And on that same note, I hope the next Doctor doesn't spend half his time gearing up to get rid of cast members. The entire second season was full of FORESHADOWING Rose's leaving, then fourth season FORESHADOWING Donna's departure, now the specials FORESHADOWING the upcoming Regeneration. At least third season's FORESHADOWING was the return of the Master, which was actually worth it (even with "Daleks in Manhattan," which probably would have been better if it had been the frolicsome musical extravaganza the title suggests). Planet of the Dead was a fun little romp and didn't need the FORESHADOWING "Your song is ending, sir!" from the prophetess at the end. Phoo. The Doctor hasn't had this much foreshadowing his own regeneration since Four, and that was only because his future self came back to help stop the Master and explain what regeneration was to Adric.
He was waiting for her. The infuriating man was actually sitting in the lobby of the Sands,
watching the doors as though expecting her, as if he'd known she was on her way. It made her
even angrier at him than she'd been before.
"How dare you?" she hissed at him. "How dare you?" She couldn't think of any other
words, things bad enough to say to him, make him understand how infuriated she was. The only
weapon she had, the woman's weapon, she reared back to slap him in the face. He moved fast,
though, throwing up his hand to catch hers before she connected.
"Now, now, honey," he said, "don't make a scene. If you'd like to come up to my rooms,
you can slap me in private."
"I am not going to your room, Mr. O'Connor. I'll thank you to leave me alone, and stop
chasing off my prospects."
Sean Patrick was still holding her hand, and he pulled her close to him. "Let's at least go
somewhere a little more private than the main casino. May I take you to dinner?"
"Listen, Miss Michaels. I know I'm not what you envisioned, and I know I've been coming
at you a little like a freight train, but honest. Give me a chance here. I'd like a mistress. I really
would. You're looking for someone exactly like me, and I don't see why you want someone who
looks like Bob Samuels did."
"Bobby was a good looking man!"
"He was, in his day. But he was pushing sixty, darlin'. He was a good businessman. Pretty
decent sort, really. But he had one big flaw, and that was he didn't leave you provided for. I
swear, if you choose me, honey, that'll never happen to you. Never." He looked serious, his
"How do you know Bobby?" she asked.
"I'm a businessman, honey. Names cross our desks, we buy and sell, we know each other if
only on paper. He owned some properties I bought, and he bought from me. We had a lot in
common." He continued to lead her through the casino, down the hallway toward the main tower
elevator. "Now listen to me, honey. I have a proposition for you. Let me take you out. We'll
have a real evening out on the town, not just dinner and dancing, but the whole package. Even
the ending," he gestured toward the elevator, his meaning clear. "And if you don't like me, and
still don't want me around, I will leave then, and I won't bother you again. Come on. Give me
Bonnie looked up at him, scowling. "You'd stop harassing me?"
"If taking care of you is harassing, then yes, I'll stop. I'll go home and let you go on about
your business. Come on. Give me the chance."
Bonnie sighed. Certainly a night with him wouldn't be horrible. He could dance, he had a
very nice face, and he definitely had the money. "God, if only you were a few years older," she
He repeated, "I'm older than I look, darlin'. I swear. And wouldn't it be nice to spend the
night on the arm of a not-too-bad lookin' fella for a change?"
"You don't think too much of yourself, do you?"
"I don't spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, I swear that to you, too." He was smiling
now, those nice crinkles at the corners of his eyes. Close up she could see there was a slight cleft
in his chin, and his eyes were just astounding. "Well?"
She considered a moment more. It might be delightful to spend a night in bed with a man
who had such smooth skin, such beautiful hands, was such a very good kisser. "All right, all
right. Take me out. Show me what you have."
That brought out a big smile. "All right, darlin'. So what would you like to do first? See a
show? There's some good stuff playing right now. I can get tickets to Dean again if you'd like.
I can always see Dino."
"You'll take me to see Dean Martin," she said, "And then a steak dinner. Or lobster."
"Both, if you want," he interrupted amiably.
"Then perhaps dancing, even though I already know you can dance. Maybe one of those
topless shows, I've never been to one of those. Then, and only then, will we consider ending up
in your room."
He tucked her hand into the crook of his arm. "All right, then. Let's get gussied up and hit
the town. Let's go up to my suite and you can look at the glittering view while I change."
"We're starting at your room?"
"I want to change my clothes. I like to get dressed up for these things," he replied. "You can
wait in my sitting room. By the way, if you want to change, we can go shopping, too, if you
"I have nice clothes."
"All righty," was the response. He unlocked the door and lead her into an elegant suite.
"Have a seat, darlin'. I won't be long." He vanished into the bedroom.
Bonnie didn't sit down. She looked around the suite, picking up the heavy greatcoat that was
laying across the back of the little sofa, then setting it back down. It was made of very fine
fabric, soft to the touch, in a warm golden brown, far too heavy for April in Las Vegas. There
was another pair of fancy cowboy boots set neatly beside the sofa, where he had probably just
taken them off and set them, tidy. The suite showed signs that he'd been living there for a while,
but he was obviously a neat fellow. His things were all in place, his wallet and hotel key on the
buffet. Curious, she picked up the wallet.
His Texas driver's license said he'd been born Sean Patrick O'Connor on April 16, 1940,
which impossibly made him older than her by seven months. There was a lot of cash, several
credit cards, and several pictures. A handsome couple smiled at her from the front hall of an
impressively large house, two young men scowled from a sepia-toned old print, and an older
woman with a long, dour face but warm and friendly eyes graced an old photo. Bonnie put
everything back and set it down, then picked up his watch.
It was heavy, old, and undoubtedly real gold. When she opened it, she found it was keeping
good time, and in the inside of the watch cover was another picture. It was an old black-and-
white shot of a very pretty woman looked at the camera with a sweet, sultry expression. Bonnie
looked at the woman for a while, feeling something stirring inside her. This woman meant
something to Sean Patrick, of that she was sure. But the woman's hairstyle was old-fashioned, as
was her makeup, and if anything she looked like she could be his mother or grandmother.
Yet somehow she didn't think that was the case.
She set the watch down as he came out of the bedroom, absolutely resplendent in a black-on-
black western suit. His shining black boots had bright silver tips. He was fastening silver
cufflinks, and there was a shining silver bolo tie around his neck, a bright star in a circle. "You
do clean up well," she admitted.
"Thank ya, darlin'," he said, his tone jovial. "Now you sure you don't want to go change?"
"If I'm stepping out with this very fine fellow, I suppose I ought to," she agreed. "I have my
best clothes at the Dunes."
"Better than that joint off the Strip. Do you need that anymore, darlin'? You'd save yourself
a few bucks if you moved entirely to the Dunes."
"I had planned on the room there being for entertaining gentlemen, which I really can't do at
the other place," she replied. "I don't really know how I'm going to pay you back for all that,
you know. At least, I'm guessing it's you who've been sneaking around paying my bills."
"Guilty," he responded, although he didn't look at all guilty as he said it. In fact, he looked
pleased with himself, a veritable cat-who-ate-the-canary, daring her to be angry about it. "You
don't have to pay me back."
"I don't want to be beholden to you, Mr. O'Connor."
"Sean Patrick," he said. They walked across the street, him holding her hand possessively in
the crook of his arm again, as they passed the construction site of the soon-to-be-opening Caesars
Palace. "That should be the next showplace on the Strip," he commented. "A lot of good
"Why bother? It's all mob money," she said, a little dismissive of the legendary and not-so-
secret heart of this town.
"Maybe, maybe not," replied Sean Patrick with a shrug. "Mobsters are just businessmen
who get a lot more cutthroat than the rest of us. I wouldn't kill a competitor, but I sure don't play
entirely fair when it comes to trading. That's what keeps a fortune a fortune."
She looked up at him. "You condone the mob?" Her voice had gone soft, as though there
were hit men lurking about listening, conditioned from childhood to have more than a little
respect for the "Families" who had founded the towns of Las Vegas and Paradise. She'd never
heard Momma ever say the word "Bugsy," and always called him "Mr. Siegel" whenever any of
Daddy Alan's business partners were in the room. One never knew who might be listening.
"No," he replied. "I don't. But I acknowledge them. They are businessmen, businessmen
who are even more ruthless than I am. I probably wouldn't deal with them if I could help it, but I
will, obviously, gamble in their casinos, so they do have a little of my money. I guess what I'm
saying is I'm not going to go around accusing someone of being a mobster unless I'm good and
sure he is one." He held the door open for her. "I don't have a clue who has their fingers in what
illegal pies. I know exactly what's legitimate outside of Vegas, though. This is all new to me,
but I sure do like learning about it."
Bonnie frowned as she entered, taking the lead through the casino toward the elevators.
She'd already gotten quite used to the layout of the Dunes, and dug out her key when they
reached her little fifth-floor room, nothing at all like his magnificent suite with its views of the
neon of Vegas and the vast Mojave desert beyond. Like the other room, this one was clean and
serviceable, but it was much, much nicer in a lot of little ways. "Now, I don't have a separate
changing room. Shall I make you wait in the hall?"
"What about the bathroom?" he asked.
"You can go in there."
"Oh ho," he laughed, but he complied without comment, closing the door behind him.
Bonnie quickly changed into her best dress, a classy Chanel she'd bought early in her relationship
with Bobby, when his allowances had come regularly and she'd been able to spend lavishly on
designer wear. She liked to think she looked like Jackie Kennedy in this dress, as she piled her
hair up high in front of the vanity mirror, pinning it carefully in place before touching up her
makeup, which had not fared well under the punishment of her temper tantrum and march back
and forth from here to the Sands and back again.
It was a very good thing Las Vegas was an all-night town.
"You can come out now," she said, tapping on the bathroom door.
He exited and looked her over, taking her elbow and leading her away from the mirror to the
full light in the main entrance. "Nice. Now it occurs to me, my lady, that it's getting late, so if
we want a show, we'd better get our legs under us."
"I suppose we could have driven over here, if you have a car," she replied.
"I have, but I also have it in a parking space. If we were going downtown, then I'd say yes,
but as long as we stick to the center of the Strip, like this, it's no great jog."
"It's almost a mile!" she protested. "And I'm not walking it again, not in these heels."
He glanced down at her pink pumps. "You're right," he said, "and that pale pink, they'd get
all dusty, too. All righty, then, we'll grab a limo and ride up in style." He glanced down at his
own boots, not quite as shiny as they were. "I might have to stop at the shoeshine, myself. You
see, darlin'? I need someone to point these things out to me."
She couldn't tell if he were teasing or not. But he did stop at the shoeshine stand and have
the dust removed from his boots before he spoke to the valet and had a limo pulled around for
them. He helped her into the back seat and stretched out next to her, his long legs taking up all
the extra space in the central sitting area. "So tell me, honey," he said, "how does a young lady
end up in your profession?"
It was asked carefully, obviously out of ordinary curiosity, without any interest in hurting her
or embarrassing her, just an honest desire to understand. Bonnie considered his earnest
expression and, after a moment, started to tell him about Momma. He listened without comment,
his eyes never leaving her face. She paused in her story when they arrived at the Sands. Bonnie
fell silent as he helped her from the back of the limo, and they remained silent until they reached
the queue for the show tickets.
"I learned everything from Momma. I watched her, I admired her, I wanted to be like her.
She taught me everything I needed to know." Bonnie looked up at him, calculating, studying his
face. His expression was strangely vast, knowing, as though he'd lived a long time and seen a
great many things, and did somehow understand what she was going through. But he was a
privileged rich man from a rich family who negligently waved away money concerns with a
shrug and an "it's only money."
He couldn't understand.
"How is it possible you're older than me?" she asked him suddenly.
His eyebrow arched. "Pardon?"
"I looked in your wallet. Your driver's license says you're around seven months older than
me, twenty-six. You look, oh, maybe eighteen. If you're lucky."
"You know I have to be over twenty-one, honey. You found me gambling," he said. The
arched eyebrow didn't come back down. "What were you doing in my wallet?"
"Being nosy," she answered. No reason to lie about it. "I was curious, and I looked."
"I suppose if I went through your purse you'd not like it much," he responded.
"No, I probably wouldn't, but if you were honest, I'd at least understand the curiosity," she
said. "Besides, you've been following me. I get to know what kind of man you are."
"Yes, you do. But I have a few secrets yet," he said. He took her hand as they entered the
showroom and led her to their seats. "Would you like a drink?"
"Yes, please," she said. "Scotch and soda, with a twist."
"You got it." He took out that wallet as he summoned a waitress. He ordered Jack Daniels
on the rocks, and 12-year-old Glenlivet for her.
"My," she said when he sat back down, "the good stuff."
"Life's too short to drink bad scotch," he replied. "There's nothing worse than the cheap
"And you drink Jack Daniels?"
He gave her a sour look. "There is nothing cheap about Jack but the price tag, darlin'.
There's a world of difference between 'cheap' and 'inexpensive.' Now, then. Was Bob Samuels
your first benefactor?"
"As a matter of fact, he was," she countered, once again defensive as he went back to the
topic of her 'profession.' "I don't know why you don't like him."
"I don't like him because he made a commitment to you when he was a married man," he
said, his voice taking on some heat. "And then he backed out of that commitment by leaving you
without any support after he died. He should have left you something in his will. Having made
any promises to you at all he should have dealt with the fact that you would be there and he
would be gone and the fact of you couldn't stain his reputation once he was dead. Hell, pardon
me, in some circles finding out about you made him a freakin' hero. Old Bob, he had it where it
counted, right?" He paused when the waitress came up with their drinks. He gave her a five-
dollar-bill as a tip, making Bonnie's eyes widen, then turned back to Bonnie with an intensity in
his face she'd never seen before. "But he didn't. Oh, sure, he made himself sound like some big
man, keepin' a pretty young thing on the side, without his wife ever once suspecting, but what
happened when he died? You got nothing except scorn. It ain't fair, it ain't right, and that won't
happen to you if you're with me. I don't have a wife to hide you from. I don't have any intention
of ever having a wife. And if, God forbid, something happens to me, I swear on my honor that
you will be taken care of."
Bonnie stared at him. There was a fire burning inside his eyes, so bright she was certain she
could see it, as though coals were glowing inside his scalp, and she swallowed, hard. "We'll
see," she managed to say, although her throat was suddenly very dry. She picked up her drink
and tasted it, thrilling to the marvelous, smooth, smoky taste of really good scotch. She rolled
around a second mouthful, the audience hum around her fading as the house lights dimmed and
the announcer made the introduction. Excitement boiled up inside her as Dean Martin swung
onto the stage, his genial, handsome face a little drawn but his smile as usual a thousand-watt
one. He picked up the microphone and launched into "That's Amore." Bonnie leaned her chin
on his elbows and watched.
Gradually she became aware of Sean Patrick, who was, likewise leaning forward on his
elbows, his expression totally enthralled. It wasn't the man, she realized immediately, but the
music; he listened with his whole body, soaking in the notes like a sponge, his lips moving
slightly with the words as though he were singing along in his head. She couldn't help but smile.
When the show ended, Sean Patrick took her hand and led her from the showroom. He
tucked it back into the crook of his arm. "Dinner time, right?" he said. He was wearing a warm
smile, still glowing from enjoyment.
"You like music, don't you?"
"I live for music, darlin'," he replied. "Sometime soon here I'll have to find a piano and
tickle out a few tunes. I haven't had a chance since I've been up here."
"Piano and guitar, mostly, but I'm pretty good with instruments," was his casual response. "I
like to sing. I get called up every time we have a family gathering. My folks seem to think I
have a reasonable voice, and I enjoy it. I'm big on joining Christmas choirs."
"I'd like to hear you some time," she said, more out of politeness than anything else. She'd
heard "family favorite" singers before. Still, if he could play, perhaps it wouldn't be a chore to
listen for a while.
"We shall see," he said, and smiled down at her. "If you take me up on my offer, darlin',
you'll probably get tired of hearin' me sing."
"Oh, surely not," she said, although she wasn't at all sure about that. "So where is the
"Downtown. Best steak in town," he replied. "We're gonna drive, after all." He guided her
out of the hotel and across the parking lot.
"You don't use a valet?" she asked, startled, as they walked past the valet stand.
"Oh, no," he said. "I know how to park a car."
She watched the vehicles they passed, trying to guess which one was his. Something sporty,
perhaps, or maybe a cowboy's truck. It was hard to gauge what he might like from what she'd
seen of him so far, but she was leaning toward the sports car. There was a shimmering
Lambourghini at the edge of the self-park area, but he passed it without a glance. In fact, they
passed several sports cars she thought he might choose, a Rolls Royce, and a Cadillac, until he
angled toward a surprisingly small Porsche parked next to one of those enormous sedans that
were clogging the roads these days. She started to go to the Porsche, but he went to the boat.
"That's your car?" she said in surprise, as he fished the keys out of his jacket pocket and
opened the passenger door. It was a huge, square, ugly thing with a front end as long as its back
end, from what she could see in the pale parking lot lights, painted a nondescript tannish color,
with leather bench seats that appeared could seat most of the members of a college marching
band, as well as the football team. In full gear.
The look he gave her was just as surprised as she felt. "Yeah," he said, "You don't like her?"
The affectionate feminine pronoun spoke volumes, a man obsessed with his vehicle, in love with
his car. Bonnie tried to keep her eyebrows down.
"Oh, I don't know. I sort of expected you to be driving something sporty, a Ferrari, or even
that Porsche," she gestured to the little car parked next to them.
Sean Patrick assisted her into his sedan, although really, there was so much space she could
practically dance in there, and said, "A few things you should know about me," he said. He
closed the passenger door and went around the vast hood to the driver's side. He unlocked it and
got in, filling the space between the seat and the pedals with his long legs, "I don't drive foreign
cars," he continued. "That Porsche, there, it's nice. If I liked keeping my car in the shop all the
time and driving with my knees jabbed into my neck. I could drive a Caddy, they have a good
engine, lots of power. This," he lovingly caressed the hard, smooth dashboard, "Is a 1965
Pontiac GTO, the Hurst Edition. She has a 389 cubic-inch engine with 360 horses and a top
speed I haven't even gauged yet, but I've buried the needle out there on the highway. And
maintenance is next to none."
"Well, I suppose it is almost new," she said. "At least. And the seats are comfortable."
"You bet they are. I've had her about a year, got her brand-new off the showroom when the
'65 models came out," he responded. "Now. Listen to this." He gunned the engine. Bonnie had
to admit, it had a marvelous, loud, race-car sound as he revved it up, settling to a big-cat purr as
he pressed the brake and put it in gear. "Now, I'll admit she does suck down the gas but she gets
pretty good mileage out on the highway with steady driving," he went on, pulling out onto Las
Vegas Boulevard, the street commonly known as The Strip, and started for the downtown area,
the actual town of Las Vegas proper.
"I just expected you to be driving something a little less common, that's all," she said.
"It's true, I didn't spend a lot for this, but it's a car that's worth the money, even if I wanted
to flash-and-dazzle it up. It'll drive for a good twenty years or more if I take care of it, and I'll
tell you something else about it," he said, and grinned at her sideways, smoothing his hands over
the hard plain steering wheel, "this is not a major target for car thieves. My nephew bought
himself a nice little Ferrari, drove it a while, kept it in the shop mostly, and then one day came
out of a store to find it gone. After everything, it cost him and his insurance company probably
around ten grand, while this beauty cost me only about four, fully loaded, with a tape deck,
even," he gestured at the radio, "and the only reason I've ever had any mechanic look at it is for
regular oil changes."
Bonnie didn't comment about his preference for American-made cars. She'd met many
people who felt the same way. Nearly everyone, in fact, from Momma's generation, all her
friends and Daddy Alan's friends. It had something to do, she knew, with living through World
War II, which had occupied everyone for the first five years of Bonnie's life. If he had been
raised as she was, he had been indoctrinated with the same mentality. She pondered a moment
on the thought that he had a nephew old enough to own a Ferrari, then said, "What else do I have
to know about you?" she asked.
"We'll get to that," he said, turning on the radio. The fancy cassette deck was playing an old
Elvis song, the familiar voice growling out "Don't Be Cruel," and Sean Patrick started to sing
Bonnie almost opened her mouth to protest, to complain about singers who sang along with
the radio, but she stopped when she heard his voice. For a moment, she almost turned the radio
off so she could just hear Sean Patrick's voice instead of Elvis's. Far more than just a "family
favorite" singer, he could really, really sing. She smiled in pleasure and pushed herself deeper
into the leather seat and decided to enjoy the ride, which really wasn't very long. He was pulling
into the restaurant parking lot before the song ended, but she knew it would have taken far too
long to walk the distance. She let him hand her out of the car, deciding to let him be the old-
fashioned gentleman he was and be treated like a lady. Not a lot of men would treat her as nicely
as he was doing, she had to admit that to herself. It was far more likely people would behave as
that man had the first night she'd met Sean Patrick, rude. Looking down on her because she
chose the life she had.
She expected they'd have to wait, but Sean Patrick apparently had a little pull. They were
seated immediately, in a beautiful and somewhat secluded table, the menus placed in front of
them and a waiter held her seat for her, even snapping open her napkin to lay it across her lap.
"Anything you want," said Sean Patrick, studying the menu.
"I take it you've eaten here before?"
"Yep," he responded.
He ordered a bottle of red wine, something Italian she'd never heard of, and an elaborate
antipasto appetizer, while he continued to study the menu. The waiter brought them water and a
large basket of bread. The moment the basket hit the table he was opening a roll and spreading
butter on it. Bonnie reached instead for the ceramic rectangle that held packages of saltine
crackers and opened one, quickly eating both crackers before he finished his roll. They'd fallen
into a silence but it wasn't uncomfortable; Bonnie was just liking his company, she found,
looking at his attractive profile, the smooth lines of his face. He really did have the nicest skin
she'd ever seen. He finished his roll and took out a pack of cigarettes.
"Do you mind?" he asked, sliding the ashtray toward him.
"Not at all," she responded.
He lit his cigarette and smoked for a while, sipping his wine, while they waited for their
appetizers, then put it out when the food started to arrive. "You don't smoke?" he asked.
"Never," she answered. "I tried a few times, but it just didn't grab me."
"I've been smoking since I was fourteen," he said, then gave a shrug. "Now they tell us it's
bad for you."
"Doesn't stop anyone doing it," she answered. The appetizer tray looked inviting, so she
dove in just as he was doing, the crusty breads and meats and cheeses turning out to be even
more delicious than they looked. She defiantly ordered the t-bone steak and lobster, but Sean
Patrick didn't complain, nor did he say a word when she also ordered an extravagant rum drink
with fruit juices and even an umbrella. He stayed with wine for dinner, a rare t-bone steak
without the lobster, then had Jack Daniels on the rocks and a cup of strong coffee, with a lot of
cream and sugar, with a hefty slice of chocolate cake, while she considered the cherries jubilee
placed in front of her and her overstuffed stomach.
"I think I ate too much," she said, poking at the delectable cherries.
"Yeah, the potato was probably too much," he replied, although he'd completely polished off
his meal, some of hers, and was already almost finished with his cake.
Bonnie chuckled. "Don't you ever stop eating? I still don't believe you're not a teenager."
He grinned. "I am not a teenager. I just have a sincere love for good food."
"Do you want this?" She pushed the cherries at him. He grinned extremely boyishly and
finished that off, too. Then he sat back, lit another cigarette, and sipped his drink while she
leaned back in her seat and wondered how she could ever move again. Much less...
Bonnie drew a deep breath and took a sip of ice water. She wasn't exactly sure why she was
nervous about having sex with him. She knew that was part of the deal, after all. But afterward,
would he accept 'no' for an answer? Could she continue to say no to him? Did she even want
to? No, she admitted to herself, she didn't. He offered everything she wanted and his handsome
face, as well, but the last thing in the world she needed was a young man and all the
entanglements that would inevitably follow such a relationship. The next thing he'd be coming
up here all the time, maybe even moving into her house a house he'd paid for, so he'd feel he'd
have that right and demanding marriage, or children, or anything else that she didn't want. And
he'd feel entitled to them all because of what he'd given her. The thought made her shudder.
But how did one say no to a man like him? He obviously assumed that anything he asked for
was immediately his; it was the attitude that got them the best table at the restaurant, preferential
seating at the show, and had serving people swarming around him like bees. He behaved like
royalty, and didn't think there was anything at all unusual about it.
Now she was really, really wishing she hadn't had the drink on top of all the food.
"I don't feel very well," she managed.
He gave her a sharp look. "I see," he said. "Shall I take you home? We finish this evening
God, that was a good idea. That was a magnificent idea. "That would be good.... Yes,
please," she said in a tiny voice.
He nodded. She watched as he gave money to the waiter, saying, "Keep the change," before
he rose to his feet and held out his hand for her. He didn't speak as he drove them away from
downtown, but he headed into the Sands parking lot, rather than the Dunes. Bonnie felt her face
heat up. "I thought..."
"I have a suite, Bonnie. Plenty of space," he said, pulling his long sedan into a space near the
side entrance of the hotel. "Come on."
"My stomach really hurts," she said.
"I'm not surprised, considering how much you ate, darlin'," was his easy response. "Don't
worry. I'll respect your boundaries. But I want the whole deal, eventually. And I mean the
whole deal I made."
Bonnie swallowed as she took his hand and he heaved her out of the car. Despite the
coolness of his words, his eyes were twinkling. He was cheerful, even amused, by her; she could
see it in his face. "What are you laughing at?" she asked.
He drew her close, his eyes boring through her, laughter in them as his arms went around her
waist. "You," he replied. "The professional man's mistress, afraid of sex. I thought I was the
"You? You've been pursuing me like a madman," she said.
"Yes, but I'm a Catholic mama's boy, feelin' mighty guilty about it, and I'll probably bring
this up in confession," he said, "but I'm also feelin' decidedly," he bent his head down close to
hers, his mouth close to her ear, and whispered, "horny."
Bonnie's head whipped sideways and she saw he was blushing deeply, giving truth to his
words as was the expression in his eyes, a look that was part guilt and part desire, mingled and
severely at war with each other. She didn't know what to say, feeling her mouth move
wordlessly. "I "
He took her face in both his hands, his long fingers caressing the sides of her skull, tangling
in her hair, tilting it towards his. He kissed her, first tenderly, and then with increasing intensity,
his tongue sweeping past her lips to spar with hers, his arms circling her again, half-lifting her off
her feet and pressing her against the hard, long length of his body.
For a moment she wanted to pull away, keep him to his word to let her alone tonight, but
then her body rebelled. Her arms snaked around his neck and she was kissing him back, with the
same intensity, wanting to be even closer to him than she was, wanting to feel his smooth skin
against hers. Slowly, he set her down, their lips parting.
"So. Come on." He took her hand and led her through the casino to the main tower
elevators. The glitter and the glamor of the Sands faded as they rode the elevator to the top floor,
two other people riding part of the way with them. At his floor, he took her hand again. They
walked silently to the door of his suite, where he unlocked the door, took her elbow, and guided
her in. "Now then," he said, tossing his jacket onto a chair, "do I sleep on the couch in here, or
do we share the bed?"
Bonnie considered all of the things Momma had always told her, the problems of a young
man and how much she didn't want that kind of a mess. Her stomach felt heavy, but she was
almost as horny as he was, damn it all, and she wanted him. She wanted him. She unbuttoned
the top button on her dress and closed the distance between them. His twinkle intensified as he
reached to assist her, striping the cloth away from her neck and shoulders, bending to press his
lips to her pulse point. She felt that pulse leap. Her head fell back, letting him have greater
access, her back arching, loving the feel of his tongue against her skin, his long fingers trailing
down her throat. He slipped both arms around her and unclasped her bra, growling a little deep
in his throat as he freed her breasts to his lips. The nipples drew to hard, tight points and Bonnie
felt herself growling, too.
She fumbled at his throat, pulling the silver coin down so the strings of the bolo tie would
come off over his head. He pulled back obligingly to allow her to pull it off, then went back to
fondling her breasts, half-carrying her to the bed, where he laid her down and stripped the rest of
her clothes off, pausing only a moment to pull off his own shirt, and fling his undershirt after.
He returned to her swiftly, his curly hair falling in his eyes, as he supported himself over her on
his elbows, his mouth tasting every inch of her torso, sliding down her abdomen and belly to the
joint between her hip and thigh.
Bonnie gasped when he slipped between her legs, his tongue eager and demanding, his hands
under her ass, tilting her so he could gain greater access to her. She writhed, her body
shuddering, and she was completely unable to hold back a moan as a wave of intense pleasure
washed over her. She buried her fingers in his crisp curls, her muscles tightening as he
continued, his mouth doing things to her body she'd never felt a man do before, giving her that
intense sensation she'd only ever gotten by herself before. She'd come to the conclusion that, no
matter what the magazines said, men just didn't know how to get a woman there.
But he did. And he kept doing it, until she cried out again, sweat pouring off her body,
clinging to him, the sheets, his hotel bed, anything to keep the orgasms coming. She felt his lips
traveling again, back up her body, to her breasts again, his hands following, fondling her heated
flesh, teasing her and toying with her, until he was face-to-face with her. It seemed as though his
eyes were once more glowing, although she thought it probably was the lights shining on his face
from the Strip, making his face look altogether unearthly. She gasped with renewed pleasure
when he entered her, their bodies merging effortlessly. She sighed, her head falling back again,
her hips tilting up to meet his, her legs wrapping around his slim hips. He sighed, a gentle,
almost guttural sound against her neck, followed by his soft but insistent lips. She thought she
felt his teeth, a brief pinch, and his mouth was pressed to her neck, his hips moving steadily
against hers, a demanding rhythm.
Bonnie could feel all of him, inside and out, an astounding sensation, as though she were him
at the same time as herself, the way he felt having sex with her, her taste, her passion, reflected
back at her a hundred times, a million times, the dim niggling in the back of her head that there
was something not quite right but everything was so perfect how could anything be wrong and it
was all bound together and he was inside her and she was inside him and his skin was as smooth
and perfect as she'd thought it would be.
Then as his body tensed, his tongue slick against her neck, licking her as though he were still
tasting her, and the niggling feeling came to the front of her mind. "Oh, no," she breathed, trying
to articulate it, "No, Sean Patrick, no. Pull out."
Too late. His body spasmed, arching back with an almost audible snap, and he shuddered,
his hips tight against hers. He started to pant heavily as he slowly relaxed, trembling, to re-merge
with her. "What?" he breathed.
"I wanted you to pull out," she said, irritated and exasperated, even as the glow of the
lovemaking still filled her. "I don't want to get pregnant."
He actually had the nerve to chuckle. "Don't worry, Bonnie," he kissed her forehead, "you
"You don't know that. You didn't use anything, you selfish jerk."
He lifted his head and gave her a strange expression. "Selfish? You know, darlin', that's
one fault no one has ever accused me of." Very tenderly, he started to kiss her again, first her
cheeks and then her eyes and nose and lips, whispering softly, "If by some astronomical chance
you were to get pregnant, and believe me, Bonnie, that's not going to happen, but if you did, I
would still take care of you, and I would take care of that child. Now tell me I'm selfish, that you
didn't enjoy yourself."
She couldn't say that. He had, in fact, been the most generous lover she'd ever even
imagined, let alone shared a bed with. He was even still pressed tightly to her, letting the little
currents of pleasure continue through her body. He moved his hips again, as though he knew
what that was doing to her, shifting and still managing to keep them tightly connected, his eyes
intense. He caressed her face with one long hand. "Enjoy your time with me, Bonnie. I promise,
you will always have a good time. That's my promise to you."
"Even if I get pregnant?"
"Even if you get pregnant. If I make a promise, Bonnie, I keep it. I'm a man of my word.
Let me be the one. Let me take care of you. You'll see. I've let you know me," his head bent
close to hers again, his lips against her ear, sending thrills coursing through her, "everything
about me, all the way inside. Think on it."
She did. He was right; somehow she knew him, knew a generous and gregarious spirit, a
heart filled with honest love for mankind, a man who honestly believed in neighbor love, giving,
and turning the other cheek. She blinked. How did she just KNOW that about him? They
hadn't even talked about religion, yet she knew, maybe just from his comment about being
Catholic, how deeply spiritual he was, how much he believed in the goodness of man. How
much he cared. She took his face in her hands and studied him.
He looked so damned young! How could he give off such an old feeling, such an intense
maturity, even while being so desperately childish? He was a boy. He was a man. He was
ancient and young and it was making her world tilt oddly.
"All right," she said. "All right. I'll be your mistress."
He snuggled her close, pulling them both under the covers. "Good. Tomorrow I'll tell you
more of those things you need to know about me."
"It is tomorrow," she said, looking at the windows, where she could already see daylight
starting to break.
"Ah. Thanks for reminding me." He rose to his feet, beautiful and slender and amazingly
evenly tanned, and pulled the heavy blackout drapes no good hotel room would be complete
without. "There. That's one thing. I sleep days."
"I sort of guessed," she replied, as he climbed in bed with her and pulled the blankets over
them both. "And you don't like air conditioning, either." She wasn't cooling down any after
their lovemaking, although he seemed to have already.