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Predatory, rich, and ruthless bisexual Kat Francis fills her hedonistic existence with bondage and domination sex games uncomplicated by love or commitment. She surrounds herself with men and women who fulfil her every desire without question. However, after the marriage of her estranged daughter, Mae, to Barrister Scott Masters, Kat awakens to new possibilities.Please note: This book has been published previously under the title: Kat: Urban Cougar. Please check the sample or contact the publisher for further details.
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Copyright, Secret Narrative, 2014
Cover image, ©Yuriyzhuravov|Dreamstime.com
All rights reserved including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events are the product of the author’s imagination, and any similarity to any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental. The opinions expressed are the author’s own and are not representative of the opinion of the publisher or distributors.
This book contains strong language and sexually explicit content that some readers may find offensive and which is unsuitable for persons under the age of 18.
Mae’s Wedding Day
After the Party
A Lesson for Lucas
Champagne and Tears
Summer in Sussex
A December Birth
Mae’s Wedding Day
Opening the door of her Lexus CT 200h, Kat swung her legs around, rose to her feet in one fluid movement and handed the keys to the valet before walking into the reception hall. Kat was familiar with the castle and delighted that Mae had chosen to hire the entire venue for her wedding. A daddy’s girl, Mae had taken Oliver’s side when he and Kat divorced ten years’ ago. Contact with her daughter had been sketchy and fraught since. Nevertheless, the wedding invitation was not unexpected, and Kat was relieved that she had been included because nothing was certain where Oliver was concerned, and their only child’s wedding was no exception. The words embossed on the stiff, formal card had been both hurtful and agreeable at the same time, Oliver Francis, QC, and his wife, Helen, request the pleasure of your company at the wedding of Oliver’s daughter, Mae with Mr Scott Masters....
Oliver had remarried not long after the decree absolute; Kat grudgingly acknowledged that his new wife had been a loyal stepmother to Mae, but God in heaven, Helen was a frump. Distractions were few. No doubt, Oliver knew exactly where he was with Helen, something that could not be said of his marriage to Kat, which had been tumultuous from day one and increasingly volatile until the moment she walked out the door.
She didn’t mind admitting to herself that she’d snared him in the first place for his money, and had done well out of it. He’d settled by giving her the penthouse flat overlooking the Thames, a country retreat in Sussex plus an annual income until death or until she remarried.
“Thank you,” said Kat, signing the registration form and handing it back to the receptionist. “I know the way.”
Oliver had booked Kat into a suite, complete with a maid, who was busy unpacking while Kat soaked in the tub. “Please lay out the emerald green and hang up the bronze gown, I’ll be wearing it later. After that, you can go; I won’t need you again tonight.” Kat wanted to be alone. Once the girl had left, Kat stepped out of the water, shrugged into a robe; she had about an hour before she need appear downstairs. There was no point in trying to see the bride before the wedding, Oliver and Helen’s relatives would surround Mae. Excluded from the formal wording of the invitation, she would certainly be surplus to requirements while the party prepared themselves for the ceremony.
Wearing killer heels in neutral tones, which set off her stunning dress, coupled with overlaying coatdress, chosen with the English weather in mind. Cut in pure lines, scalloped details decorated the neck and hem of the dress and edged the coat, in vibrant green, contrasting the sleek auburn bob framing her heart-shaped face. Having inherited her mother’s dazzling slightly slanted green eyes and superb bone structure, Kat knew she looked at least ten years younger than her age. Her long legs were encased in sheer stockings secured by suspenders attached to a tailor-made corset. Kat outshone mousy Helen effortlessly.
Kat walked down the sweeping staircase. Turning heads, as she passed, stepping through the arched doorway into the bright sunlight before slipping into the small chapel in the castle grounds where the service was to take place. Although Kat had not been involved in the early planning, her daughter had kept her informed by email as the day grew closer. Oliver had paid to hire the castle, grounds and staff for the event. Following the formal ceremony, everybody would eat the wedding breakfast laid out in the Tudor hall reserved for dining. Kat dabbed her eyes with a lace handkerchief and struggled to keep the intensity of emotion in check as her daughter entered the church. From her place at the end of the row of pews second from the front, she turned to watch her only child glide down the aisle, hand lightly resting on Oliver’s arm.
Mae had chosen a couture gown and looked ethereal. Kat knew the garment would have cost Oliver a fortune, and smiled, her daughter had inherited her flawless, expensive taste. A spear of pain penetrated her heart with the knowledge that she had not been included in the crucial discussions regarding the choice of dress for her daughter’s wedding. Helen had been there every step of the way while Kat had to be satisfied with random emails. How long do I have to pay for walking out? She thought eyes glazed as the small group moved along.
The gown had been crafted by hand; Mae had attended more than a dozen fittings, the designer’s attention to detail displayed. Hand embroidered, each tiny flower adorning the fabric meticulously picked out, the exquisite blooms echoed in the bridal posy, every single one of thousands of crystals had also been hand sewn onto the skirt of the gown. The fitted bodice drawing on the Victorian tradition of corsetry neatly defined Mae’s waist, and was overlaid with appliquéd lace, which also formed long, demure sleeves, ending in a point just below the wrist, in late medieval style. In one of her emails, Mae had told Kat that the Seamstresses washed their hands every thirty minutes to keep the threads and cloth pristine, the needles changed every few hours to ensure they were kept sharp and clean. The dress, a work of art, the bride, a vision in ivory white; the train proportioned for her slender frame, the craftsmanship of the gown, timeless, creating a romantic, feminine ideal.
Mae’s dark hair had been worked into a half-up creation, a diamond tiara nestled in the shining curls and diamonds sparkled at her ears. She carried a clutch posy of Myrtle, Lily-of-the-Valley, Sweet William and Hyacinth, chosen to symbolise happiness, gallantry, fidelity and love respectively. Oliver escorted their daughter to the man waiting at the altar; followed by Mae’s Bridesmaid, Anna, her best friend from school. A little shorter than Mae, but similarly slim, tumbling blonde curls cascading down her back; tiny, pale blue Forget-Me-Not were dotted, secured as if scattered into her hair, matching a posy of the same flower, chosen for their links to the legends symbolising enduring love. Anna’s sleek, ivory sheath dress of classic, understated elegance, enhanced the opulence of Mae’s gown, tasteful, adorable, and brave too, thought Kat. Choosing ivory for the attractive Bridesmaid could have been disastrous.
Turning to face the front again, she watched as the bridal party came to a halt beside the Groom, who did not seem in the least nervous when he took Mae’s hand. Tall, broad, dark, and athletically built, Kat felt an irresistible surge, her blood bubbling with a thrill of lust. The Best Man looked damn fit too.
The photographs took an interminably long time, the photographer’s assistant fussed over the minutia, had the Bride and Groom stand this way and that, followed by studies of everybody else. They made the most of the stunning gardens, which sloped down towards the enchanting backdrop of a prominent lake. The chatter and laughter of the guests mingling with the sound of birdsong, the occasional aircraft overhead, and the distant hum of the motorway, thankfully, the earlier photographic session had included pictures of the Bride beside the lake. Kat was grateful that she did not have to risk her heels sinking deep into the grass, staying safely on the stone area surrounding the chapel. Impatient to go inside and have a drink, Kat had not realised how difficult it would be to be on the periphery of her daughter’s big day, feeling a pang of regret that she had not made more of an effort to bridge the gulf between them.
“You look glowing. I hope you’ll be truly happy.” Kat congratulated her daughter and accepted a kiss from the Bride and her new husband. “It’s a pleasure to meet you at last, Scott. Hello, Oliver, thank you for inviting me, hello, Helen, I hope you’re well, you look very nice.”
Helen’s lips thinned into a straight, frosty line. Relieved to move on, Kat made her way along the receiving line, which by rights she should have been a part, finally, arriving at the end and the welcome sight of a waiter holding out a tray of champagne.
Excluded from the top table, she found her place at the long dining table situated in the middle of the grand room, decorated with masses of spring flowers, some echoing the bridal bouquet, as well as extensive arrangements of blooms grown locally, artfully arranged by florists. The flowers filled the room with their potent aroma, resonant with a breath of spring. The table had been dressed in a triumph of silver, ivory and white, continuing the colour scheme of the day. The guests attended by a throng of waiting staff, ensuring that every wish be catered for promptly and with quiet efficiency. A harpist played softly in the background while everybody devoured the wedding breakfast.
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