All I Am: Drew's Story, p.1Part #3.5 of This Man series by Jodi Ellen Malpas
There’s something seedy about this club. Something that was always absent at my previous club, The Manor. My old haunt in the Surrey Hills felt like home. The lavish grounds, the refined décor, the social environment. It felt like an extension of my life, and it was. Hux is just somewhere I come to fuck.
It’s always basked in dim, erotic lighting, and the fog of moans that follow you everywhere cement themselves in your head, lingering long after you’ve left the building. Everything always happens in slow motion here. People walking, people talking, mouths moving so slowly you can pretty much lip-read every word being said. Talk of fantasies, of intentions, and of deepest, darkest desires. Nothing is sacred around here. There’s no mystery or intrigue. You walk through those doors off a London back street and you know exactly what you are going to get. Sex. Sex of the filthy kind. The emotionless scene suits me down to the ground. I don’t have time for the complications of a relationship.
Standing behind her kneeling form, I curl the chains around her neck and squeeze, just a fraction, until her breath is even shallower than her orgasm has left her. I dip, getting my face close to hers. “Thanks for playing.” I whisper in her ear, before moving my mouth south and biting down on her cheek. She turns her head and stares at me with eyes that still harbor endless hunger. Hunger for me.
Releasing her, leaving her on her knees, I stride into the adjoining bathroom and take a shower, washing away the potent scent of sex. Once I’ve dried off, I stare at myself in the mirror, my blue eyes tired, my dark hair limp and falling across my forehead, covering the few creases that have formed in recent years. Though I’ve avoided the dreaded gray. “Not bad for thirty-nine, Drew.”
I get back into my suit and make my way through the club as I scroll through my phone to see where the lads are. Now I’ve let off some steam, it’s time for a beer.
I slow and turn, seeing the owner of this decadent pleasure pit, Cole Hux, zipping up the fly of his trousers, his vast chest bare, the swell of his biceps shimmering with sweat under the dim lights. “What’s up, Cole?”
“Here.” His six-foot seven-inch frame is before me in a few long paces, his huge hand holding out a piece of paper.
“What’s this?” I ask, tentatively taking it.
“Newbie.” He turns and wanders off to his office. “She said she wants someone cold, emotionless, and filthy.”
“So you thought of me.” I say to myself, looking down at the name and mobile number. “Raya.” I muse, stuffing the note in my pocket and heading for my car. I can do cold, emotionless, and filthy. With little effort. Actually, with no effort.
* * *
I’m rolling my shoulder as I wander into the bar, working out some of the stiffness on a slight wince. It’s been a long week in the office, but with eight sales made, one of which was an overpriced, under-par penthouse in Chelsea that’s been on the market for over a year, you could say it’s been a great week for business.
I find Sam, one of my oldest friends, at the bar alone and join him, a beer ready and waiting for me. “Where’s Jesse?” I ask as I take up the stool beside him. The three of us have kept our weekly man-time date for as long as we’ve known each other, and only on a few rare occasions over the decades have any of us missed it. So where is he?
The look Sam flashes me is full of amusement that’s trying to be hidden by sympathy.
“Who’s upset him?” I swipe my beer up and clink it against Sam’s.
“I’ll give you two guesses.” He tips his bottle to his lips, his eyes dancing with enjoyment.
“Maddie.” I don’t need two guesses. “How can a man get so worked up over a seven-year-old?”
Sam chuckles, ever relishing in our poor mate’s despair. “She’s not like your Georgia.”
I smile at the mention of my girl. My placid, sweet little girl. She looks like me. Has my reserved, quiet nature. I’m so glad, since I hate her fucking mother. I’ve got her back from Coral on Saturday, thank God. The three days a week she’s away from me are long and lonely. “How’s Kate?”
“Baking her arse off. It’s wedding season.” He reaches up to his shoulder and brushes off a smudge of flour. “You had a good week?”
Sam gives me the once-over, his eyes landing on my crotch. “Been to the club?”
I look down and find my fly undone. On a roll of my eyes, I hold my bottle in my mouth by the neck as I fasten myself up. “Jealous?”
“Nope. I’m quite happy with my girl, thank you very much.” He dismisses me in an instant.
I smile on the inside. “I’m available if you need me.” That soon wins back his attention, and it’s not positive attention. “Just saying.” I hold up my hands, a show of surrender.
“Well don’t.” My cheerful mate, whose eyes are constantly sparkling happily, is on the verge of snarling. “It was a one-off eight years ago.”
I turn to the bar, getting hold of my amusement quickly before he slugs me one. One time eight years ago, Sam’s now-girlfriend decided she wanted to dabble in all things kinky. We gave her what she wanted. Boy, did we give her what she wanted. I didn’t get attached, never do. But Sam did.
He taps my knee, and I look toward the door where he’s staring, finding Jesse striding toward us with a face like thunder. I quickly signal to the barman for a beer. “My man!” Sam sings, smacking the surface of the bar.
“Fuck off,” Jesse grunts, and I laugh under my breath, bracing myself for a rant about all things concerning his daughter. Maddie is spirited. Jesse’s word, not mine. He slams his arse on the stool and practically snatches the beer out of the barman’s hand. We pipe down, facing the bar, and I peek out of the corner of my eye to find Sam grinning around the lip of his bottle. He’s asking for it.
I clear my throat and swoop in for some man-talk to distract Jesse from his daddy stress, at the same time distracting Sam from pushing him over the edge. “I have—”
I’m cut off when Jesse’s phone rings, and silence falls as we all stare down at his screen, where Ava’s name is flashing up like the warning light it is.
“Oh dear.” I sigh as Jesse snatches it up from the bar. My shoulders rise, a lame attempt to cover my ears, and I wince with the deep ache it spikes. Motherfucker. I reach up and rub into my muscles. I need to get this bad shoulder sorted.
“It’s not up for discussion, Ava,” Jesse answers in greeting, clean and to the point. Sam’s lips compress with contained laughter, earning a kick under the bar from me and a lethal glare from Jesse. He shrinks on his stool, though his laughter is warranted: we all know Ava’s feistiness drives Jesse to distraction, but displaying any amusement or offering advice is a fatal mistake. I’ve been friends with Jesse long enough to know that my opinion counts for shit when he’s dealing with his wife and kids. Even if he’s wrong, which most of the time he is. My eyes close when I hear Ava.
Clear. As. Day.
“It’s hair, Jesse,” she tells him, voice raised. “You’re being fucking dramatic as always.”
Sam and I wince, both waiting for it.
He slams his fist down on the bar, rocking the joint. “Watch your fucking mouth!”
“It’ll grow back.” Ava’s tone is quickly pacifying. It’s a waste of her time.
“You didn’t even consult me, for fuck’s sake,” he barks. “You and that little minx conspired against me, and now my baby girl is virtually bald!”
My lips press together, but Sam is past the point of help, his whole body out of control from laughing.
“It’s past her shoulders, Jesse. Stop being so damn unreasonable.” She may as well be waving a red flag to a fucking bull. “
“When I get home, Ava,” he breathes, strung out, his tone threatening to a point I’m even worried for Ava. “You better be hiding because there’s a retribution fuck on the horizon for you, lady.” He slams his phone down and sinks half his beer, heaving and bristling like a grizzly bear.
“So Maddie’s had her hair cut, then?” Sam asks. The man has a death wish.
“Butchered, more like.” Jesse swings toward us on his stool and points his beer across my chest to Sam. I retreat, out of the firing line. “And that woman of yours was in on the gig, too. A spa day, they said. Girl time, they said. They neglected to mention that my baby girl would come back with half a head of hair and pink fucking nails. She’s seven, for fuck’s sake!”
“Hey.” Sam backs off. “Kate’s her own woman. Nothing to do with me.”
Jesse scoffs, and I resort to taking matters into my own hands before he explodes. “So I have someone who requires my services.” I slap the piece of paper that Cole gave me on the bar.
Jesse and Sam immediately lean forward, distracted as planned, and peer at the paper. “Raya,” Sam muses.
“How’d she get hold of you?” Jesse asks.
“Through the club.” My answer prompts the usual curled lip from Jesse when I make reference to Hux. I laugh to myself. “Well, if you hadn’t sold The Manor, I wouldn’t be forced to find somewhere else to play.”
“You need to lay off that lifestyle,” Jesse tells me for the thousandth time.
“How else am I supposed to let off steam in between work and Georgia?” I retort indignantly.
I scoff. “I haven’t got time for that shit.”
“You’re pushing forty. Time to settle down.”
“Fuck you,” I spit. “You’re pushing fifty, and the only reason you got out was because, by some miracle, you found a woman who could deal with your unreasonable arse.”
“I’m forty-six and I’m not unreasonable.” He nods, as if agreeing with himself. “I don’t know why everyone keeps harping on like I’m some crazy ape man who has no reason.” His bottle pauses midway to his lips when he clocks me and Sam staring at him with slightly agape mouths. “I’m perfectly reasonable.”
“Whatever. Anyway,” I go on, knowing when I’m fighting a losing battle. “I have Georgia four days a week. Between her and work, there’s not much time for anything else. Hux is relaxing. It’s who I am. What I like.”
I ignore the questioning faces of my two mates and order a shot. I’m not lying. It is what I like. No commitment. No complications. Just raw, carnal fucking. I don’t trust women, and that shouldn’t be a surprise when the mother of my child used me to get pregnant so she could try to pass it off as another man’s. And not just any other man, but one of my best mates. Her obsession with Jesse nearly stonewalled his happily-ever-after with Ava. And as a result of her failed plan, I’m now the proud father of a seven-year-old girl. I’m smiling again as I finish my beer. Every cloud has a silver lining.
“What’s up?” Sam knocks me from my thoughts, pointing at my shoulder. “You keep shrugging.”
“I put my shoulder out playing basketball with Georgia.”
My news ignites a roar of laughter from them both. “All that shit you get up to at Hux, and you put your shoulder out playing a game with your little girl?” Jesse chuckles as I reach up to massage away some of the stiffness.
Maybe he’s right. Maybe I am getting too old for all that shit.
After my daughter, my biggest passion in life is my business, which I’ve built into one of the most competitive estate agencies in the city. After briefing my staff on Friday morning, I watch as the team files out of the conference room before picking up my mobile and dialing the number Cole gave me. It rings three times before someone picks up.
“My name’s Drew.” I say, businesslike as usual as I gather the property listings on the table before me. “Cole Hux passed on your number.”
“Oh, hi. So how do we play this?”
“We meet. We discuss. If you’re happy, we arrange from there.” This part is boring as fuck but necessary. Just get me to the point where I can sink my cock into some fresh pussy. I breathe in and shift in my chair, talking my depraved mind down.
“You came highly recommended,” she says, almost thoughtful. Of course I did. She wants cold and emotionless. You can’t get any more emotionless and detached than me. “When should we meet?”
I sink back in my chair and run my hand across my stubbly chin, mentally reviewing my schedule. I have Georgia back tomorrow. “I’m free tonight, or it’ll have to wait until next weekend.”
“I’m free tonight.”
I raise my eyebrows. She’s keen. “Tonight,” I confirm. Why not. It’ll pass the time quicker until I can pick up Georgia in the morning.
“What time?” I sense no hesitation in her voice. It’s a pleasant surprise. It’s not rare for newbies to bail when things start getting real.
“I’ll be there from seven. Ask for me when you arrive.” I stand from the chair and collect the piles of property details.
“Just one more thing,” she blurts out, and I still, waiting for what she might ask. “What do I wear?”
I smile as I stride to the door and swing it open, sensing her first hint of uncertainty. “This isn’t a date, Raya. The only expectation I have is a wet pussy.”
She laughs a little, low and throaty. “Well, I did ask for impersonal, I guess.”
“You got it.” I hang up and toss the pile of property details on the desk that belongs to Andrea, one of my top agents. “Update these and delegate. I want them sold by the end of the week.”
Her sigh is deep. “The Georgian apartment in West London is giving me a headache.” She picks up the details and scans them. “Original features with massive potential, but no one can see past the filth in that joint.”
“Someone smart will,” I reply, walking away. “Keep me in the loop. I’ll be in tomorrow morning for an hour before I collect Georgia.” I break out onto the bustling street and make my way to my last appointment before I meet Raya.
* * *
The scent is a cocktail of sex and alcohol the moment I walk through the doors of Hux, with my eyes squinting until they become accustomed to the glow of light. I nod to Shelby, the busty Latino woman who works the front desk most nights. “I’m expecting someone.”
“Raya.” I pass her, rolling the ache away from my damn shoulder.
“She’s already here.”
I stop and glance down at my watch. It’s not even seven. She’s keener than I thought. “Where?”
Her pen points past me, to the door off the corridor on the right. “Lounge.”
The lounge is a calm space, full of purple velvet couches and erotic art, screaming sex. As I enter, I scan the space, seeing endless suited men and women chatting and drinking, their Friday night pre-wind down underway before they move into the club and get on with their real wind down. It’s the usual scene, nothing new. Except one thing…
I hone in on the lone woman at the end of the bar and smile to myself, taking in her leather jeans and simple black lace camisole. Even though she’s sitting down I can see that her legs go on for miles. Perfect to wrap around my waist.
She runs a hand through her platinum blond hair, pulling back the layers framing her face, giving me a full-on view of her. She’s beautiful—flawless skin, high cheekbones, full lips. Her features are almost brutal in their impact, enough to make a man blink away the sting from staring at her.
But I also sense a sadness radiating from every pore of her stunning body. Delicate fingers slowly spin a mobile phone, and as she gazes around the bar I catch sight of her eyes. They’re deep brown and look like they desperately want to shimmer with joy, but too much sadness is holding them back. She’s young, maybe mid-twenties, and that makes me wonder what co
Sliding my hands into my pockets, I slowly pace toward her, reminding myself that she’s here to be fucked, not figured out.
“Raya?” I ask when I approach her side, pulling her around on her stool until she’s facing me.
In an instant I see something change in her, her brown eyes suddenly glowing, any misery dissolving. That shimmer, although I know it’s a front, emphasizes just how beautiful she really is. I hold my hand out to her. “Drew.”
All I Am: Drew's Story by Jodi Ellen Malpas / Romance & Love have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on48 votes