Breck sat on the edge on his seat at the poker table. Long had left his consciousness that he and Murphy had to get their sorry asses and that of their drunken Scot as far away from the municipality as possible.
Casually, he turned his head over his shoulder and leaned his chin on his collar. The $500 chips clicked in his fingers as he nervously flipped them around one another.
Jean-Philippe can’t be that far behind. He couldn’t have lost us; his senses are a hell of a lot keener than that.
Hours had dissipated like minutes since Murphy and Robbie had left him to ogle the fascinating Marguerite. She had drawn him in with the batting of her luscious doll lashes and ensnared him into her web of seduction.
That was the exquisite woman’s talent: the ultimate hustle. Years of stroking the felt and men’s egos earned her respect across the country, and her trade was perfected. Such skill drew repeat business that left behind mounds of hard-earned cash, empty wallets, and broken hearts and marriages.
Not traditionally beautiful or svelte, Marguerite had eyes of black diamonds and the lilted voice of a siren drawing the gamblers closer and closer to their inevitable financial demise. Her gaze was hypnotic and her story-telling entranced even the most disinterested of listeners. With her tapered fingers, she would outline wonderful massaging pictures on the backs of her admirers, lulling them into complete submission.
Breck was no exception, but his desire for Marguerite extended no further than the possibility of daybreak when he imagined collecting his clothes from the floor of the diva’s boudoir and scrambling without awakening the sound princess.
It was a longshot, but one worth the daydream nonetheless.
As though reading every pornographic image that Breck’s mind could conjure, Marguerite’s inamorata bore holes into Breck’s skin with his fixated stare.
Don Adriano di Enzogui was more than aware of Marguerite’s effect on men. He would occasionally encourage the encounters. Being no different than the vixen’s victims, he knew all too well the catastrophic impact of her prowess.
He himself had been a willing participant in letting her tentacles burrow well beneath his skin, and he was convinced they had reached his soul.
To the suave, olive-skinned sophisticate, Marguerite was his enigma that would be his downfall…a tumble he was powerless to prevent.
Love wasn’t what he felt for the woman. He had long ago dismissed his ability to even define the word. But there was no mistaking her hold on him, one that went far beyond a physical bond that neither of them could deny.
The attachment embarrassed Don Adriano, shame that brought him consternation and pride simultaneously. The power Marguerite exercised over the exotic playboy was incalculable, a force that overshadowed his competitive, ruthless, and driven nature. Scars left on his body by her fingernails were trophies of victory marking every conquest and concurrently pieces of his meat that she had systematically gouged away.
That someone could not only match but outwit his charisma impressed him immensely. It was for this very reason that Don Adriano despised himself for letting a woman better his astounding ability to grasp the world in his fingers and release it only when he pleased.
The lovely Marguerite never intentionally outshined her partner – the grace simply came as naturally to her as waking in the morning. Adore him as she may, she refused to cow tow to his enormous sense of self.
At nearly six feet in height and firmly kept, Don Adriano di Enzogui’s salt and pepper curls belied his true age. A knight and clever international financier in his prime, his silken locks swept the collar of the finest hand-woven garments that molded to his tapered upper body, leaving little to even the dullest imagination. A commanding presence in every room he entered, di Enzogui expected attention drawn to him. Nothing of his appearance, his demeanor, or his posture was ever less than immaculate.
The exterior covering served as distraction from that which no one encountering di Enzogui could find.
A light in his eyes.
Roughly the color of wet clay, the creature’s view reflected no sparkle, no shine, no life. This void of emotion had been perfected to keep his audiences in complete oblivion of his inner thoughts.
All but his darling Marguerite, whose indifference to his absence of luminance brought her no despair. Another trait both admired and despised by the perfected playboy.
He eyed the new admirer again, summating the similarities. The dark hair, the strong chin, the powerful shoulders…and the enrapture for Marguerite. Blood in his veins rose as heatedly and as fervently as would his erection when he had his lover in between his sheets, and he shook the vision of what a night of passion shared among the trio would bring.
Don Adriano assessed the dark stranger more carefully and with an examining eye, he watched Breck’s movements again. Recognition of the world-renown courtier nearly spun the Italian to his knees.
How could I have not realized who that is? For Christ’s sakes, I own one of his suits!
Pounding became louder in his ears as the rampant want of them both washed over him again; stronger this time around, and he pulled his right hand to his left shoulder and winced.
It was there that only the night before Marguerite had ripped his flesh in the throes of ecstasy, drawing blood and inciting a sting that excited and paralyzed him.
Never before had Don Adriano experienced a lover so brutal, so animalistic, so raw. Sex with the leopard was occasionally injury-free, tender and kind and engulfing. More often than not, he found Marguerite’s penchant for the wild and abusive had him believing that only one of them would be exiting the bedroom intact…or even alive.
Yet another scenario that divided his superior notions into insuppressible yearning and vile disgust.