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Dark Paradise by Winter Renshaw (1)



{One year ago}

I look like Jackie. I make love like Marilyn. It’s a dangerous combination in a city of power-hungry, sex-starved politicians.

“Don’t take another step.” His voice is low and void of inflection. The heavy hotel suite door slams behind me. My crystal-encrusted heels anchor into the dense carpet, my body paralyzed by the assertion in his command. The room is pitch black save for the sliver of streetlight breaking through the heavy drapes. In the corner stands a man, or rather, the outline of a man. I can’t see his face. “There’s a blindfold on the table to your left. Put it on.”

“Why? Are you some kind of monster?” I intend to sound lighthearted, but the second my voice breaks I show my cards. My stomach flips as I take the blindfold from the table and place it over my eyes. Satin. Maybe silk. Blackest black. “Where do you want me?”

The air conditioning kicks on, bringing a quick chill to my mostly bare skin. The left strap of the little black number I’m wearing falls down my shoulder.

“Leave it,” he says. “It’ll be off soon enough.”

His voice is closer than it was before. Licking my lips, I force a smile and ignore the warning sirens going off in my head. Three deep breaths and I’m saturated in his old-money scent: vetiver and leather with a hint of cigar smoke.

The John’s arm grips the crook of my elbow as he leads me over to the bed.

“Bronwyn,” he says. “Couldn’t think of a better hooker name?”

“I am not a hooker.” I huff. There’s a difference between what I do and what they do. “And it’s my middle name.”

“Is it safe for you to be giving out your real name to strange men?”

“If it makes you feel better, you can call me any name you want.” The corner of my lip curls into a teasing half-smirk, though I doubt he sees it in the dark. My first name is Camille, but he doesn’t need to know that. “My name isn’t all that important, and I’d hardly call you a strange man. I’m selective with my clients. I chose you.”

Or, rather, I allowed him to choose me. Same difference.

My best friend and roommate, Araminta, set this up, and she’s the only person on this godforsaken planet I trust.

Which is why I’m here . . .

at the Melrose Hotel in Georgetown . . .

minutes from having blindfolded sex with a complete stranger . . .

while simultaneously second-guessing my decision to come here tonight and reminding myself of all those zeroes.

“Names are everything.” His breath warms the back of my neck, his fingertips trailing down my spine until they reach my zipper. The John’s voice is younger than I anticipated. He doesn’t sound like a balding, pot-bellied senator or a silver-haired, meaty-knuckled chairperson.

“Is that why you won’t tell me yours?” I smile, finding this entire situation amusing the second I strip away my fear.

“Yes.” He sighs. “All of this should’ve been explained to you. Was it not?”

“I was told you were high profile.”

Araminta couldn’t tell me his name as she didn’t know it, but for seven figures, I’d sleep with almost anyone. And that’s what this mystery man offered. One million dollars for twelve short weeks, a miniscule blip on the timeline of my life.

Deep inside, beyond my shiny chestnut hair, deep-set gaze, and bee-stung pout, is a girl dreaming of getting out of here. Moving west. Making a name for herself.

The only thing I’ve ever wanted in my entire life is to be unforgettable.

If you take away the elegant wardrobe, the fancy dinners, the upscale apartment, and the ridiculously expensive hotel rendezvous, I’m nothing more than a hustler with a dream. An actress inflicted with merciless ambition. A highly skilled professional.

“And I was told you were the best at keeping secrets,” he says. A quick pull on my zipper loosens my dress before he tugs it farther, letting it fall to a soft heap at my feet.

“I cannot confirm nor deny that.” Attempting to flirt while blindfolded feels silly. “So whose name will I be calling out tonight?”

“John. Call me John.”


“You’ve got a mouth on you.”

“My mouth does a lot of things, John.” I’m testing him, feeling out his sense of humor, which will give me an idea of what he likes. Fun and feisty? Quick and dirty? Playful? Demure? I find that the vast majority of the time, they fall into one of two categories: the ones who want Jackie and the ones who want Marilyn. The sooner I uncover his preference, the better. Until then, I’m playing a sensual game of chess.


His hand grips my chin from behind. The soft pad of his thumb traces my lower lip, and like the trained circus monkey Araminta has shaped me into over the years, I snap into performance mode.

My hand lifts to his arm. He’s in a suit, and the tight weave of the fabric beneath my palm tells me it isn’t cheap. I trail along his forearm until I feel cool metal. Cufflinks. Square. Probably platinum or gold. As soon as my hand finds his, I guide his fingertips between my lips and into my mouth, sucking softly. My tongue flicks and rolls over his soap-scented skin. He has the hands of a man with a desk job. Smooth. Unworked. I imagine he shakes hands a lot. Meets lots of new people.

That or he’s a man with a meticulous eye for details, not unlike myself.

Details are everything.

They tell me everything I’d ever need to know about a man. The way he combs his hair tells me if he’s right or left handed. The color of his tie tells me his mood that day. Red or blue? He’s in work mode. Black? He’s feeling guarded. Plaid or checks? He’s too busy to care what his tie looks like. Brightly-colored gingham? He buys whatever looks good on the mannequins at the suit stores.

It’s the same with cologne. If it doesn’t smell good on him, it was a gift and he wears it because he doesn’t have time to shop for himself. If it smells cheap, he picked it up at the corner drugstore chain the second he realized his wife forgot to pack it for him in his carry-on. If it’s exotic, expensive, or nothing I’ve ever smelled before, I know he’s well-traveled, a man with very particular tastes. Ordinary would never be good enough for him.

John’s cologne is an exotic blend of agreeable notes coming together in perfect harmony. They paint a picture of a man whose face I so desperately wish I could see.

He moans, pulling his finger from my mouth and slipping his hands around my waist. His lips press into the skin just above my left shoulder blade, springing my body awake from the tips of my toes to the top of my crown. Most men go straight for the goods: tits, ass, or the Holy Grail between my thighs.

This one’s different.

But I already knew that.

His fingers dig into the front of my hips, pulling my body against his. The hint of hardness through his pants hits my lower back. Firm hands snake up my belly as he stipples fiery kisses down the center of my spine.

My nipples wake and a gush of delightful heat floods my core.

“You’re beautiful,” he says.

I know.

And it’s not because I’m conceited.

They say Michelangelo saw David in a slab of marble and carved away until he set him free. What I did is no different. My baby smooth skin. My toned body. The strategic dabs of Chanel perfume on my pulse points. The full face of tasteful Chantecaille makeup. The breast implants. The subtle rhinoplasty to remove the bump. I’ve created a work of art, something a man can cherish and appreciate on a superficial level because a man soliciting my services doesn’t care what’s on the inside.

My heart could be the blackest black and none of it would matter.

Men are simple creatures, and I’m not ashamed to use that to my advantage. Show me a man who claims to be complicated, and I’ll make a liar out of him in ten seconds flat. I both love them and hate them for that reason, but they can’t help themselves any more than the sky can help being blue.

“Thank you,” I whisper, as if I’m ashamed of my beauty. It couldn’t be further from the truth. I appreciate the hard work it took to create my outward appearance. I plucked, peeled, and scrubbed myself raw to get here. I went to bed hungry more times than I can count. I walked into the most intimidating of clothing boutiques with my head held high and ignored their snobby glares. I walked through fire to become the woman I am today. But there’s nothing sexy about a vain woman. We’re supposed to be equal parts humble and confident, and there’s a fine line between the two.

John’s touch isn’t rushed like most of the men I’ve accompanied. His fingers slip down my sides, tugging my lace thong down the curve of my ass. A finger enters me from behind, gliding in with the aid of my wetness. A second finger follows a moment later. In and out, gentle and slow. He’s not a sex-starved man, or if he is, he does a good job of masking it.

Most of the men who request my company are sexually depraved, middle-aged politicians who buy my exclusivity until the excitement wears off and we go our separate ways.

Judging by his carefully crafted maneuvers, I’m confident John is a connoisseur of the female body, not an easy feat even for the most experienced of gentlemen.

I spent five months screwing an older man a couple of years ago. Not one orgasm for me. The man was thrice divorced, and his pillow talk consisted mostly of boastful stories of all the exotic women he’d bedded during his decades-long career in foreign policy.

But the man couldn’t find a clitoris to save his life.

Dry fucking isn’t my thing, so I let him down gently. I raised my rates exponentially until he couldn’t afford me and had no other choice but to pass me on to someone who could. And that’s how I met my last client, Trey Bancroft, a forty-year-old senator from South Carolina with a disarming smile, green eyes that sparkled like polished emeralds, and presidential aspirations.

In my business, referrals are everything, and getting ahead in life is always about whom you know. In this little world, my connections are strong, rivaled only by Araminta’s. Plus, my services more than speak for themselves, and what middle-aged man doesn’t want a twenty-four-year-old honey on his arm with teardrop DDs, bee-stung lips, and a body made for sin?

Every politician in this city wants his own personal Marilyn Monroe, and that’s where we come in. But not everyone can afford a six-figure guilty pleasure habit.

I don’t think of myself as a prostitute, and I never have. As far as I’m concerned, I am a sexual concierge for the well to do and influential. I’ve screwed men who’ve saved lives. I’ve screwed men who’ve voted for wars. I’ve screwed men with more power in their pointer fingers than kings in small European countries.

“How’d you hear about me?” I ask as every nerve ending in my body sparks with life. Araminta said he was a friend of her current client.

“Not at liberty to say.” His finger leaves my wetness, and the fragrance of my arousal mixing with my gardenia perfume saturates the air around us. Emptiness passes through me for a second, but I take comfort in knowing that minutes from now, I’ll be filled with something to replace that void.

“That’s too bad.” I sigh. “I wanted to thank him for sending such a skilled man my way. I don’t always get to spend my time with men who know their way around the female body.”

“The flattery is unnecessary.” He unhooks my bra before taking a handful of my breasts, caressing them as he breathes me in. A moment later, his palms graze across my hardened tips before he spins me to face him.

I’m blanketed in his warmth and weighted by his presence. His cinnamon breath grazes my forehead as I stand, waiting for his command. I’m guessing he’s at least six inches taller than me, which puts him over six feet.

I reach for his lapels, trailing my fingers up and down his buttons to get a sense of his physique. His chest and abs are smooth and flat, and through the thin fabric of his dress shirt, I make out the chiseled grooves of toned muscles.

Soft hands. Ripped body. Sexy voice. Seven figure payday. I’ve hit a jackpot I never knew existed in the city of old money and new influence.

“Are you smiling?” His question disrupts our moment, and sexual tension is left suspended in midair.



My cheeks warm, and I tuck my chin. It’s easy to forget that although I can’t see him, he sees every inch of me.

I’m normally quick on my feet, but his question catches me off guard. My answer can’t be the truth; it has to be laced with the kinds of things he wants to hear. If I could see his face right now, I’d be able to know what that might be.

“I’d tell you, but you’re clearly not a fan of flattery.” I pride myself on my save and bury the truth.

Because we’ve barely begun, and already my body’s reacting in ways it hasn’t in years.

A man had been standing outside his door earlier, dressed in a black suit as if he were with the Secret Service. “John” is much too young sounding to be President Montgomery or the husband of Vice President Darlington or even our Secretary of State, but whoever he is, he’s important.

A man who travels with security is a man with power, and nothing is sexier than power in a world where everyone wants it, but only a select few will ever taste it.

“Lay down,” he commands, his voice sending prickles down my spine and delivering an anticipatory smile to my lips. “Small talk is over.”

My hands reach back, finding the foot of the bed, and I guide myself until I find what feels like the center. Every move I make needs to be slow, exaggerated, and deliberate: a sensual trifecta.

I wish he could see my eyes. My eyes always have it. I’ve perfected the sultry, come-hither stare over the years, and I spent a painstaking amount of time tonight on my winged-eyeliner and false-lash look. Men always go nuts when I channel Marilyn the first night.

At least he can see my lips.

I pout them just so.

They’re painted with a nude lip stain, because the last thing a man wants to worry about is how he’s going to get that pesky red lipstick out of his starched white collar.

Plus, it makes a mess of my face after I finish sucking them off, and I can’t have that. I’m not trying to look like The Joker.

His hands run between my inner thighs, pressing them apart as he climbs on the bed. Hovering over me, he lifts my arms over my head, depositing them on the pillows above me. I’m positive he’s still clothed.

A warm, wet tongue circles my right nipple as his hand explores the sensitive folds below. He fingers me again, first one finger, then another, and then a third. Pain and pleasure create a delightful cocktail that recharges my excitement, and for the first time ever, I’m not completely acting.

Every insertion sends a pulse to my clit, and I hold my breath to stave off any excess excitement. He makes it easy to forget that this entire experience is about him.

His wants.

His needs.

His darkest desires.

My pleasure is supposed to be secondary, and most of the time it’s an afterthought. If I had a dollar for every orgasm IOU . . .

“I want to taste you,” I say in a breathy sigh, slowly stirring beneath him. “Take off your clothes, John. Let me make you feel as good as you make me feel.”

I sit up and feel him back away. My hands follow his warmth until they reach his hips. With fingers running the length of a slick leather belt, I unbuckle, unbutton, and unzip before freeing his engorged cock from silken boxers.

Although I can’t see it, I can imagine it’s a beautiful sight. Anything belonging to a man who smells like this has to be pristine. I pump him in my hand, and his girth fills my palm and then some. He’s straight as an arrow and hard as a rock. A perfectly proportioned crown and dagger from what I can tell.

I’m on all fours now, the base of his cock gripped firmly in my hand as I bring the tip to my lips. It’s pure velvet. My tongue sweeps across his length before I take as much of him as I can. I’ve honed the art of deep-throating over the years, but John’s generous size is proving to be my most challenging yet.

He gathers my hair at the nape of my neck, driving himself into my mouth with steady thrusts. The sweet and salty taste of pre-cum drips down my throat as his free hand trails my lower back and traces along the sensitive valley behind my gyrating hips.

John takes a handful of my curved ass in his hands, squeezing just enough.

Ah. He’s an ass man.

I’m taking mental notes, the way I always do during first encounters. I usually pay close attention to the parts of my body their eyes visit the most. In this case, I can only go off of the parts of me where his touches linger.

I’m going to have to add more squats to my gym routine, but it’ll be worth it.

All the better to please him.

I’m a well-oiled, finely tuned sex machine. Some would argue there’s nothing in this for me. I couldn’t disagree more. Giving a man the best sex of his entire life gives me a rush like no other. When he moves on, and they always do, I want him to think of me every time he fucks someone else. When he jerks off in the shower every morning, I want it to be my lips, my tits, and my pussy he’s fantasizing about. I want memories of our steamy nights to play on a loop in his head all day long, even when he’s locked in the senate chamber engaged in heated debates on the direction of this great nation, or even when he’s attending a global summit or meeting foreign prime ministers.

I want him to think about calling me because he can’t get me out of his head, only he’ll know he can’t because we’ve both long since moved on. And it will kill him. I want him to burn with jealousy when he thinks of me with another man, worshipping another man’s cock and coaxing him into the most intense orgasms he’ll ever experience.

That is the greatest power of them all.

I’ve never wanted romance. I’ve never wanted some larger-than-life love story or that clichéd happily ever after every woman my age would kill for.

I just want to be unforgettable.

Because at the end of the day, when I’ve drained him of every ounce of cum and every spare dollar to his name, and he goes home to his DC apartment feeling like a real man who just fucked the hell out of his whore, I’m the one who holds the power.

Men can be so fucking stupid sometimes.

John groans, his swollen, throbbing erection ready to unload at any moment. His hips jerk back, and he removes himself from my mouth with one pull. I slink back until my head hits the pillow and nonchalantly splay my dark hair around my shoulders like some lingerie model in a photo shoot.

Presenting myself as an ideal fantasy at all times is the foundation upon which I’ve built my “business.”

The bed shifts as John positions himself over me. The sound of a ripping foil packet is all I hear before he takes my ankles and deposits them on his hard shoulders one at a time. A moment later, the firm pressure of his cock drags between my folds just before he pushes his entire length into me.

And so it begins.



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