Richard Shaw glanced out of his rented motel room. He had plenty of such rooms placed around the city. He held a steaming mug of coffee in one of his hands, and in the other he fiddled with the contract he’d written the night before. The distant sound of the water running from the shower let him know last night’s lay was getting ready to leave. Richard hated the way his life had turned out. He was forever moving on from one woman to the next, never stopping for more than an hour or two. At best they stayed in separate beds overnight.

Sissy, if that was even her real name, had been a good distraction from the party he’d attended.

His best friend, Wayne Brown, had gotten married two years ago to a charming and beautiful woman called Lily, and last night they’d celebrated the birth of a small son. Opal, Richard’s sister, had been there, and because of how well Lily had gotten to know one of his employees, Scarlet Hughes had been invited also.

Cursing, Richard sipped more of his coffee finding it tasted way too bitter. How the f**k had he gotten old so fast?

The girl had been in his employ now for over a few months. She’d worked in the office building but never on the same floor as he did. He believed they’d be approaching two years in the summer. When she’d first turned up, he thought she’d arrived straight out of college. As he’d gotten to know her he had found out she attended night courses in between working a couple of jobs and raising her son. A single mother to boot. She didn’t deserve the kind of attention he wanted to give her.

“I’m done in the shower,” Sissy said coming up behind him.

Richard froze. The woman may have graced his bed and used him for the night, but he wanted nothing more to do with her. Seeing Scarlet always had the same effect on his body. Other women became a poor substitute.

“You can leave now,” he told her.

He went to the kitchen and poured the bitter coffee down the sink, followed by the rest of the dark liquid from his coffee pot..

Oh, great. A scene. “You’ve had your fun. Grab your clothes, and get out. Tell my mum she’ll have to try someone better.” For the longest time, women had become merely products to him. Things to be used and discard as he saw fit. Not to mention the number of what his mother called “suitable women” thrown his way.

Richard despised the woman who’d given birth to him.

“You’re a total ass**le.” Sissy threw a glass vase on the floor and stormed back to the bedroom.

Richard ignored her outburst and placed the contract in his briefcase. He wanted to go over it several more times to assure himself he had what he wanted.

“Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,” he shouted down the hall.

“Go to hell,” she said as her parting shot.

Romance dramas were really doing a number on the female population. Didn’t they understand that kind of shit didn’t happen?

He rolled his eyes. Sissy was from his circle of friends, a woman with plenty of money who could do whatever she liked. Richard thought he’d seen her picture on a billboard on the way to work not long ago.

“I take it she didn’t take the break-up well?”

Richard jumped spilling the coffee blend all over the side.

“Opal, what the fu-hell are you doing here?” he asked his sister. Opal had been a surprise to the Shaw household. She was only sixteen, but he knew when she grew up, she’d become a beautiful woman.

“Andrew drove me over. The parents are driving me crazy. You know they don’t think I should go to college?”

Richard finished cleaning up the mess and put a pot of coffee on to brew. He pulled out some milk from the fridge and handed her a glass.

He frowned. “The one that comes from a cow.”

“No. I mean what is the fat count in this?”

Richard glared at the bottle and placed it in the fridge. “Why would my sister be wanting to know the fat count of a glass of milk?” Opal still went to high school. She hadn’t wanted to be taught at home, and she’d begged him to talk to “the parents” about it.

“Some of the girls in my class—” She stopped and bit her lip.

“Some of the girls? Come on, Opal. You know you can tell me anything.” The battle inside her tore him up. He took her hand and kissed her knuckles. “Tell me.”

“The girls at my school keep saying I’m fat, and I think they’re right. I’m going on a diet and only eating vegetables, no meat. I’m also thinking I should cut dairy out. What do you think?” Her eyes were wide open, and she had a smile on her face. Richard hated young teenage girls. Not only that, but he also knew his mother had a lot to answer for, too. Opal was young and adorable. She shouldn’t be worrying about weight and calorie count.

“Opal, you’re not fat.” He moved round the counter to grasp her in a bear hug.

“No buts.” He cut her off. “You are wonderful the way you are. No talking of dieting and not eating meat. What will you do at Christmas? Forgo Turkey?”

“It’s all right for you. You don’t date fat girls.”

Richard thought of Scarlet. She wasn’t fat; at least he didn’t think she was. More a full, rounded woman with curves. Nice curves. The rounded belly at the front and the full hips, more than a handful, and giant tits he could suck on all day long. He had to stop his thoughts.

“You know you’ve just insulted a lot of women in the world. Men love a full woman ,and I don’t want to ever hear you say the fat word again. Do you understand me?”

“I don’t give a f**k about what that woman has to say. Do you understand me?”

Opal nodded her head. “I miss you. You never come around anymore.”

“Sorry, kiddo, but that place gives me the creeps. Including the two older occupants.”

“Good. Let’s talk about something else. Now do you fancy coming to work with me today?”

Richard laughed when she nodded her head in agreement. In ten minutes, he changed and prepared for work.

The contract was burning a hole through his brief case.

“I’m late. I’m late. I’m so late,” Scarlet said to herself, groaning as the zipper refused to pull up on her skirt. She rummaged through her closet to find another one. The special bargain at the supermarket on ice-cream was ruining another diet.