

Sophie cocked her head, watching the girl, and pulled a wry, self-mocking smile. Face it, there just wasn't the social stigma around nudity that there used to be, was there? And that sweet teenage girl was so eager, and would be so disappointed if a model couldn't be found to pose for the class. Sophie grabbed one of the photocopies too, then trotted back upstairs feeling much better and, on an impulse, went on up to the art shelves.

She ran her eyes impatiently along a row of books on how to paint in watercolours, how to paint in the outdoors, how to paint your dog … Ah, How to Draw the Figure! She couldn't yank it off the shelf fast enough, but was disappointed to find that the illustrations were all black and white pencil drawings, with no actual photographs of models. She moved on. Another, with a different title but very similar content. She slotted that one back too. Then she found what she was looking for. The Life Model: A Guide for Students. This was a large, glossy tome full of colour photographs of models in nude artistic poses, an encyclopedia of nakedness.

Perfect! She wasn't really thinking about modelling nude herself, not really and truly, not seriously, but it was fun to toy with the idea, and this would definitely help. She walked back to her desk, swinging the book under her arm – a first, small step towards letting go of her taboos.



Nina was seated on the edge of the four-poster bed. She had on a tightly cinched corset of white satin, a filmy negligee, the finest French silk stockings. Light from a roaring log-fire glinted off the mother of pearl buttons on her kid boots. Her auburn locks were piled in a loose chignon, revealing her slender throat, brightened with a choker of pearls. She was breathless with a sense of her own beauty.

The door opened, soundless despite its monumental size. A man appeared. Tall and pale, dark hair plastered back from a high, noble brow. Even from across the room his eyes were black and mesmerising. He was dressed in a flowing burgundy robe, belted at the waist, its collar and cuffs embroidered with gold thread, its richness a contrast to his stony pallor. 

She stiffened in anticipation. He approached, the robe swishing against his calves. He stopped an arm's length from her. His face wore no expression whatsoever, but she could read the desire burning in his gaze. His hands drifted to his belt. The next moment, the robe was slipping from his shoulders. He was stepping out of it, closing the final distance between them.

Nina stared determinedly at his face – then, almost against her will, looked downwards. Broad shoulders, a full chest, muscles as hard as cobbles. And then her eyes dropped lower still, to the shadowy area under the curve of his stomach, and to the heavy-headed thing nestling against his thigh.

What she did next came as a total shock to her. Before she could stop herself, she extended one hand and lifted it into the light. Hardly had she touched it, than it reared off her fingertips, supporting itself with springy strength. Suck me, Nina, it seemed to say. Take me in your mouth. You won't regret it. I'm very tasty.

Her lips felt parched. She wetted them with the tip of her tongue, her long-lashed eyes still fixed on the cock. Then, with a rustle of silk stockings on satin sheets, she slid off the bed and onto her knees. Her dainty hand closed around the shaft. With a tilt of the neck, she smiled up at the naked man, then she opened her mouth very wide and …

“We'll have to turn around and take the other road. Of all the blasted luck!”

The deep, gruff voice shook Nina out of her sleep. Blinking, she saw the face of her father, Silas Kettering, in the doorway of the carriage. It was a frightening face at the best of times, broad and red and with a stiff white beard, and these were far from the best of times to judge by its indignant expression.

“What's going on, father?” asked Nina faintly.

The carriage rocked as Silas hauled himself inside. He was a bulky man of advancing years, with something of a belly. He dropped onto his seat with a bad-tempered thump and rapped his hiking staff against the ceiling, a signal for the driver to continue.

“Just been talking to some woodsman fellow who spoke a bit of English. Thanks to that storm last night, the road through the forest is impassable. It'll take them a few days to clear all the fallen trees. So we'll have to double back and go the long way round.”

“No? Really? If only we'd thought of that before! No wait, we did. Or at least I did. I distinctly remember saying to you, Gosh, father, I do hope that storm hasn't rendered the forest road impassable. But no one listens to me. After all, I'm just a silly, ignorant spinster – what do I know?”

This voice, a dry, sarcastic one, belonged to Nina's elder sister, Irma, who was perched next to Nina on the seat facing Mr Kettering. Her somewhat boyish face, with its high cheekbones, sharp jaw and dimpled chin, popped out of Baedeker's guide to the Carpathians to dart her father a withering look.

Silas Kettering hurrumphed into his whiskers. Soon the carriage was bowling along the winding hill road. Nina rubbed her thighs together uneasily. The dream had left her with a lingering dampness there. What a strange dream too – she'd never known the like in all her eighteen years. She'd dreamt of strange men entering her bedroom before now, but they usually disrobed her, not themselves. She'd rather liked it this new way round, though. Her, all elegant in her undergarments. The man standing before her, every inch of him exposed to her penetrating gaze …

Best not to think about it, if she was ever going to settle down. To distract herself, she pressed her pretty upturned nose to the window of the carriage door and lost herself in contemplation of the mountain scenery. They seemed to be clinging to the edge of a precipice. Everywhere she looked, she saw rocks and more rocks and steep ranks of pines. Occasionally, as the road wound in and out, she would catch a glimpse of a craggy outcrop looming proud of the surrounding hills, atop of which was a cluster of tall, pale turrets. 

“What's that place up ahead?”

“What place?” Irma peered out of the window. Her eyebrows shot up in surprise. She consulted her Baedeker. After turning a few pages, she smiled with satisfaction. “Here we are. Castle Norbad, ancestral home of the Tohenzohen family. Mainly Fourteenth Century. It has a Durer.” She shut the book triumphantly, then craned forward for another look. Her smile faded. “Oh dear.”

“Oh dear what?” Silas Kettering raised his head. He'd been catching forty winks.

“I'm afraid we may be in for another storm.”

Nina had been so fascinated by the castle, she hadn't noticed what had happened to the sky. Now, looking to her left, she saw a turbulent cloudbank the colour of a dirty dish-rag rushing towards them across the valley floor. 

“Nonsense,” said Mr Kettering. “I consulted the inn's barometer before we departed. The forecast was entirely favourable.”

Nonetheless, within minutes the carriage was plunged in gloom and swayed by icy blasts. Rain hammered on the roof and gushed down the windows. They could hear the horses whinnying in terror. The girls clung to each other. If the wind didn't sweep them off the road, it seemed just as likely that they would be washed away by this ungodly downpour.

The carriage sped up, then lurched to a stop. With a curse, Mr Kettering jumped out to see what was happening, and returned a few moments later soaked through and shivering. The carriage jolted into motion. He wiped his face with a handkerchief. His hand was trembling.

“What's happening, father?” asked Nina.

“It's too dangerous to carry on. The driver's going to make a dash for that castle.” 

Irma opened her mouth to say something, then thought better of it. What kind of man takes his daughters hill-walking in the Carpathians? Why couldn't they have gone to Paris or Rome like other wealthy middle-class families? She wrapped her arm around Nina. 

Water was spitting through the doors and seething round the wheels of the carriage. They might as well have been under the sea. Up ahead, there was a flash of brightness. Lightning? No, a flame of some kind. Torches perhaps.
Another torch appeared on the carriage's right. Suddenly they were rattling over a drawbridge. Irma heaved a sigh of relief. The castle! They'd reached it already! It must have been closer than it seemed! 

They came to a halt. Mr Kettering flung open the door. The girls glimpsed a courtyard. High walls of roughly hewn blocks sheltered them from the howling wind. Across several yards of streaming cobbles were steps leading to a pair of doors, above which a coat of arms dribbled and spouted. The doors opened, and a blaze of light turned the rain to bright needles.

A man stood there. He made a gesture of welcome.



With a roar of wheels and a thump of drum 'n' bass, the white BMW lurched into the sunbaked drive. Two beautiful brunettes jumped out.

For a moment, Dominic was speechless, standing in the open door of the little beach house. Then he gathered himself and moved forward to give the closer of the pair an awkward hug. She was taller than him in heels and impossibly slender. His nostrils inhaled a fruity scent along with a little of the sand kicked up by the BMW's tyres.

The other girl joined in the hug, then posed with a slim arm over her sister's shoulders. “So can you still tell which of us is which?”

Her question gave him license to look them up and down. And what a sight they were. Two long-limbed knockouts in cut-off jeans and bikini tops. Flawless ivory skin. And what a romantic novelist would have described as “raven tresses.” In the two years since he'd separated from Bethany, his sort-of-ex-step-children had changed almost beyond recognition.

Even so, he had no difficulty in telling them apart. Despite being twins, they were actually quite different-looking. Cat's face was all pointy angles, Nat's all sensuous curves. Plus Cat had a scattering of small dark freckles, like coffee grains, on each pale cheek. 

The twins squeaked with delight when he got it right and hugged him again before tumbling indoors. The beach house immediately took on a different dimension as it resounded to their footsteps and cries of pleasure. It seemed smaller and much more flimsy but also much nicer.

He'd inherited the place – a tiny chalet bungalow on an isolated scrap of ground between rolling dunes, with lime washed furniture and walls of tongue-and-groove painted cream, sky blue and mint – from his late mother. And it was her death that had brought Cat and Nat back into his life at a time when he had become resigned to losing track of them. They'd emailed saying how sorry they were. He'd been surprised that they should know or care, and very touched. 

Writing back, he'd offered them the use of the beach house, any time, and they'd countered with the suggestion of a weekend reunion, all three of them together. Once again, he was surprised, pleasantly so – surely two college-age hotties had better things to do with their time than hang out with one of their mother's exes? Not that he was complaining. What with one thing or another, it had been a tough couple of years for him, and a bit of bright young company would be the perfect tonic.

The girls obviously thought the same thing. “Just as well we came,” Nat decided over lunch. “I can tell you haven't been eating properly. You're practically skin and bone.”

“Pale too.” Cat shook her lovely head and sighed. “Have to do something about that.”

He looked from one to the other, unsure whether to be amused or insulted. So that explained their presence here. The girls were on a mission of mercy. Feeling sorry for lonely, orphaned Dominic, they had come to mother him back to health and high spirits. It ought to have been a blow to his ego, but in actual fact he quite fancied a bit of mothering.

Speaking of mothers … he asked about Bethany. Their cue to vent. They'd never been overfond of her. (When Dominic was with Bethany, they lived most of the time with their father.) They said some bitchy things about the hairy-backed accountant she was currently dating. And him? Who had been in and out of his bed? All the gory details, please. Dominic avoided their eyes. It was too depressing to talk about. Being a middle-aged singleton was no joke.

That three-year stint with Bethany had been his last serious relationship. It had ended in brutal fashion and, truth be told, since then his love life had been going through something of a fallow period.

After lunch, they decided to go for a walk along the beach. The girls rushed off to change. Dominic was combing his thick, rumpled hair in his bedroom mirror and not changing when Cat said, “Got a present for you!”

Her appearance in his doorway made him jump. She'd donned a bikini with a smaller top than the one she'd been wearing in the car. It was a muted greyish-purple and looked as delicate as a cobweb. While it was perfectly fine for the beach, here indoors it was almost like she was naked. Whatever she had for him was currently hidden behind her back, and the pose drew attention to her chest, swelling out of its tiny cups. Her eyes twinkled mischievously from their beds of freckles.

He was shocked to feel a slight movement in his groin. 

“A present?” He pushed the fringe off his craggy brow.

Grinning, she waved a pair of shiny, electric-blue Lycra Speedos under his nose. 

“Slip into these babies.”

“Ha ha, very funny.”

“No, I mean it. We've got to get some sun of that pasty flesh of yours.”

“My flesh isn't pasty.”

“Oh yes, it is,” said Nat, who had come to join in the argument. “It's crying out for Vitamin D.”

“Bugger Vitamin D. I am not wearing that glorified posing pouch.” 

Nat narrowed her eyes and jutted her chin. Cat whispered in her ear.

Dominic raised his bushy eyebrows, what now?

“She thinks you're nervous about the size of your willy.”

“I am not –” Dominic checked himself. Before either of the girls could say anything else, he snatched the Speedos from Cat's hand and slammed the door in their faces.

He gave the Speedos an experimental stretch. They were minuscule. And no muted colours for him, he noticed. Electric blue. Oh, joy.

Still grumbling, he unbuttoned his shirt and stepped out of his old, faded jeans. Even though he knew they couldn't see anything, it felt very strange, stripping naked while the girls waited with baited breath just a few yards away. He could hear them conferring in undertones on the other side of the door, like witches. What had gotten into them? They'd always been a handful, but never quite like this.

He pulled on the Speedos and peered dubiously at his reflection. There was a bump at the front that looked like a curly Polish sausage. Small willy indeed.



She strutted in like she owned the place, to a cheer from the drunken guys packed around the walls. The upstairs room of The Crown was notoriously hot and muggy, but a chill of excitement ran through Steven as he watched.

With the sound system kicking out, she worked the crowd, nodding left and right, snarling with plum-coloured lips. What a ball of energy – all of 5'4” in heels, a cute Asian chick dressed in generic policeman garb. Big dark eyes flared under the peaked cap. A nice bust, small but perky, rounded out the front of the blue shirt with the sparkly tin badge.

The cries of lust were deafening. Steven, a married man approaching thirty, able to hold his liquor, chose to watch in silent appreciation.

She made for Tom, the groom-to-be, stranded by himself on a hard upright chair in a clearing under the dancing coloured lights. He hid his face, shyly, in his hands, then surrendered his wrists so they could be fastened behind his back with a pair of fluffy pink cuffs.

The stripper pulled out her truncheon, licked the end, poked it under Tom's chin, twirled it, tucked it back in her utility belt, then tugged off her dark blue miniskirt. She had slender, dusky-golden legs. 

Swinging away from him, she ripped off her shirt with a flourish, then came stomping back. She plucked off the cap. A sheet of glossy black hair tumbled down. Away the cap went, shied across the beer-stained floor. Now she was down to her lingerie – a tiny red thong, and a lacy bra through which, even in this light, Steven could see the shadows of her nipples. Her body was slender but not scrawny, a pleasing softness around the belly button, her bottom almost chunky. Gripping his upper arms, she leaned into Tom, flicking him with her raven mane. Then she pulled out the truncheon for a second time – she was still wearing the belt – and thrust it forcefully into his crotch.

Steven smirked into his pint of bitter. Yeah, make him sweat. The closer the wedding came, and the more it became evident that his old friend was deeply in love and would probably live happily ever after, the more Steven resented the lucky bastard. His own marriage of two years wasn't going at all well. 

Why? Well, you could rationalize it – a sense of growing detachment, all their common ground somehow collapsing underneath them like a rotten footbridge. But the truth was humiliatingly simple. They weren't doing it for each other in bed. He had … certain needs. For instance, a need to try new things, to be bold. But where sex was concerned, unfortunately, Bella was quite the reverse, a traditionalist. Slip the p into the v, in, out, in, out, and goodnight. And she didn't even seem to enjoy that very much.

None of this had been unclear to him before their marriage. But Bella was such a beauty, he'd chosen to ignore the issues that might divide them, telling himself he was lucky to have her, she would loosen up on their wedding night. If anything, though, she'd grown even more frostily unyielding with the passage of time.

The stripper removed the truncheon from between Tom's legs and sucked on the tip with every sign of satisfaction. Across the room, Adam, Tom's best man and the mastermind behind this stag night, raised his eyebrows at Steven as though to say hold tight, more to come. 

Reaching back, she unhooked her bra. Without the cups to shape them, her breasts looked girlishly unformed. They wobbled sweetly as she crawled onto Tom's lap. Ignoring his protests, she wrapped her thin brown arms around his head. The next moment, the left mound was in his face.

The way she arched her back, milking the moment – it made that little rump of hers look even more plump and inviting. As if reading Steven's mind, the stripper reached back to push down the seat of the thong, dislodging the thin red string from the cleft and tucking the equally thin waistband under the curve of her cheeks. 

Steven met Adam's eyes again and nodded approvingly. Where did you find her?

The one of Adam's hands that wasn't waving a beer glass made a just-you-wait gesture.

She reared up on her knees, rubbing her body against Tom's. A series of gyrations, some gymnastics, a handstand ...Then she jumped off him and, with the thong still pushed down at the back, strutted off towards the far end of the room where the rudimentary sound system and lighting panel were situated. In this comparatively private location, with her back to the leering crowd, she stood, thighs pressed together, and reached down her panties. She turned, the thong bundled over her pubic area. Naked, her body had the foamy sleekness of a seal. She strutted back.

Clapping, stamping, yelling. She ignored it all, smoky eyes fixed on Tom. She stopped in front of his chair. Unravelling one corner of the bundle, she offered it to him. Gamely, he strained forward, catching the flimsiness between his teeth.

She sidled back. For a moment, the panties were stretched tight between them. Then, stepping back further still, she let them slip through her fingers. He was left clutching the red rag in his jaws. Not for long, though. It dropped into his lap as he gaped in disbelief.

Because there, between her legs, where there ought to have been a neat little pussy, was a cock … also neat and little, but a cock nonetheless.

A moment of genuine shock rolled around the drunken assembly, followed by laughter, mostly good-humoured, but not all so.

“Wankers!” Tom chortled. Oh, you guys. What are you like? He was playing along, being a sport, grinning through his mortification. He shook his head at Adam, who was guffawing so hard he could scarcely stand up. 

Steven, alone among the crowd, was expressionless. He was staring at the little cock, and feeling his own grow hard and warm against his thigh.



Adrian Kent stood patiently, waiting to be called into service. He was completely nude. His posture – feet slightly apart, hands behind his back – showed off his rounded belly, spongy midriff and droopy two inch penis. He seemed all the more naked for being utterly devoid of hair. These days even his head was shaved, although he had been allowed to keep his eyebrows.

Seated in front of him at a table decorated with candles and bunches of anemones, his beloved mistress Imogen, the Bitch Goddess, was enjoying a farewell dinner with her paramour, Norbert Fischer-Dieskau, who was returning to Germany for the Easter holiday. Adrian had slaved over every detail of the meal, which was taking place in his flat.

For several months last year, Adrian had lodged with Imogen and her mother, but then the Bitch Goddess had decided she wanted him to get a fuckpad of his own. So Adrian had found himself some rooms in this lane off the High Street, up a creaking wrought-iron staircase over a shop selling souvenirs and greeting cards. It was cramped, and in the mornings he would sometimes have to turf sleeping tramps off his steps, but it made up for it with charm. Narrow windows provided glimpses of the cathedral steeple to one side and the crowns of the trees in the municipal gardens to the other, there was a living room crammed with his books, a bedroom just big enough for a double bed, a reasonably well-equipped kitchen and a bathroom where he had hung a framed aquatint of Coventry Patmore. 

Imogen treated the place as if it were her own – which indeed it was, a fuckpad consecrated to the Bitch Goddess.

Now she smiled over her poached salmon, raised her glass and said, “Hurry back, and don't shag too many frauleins.”

“As if I would,” replied Norbert, sensational in a midnight blue shirt and dark jacket – although not as sensational as Imogen, who, in green, with her ice-blonde hair set in a bob, looked like a distant cousin of the anemones on the table.

She waved for a refill. Adrian was there in an instant, his small dick bobbing as he lurched forward, topping up her glass with a cheeky white burgundy from the wine merchants in the High Street.

“It's not too late, you know, you could still come. Everyone would love to meet you.” 

Imogen was wistful. For Norbert, the holiday was a rare chance to see his father, a famous conductor who spent most of his time jetting around the globe from one glamorous concert hall to the next. He'd invited her to join him, but she'd declined, having a terror of flying. Easter was always a fun time at home anyway – her mother was so busy with the shop, Imogen could run riot. Besides, she was the Bitch Goddess, surely she could manage without a boyfriend for a fortnight?

“I'll be fine, Adrian will amuse me.” Twitching up one corner of her mouth, she ran a mint-green fingernail down her slave's bare chest, taking his breath away and causing spots of colour to leap to his cheeks.

“He's blushing,” said Norbert. “How your slave adores you. And such an accomplished cook too. Salmon's wonderful, Adrian.”

Flaking off a piece of the fish with his fingers, he extended it towards the slave, who opened his mouth to take it.

“I do wish you wouldn't feed him at the table,” Imogen chided.

After dessert – a mango and ginger sorbet so troublesome it had almost reduced Adrian to tears – Imogen and Norbert settled on the sofa with snifters of Napoleon brandy. Adrian lit more lamps, then crouched down beside his mistress, trembling with excitement. This was almost his favourite thing about being a slave of the Bitch Goddess. 

There she was in her short, gauzy frock, one knee crossed over the other, lamplight caressing her porcelain skin. Squatting on his toes, knees wide apart, his soles back to back, he lifted his soft, wrinkled penis and placed it on her dangling foot. His calves trembled with the effort of maintaining the pose, but Adrian embraced the pain. His limp cock resting on her shoe, in this case a cute little sandal in buttercup yellow – it was what he lived for.

On the sofa, Imogen was cuddled up next to Norbert. Endearments were exchanged, lingering, sensuous kisses. Adrian couldn't aspire to that sort of relationship with the Bitch Goddess. With his unathletic body and stunted penis, he wasn't worthy, wasn't man enough. He understood that.

No, it was an honour just to feel the stirring of her toes under his sad little cock, and to receive the occasional pat on his shaven head. What more could a little dick slave want?

Imogen's dress whispered like waves on water as she pushed her trim body against Norbert's. “How about a farewell fuck?”

Minutes later, she was preparing herself in the bathroom, stripping down to her bra and panties, ruffling her hair, kissing the tips of fingers and touching them to the portrait of Coventry Patmore on the wall. Returning to the bedroom, she found the boys ready. 

Both were naked. Norbert was using Adrian as a dick-stand. Imogen had come up with this concept because she was infinitely merciful and therefore didn't like to leave Adrian out of the fun.

It worked like this: Adrian on his knees, thighs pressed together, head flung back as far as it would go. Standing just behind him, all lean and muscular, the mighty Norbert. Like a snake sunning itself on a stone, his heavy, swollen dick was draped over Adrian's face.

“One day every glamorous young couple will have a dick-stand, just you wait and see.”

Approaching them with an approving smile, Imogen dropped to her knees on Adrian's lap. My human hassock, she thought, settling herself comfortably, arching her back so that her firm, flat stomach brushed her slave's flabby chest.

She needed both of her monkeyish little paws to lift Norbert's cock, it was such a brute. She ran her tongue around the glans, so satisfying in its glossiness, it's spear-like shape, its amazing purple hue. The thing stiffened, veins popping out all along its length. She wrapped her lips around the tip of the head, closing her eyes in concentration as she sucked.

Then, at a signal from her, Norbert plucked her like a toy out of Adrian's lap. Locking her legs around the German's waist, she settled her pert bottom on the shoulders of her slave, who bowed his head forward accommodatingly. She pulled the crotch of her panties sideways. Norbert was inside her, his thick shaft, knuckled with veins, thumping against her clit, which swelled like a ripe berry in the warmth of his ardour. 

Norbert's strong hands gripping her waist, Adrian's shoulders, soft as a padded cushion, under her rocking backside – that was her idea of flying, borne aloft by the men she had enslaved and beguiled. And it was this apprehension of power, rather than any physical sensation, which caused the sweetly sickening tremor in her pussy, and made the fragrant juices drip from between her thighs onto the base of Adrian's neck. 

After the tremor, the quake. Sensing that Norbert was about to come, she wriggled free. Norbert pumped his dick, then shot his load over the back of Adrian's shiny bald head.

“Two shattering orgasms. Now it's your turn, Adrian, let's end this with a whimper.”

Kneeling there, bowed as if praying, semen dripping around his ears, Adrian began tugging on his flaccid little bobbin. It seemed to wilt even more under his attentions. After a moment, Imogen took pity on him, and, thrusting her foot between his thighs, caught the underside of his dick between her two biggest toes and gave it several sharp upward jerks.

The cum popped out almost immediately, like a flag of surrender.

Scheisse, I'm going to miss this,” sighed Norbert.



“Alright, buster, assume the position. Face down on the bed.”

Imogen was addressing Bernard, a massive floppy teddy bear, who was slumped in his usual position on top of her pillows. She tugged him so that he tumbled forward on his shiny plastic nose, then gave him another tug to bring his broad, flat bottom round to face her. She took up a boar-bristle brush and tapped it against her palm.

“You've had this coming, Bernard. You've been giving me jip all day. Well, now you're about to get the paddling you so richly deserve.”

Planting her feet and resting one hand on Bernard's rump, Imogen extended the brush high above her head. Flat side or bristles? Flat side – she didn't want to take off too much of Bernard's plush, he was already looking a little threadbare in certain areas. 

Whoomp! She brought the brush down hard on Bernard's bottom. Whomp! Whomp! Disobliging as ever, Bernard started sliding off the bed. She dug her nails into the small of his back to hold him steady. 

Poor Bernard. She'd had him since she was eight. There had been times in the past when she had cried herself to sleep in her arms. Those days were long gone though, and nowadays their relationship was strictly sadomasochistic.

The brush flew up and down, and a flush rose to her cheeks, her fine fair hair falling into her eyes. As she worked, she pictured her blows landing, not an unfeeling cuddly toy, but on a real man, naked and helpless.

“Oh yeah. You want it, don't you?” she panted. “Gets you hot, doesn't it, you dirty teddy?”

The imaginary man groaned in ecstasy, and Imogen grinned in delight. She had a passion for sadism. Ever since she could remember, she'd adored torturing boys, teasing and humiliating them – although these days, her taste ran to older victims.

Turning the brush handle-outwards, she gripped it between her thighs, and, seizing Bernard by the shoulders, began thrusting eagerly at his bottom. Then she froze as she heard the doorbell chime, the sound of her mother's heels trotting to answer it, and then voices.

The new lodger!

Dropping Bernard, she rushed to her bedroom door and peeked out.

So exciting! Imogen had loved the last lodger, a visiting professor of history from Texas named Hal, and had been deeply sorry when he had to depart. If this one was only half as much fun, she would be a happy little sadist in the weeks ahead.

Down in the hallway, Adrian Kent gazed about him doubtfully. “I'd be giving extra tuition to foreign students a couple of times a week. Would that be a problem?”

“Not at all,” Francesca Farrell, Imogen's mother, smiled encouragingly. “The room's large and quiet, ideal for that kind of thing. On the top floor, so it's out of the way. In fact, it was once the nursery, so it's been used for teaching before … although I'm sure your classes will be much more intellectual,” she added with a silly titter.

Francesca had a very successful shop in Dalchester high street selling perfume and luxury accessories. Part of her business strategy was to cultivate strong ties with the town's historic and world-famous university. That was why she was constantly involved in college money-raising events, and also why she occasionally took in lodgers upon the university's recommendation.

Adrian was said to be a most promising young academic, working on a very important book on a very important writer whose name, just at that moment, had slipped Francesca's mind. He had even been on TV, one of those glossy BBC4 arts programs she was always meaning to watch. She was sure he would be feather in her cap. Besides, it was nice to have a man in the house. Francesca had been manless for the last two years, ever since her husband, Imogen's father, ran off with his Asian mistress (or “Thai ladyboy slut” as she always referred to her through clenched teeth.)

Adrian, for his part, had serious misgivings. The house was old and lovely, with a large mature garden, and in one of the nicest parts of Dalchester, within walking distance of the campus, the cathedral and the high street. On the other hand, being shy and withdrawn by nature, he would have much preferred a self-contained flat.

“Let's take a look, shall we?” Francesca, a stout little blonde, rubbed her hands, then guided him up a staircase that seemed to go on forever. On the second turning, he saw Imogen.

She'd emerged from her room and stood clinging to the balustrade – another little blonde, but dainty as a reed in a clingy T-shirt, brief cotton shorts and long, stripy socks. She had a crow's nest of near-white hair, some her own, some not, and a doll-like pallor and delicacy. She was 18 or thereabouts. She rubbed one bare knee against the other, and gave a small smile.

“This is Mr Kent,” Francesca called up. “I'm showing him the room.”

Looking down the stairs, Imogen saw a neatly dressed man, mid twenties, dark hair, small-boned and a little less than average height, his thin, pale face touched with stubble. Sweeping back a floppy forelock, he peered up at her through narrow spectacles. She warmed to him instantly. She loved sensitive, bookish types.

“It's a great room, Mr Kent.” Her voice was soft but very precise. “Take it.”

“My daughter Imogen.” Francesca pushed on Adrian's elbow, because he seemed to have become rooted to the spot. “You'll have to watch out for her. Such a bossy-boots.”



Crystal Jones stood in her underwear on the balcony of her Santa Monica apartment, nervously smoking a Silk Cut. Despite the cool evening breeze that caught at her glossy brown hair, fanning it off her shoulders, she felt suffocated, breathless.

It was always like this, waiting for Elliott.

She'd made her usual meticulous preparations. She'd spent all afternoon at her favorite salon on Wilshire Boulevard. Her Brazilian blowout was good for a while yet, but she'd had her brows and lashes tinted and her nails buffed. Then she'd come home and dressed in a new bra and panty set from Agent Provocateur, pale pink tulle embroidered with white flowers, finished off with ivory frilly-top hold up stockings, and a pair of strappy red Jimmy Choos.

The result was something close to physical perfection. Because Crystal Jones had the fortune – the good or bad fortune – of looking like an angel. At the age of twenty-one, she was in top physical shape, five-seven, lissom, with firm tanned flesh and small round breasts and butt. But it was her face that was the killer – serene and delicate, aristocratic and mysterious, wistful and wise, pure and sensuous, with high cheekbones, deep hazel eyes, a slender nose and full lips that seemed to a hint at a smile even in her darkest moments.

Right now, though, all that was a front, a mere shell. She was sick to her stomach with anticipation. Hearing the door, she spun on her spike heels, hurried back inside and stubbed out her cigarette. Her eyes flicked to the wet bar to check that a bottle of Grey Goose vodka was ready and waiting, and she switched on the hi-fi, which began banging out the Rolling Stones' Sticky Fingers album, all just how Elliott liked it.

“Hey, sweetie, how was your day?” he said amiably enough as he came in, loosening his tie. 

“Just fine.” She twined her fingers in front of her near-sheer, low-slung briefs. Then, after a moment, she summoned the presence of mind to ask, “And you, Elliott, how was your day?”

“I had a freaking awesome day. So what have you been doing with yourself?”

“Uh, I went to the salon.”

“Did you?” Elliott was behind the bar, pouring himself a drink.

Crystal nodded and watched him tip straight vodka down his throat.

Never a skilled conversationalist at the best of times, she always became tongue-tied around Elliott, thrown by the energies he gave off. Elliott de Vries was a baby-faced 35-year-old with bristly fair hair and startling blue eyes. Although only slightly above average height, he was an imposing figure thanks to his barrel chest and meaty prizefighter's mitts. Not that Elliott ever stooped to hand to hand combat in his professional life, where his weapons of choice were the cell phone and the forcefully worded email. The bedroom, though, was another matter.

“That new?” he asked, noticing her lingerie.

“Uh-huh. Like it?” Smiling shyly, she twirled for him, flipping her hair from one shoulder to the other the way she used to do in photo shoots. As she turned, she sensed his eyes on her backside, on the firm, biscuit-colored cheeks peeking out from under the tiny pink briefs.

“Cute panties,” he drawled. “How much did they set me back?”

“Uh, two hundred dollars?”

“Whew! Two hundred dollars for a pair of panties that'll only end up in the trash once I make you squirt inside 'em?”

It was as though his words had some miraculous power over her bodily functions, because she felt an immediate rush of moistness to her pussy. He liked to do that sometimes, lash her with words while she stood there taking it, wide-eyed, trembling, her panties turning humiliatingly wet. Watching him pour himself another slug of Grey Goose, she hoped he wouldn't do that today, she didn't feel strong enough for that particular brand of torture.

To her relief, he said, “Alright, I'm gonna finish my drink. You go wait in the bedroom.” 

Dismissed with a casual wave of the hand, Crystal turned and trotted rapidly across the length of the open-plan apartment, with its clean-lined, neutral-toned furniture and its curved white walls and ocean views that reminded her of a ship at sea. Her heart thumped against her snug little bra as she entered the master suite. The worst part, the wait, was almost over.

She perched on the edge of the bed, arranging her slender body in a way that she knew would please him – shoulders back, chest out, stocking-clad knees wide apart, hands folded neatly in her lap, her hair, with its tints of mahogany and amber, cascading down her spine in a glassy-smooth sheet.

No sooner did she have the pose just right than Elliott strolled in, joining her. She watched attentively as he undressed, removing his Brioni suit and neatly laying it over the back of a chair.

“You'll never guess who called the agency today,” he remarked, unbuttoning his shirt.


“Denise Sorelle, remember her?” Crystal looked blank, so he explained, “Calendar girl a few years back. Way cute. Nice tits and ass. Her career took a slide, but she wants to meet and talk about getting things back on track.”

He chattered on, peeling off his socks and underwear. Crystal twitched her fingers. He was always like this, growing garrulous just before they did it, while all she could think about was getting started. She wouldn't put it past him to be doing it on purpose, another way of ramping up the torment.

But now, at last, thank God, he was naked, his stocky body with its furry chest and legs exposed to view. For some reason, this was how he liked it – him fully nude, her in lingerie. He fell silent, then turned on his bare feet and padded into the walk-in closet.

She knew exactly what he was doing in there, but she still had to see for herself. Lifting her bottom an inch off the bed, she craned forward so she could glimpse the inside of the closet. Elliott was standing amid her collection of designer clothes, all neatly stored on hangers and shelves. He groped among the glittering party frocks and pulled out a sliding rack festooned with belts. 

Unlike the rest of the clothes in the closet, the belts were distinctly masculine, although they, too, came from some of the best designer boutiques in L.A. They hung there, dark and sleek, buckles gleaming. Crystal's breath came husky and uneven as Elliott fingered them one by one, making his selection. 

Which would he choose? Each of the belts had its own character, its own way, its own particular bite. She loved them all. But then again none was quite right. That's why she kept on buying more, seeking out perfection.

Finally, he settled on one and slid the rack back into place. A slim black lizard-skin belt with a 24-carat gold buckle. He folded it twice and tested it on his palm, then approached her, dick erect, balls swaying.



“Right! Drinks! Dancing! Naked celebs! Here we go!

Cleo wriggled out of the taxi, full of excitement. Anna followed, rolling her eyes. What was Cleo like? Once upon a time, her friend had harboured ambitions of being a serious journalist. But ever since taking that job on a weekly gossip mag, she'd become consumed with the sex lives of the rich and famous. 

Tonight, she'd struck gold, having wangled invites to some kind of fetish do, one with the weirdest name. The King of the Forest's Hunt. It was supposed to be super chic and hard to get into.

It was taking place in what the rag Cleo wrote for would have described as a “discreet country house hotel venue.” An hour's drive outside London, Deacon Hall was a large Victorian mansion, built in full-on Gothic style, with a clock tower and an array of steeples and turrets. Surrounded by acres of park and woodland, it had an air of melancholy solitude, even when, as now, its gravel drive was thronged with chauffeured Mercedes and its stained-glass windows were resounding to the latest club hits.

Cleo smoothed the wrinkles out of her cropped, skin-tight soldier-girl outfit and beamed about her happily. She was a tall, some would say horsey blonde with a big grin and boobs and an ebullient sense of fun. 

Anna, five inches shorter and with a pale, pensive prettiness, was usually fated to be in her shadow. That might not be the case tonight, however. Cleo had cajoled Anna into wearing a kinky little Red Riding Hood costume – a laced satin corset, frilly knickers, stockings and suspenders, all in white, under a voluminous crimson cape. The corset clutched her ribs in a vice-like grip, propelling her tiny breasts upwards so that, for the first and probably the last time in her life, she actually had a cleavage. Pointy Victorian-style ankle boots with four inch heels did the same for her bottom. Her dark, naturally wavy hair was bunched at the sides with satin bows.

“This outfit's way more revealing than yours,” she complained, drawing the cape around her.

“Not if you go about huddled up like that, it won't be,” Cleo pointed out. “You look like a big red tea cosy.”

“And you look like the Jolly Green Giant.”

“Khaki, sweets. Know your colours.” 

The two girls clung together as they tripped in their heels across the gravel towards the thick-set doormen guarding the stone entrance, Cleo hissing, “You'll run interference with Jasper? Don't let him corner me in a dungeon or anything.”

“I'll do my best,” Anna mumbled, glancing up at her friend and wondering, for the umpteenth time, why Cleo did this sort of thing. Jasper was the well-heeled aristo who had hooked them up with invites, in hopes his largess would promote him to boyfriend status. The obvious, natural thing would have been for Cleo to go as Jasper's date, but that would mean giving him what Cleo described ominously as “false hope.” Instead, in a ploy to keep him at arm's length, she had more or less forced Anna to accompany her, even though Anna found the whole idea of a fetish night perturbing.

Just how perturbing she only now realized, as her slender legs, in their saucy silk stockings, showed signs of turning to jelly. Secretly, she hoped Jasper's invites would be exposed as forgeries, so the doormen would send them packing and they could go back to their cosy flat in Knightsbridge. 

Instead, they were ushered through into a baronial hall, made gloomy and derelict-looking with the addition of mouldering props, giant cobwebs and splashes of lurid red and ghastly blue light. A crowd milled around several raised stations occupied by pole-dancers, topless fire-jugglers, displays of rope-bondage and other erotic acts.

Anna understood that it was all fake, all innocent role-play, but even so she stopped dead in her tracks and had to be hauled forward by Cleo, who was squealing and waving at a grey, rotting cadaver which rushed towards them, holding aloft three brimming champagne glasses.

The apparition made Anna flinch, even though her reason told her it was kindly Jasper beneath the grotesque makeup. “Bubbly for the lovely ladies,” he said, handing out glasses and kisses.

“Ugh!” Cleo cried in faux-protest as his lips lingered affectionately on her cheek. “Disgusting! Why did you have to come as a corpse?”

“I'm a brain-eating zombie,” he corrected, pretending to take a bite out of the top of her head.

“You won't find any brains in there,” Anna joked, but neither Cleo nor Jasper heard – they were both in full flirting mode. So much for running interference. Starting to feel redundant, Anna sipped her drink (she'd poked one hand out of the cape to hold the glass,) her attention straying to the scene around her. Almost immediately she locked eyes with a man across the room.

He was a head taller than the people around him, with straight, dark hair worn long and a taut face with a strong jaw-line. He sported thin rectangular sunglasses and was made up Dracula-style with pale foundation and a splash of blood on his chin. He raised his glass to her and swallowed a mouthful of champagne in silent toast.

Anna blushed, then hurried after Cleo and Jasper, who were moving off together, Jasper saying, “You do get that you're off-duty? I don't want to read all about this in your column tomorrow.”

“Not a word, I swear on my immortal soul,” Cleo reassured him, patting his ragged sleeve.

“And no photos? It's just, there are some serious A-listers here, I could get into all kinds of shtuck ...”

“Don't worry so much, darling,” said Cleo, “you'll wind up in an early grave.” She pulled him tighter and bumped her hip against his seductively to choke off any further admonishments.

There were more rooms off the main hall, with other acts, and spaces to dance, and shadowy corners. The music was thunderous, cloaking everything in noise. The effect was intentionally confusing. The King of the Forest's Hunt was a venue for people who were too famous, too rich, or too snobbish to abide the kind of fetish nights hosted by the fashionable West End clubs; the guest list comprised a sort of sinister elite.

Anna recognized a Premier League striker of notoriously volatile temperament, and a couple who presented a breakfast show (she had him on a leash,) and an anorexic catwalk model who was related to the royals. Others went unidentified in cold war-style gas masks, shadowy cowls, prosthetic makeup and helmets riddled with bullet holes. The costumes showed a degree of wit and subtlety that Anna hadn't expected. Several girls were bound like mummies in tight, strappy gowns that wouldn't have looked out of place at Paris Fashion Week. But there were also the more predictable under-the-bust corsets, sparkling pasties, and gimp suits.

Suddenly, Cleo froze and clutched Anna's arm.

“Hey, look, ” she muttered urgently out of the corner of her mouth. “It's the feisty redhead from that girl band. The whatsisnames.”


Cleo jerked her chin towards the nearest of the raised platforms, where a thin, pretty redhead was busy entertaining the crowd by divesting another girl of her rubber catsuit. Now Cleo mentioned it, she did look vaguely familiar.

“Wonder if she's getting a personal appearance fee. Do you think that's her actual girlfriend?”

“No idea.”

“God, what some people will do for a bit of attention,” Cleo said with skin-deep disapproval as the redhead held up the other girl's exposed breasts for the baying audience and flicked her tongue at them suggestively.

“Disgusting,” Anna agreed, meaning it. The scene made her uncomfortable and she wanted to move on.

Not because of the nudity – the other girl, a petite oriental, had by now been stripped down to a tiny G-string – or the overt lesbianism. Neither of those things bothered her overmuch. What concerned her was the T-shaped metal frame, festooned with chains and leather restraints, which stood waiting behind the two girls. And – and – the rack of whips and canes at its side. They looked distinctly nasty. Please let her be well out of the way before they were put to use. 

Too late. The redhead led the oriental girl back to the frame and fastened her wrists to the horizontal bar. 

“Whoooh! Smack that booty!” Cleo crowed, clapping her hands encouragingly and grinning with pleasure. 

This seemed to be the general sentiment. But Anna had almost the exact opposite reaction to everyone else. Her stomach did an 180 degree flip and her breath caught in her throat. She found herself preying for the girls to desist.

No such luck. The redhead selected a short, braided switch from the rack and snapped it in the air, smirking with malicious glee. The sight of it made Anna's dark brown eyes go wide. She took a sharp step back, earning a grumble from an Imperial stormtrooper standing just behind her.

Now the redhead ran a long, dark fingernail all the way down her captive's spine, making her flex her shoulders and wriggle her bottom in a way that elicited many ooohs and aahs.

It was impossible to explain why – after all, it wasn't she who was about to be beaten – but Anna felt frantic. The blood had drained from her round, small-featured face, and her delicate body was all a-tremble.

With a sexy turn of the hips, the redhead swung the switch, which wrapped itself around the oriental girl's tensed buttocks. Anna buried her face in her hands. When she looked up, she saw a vivid red stripe running diagonally across the captive girl's cheeks. 

Anna felt sick. A second and third blow followed in quick succession, and she was suffocating. Drowning in … well, she supposed it was terror, but it was more like being hypnotized into a state of total paralysis where she couldn't even breathe.

That was it. She couldn't take any more. Pushing with her elbows, she went scrabbling through the crowd. Her legs felt rubbery, everything was spinning. Somehow, she fumbled her way through the packed bodies to a pair of French windows. Shoving at their antique catches, she stumbled out onto a terrace.

Christ, what was that all about? she wondered, clutching dizzily at the balcony. For a moment there, I totally lost it! Shit, I would never have come if I'd known a bit of S and M could have that effect on me. Who would have thought?

Luckily, the biting night air helped, and the sense of relief in being alone. True, the party was only a few feet away, but the thick walls of the mansion took the edge off the din, giving her a feeling of distance and perspective. 

And so Anna Forrester stood there catching her breath. The sides of her hooded cape had parted, revealing her slender body, narrow in the shoulder and hip. Her face, with its snub nose and big chocolate-brown eyes, was turned to contemplate the garden, which bordered a peaceful stretch of the Thames.

“Waiting for the big, bad wolf?”

She started at the voice. It was Dracula, from earlier. He lounged in the open doorway, a glass of champagne in either hand. He raised one slightly, offering it to her.



Do you have any books on the female nude?”

The speaker was a tall, striking girl with short blonde hair. Her ringing, confident tones seemed to reach into every corner of the bookshop. 

Maisie blinked at her from behind her desk.

“Um ...” It was how she began every sentence: “Um.” But some “ums” she meant more than others. After a week, she still didn't know her way around her aunt's rather sprawling shop. Aunt Barbara had been very ill and was now convalescing in a gite in Normandy. Maisie had been drafted in as her temporary replacement.

She stood up, a slender, 22-year-old, medium height, with straight red hair, pale skin and large, soft eyes and mouth. Summer had gotten off to a broiling start, and there was no air-conditioning in the bookshop, so Maisie was dressed in a brief cotton frock that ended well above the knee and left her shoulders and back bare. Something about the way the girl had said “female nude” made her smooth the meagre garment down over her hips nervously. 

“Um, maybe the fine art section? Or photography?”

Maisie led the way, still patting at her dress, which showed a lot of creamy thigh. The photography section was tucked away on a top shelf. Murmuring excuses to the other customers, Maisie manhandled her aunt's recalcitrant wooden stepladder into place.

Then she paused. Her frock only just covered her lovely round backside. What would happen if she mounted the steps? It would be dreadful if she accidentally showed her knickers. On the other hand, she was eager to be of help. Almost a year after graduating with a degree in English, she still hadn't settled on a proper job, and she was hoping Aunt Barbara might keep her on if she did well. With another tug at her dress, she climbed the steps.

By the time she was high enough to reach the photography books, her thighs were on a level with the blonde girl's face. The girl was standing close, watching curiously, apparently not at all bothered by the occasional glimpses of underwear she was most likely getting. On the contrary, Maisie had a feeling the girl was enjoying herself.

Brushing away these anxieties, Maisie read along the row of dusty spines, looking for suitable titles. She spotted one and had to reach on tiptoe for it.

While she was at full stretch, she heard the girl say: 

“Mmm! This is up there with pole-dancing!”

Maisie was so startled, she almost lost her balance. 

“As a workout,” the girl continued smoothly. “All this climbing and stretching. It must really tone you up.”

“Um, I suppose.” Maisie scuttled down the stepladder and handed over the book. She felt very hot, and not just because of her exertions. The girl had unsettled her.

“Oh yeah, this is very cool,” said the girl. “These are original Victorian nudes. And what I really like, the plates haven't been retouched.” Seeing that Maisie had no idea what she meant, she explained, “Photographers often painted out the offending parts.” 

She turned the book around so Maisie could see. Maisie found herself looking at a pale, plump model from long ago with lots of frizzy hair on top and between her legs.

“Stunning bush,” said the girl loudly.

“Um ...” said Maisie.



Skye pushed through the faded velvet curtain and scanned the saloon bar of The Three Bells for prey.

She was 19 years old, small-breasted, olive-skinned, hair tumbling in black waves to her shoulders. Her petite frame was dressed for business in a tangerine push-up bra and thong panties, five-inch pumps with ankle straps, and two splashes of Annick Goutal's Rose Absolue, one at the base of her throat, the other between her thighs.

The Three Bells was what is known as a “pound in a pint glass” stripper joint. Except that the windows were blacked out, it looked, from the outside, like any of the old, shabby pubs in this part of London. Inside, the long, thin saloon retained its Victorian fittings, its panels of frosted glass and its torn plush seats, but a small, high stage, with pole, had been slotted in down the far end. 

At the moment, Olga was up there, stark naked, two hands clasping the pole and her leg cocked like a dog's as she displayed her glinting clit jewellery to whoever was interested. Lola, another East European, was going from customer to customer with a pint glass and collecting a pound coin from each as payment for her next dance. Hence the “pound in a pint glass” nickname. Like Skye, Lola was dressed in the flimsiest of lingerie and the clumpiest of high heels.

Most of the girls were from Poland and other far-flung places. With her Mediterranean colouring, Skye looked more exotic than any of them, but she was a humble Essex girl, raised on a Romford housing estate. When they weren't stripping, the other girls were taking high-powered part-time courses in bookkeeping and business studies. The changing room – and for changing room, read toilet – they all shared was a minefield of heavy textbooks and ring-binders waiting to trip you up. Skye, on the other hand, was happy just to be away from her mother and earning a decent wedge. Maybe one day she'd open a perfume boutique or something like that, when people wouldn't pay to look at her fanny any more. 

Seeing Skye, Lola smiled, shook her head and tipped her pint glass at forty-five degrees to show that it was half-empty. It was after lunch on a chilly October weekday and the place wasn't exactly rammed to the gills. Skye winked back at her and ran her eyes across the straggle of cityboys, old gents and Jack-the-lads propping up the bar in heavy Autumn garb that made the girls of The Three Bells look all the more under-dressed. She wasn't carrying a pint glass because she had already taken her turn in the spotlight and wasn't due back on for almost another hour. Instead, she was hoping to find someone who might be willing to shell out £30 for a private lap dance. 

What she needed was a new arrival, someone who hadn't already seen her naked. As she rounded the end of the bar nearest the stage, she found exactly what she was looking for.

Two men were leaning against the bar, talking. One of them was large and pasty, in a cheap suit and polyester tie, and she discounted him instantly. The other one, though, excited her interest.

He was a well-preserved man in his late forties or early fifties, trim and tall, with beautifully groomed greying hair. He had the deep chest, chiselled jaw and even, good-natured features of the perfect dad in a breakfast cereal commercial – not that Skye knew much about dads, her own having run out on her when she was all of two days old. He reminded her a bit of that guy who used to play James Bond, or maybe the one who was in Pretty Woman. Her sharp eyes clocked the Piaget watch on his wrist, the bespoke cashmere jacket, polo neck sweater and slacks, and shoes doubtless handmade by some ultra-exclusive Italian cobbler.

A high-roller! A millionaire maybe! What the fuck's he doing in a dive like this? Skye's heart began to pound, and her nipples stiffened with excitement inside the tiny cups of her bra. She just had to give him a lap dance. Think of the tip! A couple of hundred minimum – she was worth that to a guy like him, surely! She shot lightning glances at Olga and Lola, wondering if either of them had spotted his potential. They were either playing it very cool, or they really hadn't, which meant she had the field to herself for the time being. 

Just as well. Her unwitting benefactor was still deep in discussion with his pasty friend. She had a feeling some kind of shady deal was going down. It was just the spot if you were in need of a little privacy – the music was loud and, with most eyes on the girls, you'd notice anyone looking in your direction. The transaction, whatever it was, brought a hint of distaste to the high-roller's lips and a nervous sweat to the pasty guy's balding scalp.

Skye hung back, not letting the high-roller out of her sight but waiting for the other guy to move away or at least stop talking. While she waited, she fluffed her fair, scooped her breasts higher in their cups, and sniffed herself critically to make sure she smelt as good as she thought she did. Unlike the other girls, who would drench themselves in any cheap muck, Skye was obsessed with expensive perfume. She would rather have a bottle of Chanel than a pair of decent shoes, or even a warm overcoat. Given the beer-sodden punters she usually dealt with, it was a bit of an indulgence, but right now she was grateful for her high standards. The high-roller was more likely to loosen his wallet if he thought she was classy.

All of a sudden, the business was done. The pasty guy went lurching off, puffing and panting as though from a fistfight. Something had passed from hand to hand, but this detail faded at once from Skye's mind as she counted to three and darted in. 

“Private dance, sir?”

It took him a moment to notice the trim little brunette, despite her having stepped so far into his personal space she was almost treading on his toes. A guy could be blasé about a pretty girl in a bra and thong from a distance. But the closer she got, Skye well knew, the more desirably naked and vulnerable she seemed. Right now, she was so close she could smell the high-roller's Clive Christian cologne and she would only have to lean in another half-inch for the tips of her breasts to dent his cashmere jacket.

“Sorry?” He shrugged off the lines of faint disdain which still clung to his rugged features and smiled down at her tolerantly. He had a soft, deep rumble of a voice.

“Wondered if I could interest you in a private dance, sir.” She always called the punters sir, even the ones who couldn't stand up straight for drink. It was another way of marking herself out as a cut above your average East End stripper.

His face – the face of a hot dad, or a kindly fireman – studied her. He listened very carefully to her proposition, looked her up and down, and said, “I don't know, could you?”

It wasn't the most helpful of answers, but it wasn't unusual for punters to play hard to get at this stage of proceedings. Undeterred, she folded her hands behind her back, tilted her head on one side and gazed up at him through her long lashes. It was a pose that made her look sweet and defenceless. 

“I like to think I have a way with me,” she remarked modestly.

Really?” He settled comfortably against the bar. There were laughter lines in the corners of his clear grey eyes. “So how would a girl who has a way with her like you entertain a jaded man of the world like me?”

“With dancing. And nakedness. In a private setting. I'd say that's pretty interesting.”

“And how much would that cost me?”

“Just three ten pound notes.”

“Hmmm.” He rubbed his chin in a pantomime of indecision. She knew that £30 was a risible sum to a man like him, and she could tell she had tickled his fancy, so she had every confidence he would say yes. But he shocked her by shaking his head. “Sorry, I've seen enough naked girls to last me a lifetime. And those girls all had a way with them too, or thought they did. I'll pass.”

Just for a moment, Skye's large hazel eyes showed their bewilderment. So there'd be no huge tip after all. No millionaire's windfall. It was back to the kind of guys who had to root in their pockets when it was time to pay up. That sucked. Then she thanked him politely and turned away, already scanning the bar for her next mark. In another moment, she would have erased him from her memory. Her skin may have been as smooth as silk, but it was also as thick as old rhino hide.

“What if I stripped for you? How much would that cost?”

She was almost out of earshot by the time his deep voice reached her, so she wasn't sure she'd heard right. She faced about. The high-roller was still relaxing against the bar, a watchful, teasing look in his eyes.


“Me strip for you,” he enunciated. “How much?”

So she had heard right. But she still didn't understand and needed to double-check. “You strip for me?”

“That's what I said.”

She had no idea why she was finding this so hard to take in. She knew there was a whole fetish called CFNM – Clothed Female, Nude Male – where guys liked to get naked for girls. It was just so unexpected coming from him – this solidly-made father-figure with his perfect silvery hair and lovely smell.

“And I'm willing to pay handsomely for the privilege,” he added.

Ordinarily, the mere mention of money would have brought a smile to her face, but the feeling that she was being played with made her sullen. She took a step back. “Maybe another time, love.”

“Wait.” He wagged a beautifully manicured finger. “I'm not trying to put one over on you. It's perfectly straightforward. I take my clothes off. You sit there and enjoy the show – or at least pretend to. It's called roleplay. Would this cover it?”

Pulling out a slim Gucci wallet, he peeled off two crisp £50 notes.

She looked from the money to his face. “I just have to sit there? That's it?”

The corners of his mouth lifted in a sardonic smile; he rustled the notes together. 

It seemed like easy money. She'd get to keep her clothes on and take a weight off her feet, always an important consideration when you were working a six-hour shift in five-inch heels. And he was a good-looking guy from what she'd seen, so it was hardly going to be an ordeal. Even so, she hesitated in the face of this step into the unknown.

Fuck it. She grabbed the money, her small, shapely hand faster than a hummingbird as it stowed the notes inside her bra. The next moment, she was leading the high-roller through the dusty velvet curtain into the private area of The Three Bells.



Penny Westlake was sitting on the terrace of the Villa La Dea, with a late breakfast and a copy of Italian Vogue, when she saw the naked man.

He strolled in from the left, a brown figure in a battered straw sun-hat, carrying an old net. He began scooping debris from the pool. He didn't see Penny, and she watched from above, hidden behind a stone balustrade overflowing with bougainvillea, uncertain what to do.

It wasn't often she was at a loss. Even now, despite the situation, she kept her poise, a tall, slim, 23-year-old Englishwoman, with straight honey-blonde hair to below her shoulder-blades and eyes of a deep, luminous blue. Her bikini and matching wrap gave her a look of cool elegance. Only her forgotten slice of melon and the coffee cup paused halfway to her lips hinted at her state of uncertainty.

On the whole, Penny had good reason to be pleased with herself. Despite her youth, she was already a respected fashion designer. Assuming everything went well, next Spring one of the major high street stores would carry her line, and she would become practically a household name.

Admittedly, the collection wasn't taking shape in quite the way she had hoped, and she was far from ready for the presentation she was due to make to the senior board next month, but she would put her finger on what was missing eventually, she was sure.

That was why she was here, at the Villa La Dea. To think. To take stock. The property, which sprawled across a hilltop outside Cortona, belonged to Gisela Wolf-Ferrari, the sardine heiress and one of Penny's best clients. Gisela had arranged for her to have the place to herself for a couple of days. The servants had aired the rooms and filled the larder, then made themselves scarce. She had arrived late last night, gripping a list of instructions for the alarm system and too exhausted to take in more than a blurred impression of size and opulence. Blind instinct had led her up the grand staircase to the master bedroom, upon whose four-poster bed she had collapsed until half an hour ago. Now, here she was, in solitary possession of the house and estate. 

Or so she'd thought.

The naked man was still there, rooting in the pool. His presence added a surreal touch to what was otherwise a beautiful scene – silvery-green terraces, brightened with primroses, cistus and cyclamen, leading down to a distant stand of cypresses. Beyond, the valley floor, still touched with morning mist, and more hills.
He was beautiful too, in a way, she has to concede. Even if he was a little old. In his late twenties or early thirties probably, and without the kind of hard, muscular physique she preferred. His body was soft, almost hairless, but nicely tanned and trim with only a touch of weight around the hips. She watched nervously as he bent and scooped, unwilling to draw attention to herself but aware that he might notice her at any second and think she'd been spying.

Buon giorno!” 

He spun around, saw her and quick-wittedly snatched off his hat and held it over his groin.

“Oh, hello,” he said, surprised but not particularly upset. They recognized each other as fellow Brits. For a moment, that seemed to take precedence over the fact that he was naked and she wasn't. Then, with an apologetic gesture, he said: “I'm so sorry, does this bother you?”

It was somewhat embarrassing. But she laughed politely and said, “No.”

The man immediately planted his hat back on his head, revealing his small, neat penis. It rocked gently as he walked towards her with a friendly smile and peered up. He had a round face that was still boyish, despite flashes of grey at his temples.

“I didn't realize anyone was home,” he said. “I thought Gisela was in London.”

He leaned back to look at her, putting one hand on his hat to hold it in place. The pose stretched out his smooth chest in an attractive way and made his penis jut out slightly. 

“She is,” she said, standing up. The chiffon sighed about her as she moved. Through it, the man would be able to see the shadows of her bikini, but not much more. This fact, that her body was concealed while his was exposed, was causing a faint but persistent tingling in the nape of her neck. “I'm here by myself. I'm Penny Westlake.”

“Ben Michaels.” Ben came scampering up the steps to shake her hand. He was wearing flip flops to protect the soles of his feet from the sun-baked Italian soil. “Pleased to meet you, Miss Westlake. I'm Gisela's neighbour – well, actually, her tenant. She's kind enough to let me rent an old groundsman's lodge on the edge of the estate. By the way, I really do apologize. When Gisela's not here, I get in the habit of roaming around naked as if I own the place.”

Miss Westlake – the formality seemed slightly bizarre in the circumstances, but it made her warm to him. She liked men who appreciated women and treated them with deference – not that she met many, in or out of the fashion world. 

“Honestly, it's not a problem.” She smiled, starting to enjoy the situation, which was novel, and certainly a change from the tense meetings she'd been conducting in her office off Highgate Road. She told him who she was and he nodded, fascinated by everything she had to say, relaxed in his old sun-hat and flip flops. Every now and then her eyes darted from his friendly round face to his smooth brown body and tanned cock, which – or was it her imagination? – looked slightly longer and thicker than it had done a few minutes ago.

“Well, I'll let you enjoy your coffee in peace,” he said at last. “If you don't mind, I'll go for a dip while I'm here.” 

Actually, she had almost finished her coffee, but she felt in no hurry to move. She watched Ben flop into the pool for two brisk lengths, then pull himself out again and lie drying in the sun directly on the hot flags. His damp little penis lay curled on his thigh.

There was something wonderfully restful about the scene. She had her copy of Vogue open, but didn't even pretend to read it. True, Ben wasn't her type. In a way, though, that was a good thing, because it meant there was no chance of her taking him seriously.

The beautiful Penny Westlake sat there happily for five minutes, watching the naked man. Then, to her disappointment, he stood, stretched, waved goodbye and strolled away under the umbrella pine.



That winter when she came home from university, Michelle was experiencing a lack of direction. Her parents were off skiing over the holidays. She had been left to house-sit all by herself – although her father never seemed far away thanks to his daily texts checking on the pipes, the boiler and Blondin, the family's big macaw.

Michelle wandered the house, spending hours at a time casually feeding Blondin macadamia nuts. Why did she feel so lost? On the surface she had everything going for her. She was nineteen, five foot five, blonde, slim, and every inch a beauty. Moreover, she had the kind of loveliness that people warmed to, an elfin charm. Even lazing around with uncombed hair, in leg-warmers, she was more enchanting than she had any right to be.

So why this a crisis of doubt? The Autumn term hadn't gone well. She was taking a Media Studies course with a credit in photography, but her work hadn't engaged her: there was something missing. It was the same with her social life. Although she was popular and flirty, she had shied away from making any strong attachments: in the end the boys had ever so slightly bored her. It wasn't their fault. It was her. She was looking for something but she didn't know what.

Trying to figure out what was wrong, she turned in on herself. The one person she saw in her first few days at home was her elder brother Mark. He was so shocked by her mood, he said, “You know what, you're coming with me to a party tonight.”

What party?” she asked suspiciously.

Mark worked for one of the bigger estate agents. Brian, the office high-flier, was throwing his lavish annual Christmas party for friends and colleagues. “It'll be fun,” Mark assured her when she let out a groan. “Brian's a bundle of laughs. You never know what he's going to do. Last year he dressed up as father Christmas and drank a brandy slammer and his beard caught on fire.”

I suppose I could bring my camera,” she muttered.

The words 'HAPPY X-MAS FROM BRIAN & LISA', written in Christmas lights, flashed over the hotel's projecting glass foyer.

That man,” said Mark, “doesn't know the meaning of restraint.”

Michelle pulled out her digital SLR and took her first snap of the evening.

Inside, the party was spread across two separate areas, a private bar to the right and a banqueting hall to the left. The bar was serving cocktails with Christmas-themed names – Jingle My Bells, Flaming Chimney, Santa's Helper. The hall had tables, a buffet, a space for dancing, and a stage where a DJ was laying down a version of 'Let It Snow' over a breakbeat.

Both the bar and the hall were already crowded. Most of the people were far older than Michelle, Mark's age or more, but they seemed to be having fun, and she was getting plenty of stares. It was hardly surprising. She had washed and combed her straight, shoulder-length hair so that it shone and swayed in defiance of gravity, and she knew she looked good enough to eat in her little black frock that clung suggestively to her hips and breasts, leaving her shoulders bare except for a pair of thin spaghetti straps.

Very soon she was surrounded and Mark was having to make rapid introductions. Michelle was friendly but reserved. She was proud to be a beautiful woman, but she never liked being the centre of attention. At university, everyone, teachers and students, was always trying to pressgang her into modelling or appearing in weird performance art, usually with the expectation that she would take off her clothes, but she had always disappointed them.

They moved to the bar, and she ordered a Jingle My Bells. As she was trying to decide if it lived up to its name, an eye-catching couple wafted towards them.

Brace yourself,” whispered Mark. “Here come Brian and Lisa.”

Marky-mark,” said Brian. “You're here! Now the party begins!”

Brian, Lisa, this is my little sister Michelle.”

Michelle, you're very welcome, love.” Brian took her hand lightly. “Want my advice, you'll get this maniac onto the dance floor. You haven't lived until you've seen Marky-mark throw shapes.”

Stop winding her up! Hija!” Lisa, a loud Liverpudlian, pecked her on the cheek and swamped her in an embrace so firm Michelle could feel the older woman's implants.

Lisa, Mark had told Michelle, ran a very successful salon. She looked as if she made good use of the tanning beds. She was wearing the kind of outfit you might see on Strictly Come Dancing, a tight red sequin number cut high at one hip and showing masses of brown tummy and cleavage. Bits of white furry trim turned the ensemble in an amiable Yuletide joke.

Brian was tanned as well, although not to the same shade of teak as Lisa. Knowing he was the most successful agent in the area, Michelle had expected him to be aggressive, but he was as smooth as good coffee, and almost camp. Like Lisa, he was in his late twenties, but had a friendly, boyish face and confiding eyes.

You and me, mate,” said Brian to Mark. “Later. A dance off. The girls can give us marks out of ten.”

I'm not going up against you,” said Mark. “You're double-jointed.”

Supple as a foal,” said Brian. “It's the pilates.”

We're just back from one of them country house spas,” said Lisa to Michelle. “They did this deep cleansing treatment on us. You sit there in the altogether and they smear mud all over you. Bloody fantastic, wasn't it, Brian?”

It opened up pores in places I didn't know had 'em,” said Brian.

They chatted on for a while, and then someone bawled Brian's name. It was clearly a matter of urgency. He took off with a wave, dragging Lisa with him.

Jingle My Bells,” said Michelle when they were gone.

Full on, aren't they?” Mark laughed. “Want to go and check out the dance floor?”

They wandered into the banqueting hall, and almost immediately Mark ran into a pretty girl from work who wanted him to dance. Raising a long-suffering eyebrow, Michelle gave him permission to ditch her. He mouthed a thank you and hurried off.

A few of the guys she'd met earlier nodded to her from afar. Knowing she looked pretty scary when she stopped smiling, she ignored them solemnly. She wasn't in the mood for one on one encounters. She dropped back into the shadows and took a few snaps of the colourfully lit dance floor.

So far she had kept herself amused, but she knew that in the final analysis it would count as another wasted evening, another reason to feel frustrated and unfulfilled.

She was contending with these thoughts when a voice shrilled: “Get a load of this!”

It was Lisa, grinning so hard it must have hurt. She grabbed Michelle's arm.

What's up?” Michelle let herself be dragged into the bar, where there were already plenty of people waiting.

You've got a camera? Fantastic!”

Among the crowd, there were one or two mobile phones held at the ready. The girls were leering expectantly. A few of the men were cheering; as Michelle arrived they started a slow clap, as though they were impatient to get the show on the road.

What's going on?” asked Michelle.

That idiot husband of mine only went and lost a wager, didn't he, the silly sod. He bet a mate of his if they picked a name out of the phonebook, he would persuade whoever it was to come to the party. Any person. At random. So they stick a pin in the phonebook, choose a name, he calls, and the poor sod on the other end turns him down flat. Know why?” Lisa gripped Michelle's arm, preparing her for the punchline. “Because they'd had a death in the family!”

She threw back her head and roared with laughter until tears glimmered in the corners of her eyes. Then she snapped to attention and said, “Point! Shoot! Click!”

The door had jerked inwards with dramatic suddenness. After a brief pause, Brian came prancing out, jumping and waving his arms.

He was naked.

His appearance was greeted with a barrage of noise. Cheers, clapping, screams. Everyone joined in except Michelle. She calmly pressed the shutter release, then grinned.

Her eyes rapidly absorbed Brian's body. It was lean and fit, and it was almost hairless, what little fur there was confined to his forearms and calves. His groin and balls were shaved. His cock was on the short side – a grower, not a shower, as they said in the locker-room (although he was showing his readily enough.)

Brian uttered a war-cry, did a big two-handed wave, then strode forward purposefully. He winked at Michelle as he passed, pleased with the attention she was giving him. She tapped the camera to let him know the moment was recorded for posterity.

He made a bee-line towards one of the watching girls. Michelle guessed it was the wife or girlfriend of the man he'd lost the bet to. When he got to her, he snatched her off her feet so that she squealed with delight.

Michelle's camera reeled off a flurry of shots. She was totally in love with what was happening. A naked man embracing a clothed woman, his skin in contact with silky clothes, his dick, on the loose, brushing against a leg, a stomach …

Michelle turned to Lisa. “Your husband's brilliant.”

My three inch wonder. Five on a good day -”

While they were giggling, Brian was off, hands clasped over his head, on a victory lap of the banqueting hall. They rushed in his wake. He moved fast, throwing out jokes, pausing every now and then to slap his buttocks. He clambered onto the stage, borrowed the DJ's headphones, and spun discs, pointing messianically at the people on the dance-floor.

Michelle was frantically taking photos. While she worked she imagined Brian shouting 'GET 'EM OFF' into the mic, and all the men stripping down and the girls all dancing with naked partners …

I don't know how we're gonna top this next year,” sighed Lisa.

Now Brian was coming back again, slipping unembarrassed through the bottleneck that surrounded him. Michelle was pretty sure people were getting touched by his naked dick as he made his way. The thought turned her on. Never mind it was only three inches … no, five … actually, more like seven …

That got the crowd jumping!” said Brian. Arm around Lisa, he gave a satisfied sigh, then after a moment looked around quizzically as if wondering what was supposed to happen next. Michelle sensed it made him self-conscious to be standing around doing nothing.

Without asking permission, she raised her camera and took a shot of Brian and Lisa together.

Here, you better not put that on the Net.”

Why not? I wouldn't mind,” said Lisa, giggling.

Michelle raised the camera and turned it on its side. “C'mon, guys. That was a bit lukewarm. Give us more spice.”