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"The Grace X Files"     
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                                                                                     Grace X Contents Page
                                                          Chapter Three
                                                           Methods of Cheating

Ariel pressed a fingertip against the bathroom mirror, virtually into Grace’s eyes as she gazed at the
one-way glass. Grace herself found her invisibility amusing—she pursed her lips at the unseeing
woman in a mock kiss.

The fingertip left no mark on the glass. Though the gold body-paint covering Ariel had stayed liquid
in the tub, clearly it was fast-drying when applied to skin. Ariel smiled at herself in the mirror, her
white teeth dazzling against the now-gold of her face.

A clicking sound came from the speaker in the surveillance space. Another key going into the lock
of the suite’s outer door. At first Ariel didn’t seem to hear it, but then a voice called her name from
the outer room, and she turned. She didn’t go all the way out to the suite’s sitting room, but only as
far as the bedroom. There, she arranged herself on the bed in a posture of distinctly sensual

Gephart came into the bedroom, as usual his calm, unruffled self—looking at the nude golden
woman on the bed with a casual gaze, as if such things were quite commonplace for him.

“Hello my dear,” he said, his eyes roving to the other golden object on the bed. “Well, so there it is.”

Ariel lowered her eyes to the gold medal resting where she had left it near her feet. “Yes,” her
dazzling smile returned. “For once you’re going to have something unique, Auric. Even without
this…” she teased a finger across the curve of one of her golden breasts, continuing from there
down along her taut stomach, to finally rest it at the edge of the painted, fine hairs of her pubic
mound, “…you’re in the company of a woman of gold tonight.”

“Quite so.” Gephart’s lip curled upward slightly, as if he found the arrogant pride in her voice
entertaining. “I expected no less.”

Ariel frowned. “No congratulations? I think I’ve earned them.”

“You’ve earned a great deal more than that, my dear.”

Gephart moved toward the bed. Grace, watching them, was slightly startled when the Korean sidled
up right beside her and lightly tapped on the one-way glass with a black-gloved hand. Grace gave
him a look of scorn, which prompted him to grin. He pointed toward the bedroom beyond the
surveillance glass with more insistence.

“I don’t take orders from you.” Grace adjusted her expression to one of pure haughtiness,
wondering just how much it took for a proper insult to get through this moron’s skull. “I’ll go out
there when I’m damn well ready.”

The Korean’s expression didn’t change. He pointed again toward the scene in the bedroom. Ariel
had moved to the edge of the bed, and Gephart was casually undoing his cuffs and the buttons of
his shirt.

“Do you want me to wear it?” As she slipped past it on the bed, Ariel brushed a toe suggestively
against the gold medal.

“Of course,” Gephart answered. “This, if anything, is an occasion where gaudy excess is

Grace turned her back fully on the Korean, who had the audacity to tap her on the shoulder and
point again.

“You do that again,” Grace turned and said in a low voice, “and I’ll add you to the Frost contract and
charge Gephart double for the corpse I’ll make out of you.”

The Korean just grinned again. Grace gritted her teeth, severely tempted to put her threat into
action. But no. She had better things to do. She gave him a perfectly sweet smile—quite belied by
the killing intensity that she knew was boring outward from the wide black pupils of her eyes.

She brushed past the Korean and moved through the linked surveillance spaces until she came to
the one that looked out on the sitting room. From there she could see the open door of the
bedroom, and just glimpse the figures beyond. A cleverly-constructed panel beside the sitting room
mirror was arranged so that it could be quietly pushed outward—Grace pressed on it gently and
slipped into the room, making no more noise than a ghost.

As she crossed the sitting room she paused momentarily at the discarded pile of Ariel’s clothes.
She crouched, picking up one of the black nylon stockings the woman had removed. Her favorite
type of garrote—still warm from Ariel’s body heat. She lifted it to her face, breathing in a subtle
scent of sweat and perfume.

Ever so tempting. But unfortunately, that wasn’t how Gephart had instructed her he wanted things
done. She considered using the nylon anyway, just to piss him off, but then relented. He was paying
for this party. She’d give him exactly what he’d requested.

Grace edged silently to the door of the bedroom. The mirror that she’d been standing behind a
moment ago now gave her a perfect view, through reflection, of the scene continuing to unfold in
the bedroom. Ariel, the gold medal ribbon now around her neck and the medallion itself dangling
between her breasts, had gone to her knees in front of Gephart. She had unfastened his belt and
lowered his trousers, freeing his cock.

Grace raised an eyebrow in appreciation. Gephart, with his short body and disproportionate limbs,
had left her distinctly unimpressed. But the richest man in the world, despite not having the
reputed gold prick, could still lay claim to being hung like a horse. Gephart’s cock, as Ariel’s tongue
snaked out toward the tip of it, quickly stiffened into a pole of sufficient length that it looked
capable of spearing her.

So you don’t need a switchblade for a phallic substitute after all, do you golden boy?

The mix of raw sex, exotic gold-painted woman, and anticipation of the oncoming moment of death
sent heat lancing through Grace’s pussy again—far more so than she’d experienced during the
killing of the trainer in the alley. Gephart had said he loved elaborate productions. Grace felt with a
surging, wild certainty, that this particular production was going to be a highlight of her career.

Ariel took Gephart’s massive member into her mouth slowly, running her gold lips along the shaft
until she was deep-throating him. Remarkable control, not to choke with all that in her throat. But all
things in their time.

Ariel worked the muscles of her jaws and neck with Gephart swallowed to the hilt—it must have
been an superlative suck. The woman was an athlete in more than one arena. Finally, Ariel inclined
her head back, coming off Gephart’s cock, leaving it glistening from the moist interior of her mouth
as she pressed her tongue along its underside for the duration of the withdrawal.

“You are one of a kind, my dear.” Gephart commented with urbane calm, much to Grace’s
amazement. After a suck like that, most men would have been panting and gasping.

Ariel smiled, came up from her knees—she was actually slightly taller than Gephart—and then
lounged back seductively on the bed. “The best in the world,” was her response, as she fingered
the medal between her breasts.

Gephart completed the removal of his pants, draping them with decorum on the bed beside Ariel.

“As to that,” he said, “you are the best today because I made you the best.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You know as well as I do that Orban-Szabo would have beaten you,” he continued. “Except for the
sad incident of her trainer. But a silver medal for you tonight simply would not have been

“Olga’s trainer was mugged. She put on an inspired bout today, trying to win the medal as a
memorial to him.”

“Delude yourself all you want. She would have beaten you soundly, had I not seen to the ‘mugging’
you refer to, and damaged the woman’s nerve. Her trainer was mugged by an assassin of
consummate skill, in my employ.”

Ariel’s beautiful face twisted in anger. “I don’t believe you.”

Equably, Gephart dipped a hand into the pocket of his pants beside her on the bed. Watching in the
mirror, Grace saw him take out the gold switchblade. Even with the blade closed, crusted blood was
visible on it. He held it out toward Ariel with a mild smile.

“You complete bastard!” she shouted. “I could have beaten her fair and square.”

“I think not,” he replied. “And you know I love only gold, my dear. Silver is really such a cheap metal.
In any case, I see it’s not the Romanian’s death that troubles you. Only that it tarnishes your glory.
There are many methods of cheating, Ariel, for a woman with a heart that cold.”

Without another word, Ariel lunged back, pulled open the drawer of the bed-table, and gripped her
gun. The Walther came up in her steady hand, aimed right at Gephart’s forehead.

“Bastard!” she repeated. She wrapped her other, empty hand around the medal. “Do you know how
long I worked for this? How many years?”

“Cheap.” Gephart answered. “Though I appreciate it as a decoration of course, I believe they are
only gold plated. But now that we come to the truth in all things, are you going to confess your
other mode of cheating? An MI6 operative, out to cheat me of my own little golden empire?”

“You’re damn right,” Ariel all but snarled. “Empire? You’re a smuggler…a thief.”

“Metallurgist and speculator, darling,” he corrected in a benign tone.

Ariel let go of the medal and pointed at the switchblade in Gephart’s hand.
“With that little piece of evidence, it’s murder that’s finally going to put you away…darling.”

Gephart set the closed switchblade down on his pants, and in an accommodating fashion, raised his
hands. “You clearly have me at your mercy, my love.”

Ariel extended her legs and rose from the bed, holding the gun unwaveringly on Gephart. She
circled until she was on his far side, and began to back slowly out of the bedroom. Right toward

“I’ll just use the phone in the outer room to call some colleagues.” Her voice was hard, edged with
anger and triumph. “I’m going to enjoy seeing them drag you out of here, Auric, cuffed with the
most common fucking metal possible.”

One more step back, and the stunning golden figure was within an arm’s length of Grace. Moving
from beside the door, Grace lashed out in two ways—slamming the flat of her palm against Ariel’s
shoulder to foul the woman’s gun-hand and aim, while simultaneously gripping the gold medal
ribbon around Ariel’s neck and twisting it savagely tight.

“Agg-ukk…” was the only sound Ariel could manage as the ribbon bit into the flesh of her throat.
The woman had the presence of mind to hold onto the gun, trying to swing it around on Grace, but
the angle was all wrong.

A rush of adrenaline and erotic excitement charged through Grace, making her feel strong—no,
goddamnit, invincible. Ariel’s splendid muscles tightened and wrenched as the woman fought to
thrash free of Grace’s grip. Instead of trying to pull herself away, Ariel heaved her body right into
Grace’s, probably hoping to overbalance the assassin. For a precarious second it almost worked—
Grace swayed, barely keeping her feet. But she was taller than Ariel, and as she had predicted,
stronger. Getting into a solid posture again, she put a knee into the small of the other woman’s
back and hauled the ribbon even tighter, gripping it so fiercely that it bit into the skin of her own
hand. The medallion itself came up hard against Ariel’s windpipe, flipping itself on edge and closing
off her breath completely. Ariel finally dropped the gun.

Grace felt a dizzying ecstasy—the killing orgasm she’d experienced when knifing Ariel’s trainer was
nothing compared to this. She found herself moaning with pleasure as Ariel’s golden form
continued to thrash against her. The gurgling sounds in Ariel’s throat were exquisite. Grace
reached around and clamped one hand over a golden breast, holding the woman tight to her as she
throttled the life out of her.

Ariel’s resistance started to weaken, her efforts at punching or elbowing becoming softer,
disjointed flailings. Grace wanted to see her face. She pulled the woman further into the room and
twisted her around so they were facing the big bedroom mirror.

Ah, perfect. Ariel’s eyes were wide, her mouth open. Her tongue appeared at the corner of her
mouth, tentatively at first, then extending farther and farther to an exaggerated degree. Grace let
go of Ariel’s breast and skimmed her hand down across her stomach to her gold-painted pussy,
using two fingers to open her victim’s labia, then dipping a finger into her slit. Soaking wet.
Hypoxia’s violent cessation of breath was supposed to be accompanied by intensely sexual
sensations. What a way to go.

Ariel’s eyes bulged and her legs trembled—a last climax? Well, enjoy it, bitch. Grace began to be
wracked with a climax of her own, first rippling, then tearing through her. She shrieked, taking in
the sight of her own face in the mirror as she did: the dark pupils of her eyes like circles of abyssal
jet, her lips wide apart, as if ready to be kissed.

Ariel’s hands hung limply at her sides. She sank to her knees, Grace’s finger slipping out of her
pussy. Her head lolled to one side.

With a gasp of satisfaction, Grace released her grip on the ribbon. Ariel toppled over on her face,
ass-up, hands straggling by her sides. Grace flexed her strangling-hand to get the circulation back
into it, and she raised her other hand languidly to her mouth, tonguing the fingertip to taste Ariel’s


She turned, remembering that Gephart was still in the bedroom with her. His erection was still rock-
hard. He looked at the stone-dead body of the strangled Ariel, then nodded to Grace.

“Remarkable performance, Miss Xavier,” he said.

To be continued...
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Comment from: Nighthawk
Date: March 3, 2012


I have read this to be honest not just because I think its fantastic, which it is, but
to somewhat study your style.

I truly love the way you write!

You make everything flow and make it look so easy. The story is so good, and the
writing is excellent.

Thank you my friend, for letting all of us enjoy what you do, and for showing us
how its done.


Comment from: Grace X
Date: March 3, 2012

Othello hon, when you deliver, you deliver! This is just over the moon sexy and
intense...I gotta confess my mouth was hanging open when I read your description
of me strangling the golden Ariel. Sweet Jesus!

I see a lot of the style you use in your mainstream erotic novels here, and that is
just so amazing to read an Erotica Noir tale using those same techniques.

Loved my irritation with Oddjob, and my threat to kill him and charge Goldfinger
double, lol!

But the murder scene just came alive (no, dead!) for me, hon. After reading
countless sexy death scenes over the years I always wonder how a writer is going
to pull it off to make it seem like a new and wildly intense experience. You make it
seem so easy but I know it can't be...that's the magic of writers and their craft.
You, Moon Shiner, Nighthawk and Fleming (and Astro too, with his screenplays)
just blow me away with your talent.

WOW! (and I get to die myself in the next installment, right??)

Comment from: Moon Shiner
Date: March 7, 2012

A simply intriguing story line.  Each character, we know is holding a trump card, a
secret that only is known to themselves, each believing it will take the others.

AG using Ariel's pride in her victory, crushing it with his arranged cheat.  Using
her anger to put herself into a position of weakness.  Letting her over confidence
generate her mistake.  Ariel played her card, it was trumped by Grace, AG and
Oddjob both have one too, which one will have the Ace?

That's the cliff hanger, well scripted and still not certain.

The erotic gold Ariel along with the sensual sexual encounter, sophisticated and
erotic, described in detail, yet still elegant.

AG's intelligence to predict Ariel's action, placing Grace in just the right place to
be most effective.

A stroke of professional planning.

Grace's strangle, again scripted by AG, insisting she be done with the gold medal.  
Very symbolic, the line, I love gold, could have been completed truthfully with and
only gold.

The strangle, struggle and realization of eminent death, erotically described from
both the view of the killer and the victim.
The whole experience leaving the formidable Grace in a state of passionate
excitement.  Her own sexual needs starting to cloud normally ruthless cunning.

Your dialog is fantastic, the smooth back and forth between lovers, the surly
expression of anger, then the cruel admittance of betrayal.  All done with dialog.
Even Grace's frustration with taking orders from a smiling deadly monkey, quite
funny, all of it stripping away her iron shell.

Yes, magic, from every point of view.

Aw Grace, you best be careful, that stocking you wanted to use, may come back
to haunt you, There may be two gold beauties in that bed.

Well, we can only hope.

Great chapter, thrilling, erotic and well done.

Thanks Othello.

Comment from: Othello
Date: March 8, 2012

Nighthawk, Grace and Moon Shiner, thank you. This story continues to be
marvelous fun to write.

Grace, you are pure inspiration (and to answer your question: yes, the time has
come for your namesake in this tale to reach "the highlight of her career", in a
blaze of sex and death glory.

Nighthawk, you are very gracious, and I so appreciate the good words from as fine
a writer as yourself. Showcasing your own work here has been such a privilege.
And will continue to be, as more of your remarkable Grace X stories are

Moon Shiner, you are a great friend and an astute reader and critic -- I love your
insights, and also the fact that you don't miss a thing! Yes, watch out for that
discarded stocking of Ariel's that tempted you so, Grace...and wouldn't two golden
beauties in that bed of noir erotica be something?