tem·per·ance (ˈtemp(ə)rəns/submit) - noun
abstinence, moderation, or self-restraint.
Leah has been counseling high-profile addicts for almost a decade, so she’s accustomed to the need for discretion. But her latest client, who goes by the name Mr. C, demands total anonymity. She’s never seen his face, but his deep, rich voice occupies her naughtiest dreams and fantasies.
Mr. C’s sex addiction is threatening to take over his life. The only thing keeping it from consuming him is his twice-weekly video chat session with Dr. Grayson. Though his webcam is pointed at a nondescript area of his study, her webcam is always pointed at those succulent lips and her long, lithe legs, which he can’t stop fantasizing about. He must have her.
Will Leah and Mr. C submit to their forbidden passion? Or will they practice temperance when a dinner party they both attend presents them with the ultimate temptation?
“Remember the first rule of overcoming addiction: Be mindful of the way you think. Don’t think in terms of what you will lose when you give up your addiction. Think of what you’ll gain. In your case, you’ll gain a greater sense of control over your business and relationships.”
“But I have control over both of those. My problem is that there’s nothing I can’t have with a snap of my fingers. If I want something, I make it mine. The only thing I can’t have is too much of something.” He pauses for a moment, but I remain quiet so he can continue. “I’m not married, so I can fuck anyone I want. I just can’t fuck them anywhere, anytime, and any way I want. I can buy anything I want, except that which is not for sale. My problem is that I want it all: money, power, sex. I want it everywhere. I want it all the time. Even now.”
I clear my throat as I uncross and recross my ankles. “There you go. That’s progress. I didn’t know you were unmarried.”
“Does that surprise you, Leah?”
The way he speaks my name, with a soft growl on the first syllable, makes my pulse race.
“Well, no, but it is good information for me to have. It helps me…to assess the risks you’re taking in order to feed your addiction. So tell me, Mr. C,” I continue in a more formal tone. “What risk were you taking last night…your encounter with the waitress?”
He chuckles heartily and the sound sends a chill coursing down my spine. “The waitress is married…to my executive chef.”
My body stiffens at the ease with which he describes his wanton behavior. “That sounds like a potentially dangerous situation. How did you feel going into it? Was there a moment where you felt you could choose to stop?”
“Maybe… Maybe when I hoisted her onto the hood of her car and spread her legs. Maybe I stared at that pink, glistening clit and thought: It wouldn’t be very gentlemanly of me to stop now. Or maybe when I slid my tongue inside her and inhaled her musk, I thought: I shouldn’t give her a taste of something she’ll never have with her fiancé. Or it’s possible that when I sucked on her clit, and her body convulsed, I thought: Maybe I shouldn’t make her scream too loud.”
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