...Salome’s hot gaze mellowed into warm sympathy, yet without diminishing any of her seductive allure. In fact, her evident compassion increased her appeal. A considerate soul himself, Isaac appreciated the quality in others.
“That explains much, Mr. Strong. Such as why you are almost too well behaved. Never would you force anyone, I can tell—not even someone like myself who is not nearly the lady you treat me as.”
Meaning her billing as a courtesan, a whore, albeit a high-class one? Hell, her profession was none of his business. It was difficult enough in this world for a male to earn a decent living; it must be doubly hard for a female.
“I view it as a matter of simple human dignity, ma’am. Everyone deserves respect.” He wasn’t a religious person, but his mother had been. From her he’d learned the value of forgiveness and the Golden Rule, which was the only biblical message he’d ever taken to heart. “I try to treat people the way I want to be treated.”
“Regardless of race, creed, or sexual activity?” Salome’s brows rose. “My, you are a radical thinker, aren’t you?”
A tease, but Isaac liked it. He enjoyed women with wit. Maybe he enjoyed this one too much. She enchanted him on multiple levels, seduced his mind along with his body. Kindness, charm, intelligence, and beauty—a dangerous package, Miss Salome. If he wasn’t careful she might make him do something really stupid.
Like believing in love?
He froze as she leaned in, her veiled face scant inches away. Her hands slid from his shoulders to flatten on his chest.
“As it happens, I’m rather radical myself,” she whispered.
Just a thin slice of air and a mist of silk separated her mouth from Isaac’s. He didn’t dare consider how easy it would be to sweep aside that silk and taste her lips. Once he started kissing her, he might not stop till he’d devoured her whole.
“We have much in common, Mr. Strong—more than you may suspect. I, too, am of mixed blood. My father was a doctor in San Francisco, and my mother…the Chinese girl who did his laundry. He married her, though. They loved each other—at least so far as I remember. They died during an influenza outbreak when I was still young. It was then I discovered there was no place for me in traditional society. I was ostracized by both sides, accepted by neither his people nor hers. Perhaps that is why I do believe in love. Because I must. I know too well how lonely life is without it.”
Amazingly, Isaac understood her point—disagreed but understood. She held on to her fairy-tale ideals the same way his mother had clung to her hope for a better life in the heavenly hereafter—and for the same reason. Solace. For the latter, religion had been her buffer against the world’s ills. For Salome, it was romance.
More than ever he wanted to pull her into his arms and give her all the comfort one body could bestow on another. Except cold comfort that would be when they parted—as they must soon. He never stayed in one spot very long. Even if the romance she craved did exist—a big if—that kind of love was beyond his capabilities. Yet equally impossible, it seemed, was resisting the woman’s appeal. With nothing but her eyes and the pressure of her palms on his chest, Salome held him spellbound.
“I know also that whatever you choose to call it—or not—I am most attracted to you,” she murmured. “And you are attracted to me, I think.”
As a man who valued honesty, he could hardly contradict her. “Very much. But you’re right if you mean I can’t call it love.”
“You don’t have to. It is enough for now that I feel the emotion. I won’t ask you to reciprocate. Nor will I tell you that you captured my heart with a single glance, for I doubt you’d believe me if I did. Instead, I shall show you the depth of my feeling.”
Before Isaac realized her intention, she sank to her knees. Good God, she wasn’t…
In seconds she removed his gun belt and unbuttoned his shirt and trousers. Damn, the lady knew her way around men’s clothes. Knew her way around a man’s anatomy, too. Isaac groaned as one of her hands cupped his balls and the other gripped the base of his shaft. He’d been half erect already. At her manual attention, his cock swelled and hardened into a thick, solid club. Fast.
“Impressive,” Salome said in a throaty purr. “You could bludgeon someone to death with this, Mr. Strong.”
She brushed the lower half of her face over him, letting him feel the silky softness of her veil and the heat of her lips through the fabric. Isaac’s gut clenched. His breathing went ragged.
“I think you can forget the mister and call me Isaac now,” he strained out.
“With pleasure…Isaac.” She tilted back her head to meet his gaze, her eyes smoky slits. “And you may call me Sal. All my dearest friends do.”
With those words, she maneuvered his cock under her veil and deep into her hot mouth...