There was no doubt that part of the reason she wanted him was pure, simple animal attraction. Face it, Max Skinner is a hell of a fine looking man.
Max and Mara stumbled up the stairs tearing at each other clothes.
"Wait a minute." He stopped and drew his hand back, taking a moment to untwist her bra from his fingers.
"This is okay? I mean ...your condition."
"Fucks sake, Max. I have seizures, look at the possibilities." She giggled, rolling her eyes.
"Ah yes, well then, on with the show."
They managed a few more steps before he pulled away again.
"What now, Max?"
"Him. Did you sleep with him?"
"The bloke back at the farm. You know who."
"Sorry, no more interruptions."
They turned and kissed and kissed and turned until they both fell through the bedroom door but he hesitated once again.
"I've got one more question. When I asked if you slept with him you answeredwho. Who have you been sleeping with?"
"None of your business."
"Quite right too."
Max turned to sit on the edge of the bed. He seized her about the waist and pulled her close to stand before him. He tilted his head up and pressed his chin between her breasts.
"I didn't realize how much I really missed you, Mara.
"You're glasses are fogged."
She swept them off and tossed them on the night stand.
"I'll have to feel my way around now."
"A fate worse than death."
He nuzzled his face into her tummy and inched his way down until his nose was buried in the narrow strip of hair below.
"Marvelous bouquet, a heady hint of lavender and desire. Sweet, intoxicating." he whispered. Slicing into her sex with a warm lash of his tongue he hummed his approval. "Finally the pleasures of the mouth, tongue and palate. Forgive my lips, they find joy in the most unusual places."
He didn't break any tasting rules by going back for seconds in this case. Max showed Mara that his mouth was good for a lot more than cocking off and trading bonds. What a night.
The next morning she awoke alone. The smell of something cooking filled the entire house and it made her stomach rumble. She slipped into a white satin robe and padded downstairs to find him standing over the stove. He slapped a slice of bacon into one of the pans before turning to greet her.
"Morning, darling. Did you sleep well?"
"Like a rock. What are you cooking?"
"Crespeou! You'll love it."
"What the hell it that? It looks like eggs and stuff to me."
"Cow brains omelet. It's divine."
She stood there for a moment with her face rather twisted. "I'd believe you except I didn't have any cow brains on hand. I don't reckon you went to the shops."
"No, love. The carcass is in the back yard. I believe it was one ofhis beasts."
He eyed her sideways for a moment. "Just kidding, love. Sit, we'll have breakfast then you can show me your vines."
"They aren't technically my vines. They belong to the bank."
"This sounds like something that may be right up my alley."
Max placed a plate on a charger that he'd found with her dishes then he shoveled the omelets onto it. He set it down at the center of the kitchen table.
"You're carrying a mortgage?"
"Yes, two as a matter of fact."
"I've brought money for you. I'm sure it will help. Its a nice tidy sum I might add."
"You did well in New York. I'm really proud of you, Max but I've missed you."
"Missed me enough to avoid me?"
"I didn't think you'd understand, but ...we're sorted now, eh?" Why did she feel the fringes of impending doom? Mara toyed with her food, picking bits of it
"I take it you don't like eggs?"
"No, Max, there wonderful. Did you learn to cook this in New York?"
He took the fork from her hand and set it down. I know where this is heading. You're thinking I have a woman in New York, Mara, love, would I have come half way around the world to find you if that were the case? Think." He shook his head no.
"Tell me about New York. What happened?"
Max topped off her coffee cup. He filled his own cup and sat back to tell her about how he finagled his way onto the exchange. He was pretty damn proud of the fact that in this life he was still capable of making money double itself and then double itself again.
"So you've made well over a million in such a short time. I'm impressed."
"Uncle Henry once said the every man needs afuck you million in the bank. I've simply decided that I want to say fuck you more than once."
"You're a hard man, Max-a-million."
"Thanks wholly to you. Damn, Mara. I owe you everything."
"Oh, no, no. You don't owe me anything. Except the thirty grand you borrowed." she added with a shrug.
"Come back to New York with me, love. Let me take you away from here. You'll live like a princess. I'll dress you up in fur and silk, take you to society events, show you off and show you what its like to live in luxury."
If it weren't for the serious look in his eyes she'd have thought he was teasing. The very thought of him asking her this rocked her back on her heels and left her slack jawed.
"I thought you came here to be with me."
"I want nothing more than to be with you. It's why I want to take you with me to New York. Love, I've got to go back. People depend on me, the firm depends on me ...I depend on me. There's fortunes to be made and spent. The Big Apple is ripe for the picking and I know how to harvest it."
"I can't leave here. This is my home."
"You left to live in Philadelphia. What's different about New York?"
She looked down at the plate on the table in front of her. Curling herself up, she wrapped her arms around herself. "I can't leave here again. I'm the only one who can take care of this place now."
"Bollocks! You can hire a vintner. I've got the dosh, Mara. I've got more money than God Almighty."
Mara began to fidget. Her right leg began to quiver and she pressed her foot to the floor in an attempt to stop it. "There's someone I'd like you to meet. I'll get dressed now and we'll go. You'll understand."
"What's this all about? There isn't anything we can't take care of together."
"I'm not talking about a thing, Max. I'm talking about ...my father."
"Mara..." He stood to wind his way around the table. Placing his hands on her upper arms, Max squatted down to look her in the eyes. "Tell me what's wrong."
"I can't tell you. I need to show you."
"Where is he?"
"He's at the Baringa Private Hospital. He's dying. I can't leave him, Max. Not even for you."It was then that the Blackberry phone belonging to Max chimed to life. He was too busy holding her to answer but Bradley left a message for him, an urgent message.
"Hey, asshole. Where are you? I need you back here Maxie boy, tout de suite. We've got problems."
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