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Harry saw her tender, pouting breasts jabbing at the front of the blouse. He ran his tongue over his lips, casually dusting the arid surfaces. The others had been easily convinced that she and her husband would make welcomed additions to the club. Now it was up to him and Val to make them want to swing.
“You're holding the club wrong, Mrs. Stillman.” Harry reached around the woman, pressing his groin against her firm, round buttocks.
“Golf is a delicate game,” he said, giving his hips a slight thrust forward.
Harry's hands dwarfed hers. He pressed her fingers against the grip, all the while breathing into her ear and whispering about the importance of the Vardon grip.
“Now,” he said, his lips touching her small earlobe, “that should feel comfortable. Command the club. Let it be an extension of your arms. Squeeze the handle. Let your fingers massage it until you know it as well as...” He let the words die. Smiling, he stepped away.
“Swing, Mrs. Stillman. Swing free.”
The young woman pushed the club back and swung it hard. The blade cut the ball, “sending it skittering off to the right, nearly hitting one of the other golfers also using the driving range.
“I'm sorry,” she muttered, pushing the club toward Harry. “I'm just so nervous.”
Harry took her by the arm and guided her to one of the chaise longue chairs a few yards back of the driving range line.
“Let me get you a drink. You know how important your golfing is to your husband's career. Very important people golf. And they often like to make foursomes of their wives. You really should try harder.”
Gwen Stillman swallowed hard. She pried the cap from her head and shook her hair, letting the strands whip out into the breeze.
“I think I've had it for today, Harry.”
She leaned back, eyes searching the cloudless sky, hands resting on her flat stomach. She wondered why she was trying so hard in the first place. She hated golf. Hated the country club. Hated the phony atmosphere. But she was trapped and she knew it. Everyone was trapped, she thought, in their own way.
She was closing her eyes, letting the sun beat down on her pale skin when she felt the presence.
“Here's that drink. Mrs. Stillman.”
She sat up startled. Harry stood over her, his broad, ruggedly lined face broken into a smile. “Collins, Mrs. Stillman. You like them, don't you?”
She nodded and accepted the glass, curling her small fingers around the circular container. Harry pulled a chair up and cradled a drink in his hand.
“Mind if I sit here with you, Mrs. Stillman?”
Gwen shook her head. “Don't you have any more lessons?”
“You still have twenty of my precious minutes you're paying for. Might as well use the time to relax.”
He looked at her cautiously. She was looking downrange, eyes sparkling as the sun dipped low, bringing the warm evening breeze to play. He saw the fine chiseled line of her jaw, the delicate neck, sloping shoulders hidden under a cardigan pullover. Her pouty breasts reared upward, nipples jutting arrogantly toward the sky as she lay back, her smooth, fashionable legs crossed, the mini cutting at her fleshy thighs. Harry sucked at the drink, letting the silence dominate, trying to read signals from her. He sensed nothing peculiar about her. No blustering desire for his body. Other women came on like tuning forks in his presence. They looked at him with watery eyes. They rubbed their breasts against his arm, pushed their buttocks back to feel his groin, touched him at every opportunity.
This one was different. She tensed. Not just the first time, but every time. He liked that. It was challenging. She would soon melt like butter on a warm day. And he would be the sun.
“Husband out of town again?”
Gwen set the glass down on the chair's plastic arm. “Yes, but you knew that anyway, didn't you?”
“Oh, yes. He mentioned something about it yesterday. Good golfer, your husband. Going to be shooting in the seventies pretty soon. You'll have to step up your lessons or become a golf widow.”
Gwen laughed and spoke almost to herself. “Sometimes I feel like a lawyer's widow.”
Harry moved into the wedge. “Yeah, but it's kind of boring having him flying all over chasing those corporation problems. Where's he at this time? London? Atlanta?”
“Would you believe Rapid City, South Dakota?”
Harry laughed warmly. Down the range the golfers were beginning to finish up. A few diehards beat divots into the ground. Harry glanced at his watch. He was due for another lesson, the last of the day, in ten minutes.
“Why don't you come down later tonight for a putting lesson, Mrs. Stillman?” The question came fast, unexpected. Gwen sat up, staring at the athletic man next to her.
“I mean, I know you're probably bored sitting in that big executive house all by yourself. My wife is out of town, too. Golf tournament. I'll be doing some paperwork late. Probably even hit a round tonight.” He stopped to sip at his drink, his eyes measuring hers, wondering if he was moving in too quickly. “I play golf in the moonlight. It's different. Full moon tonight. Should be like playing a lighted course. Come down if you want. Don't bother calling. I'll be here until about nine.”
He stood, drained the glass and smiled.
“Maybe I'll see you later, Gwen,” he said, turning on his heel and heading toward the plump, middle-aged man impatiently waiting to be turned into Arnold Palmer.
Gwen sank back into the chair, her eyes following the thickly muscled man. She saw his wide back rippling as the Jantzen shirt clung to his body. He moved catlike, feet and knees lubricated. She enjoyed watching him hit the ball. He was fluid, professional. And something more. He was masculine. That bothered her. She sensed him more often than she would like to admit. When he was behind her, especially. She could feel an urgency within herself nagging.
Doug had fired her emotions at first. But he was so busy these days. They had been married almost three years and she had seen him for only half that time. He was always going places. Flying here and there, negotiating, counseling, appealing. And when he was at home he buried himself either to the study with briefs or at the driving range with Harry.
Now it seemed the only place she could be near him was on the golf course. But even that wasn't satisfactory. He had no patience with her. When she duffed a shot he wouldn't say anything. His mouth would draw into a thin line and his jaw would form a knot. She could feel the antagonism. He had suggested Harry to her.
“Take lessons. Learn the game. We can have a helluva good time out on the links, baby.”
But she wasn't athletic. She hated P.E. in school. Hated sweating. Hated being pressed. And she was bored. Much younger than most of the women, she wasn't interested in bridge or gossip. She wasn't interested in anything she could put her finger on. Everything fell into the same bland category.
Maybe she would drop by Harry's later, she thought, rising and covering her woods with the leather covers. Maybe she would. Not to learn golf, but to relax with a man close by. If he tried anything, she could handle him. She felt sure she could. But she didn't think he would. Harry liked his job too much to risk offending one of Golden Hills' members.
Doug Stillman rummaged through his suitcase for the bottle of Scotch. He poured himself a stiff drink and eased down onto the bed, shoes off, shirt unbuttoned at the throat, belt loosened. It had been a murderous day negotiating with the wildcatters. But management had made some gains. He was glad. The way he had it figured the trip would be complete within two, maybe three days, and he could get back to California where he belonged.
Sometimes he wished he wasn't so goddamned brilliant about handling labor disputes. But it was in his blood, as it had been in his father's. Maybe there was some genetic imprinting, he thought. Most of his family had been lawyers. His grandfather's name was well known in the early history of the country. His father, who died three years ago, had been one of the top men in his field. Doug had followed the same route, not because it was expected, but because it was inherited. He had never struggled with his life's decision like many of his friends. He had gone straight to corporate law where he knew his skills as a management consultant would be invaluable.
His father had read the signs for him. “Bad times ahead, son. The working class is in revolt. A smart man will learn how to turn their revolt into personal success.”
God, Doug thought, how many strikes had he helped heal? Too many to count. He had a long list of requests for his services, and his law firm was more than pleased to let him pick and choose as he deemed best for the firm and his pocketbook.
But it was tiring. Goddamned tiring. He had no home life. He knew that. He told Gwen not to expect one. Not for a few years. Not until he built himself an impressive list of victories and could start his own firm. He wanted his own name first. Not third.
Then Gwen could have children. Then they could settle down to some sort of domestic routine. But until then, he played the cards his way, and she went along for the ride. It was their bargain, his bet.
The knock was soft. At first he thought it was next door. It grew slightly louder. He answered it, cinching up his belt but doing nothing about his shoeless feet or loosened tie.
“Val? Well, come in.”
He pulled the door open and watched the svelte form of Harry's wife swish past. She was dressed in casual slacks and ruffled open-throated blouse that revealed her deep cleavage. Her feet were bare, toes hooked into the silver of leather that held the sandals in place.
“Hope you don't mind me crashing in like this,” she said, smiling and glancing about the room. “But I'm in town for a small ladies tournament. Amateur thing. Harry mentioned that you were coming here too, so I thought I'd look you up.”
Unconsciously, Doug fumbled at his tie, shoving the knot into place. He searched for his shoes, found them and slipped them on.
“God's sakes, don't dress, Doug. I'm just visiting.”
He turned a light pink. “Believe me, I had no idea you were here. Harry should have mentioned it.”
He had his shoes on when he realized she was still standing. “Sit down, Val.” He pulled a chair from the corner. “Care for a drink? Sorry, all I have here is Scotch, but I can ring room service if you want something else.”
“Scotch is fine.”
“Just over ice.”
Doug splashed a generous amount into the water glass and handed it to her. He was regaining his cool when he sat on the bed, a smile pasted on his face.
“You know, it's really odd how friendly a friendly face is when you're off in some remote place.”
Val crossed her legs and smiled. She was a large woman. Five-ten, a hundred and thirty pounds. But she carried it all well. Exceptionally well. Her cheekbones were high, eyes almond-shaped. From the first day he had seen her, Doug had noticed the sensual beauty of the woman. Often he had spoken with her, but nothing more.
In the rectangular coffin of the room, he felt an instant affinity for her. She was no longer Mrs. Valerie Benton. Just Val. Old friend Val.
“You look like you had a busy day, Doug. I suppose you wouldn't be interested in dinner?”
“Dinner? Sure. I had a rough day, but you've brightened it.”
Val lowered her eyes. “Well, we could have diner here. I mean, if you don't feel like going out. I'm really not dressed. And I had a full day myself. Thirty-six holes.” She looked up, laughter in her chestnut-colored eyes.
“How'd you shoot? Well, I hope?” Doug interrupted her dinner invitation to mull the consequences. She was one helluva good-looking woman. Different from Gwen. Gwen was fragile. But Val. She was bold, confident, sensuous in a completely different way. He wondered whether he should trust himself alone.
“I'm four over. Not bad. Not good. The next two days will be the critical ones. But then I never come on strong at first. I lay back and see how the competition is. Then I try to make my move.”
She held the glass to her lips, eyes peering over the rim at him. She saw the hesitation on his face, the cords along his neck stiffening.
“Well,” she said finally. “What about dinner?”
Doug smiled and reached for the house phone.
They are well. The waiter brought a small table that accommodated the chairs and a candle which he lighted with a sly smile playing at the corners of his wizened mouth. Doug noticed it.
“He probably thinks I'm going to seduce you after all of this,” Doug confided after the small man had disappeared.
“You mean you're not even going to try?” Val asked, leaning back, her chin lifted so the candle flame flickered shadows across her face.
“And ruin a good friendship?” Doug said halfheartedly. His head buzzed from the wine and Scotch. “No, I'm not much for affairs, Val. They get too complicated. Too much sneaking around. More effort expended in lying than in enjoying.”
She lifted her glass. “Touche. An honest man in the crowd.”
Doug rocked back, hoisting his glass. “Don't say that so harshly. You make me sound like a high moral handicapper.”
His smile faded. She was looking at him, holding his gaze, her face soft, eyes warm. He tried not to move as she stood and moved to the small light switch. He watched her fingers reach out and flick it off. The room was swallowed in darkness except for the wan light cast by the candle. His throat was dry.
“Then you wouldn't be tempted by all of this?” she asked, voice lilting as she padded back to the chair.
“I suppose I'd be a fool to say no. But temptation and sin-if you think in those terms—are two different things.”
He lifted the wine glass, decided not to indulge his buzzing senses any more, and returned the glass untouched.
Val's voice was husky. She reached across the bread basket and touched his hand. “You know, Doug. I've watched you now for a mouth. I really didn't come here by accident. I knew you were coming here. And I entered the tournament on purpose. I wanted to be alone with you.” She pressed his hand tightly, forcing her voice to crack slightly. “I want you, Doug. Don't ask me to justify. It's something I can't explain. No woman can explain it when she wants a man. I'm not necessarily talking about an affair. Nothing sticky. Nothing complicated. Just one night. Tonight. Is that so odd?”
Doug Stillman had battled angry mobs of laborers. He had fought in courtrooms against politically antagonistic judges. He had ramrodded legislation for initially unpopular politicians. Not once in those times had he had doubts about his ability to win, to overcome the fears and apprehensions.
This particular moment left him boneless. He was jelly. His tongue was a foreign slug sitting placidly behind his front teeth.
“Look, Val,” he managed. But she was up, stalking around the table, pressing her large, warm breasts against his back, rubbing her palms down over his chest.
“Don't question it, Doug. Take me. Take me and forget me. I won't turn into a complication. And don't mutter anything about Harry. This is between the two of us. If you don't want me, just say so. I'll leave quietly.”
She crouched behind his chair, putting her mouth to his ear. He felt the sharp point of her tongue add the exclamation point to the suggestion. His groin stiffened.
Her fingers pulled at his tie, loosening the knot, slipping the noose up over his head. He sat dumbly, his tongue bloated, hands frozen on his knees as she deftly loosened the buttons of his shirt and slipped her cool hands against his hot flesh.
Her hungry mouth gnawed on his ear, tongue dancing playfully into the auricle. His body was instantly numb, lifeless. He tried to move, but he couldn't. She moved around the chair and picked his left hand up, pressing it against her breast.
“Feel me,” she hissed, tilting her head and kissing him passionately.
His fingers came to life. They curled, digging through the flimsy material to the firm, springy mounds of her breasts. His palm shoved in, mashing the crown of the breast against her chest.
He tasted her tongue and liked the flavor. Her perfume wafted into his nostrils, teasing and tantalizing his imagination. His right hand grew restless. He slid it up the back of her thigh, rubbing slowly until he felt the swell of her buttocks. Fingers exploring, he edged them in between the parted legs until they pushed against the moist, mushy indention of her cunt.
Doubt and hesitation raced from his mind as he clung to her, rising from the chair, one hand cupping her breast, the other pressing and probing at her snatch. He lifted her in the darkness, mouth glued to her searching lips, tongue dancing against her palate.
She was moaning, legs thrashing, mashing his hand tighter against her. Sweat dripped from his forehead. His shirt was damp. He pressed his weight on top of her, feeling her sink into the soft mattress. His fingers pried at her buttons, first cautiously, then more and more impatiently as the buttons remained fixed. Desperately, he pulled, and a loud ripping drone rang into his ears.
“Brute,” she gasped, her mouth nibbling at his cheek, tongue washing his face.
She thrust out her chest, her bra-covered breasts spearing up. He could see the faint image of her tanned flesh. He could see the sharp indention where her breasts shoved together.
“Strip me,” she panted, fingers lacing into his hair, legs parting and enveloping his waist.
He fumbled with her bra clasp, fingers slick with sweat, shaky. Grunting, he shoved the elastic binders together until he felt them part. The bra shrank away from her mounds, allowing the mountains to spill to either side of her chest.
She stretched her arms over her head, watching him with an eager smile as he pulled the bra up. She saw his face harden as her bright, cherry nipples slid into view. The eyes feasted as he remained motionless, the bra still dangling between his fingertips. Then he came down, mouth open, lips pouted to form a suction ring.
Her hands grasped the back of his head, driving his hungry mouth down hard. She wanted passion from him, not just acquiescence. She ground his head from side to side, urging him to bite her nipples, to roll them between his teeth.
Sharp fingernails dug into his back. They clawed at his shirt, frantically trying to shred it. He drew away from the nipple and shrugged the sweat-soaked Arrow off. Kneeling, he grasped his belt to loosen it, but she sat up and pushed his hands away.
“No, let me.”
Doug watched, a red glow about his mind as he saw her eyes brighten in the flickering candlelight. She fumbled at the belt until it was open. He sighed as her cool fingers slipped down the front of his pants, fingers touching the stiff pubic hairs.
He heard his zipper sliding down and felt the wash of air-conditioned air rippling between his naked thighs.
“I'm going to suck you, Doug,” he heard her say. “I'm going to suck you until you come. Then I want you to fuck me.”
He reached for her shoulders, touching them lightly at first, unsure of what he would do when her lips made contact. Gwen refused to suck him, saying that she didn't enjoy it. He never pressed her.
Val's lips were cool. He felt them slide over the slimy head. Digging his fingers into her shoulders, he groaned as he sensed the semen boiling up toward her mouth. It was premature, he knew that, and he knew that she knew it also.
Her mouth suckled gently at first, tongue dancing at the tip of his slit, sometimes prying in, sometimes drawing a circle around the bullet-shaped head.
She rocked back, mouth forming an “O” ring around his meat. He listened to the steady, slurping, sucking of her ministrations and found that he was lunging into her, trying to shove his cock down into her stomach. She didn't resist. Her throat gulped, making the head of his cock lurch in her gullet.
She was on her back, he sprawled above her, hips flashing, balls banging against her chin. The semen was moving toward her throat. He thought about pulling away, spilling the seed on her breasts, but it was too late. His ass jerked back, then forward. A moment crept into an eternity as he felt the flood of semen lurching out. He twisted over her, bumping the head of the tool against her cheek. She was humming, the vibrations from her throat rippling through his groin.
The last drop oozed out. He felt the blob hang a moment, then it was drawn into her throat along with the first few ounces. Slowly, the numbing sensation melted away and he opened his eyes to look at her.
She was washed in shadows, hair askew, mouth limned with slick, snotty saliva. But she was still beautiful. Her sharp chiseled features stared up at him. Her high, arched brows and haunting almond eyes brought back the buzzing in his ears.