High Stakes, Hard Sell Ch. 05

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Author’s note:

This is the fifth chapter of six, and I remain very appreciative of the reader response to the first four chapters. Thank you for your encouragement. And as always, many thank-yous to the delightful author karaline for her editing and feedback. All characters are fictional, etc. etc.


Jane awoke on the old brown couch and it took her a moment to recognize her surroundings. She was stretched out in Mike’s apartment, her head on a throw pillow. Mike had draped a thick fleece comforter over her and it felt so cozy that she allowed herself to doze in half-sleep until Nessa emerged from the bedroom wearing pink Little Mermaid pajamas. She looked at Jane with a puzzled expression, then went back into the bedroom.

“Miss Jane is hurt and she’s going to stay with us until she’s better,” Mike said, leading Nessa back out. Nessa gave Jane another drowsy glance, then wandered over to the television. So much for the storm of questions they’d expected; Saturday morning cartoons apparently took precedence.

“Breakfast?” Mike said.

Jane started to get up, then realized being bra-less under a thin blouse wasn’t proper attire for the company of a five-year-old. She kept the comforter held to her collarbone modestly.

“Coffee?” she asked.

He made a face. “Terrible stuff. Ruins your sleep cycle and throws your metabolism out of whack. Addictive, too.”

She groaned. “Is there a coffee shop nearby?”

“A few blocks away, sure.”

“Pass me that sweater,” she said, pointing to the cardigan she’d arrived in. He tossed it next to her on the couch.

“Could be slippery out there.”

“For coffee, I’ll risk it.” Jane put the sweater on, then grabbed her crutch and hoisted herself to her feet. As she smoothed her skirt down she realized she wasn’t wearing panties. “I’ll need to swing by my apartment to pick up a few things.”

“Sure. Nessa’s going to a birthday party at eleven. I might hit the gym for a few hours. My fight’s in a couple of weeks and I could use the extra time.”

“You don’t want to stay with her?”

“To be the only man at a party with eight moms and ten shrieking kindergartners? I can probably afford to miss that.”

He moved to the kitchen and began to make steak, eggs and toast.

“Shouldn’t I be doing that?”

“On a crutch? Easier for me to do it. You can sit with Nessa and enjoy Powder Puff Girls.”

“POWER puff,” Nessa said without looking away from the cartoon.

Jane settled in beside Nessa, splitting her attention between the TV and Mike as he moved through the kitchen. She felt things between them were going well but she couldn’t afford to relax; the first day of spring was sixteen days away. Was she doing enough to earn his trust? Were there opportunities she was missing? She was sure his ‘five out of ten’ comment the previous night had been a joke, but wasn’t there a kernel of truth in every joke?

“Make you a deal,” she said.


“We share a cab to my apartment so you can help me pack, and I’ll look after Nessa all day tomorrow so you can go to the gym.”

“You need help to pack?”

She didn’t, really. She traveled so much on business she could have packed a bag blindfolded. But private time with Mike was at a premium, and with the clock ticking she figured she should seize every chance for more.

“Well…the luggage is hard to handle. My right wrist is sprained and I need my left one to hold the crutch.”

“Luggage? How much stuff are you bringing?”

“Not more than you can carry, I promise. We can drive back in my car, and pick up a child car seat on the way.”


“Nice place,” Mike said as he stepped into her living room, “Is this hardwood flooring?”

“Yes. Easy to keep clean.” Jane hung his coat and hers in the closet.

“Nice view, too.” He looked out the huge, south-facing window.

“Being twenty-six floors up has some advantages. Want the grand tour?”

She guided him through her apartment – kitchen, living room, study, dining room, guest room, both bathrooms and finished in her bedroom. He sat down on the side of her bed as she rooted through her closet and started thinking about how she’d dress for the next three days – she’d need at least three child-friendly outfits for the day and something suitably naughty for each of her nights with Mike.

“This place must cost a fortune,” he said, watching her as she limped through the room.

“Probably a bit too much, actually. I’m not renewing the lease when it expires in May. I want to downsize a bit, and the traffic around here is awful.” She retrieved a travel bag, set it on the bed next to Mike and unzipped it.

“I don’t have that problem. I suppose it’s the only good thing about living in a neighborhood where no one can afford a car.”

“When you win this fight you’ll be living the high life.”

“Hardly. The purse is one-hundred twenty grand. Seventy percent for the winner, thirty for the loser.”

“Gets you a step closer to the championship, right?” She set a second bag next gaziantep escortları to the first. Mike was forced to slide further along the mattress to make room.

“I figure if I can win this fight and the next two, I can retire. I’m in it for the money, not the belt.”

“That’s changed. You always dreamed of the championship. The thrill of competition and all that.”

“I still dream of the championship, but I have bills to pay, too. Plus I have to save for Nessa’s future,” he said. He continued to survey the room as they talked.

“I never pictured you the daddy type. You were always such a bad-ass,” Jane said, then buried herself halfway into her deep closet.

“I still have my moments. Hey, is this the guy? The musician?”

She turned to find him holding a framed picture from her night stand.

“Oh…I haven’t gotten around to putting away his pictures.” She cursed herself for leaving pictures of other men around for Mike to find. She needed him in the present, not wallowing in the painful past.

“A good-looking guy. He must have been pretty special to get a place on your night table.”

She walked over and took the frame, then set it face-down on top of her dresser. “He’s a good man. We had some fun times, but I wasn’t right for him.”


“No.” She knew he wanted hear more, but going into detail about past relationships was a minefield she didn’t want to traverse, not with so much riding on building trust and goodwill between them. She immersed herself in her closet again.

“Where did the two of you meet?”

Ugh. Of all the conversations she wanted to have with Mike, this wasn’t one. To change the topic, she pulled a sheer, thin-strapped, royal blue nightie out of her closet, still on a hangar, and held it against her front for Mike to see.

“What do you think?”

“Mmm. Very nice. I’d love to see you in it,” he said.

“Men have no imagination.”

“I meant now. I’d love to see you in it now.”

She caught the hungry look in his eye and felt herself flush in response. She loved having his attention – it gave her an excited quiver inside.

“I suppose that’s a command?”

He gave her a crooked smile. “Depends…does our deal apply outside my apartment?”

“Our deal was a little thin on specifics,” she said, then sighed. “Will you help, or will I be doing a striptease with a sprained wrist while balancing on a crutch?”

“Actually, that sounds pretty entertaining.”

“Get over here and lend me a hand.”

“I’ll lend you more than that.” He rose and stepped toward her. She draped the nightie over the foot board of the bed and awaited him.

He made short work of the cardigan, sliding it off her shoulders and tossing it onto the bed. She looked up into his beautiful eyes as he deftly unbuttoned her blouse, relishing the heat of his gaze. When the buttons were undone he slid his warm hands underneath the thin material, caressing her bare stomach and sides before sliding higher to cup the undersides of her breasts. He gave a squeeze, then stroked his thumbs over her nipples. They responded eagerly to his touch. His hands felt fantastic.

Her fingers found the clasp on the waistband of her skirt, released it, then drew the zipper down. The skirt went slack around her waist, and she allowed it to drop to the floor around her ankles. Mike’s hands were quick to explore the newly-uncovered flesh, reaching behind her to grip her ass and pull her bare hips against the front of his pants. She could feel his cock already hard under his jeans.

Impulsively, she threw her arms around his neck and pulled his head down, then pressed her lips against his. The crutch clattered to the floor but she ignored it. She’d needed the reassurance of a kiss for a while now but had hesitated, not knowing how it would be received. Her fears dissolved when she felt him respond, deepening the embrace. His hands were squeezing her naked butt almost painfully but she didn’t care; the kiss meant so much that she’d happily wear the bruises.

Too soon he stepped back, running an appreciative eye up and down her nude body. She used his arm to balance herself without the crutch.

“Better than any nightie,” he said.

“Well make up your mind. I have to pack.”

“You know, having a naked serving girl at my beck and call does sound tempting.”

“I’d be more like Igor, shambling around behind you.”

She felt exposed and self-conscious standing nude while he was fully clothed, and it was especially awkward to be balancing on one leg. Not exactly a seductive pose, but it clearly didn’t put him off. She quickly shimmied into the nightie. The satin clung to her curves, and she felt immediately sexier and more confident. She regretted not having more opportunities to dress for intimacy. Not every man she met was worth the effort.

“Gorgeous,” he said.

She hopped a slow, ungraceful turn to show him every angle, aware of how her breasts shook with each hop and knowing he’d notice too. “You’re the first to see it.”

“Now I like it even more.”

The compliments gave her a good feeling and she decided to keep the nightie on while she finished packing. She retrieved the crutch with difficulty and winced as she got the it under her arm again.

“Hurts?” he asked.

“My shoulder’s a little sore – it has to work harder than usual, with the crutch.”

He smiled mischievously and stepped forward, then swept her into his arms and carried her to the bed.

“What are you doing?”

“Your ankle and shoulder hurt, so I’ll help you pack while you sit there and rest,” he said.

“Wait…you think you’re going to pick my clothes? Do you have any idea what’s involved? You couldn’t begin to imagine…”

“Challenge accepted.”

“I can’t go outside looking like a third-grade art project.”

“More catty comments! I was going to let you watch, but now you have to close your eyes.” His smile was unabashed.

“You’re serious?”

“Absolutely. And no peeking.”

She breathed an overly dramatic sigh and closed her eyes, nightmare visions of Mike’s fashion choices flashing through her mind.

“Don’t forget it’s early March. And there’s a five-year-old living in your apartment.” She heard him moving through her bedroom. It was hard not to peek.

“I’m aware of both facts, thank you.”

“Let’s not have a repeat of Valentine’s Day.” She couldn’t help but smile as she recalled it.

He groaned. “In my defense, a lot of women would be thrilled to get a day at the spa and dinner at a fancy restaurant.”

“Oh, I was thrilled, until you met me at the spa with my outfit for the evening. What made you think I would wear a red-sequinned cocktail dress with fishnets?”

“It was in your closet, and it looked pretty fancy to me. How was I supposed to know it was a Halloween costume? They should put a label on it or something.”

She laughed; he’d been so sweet and earnest and at the same time so completely inept. The memory continued to delight her.

“Anyway, that was years ago. I’m a father now. I know how to pick out clothes for girls.”

“Lovely, although I don’t think I have any Disney-branded apparel. I might still have the cocktail dress.”

“Trash-talking the guy who’s picking your clothes? You’re living dangerously,” he said, and she could hear his grin.

She loved the banter between them; it was one of the best parts of being with him, and she realized how much she’d missed it. Maybe it was the fighter in him – he could counter-punch verbally as well as physically.

“I just don’t want to look like I ran away from the circus.”

“Let’s start with panties. Where do you keep those?” he asked. She could hear him opening and closing cupboards and drawers.

“I’m not allowed to wear panties at your place, remember?”

“Yeah? So?”

“You just want to rummage through my lingerie!”

“Correct. Panties?”

“Instead of soiling my pristine underwear with your dirty hands, maybe you should start with…”

“Never mind, found it.”

Heat rose in her cheeks again; having a man going through her underwear drawer left her feeling exposed and emotionally naked. She strained to hear what he was doing but the noises weren’t audible.

“Hey – I remember these,” he said.

“Can I open my eyes, or do I have to guess?”

“The pink ones you wore for my birthday.”

“I remember those too. When I saw them I knew you’d love them – they were so skimpy and you were always a sucker for pink.”

There were a few beats of silence.

“That was a night I’ll never forget,” he said in a nostalgic tone.

“Me neither. It was my first and only time.”

“I was surprised you wanted to try it. Never figured girls were much into butt stuff.”

Her blush deepened. “It was your birthday. I figured you’d like it…tighter.”

“It was awesome.”

“I really enjoyed it too.”

“You never did it since then?”

She grimaced. “No. It was intensely painful.”

“What? You said you enjoyed it.”

“I enjoyed the pleasure you were getting. I loved knowing I was making you happy, that it was special for you.”

“You should have said something.”

“If I’d said anything, you’d have stopped,” she said.

“Well, yeah. That’s the point, right?”

“No. The point was I loved you and I wanted you to feel great. It was my gift to you.”

“But you were moaning…it sounded like you were really into it.”

“Then I did a good job of selling it.”

There were a few more moments of silence.

“I guess I was a little rough.” Mike sounded suddenly somber. “The Rob Dax thing happened a few weeks later. Was it because…”

“No,” she opened her eyes and found his face as he stood in front of her underwear drawer. “I loved that evening, Mike. It was special for me; it’s still a memory I treasure. I gave you something no one else has ever had, and I don’t regret it at all.”

He met her eyes and she could read the unasked questions there. Why had she cheated? What had caused her to suddenly sour on the relationship? What had he done wrong? She didn’t want to let him dwell on the past, or to dredge up unpleasantness. Better to look forward, not back.

“Now if you’re through playing with my panties…” she said, her voice full of snark. She hoped the tone would lure him back to the moment.

“Oh, not by a long shot,” he said, and the wicked smile returned. “And who said you could open your eyes?”

She rolled her eyes, then closed them again. He continued his muffled explorations.

“What’s this?” he asked, followed a moment later by a faint buzzing sound. Her eyes flew open as her cheeks went a darker shade of red – it felt like she’d been blushing non-stop since he entered her bedroom!


She’d forgotten she’d put it in her underwear drawer – it wasn’t her usual place – but in the heat of the moment she’d stowed it there out of convenience.

Mike was peering intently at the smooth, finger-sized silver cylinder. His confused frown quickly morphed into a goofy grin.


“This is why you shouldn’t go rooting around in my private stuff,” Jane said, trying to sound more outraged than humiliated and not quite succeeding.

“I’ve never seen one of these up close before.” He examined it from different angles as though he expected to find ancient runes or something.

“I’ll buy you one, if you’re so interested,” she said sharply.

“I never knew women actually used these.”

She groaned – this wasn’t going away soon.


“Like how often?”

“None of your damn business, that’s how often!”


She contemplated throwing her crutch at him but worried she might hit something breakable.

“Just put it back. I can pack my own clothes, thank you.”

“No, this is hot,” he said, slowly coming around the bed and sitting in front of her. She tried to snatch the toy but he easily moved it out of reach.

“It’s not hot, it’s embarrassing.”

“I want to try it out. On you, I mean.”


“You heard me. Open wide.” His expression was kid-on-Christmas-Day eager. Ugh. Boys with toys!

“No way!”

“I seem to recall something about a deal,” he said, tapping his temple in mock thoughtfulness. “What was it we agreed to, exactly?”

She cursed herself for ever suggesting that deal! She switched tactics.

“Mike, I haven’t showered or anything.”

“Then you won’t mind getting a little messy, right?”

“Fine. But you’ll pay for this,” she said. She clumsily worked the nightie up and over her head, then splayed her legs apart and glared at him.

Without preamble he lowered the vibrator her to slit. She caught his wrist before he made contact.

“Not like that. It’s got to be wet first.”

“Mmm. Gladly.”

He settled onto his stomach between her legs and pressed a few hot kisses to her inner thighs. His lips made her feel tingly and her irritation began to recede. She nudged her legs open a little wider, a grudging invitation. Unhurried, he kissed the sensitive skin, moving slowly up towards her pussy lips then skipping over her sex and continuing along the inside of the other thigh.

“What do you think of when you’re using your toy?” His lips were close to her slit, nuzzling the skin below her navel.

“I’m not going to tell you. It’s private.”

He didn’t respond immediately, instead sliding his tongue between her lips. He quickly found her clit and flicked it lightly with the hot tip. He remembered how she liked it.

“Come on. Cowboys? Pirates? Billionaires in tuxedos?”

“None of those.”

“Tell me.” His tongue was working her perfectly and her body started to respond. She lay back against the pillows, savouring his ministrations.

“Don’t stop.” She lightly cradled his head between her fingertips.

“I won’t.”

With his thumb he gently lifted her clitoral hood, then drew long, slow strokes of his tongue over her exposed nub. Each lick caused a welcome tremor of arousal. She was warm now, breathing deeply.

“I think of being on a lonely road, and my car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. I call a tow truck. It’s dusk, and the sky is really pretty…orange and pink. It’s summertime. Warm and a little humid. The sweet scent of pollen is thick in the air.”

“Mmm,” he said. She pulled his head against her pussy with a little more pressure and he responded with faster licks, pressing harder against her clit with each wet stroke.

“The tow truck guy is a little out of shape, middle-aged, but handsome and his eyes are kind. He lifts the hood and shows me where things are broken. We’re both leaning over the engine and I feel his hand on my ass, over my skirt. Not aggressive or anything…more like he’s silently asking permission.”

She couldn’t hold her hips still and lifted them, pressing her wet sex more forcefully against his mouth. He trapped her clit between his teeth and lashed it with his tongue; hard, fast strokes that brought a moan out of her.

“He lifts my skirt, pulls my panties down to my knees. I’m still bent over the engine and I feel his cock slide inside me from behind. I’m already wet and it feels great.”

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