cover

Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Also by Lisette Ashton

Title Page

Introduction

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Epilogue

Copyright

About the Book

Cedar View looks like any other sleepy cul-de-sac in the heart of suburbia. Trees line the sides of the road. The gardens are neat and well maintained. But behind the tightly drawn curtains of each house the neighbours indulge their lewdest and bawdiest appetites. It’s not just the dominatrix at number 5, the swingers at number 6 or the sadistically sinister couple at number 4 who have secrets. There’s also the curious relationship between the Smiths, the open marriage of the Graftons, not to mention the strange goings-on at the home of Denise, a woman whose lust is never sated. Everyone on Cedar View has a secret – and they’re all about to be exposed.

About the Author

Lisette Ashton is one of Nexus’s most respected, read and treasured authors. He lives in Blackpool, Northern England

Also by Lisette Ashton

HOT PURSUIT

FORBIDDEN READING

FAIRGROUND ATTRACTIONS

THE BLACK WIDOW

THE BLACK ROOM

THE BLACK MASQUE

THE BLACK GARTER

THE BLACK FLAME

AMAZON SLAVE

NEIGHBOURHOOD
WATCH

Lisette Ashton

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Introduction

An aerial photograph of Cedar View would show that the cul-de-sac looks like an enormous keyhole. The short, straight entrance to the road is lined by two houses on either side. The curve at the road’s bulbous end, which isn’t quite wide enough for a Mini Clubman to complete a full turning circle, looks like the hole where the barrel of the key would be inserted. Not that any of the residents know or care. They have more important things on their minds. Mostly SMANKers (Solvent Middleclass And No Kids), save for Tanya Maxwell at number two with her nasty cat and her tribe of squalling brats, the residents of Cedar View do share lots of similar passions, but I suspect that an interest in the local topography is not one of them. I only mention the distinctive shape because I have a penchant for looking through keyholes.

Trees line the cul-de-sac, fledgling saps that are currently nothing more than caged twiglets and reflect the newbuild status of the surrounding houses. I don’t know if they’re going to grow into cedar trees, as would be appropriate for the street name, or some hardier variety better equipped for a life repressed by suburban paving stones. Again, I feel sure that no one else on Cedar View knows or cares. They’re involved with more immediate pursuits.

Tom, the solitary occupant of number one, is a lifelong voyeur. Next door, at number three, the Smiths are both having affairs with other residents of Cedar View. Mr Smith frequently calls on Joanne Jackson at number five. Mrs Smith regularly visits Denise Shelby at number eight. Aside from the fact they have no morals, I also get the impression that Mrs Smith rules the roost at number three Cedar View. I don’t think anyone has told Mr Smith about the dynamics of the arrangement. I’ve often seen him glumly smoking a cigar on the front doorstep, as though he and his tobacco have been banished from the picture-perfect interior of Mrs Smith’s wonderful home. I believe the word I’m searching for is pussy-whipped. John Smith hasn’t come across the term. But he will.

Joanne Jackson lives alone at number five. She has lots of visitors, if you know what I mean. She also has a water feature in her front garden: a small fountain over a pond that bubbles and trickles throughout the day. Her koi carp are large, colourful and pretty, although I think she spends an excessive amount of time tending to the damned things. It would certainly explain the wet patches on her clothing and the curious smell that surrounds her. Joanne is also pissed off because the cat from Tanya Maxwell’s at number two keeps creeping around her ornamental pond, hungrily admiring the fish.

The Graftons live at number seven, and Denise and Derek Shelby next door at number eight. Denise and the Graftons frequently share a bed. They’re like rutting rabbits. Derek doesn’t seem particularly interested in the games they play. I’ve heard people say he gets more pleasure from polishing his car than from being intimate with his wife. But Denise doesn’t let Derek’s lack of interest interfere with her sex life. Denise and the Graftons are also regular attendees at the parties thrown by Ted and the beautiful Linda at number six. Special parties, if you know what I mean. They’re all hedonists. Libertines. Sex-mad immoral – amoral – bastards. Call them what you will.

Ted and Linda have the only house on Cedar View that lays claim to a pool, at the rear of the property, inside the massive conservatory they erected two weeks after moving in. Personally I wouldn’t see the point in spending so much money on something as frivolous as a pool. And it’s not just the initial expense: there’s the upkeep, making sure the temperature is correct, maintaining the balance of water and chloride or chlorine or chloroform or whatever it is they put in to stop algae forming. But Ted and Linda seem to enjoy the thing. The pool certainly fills up at their parties. Anyway, it’s their house and their money.

A lot of people speculate about what goes on at number four. The McMurrays are a reclusive couple and spend so little time outside during daylight hours that some residents think they might be vampires. That would certainly account for the pale complexions, the gothic clothes and the midnight screams that sometimes issue from their cellar. But I know there’s a rational reason for all those things and it has nothing to do with vampires. I know that Max McMurray is one of the most competent disciplinarians a servile woman could ever wish to encounter. And I know that’s one of the reasons Megan keeps inviting her sister round to their house.

So, now you know the names of everyone on Cedar View, perhaps you’d like to meet the neighbours? They’re just this way

One

3 Cedar View

‘HE’S AT IT again.’

‘Who’s at it again?’

‘Tom. That pervy old twat from number one.’

‘What do you mean, “He’s at it again”? What’s he doing?’

‘What do you think he’s doing? The same as he always does. He’s watching.’

John stepped away from the bay window and glared at his wife. He was a tall, slender man with short blond hair and wire-rimmed spectacles. The white shirt and pale-grey pants gave him an insubstantial appearance, like a ghost. Most people described him as bookish. Neighbours, who had never thought to ask, assumed he worked in a dry, dull office and was probably some sort of accountant. Ironic, Jane thought, because her husband didn’t work in anything remotely like accounting. Like her, he was in administration.

‘I’m going out there,’ John growled angrily. ‘I’m going out there and I’m going to ram those binoculars up his arse.’

‘Binoculars?’ Jane’s eyes opened wide.

She dropped her copy of OK to the floor and rushed to her husband’s side at the window. She was shoeless – her sensible low black pumps were hidden discreetly in the hall closet behind the front door – and her stockinged feet slipped dryly over the smooth, hard laminate. The TV played muted soaps in the background, and the remote lay on the polished glass surface of the TV stand, where it was always put, so that it couldn’t be lost. The lounge looked as picturesque as an advert for furniture polish – and as antiseptic. A compact leather settee with matching armchairs dominated the floor space. The blandly tasteful walls were decorated with a triptych of blandly tasteful wedding photographs. The only clutter was the magazine Jane had just dropped on the floor.

‘You’re kidding me, aren’t you? Has he really got binoculars?’

John shrugged, as if to say, ‘Look for yourself.’

Jane twitched a corner of the net curtains to one side and squealed with a mixture of shock and delight. Tom was sitting on the low garden wall of number two. His face was half hidden behind a pair of glossy binoculars that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a James Bond movie. The contrast of the modern equipment in the gnarled and nicotine-stained hands of their decrepit neighbour was jarring but, perversely, not unexpected.

‘The brazen old bugger,’ Jane gasped.

‘I’m doing it,’ John declared. He headed for the lounge door. ‘I’m going out there, I’m going to snatch those binoculars out of his hands, and I’m going to ram them right up his –’

‘No.’

Jane didn’t shout the word. After seven years of marriage she had no need to shout any command she gave to her husband. There had been times when it was like training a dog – a tiresomely wilful dog like a Jack Russell or a particularly obstinate bull terrier. But now the hard work had been done. Jane knew she only had to speak to her husband in an appropriately stiff tone and his lapdog acquiescence, if not obedience, was instantly assured.

‘You’re not going anywhere.’

The idea came to her as though it was the fruition of a lifetime’s planning. ‘If Tom wants a show, that’s what I’m going to give him. None of the other boring shits on this street will ever do anything to properly engage his interest.’ A devilish smile lifted the corners of her mouth. Her china-blue eyes narrowed with merciless glee as she pulled the net curtains aside. ‘Stick around, darling,’ she suggested. ‘You might see something new.’

‘You’re not serious.’

‘Aren’t I?’

With the curtains drawn back the lounge seemed an hour brighter. From the corner of her eye Jane saw Tom’s binoculars twitch in her direction. A glint of sunlight on the lenses told her she had their neighbour’s full attention. Glancing at John, she saw that his naked outrage had the same wide-eyed intensity as Tom’s magnified gaze.

‘You’re joking, aren’t you?’

Jane raised an eyebrow, knowing John would back down. She had made her decision and didn’t care if he agreed or approved. More importantly, he had to know that she had made her decision and that she would never be swayed. It was one of the important lessons that she believed should be reinforced consistently throughout a good marriage. ‘If you don’t want to watch this, you can always go outside and have one of your damned cigars. No one’s stopping you, darling.’

‘What will the neighbours think?’

She regarded him coolly. ‘Fuck the neighbours. Fuck the neighbours right up the arse. The self-obsessed shits round here wouldn’t notice if I painted my backside bright blue and did cartwheels on the front lawn.’ Turning away from her husband, smiling coquettishly towards the window, she shrugged off the cream cardigan that had been draped over her shoulders.

John released a sigh of protest. It sounded like a muted groan. He looked as if he was going to say something else. Defiance glimmered briefly in his eyes, then dwindled to a smoulder and disappeared. He marched to the DVD cabinet where he kept his tubes of cigars, took one and stormed from the room.

Ignoring her husband’s departure, Jane began to pop the buttons on her cream blouse. She executed the striptease slowly, seductively, completely aware of her one-man audience. She was inspiring an excitement Tom had not felt in years. His binoculars remained fixed on her as she sashayed slowly around the room, his gaze intense and unwavering. From the little she could see of his face, he seemed to be wearing a huge, expectant grin. She knew she was thrilling him with the prospect of a private peepshow.

But it wasn’t until she had removed her blouse that Jane found the striptease personally exciting. What had started as a malicious ploy to torment Tom and remind her husband of his place beneath her in the hierarchy of their home had unexpectedly become an epiphany. She was standing in an uncurtained window, showing her lace-trimmed bra to their curious neighbour. Yet when she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the glass, she felt a sudden sting of arousal.

A regime of sensible diet and occasional exercise had kept her looking trim. She was in her early thirties, but she realised that from where Tom was watching she could pass for much younger. Her hair was dark, shoulder length, and glistened like a shampoo advert. Her pale-blue eyes sparkled with mischievous excitement. Shadowed by the double glazing, her teasing smile seemed sultry, a far cry from her usual pale and pious prudishness. The ivory lace of her bra suggested more sumptuous breasts than she recognised, and she noticed, for the first time in ages, how sleek were the curves of her waist. She hadn’t seen herself looking so desirable since the last time she called on Denise. The memory of that occasion was warming. Humming to herself, Jane began to dance.

She didn’t know how good a view Tom had from his seat on the wall across the street, but she was no longer stripping for his entertainment: she was doing this for her own satisfaction. In an ideal world someone more attractive, available and able would saunter down Cedar View and glance through her open window. She fantasised briefly about a movie star or TV celebrity strolling down the cul-de-sac, glancing into her lounge and being won over by her exhibitionism. She dismissed the thought as silly and farfetched, but the idea added a licentious darkness to her mood and bathed her with warm perspiration.

Moving to the rhythm of her humming, she continued to strip, her hips swaying from side to side. She flicked a clasp and the pastel plaid skirt that matched her pastel plaid office jacket slipped smoothly from her hips and fell to the floor. She stepped away from it, glad she had elected to wear stockings that morning, hoping Tom was able to see the sheer cream denier clinging to her legs and the stark bands that encircled her coltish thighs. It would have been fun, she thought, if John could have seen how effortlessly she presented such an elegant yet saucy image. It might have rekindled a shared interest that had been waning over the years. But if he wanted to sulk childishly on the step with his smelly cigar, he was missing the show of a lifetime.

Deliberately, Jane turned a full circle, allowing Tom to see that a matching thong complemented her lacy bra and stockings. She kept her buttocks clenched, taut, envying their neighbour’s enjoyment of the view of her neatly toned backside. When she turned to look out of the window again she saw the old man lecherously lick his lips.

Jane lifted her right bra strap and pulled it from her shoulder, then did the same with the left, leaving her slender biceps bound by the ribbon-thin strips of cream-coloured straps. Daringly, she pulled down the right cup of her bra and flashed a cherry-red nipple.

Even across the street she could see Tom’s mouth shape the word ‘Wow’. A glint of sunlight on the binoculars was like a blink of amazement.

Emboldened by his appreciation, Jane exposed her left nipple. That was as much as she was going to show him. Her striptease had already gone further than she had anticipated, and she was adamant he wouldn’t see anything else. Her smile turned stony as she reached towards the curtains and prepared to draw them closed and end his view.

The pungent scent of cigar smoke touched her nostrils, reminding her that John was just outside. She was irritated by his insensitivity. She didn’t approve of his smoking, but she allowed him to stand outside and have three cigars a day, though she found the smell nauseating. What she wanted was for him to come and help satisfy her, now that she was aroused by teasing Tom, but the thought of suffering his tobacco-flavoured kisses was repulsive.

Outraged that he had thwarted her plans, and determined to get satisfaction in one form or another, Jane shrugged the bra from her torso and continued dancing for Tom. Her breasts bobbed and swayed alluringly. She ran her splayed fingers over them, briefly concealing their plumpness from Tom’s view, as she caressed the stiff buds of her nipples. The touch excited a tremor of sensation that was unexpectedly intense. Electric ripples spread from the sensitive tips, thrilling her with a rush of pleasure. She pinched lightly at the hardened beads of flesh, then tugged with more confidence. Gripping her nipples, drawing them away from her body, she basked in a glow of delicious discomfort. Spurred on by the mounting excitement, making sure Tom was still watching, she reached for the waistband of her thong.

It would have been satisfying to wrench it off with a single, swift gesture. It would have suited her mood of defiance to tear the thong from her hips and reveal her sex suddenly and brazenly bare. But even though her thoughts were smoky with excitement, they weren’t so clouded that she was going to hurt herself and damage her underwear with such heedless hedonism. She turned her back on Tom and wriggled the rear strip of the thong down to the base of her buttocks. It was easy to picture the ribbon of fabric subtly underlining her backside. Bending forward, making her cheeks loom large for him, she slyly slid the thong over her thighs and down below her knees. When she stood up the flimsy garment fell to her ankles. And when she gracefully stepped out of the underwear and turned to face him, she was not surprised to see his leer broaden.

The excitement had been powerful before. Now it held her in a crushing embrace. The heat of her sex had been a minor distraction as she danced, stripped and showed herself topless. It had intensified as she played with her nipples. Yet, as soon as she showed her sex to Tom, her body temperature soared.

It crossed her mind that one of their other neighbours, their oh-so-respectable neighbours, might walk past the window and see what she was doing. She was a close friend of Denise Shelby at number eight but she didn’t know any of the others beyond their surnames. They would surely be shocked by her outrageous display. Even that pair who were always throwing late-night parties, the ones with a pool whose names she couldn’t remember, would be taken aback if they accidentally strolled past and saw her shamelessly displaying herself to the neighbourhood lech.

Her thoughts gave a keen edge to her arousal. She briefly wondered if John might be upset by the way she was performing for Tom. His outrage at the man’s open voyeurism suggested he wouldn’t wholly approve. She was momentarily tempted to stop herself and broach a reconciliation with her husband. But the idea of apologising, particularly when she was in the right, always made Jane defiant. ‘Fuck them all,’ she said to herself. Still dancing, still fixing her gaze on Tom as he continued to appraise her, no longer sparing a thought for her husband or the sensibilities of her neighbours, she whispered, ‘Fuck them all right up the arse.’

The hazy reflection in the window showed a woman wearing only stockings. Her shape was sleek, surprisingly willowy, but made sexually exciting by the sway of her bare breasts and the sight of her exposed sex. If she had known she would be staging such a performance, Jane thought, she might have tidied the triangle of her pubic curls into something neater and more fashionable. But that was a minor consideration and didn’t spoil the thrill of her mounting enjoyment.

As she executed a twirl she saw an open drawer spoiling the perfection of her flawless lounge. Her brow furrowed and the annoyance almost soured her mood. But when she realised it was the drawer of the DVD cabinet where John kept his filthy cigars, she had a wicked idea. She pulled out the glossy aluminium tube of a huge Cuban Presidente and rolled its fat girth between her fingers. Continuing to sway her hips from side to side, enjoying the sensation of her unencumbered breasts rising and falling, she came to a quick decision before turning back to the window.

Tom continued to watch, his gaze through the binoculars constant and unwavering.

Jane flashed him a grin of conspiratorial amusement and then stroked the rounded head of the cigar tube between her breasts. The heat of her excitement grew. Teasing the cigar tip against one nipple and then the other, daringly touching her tongue to the shiny end as though she was about to fellate the tube, Jane threw herself into the erotic dance with fresh enthusiasm.

She knew Tom was watching and that was enough to allow her to continue with her eyes closed. The consideration that other neighbours might see was pushed aside as she lost herself in the realised fantasy of the exhibitionism. She licked the end of the tube and then slid it down her bare body. The rounded end stroked between her bare breasts and over the flat expanse of her stomach. She continued to slide the glossy tube down, through the curls of her pubic bush, until it met the warm lips of her sex.

Tom continued to stare, his jaw hanging wide open. Grinning at his obvious delight, and taking a malicious pleasure in the fact that he could only look and not touch, Jane allowed the cigar tube to rest against her pussy lips, on the brink of penetration. She continued to roll her hips, remembering techniques from a long-ago interest in belly-dancing that she had never bothered to pursue. The experience was no longer like being in her own home: it was like the thrill she felt when she was with Denise.

Jane pushed the cigar firmly between her legs. It didn’t take much effort. Her sex was already warm and moist with excitement. She couldn’t recall the last time her body had been so responsive while she was at home. But she wasn’t in the mood for dwelling on such details, only for getting as much satisfaction as she could. Easing the cigar deeper, delighting in the way the thick tube pushed her sex wide, Jane threw back her head and let the rush of sensations flow through her body. Because she was standing, holding herself at an awkward angle, the tube slid against her clitoris as it slipped into her. Its slow caress and its warm smooth pressure against the centre of her sex were like a long, probing tongue.

She released a heavy sigh and then remembered her audience. Tom’s pleasure was only a minor consideration; her own satisfaction was far more important. But because she wanted to do this properly and give him the greatest show he had ever seen, she forced herself to think from his perspective. She danced back to the centre of the room, dodging the furniture, keeping the cigar pressed inside her sex, enjoying the unusual sensations of the tube moving to and fro inside her body. Her stockinged feet slid on the floor like the smoothest of sexual caresses, the whisper of nylon against laminate a soft hiss of approval. When she reached the best position, centre-stage in Tom’s view through the bay window, Jane deliberately turned around and bent over the back of the leather settee, her bare buttocks on full view for him.

She spread her legs slightly so he could see every naked millimetre of her exposed sex. It didn’t matter that an untidy bristle of curls lined the pink labia, or that he could see the crinkled, mocha-coloured ring of her anus. Keeping her hand low so it didn’t spoil Tom’s view, working her wrist slowly back and forth, Jane wanked herself with the cigar tube.

It had gone from a performance to an experience. Her need for satisfaction was now more pressing than her need to show herself to the lecherous neighbour. Her priority was to squeeze a much-needed climax from her sex. Quickening her pace, thrusting the tube in and out with increased vigour, she teetered on the brink of orgasm. She bit her lower lip, savouring the mounting joy as it built in the pit of her stomach.

The idea of exposing herself so intimately had never crossed her mind before. But now, with the prospect of satisfaction only seconds away, Jane was amazed that she had never discovered this thrill. The seven years of her marriage seemed like a desert, barren of pleasure. Aside from her friendship with Denise Shelby it was a joyless existence that could have been spent far more productively. She felt a rush of anger that John had never helped her to uncover this part of her personality or to exploit its potential for pleasure.

And then the orgasm struck. The climax came with a fluid force. Her inner muscles contracted, expanded, quivered, relaxed. Wetness soaked her sex and daubed her upper thighs with a warm stickiness. The orgasm seared through her pussy with the heat and force of an exploding furnace. She had been sweat-swathed before but now she dripped with perspiration. Her naked stomach stuck to the leather of the settee. Between her thighs she was hot and sodden and desperate for more.

Greedily, she continued to slide the cigar back and forth. She briefly wondered if another contraction of her muscles might crush the fragile tube, but it slid so easily in and out that she decided not to worry about it. The second orgasm built swiftly inside her loins. She rubbed faster, desperate for another burst of satisfaction. Raising her head slightly, glancing over her shoulder and through the window, she saw Tom’s gaze fixed unwaveringly on her naked backside. He grinned as she worked her hand more quickly back and forth. The sight was enough to take her to the extremes of another climax. She howled with pleasure.

Her muscles clenched so tight they pushed the cigar tube from her sex. From a distance Jane heard it clatter and skid across the floor, as she soared over the highest plateau of satisfaction.

Her body trembled. Her fingers shook so much that she pushed them against her sex to still their tremors. She eventually caught her breath. She didn’t bother searching for the fallen cigar tube. Her body demanded something more satisfying than a slender length of aluminium. Shivering with arousal, Jane magnanimously decided it was time to give her husband the benefits of her excitement. Even if he still stank of cigar smoke, she was desperate enough to let him take advantage of her desires. Anyway, there were places on her body where he could place his lips without causing too much offence. The thought made her grin lecherously. Hesitating for an instant, not sure if she should beckon him with a curt command or a sultry summons, Jane teased another eddy of pleasure from the open lips of her sex. Teetering on the brink of a third climax, and deciding this was probably the best time for John to become involved in the situation, Jane opened her mouth to call his name and allow him the privilege of her body.

‘I’ve had enough of this,’ John shouted from the hall. ‘I’m going to the pub with my mates.’

Before she could respond the door slammed closed.

‘Fuck him!’ she murmured angrily. If he was happy to miss his chance with the horniest woman on Cedar View, then he could go and do whatever the hell pleased him. Angrily she hissed, ‘Fuck him right up the arse.’

Two

5 Cedar View

IF JOHN SMITH had been pressed to identify the horniest woman on the View, Jane Smith would have been the penultimate name on his list. Beneath his wife, a long way beneath his wife, he conceded in a spirit of grudging marital respect, was the shapeless, slovenly single mother at number two, Tanya Maxwell. He supposed it was unfair to dismiss her so abruptly. He didn’t know her well enough to be sure if his low opinion of her was justified or simply based on a prejudice against her wash-weary pink sweat-suits and her dislocated air of inner-city poverty. He did know that it was always her children who were blamed for the occasional spurts of petty vandalism that struck the View. And he felt certain it was Tanya Maxwell’s cat that kept digging shit-holes in his front lawn.

Above his wife he would have placed Denise Shelby and Rhona Grafton, as well as Ted’s Linda from number six. There would have been no particular order or preference in his arrangement. Blonde, brunette and redhead, respectively, none was particularly glamorous but all were attractive in a soft-focus fashion. Denise Shelby usually looked as if someone else had selected her clothes, nevertheless, the woman inside the mismatched ensembles of pinks and blues or stripes and paisleys was obviously attractive. When she wore her biker gear – tight leather jeans, figure-hugging jacket and a full-face helmet – he thought she looked like a goddess. But then any woman on the View, even Tanya Maxwell, would have looked desirable in such an outfit.

He considered this for an instant and then shook his head to dismiss the idea. It seemed acceptable to argue the sexual pros and cons of all the women on the View, but Tanya Maxwell didn’t belong in that grouping. He wasn’t even sure Denise, Rhona or Linda really deserved his high estimation. He only believed they were more sexually exciting than Jane because they weren’t domineering, ball-busting megabitches. Or, if they were, they weren’t domineering him or busting his balls. And in his heart he knew that none of them was sufficiently spectacular to earn first or second place on his private list of the View’s horniest women.

Across the road, the mysterious Ms McMurray stepped from the door of number four, tossing a mane of jet hair from her brow. Her head turned to the left, then the right, as though she were looking for something or someone she wanted to avoid. Her eyes were hidden by sunglasses as black as her hair, the lenses so large they hid most of her alabaster face. When her gaze swept in the direction of Tom from number one, her retroussé nose wrinkled with disgust and she quickly looked away.

Her body was draped with a long leather coat. Sleek, sexy and shiny, it dusted the floor as she walked down the path. Although the leather concealed most of her slender figure, the slit up the front of the coat occasionally parted to deliver a flash of fishnets and ankle boots. In one porcelain-pale hand she held a torn envelope and a small sheet of pink paper.

John blinked to make sure she wasn’t a figment of his imagination. He didn’t think he had ever seen her during daylight hours before. Ordinarily Ms McMurray was a creature of the night, a stranger he glimpsed in the glow of the View’s two streetlights, a shadow from his wet dreams, an enigma from the realms of suburban legend. On his personal list of the cul-de-sac’s most desirable women Ms McMurray competed for pole position with his darkly beautiful neighbour Joanne Jackson. The temptation to stop and stare, as Ms McMurray sauntered smoothly down the path, across the street and towards number seven, was almost irresistible.

But remembering his own outrage at the obvious voyeurism of Peeping Tom from number one – and the dirty old sod was still sitting there, one hand holding the binoculars to his eyes, the other thrust hard against his groin – John tore his gaze away and stepped through the gate of number five.

The sound of the water feature was with him immediately. The burble and glug of the fountain, splashing constantly and musically on to the ornamental pond, aroused him. It was the sound he always heard before he enjoyed the best sex of his life. A smile stretched across his face. He drew a deep breath, already aware of the stiffness in his pants, and pushed open her front door.

The scent of incense made his pulse quicken. The smoky floral perfume always reminded him of sexual satisfaction, punishing passion and glorious golden gratification. It was the fragrance he associated with visiting Joanne. He remembered an argument with Jane once, when she told him he had no interest in foreplay. Well, it hadn’t been so much an argument as Jane shouting, ‘Your idea of foreplay is to get an erection.’ He hadn’t said anything in response and had gone outside to have a cigar, but the harsh accusation had hurt, and he realised now that it was unfounded. He did enjoy foreplay and always had. Leaving Jane at home, walking to Joanne’s, hearing her fountain and inhaling the scent of the smouldering incense sticks: those were all elements of the foreplay rituals he enjoyed with his illicit lover. Quashing the urge to smile at this discovery of his sensitive side, enjoying the bowel-tingling thrill of being close to Joanne, and away from Jane, he closed the door gently behind himself.

‘When will you ever learn to knock?’

‘Joanne?’

Mistress Joanne.’

He swallowed a nervous shriek and nodded.

She stood in the doorway of the kitchen at the far end of the hall, looking like the embodiment of his darkest desires. Thigh-high boots with eight-inch heels. A black corset compressed her full waist and made her plump breasts look even more generous. She had tied back her blonde hair so it looked viciously severe. In her left hand she held a riding crop, a quivering extension of her anger.

John’s erection ached as though it was about to explode.

Mistress Joanne,’ he concurred.

‘You’re wearing shoes.’

He apologised and began to wrench them from his feet. At home, next door, with Jane, he despised the ritual of removing his shoes and placing them in the neat, tidy shoe cupboard behind the front door. His wife’s insistence that he remove his shoes before entering his own home was a slight upon his masculinity and made him feel dominated, emasculated. But here, whenever Joanne demanded he remove his shoes, John found the act of going barefoot highly erotic. It was another element of the foreplay that Jane claimed he didn’t understand.

‘You’re standing up.’

He knew what she expected and dutifully fell to his knees. She looked taller from this perspective, more commanding and more beautiful than ever.

He longed for her.

‘How dare you walk in here unannounced,’ she declared, striding towards him. ‘Tanya spent the morning hoovering this house, cleaning from top to bottom. And you think you can simply march in here wearing your nasty shoes? Do you think that’s acceptable behaviour?’

She was in front of him and towering over him. His face was on the level of the crotch of her panties. The familiar scent of her sex was warm, musty, musky and inviting. He inhaled deeply before dropping his gaze and mumbling another apology. His erection was a steel rod inside his pants. His balls strained for release.

‘You stink of cigars. And you’ve only come here for one thing, haven’t you? It’s the same thing you come here for every Tuesday and Thursday night, isn’t it?’

Blushing, he nodded.

She made no response and, as the silence stretched to breaking point, he knew she wanted him to say the words. Trying not to stammer, hoping she wouldn’t berate him for not being worthy, he spluttered, ‘Yes, Mistress Joanne.’

She shook her head and used the riding crop to slap him twice across the backside. His shorts and trousers cushioned the blows but he still felt twin stings of discomfort. Joanne used the tip of her crop to point at the toe of her boot.

‘Only one person is allowed footwear in this house. Who is that?’

‘You, Mistress Joanne.’

‘And why am I allowed footwear?’

This was a new one. John hesitated. Was she allowed footwear because it was her house? Or was it because she was the one in charge and he was merely her inferior? Maybe there was another reason he had missed? Knowing she despised lies and stupidity, aware that a wrong answer would earn him a punishment more severe than two stripes across the back of his trousers, John shook his head sorrowfully and lowered his gaze. His heart pounded with fresh enthusiasm and he savoured the sensation of bowing to her authority.

‘I don’t know why you’re allowed footwear, Mistress Joanne.’

She sneered at him. Her maraschino lips wrinkled with disgust. Her teeth were as white and predatory as a shark’s. ‘I’m allowed to wear boots because I have slaves like you to keep them clean. Slaves like you to lick them clean.’ She spat the words with obvious impatience. ‘Stay down on your knees,’ she said, stepping past him. The heels of her boots clicked hollow against the floor. ‘Follow me into the front room. I want to see what’s going on outside.’

‘There’s nothing going on out there,’ John mumbled. ‘Only that old pervert from number one spying on everyone with his binoculars.’ She either didn’t hear or she wasn’t listening. She walked through to the front room. John, still on his knees, shuffled after her.

The layout of Joanne’s house was identical to that of the home he shared next door with his wife. He supposed all the houses on Cedar View were virtually identical. The only difference he could see between Joanne’s house and his own was that where he and Jane had a lounge, Joanne had a front room, and he wasn’t sure if that counted as a real difference. When the buildings had been completed the designers had installed laminate flooring throughout all the properties and finished off their work with the same fixtures, fittings and colour schemes. Joanne’s choice in furniture, however, stretched to a darker shade of leather than the suite Jane had installed in number three.

Joanne walked to the bay window and rested her elbows on its sill. Like a well-trained dog, John followed at her heel. Because she was bending slightly he was able to admire the rounded curves of her backside. Joanne had no time for thongs, dismissing them as uncomfortable and unflattering. Staring at the panel of black fabric that concealed her broad rear, John thought she was probably right not to compromise her principles for the sake of fashion. But he still wished he could take a good look at her bare bottom. The unspoken desire filled him with a mixture of longing and frustration.

‘Was that the McMurray woman I just saw? Going over to the Graftons? What the hell is she doing out before nightfall?’

John said nothing. He had been present during conversations like this before and knew he was not expected to contribute or participate. As soon as he was close enough to Joanne’s backside she extended a foot and presented him with her boot. It was his job to hold her shin and then lick the sole of her boot, kiss the toe and the heel, while he worshipped her superiority. The bent leather behind her knee squeaked softly as he held her leg. His erection ached and throbbed with the urgent need for release.

‘I didn’t think she ever went out during daylight,’ Joanne murmured. There was a trace of irritation in her tone, as if a secret had been kept from her. ‘And what’s she doing at the Graftons? Rhona and Charlie have never mentioned that they know her.’

Joanne’s