When I was a split second from coming, Roth removed his hand and swung the car around a corner and into an alley. I slumped down into the seat, shoving my dress in place, breathing hard and struggling for composure as Roth parked beside a dumpster and smoothly slid out of the car. My hands trembled, my thighs quivered, and my core ached. How did he always know when I was a breath away from climaxing? He did, though. He knew, and he was becoming an expert at bringing me to that edge and stopping just before I came. It was maddening.

I clenched my fists to stop my hands from shaking, and then forced myself out of the car, smoothing my dress around my knees. Roth held his arm out to me, and I took it, still weak-kneed from my near-orgasm.

“You’re an ass**le,” I muttered.

“Do I have your interest, Kyrie?”

“I was kidding, Roth. You have a hell of a lot more than my interest.” I focused on breathing, on pushing away the ache between my thighs.

“Oh, I know.”

“Then why punish me?”

He pulled open the door, holding it for me. The doorway was narrow, and low, leading to an even narrower black-and-white tiled floor, the walls lined with old photographs of New York in the ’30s and ’40s—a variety of famous personages and milk delivery trucks and Frank Sinatra with his trademark grin and cigarette. The hallway opened into a tiny Italian diner, round tables with iconic red-and-white-checked tablecloths and tall bottles of house wine.

Roth leaned down to whisper in my ear as he led me between tables to sit at a booth in a shadowy corner. “It’s not punishment, love. It’s foreplay.”

“Foreplay?” I tucked my dress under my thighs and slid across the cracked vinyl seat. “Keeping me on the edge of orgasm isn’t foreplay, it’s cruelty.”

Instead of taking the seat across from me, Roth moved in beside me, tucking his hand between my thighs with proprietary intimacy. He grabbed my hand and brought my palm to rest on his erection. “I know all too well how painful it is to be constantly aroused, Kyrie. I’ve been hard for you since the moment I woke up. Since the moment I met you, honestly.” He put his mouth to my ear, grinding into my hand. “I’m always hard for you, Kyrie. I ache for you every moment of every day. I wake up at night, having dreamed of burying my c**k inside you, and when I wake up I’m mere moments from coming all over myself like a horny teenager. I’m desperate to be inside you, Kyrie. This torture is for both of us.”


“Signor Roth!” A portly Italian man with salt-and-pepper hair and a brilliantly white smile greeted Roth with an effusive two-handed handshake, spouting off an incomprehensible stream of rapid-fire Italian.

Roth, of course, responded in fluent Italian, then turned to me and gestured at the proprietor. “Kyrie St. Claire, this is my very good friend, Marco. Marco, this is Kyrie.”

“It is my very great pleasure to meet you! Welcome, welcome!” Marco shook my hand as he had Roth’s, one pudgy hand on top of mine, another beneath, clasping and shaking until my arm went numb. “The house special, signore?”

“Surprise us, Marco. Wine, of course.” Roth grinned at me, holding my gaze.

I felt his hand slide between my thighs, turn to cup my mound beneath my dress, his actions hidden beneath the table, and then he slipped a finger between my folds and held it there, unmoving. He lifted one eyebrow in a clear challenge, or a warning. Don’t make a sound, the arched brow said. Don’t give anything away.

I in turn gave him a daring smile, palming his tented jeans. Each of us had one hand on the table, the other hidden beneath. Marco vanished, shouting through into the kitchen.

Roth held my gaze, curling his finger inside me, grazing my still-sensitive nub. “I hope you like Italian,” he said conversationally.

“It’s my favorite.” I slid my hand up and down the iron length of his denim-clad erection.

“Good, because when you eat at Marco’s, you eat until you’re bursting.”

“Well, I’m ravenous,” I said, working his length slowly with my fingers. “Simply famished.”

Roth’s eyes narrowed, and his finger matched my tempo, stroking me with slow, teasing touches. “Me, too.”

Marco’s arrival precluded more awkward innuendo, and he set down a dark, dusty bottle of wine, a carafe, and two glasses. “A very fine ’75 cabernet, signore. I’ve been saving it for a very special time, and I think this is it.”

He uncorked the bottle, then wiped the rim with a cloth napkin. There was a metallic screen filter at the mouth of the carafe, and Marco very slowly and carefully poured the ruby liquid through the screen and into the carafe, leaving an inch or so of thick sediment at the bottom of the bottle and a scrim of sediment on the filter. This done, he tilted one of the glasses almost horizontal and poured a small amount of wine, then handed the glass to Roth, who swirled it several times before taking a small sip.

“That’s fantastic, Marco. Thank you.” Roth handed the glass back to Marco with an appreciative nod.

You wouldn’t know, judging from the impassive expression on Roth’s face, that he was rhythmically curling his finger inside me, brushing against the very tip of my clit, sending bolt after bolt of pleasure through me. I had his erection pinched between my finger and thumb, but knew if I moved my arm the motion would be apparent, so I merely squeezed him up near the tip. It was a game, and I was losing. All he had to do was crook his finger, and spasms shot through me. It took every ounce of strength and control I possessed to not move, to not gasp, to act normal as Marco filled both glasses halfway and set them before us. He bustled away, but before I could open my mouth to ask Roth to stop, Marco was back with a plate of garlic bread and two small side salads.

Roth picked up his salad fork and dug in, while I opted for a slice of bread. Both of us used Marco’s absence as an excuse to ramp up the intensity of our game. He slid a second finger into me and pressed the tips against my clit and stroked slow and soft, while I dug my hand, thumb and forefinger first, between his jeans and boxers to clutch bare skin. I squeezed him hard, once, twice, and then loosened my grip and slid my fist down, then gave him an involuntarily hard clench as he slid the slick nub of my clit between his two fingers and tugged on it, making my entire body jerk with the onset of climax.

I swallowed the bite of bread and took another, chewing slowly to disguise my inner turmoil. The bread was actually the most delicious garlic bread I’d ever had, at once soft enough to melt in my mouth yet crunchy at the crust, buttery and bursting with flavor. I washed it down with a sip of the wine, which was unlike anything I’d ever tasted it. I only took the most conservative of sips, yet the flavor exploded in my mouth, washing over my tongue, a flavor so thick you could almost chew it, the liquid sliding down my throat and warming my entire body as it went down.