When it came to this, to fornication, she let him. No arguments made. No complaints offered. No thanks expected or received. No martyr was she, only a woman in love. True love. A deep and abiding love. To his natural dying day, she would love this man.

If ever he lived so long. His foot-dragging might very well bring out her murderous impulses yet.

Her love gave her strength. Her love gave her fortitude. Hopefully, her love would give her an accurate aim when she raised her foot to his arse.


After putting up with him for five years, she was at the end of her rope. She had her stubborn Irish pride, she did, and she would not have him continue to disrespect her. She was no man's bloody doormat. Plus, practically speaking, his contempt decreased her value in his eyes. What purpose did that serve in the larger scheme of things?

None for her and less for him.

She would not let him off the hook so lightly. Though he was in pain, still he must take responsibility for his actions and his inactions, as must they all. She gave him her body, but she was no prostitute. No whore. No line of men queued up outside her door seeking entry.

Needing money as she did, neither could she afford to turn down the cash he left on the bedstead after wiping his cock clean. Modeling for artists was not a lucrative profession, so she did a little housekeeping and cooking on the side.

And this. She did a little of this on the side too. With him. Only with him.

Monogamy was a distinction she made, her claim to and tenacious hold on respectability. Nine brothers and sisters in the Old Country depended on what she sent home from her wages, and so she accepted what John Donovan offered her for what she would have freely given.

But tonight, his drinking would end or they would end. His choice, not hers, and not a broken promise, as she saw it, for that same reason.

She had to lower the boom, because standing back and allowing him to kill himself drink-by-drink was not an act of love.

And, she did love him. Heart and soul, she loved him true, and so this last time, she would hold John close with her strong thighs as he moved up into her. She would not loosen her arms from around his neck until the very end, when he shook free of her, same as always.

Then, she would issue him the ultimatum. God willing, he would accept her conditions.

And if he refused?

She would harden her heart and no longer answer his summons to his bed, a bitter pill for her to swallow as the only time he ever held her in his arms was during coupling. And those occasions had been but a paltry few. At the end he would say, "My thanks, Mol'. I swear, I could never do without you" or some such foolishness. She put no stock in, nor took comfort from, the sentimental words he spoke after his climax. His gratitude was just the liquor talking, a spirit-influenced pledge that signified nothing.

Oh, for him to just once say something similar whilst he was sober. He would turn her head for sure if ever he said something sweet then.

He never did.

Though she had done everything he had ever asked of her, except change herself over into the someone else he would have preferred.


Indeed, that very morn, she had considered doing just that. She had thought to dye her common sable brown hair a vivid shade of unforgettable titian, to mimic Lily of the flaming red locks. Her good sense had returned, and she let the daft idea go. More fool she would have been for her troubles! Dyed red hair or not, she would not have measured up to the perfection of Lily.

And why?

Because the woman was a dream. An idealized phantom. Not flesh and blood. Not to John. How could she compete with a mirage in his mind?

She could not. And it vexed Molly sorely that tonight, when John had glanced up and saw her standing there at the threshold, a flash of hopelessness had darkened his bonnie brown eyes, as if he had half expected to see someone else there instead.

The red-haired bitch, of course.

Humph. As if that spoiled princess would ever come over to see how John was faring, Molly thought, undoing her second-best hair.

Unlike his older brother Doyle -- now there was a man given to darkly violent tendencies -- John Donovan had not a cruel bone in his body. Aye, he was a rascal, but never did he deliberately set out to pain her.

Still, how his look of hopelessness had stung. It was as if she were no longer second best to Lily, but nowhere in contention.

No more dillydallying, no more delaying the inevitable confrontation, Molly kneed the bed. Avoiding the hump in the middle, she reclined on her back. As John tweaked her breast, Molly said a silent Act of Contrition for this latest act of unwed fornication. As usual, she assigned herself the same penance -- not kissing John on the lips -- and then opened her sturdy legs.

He mounted her. Jabbed between her legs. And missed. The second time around, he found her, and pushed up and in.

John's make was on the large side of huge. Though his length and girth and iron-hard mettle might have sorely tested a lesser partner, she was plenty woman enough to accommodate him. And none of this wishing for a deeper cunny for herself or fewer inches from him, either. She gloried in the growing pressure building inside her.

Until, he said, "Take more."

Well, he could demand all he liked, but she dealt in reality, not fiction, and her innards could only stretch so far...

But wait. What was this?

Usually, he only wanted her hand or her mouth. Tonight, not only was he taking her face-to-face, he sought a deeper, more forceful penetration.

His new dominance thrilled her.

And defeated her.

Her first and only other lover had been skilled in bed, a genuine sophisticate, but his strokes had been subtle and choreographed, almost artful, and they had not made love all that many times. And now here was John. Without any skill, sophistication, subtlety, choreography, or art, he ground his tremendous cock inside her.

"I need it hard tonight," he rasped.

At the rawness in his voice, a shiver shot through Molly. His tone acted on her like an aphrodisiac.

He needed it hard.

All the saints! She had never suspected John of having a dominant streak.

Give me more of that!