Read Chapter Three from The Italian Connection

Chapter Three

Digitally transcribed for the Gardner Francis Fox Adventure Library

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I was asleep. I had to be! Otherwise, the big blonde man would never have told me he’d been talking to Joe Turessi. Joe Turessi was dead. Complete. My hands had verified that, had even put him in the coffin.

“It’s a damn good thing you’re lying on a bed, Cherry Delight,” I told myself. “Otherwise you’d have fallen down in a faint.”

As it was, I could hardly move. Now either Bocca Carducci had lied or someone had faked Joe baby’s voice. I didn’t see how this last could be, because the organization boys didn’t dare move in on the Mafia mortuary. Not, at least, until we had them dead to rights where we could make arrests and make them stick in court. My mind went full circle and came around to the inescapable fact: blonde boy had lied through his teeth.

To see how I would react? Maybe. If I’d betrayed myself, he would have known it by a blink of an eyelash, the sudden whiteness of my face, a gasp.

Maybe that disturbance of my circadian rhythms was standing me in good stead. I’d been too time-punchy to show any reaction. I let my eyelids close. . . . A hand woke me, shaking my shoulder. My eyelids went up, I saw Donna and Bocca Carducci staring down at me. They looked worried.

“Whazzit?” I mumbled. God! I must look a fright. “We were worried,” said Donna. “You were so still, so quiet.”

“We thought. . . .”

“What did you think, Bocca?” I asked sweetly. His eyes were wary. “You looked so still, I was afraid you’d taken poison.”

“Poison?” I shrieked. “Why in hell should I take poison?”

I sat up, sending my short skirt-hem flying above my garter-clasps and showing some of my soft pink thigh-flesh. I knew damn well what he’d thought, it was all there in his face for me to read, so I figured I might as well play my indignation to the hilt.

slid across the bed, making my skirt rise even higher. Bocca got a hungry glare in his blue eyes as the entire length of my nyloned legs and bare thighs came into view. I wore no panties, Joe Turessi hadn’t had them in his wardrobe, so he got a better than good look at my curling red pubic hair.

Staring him right in the eye and seeing him flush, I slowly pulled the skirt-hem down a little. “You don’t believe me,” I said coldly. “You think I’m an American secret agent of some sort. Is that it? Well, if that’s the way you want it to be, so be it. I’ll clear out of here right away.”

“Please,” Bocca said. “Let’s not jump to conclusions. You’re our guest. I want you to know that.”

“Some guest,” I groused. “I lie down to take a little nap and everybody thinks I committed suicide. Now why is that? You tell me, please.”

“You were so s—still,” quavered Donna. Her eyes held a pleading look. I got the message. She had found me, she’s the one who panicked and ran for golden boy. If I made more of a stink, she might get in real trouble.

“Oh, well,” I caroled in answer to her silent plea. “There’s been no harm done. I guess I sleep like a dead person. Hmmmm. I’m supposed to go to a party tonight, right?”

The maid beamed. “I will help you dress.” The big blonde man grinned. “Eccellente! We’ll have a marvelous time. The Countess gives unforgettable parties.”

He ran his eyeballs over me one more time, to make sure he remembered the way my nyloned legs looked, exposed almost to my crotch, and the manner in which my breasts shoved out against the thin material of my dress. Since I wore no bra, they showed pretty clearly, and they shook ripely when I moved.

He left the room a bit reluctantly, I thought. Donna beamed. “What dress would you like to wear?”

“The black satin evening gown,” I told her, with memories of Joe Turessi in mind. “Nothing under it but me and a pair of evening slippers.”

I slid off the bed, stood and stretched. “A shower first, then the gown.” I bent, caught the hem of the A-line and lifted it off over my head. This left me stark naked except for the garter-belt and nylons.

Donna let her eyes drift over me lazily. Hungrily, too? I felt my nipples get big as she caressed them with her stare. Now I can go AC or DC when it comes to sex, I’ve made love to women in my job as secret agent for the organization, and been made love to by females. It’s a facet of my pudendal personality that endears me to my superiors. My bed-bunny bag, so to speak.

The girl licked her lips. “May I—scrub your back?” she whispered.

“Be my guest, honey.” My fingers went to the garter-clasps that held up my Hanes hosiery, but Donna was way ahead of me, on her knees and putting her hands to the snaps. She was very close to my bare thigh, I felt her hot breath. Her fingers lingered at their task of rolling down the nylons—her soft warm palms were caressing my legs as she bared them—and when I lifted each leg for her to remove the stockings, her eyes went up between my legs to my hairy crotch.

When she was done, she pressed a kiss against my inner thighs. She would have done more if she dared, I’m sure. Then she rose and came behind me, unsnapping the garter-belt and tossing it aside. Her hands lay against my hips just for a moment. Almost, they gave me a little squeeze.

“You’d better take off your uniform,” I told her. “Or you’ll get it all messed up in that shower.”

She giggled and yanked off the uniform. She wore black lace panties and a thin bra to match. She was big in the titties, too. Her milky white breasts shook gelatinously as she reached behind her and unfastened the bra. Her nipples were red, the size of half dollars.

Hooking thumbs in the panties, she pushed them off her behind. This left her in just high-heeled French-styled shoes. No clodhoppers for her. She kicked the pumps off and advanced on me.

She didn’t stop walking until her bare body bumped mine. Our breasts touched, our bellies mashed and our pubic bushes meshed. “Sorry,” she said softly, her black eyes flirting with me. “I didn’t mean to bump into you.”

The hell you didn’t, honey! Still, it was kind of fun, feeling her softness against my own. I reached out, ran my palms down her naked sides. She shivered.

“What about the back-scrub?” I laughed. She walked ahead of me, letting her ass-flesh roll. She had a good body, fleshy but not fat, with all the proper female gadgetry right in the proper place. I wondered if Bocca Carducci knew that Donna was inclined to the Sapphic sisterhood.

Donna put her hand in the shower water, making sure it was the right temperature, before she bade me to get into the glass-enclosed stall. I stepped into the cascade, then slid sideways to give her room. Her hand caught a bar of soap, began lazily to move it all over my back.

It was nice to be waited on this way. I just stood there and let her suds me up, then felt the water flow all over me. She paid especial attention to my buttocks, rubbing her soapy fingers between them, all over the full cheeks, before she turned me so she could clean my front.

My eyes were closed as I felt the soap go over my hardening breasts. With a little cry, as soon as my teats were smothered in scented foam, Donna let the soap fall to the tiled floor and put her hands where the soap was. Back and forth she slid her fingers, gently and caressingly. She worked those suds all over my blue-veined breast-flesh until she had each mammary as hard as a rock. I heard myself moaning deep in my throat while my hips were doing a lazy hula.

“Bocca and Francesco are unfeeling pigs,” she whispered.

“Compared to you, they are,” I breathed. “I love playing with you this way, holding your tits and shaking them—like this!” She panted as her wetly slick hands went under my breasts and shook them. She didn’t shake them very much, they were too hard.

I remembered Mark Condon and the way he’d teased me with that ostrich feather. Was Donna here for the same purpose? Was she getting the mare hot for the stud? What kind of parties did the Countess throw, anyhow? My common sense told me it wouldn’t hurt to ask Donna about them. So I did.

“Parties out of a naughty dream,” she giggled, rubbing her thumbs over my hard brown nipples, bending them and watching them straighten out. “Anything goes, anything. Oh, you’ll have a wonderful time.”

Her hands slid down to my belly. She was sobbing softly to herself, licking her full mouth with her tongue. I felt a little sorry for Donna, she was Italian and Italians are supposedly hot-blooded Latins. She was plenty hot-blooded, all right, but she was inclined to lesbianism and the Mafia brotherhood might take a dim view of that.

Her knees buckled and she dropped before me. Now with her eyes on a level with my pubic hair, matted against my mons veneris by soap and water, she began to rub me. Her slick fingers went between my thighs which I widened, and they made sure the soap went everywhere. She had me climbing the shower wall in seconds.

I was a little surprised that she didn’t inch closer on her knees and bury her mouth where her hands were fondling me so deliriously. But maybe she had orders to whet my amoral appetites and go only so far. Always assuming I might be receptive to a pussy pitch by a woman, that is.

When she pulled away, I was gasping and jerking. I think there were tears in my eyes, tears of want, but maybe it was only shower drops. At any rate she sat back on her heels and looked up at my nakedness with utter worship in her eyes.

“You aren’t going to—stop now?” I choked. “I must,” She swallowed hard. “It is time for you to dress. I must have you ready when they leave for the villa.”

I smiled down at her. “Then dry and powder me,” I ordered.

She nodded, got to her feet and stepped out of the shower. The towel in her hands became an intimate thing on my breasts and buttocks, on the sensitive lips between my thighs. She had me moaning all over again before she was done. I sure was ready for any sort of bung bash the Countess might have in mind.

The black satin evening gown from Givenchy slithered over my nude curves. It was low cut in front, the inner slopes of my breasts could be seen, and its back was practically nonexistent. A mirror, as I turned my head to stare at myself, showed just the top of my buttock cleavage. I opted for a gold body-chain to go about my slim waist.

I was ready, naked under the gown and with my bare feet inside the Kimel evening pumps, when Bocca Carducci opened the door. Donna had spent some time on my red hair, it was coiffed beautifully and set here and there with rhinestone clips that had been in the jewel box Joe Turessi provided for his call girls.

Donna said, “You’re exquisite.”

I smiled and curtsied. His eyes fell to the opening of the evening gown and the breasts he could see nestled there. When I rose, he offered me his arm.

We met Francesco Galuppo in the downstairs hall. Both he and Bocca were wearing Austin-Hill suits, with Oleg Cassinities and silk shirts. I assumed they wanted to display their money, here on the Riviera. Well, the image of the Mafia mobsters had changed a bit over the past decade, I guessed. They no longer appeared as the slant-hatted trigger men they had been in the early days of the Capone era. They are far more sophisticated, now. At least the bosses are.

The black Mercedes-Benz gathered us into its upholstered interior and the chauffeur took us by way of some narrow little streets out beyond the town of Saint Tropez and toward the hills behind it, which formed part of the Massif des Maures. It was a clear, balmy night in early summer, the stars were spangled across the dark blue sky to form a breathtaking tapestry. I sat with my thighs squeezed together, feeling the lust move in my veins slowly, like sap in a tree trunk. There was moisture at my hairy crotch, and my nipples-tingled.

Donna had done a good job on me, I thought. I wondered if her ministrations were to be wasted. I shivered, though the night was warm.

Light exploded against the night sky as we came to the crown of a hill and headed straight on the road. In the distance I could make out what seemed to be a forest of illuminated trees. Bulbs of many colors hung there, it was as if all the Christmas trees in the world had been gathered by magic into one spot on Earth and brilliantly lighted.

“My God,” I breathed. “The Countess is known for her extravagances,” Francesco Galuppo said heavily, as though he disapproved. “She spares no expenses, none at all.”

And Bocca leaned closer to me as he chuckled. “Francesco has a computer for a mind. He calculates the cost of all this and thinks of how many starving Italians he could feed with the money this costs.”

“And this is nothing,” nodded Frankie boy. “Wait, wait.”

The road veered to the left where it continued on to Saint Maxime. To the right, just at the bend, stood twin towers of stone with a heavy iron gate set on gigantic iron hinges. There was a coat of arms on each gate but all I could see of it as the Mercedes Benz flashed past was a lion rampant. Then we were moving up the gravel drive toward a gaggle of Lincoln Continentals, Rolls Royces, Cadillacs and a few scattered Porsches and Fiats.

The villa itself was a tremendous building, with all the electric lights inside it turned on, and quite a few outside. Those lights made daylight out of the grounds. There was a number of tiled roofs belonging to the villa, some at different levels than others, as though parts of the main building had been added with the years. The windows were tall, many-paned, and hung with curtains that hid everything but the light behind them. I could hear music as Francesco opened the door.

With the music came the sound of voices, of laughter, of here and there a shrill feminine voice protesting a liberty or an indiscretion. My eyes went to lawned terraces and marble statues, to a staircase of low, stone treads fanning outward toward a fountain and a large pool lit from underneath by a battery of flood-lamps. Hedges and trees formed little mazes, here and there, where men and women walked and chatted.

“Come,” said Bocca. “We must pay our respects.” We moved up marble steps toward a magnificent foyer, the stone walls of which were covered with magnificent tapestries. The ceiling was domed, there were vases of flowers everywhere, and where the tapestries did not cover them, the walls were hung with paintings.

The Countess was slim radiance in red taffeta. She was a handsome woman, somewhere in her early forties I guessed, with a thick mane of black hair piled high on her head and hung with strands of little pearls. A rope of pearls was at her throat, her fingers flashed with pearl rings set with diamonds. She exuded sex appeal, her firm breasts were like marble, half visible in the low decolletage.

She turned to our approach, held out her bare right arm. Intense black eyes went from Francesco to Bocca and settled on yours truly. Laughter was in those eyes, and a vast flirtatiousness.

“Francesco, my darling! And sweet, golden Bocca! How good of you to come. This makes everything worthwhile.”

To my surprise, Frankie boy bowed from the waist while he kissed her extended hand as might any diplomat. “The pleasure and the honor is ours, dear Countess.”

Bocca also kissed that hand, bowing deeply. Over his down-bent head her black eyes ran over my body. The plucked eyebrows lifted.

“And this gorgeous beauty! Qui est la? Who is she?”

The introductions were made, I curtsied gracefully, barely touching the warm fingers she gave my hand. Her fingers tightened on mine, drew me closer. The black eyes went to my companions.

“How long have you two had this magnificent creature hidden away in that house of yours? No, no. Never mind telling me. It is enough that you have finally decided to let her be seen. Now come with me, all of you. We must have our aperitif.”

The aperitif was Blanca-chassis, which is nothing more than a blob of raspberry syrup at the bottom of a glass of chilled white wine. It was delicious and, I told myself, a little something more. The raspberry syrup would disguise a smidgen of Spanish Fly, very comfortably. Or maybe it was my own excited flesh. At any rate, my erogenous zones began clamoring a few seconds after the Blanca-chassis slid down my throat, and I noticed that both Bocca and Francesco were beginning to pant a little heavily.

The Countess trilled soft laughter as she put her arm about me, giving me a squeeze. “Now go mingle with the guests, all of you. There will be entertainment later, which I’m positive you’ll all enjoy.”

As she nodded a farewell, her hand slid down my flank and caressed my ungirdled rear end just for a second. I turned my head and winked at her.

Then we were moving toward the front door and out into the brightly lighted night, making our way to the gardens, to the maze of trees and hedges and finally down to the pool. Everywhere we went were waiters in white jackets, quiet and almost unnoticeable, carrying trays of wineglasses filled to their brims.

Bocca and Francesco chose Riviera Negroni’s—a blend of gin, red vermouth, Campari and triple sec —while I contented myself with another Blanca-chassis. This one, so far as my taste buds could tell, contained no aphrodisiac.

I told myself I walked in a dream world. Sure, sure, I knew there were people who lived like this, who went to magnificent parties where money was no object, but this was a little too much. In one sense, this was like the condemned man’s last meal, as far as where I was concerned. Certainly Bocca had lied when he’d told me he’d spoken to Joe Turessi on the phone. Which meant neither he nor Francesco trusted me. I was here on sufferance. At any moment, they would lower the boom.

My feet took me away from my two Mafia bosses, across a little stretch of lawn and to a marble bench placed before a stand of juniper trees. I sank down on the bench, began to assess my situation. I was here on my lonesome, though N.Y.M.P.H.O. knew about me—as witness that man in Orly Field air terminal who’d spoken to me—and there were a couple of Mafia men who had their doubts about me. I walked in the shadow of a cyanide bullet, no doubt about it.

It was incredible to me that a man like Frankie boy hadn’t made that transatlantic phone call. Did he really believe me when I’d said that Turessi’s phone had been tapped by U.S. narcotics agents? In that case, he might really send a man to the funeral home to check out Joe Turessi and report back to him. When he received that report, I was going to be one dead girl.

I was not happy. Still, I was alive. And I could always say that Joe Turessi died after I left him. These mobsters couldn’t prove any different, could they? Or—could they? I bit my lip and got even more unhappy.

My common sense told me to split this scene. It was getting more freaked out every second. I’d acted on impulse by coming here, I’d taken a big gamble because at the time it seemed the right thing to do. Now I wasn’t so sure. But I’d already stuck my head in the lion’s mouth.

And then I saw something that brought the fear into my throat, clawing, feeling vaguely like fishhooks being dragged upward from my gut. A pair of yellow eyes was watching me! My heart slammed wildly even as I told myself to sit quietly, to pretend not to notice. Surely, there were no wild animals here in the Fouquet gardens!

I turned my head to stare toward the pool where shrieks of delight were shredding the night. But my eyes slid sideways, fastened on what was peeping from a stand of Garrigue junipers.

Those were no animal eyes. Somebody was hidden in the trees, watching me through a pair of field glasses. The overhead yellow bulbs were reflected in its lenses, giving them that feral look.

Now who in hell was so interested in Cherry Delight?

Certainly not Bocca Carducci and Francesco Galuppo! All they had to do to watch my movements was accompany me wherever I went at the party. No, this was someone else. A member of my own organization? Could be, but I doubted it.

I got the feeling I was caught up in a whirlpool of plot and counter-plot. The Mafia boys I could understand, but who else was there in this corner of the Riviera who wanted to watch what I did? It made no sense.

The last of the Blanca-chassis went down my throat. I rose to my feet and walked away from the bench toward the pool where the shrieks and cries were getting wilder. Maybe the orgy was about to begin, but I had work to do.

I slipped close to a big yew hedge and ran along it. The man with the field glasses was on the other side of the hedge and I wanted to have a closer look at him. I ran until the hedge parted, then peered through. He was halfway across the lawn, walking toward a group of statues framing a small fountain.

There was no hiding place between him and me, so I crouched down, waiting. He moved toward the statues, turned and stared in my direction. I don’t believe he could see me, I was behind the hedge and my evening gown was black; the pool with all the yelling men and women around it was behind me, maybe it was there that his stare went.

His searching look seemed to reassure him. He took something out of his pocket—by straining my eyes I made out a pair of field glasses—and put a hand to a marble cupid. The cupid moved, toppled to one side. The man slid the field binoculars into a space at the base of the statue, then let the cupid slide back into place.

Once more he turned, stared around him. He moved off at a rapid walk toward some trees. He did not look behind him, now.

I waited about ten minutes. Then I sauntered away from the hedge, toward the little fountain. I walked casually, as if admiring the lawn and the gardens. Not until I was near the marble cupid did I turn and let my eyes go in the direction where the man had walked. There was no one there.

My hand touched the cupid, pushed. With a faint creak of protesting iron hinges, the statue moved up and away from the hiding place inside its base. I reached in, brought out the field glasses. I turned them over and over, I could see nothing odd about them; they were merely high-powered binoculars. I put them to one side, reached into the hollow space and found it empty. I put the field glasses back, and let the statue topple into place.

I walked away from the fountain and the statues, puzzled. Obviously, that hollow marble base was some sort of dead drop, where messages or other things could be put so a fellow spy could pick them up when needed. But what was so unusual about a pair of binoculars? The more I thought about it, the curiouser I became, as Alice might have said of Wonderland.

When I came to the hedge I hid behind it and waited.

A different man was coming along the forest pathway toward the cupid. He pushed the statue aside, reached in and brought out the binoculars. He slipped them into his pocket and walked off. I stared after him, scowling.

What in hell was going on? There had been no hidden camera in the glasses, I’d made sure of that. They were binoculars, nothing more, nothing less. Why be so secretive about them? The two men who were so interested in those field glasses must have a purpose for their use. What was that purpose? Certainly not to spy on the carryings on of the people at the party All they had to do just as I intended doing in a few seconds—was walk forward and join anybody at all.

I walked toward poolside while I concentrated about the men and the binoculars. Suddenly a man leaped at me, a big grin on his face as his arms wrapped around me. Off to one side, I caught a glimpse of a woman with her skirt up to her bare behind and her front plastered to that of a young man with curly black hair, swapping spit with his mouth. There was another man with his hands inside the low bodice of a woman’s evening gown, fingers kneading her big white breasts.

The party was getting a hot on. Everywhere I looked, even while the hands of the Frenchman who had me in his arms were sliding all over my bare back where there was no gown to cover it, men and women were shedding their inhibitions, along with their clothes. I saw one man on his knees between the stockinged legs of a girl whose skirt was up to her bellybutton, his hands clinging to her thighs while his lips browsed on her shaven private parts. Another man was standing with a woman, hands sunk into her pudding-soft behind while his hips lurched and drove his male shaft between the lips of her feminine con.

“How’d it get started so fast?” I asked rather dazedly.

The man with me chuckled thickly. “You didn’t see the water ballet? My dear dolly, you missed the fireworks. But come. Some of it may still be going on.”

He turned me with a hand inside my low gown-back, his palm and fingers lazily caressing my buttocks while they wobbled while I walked, bringing me with him to poolside. There were still some naked performers in the water, a couple of girls and boys locked with each other in the popular Venus reversa posture, hips gently moving as their arms and hands acted as paddles to keep them afloat. I saw teams of male and female, their bodies joined at their genitals, half lying on their backs as they floated, moving inside and out.

“They came down the steps stark naked,” cackled my companion. “They began to play around on the edge of the pool, toying with each other. Then they dove into the pool and began doing what comes naturally.”

His big middle finger was between my thighs, gently working around in my moist genital trench. He was in his middle years, partially bald, with a hooked nose and a fleshy mouth: not exactly an Adonis. But he was touched by Dionysus, by which

I mean he was sloshed to the gills, and his tongue wagged as though on springs. I threw my arms about his neck and rubbed my breasts to his chest.

“Tell me more,” I cooed. “The Countess is known for her parties. I think she has outdone herself this time. Once in a while she’ll have a boy and a girl up from the village to put on a sex show for her guests, but tonight—ah, it’s as if she’d thrown financial discretion to the winds. And that’s a strange thing, too. . . .”

“Why is that? Isn’t she rich?” He was nuzzling my throat with his lips, kissing my shoulders where the evening gown bared them. “Everybody thinks so. I know better. I’m a banker, dear. It’s my business to know the financial status of my clients. And I number the Countess Colette de Vaux among those.”

My head was whirling, and not from the fact that his fingers were rumpling up my gown so that more and more of my bare legs and upper thighs were coming into view. First, the men with the binoculars. Now this revelation about la Comtesse. If she didn’t have the bread to give a party like this—who was supplying her with the money?

I asked the old goat about that, and he chuckled thickly. “Let’s go somewhere private, my love. You are getting me very excited. I haven’t been this hot in a long time.”

My left thigh did the walking for me along his front and found something that vaguely resembled a long thin stick jutting up from his groin. Well, well My boy friend wasn’t as old as I thought. My hand slid down between us, moved up and down his erection. I felt him buck and jerk against me as he started panting like a spavined horse.

“You will tell me what I wish to know?” I whispered.

“About the Countess? Eh, why not?” I let him turn me, lead me away from the pool and up the staircase. We passed a man crouched between the widespread knees of a woman, her stockinged legs uplifted, the myriad light from the pool gleaming on her pallid thigh-flesh as she squirmed and scrunched against him. I could hear the slurping sound of his male organ as it went in and out of her vaginal channel. To one side of them and up a few steps, a woman had opened her dress and lifted out a big, blue-veined breast which she was feeding to one of the naked young performers.

“Why?” I asked. “Why does the Countess give such parties? Yes, yes, they make her popular. I can understand that. But… . . .”

His chuckle was lewd. “She makes friends, hein? And friends tell her things she wants to know.”

Understanding hit me like a sledgehammer. Me, idiot! I should have doped this out myself. “Blackmail,” I whispered.

His shoulders made an elaborate shrug. “It is how I have figured it out, dolly. She learns things about you, about me—have you a husband you don’t want to know about this night, cherie?—and files them away somewhere against the need for francs. It must be that way, it can be no other.”

We ran side by side into the villa. My dirty older man had me ready for fun and games with a vengeance. My blood was pounding, I couldn’t think straight. His fingers were like electric wires running over my hips inside my evening gown, they slid over my quivering buttocks and then around to my front to tousle my pubic hairs and hunt for my erect clitoral bud. He knew his way around a woman, did this lecher.

The cantharides that had been in the first Blanca-chassis I’d had didn’t hurt, either. And the going—over by Donna was an added bit of erotica that was firing my nerve-ends.

I dragged my companion into a nearby room. I wondered where Bocca Carducci and Francesco Galuppo might be right about now, but the hell with the Mafia mobsters at a time like this. I had been working steadily for my organization ever since I’d gone into that coffin, so right now I was going to do something nice for Cherry Delight.

I pushed my companion into a straight-backed chair, panting. “We’ll try the dok el arz posture.”

He grinned up at me, watching me lift the black satin skirt of my gown. “Ah, you know the Sheik Nefzawi and his writings?”

My lips gave him a wicked smile. “Honey, I’ve studied the old masters until my eyes popped out. Nefzawi, Ovid, Aloysia, Sigea, Philaenis and Elephantine, you name em, I’ve read ’em. You might call it a hobby of mine. Or an avocation. I have a good body, I enjoy sexual acrobatics from time to time if not all the time, and what I enjoy I try to make as perfect as possible.”

“An excellent credo, indeed,” he modded. I stood between his legs, pushing down the straps of the gown. I eased the bodice to my middle and gave my shoulders a little shimmy. My breasts danced up and down for his bulging eyes. My brown nipples were long and thick, my breast-flesh was smooth and solid.

“Like a milk shake, honey?” I giggled. I shook my love jugs for him, head back and my red hair starting to come loose from the pins and pearl-strands holding it. His whimpers and groans of enjoyment were music to my ears. Then I pushed the rest of the gown off and stood naked between his legs, wearing only my rhinestoned Kimels.

I bent, breasts dangling, and put my hands to his zipper.

In another moment he was out there in the open, long and thin, quivering in his excitement. My fingertips went up and down his erection, lazily. My backbone bent a little more so I could brush his swollen penis-head with my bloated nipples. He whinnied like a stallion enjoying a cute little mare.

“You know, I don’t even know your name,” I breathed.

“Ma poupee cherie! At a time like this, you ask for names! Eh, bien. I am Etienne Montaigne. Now that that’s settled. . . .”

“I’m Cherry Delight. And since my name is Cherry, I like to ride a cock horse.”

He whinnied laughter, sobbing and panting in his desire for the body I was showing him, standing between his thighs. I lifted my left leg casually, telling him to put his knees together. He gave my wet labia a good long look before he did what I told him, so that I found myself straddling his trousered legs.

Then I sat down on him, slowly. He went in with a lazy lasciviousness that added to our mutual pleasure. I rested my behind on his shaking legs and—as I’d done with Joe Turessi—let my constrictor muscles ripple up and down. Etienne Montaigne sobbed as he shook to that cunnectasiac caress.

I set out to make a friend of this older Frenchman. He was a banker, he might even lend me money if I needed it. Remember now, I was on my own here on the Riviera, I wasn’t about to overlook any bets when it came to feathering my nest. You never know, in my line of work, where you’ll have to turn in an emergency. So I let myself post up and down on his rigid manhood, giving him a couple of additional thrills by leaning forward and letting him have my nipples for his pouting lips, one after the other.

I am an adept when it comes to sex. I’ve made a thorough study of the subject, going back to the days when I’d immersed myself in my father the doctor’s medical texts. At one time I’d even thought of studying medicine myself, but then I met Mark Condon and he talked me into becoming a member of the Mafia-fighting set.

My study of medicine and its corresponding knowledge of the human body stood me in good stead as a N.Y.M.P.H.O. girl, however. Like now, for instance, giving old Etienne Montaigne his Jack Straw jollies. My right hand went down beneath his scrotum and my fingernails played at spider’s legs with his testicles, in a little rogering refinement that heaped some extra thrills on his male love-nerves.

But I didn’t hurry him. Oh, my. No! There is a way to help the male last and last, if his female companion in the amorous arts is willing to play her proper part. When his penis swelled, I tightened my constrictor cunnae muscles on it, just holding it, while I ceased all movement of my thighs and hips. As the crisis passed, I let those interior muscles loosen, tighten, loosen, as I began once more to go up on and down on him.

“Ma colombe! Mon ange!” he sobbed, his body shaking all over in the delirious delights flooding it. “Mmmmmm, ca iral Je me sens mal. . . . ”

He whispered and moaned, babbled and blurted out love words in French that I followed well enough to know I was making the most fantastic impression on him. At that moment I could have had anything I wanted of the old guy. And he would be looking forward to a repeat performance by yours truly. You can’t have me just once, to paraphrase a teevee commercial, once only whets the appetite. He would need some more of my pudendal pleasures when he recovered from this bout.

Which was as it should be. I needed friends on the Riviera.

But all good things have to come to an end. So I made it a most pleasant ending for Etienne Montaigne, doing a bump and grind and using those inside muscles of mine until he was jellying and shuddering and contorting under me until I began to think he was taking leave of his senses. His eyes opened once as he stared up at me in utter adoration. I was Venus and Astarte, Inninuinni and Isis to him, all the love goddesses of history rolled up in one.

“Tu es la plus belle fille du monde!’’ he breathed.

That was when he fainted.

I climbed off him after a few moments. He was still alive, he hadn’t pulled a Joe Turessi on me. I figured all he needed was a little catnap. I rearranged his clothing, then slithered back into my Givenchy evening gown. While he slumbered on, I thought maybe I could find out a little more about this villa Fouquet.

My feet carried me from the tiny reading room we’d made our own, out into the hall. The party was still going on, but by this time, a younger crowd had taken over, probably because the younger ones had more sexual stamina. There were naked couples banging each other in the shadows, on the big marble staircase, even using the chairs pushed back against the wall.

I skirted them, evading a hand here and a hand there that sought to drag me down and make a seance a trios out of what was now a seance a deux. I laughed and blew kisses and wandered up the staircase and along a carpeted hall between rows of oil paintings, past open doors through which I could see groups of men and women grappling together in various erotic entanglements.

I was sorely tempted to join a few of these groupings. There was one set of naked bodies where three men were enjoying one woman who was having a ball but who was obviously outnumbered. I watched them. One man lay on his back with the woman on top of him, a second man knelt behind her with his male tool thrust deep into her behind, while a third crouched before her face and working mouth. She needed help, but her happy groans told me she wasn’t asking for any.

I moved on, feeling my blood churning hotly. I didn’t find out where Francesco Galuppo was hiding himself, but I did discover Bocca Carducci. He and a blonde doll were silently writhing on top of a bed. Bocca was between her wide-flung thighs, sawing in and out of her moist femininity with an out-sized organ. I could hear his grunts and her bleats from the doorway.

My eyes took in her nakedness in a girdle and black nylon stockings. Her big breasts were outside a brassiere, held up by its rolled cups, while she had unfastened the garter-clasps of the girdle so her stockings wouldn’t ladder. She was a meaty dish, not fat but with plenty of good flesh on her bones. Her breasts were bouncing and her thighs were shimmying as she lurched and stabbed herself on the rigid shaft impaling her.

From their bodies, my eyes went to the window. I froze, standing motionless.

Those feral yellow eyes were out there in a tree, peering avidly in at the blonde Italian and his bed partner! I could hardly believe what I was seeing. If that voyeur had wanted, he could have walked right into the room and stood beside me, for all Bocca and the woman would care. They were deep in their carnal coupling, oblivious to the rest of the world. I had to warn Bocca about those field glasses. Maybe he would know more about the men using them than I. I didn’t want to yell the alarm, I wasn’t sure how the blonde who was banging her rump up and down on the bed-coverings would react. I had to be a little subtle about it.

Well, hell. I was a woman with the hots, right? What could be more natural than for me to want a little of what Bocca was giving the blonde?

I ran up into the room, bent to grasp the hem of the Givenchy gown. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw a faint movement of the binoculars. Nosey-guts had seen me come in. I’d show him something else.

The gown came up, my nudity came into view. I tossed the evening gown through the air. Then I hip-swung over to the side of the bed. I stood there a few seconds, using my hands to lift and shake my breasts, to caress them, to pull the big brown nipples out and twirl them between my forefingers and thumbs.

It would seem perfectly obvious to the man with the binoculars that I was a woman with the hots, I was seeing another woman getting what I wanted from Bocca Carducci. I was playing with myself, working my con into a lather so I could join the couple on the bed and practice a little troilism with them.

I put a knee on the bed and a hand on Bocca’s bare back. He jerked at my touch and turned a surprised face toward me. I put my face toward his as though to kiss him.

But before our lips could meet, I breathed, “There’s a man with a pair of binoculars in a tree just outside the window of this room. Do you know anything about him?”

Poor Bocca couldn’t think straight. His glazed blue eyes told me he was in the throes of an oncoming orgasm. But my hand was dipping between his thighs, to grip his testicles. To prevent that orgasm, I gave his balls a hard squeeze.

Trust Cherry Delight to lend a guy a helping hand.

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