Stranger

By: Megan Hart



I could have gone alone. I wasn’t afraid of being without a man. Hell, the last boyfriend I’d had was in college and when that relationship ended, I’d been more relieved than upset. But dinner and dancing at the country club was always more fun with someone to dance with. It had been a no-brainer. I hired people to service my car and pull my weeds. Paying someone to pull back my chair and bring me drinks didn’t seem any different. In fact, paying someone to treat me like a goddess without having to deal with any corresponding male-ego crap had seemed like the best idea I’d ever had.

It was ridiculously easy to find a place where men could hire female “companions,” but it had taken a little bit of searching to find an agency offering similar services to women. As director of the funeral home I had to be discreet, but I also had a lot of contacts. People consumed by grief didn’t always censor their commentary. I’d learned about a lot of crazy things while offering the tissue box to mourners, most of which was useless. Places to buy drugs, who was sleeping with whom, where Mr. Jones had gone to buy the garter belt and stockings he’d been wearing when he died. The mourning widow, Mrs. Andrews, had slipped me a card just before launching into full-on mourning-widow mode.

Mrs. Smith’s Services for Ladies. Massage, conversation and other. I’d called the number on the card, made the arrangements and paid in advance. Mark had shown up at my door on time, perfectly groomed and handsome in a tuxedo that looked as if it had been cut to fit every line of his perfect, gorgeous body. It had been a little heady, being on his arm and entering the room filled mostly with people I’d known my entire life. Heads had turned and gossip had started, but the good kind.

It was, hands down, the best date I’d ever had. Mark was considerate, charming, a good conversationalist. If his responses were a wee bit slick and practiced sounding, that was all right, because the intensity of his deep blue gaze more than made up for any hint of role playing. I hadn’t, even then, been fooled into thinking the promises in Mark’s eyes were real. I didn’t believe it from men who tried to pick me up in bars or the grocery store, much less from a man whose time and interest I’d used a credit card to secure.

Yet I couldn’t help being flattered by the way his hand never strayed far from my shoulder, the small of my back, my elbow. By the end of the night, I had a pretty good idea what the “other” listed on the card meant. For safety reasons, and upon the advice of the anonymous Mrs. Smith, I’d met Mark in the parking lot of a nearby strip mall, then driven to the country club together in my car. On the way back to Mark’s car the tension had been as thick as honey and just as sweet.

“The night doesn’t have to be over,” he’d said when I pulled up next to his road-worn Saturn. “Not if you don’t want it to be.”

We’d gone to a shabby motel in the next town. My college boyfriend, Ben, had been good looking but nothing like Mark, who was truly so handsome it sort of made my eyes hurt to look at him for too long. My hands had been shaking when I undid the bow tie at his throat and the buttons on his shirt. He hadn’t rushed me. I’d unwrapped him inch by inch, revealing a body as delicious unclothed as it had been in the tux. I’d touched him all over, from the tight hard muscles of his belly to the thick branch of his cock, which swelled nicely in my hand. At his low noise, I’d looked up, startled out of my mesmerization. His gaze had gone dark. He’d reached out to touch my hair, softly, his fingers tugging it out of its loose coil.

I’d paid him to act like he thought I was sexy. I’d hired Mark to treat me like a queen—and in doing so learned I deserved to be treated that way. That I was lovely, and sexy. That I could get a man hard with a cocked hip and a slide of tongue on lips. Money can buy a lot of things, but a hard cock doesn’t care about a bank account. I might have paid him to spend time with me, but when it came right down to it, he’d wanted to fuck me just as much as I wanted him to.

It wasn’t the best sex I’d ever had; I was too nervous and uncertain to be adventurous. But Mark had made it easy for me. He was an expert lover, using his hands and mouth until we both lay panting in the tangle of sheets.

It was a hundred-dollar orgasm, when it finally happened, and worth every cent.

He didn’t stay. He shook my hand somewhat formally at the door, then lifted it to his mouth and kissed it, shooting me a grin that no longer had any hint of plastic about it. “Ask for me anytime,” he murmured against my skin, his eyes never leaving mine.

Right then, I’d understood exactly why the price had been so high.

Mrs. Smith had perfected an expert matching system to suit her clients. In the three years I’d been using the service, I’d never had a bad date. Whether I wanted to go to a concert or a museum, or spend a night having orgasm after orgasm while tied up with a red velvet ribbon, Mrs. Smith provided it all.

Contrary to my girlfriends, who either bemoaned the lack of a boyfriend or bitched about the men they did have, I was the most fulfilled woman I knew. I never had to go anyplace alone unless I wanted to. I never had to worry about what the sex “meant” and if my lover cared about me, because it was already prenegotiated and prepaid. Hiring escorts had given me the freedom to explore parts of my sexuality I’d never known existed, and without risking my safety or emotions.

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