Chapter 1

The nerve-shattering explosion of firecrackers announcing Chinese New Years shouted of heightened pandemonium on the crowded, hilly streets of San Francisco's North Beach. Traditionally, this Italian neighborhood had mingled communally with bohemian writers and artists, until it slowly relented to the massive pressure of Chinatown's invasion edging north from Broadway. The annoying chain of crackling eruptions sparked the reality of a changing lifestyle and a community eroding and diluting into something not quite Eastern, and never again to be Western.

The Italian merchants found it a loathsome reality, as did most of the coffee-house inhabitants of the neighborhood who found themselves being turned away from rentals because of growing Chinese xenophobia. This festive time of the year, when the normally passive Asians came out of the sweat shops and out from behind vegetable crates to exert themselves, was a tender time for tempers and tolerance.

"Goddamn! It sounds like a fuckin' Tet offensive out there!" bellowed Paul, stretched out lackadaisically, if not drunkenly, in the living room of his Telegraph Hill apartment listening to the romantic, candle-lit strains of Gino Vanelli whose soft, love-filled refrain was punctuated by the jolting crackle of fireworks outside his first floor window.

Not a conducive setting for a man trying to woo his lady love into an intimate tete a tete of a sensual sort, and not good on a full stomach, either. Paul rubbed his gullet stuffed with Chianti and pasta, with a few espressos to add an acidic bubble to an already frothing digestive tract. He belched. The firecrackers were the final punch.

In a burst, he pulled his lanky, Italian build up from the chair and stomping toward the window in a blast of cold January air, yelled at the world.

"You Goddamned slants! Get the hell out of here!"

A handful of black, shock-haired, round-faced youths scattered to the alley, clunking into garbage cans.

"Please, Paul... don't be so crude." It was the voice of a demure, blonde haired woman with sparkling blue eyes under spidery lashes and a staunch upholder of social decency. Jan swirled the Chianti disapprovingly in her crystal wine glass and glowered at her boyfriend and his crude drunkenness.

The rattling slam of the window closing jolted her nerves and turning, the dark eyed man turned Chianti-reddened eyes to his beloved, raking over the lush curves and bumps of her gray angora fuzzed sweater and fashionably tight skirt with its slit up the thigh, showing off a patch of nylon stockinged leg and the hint of a lacey garter.

"Somebody's gotta put the little shits in their place..." and having vented that rage, he swooped down and scooped up his girl friend from where she sat with properly crossed ankles and started carrying her toward the bedroom.

"Paul! Paul!" She protested, a blush coming to her dimpled face. "Put me down!"

"Gotta kidnap you from the chinks," he said, laughing drunkenly.

"Oh, Paul..." she stopped struggling. She didn't like it when Paul got drunk like this. He seemed to loose all that smooth Italian savoir faire that had attracted her to him in the first place on that rainy Sunday evening in the coffee shop. When they walked back from the restaurant, Paul had been staggering. She had tried not to show her disdain, since it was meant to be a celebration night of their engagement one month past. Still, she wished he would sober up a little.

He lurched through the, sliding bedroom doors, knocking her knee against the door. She let out a yelp and reluctantly Paul put her back on her feet.

"Sorry 'bout that lover..." he cajoled, feeling a swell of power now that he had her in the bedroom. "I didn't mean to hurt you."

"Well, you did... because you're drunk!" she bleated, smoothing her black wool skirt with her hands and shooting him a chastising frown.

"I am not drunk. I just hadda coupla glasses of vino like any good Italiano, thaas all! If you're gonna marry me, hon, better get used to lots of pasta and vino. B'sides... makes me horny."

"Paul... don't talk like that."

"I can't help it... it's that Latin blood in my hot veins," he exclaimed, throwing his arms around her and embracing her in a clumsy, suffocating hug that pulled at her hair painfully, making her wince. "You're the prettiest chick I've ever dated. Boy," he said, shaking his head. "Those blue eyes cut right to my soul."

"Oh, Paul," she, said, blushing to her pink polished toes sticking out from heel-less toeless shoes, "don't say that."

"Hey, don't be modest," he snapped his voice slurred with Chianti. "You're gonna be my wife, aren't ya?"

"Well... I guess." Jan pushed away from him and walked coldly back into the living room.

"I don't like the way you say that... it sounds so... so macho." Her rosebud lips drew up into a disapproving pretzel.

Macho! You suddenly turn women's lib or what?"

"Oh, stop it," she cried, sitting down on the sofa and trying to keep the tears from spilling out of her eyes. In truth, the snap of firecrackers was getting on her nerves, too and she shot two watery blue eyes at the window pane.

"I suppose I'm not good enough for your British parents," he burst out, under a furrowing brow. "Not proper enough..." he feigned a crisp British accent.

"Let's not start on that again..."

"Why the hell not?"

"Be-because we're supposed to be celebrating, that's why," she said, the tears finally erupting and trickling down her cheeks. "This was supposed to be such a wonderful evening." Her button chin trembled, "But you had to go and spoil it!" Two lithe arms clamped off the fuzzy gray softness of Jan's angora covered breasts and she cast her eyes away from him, averting his deep gaze.

In the alleyway behind the apartment building, a chain of firecrackers rose the hackles on the back of Paul's neck. That combined with watching Jan cry so pitiably brought him up short. He hadn't meant to upset her-Christ, he thought he was making headway with foreplay, and she took it as an insult. He scratched his head. Women...

Shit, they got uptight, if you didn't compliment them on a new pair of shoes, but say something nice about their body and they turn off just like that! The last thing he'd wanted to do was to upset his Jan... his blue-eyed, baby-faced Jan. He strode over to the sofa where she sat starchly and sat down beside her, taking her in his arms.

"Oh, baby, I'm sorry. I love you... you know that."

Jan allowed herself to be drawn into his tight embrace, her eyes still averted from his, staring out the window onto the flickering lights of Russian and Nob Hill a slope away, her thoughts gradually softening.

Why did he have to talk about her sexuality as if it were a buyable item? Wasn't their relationship tenuous enough without him bringing in ethnic slurs? Sometimes he could be such a crass person. And now he was drunk on top of it.

"You can stop crying now, Jan... I hate to see a woman cry... makes me feel like a God-damned jerk..." He stroked her cheek. ""Bella..."

The young lover lifted his girl friend's face and kissed her warmly, trying to ease her mind and make up for his stupidity. His unhappy fiancée resisted him at first, but then, smothered in the smooth, sweet intimacy of his warm kiss, gave in and kissed him back, pressing her soft, glossy lips against his.

Paul held her tighter, and as he licked her soft lips with the tip of his wet tongue, he found himself growing rapidly gluttonous from the perfumed smell of her neck, her hair, her breath. The intimacy of her lush young body pressed so warmly to his knotted in his guts. He could feel his penis stiffen in the tight confines of his trousers, and ripples of thrilling excitation, enhanced by his drunken condition, began to surge through his loins and radiate outwards to every part of his hot-blooded body.

Avidly, he began to kiss her neck and shoulders and to blow little wisps of hot air into her ear. He wanted her tonight, he wanted to make love to her as he had never wanted another woman in his life... and that was saying a lot for this North Beach Don Juan with a reputation for suave seduction and sweet talk to match. Christ, she was such a China doll-then quickly he amended that comparison with the next rippling crackle of fireworks. His hands began to travel down her back, then up again, snaking between their tightly pressed bodies until they came to rest on the wide-set fullness of her high breasts, beneath the snug-fitting gray angora sweater she wore.

"Oh, baby... oh my bambino," he whispered urgently. "My bella... let's make love. Let's go in the bedroom and make love."

Jan tensed when he said that. She had good cause to refuse him, since they were not yet man and wife, though she had allowed him plenty of finger play over the lush curves and bumps of her luscious twenty-two year old body that was yet flower fresh and innocent. She knew he wanted her to remain a virgin until their wedding day, a vow that was easily bended on inebriated eyes such as this.

Those deep-seated British inhibitions and Victorian decency took control of her psyche and a chill coursed through her body. It was wrong, especially considering his ridiculous behavior tonight. She didn't feel ready or willing to give up the secret of the treasure trove between her thighs. Her delectable body shuddered with apprehension. No, not tonight, it wasn't right. She needed time.

"Paul," she said in a small voice. "I don't think we should... go all the way, if you know what I mean."

Her muscular young boy friend tried to ignore the feeling of seething resentment that began to percolate in his loins. She was resisting him again, making a fool out of his amours and denying him his rights as the soon-to-be man of the house. Christ, he wanted her to remain a virgin in spirit, but he wanted a whore in bed. His Chianti-sodden brain began to reel with unpent anger and frustration, while his achingly aroused cock continued to pound in his pants, yearning, screaming, throbbing for the release that was long overdue. It had been nearly a week since he had last cornered Maria in the bakery kitchen and played out his macho advances for the satisfaction of hearing a muffled giggle and the thrill of approaching the forbidden.

"Jan, what makes you so uptight about sex?"

"Uptight? Who said I was uptight? I'm just saving myself."

Her muscular, young delivery truck driver fought down a wave of sudden anger at his voluptuous girl friend's irascibility. But there was no reward in losing his temper. That would only reduce to nada the slow sexual progress Jan had been making since he'd first met her over a frothing cup of cafe au lait. No, frustrating as it was for him, he would stick with patience. Besides, Jan was worth the wait. God, was she worth the wait!

His dark, brooding, Chianti-fogged eyes, gazing momentarily with annoyance, were transformed with a warm rush of tenderness for his lushly built girl friend. He had never trusted women with blue eyes, something too fickle in that Nordic coolness for his hot Latin blood.

Just looking at her dimple cheeked beauty made his gluttonous cock, which had subsided a bit at her verbal rejection, leap with new joy. At the same time, he knew that most of her fears of sex were nonsensical. He had long toyed with the idea of exerting his manhood and some night just overriding her objections and slamming his hard manhood into her belly, then listen to her squeal and squirm beneath his pounding body. She was a dainty one, fragile and serene. He didn't think he could do it.

Swaying to his feet, the young truck driver drew his brown haired lovely into his arms and, forcing her head backwards over his powerful forearm, began showering her face with warm wet kisses. He could feel her haughtily thrusting young breasts pressed against his chest, and the pressure of her supple femininity against his rugged frame, filled him with an overwhelming sense of his own raw maleness. He couldn't choke down the tempting itch to take her now, to fuck all the fear and protest out of her until she was his in a way she could never deny. And Jan would love it, he was sure, once she fought herself out of this uptight Victorian bag and let her body do her thinking. The fight, that was the catharsis that needed to come.

In his buzzing ear, he could hear her little chirps of temptation uttering feeble cries of protest and pushing against his shoulders with her tiny manicured hands. He overcame her objections and plastered his warm, wine-sweetened lips onto her soft full ones, while his right hand cupped and fondled the fullness of her angora-covered breast.

The sweet contact of his lips with hers immediately made Jan add vigor to her evading wriggles to free herself of his lustily encircling grasp. Did he have to paw her like this? And his breath reeked of wine!

"Paul, please stop... I don't want to... not yet..."

"But what about me?" The Latin machismo again... He buried his lips in the silky smoothness of her bare neck, and let his tongue snake out over its satiny length down to the little hollow of her shoulder.

"I don't care how you feel about it!" She snapped. "And besides, you've been drinking and you know how I feel about that..." Jan was nonplussed by her fiancé's inconsiderate and unromantic attempts to make love to her. Spoiled and accustomed to having her own way, she wasn't used to being treated like a toy.

If there was one thing that irked Paul, it was ambivalence, and this beautiful little lady sitting next to him giving him double entrendres was full of ambivalence. Well, if she couldn't make up her mind, he would have to do it for her. In fact, he was beginning to relish her outraged attempts to fend him off. It was another way of flirting he surmised. He hadn't had a wrestling match with a sexy broad in a long time, and never with his proper, British fiancée. He squeezed her arms a bit too tightly and she let out a yelp of distress, but not before he felt the little egg of muscle. A slow, smirking smile grew over his lips.

Jan squirmed, trying to get off the couch, her slitted skirt sliding up the sleekness of her stockinged thighs in the struggle. Paul's widened eyes fell on the little black lacey strap of her garter belt and he let out a lustful whimper. The urge for conquest was rife within him. Love games had always intrigued him and she was giving off signals, subconscious and subtle though they were.

With a growl, he grasped his still struggling fiancée around the knees, and lifting her off her feet, so that she was slung over his shoulder like a sack of flour, he slapped her hard on the buttocks. The blood was rushing to her head, stocking her anger. His sense of balance was precarious at best and for a moment it seemed he was about to dump her on the floor. The black and white tile seemed to sway ominously far below and with a few jerking movements, he managed to balance her rightly.

Jan pounded on his back. "Put me down... you, you animal!" She burst. "Quit treating me like this!"

"Yeah..." Paul boomed drunkenly. "Crazy with lust. Gonna drag you off and fuck you silly. Haven't had a woman in two years... had to fuck tree holes..."

Steadying himself, the inebriated truck driver began weaving his way down the hall toward the bedroom, spouting anything that came into his head. He felt like a pagan chieftain kidnapping his bride from another tribe and the feeling was pumping his ego to a dangerous level. But beneath the fantasy, he was serious. He was damn near out of his mind with desire for her, and he was going to claim his masculine rights to make sensuous demands at the expense of anything.

Inside the bedroom, he dumped his now furious fiancée unceremoniously on the bed and before she had time to recover from her jolting transport, threw his sinewy weight on top of her, grinding his lurching penis hard against, the soft flesh of her thighs and once again mashing his mouth down on hers, this time forcing her soft lips apart so that his tongue could begin a crude exploration of the sweetness of her dark oral cavern. His hands reached down to the hem of her slitted skirt, already half way up her thighs, and began inching it upwards until he felt the smooth coolness of her naked thighs above the tops of her nylon stockings. Groaning with animal passion, induced by the drink and his long frustration, he worked his hand under the taut elastic straps of her black lace garter belt and inside the tight leg band of her clinging white bikini panties. At the same time his hot mouth found its way downward and closed around the fearfully trembling mounds of her breasts, oblivious, in his hot need, to the fact that his defenseless wife-to-be was still fully dressed. His thick fingers reveled in the tender softness of her pubic hair, and he stroked the mound hungrily, although his caresses were inhibited by the restraints of their clothes and the awkwardness of their positions.

"Oh, you're getting my new skirt all wrinkled!" she mewled and tutted, tears beginning to form in her liquidy eyes

"Take it off, then..."

His large, demanding hands went to work on the sweater, stripping it from her upper torso with practiced ease. Then his hand dipped to the side zipper of her skirt and tugged at the zipper pull. Slipping one arm beneath her buttocks, he easily lifted her up off the bed and wriggled the skirt from her body. He threw her skirt on the floor and was about to descend on her body for more ravishment when she managed to tear her mouth free of his plastering kiss.

"Stop it... the least you could do is to hang it up!" Rolling away from him, her whole body bristling with anger, she folded the skirt with exaggerated slowness and placed it on the chair. As she repeated the performance with her sweater, Paul watched with amusement and steadily mounting desire. From the bed, he unbuttoned his shirt and flung it recklessly to the foot of the bed.

"You're cute when you're mad. Makes your eyes flash... I could eat you up," he teased. "In fact-" and with that subtle announcement, he reached out suddenly and grabbed her wrist, pulling her backwards on the bed, her knees catching at the edge of the mattress causing her to flop supine on her back.