Overdue for Pleasure

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Overdue For Pleasure By Shelley Aikens Mandy is content with her job as a librarian, her longtime boyfriend, Martin, and the lovely home they share. So what if their sex life is vanilla? She’s not the wild type anyway. But when she wakes up one morning—unsatisfied—from an erotic dream starring her favorite movie star, Mandy starts to crave sexual adventure in real life. Too bad Martin won’t oblige, because it’s not Tuesday or Friday. Then Mandy finds out what Martin’s been doing the other days of the week—or rather, who. And suddenly she needs to prove to herself that she’s not boring in bed. Fortunately, there is no shortage of smoking-hot men willing to help her on her sensual quest: a nameless library patron who could be Brad Pitt’s twin, a coworker she suddenly sees in a different light, and the neighbor who usually rubs her the wrong way wants to show her he can rub her the oh-so-right way, too! Lucky for Mandy, her lovers are more than willing to share...

Dear Reader, Thank you for purchasing this Carina Press title. Now that we’ve moved past launch month, introduced you to some of the variety of genres we’ll be offering and showcased the talent of the authors we’re acquiring, we’re working to fulfill the mission “Where no great story goes untold” even further. Every day brings new deadlines and new challenges for us, but it also brings us the excitement of acquiring amazing author talent and manuscripts we can’t wait to share with you. Each month we’ll be looking to further expand our catalog and the genres we offer, in our journey to become your destination for ebooks. We’ll continue our commitment to bringing you great voices and great stories, and we hope you’ll continue to find stories you can love and authors you can support. We love to hear from readers, and you can email us your thoughts, comments and questions to [email protected] You can also interact with Carina Press staff and authors on our blog, Twitter stream and Facebook fan page. Happy reading! ~Angela James Executive Editor, Carina Press www.carinapress.com www.twitter.com/carinapress www.facebook.com/carinapress

Chapter 1 Brad’s tongue on my nipple was soft, pulling it up to an aching peak inside his beautiful mouth, his hand travelling down my body, tempting me with its slow, circling progress. I arched my hips toward him, trying to hurry his fingers towards my hungry, wet cunt, but still his fingers stayed teasingly out of reach. I moaned in frustration, surprised when I heard an echoing moan coming from the next room. Brad seemed oblivious to the sound, his hand and mouth continuing to travel across my body, his sparkling blue eyes smiling as my frustration mounted. Gradually, the distant echo became clearer—it sounded like someone was in the next room, singing badly out of key. As the singing got louder, Brad’s touch started to lighten, to fade away, as though he was nothing more than a ghost. And then suddenly he was gone, and the singing was now even louder than ever. I opened my eyes with a groan of understanding—it had been nothing more than a dream and, sadly, Brad Pitt wasn’t really here in my bed seducing me. The only man around was my boyfriend, Martin, who was in the bathroom belting out a Rolling Stones song: “I can’t get noooo satisfaction…” I sighed as the truth of the words struck me. I could feel how turned on I was, how frustrated. Nothing like almost having sex with Brad Pitt first thing in the morning to get a girl hot and bothered, I thought. I reached down to satisfy the ache, but I knew that I needed more than just

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an orgasm. I needed to be fucked as hard as possible, as soon as possible. But I knew that it would be a long shot to get Martin interested in sex right now. After all, it wasn’t Friday or Tuesday evening, or Sunday afternoon, which were his preferred times for sex. But then again, what man would ever turn down sex? I could hear the shower running and knew that I had a few minutes, so I ran down to the guest bathroom, quickly brushed my teeth and hair, and assessed my naked body in the mirror. Not bad, I thought; most guys wouldn’t turn me away. Thin but not too thin, curvy but not too curvy, average height, strong and fit, with breasts that were large but not too large, an ass that wasn’t too lumpy, and my favorite asset of all—my long, shapely Rockettes legs, my one and only vanity. I decided that I looked pretty good for first thing in the morning, my long, brown hair falling halfway down my back, a bit frizzy but free of tangles now, my lightlyfreckled face and blue eyes looking unusually fresh and awake after a not-quite-sufficient sleep last night and a somewhat restless awakening. I guess making out with Brad Pitt does a body good. Confident I was working with the best I had, I went back to the master bathroom, where Martin was just stepping out of the shower. He smiled at me, his sparkling-white, expensively-capped teeth flashing. “Good morning, darling!” he chimed, as usual at his perky best first thing in the morning. I smiled in return, giving him a lingering kiss on the lips. “Good morning, honey. Thanks for the serenade.” He gave a cheesy grin and sang a few more bars of the song as he dried himself, doing a little striptease-type

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dance with the towel. Almost sexy—mostly ridiculous, but in my current state, pretty much any reasonably fit naked man would turn me on. And Martin had a very nice body, which he kept in good shape by going to the gym five days a week, lifting weights (but not so much that he would look bulky under his suits), playing squash (to keep up that competitive edge), and working out on the elliptical machine (to stay toned and keep up his endurance). Basically, he had the body of a swimmer or a biker—nothing remarkable, but very easy to look at. I stepped toward him as he finished his dance, letting my eyes travel down his body. “Speaking of not getting any satisfaction,” I said suggestively, letting my fingers travel down his body toward his crotch. I kissed him again slowly, pulling his cock into my hands, feeling it start to thicken against my touch. He kissed me back for a moment, running his hands up and down my back before pulling away. “Darling, you know I’d love to, but I’m in such a rush this morning.” He looked regretful, but also a tiny bit annoyed. “How about a rain check—tomorrow night?” I sighed. Tomorrow was Tuesday, Martin’s usual scheduled time for intercourse. I gave a small smile. “Sure, Martin, we can wait until tomorrow.” He went back to singing the song, slapping me on my ass as I walked back into the bedroom. I felt a bit glum—I knew that Martin loved me, but sex didn’t seem to be very high on his list of priorities. Two nights a week and Sunday afternoons, standard missionary position, except on Friday night, when we might mix it up a bit. It wasn’t that sex with him was awful, but it wasn’t mind-blowingly wonderful, Brad Pitt-style sex either.

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I glanced at the clock and frowned. Now I didn’t even have enough time left for some self-satisfaction before work. But looking on the bright side, I didn’t really feel like it anymore. If only I could have slept just a bit longer, Brad would have taken care of me… Oh well, at least I knew my trusty vibrator was waiting for me when I got home from work—it would never let me down. *** A few hours later, at the public library where I worked, I had almost managed to forget about Brad—that is, until a man who could have been his identical twin showed up at the reference desk, smiling down at me, his eyes sparkling bright blue. I had seen him in the library before and had spoken to him a few times. But we hadn’t had a real conversation until now, and I found myself surprisingly tongue-tied— he was so good-looking that I was thrown off balance and could never think of anything even remotely interesting to say. Luckily, the conversation came around to professional matters. He was looking for a book, which I easily found in the catalogue. “Well, it looks like you’re in luck, we do have that book here,” I said as I scribbled down the call number. “It’s at the back of the library—would you like me to show you where it is?” “Thanks, that would be great. I can never seem to find anything in this place.” I led the way to the back of the library, a dozen butterflies flittering through my stomach. I didn’t know why this man wanted a book about the Estonian revolution, but I didn’t like to pry. When we reached the

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section of the library, this book was on the highest shelf, too high for me to reach. I grabbed a step stool and climbed up to find it. I was feeling a bit self-conscious, as I had decided to wear a very short skirt that day. I just hadn’t been able to resist—it was such a warm and sunny day that I’d been compelled to wear my new strappy sandals, which really looked fabulous with this tiny skirt. I stretched up to retrieve the book then turned to show it to the man. He was standing very close to me, almost touching my leg. He offered up his hand. “Need some help getting down?” he asked. Of course I didn’t, but something in his voice had me putting my hand in his, leaning against him as I stepped down. I was close enough to him that my skirt brushed against his jacket on the way down, riding up even higher on my leg. With one of my hands in his and the other holding the book, I pretended not to notice, leaving my thigh exposed for a few moments. Why did I do that? I could see his eyes were cast downward, but in the dim light of the stacks it was hard to tell what he was looking at. Not hard to imagine, though. I pulled my hand away from his and straightened my skirt. “Is this the book you were looking for?” I asked in my best helpful librarian voice. He glanced at it and nodded. “Thank you for finding it for me. I’ve been wanting to read that for a long time.” I squinted at the dusty cover of the book. Really? He was still standing very close to me, so I took a discreet step backward. But then, for a reason I couldn’t explain, I felt myself drifting back towards him. His eyes were locked on mine. “Is there anything else I can get for you?” I said softly.

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“I feel like I should get something for you,” he said. “Maybe you have time for a coffee?” Oops, I was tongue-tied again. Mr. Sparkly Eyes was asking me out? For real? “Oh no, don’t worry about it, this is my job, after all.” He took my left hand again and glanced at it. “You’re not married,” he said. I just stared at him, at his beautiful smile that looked so much like the one I remembered from my dream last night, full of mischief and admiration and, yes, at least a bit of lust. “And of course, we can always drink tea if you don’t like coffee.” His eyes were sparkling again, and he continued to hold my hand in his. I was inches away from him, my left leg almost touching his. Who was this guy? Not quite a total stranger, but close enough. Oh, but he was so incredibly hot. I glanced up at him, deliberating for a moment. It was almost my lunch break, after all. “I do like coffee,” I said slowly. “But I don’t really know you or anything…” My protests were thin, my voice trailing off. “Not yet.” He smiled. “But that’s what the coffee is for.” I hesitated for a moment. “Or maybe you’d rather get to know each other some other way?” He leaned even closer, his sparkly eyes locked on mine. My stomach flipped; I couldn’t turn away. I didn’t want to. I lifted my head, not thinking of anything at all. His lips brushed against mine, softly at first, then harder. He tasted like coconut and sunshine and a hint of cinnamon, just like I imagined Brad Pitt would taste in my

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fantasies. My lips parted, and all I could think about was how to make this moment last longer. His hand tightened around mine, pulling me closer as the kiss deepened. My breasts pressed against his chest. Man, this guy could kiss. His other hand slid around my back, skimming the bottom of my skirt, strong and hot against my thigh. I couldn’t believe it. I felt my leg rising to curl around his leg, his hand sliding further up my thigh, cupping my ass in his big hands, his long fingers brushing against the edge of my panties. As I was wearing a thong, that was no small accomplishment. I half-heartedly pushed away from him, murmuring, “But we’re in the library…” He grinned at me. “Does anybody ever come to this dark corner of the library? Does anybody ever read these old books? Ever?” I couldn’t believe it—he had set me up. Of course he hadn’t wanted to read about the Estonian revolution. He had just wanted to get me alone in the darkest corner of the library in my short skirt so he could hypnotize me with his sparkly eyes and take advantage of me. I felt outraged, but only for a second. Then I started to feel something else, something rather like pride, or power. We were in a deserted corner of the library, and this guy was extremely hot. I pulled him towards me with a rush of desire, leaning against the bookshelves and hooking my leg around his again. “Oh my God,” he murmured as we started kissing again. I could feel his hard cock against my thigh. I was getting so wet, just thinking about pulling it out of his jeans, stroking the warm, soft skin and feeling the throbbing hardness against my fingers. My hands moved toward his belt buckle, automatically. But something was

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penetrating my awareness—what was it? A squeaking sound, like the one our library’s book trucks made. It was getting closer. A lot closer. Abruptly I pushed him away, straightening my skirt and smoothing my hair just as Sean, one of our librarians, wheeled the book truck into the aisle. “So, is there anything else I can help you with, sir?” I said politely, unable to resist a quick, longing glance at his crotch. “Um, no, this is great, thank you. Um, I think I’ll just browse through the other books on the shelf here. Thanks again for your help.” “Oh, no problem.” I peeked at Sean, who appeared to be ignoring us as he reached down to slide a book onto a low shelf. As I walked towards him, he looked up. There was a strange look in his eyes—was it suspicion? Anger? Or was I just being paranoid? “Hey Sean, I think I’m going to take my lunch now,” I said as I got closer to him. He nodded. “I was about to go for lunch too. If you don’t mind waiting while I shelve these last three books, maybe we can go together?” I stopped myself from glancing wistfully at Mr. Sparkly Eyes and forced a cheerful smile. “Sure, Sean, I’ll meet you in the staff room.” I walked away without looking behind me. Wow, that was a close one. What had gotten into me back there? And why didn’t I feel at all relieved at my narrow escape?

Chapter 2 I stared at myself in the staff washroom mirror. I looked like the same person, with a bit messier hair and flushed cheeks. But I didn’t feel the same. I straightened my hair, smoothed my skirt, washed my hands. I was starting to feel more like myself, as though I was just waking up from a strange dream. I took a deep breath, forced a casual smile onto my lips, and headed for the locker room. Sean was just putting his lunch in the microwave as I entered. He nodded at me, smiled slightly. “Did you have a busy morning?” he asked as he waited for his lunch to heat. “It looked like you barely had a chance to sit down all morning.” His voice was almost too casual, his face expressionless. Had he seen something back there? No, I was definitely being paranoid. “It was kind of busy later on, yeah,” I answered. I got my lunch out of the fridge and sat down at the table. “How about you? Busy?” He shrugged. “Yeah, there were a lot of books to shelve. Seems like I was everywhere at once today.” Again his voice was studiously casual, his attention seemingly riveted on his lunch. He sat down in the chair beside me, which was a bit odd, as there were a number of other places to sit. As if to explain his action, he pointed to the tabloid magazine on the table in front of us. “Can you believe that she is

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screwing two guys at once?” he asked about the starlet on the cover. I looked up at him, stunned at his language. While it wasn’t exactly scandalous to use the word “slut”, it was definitely not the way Sean usually talked at work. I shrugged. “Maybe they’re all okay with it?” I offered. I noticed that Sean’s chair was so close to mine that the side of his leg was actually touching my knee. I tried to edge away, but there was nowhere to go without being completely obvious and rude. Oh well, I didn’t really mind sitting close to Sean. He was so sweet and easygoing, and when he was acting like himself—which he definitely wasn’t right now—I liked him a lot. He seemed nervous, preoccupied, even a bit angry, fiddling with the edge of his napkin. “Hey, Sean, is there something bothering you?” He looked up sharply. “No, it’s nothing important. It’s just that—” He broke off, looking intensely at me. “It’s just that I saw you with that guy, in the stacks.” I drew in my breath, felt myself turning red. “Oh my God, I don’t know what I—I mean, it was stupid. Oh God, you must think I’m such a loser.” Tears of humiliation stung my eyes. He put his hands on my shoulders. “It’s not that. I don’t think that.” His words came out in a rush. “It’s just—well—why didn’t you tell me you and Martin broke up? I thought we were friends.” He had a hurt look in his eyes and his grip tightened on my shoulders, almost like he was about to start shaking me. Instead he slowly relaxed his hands and let them trail down my arms. “Friends tell each other things like that, don’t they?” he asked gently.

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I looked away, not sure how to respond. Obviously Martin and I hadn’t broken up, but if I told Sean that, he would think I was a slut. Not to mention I was acting unprofessionally at work, which was not the most effective approach to career development. But then again, I didn’t want to lie to him either. After all, Sean was right—we were friends, and friends shouldn’t lie to each other. I hesitated, took a deep breath, and told him the truth. Well, a thin slice of the truth, anyway. “Martin and I are—well, we’re having problems.” I mumbled. That much was true at least. I didn’t say that the main problem was that things were so cookie-cutter perfect I was starting to feel like it would be a death sentence to settle down with him: death by boredom. Sean was looking at me expectantly, so I went on. “We, um, thought it might help if we started seeing other people, so I went out with that guy the other day.” The lies were sliding out easily now—too easily, I thought. “I tried to tell him it wouldn’t work out between us, but he’s a bit pushy, you know.” I fiddled with the hem of my skirt as I thought for a moment. “I guess he thought he could come here and have one last chance to convince me or something.” I gave a halfhearted laugh, watching Sean to see if he bought my extremely weird and, to my ears, very unconvincing story. He looked angry and concerned at the same time, but not skeptical, I noted in surprise. “Did he hurt you? Did he try to force you?” he hissed. “Um, no, not really,” I said quickly. “I think he got the message in the end. He probably won’t bother me anymore.”

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“Geez, Mandy, you’ve got to be more careful.” Sean frowned. “You’ve had problems with stalkers before. I’d hate to think that you’re in danger again.” I thought back to the guy who had been my so-called stalker back in my early days at the library. He was a harmless guy, just a kid barely out of his teens who used to stop by every day and sit beside my desk and watch me for hours on end. Eventually I’d had to talk to him, which had been excruciatingly embarrassing for both of us. He hadn’t come back since, and I’d learned to be a bit less personable when I interacted with male patrons. Well, except for Mr. Sparkly-Eyes, I reminded myself with a blush. So much for professional distance. I looked up at Sean, smiled weakly. “Thanks, Sean. It means a lot to me that you’re concerned.” His expression softened, but I could still see the hurt in his eyes. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about me and Martin,” I went on, “but I think maybe I’m just hoping that if I don’t tell anyone, then somehow it won’t really be happening.” Sean half-smiled and took my hand. “You can know you can tell me anything,” he said softly, looking into my eyes for a moment too long. He dropped my hand abruptly and looked away. “You know,” he said in that same low voice, “if you’re seeing other people, then maybe you should start with somebody a little safer than that surfer guy. Maybe someone you already know and trust, who won’t try to take advantage of you or treat you badly.” He gave me an intense look. “Someone who’s already a friend, who already likes you a lot.” I caught my breath as I finally recognized the look in his eyes. Sean was interested in me? Sweet Sean, who always brought me the newest Bollywood DVDs when they came into the library because he knew I was

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obsessed with them? Who always brought me a chocolate chip cookie in the mornings because he said it “came with his coffee?” Who remembered the names of both of my sisters and asked about them every so often? I was shocked but not upset—Sean was good-looking in a bookworm sort of way—tall, dark, and adorably sweet. And when he wore his glasses, like right now, he somehow looked even cuter. I pretended not to understand his hidden meaning. But when I looked up at him, I saw he was bright red, even to the tips of his ears. He pushed back his chair and stood up to walk away. I don’t know why, but I jumped up and stopped him, putting my hand on his arm and saying softly, “You’re right, Sean. That’s just the sort of guy I should go out with.” He froze and looked down at me, his eyes locked on mine. “Um, well,” I added quickly, “I mean, that’s the kind of guy I should be with when I decide to go out with someone, you know? I don’t think I’m quite ready now.” His face fell, but at least the embarrassment had faded a bit. He smiled and held his arms out for a hug. His chest was warm, solid, comfortable. I melted into him, feeling the layers of tension slide off of my body and into his. He was so strong and soft at the same time; I felt like I could stay like that forever. His arms inched tighter around my back, pulling me closer to him. Not thinking about it, I slid my hands down to the small of his back, feeling the surprisingly strong muscles under his cotton shirt, the heat of his broad back. Why hadn’t I ever noticed how fit Sean was? I had always thought of him as a guy-next-door, bookworm type, nice-

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looking but not sexy. As I traced the tight muscles of his back down to his waist, I realized that he was anything but skinny. I wondered what these muscles would look like if he took his top off, whether his skin was the same burnished gold color on his back as it was on his face, whether he would have much hair on his chest or any tattoos… My fingers tightened on the back of his shirt, aching to pull it over his head, just so I could see what he looked like without it. His breath quickened. I knew I should pull away, but I was so curious now. My hands had reached the edge of his belt, found their way beneath it and were tugging on the smooth cotton of his shirt. Just one peek, that’s all… I heard him catch his breath, felt him harden against me, and for a moment I was distracted—Sean’s back wasn’t the only part of him that was bigger than I had realized. Abruptly I pulled away. In another moment, I would have his shirt off, his belt open, and then what? We would screw right here in the staff room at the library? My face was burning with humiliation; I was afraid to look at Sean now. I took a deep breath, trying to pretend that nothing had happened. After all, nothing had happened, had it? “I’m sorry, Sean. I guess I’m a bit more shaken up about all this than I realized,” I said, my voice trembling a bit. He looked away, ran his hands through his hair. I couldn’t help scanning his body as he did so, noticing for the first time that he did indeed have muscular shoulders beneath his button-down shirt, that there were just a few dark hairs peeking out through his open collar, that the top of his chest was a delicious caramel color, just like his

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gorgeous strong hands, which I had somehow also never noticed before. I saw for the first time his narrow hips, strong thighs, and, with a lingering, longing glance, the not-unimpressive bulge at his crotch. I dragged my eyes away, not wanting to be caught staring, on top of everything else. “Listen, I’ve got to head out for a while this afternoon. I need to place an order for some new books.” I was grasping at straws now—the order didn’t have to be in until next week, and I didn’t exactly have to spend the whole afternoon on it, but I knew I would be too distracted to do any concentrated detail work today. What was going on with me? I felt as though I had suddenly mutated into a raging sex maniac. I straightened my skirt, smiling as though everything was completely ordinary, which of course it was not. Sean half-smiled back, but there was a fierce look in his eyes that didn’t match his usual mellow attitude. “No problem,” he answered. “I’ll let the rest of the staff know. And don’t worry, we can continue this conversation later.” His smile deepened then, into a very self-assured, almost aggressive grin. I shivered at this unfamiliar version of Sean that I had never noticed before. I liked it. I liked it a lot more than I wanted to admit.

Chapter 3 I was grateful to step outside into the warm sunshine, into the enveloping bubble of urban anonymity. I felt like I had walked into a science fiction movie, where nothing in the world was quite as it was supposed to be. Had my body been taken over by aliens on the way to work this morning? Maybe I was coming down with something? If I was delirious with a fever, that would explain why I was acting so weird. I pressed my hand to my forehead, but it felt normal. In fact, I felt more than fine physically, aside from the fact that I was now literally aching with sexual frustration. I checked my watch; I still had a few minutes left in my lunch break. Maybe I could go over to my favorite park and take a moment to relax on the little bench in the corner, behind the rose bushes. I often liked to eat my lunch there, relaxing in one of the few outdoor spaces in the city where I could feel like I was totally alone and at peace. When I got there I was happy to see that, as usual, the bench was free. I sat down, leaned back and closed my eyes, trying to slow my heart rate and shift my focus to something completely non-sexual, like gardening or cleaning the bathroom or shelving books at the library. I was just beginning to relax when the thought of the library bookshelves reminded me of what I had been doing the last time I was leaning up against one of them, and the sexual tension was back with a crash.

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I wasn’t used to getting that kind of attention in the library. Yes, there were lots of appreciative male eyes watching me sometimes, but they mostly belonged to old guys or, quite frankly, weird ones like my former stalker. There weren’t a lot of normal, nice-looking, interesting men my own age who came into the library at all, let alone stopped to flirt with me. Obviously then, I had been caught off guard when one finally did come in and dazzle me with his sparkly eyes and that warm, sexy smile. Mmm, those beautiful lips… I took a deep breath, remembering how delicious he had tasted, how incredibly soft his lips had been against mine. I sighed and shook my head firmly. No, it was just an unfortunate mistake. I had been caught unprepared. That’s all there was to it. Next time I would know better, and I would be able to prevent it. Wait a minute, next time? Oh lord, was there going to be a next time? How could I bear it? I groaned at the thought of seeing him and not being able to put my hands on him, my lips on him, my— “Are you all right?” said a voice at my side. My eyes flew open and froze at the sight of a pair of beautiful, sparkly blue eyes. A very familiar pair of sparkly blue eyes, attached to a gorgeous, Brad Pittlookalike face. I was too surprised to answer, and too embarrassed. My face was melting from the heat of the blush spreading across it like a forest fire. I just sat there gaping at him, wondering if I could add hallucinations to my list of personal problems for the day. But then he touched me, and I knew that I wasn’t hallucinating. He put his hand on my arm—such a chaste

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gesture, but I couldn’t stop the warm glow from spreading up my arm and across my chest, stopping just before it reached the pit of my stomach. He gazed so deeply into my eyes that I began to feel faint. “Are you okay?” he repeated, more urgently now. I nodded, robotically. “It’s just been a really weird day,” I said, moving my arm just enough that he would let go of it. I didn’t know if I could be coherent if he was just sitting next to me, let alone touching me at the same time. His voice was gentle, his face soft with concern. “I’m sorry I was so rude to you in the library,” he said. “I shouldn’t have gone after you like that, pretending to want that book just so I could get you alone. I should have known you wouldn’t be interested in me.” I was shocked at his words. He thought I wouldn’t be interested in him? In someone who looked like him, with those gorgeous sparkling eyes, that chiseled face, those full lips, that tight ass? He was gazing at me so intensely now, speaking in almost a murmur. “It’s just that you’re so beautiful. I couldn’t stop myself from touching you.” His hand grazed the side of my thigh. “Like now, for example,” he added as his fingers traced their way slowly up my thigh, sending goose bumps straight to the pit of my stomach. “It’s like you’re a drug. I can’t control myself around you.” His words were such a cliché, I almost rolled my eyes. He was so full of smooth moves and shallow lines. Somehow though, I couldn’t care less that he was feeding me lines, as long as he was also eventually planning to feed me something more substantial than that. I glanced

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down at his crotch as I thought about what else we could be doing together besides talking. He saw the direction of my eyes, smiled slightly and slid his fingers even higher on my thigh. His touch was so light I could almost pretend I didn’t feel it. I wanted him to move his hand higher, to press his fingers more tightly into my skin, to gently pull my legs apart… I shuddered then and, with great effort, moved my leg away from his touch. “I’m sorry,” he began again. “I shouldn’t have done something like that, not in a library where people might see. It wasn’t right.” I nodded, relieved that he understood. “What I should have done,” he continued, “is taken you somewhere more private, where nobody could see us or hear us.” His hand was very close to my leg again, but I didn’t want to pull away now. “Like maybe on a bench in the corner of the park, behind some rose bushes, where we could have privacy.” I looked up at him, knowing that he was going to kiss me. I should have turned away then, stopped it from happening, but I couldn’t forget the way it had felt when he’d kissed me in the library. I wanted to feel that way again. I wanted to taste him again. So instead, I leaned into him and kissed him myself. He didn’t seem the least bit surprised by my sudden change of mood. His hand went up behind my neck, tangled itself in my hair as the kiss deepened. His lips were as soft as before, but somehow hungrier, more insistent. My arms slid around his back, under the sunwarmed cotton of his shirt, down the long, lean muscles of his back, all the way to the low waistband of his shorts.

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His hand followed mine up my leg like a dance, moving slowly along the inside of my thigh. I didn’t stop him; in fact, I parted my legs slightly, giving him easier access. What was I doing? Yes, it was more private here than in the library, but still, it wasn’t as though we were in a bedroom or someplace where we could close the door and have privacy. Anyone could walk by and see us here. But what difference did it make? We were just kissing, after all. What was the scandal in that? But as his hand disappeared under the hem of my skirt, I knew that this was more than your average kissing session. I felt a pang of guilt and pushed him away gently, my hand on his chest. “I’m sorry,” I said softly. “I can’t do this. I have a boyfriend, so… I shouldn’t lead you on.” His eyes showed no trace of surprise, no disgust or outrage. He grinned. “Sweetheart, of course you have a boyfriend,” he said. “A gorgeous girl like you, with such a great smile and those long, sexy legs? How could you possibly be single?” I was shocked. “But—but then, why?” He was still smiling. “Why not? A girl like you needs more than what one guy can give. You just look so—” He broke off, shrugged. “So unfulfilled, I guess. Like there’s this sexy, horny woman hidden inside you who needs to get out. Whoever your boyfriend is, he’s not man enough to bring her out of you.” But I am, was the implication. He spoke simply, matter-of-factly. It could have been another line, but with his hand still on my leg, my body aching for him to move it higher, I actually believed him. “Don’t worry, I would never compromise your values. I’m sure you’re monogamous with your guy, and you probably don’t believe in infidelity. And I don’t believe in

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doing anything without one hundred percent mutual consent.” He traced the side of my face with his hand. “I just want to touch you, to make you happy for a little while. To bring that hidden woman out of you.” He slipped his hand further under my skirt. “But only if you want me to.” His hand paused then, only inches away from my pussy. “Only if you tell me you want me to,” he whispered, gazing into my eyes as he waited, motionless, for my response. I stared back at him, my heart pounding. Here was my chance to walk away from this craziness and get rid of him once and for all. I took a deep breath, but I didn’t pull away. I couldn't stop the trembling in my thighs, the hot, aching wetness between my legs. I could still taste his lips and smell his temptingly delicious body so close to mine. Slowly I lowered my hand from his chest to the hand on my thigh. Slowly, so slowly, I curled my fingers around his hand and, with my eyes still locked on his, pulled it gently towards my aching pussy. His hand resisted me. “Say it,” he said, his lips almost on mine. “Say you want me to touch you.” “I want you,” I whispered. “I want you to touch me. I want you—” I couldn’t say anything more as his lips covered mine and his hand finally pushed forward, cupping the wet lace of my thong in his strong fingers. I moaned at the long-awaited touch of his hand, the leaping craving of my body for his touch. His kiss was deeper now, more insistent. I could taste the coconut sweetness of his mouth that made me think of the beach, made me feel the heat of the sun on my body. His tongue traced the outlines of my lips, plunged deep into my mouth, tangled around mine. It felt like a dream kiss, endless and

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magical. I opened my mouth wider so I could taste more of him. I wanted to kiss him like this forever. His fingers circled my pussy through the lace thong. I parted my legs wider, begging for him to slip his fingers inside me. He half-pulled away, teasingly, and I quickly caught his hand and moved it back to where I wanted it to be. He pushed my thong to one side, exposing my pussy to his fingers, and anyone else who might happen to walk by for that matter. But I didn’t care who saw me. I didn’t care about anything except the ache in my cunt, the wet emptiness that was waiting to be filled. His fingers traced the outline of my pussy, so softly at first that I groaned in frustration. I reached down, tried to pull his hand forward as I had done before, but he grabbed my arm with his other hand, held it tightly out of the way, and pulled his hand away from my cunt. “I’d like to do this my way,” he said. “Trust me, I know what I’m doing.” I groaned again but nodded reluctantly. “Say it,” he said, his voice still soft but very firm. “I want you to do it your way,” I breathed, letting my hand relax against his arm. “Please, just touch me again.” My hips arched, stretching toward his strong fingers. I could feel the hard wood of the park bench digging into my back, but all I cared about was getting him to touch me again. He smiled, moving his fingers to the edge of my pussy again, lightly tracing the edge of my cunt lips. He was watching my face as he touched me, smiling at the mixture of pleasure and pain he must have seen there. Gradually the pressure of his fingers increased, sliding up and down on the slick opening of my cunt, around my clit, then back down. I moaned in frustration and delight,

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spreading my legs open so wide that even someone standing a great distance away could have guessed what we were up to. I could feel the breeze on my pussy and knew that I was totally exposed now. The pressure was building inside me. Was I going to come so soon? I held my breath, tried to hold back. The touch of his fingers lightened, moving to the outside of my swollen lips. My orgasm slid away until it was just out of reach, then his fingers moved back to the center of my pussy, again slowly tracing a path from my wet opening to my clit and back. This time the tips of his fingers slid inside of me, and I moaned again. Knowing that he was watching my face and my pussy as they both begged for him made me even hornier than I had felt before. Slowly moving in and out of me, his fingers fucked me deeper and deeper. Occasionally he slipped his fingers out of my pussy and circled them around my clit again, watching my hips buck and my mouth open, begging for the return of his touch. I could feel the pressure mounting each time he circled my clit, then ebbing a bit when his fingers entered my cunt again. He pulled my hips to the edge of the bench with his other hand, still fucking me with two long fingers. Then he knelt down on the grass in front of me, his face only inches away from my pussy. I moaned, not caring who saw or heard us. His tongue flicked out and across my sensitive clit, only the barest of touches as his fingers plunged into me even deeper than before. His mouth against my clit was as gentle as a feather, but it sent a fierce heat, like a thread of fire, through my cunt. “But that’s for another time,” he said as he pulled his lips away, replacing his tongue with the thumb of his right hand. With his thumb he made slow, soft circles around

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my clit as he buried the fingers of his left hand deeply in my cunt. The pressure of his fingers spread my pussy wide open; he could see, smell, taste everything about me, and I liked it that way. The pressure surged. I knew I was going to come now. His fingers pushed so deeply into me, I felt like I was splitting open. All I wanted was to open even further, to take even more of him inside me. My hips rose against his hand as the world opened up inside me. I cried out as the waves pushed through my body, down through my chest, my hips and my cunt, and then started again deep inside me. His fingers thrust even deeper somehow, reaching toward the source of my orgasm, almost capturing it. I knew he was watching my face as I came, but I didn’t feel self-conscious. All I cared about was the ache in my cunt, the waves that were now almost subsiding, the pleasure in my body as the overwhelming buildup of sexual tension finally began to wane. Slowly, his fingers began to slide out of me, and I closed my eyes so that I could savor every last echo of pleasure in my body. I smiled as I pictured myself on the park bench, my legs wide open, my dripping pussy exposed to the sunshine, the warm breeze and my new friend’s appreciative gaze. With a pang of embarrassment, I realized that I didn’t even know his name. Reluctantly, my eyes fluttered open so I could introduce myself. But he was gone.

Chapter 4 I sat up with a start, quickly tugging my skirt down to cover myself. I looked around—he was nowhere to be seen. Had I dreamed the whole encounter? But no, I wasn’t imagining my still-throbbing pussy, my sopping wet panties, my pounding heart. Where had he gone? I stood up shakily, peering around the rosebushes that had hidden the bench from the rest of the park. I couldn’t see anyone near me, which was a bit of a relief—at least nobody had been watching us from behind the rose bushes or something. But where had Mr. Sparkly Eyes gone to? Was he ashamed or disgusted by what we had done? Should I be feeling bad about it too? But somehow I couldn’t bring myself to regret any of it, not yet, not when my body still felt so incredibly good. I walked back to the bench and was about to sit down when I saw the little index card sitting there. I picked it up, turned it over and smiled when I recognized the old date due slip from the back of the Estonia book. We didn’t use the old-fashioned cards any more, but many of the older books still had them in the back. Scrawled across the bottom of the card, it said “Looking forward to next time.” And then a signature that I couldn’t quite read. Chris? Charles? Maybe Colin? I sat back down with a sigh. Next time? Of course there would never be a next time. Once was enough of a mistake to make—a wonderful mistake, yes, but still a

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mistake. I had just been overwhelmed by the moment, unable to think straight. If I had time to think about it first, I would never do anything like that again—would I? I shook my head, knowing that if there ever was a next time, I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from doing a lot more than just touching. His fingers could satisfy me once, but not again. I tucked the index card into my purse and smiled to myself as I stood up to leave. My panties were so wet, they felt uncomfortable. Making sure that nobody was watching, I reached up under my skirt and pulled down my lace thong. I slipped out of it and tucked it in my purse, next to the date due slip from Mr. Sparkly Eyes. I could feel the soothing breeze against my pussy as I walked, and for once I was grateful for the short skirt that allowed me to feel both exposed and covered at the same time. My body felt electric, invigorated, even blissful. The crazed physical hunger I’d been feeling all morning was finally sated now, but somehow I still wasn’t truly satisfied. My body was still hungry, but at a deeper, stronger and somehow more intense level than before. I knew I needed to be fucked, really fucked, in order to be fully satisfied. Maybe I could convince Martin to reschedule for a Monday night fuck? I sighed. Not likely. I would probably have to use my dildo, the big silicon one with the “real flesh feel,” rather than the cute little plastic vibrator. Or perhaps I could use both of them at the same time… I shook my head to try to force my thoughts away from sex for a minute. On the road behind the park, I could see the Number Five bus coming. I ran to catch it, as this was the bus that

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would take me to the wholesale bookstore where I would be doing my afternoon orders. As I ran, I could feel my skirt lifting and falling in the breeze, but I didn’t care. I was sure nobody was close enough to see anything, and even if they were, I didn’t think my skirt ever blew up high enough to show I wasn’t wearing anything underneath. I sprinted the last few yards, just as the bus was pulling up to the stop. I climbed onto the bus and frowned. It was way too crowded to be comfortable on a hot day. I squeezed into a corner near the back doors, beside a cute but dorky-looking college student wearing jeans and flipflops, and an unremarkable-looking man in a business suit. It was unusual to see a business type on the bus outside of the morning and afternoon rush. But I was relieved that if we had to be packed in like sardines, at least I was packed in with a couple of decent-looking, clean-smelling, normal guys instead of the usual types that I saw on public transit. I settled in and tried to relax as the bus rocked over bumps and around corners, jostling us together as more and more people squeezed in. The stifling heat was only intensified by the bodies so close to mine, and already the sweat was glistening on my skin. I felt like I was in a sauna, hazy and sleepy and somehow only half-real. After a while, I got tired of trying to keep myself from bumping into anyone. It was unavoidable. On left turns I couldn’t help leaning up against Mr. College Guy, and on right turns I found myself thrown up against Mr. Business Suit. I smiled to myself, closing my eyes as their strong masculine bodies brushed against mine. This would be a good fantasy for me to use with my two dildos tonight: a

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couple of handsome strangers on a bus, too crowded for anyone but us to see what’s going on. I let myself drift further into the fantasy, only realizing after a few minutes that I had been leaning into Mr. Business Suit for a bit longer than necessary. I blushed, straightened up, tried to act nonchalant, but there was the college guy, seemingly closer than he had been before. The bus took a right turn, throwing me back against Mr. Business Suit. He had turned his body slightly to face me, so now I was leaning into the front of his body instead of his side, as I had been before. “Excuse me,” I murmured without looking up. I couldn’t have seen his face now anyway; he was too close and too tall for me to see anything but his blue shirt and the lapels of his dark wool suit, unless I craned my neck to see him. He didn’t answer, but he didn’t move away from me either. If anything he seemed to press a bit closer. He was so close I could feel the heat of his skin and smell the hint of cologne at his neck, which was subtly pulling me closer. I could feel the length of his body, his firm abs, strong legs, and—as he shifted a bit more—the bulge in his crotch pressing up against my hip. My eyes flew open, but I didn’t immediately jerk away from him. I didn’t want to be too obvious in case he felt embarrassed by his mistake. I let the bus jostle us together for another block, but instead of pulling tactfully away from me, he seemed to be shifting closer and closer. The bulge in his pants was definitely getting harder, and his hips were pressing against me more and more. Finally I shifted my weight so that I was leaning away from him. Who did this guy think he was? Unfortunately, the only option now was for me to be pressed up against the college guy. He smelled good too, like deodorant soap and

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laundry detergent and peppermint. Like the boys I remembered dating when I was in college. I leaned forward slightly, feeling that wave of nostalgia again. It had been so much fun to play around with those young, hard bodies and eager four-times-a-day libidos. Not that I’d had a whole lot of experience—I’d only gone out with a few guys during college, but I’d had a couple of sexy flings in between my more serious boyfriends. I turned my body a bit, letting my breast brush across his arm. Was it my imagination or did he immediately flex his arm muscles against my touch? I glanced down and almost laughed when I saw proof of that famous college-guy libido. He had a boner so big I could see it easily, even through his baggy jeans. He was obviously a big guy, in more ways than one. All I would have to do is reach out, snap open a button, slide down the zipper and reach my hand inside… I shivered and added that thought to my fantasy for tonight. The bus went around another corner and I was once again pressed up against Mr. Business Suit. I didn’t mind that much, as my view of the college guy improved with distance. His shirt was tight against his chest, his face lightly stubbled, his hair enticingly mussed. His eyes were averted at first, but then he looked back at me, not looking at my face at all. He was staring at my breasts, then my legs, then back to my breasts. He was openly staring at me and, to my surprise, I liked it. Behind me, I could easily feel the business man’s hardon through the loose fabric of his pants. It was especially noticeable, I realized, because my skirt had been pushed halfway up to the top of my ass so that my skin was pressed directly against the fly of his pants. Should I pull

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away, straighten my skirt? Or would it be better to pretend not to notice, and then maybe he wouldn’t notice either? Surreptitiously, I glanced down at my skirt. The jacket of the man’s suit was hanging open against my side, half hiding me from the other passengers. I didn’t really want to pull away—why not let the guy have his thrills? It’s not as though he could do much to me on a crowded bus. I smiled to myself and leaned back, ever so slightly rubbing my ass against his cock. He froze for a second then pressed his groin into my ass as if by reflex. Now I could feel the whole width and length of his cock. It was pretty big—not exceptionally long, but very thick. I let my body sway with the movements of the bus, allowing my ass to brush back and forth against his crotch as if I was oblivious to what was happening. Across from me I watched the college boy’s eyes exploring my body, moving up and down my legs, lingering on my thighs, my crotch, my waist, and then back down again. I looked again at his hard-on, which looked even bigger now than before. With a seemingly careless movement, he draped his coat across his left arm and slowly moved it in front of his body, blocking his crotch from view. I was disappointed until I saw his right hand move behind the coat. His arm seemed to move a bit. I got a sudden image of him reaching through his baggy jeans, rubbing himself behind the protective cover of his coat. I almost laughed at the thought—imagine, a cute young guy who couldn’t help being horny 24/7, getting off on me, a mousy librarian! It was ridiculous, but a great idea for my fantasy tonight. As I looked at him I realized his eyes were still focused on my body, staring at my legs, just below the hem of my tiny skirt, travelling up to my breasts and down again. He

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still had not even glanced at my face. Did he know I was watching him? Is that why he never looked at my face? Behind me, Mr. Business Suit was still rubbing his crotch slowly against my ass, even though the bus was coming to a stop now. I pushed back a bit harder, relishing the fantasy of having two guys jerking off to me on a crowded bus. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t offended by this, but obviously I was still in the delusional, blinded-by-lust state that had paralyzed me all day. I decided to enjoy the moment and make the guys a little happy at the same time. I moved my hips from side to side a tiny bit, feeling his cock getting harder and harder against my ass. The wool trousers were starting to chafe a bit against my skin, but I didn’t care. I knew if I felt the chafing, he felt it more. Somehow I enjoyed torturing the guy like that. I realized that my skirt was all the way up at the back—he must have noticed it by now, if he hadn’t in fact been responsible for it riding up in the first place. But I didn’t mind—I knew nobody else could see us, and what harm would it really do? The bus took a hard turn and I fell back against him. The length of his body pressed into my back, his body even larger and more muscular than I had thought. His hands gripped my hips for a moment, steadying me against him, pulling my ass even closer to his cock, and then they were gone. In front of me, the college guy halffell into me, and I swear I felt something firmer than the fabric of my skirt brush across my bare pussy. But it was gone in an instant as he straightened up again, the jacket still hiding his crotch from view. I must have imagined it. Nobody would be so bold as to cop a feel on a public bus. But I smiled at the thought, knowing I would enjoy re-imagining it later that night.

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Behind me, I could feel the full thickness and length of the business man’s cock as it thrust more firmly against my ass. It was nice—a bit harmless, really. After all, it was only a fantasy. Surely this was the limit. I let myself relax against him, vicariously experiencing the pleasure and the frustration he must be feeling, enjoying the power I had over him in this moment. I could almost feel the wetness of his precum through the fabric, and even though I knew it was only my imagination, it was shocking to realize that the instead of feeling disgusted by that fantasy, I was even more turned on than before. I wished I could reach back and feel his bare cock with my hand, slide my fingers across the soft skin and finally press it down between my legs, but I knew I would have to save that fantasy until later. Instead, I rubbed my ass against him until his cock was nestled against the crack. Soon I felt him start to push his cock slowly up and down, as though he was fucking me from behind. I imagined him slipping his cock into me, just for a moment. I was glad that would be impossible, as I didn’t know if I would be able to resist at this point. I shook my head in disbelief. What was I doing? Yes, I was horny, but that didn’t mean it was a good idea to tease a strange man on the bus, especially a large man who might decide that teasing wasn’t going to be enough for him. The bus had just come to a stop, and I lurched forward and squeezed through the back door and off the bus, a moment before the doors closed. I looked back to see that neither of the men had decided to follow me. I lowered myself onto a bench, my knees shaky. I was torn between lingering lust and total mortification. As I straightened my rumpled skirt, I opted for mortification.

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How could I have let myself do something so sleazy, so dangerous? Was I that desperate for sex? I knew something was very wrong with me today. I had never done anything even remotely as crazy as this before. The raciest thing I’d ever done was sleep with Martin on the fifth date, rather than waiting until we were practically engaged like I’d done with my last boyfriend. And even that turned out to be nothing more risqué than the standard, predictable, missionary-position, threetimes-a-week-except-during-my-period sex. And now suddenly here I was, groping guys in the library, flashing a park full of people and letting strangers feel me up on the bus? My stomach twisted; maybe I really was coming down with something. I decided to skip the book-buying expedition and take the afternoon off sick. If I hid under the covers in bed with a mug of chai tea and a mystery novel, maybe I could transform back to normal. I began to walk the twenty blocks home from here, rather than risk getting on another bus. As I walked I muttered to myself, gradually becoming convinced this whole day had been nothing more than an exaggerated case of waking-up-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-bed syndrome. I would take it easy for the rest of the day, lose myself in a good book and a long nap, and hopefully I would be back to my usual self again by tomorrow morning.

Chapter 5 My feet were aching by the time I got home—my strappy sandals were obviously better suited for making my legs look good than for helping me to walk comfortably. As I rounded the corner to my street, I saw a woman in a tightly fitted business suit coming down the front steps of our townhouse. I hung back, really not wanting to have a conversation with some Jehovah’s witness or whoever she was. I was relieved that I hadn’t been there when she had rung the doorbell. She walked briskly away from me and climbed into a red Mini-Cooper parked further down the block. I wondered for a moment why she wasn’t making the rounds to the other houses on the street if she was a Jehovah’s Witness, but then just shrugged and forgot about it as I approached the sanctuary of the little townhome that I shared with Martin. I wasn’t a huge fan of cohabitation, as I liked having my own space, but with the price of rent in this city, there was very little that I could afford on my own that was even above-ground, let alone charming and in a nice neighborhood like this place. And it didn’t hurt that Martin was so tidy he was almost a neat freak, and he cooked the majority of our meals. So for the most part, I didn’t mind living with Martin, but I was also really glad when he worked long hours and I could have the house to myself.

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Today was one of those times when I was looking forward to being alone, so when I found the front door unlocked, I was dismayed. Either Martin was at home, or we had had a break-in, neither of which would be good news. I entered quietly, in case it had been a break-in. But when I saw Martin’s briefcase inside the door, I sighed and slammed the door behind me. “Hey, babe, did you forget someth—” The grin on Martin’s face froze as he rounded the corner from the kitchen. He was wearing only boxers, his hair disheveled, and holding a glass of red wine in his hand. Wine in the afternoon? I shook my head, annoyed with myself. Why did my mind always have to focus on the least important detail? What about the fact that he was at home in the middle of the afternoon, walking around halfnaked with the curtains open? In all the years I’d known him, he’d never taken the afternoon off work, and I’d never seen him drink in the afternoon either. Had he lost his job? Or maybe he’d been expecting somebody else to walk through the door? “Babe!” He seemed cheerful enough, though he looked a bit startled. “I wasn’t expecting you for hours yet. Are you feeling okay?” He rushed over and pressed his cheek to my forehead. “You feel normal. Do you have cramps or something?” He took a step back, peered at me with motherly concern. “I’m fine, Martin,” I said warily. “But what are you doing home now? Didn’t you have a big case to finish up today?” He grinned. “I finished it already! Early enough that I came home to celebrate. You’re always telling me I work too hard, so I decided to take your words to heart and dedicate myself to relaxing during work hours.” He

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frowned for a moment. “But I can’t say I was feeling all that relaxed, so I poured a glass of wine to help me get in the mood. That worked a bit better.” He was very chatty, unusually cheerful. Must be the wine. “But what about you, darling? You don’t look like you’re here to celebrate.” He peered at me again, somewhat warily, as though he expected me to expel contagious vapors onto him. He had never been good with pain or illness or any bodily fluids, for that matter. “Um, I guess I just wasn’t feeling all that well. A bit tired, you know. So I came home early to get some rest, store up energy for the rest of the week,” I said. “I didn’t really feel like myself,” I tried not to blush at the understatement. “An ounce of prevention and all that.” “Excellent, good thinking,” he said in another rush of cheer. “Let’s get you into a warm tub with a glass of wine. You know, they say red wine is good for getting rid of a cold. Just sit right here and put your feet up.” He shoved his glass of wine into my hand and ran off to the bathroom. I’d never seen him run so fast, especially not to get something for me. He was acting weird. I started to feel even more suspicious, but then I smiled to myself. As if Martin would ever do anything wrong, no matter how bad it looked. He was just Martin after all, boring old Martin. He reappeared in the doorway just as I was getting up. “Where are you going? You should rest, save your energy.” He took my arm in one hand, my wine in the other. “Come on, darling, the tub is filling, and I’ve put in some of your favorite cherry bubble bath.” I fought to keep my face neutral. I hated that cherry bubble bath Martin gave me, but it was too late to tell him

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that now, after he’d been giving it to me each Valentine’s day for the last three years. He took my elbow and steered me up the stairs to the bathroom. I turned towards the bedroom, but he stopped me. “I just want to get my bathrobe from the closet,” I said. He shook his head, shoving me into the bathroom. “I’ll get it for you, you just settle into the tub and rest.” I stared at his back as he raced towards the bedroom. There was still only an inch of water in the tub—why would I want to get in now? Why did he want to keep me out of the bedroom? What was he up to? I moved quickly but quietly down the hall. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was a bit messy, with Martin’s clothes thrown in a pile on the floor, but nothing overly suspicious. I turned back before he could see me spying on him. What right did I have to be paranoid about him after the way I’d spent my day? I was such a hypocrite. I went back to the bathroom and chugged my wine, staring at myself in the gradually fogging mirror. I looked like a character out of a fantasy novel, standing in a magical cloud or trapped in a smoldering fire. I stood back and looked critically at my outfit. Yes, the skirt was a bit shorter than I usually wore, but it wasn’t outrageously slutty. Not enough to explain why those guys were acting like that today. Still, I decided not to wear it to work anymore. Martin walked in and let out a wolf whistle as he hung my bathrobe on the back of the door. “Cute skirt, like a cheerleader,” he said. “Come here, my little schoolgirl,” he laughed, moving forward to grab my ass under the skirt.

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I pushed him away, laughing to cover up my panic at the thought of him discovering that I was not wearing panties under such a short skirt. Heaven knows what Martin would say about that. He smiled easily and backed out of the room. “Later then, babe,” he purred, waggling his eyebrows in a decidedly unsexy expression. I breathed a sigh of relief as the door closed and I was left alone. I reached behind me to unzip my skirt, pulling it roughly off and shoving it down to the bottom of the trash can, burying it under toilet paper rolls and Kleenex and empty toothpaste tubes. I would never wear that skirt again, and I would never do anything like what I’d done today ever again. When I lowered myself into the sudsy water, I let the heat almost scald me, trying to wash away my exploits of the day. I closed my eyes and tried to meditate myself back to normal. I’d been trying to meditate for the last few months, off and on. Supposedly it would make me more focused, more relaxed, and more successful at work and in my social life. Blah blah blah—to me it was just sitting still and being bored for 30 minutes. But I decided I’d rather try to think about nothing while I was trapped here in the tub than think about what I’d been doing all day. I tried to think of pure things—white doves, fluffy rabbits, freshly-baked bread, wrapping Christmas presents—but my mind kept coming back to the longing in my cunt. I needed to get laid, badly. I thought of Martin and almost dismissed the idea right away. I needed something raunchier than Martin’s usual mechanical style. Even a dildo would be better than Martin right now. But my dildo was in the bedroom closet.

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Oh fuck it, I needed something, and I might just have enough time to get some relief while Martin thought I was relaxing in the tub. I climbed out of the water, dried myself quickly and slunk down the hall to the bedroom. When I got to the bedroom, I froze. Martin was remaking the bed, his back to me as he examined the quilt before smoothing it carefully over the pillows. He slid his hand down between the bed and the night stand and picked up a scrap of purple plastic. He got down on his knees and peered under the bed. He looked under the nightstand, reached his hand under it and pulled out another scrap of plastic. This one was big enough that I could see the letters written on it. A condom wrapper? But we never used condoms now that I had my IUD. He turned around then and, seeing me, thrust his hand behind his back. “Darling,” he said after a stunned moment. “Did you need something? You should have called me. I would have gotten it for you.” I walked towards him, pulled his arm out from behind his back. He resisted for a moment but then relented. I peeled back his fingers. Yes, it was definitely a condom wrapper, and not just the wrapper—the used condom was in his hand too. I backed away in shock. “It’s not what it looks like,” he said. I stared at him, then spoke slowly. “Well, it looks like you’ve got a used condom in your hand.” He gaped at me, his mouth opening and closing like a fish, not making a sound. I thought back to his idiotic explanations for the boxers-and-wine-in-the-middle-of-the-afternoon scene I’d walked in on. How stupid could I be? His clothes in a pile on the floor? That right there should have told me

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something was up. Martin was a compulsive neat freak when it came to his clothes. I remembered the woman I’d seen walking away from the house. Tight skirt, long legs, expensive haircut, perfect body. “And it also looks like you were having an affair with that woman in the red Mini-Cooper.” My voice was businesslike, the same voice I used in the library when I was dealing with a difficult patron. He paled and shook his head vehemently. “You saw her—I mean, what woman? I mean, okay, maybe there was a woman, but we were not having an affair,” he said. “Absolutely not an affair.” I raised my eyebrows, glanced at the condom in his hand. “Just playing water balloons in the bedroom them?” I asked. “Naked water balloons, so your clothes wouldn’t get wet?” He flushed now. “No, of course not. We were having sex, that’s true. It’s unfortunate but true, and I deeply regret it. But we were not having an affair. It was just a one-time thing.” “Oh that’s supposed to make a difference? You just fucked her once in our bed, so it doesn’t really count?” “Come on, babe, you’ve got it all wrong. It was a mistake. I’m so sorry. But she doesn’t mean anything to me, not like you.” He tried to put his hands on my shoulders, but I shook him off. “Do you really think I care, Martin? Do you think it will make a difference to me how many times you fucked her, or how much you totally hated her while you were doing it but still kept on doing it anyway? Do you think I’ll just say, ‘okay, that’s fine then, dear’ and then go back to sleep in this bed? On these sheets? Under my

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grandmother’s quilt that you probably contaminated with your filth? I don’t care about any of it.” “But, but—” “And I don’t care about you. You realize that, right? That we’re done here, nothing more to discuss.” I walked away, feeling strangely blank inside. I was annoyed, disgusted, but not righteously angry or incredibly upset. After all, I hadn’t exactly been the picture of sainthood today. But of course, I hadn’t been exchanging body fluids with someone in my partner’s bed, either. I just wanted to make it stop—to get rid of the mess, and to get rid of Martin. “Just take your stuff, and take the bed and the sheets too, because I don’t want them anymore. Take your stupid clothes and your secret stash of condoms and your ugly face and get the hell out of my house.” It was weird. I sounded angry and I looked angry, but I didn’t feel much of anything at all. I felt embarrassed, mostly. How could Martin of all people have had an affair? Martin, of the missionary position and occasional doggy style, every Tuesday, Friday, and every other Sunday morning like clockwork? Martin, who thought that pornography was disgusting and preferred giving a foot massage to giving head? How could I not be enough woman for Martin? I whirled around, my embarrassment turning to bitterness. Despite myself, I had to ask, “Why? Why did you have to go and screw around with someone? We could have done something this morning—I wanted to, remember? Is it that I’m not good enough in bed or something?” I hated myself for caring about his answer, but I waited for him to speak, watching the expression on

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his face change from pleading to confusion to a glimmer of hopefulness. “But you’re my partner, my future wife, the mother of my children,” he said in a baffled voice. “You’re too special to me for me to ask you to do that stuff. It just wouldn’t be right.” I was confused. “If it wouldn’t be right for us to do it, then why is it right for you to do it without me? That doesn’t make sense.” His mouth screwed up and he nodded jerkily. “I know. It was so wrong. I should have just ignored my desires.” “Or you could have tried doing it with me,” I said. “You might be surprised at the kinky things I might like.” He looked horrified for a moment. “Oh darling, I can’t believe you’re trying to make me feel better when I’ve done something so awful.” He moved towards me, reaching out his arms for a hug. I took a step back. “As if I’d try to make you feel better, darling,” I said icily. “You’re just an idiot if you think that you of all people need two women to make you happy.” I laughed bitterly. “Like I’m not enough woman for you!” I laughed again then grabbed Martin’s clothes off the floor and threw them at him. “Go find some other not-enough-woman to be your darling wife. I’m done with you.” I turned back and began to pull and shove at the mattress. “Whoa, hey—stop that, you’ll hurt yourself,” Martin said, but making only a half-hearted move to stop me. I said nothing, just kept shoving and dragging the mattress to the stairs while Martin watched in shock. At the top of the stairs I gave it a push. It slid and bumped down the steps, knocking over the umbrella stand at the bottom of the stairs and sending one of our portraits on

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the wall teetering. It was a picture of the two of us at a friend’s wedding, smiling for the camera. I watched with a satisfied grin as it finally toppled off its hanger and crashed to the floor. “Sayonara, babe,” I said as I headed back to the bedroom and started throwing the pillows down the stairs after the mattress. I paused for a second outside the bare-looking bedroom. “I think I’ll keep the bed frame,” I mused. “A good scrubbing with bleach ought to get all your germs off of it.” I was feeling a bit hysterical now, not sure where to turn next. Martin was still standing there, gaping at me. I glanced down at my naked body and grabbed a T-shirt out of the drawer. I already felt stupid enough without also having my boobs flopping around to add to the effect. While I was at the dresser, I plunged my arms into the top drawer and pulled out handfuls of Martin’s boxers and the black socks he always wore, even with his workout gear. I stuffed them into the empty hamper in the closet, tearing a few of his suits down from their hangers and jamming them into the hamper too. Martin finally came out of his trance as I was dragging the overflowing hamper out of the closet. “But where will I go?” he asked in a pitiful whine. I shrugged. “Call the Mini-Cooper girl, call your mom, go to a hotel—it doesn’t matter to me.” I shoved the hamper toward him. “The rest of your stuff you can get later.” I was suddenly exhausted. “Just go, all right?” Martin opened his mouth to speak, closed it again, took half a step toward me, then sighed and turned back. “I’ll give you some space,” he said finally, dragging the hamper along with him. At the top of the stairs he sighed.

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“Are you sure you don’t want me to bring the mattress back upstairs?” He stopped when he saw my face. “Fine, I’ll put the mattress out front for now and pick it up for storage later. I’m sure you’ll want it back again when you’re calmer.” He dragged it out through the front door and propped it up against the garage. I sat down on the top step, pulling the T-shirt down over my knees. I shivered with cold and fatigue. I wanted to crawl back into bed and wake up after this bad dream was over. But of course I didn’t actually have a bed any more, and this was much more than just a bad dream. When Martin came back inside I didn’t move. I couldn’t even be bothered to speak; I felt completely drained. He stood looking at me for a moment then picked up the hamper and his briefcase and walked out the front door. I could see him on the porch on his cell phone, and in a few minutes a cab pulled up. At least he hadn’t called the Mini-Cooper girl. I was relieved, despite myself. I really didn’t care what he did or who he did it with, but I didn’t want to have my nose rubbed in it in the process. A few minutes of silence passed and then I got up, slid the security chain across the door and walked numbly into the kitchen. I was alone now, like I had wanted. But it definitely wasn’t going to be the peaceful, relaxing evening I had hoped for.

Chapter 6 A few hours and several drinks later, I was curled up on the sofa in a red and green crocheted Christmas afghan, watching one mindless TV show after another. I felt so humiliated. Martin, a strong candidate for the world’s most boring man, had been cheating on me—what did that say about me? If I was too boring for that tedious lump of a man, then I must be pretty unbelievably boring myself. I drained my glass of wine and struggled to pour another one just as the doorbell rang. I was still wearing nothing but my T-shirt from before, so I tucked the afghan around my shoulders and went to answer the door. Maybe it was Martin coming back to pick up the mattress. I peeked through the door and saw a familiar face, or rather two familiar faces. Fortunately, neither one of the faces belonged Martin. One of the familiar faces tried to force herself through the door and lick my knees, and the other one smiled tightly. It was my neighbor James and his dog Frankie. I didn’t feel like being sociable, but I couldn’t very well pretend not to be home after I’d already had my knees licked, so I greeted them with a reluctant smile and opened the door. “Did you know that you have a mattress on your front lawn?” James asked as Frankie jumped up in delight, and started covering my face with slobber. He yanked her

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back by her collar, frowning at the evidence of disarray both inside and outside my house. I patted Frankie to stall my answer, deftly avoiding a little more than half of her eager slobber. “Yes, I’m aware that there’s a mattress on my front lawn,” I said in a voice more prim and proper than I had intended. Something about James always made me feel a bit awkward and defensive. “I’m waiting for someone to come and pick it up. Either the charity shop or Martin, depending on who gets here first.” He cocked his head, a question on his face. “Isn’t Martin home from work yet? I thought I saw him here this afternoon.” “Oh, he was here all right. But he’s not here anymore.” My voice was brisk, almost business-like. I felt like his bloody secretary. If you’d like to leave a message… James waited, his face carefully blank. “Oh, and I guess that means I won’t be here for much longer either,” I said with a wave of dismay. “I can’t afford this place on my own.” I looked around sadly. I hadn’t thought of that before now. Great—now I was single, apparently as dull as a post, and also homeless, all at the same time. I shivered. Back to basement suite living for me, frozen dinners and long nights alone. I sighed heavily. James tilted his head. “So you guys aren’t together anymore?” he said as casually as if he was asking me if I’d gotten the mail that day. I shook my head and took a shaky breath. I hadn’t said it out loud to anyone yet. “We broke up,” I said finally. “I’m sorry.” He didn’t actually look sorry at all—in fact, he looked like he couldn’t care less.

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“Don’t be,” I said with more vehemence than I had intended. “It’s a good thing, trust me.” I paused. “Well, except for the part about me having to move into a basement suite. That part sucks. But anyway, enough about that. Do you want a drink? Wine? Water for Frankie?” I silently wished that he would say no so I could have my not-so-peaceful night to myself again. As I said this, Frankie disappeared into the bathroom and began loudly slurping from the toilet. We laughed, and with that I felt some of my tension disappear. “Well, I guess Frankie’s taken care of,” James said with a smile. “And I think I’ll take a rain check on the wine. I bet you’d rather be alone right now. And since neither one of us is really dressed for a visit…” He gestured at his ratty running shorts and old tank top, and I remembered my ever-so-stylish Christmas ensemble. James didn’t look half bad in his outfit. He had the kind of body that looked best in minimal clothing—tall, lean, very muscular, dark mahogany skin that looked deliciously edible, even when it was all shiny with sweat like it was now. In fact, with his athletic body and his handsome face, he looked more like a sportswear model than the corporate lawyer he really was. His ratty outfit helped me to forget for a moment that James was usually such an anal-retentive, super-organized neat freak who annoyed me like crazy. I swallowed, my mouth suddenly dry. I was used to seeing him in his running gear, but not when he was standing two feet away from me in my front hallway. I could even smell the sweat from his body, which was as deliciously enticing as the rest of him. I blushed hotly, imagining how I must look in my giant Christmas toga.

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Obviously I wasn’t having the same effect on him that he was having on me. He called Frankie and started to open the door, then turned back to me with a frown. “Mandy, you should dump out the rest of the wine, make yourself a cup of tea, and go to bed early,” he said in a stern voice. I prickled at his order, wishing he would have kept his beautiful mouth closed. Whenever he started to speak, it always ruined my fantasy that James was a hot guy. “Yes, sir, whatever you say.” I rolled my eyes. He started to speak again but shook his head. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow then.” Tomorrow? Oh, the neighborhood watch meeting. Like an idiot (or an overachieving multi-tasker), I’d offered to be the group’s secretary. Just what I wanted to do with my free time—take minutes for a bunch of paranoid stay-athome types. But then again, with Martin gone, what else did I have to do? “Sure, sure, whatever,” I mumbled, coaxing Frankie out of the hall closet, where she was nosing through my piles of shoes. I just wanted to get those two get out of there fast so I could go back to my mindless TV and comfy nest on the sofa. James seemed to hear my internal plea, and he hurried away with Frankie at his heels. I had the door shut and the security chain pulled across right after Frankie’s tail had just cleared the doorway. I had just settled back onto the couch when the doorbell rang again. I groaned. What did he want now? Was he going to insist I move the mattress out of sight or inform me it was a fire code violation or something?

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I waddled to the door in my blanket and threw open the door, ready to blast James with a piece of my mind. But it wasn’t James at the door—it was Sean. He was looking at me quizzically. “Um, you do know there’s a mattress on your front lawn, right?” he asked. “Yeah, yeah, what is it with everyone today? Of course I know it’s there—it’s a mattress on my lawn! How could I not know?” Sean just looked at me, raising one eyebrow. “And it’s there because…” I sighed. “Long story.” I opened the door wider. “Do you want to come in?” My tone wasn’t exactly inviting, but he didn’t take the hint. “Sure, yeah,” he said, dropping his bag beside the door and tossing his jacket across the banister like he always did. “I wanted to check on you after this afternoon, make sure everything is okay. Is Martin home?” He looked around expectantly. Sean and Martin knew each other pretty well. I’d invited Sean to a few of our dinner parties, and he sometimes came over to watch Bollywood DVDs with me, although he usually just made fun of the plotlines rather than actually watching them. “No, Martin is not here,” I said shortly. “And I’m fine, no need to check on me.” I waddled back to the sofa and sat down heavily before I realized I hadn’t invited Sean to follow me or offered him a drink. Some host I was. I started to feel guilty and then just gave up. I’d had a rough day and I was entitled to wallow a bit. “Grab yourself a glass and help yourself to some wine,” I said. “It’s a pretty good bottle.”

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He picked up the bottle and whistled when he saw the label. “A good bottle—that’s an understatement. This must be a fifty-dollar wine!” He looked at the single glass on the table, then back at the half-empty bottle in his hand. “Did you drink all of this by yourself?” he asked. Then, glancing at his watch, he added, “Before eight o’clock?” I shrugged, concentrating on digging the TV remote out from under my backside, where I’d wedged it when I sat down. Sean set the bottle down on the table and sat down beside me. After watching me stab the buttons in a frustrated attempt to turn off the TV, he gently took the remote. The TV fell silent, and he turned to me. “Okay, so what’s wrong?” Suddenly my eyes filled with tears. I felt so stupid, so rejected, like I was stranded in my own life. I should have been happily married with a couple of kids by now. Why couldn’t everything just work out the way it was supposed to? Why did I keep going out with losers and ruining everything? I turned away so that Sean wouldn’t see my tears, but it was too late. He took my shoulders and turned me to face him. “What is it?” His voice was so soft it wrapped around me like a blanket. I started to crumble inside when I saw the concern in Sean’s eyes, and I couldn’t stop the tears from overflowing. He pulled me close, just as the sobs started to break free. I didn’t feel sad, exactly, just lost and rejected and frustrated because now I’d have to start all over again from square one. I wept for the lost time and the wasted effort of trying to make it work with Martin. I

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even wept a bit for the missed opportunities today in the park, when I could have done so much more than what I did without the guilt that had been nagging me ever since. Slowly my tears subsided as I told Sean what had happened with Martin. He said all the right things, rubbed my back in all the right places, until at last I was feeling almost human again. I was still young enough to meet a hot guy—I mean, take a look at what I’d accomplished that day alone. Maybe my years with Martin were just a stepping stone on the road to fulfillment, or some such crap. All I knew was that I didn’t feel as much like a loser as I had before I’d leaned up against Sean’s warm chest and let it all out. I smiled as the energy started to change around me, from that dull cesspool to a sparkly waterfall of hope. Lame metaphor, but it honestly felt like the air had little diamonds in it—things were good again. After all, I had a nice bottle of wine in front of me, some expensive cheese and crackers in the fridge, and maybe even some freshbaked chocolate chip cookies in the front hallway, if Sean had been true to form and brought his usual treats from the corner bakery. “You know, we should celebrate,” I said. “It’s not every day that you get a chance to start over with a whole new life, you know.” I jumped up to get Sean a glass for the wine, letting the afghan fall to the floor behind me. When I came back with the wine glass and some cheese and crackers, Sean was staring at me with an intense look I recognized. I’d seen it that afternoon in the library, after I’d almost ripped his shirt off his body. He looked away quickly and busied himself with the plate of crackers. The front of his shirt was wet where I’d been crying against him. I remembered how warm and

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safe it had felt to be wrapped in his arms, both now and in the library. Sean was such a good friend. Looking at him now, I saw how attractive he was, and wondered again why I’d never noticed it before. Golden skin, copper eyes, dark tousled hair, strong arms, broad back. He glanced at me, saw me watching him, looked away, and looked back again. That intense look in his eyes was still there. His eyes traveled down my body. “I like your outfit,” he said with a half-smile. I glanced down, remembering for the first time that I was wearing only a tiny T-shirt with nothing at all underneath. It covered me in all the important areas, but only barely. I blushed and tossed the afghan over my lap, but he pulled it away from me. “Don’t bother, it looks better without,” he said. I tugged my shirt lower; it only just covered my crotch. “You know, it’s not much shorter than the skirt you were wearing today,” he added. “And by the way, I liked that skirt very much.” He was staring at my legs now, a half-smile on his lips. I watched him staring at me, and to my surprise, I didn’t feel at all self-conscious. In fact, I was feeling quite the opposite at the moment. It was nice to feel desired, even if it was only by Sean. “Thanks,” I murmured, leaning forward for my glass of wine. I knew the movement made my T-shirt slip up a little, but I pretended not to notice. I sipped my wine and glanced over at him. He was still staring at my legs. I set the wine down again and enjoyed seeing his eyes darken as my T-shirt slipped up again. “So, how was work after I left?” I asked, watching in amusement as he tried unsuccessfully to tear his attention

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away from my little peepshow. I really shouldn’t tease him, after he’d been so kind to me. I smoothed the T-shirt down so it safely covered me again. He frowned and looked away, shrugged after a moment. “It was all right. Nothing crazy happened or anything. Did you get your order of books?” I shook my head and confessed that I’d skipped out of work that day, which is how I’d found out about Martin in the first place. As I thought about that moment of faceslapping stupidity, when I’d realized Martin had been screwing someone else in our house, in our bed, my eyes filled with tears. Sean noticed right away and pulled me back to him for comfort. His arms around my back were warm and solid. Immediately my body relaxed against the smooth flannel of his shirt. His hand stroked my back, up and down. The motion was so soothing I closed my eyes and let all of my thoughts go. He smelled delicious, like cinnamon toast and citrusy soap and cedar shavings. I felt a strange desire to taste his skin. I turned my head slightly until I could feel the soft hairs of his neck against my lips. This was silly—what was I going to do, bite him like a vampire? But as I felt the warmth of his neck against my lips, tasted the salt on his skin, I could understand the appeal. His body became very still for a moment, his hands pausing on my shoulder blades. I nuzzled my face closer into his neck, and his hands began to move again. Lower and lower, he stroked my back, gradually slipping under my T-shirt. I hoped he wouldn’t move his hands lower to discover that I was totally naked under the shirt. I was relieved when his hands moved upward instead of downward, tracing their way across my bare back and

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up to my rib cage. I could feel my shirt rising in the front and hoped he couldn’t see anything. His touch was different now, less tentative than before, but I didn’t know what to do. If I pulled away now, he would see that I was basically flashing him, which would accomplish the opposite goal to discouraging him. On the other hand, if I let him keep his hands on me, I was definitely not sending a “back off” message. To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I wanted him to back off. His body felt good against mine, the strength of his hands on my back was warm and soothing, and his skin tasted wonderful, like something I’d been craving for ages. Instead of pulling away, I shifted ever so slightly closer. I moved my arms tighter around his waist, resting at the base of his shirt, like I had in the library. Again my fingers tightened against the fabric, longing to pull the shirt out of his jeans and up over his head. My breath caught in my throat as his left hand began to travel up my side. I got that shivery tickly feeling I always experienced when someone touched me there. I sighed as the goose bumps slid up my body and down my arm. I could feel the pulse of his neck against my lips. His heart was beating faster. What was I doing? It was cruel to lead him on, wasn’t it? And I was leading him on—of course I didn’t want to start anything with Sean of all people. Did I? His hand had reached the side of my rib cage now, and his thumb was just tracing the side of my breast. My heart pounded. I couldn’t decide how to react. I pulled my head back, wanting to ask him to stop, but instead of saying a word, I just gazed at him, my lips still

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slightly parted, amazed at how different he looked in this moment. Sean was gorgeous when he was turned on, I realized, his eyes dark and strong with intensity, his mouth irresistibly hungry. He continued to move his hand across my breast until he was cupping it softly, his eyes still gazing into mine. I realized I couldn’t stop him now, that I didn’t want to. When I tilted my face up towards his, he kissed me without a moment’s hesitation. The kiss was strong, surprisingly passionate. I had thought Sean would be the gentle, sweet type, but his lips were almost fierce against mine, his hands holding me so tightly I almost couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t believe this was the same Sean I’d known and overlooked for so long, but as the kiss deepened, I felt a thrill of delight. Martin had been such a wishy-washy lover. I’d forgotten about the kind of attraction that was so strong it felt almost violent. Sean’s hand circled my breast, both soft and possessive. His other hand travelled down my back again, pausing at my waist before slipping down across my ass. He gave a low chuckle as he realized I wasn’t wearing any panties and there was nothing but my flimsy T-shirt between my body and his. He was still kissing me, his tongue circling mine with such expertise that I caught my breath. Wasn’t Sean supposed to be a shy, inexperienced bookworm? Where did he get these incredible skills from? If he was this good at kissing, I desperately wanted to know about any other hidden talents he had. I pressed into the kiss, leaning my chest against his hand, surprised when I moved to straddle him. He shifted back in his seat as I settled on his lap, still kissing deeply. He groaned as he moved both of his hands down to cup

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my ass, pulling my hips down towards him so I could feel the pressure in his crotch straining against me. I couldn’t help myself. I let my hips grind against him, a mini lap dance as he broke off the kiss to look down at my body. The T-shirt was up around my waist now and my bare pussy was pressed against his jeans, but I knew he couldn’t see much more than the top of my pubic hair. He grabbed my shirt and pulled it roughly over my head. Now I was totally naked, sitting in Sean’s lap as he sat watching me, fully clothed. I should have felt embarrassed, but when I saw the lust in his eyes, I felt only satisfaction and longing. “I’ve waited so long for this,” he murmured, his hands tracing up my stomach to my breasts, then back down to the top of my thighs. His thumbs brushed against my pubic hair as he gripped my legs and pushed them open even wider. He bent his head to my breast and ran his tongue around my nipple. I felt a flash of single-minded lust as he pulled my nipple into his mouth, sucking with his lips as expertly as he had kissed my mouth a moment before. His thumb traced across my mound, slipping down over my clit in the faintest teasing motion. I shuddered against his touch and tried to tilt my hips into his fingers, frustrated when he just chuckled and slid his hand away from me. “How does it feel to be teased?” He smiled as he pulled his mouth away from my breast and settled his hands back on my waist. I smiled in spite of myself. “Two can play at that game,” I said, pushing back to try to get away from him. He held me still, as easily as if I were a kitten. “You don’t really want to go anywhere, do you?” His right hand brushed against my breast, making my nipple

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immediately hard, then he cupped the back of my neck and pulled my face to his for another mind-blowing kiss. Man, this guy could kiss. I forgot about getting away from him and instead pressed myself as close to him as I could. His other hand slid around my thigh to cup my ass, again grinding my pussy into his crotch. His cock felt even harder than before as I pressed against him. I knew I was making a wet spot on his pants, but I didn’t care. I wanted to be as close as possible to that hard cock. His lips curved into a smile as his hand slipped further around my ass, his fingertips just brushing the edge of my pussy lips from behind. I didn’t know whether to press backward into his fingers or downward onto his crotch, so I just moaned in frustration. My hands tore at his shirt now, pulling it up like I’d wanted to in the library. Greedily, my fingers touched his bare skin, pulling him closer to me as I continued to tug at the cloth. His back was strong and smooth, the muscles taut beneath my hands. I let my fingers travel around to the front of him, pulling away from the kiss so I could feel his stomach, his chest. His abs were cut, his chest strong and lightly covered with hair. I smiled. I liked men with chest hair, as opposed to the shaved look Martin had insisted on. I tugged at the buttons of his shirt, even more desperate to see what he looked like now that I knew how he felt. He watched me with a small smile on his lips, making no move to help me. As I fumbled with the buttons of his shirt, his hands moved up my thighs, tracing along the hollow at the edge of my pubic hair, teasing me with his back-and-forth flitting touches on the edge of my clit. I groaned and tried to rip the buttons off

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the shirt, but my hands were like blocks of wood. I took a deep breath and tried to concentrate, which was unbelievably difficult as his thumbs had begun slipping around the edge of my clit, not quite touching it as they slid achingly slowly down the edge of my swollen lips. Finally, I got the last button undone and pulled open the shirt to get my first look at the golden skin of his naked chest. I half-gasped when I saw how muscular he was. Sean could have been a model with that chest, I realized. Maybe he even was a model. I glanced up at his handsome face. How could I honestly have never noticed how gorgeously fuckable he was before today? He grinned at me as I slipped his arms out of the shirt. Then suddenly he shoved me off of him, moving me onto the couch beside him. He turned away from me and I started to protest but stopped when he stood up beside the sofa. He was like a bronze statue in my living room. As my eyes traveled down his body, I could see that the gorgeousness of his body extended below his waist as well. The outline of his hard cock extended down the leg of his jeans. He turned away and spread my Christmas afghan on the carpet, then pulled me up to stand in front of him, pressing my breasts against his bare chest as he kissed me again. Both of his hands were on my ass now, pressing me tightly against the bulge in his jeans. I struggled with the button on his fly until I could reach my hand inside and finally feel him against my fingers. He was long, hard and hot to the touch. As I gently pulled him up out of his denim straitjacket, he pulsed against my hand. He moaned as I traced my hand along the length of him, feeling from the brush of hair at the base of his cock up to the head of his penis, which was slightly wet with pre-come. When I moved my hands to

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try to push down his jeans, he groaned and grabbed my arms. “Are you sure this is what you want?” he asked through clenched teeth. I nodded, surprised at how certain I was that yes, indeed, I did want this very much. “Because this is it. I can’t stop after this,” he said. “We either stop now or we don’t stop at all, got it?” I nodded again, a bit shocked by the unaccustomed fierceness in Sean’s voice, and by the hungry way my body thrilled to that fierceness. He relaxed his grip on my arms, and I slipped my hands deeper inside his jeans, reaching around to his backside as I worked them down. His ass was tight, round, pure muscle. I shivered as I felt it flex against my hand. He moved his hands to help me pull down his jeans. I watched with longing as the open fly revealed more of his gorgeous body. The vee of hair at his waist trailed down to the most enormous cock I had ever seen. It hadn’t felt quite that big in my hands. I reached for it in disbelief as he stepped out of his jeans. “Wow,” was all I could say as my fingers explored the length and breadth of him, his long, thick cock and the full, hot balls beneath. “I had no idea. How could I never have had any idea, all this time?” “Believe me, I wished I could have filled you in a few times.” He chuckled. “Literally, I suppose. But better late than never.” With that, he grabbed my wrists and pushed me down onto the afghan. I objected, wanting to explore his body more. “Later,” he growled, kneeling between my legs and thrusting them open with his knees. “That’s what I’ve been waiting all day to see, ever since you walked into the

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library in that short skirt,” he said, gazing hungrily at my exposed pussy. “It’s gorgeous,” he breathed. “You’re gorgeous.” He lowered his lips to my pussy, tracing his tongue across my clit. “You’re perfect.” He moaned as he sucked my clit into his mouth then slid his tongue down into my hot cunt. A jolt of pleasure shot through my body, as though I was being turned inside out. I felt like I was melting into Sean’s lips. I couldn’t think of anything but the hot pleasure I was feeling. I started to shudder. I couldn’t believe I was going to come already. Before I could say anything, Sean pulled away and watched me with a wicked smile as my orgasm faded just out of reach. I squirmed beneath him, trying to pull him towards me with my legs, but he just chuckled. “Easy now,” he said. “We’ve got all night.” He leaned forward to kiss me. I could taste my own juices on his lips and licked hungrily at the sweetness as I remembered how his mouth had felt on my pussy just a second ago. The tip of his penis brushed against my mound, and I squirmed to position myself against it. He laughed again and sat back, pulling his cock out of reach for a moment as he paused to slip on a condom he pulled out of his jeans pocket. He had obviously come prepared—had he been somehow planning or expecting this? I wriggled and moaned until he touched me again, tracing his cock gently around my swollen wet opening. I was desperate for him to be inside me. I tried to pull him toward me with my legs, but he resisted. “Is this what you’re looking for?” He slowly eased the tip of his cock inside my cunt. I shuddered as incredibly, my hunger grew even stronger. I almost screamed in

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frustration when he pulled out of me with that same wicked smile on his face. I pushed my hips against him, almost begging because I wanted him so much. Again, he pushed the tip of his cock into me, a bit deeper this time. I moaned, frustrated at how long this was taking. Couldn’t he just fuck me already? He pulled out and traced the head of his penis around my lips again. “We shouldn’t rush this, should we?” he mused. “Yes we should! We should! Please!” My voice was hoarse, my breathing ragged. His dark look grew even more intense as we locked eyes. “You really don’t want to wait?” he growled. “No, no, no,” I pleaded. “I want you now. I want you right now.” He inserted the head of his cock again then withdrew it, watching my face closely. “Are you sure you don’t want to take it slow?” he asked, a faint smile on his lips. “No,” I moaned. “No, I want you now, now!” He smiled darkly. “Well, if you’re sure,” he said, suddenly plunging his cock deep inside of me. I gasped at the size of it. I had never felt such a large cock before. He thrust deeply, not the least bit gently, not even when he reached the back of my cunt and heard me cry out in pain and surprise. He pulled back, almost pulled all the way out then thrust back into me as deeply as before. I cried out again, but there was more delight than pain in my cry. I had never felt a pleasure that deep inside me before. It was like I was being split open from my pussy all the way to my heart, but it felt amazing. I spread my legs as wide as I could, wanting to take as much of him as possible. I wrapped my legs around him,

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pulling him deeper into me with each thrust. It hurt a little to take him all the way in but the pain was morphing into pleasure with each thrust, as though a swirling lust was coming to life. Abruptly he pulled back and started fucking me shallowly, with only the head of his penis inside me. I groaned and tried to pull him back inside me, but he just grinned and shook his head. “I want to watch for a minute. I want to see what it looks like to fuck you.” He pulled out, traced his penis around my swollen pussy lips, then plunged it back in again. I bucked my hips against him, reaching for him with my cunt. I couldn’t believe how desperate I was to feel that inner pain again, to watch his face and know his cock was buried inside me. Gently he touched his thumb to my clit as he teased my cunt with his cock. He was halfway in, he almost pulled out, he was just barely inside me—there was no rhyme or reason to his movements, and I wanted to scream with desire. “Please, please…” I begged, spreading my legs wider and reaching for his hips with my hands. He smiled, his thumb on my clit circling slowly, almost lazily, as he let his cock gradually move deeper inside me. “Did you want something?” he murmured as he deepened his thrusts and quickened the pressure of his thumb against my clit. I could only nod and whimper as the roar began in my ears. I could think of nothing but the building hunger in my cunt, the clenching throbbing need inside me. I could feel the wave starting and I knew I was going to come. I looked at Sean; he was watching my face with a knowing smile. God, he was gorgeous.

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Suddenly he plunged inside me, even more deeply than before. I felt like I was breaking apart at the same time that the world was crashing down on me. I cried out with lust, surprise, pain, and hunger as my body surrendered to the power of his body on mine, inside mine. My orgasm was like nothing I’d ever experienced before, taking away all my awareness of time and space. It seemed endless, a tidal wave that just wouldn’t stop. He pounded into me, each time as deeply as before. The wave washed over me again and again. I couldn’t believe how intensely, overwhelmingly erotic it was. “God, Mandy, you don’t know how long I’ve been waiting to do this,” he groaned as he thrust roughly inside me. He cried out, arched his back and pounded into me again. I gazed at him through my lusty trance as he cried out again. I couldn’t believe I was watching Sean come, that he was coming inside me. That delicious fullness made my body feel alive for the first time in what seemed like years as his cock pulsed inside my ravaged cunt. I never would have dreamed in a thousand years this moment would happen between us, but now that it was here, it felt so natural and easy. And pretty amazing too. Eventually, after what seemed like a long time, Sean sighed and lowered himself onto the floor beside me. I gazed at him, still hardly believing what we’d just done. He smiled back at me, kissed me gently. “Thank you,” he murmured, pulling me close to him. I snuggled into him, peaceful and cozy, smelling that same cinnamon lemony smell that had tantalized me before. I nibbled gently on his neck, just to see if the flavor had changed. He tasted of sweat, of heat, of desire.

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I smiled and lay back as Sean raised himself on his elbow and looked down at me. “So, do you want a cookie?” he asked with a burst of energy. I laughed and nodded as he bounced up to grab the bag of chocolate chip cookies he’d brought from the bakery. I topped up our wine glasses and wrapped myself in the Christmas afghan. We sat together curled up on the couch eating chocolate cake, feeling just as natural as if nothing had happened. In fact, I could almost convince myself that nothing had happened, but then when I glanced over at his half-naked Greek god body leaning up against mine, I knew that something had happened, all right. I didn’t know whether or not it would happen again, but I was starting to hope it would.

Chapter 7 I woke up springy and happy, despite being a bit hung over and having slept on the pull-out couch now that I was bedless. I ate some leftover chocolate cake for breakfast, which made me feel like quite the adventurer, and then on impulse decided to phone in sick to work and spend the day shopping for a new apartment instead. I deserved it. I hadn’t had a sick day all year. And Sean would be out at a seminar most of the day, so he wouldn’t think I was avoiding him. Which of course I wasn’t—was I? I had almost convinced myself that last night was not a mistake, but the truth was I did feel a bit odd about what had happened. It was one thing to be swept away by the magic of the moment, by that gorgeous body, but quite another to have to make conversation over piles of books as though nothing had happened. I just couldn’t reconcile the library version of Sean with the Greek-god version of Sean that had been here last night. It all seemed like a weird dream. I shook my head and pushed the niggling concerns out of my mind. For once I wasn’t going to analyze this to death. I was just going to take each moment as it came. I grabbed my purse and headed out the front door, frowning when I saw that the mattress was still there. I frowned even more when I saw James was also there, staring at the mattress in obvious annoyance.

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“You still have a mattress on your front lawn,” he said drily as Frankie strained at the leash to greet me. Halfreluctantly, I went to pet her. I couldn’t bear to punish Frankie for James’s annoyingness. “Martin was supposed to come and get it last night, but I guess he didn’t show. I’ll call a charity to come and get it today.” I focused on Frankie, trying to ignore the pompous look on James’s face. “You know it looks really unsightly out here.” He frowned. “I mean, I understand it’s upsetting to deal with Martin or whatever, but you really can’t leave it sitting out like that,” he said stiffly. “I know, I know, of course,” I muttered. “I’ll go back inside and call now.” I got up to leave. “I don’t mind calling them for you, if you’re going to be late for work,” he began. I sighed. “James, if I say I’ll call, I’ll call. It will be gone by the end of the day, trust me.” “That’s not what I meant. I just—” “It’s fine,” I cut him off. “I’ll see you at the meeting tonight.” I turned around and walked stiffly back into the house. What a bossy, pompous ass. Obviously I knew I had to get rid of the mattress, it’s not as though I would have left it there indefinitely if he hadn’t said anything to me. Ordered me around, is more like it. I was getting sick of his holier-than-thou attitude. What made him so special? Just because he was some kind of high-profile lawyer type who owned a beautiful end unit condo in a great neighborhood, who worked flexible hours I still couldn’t figure out and traveled to exotic locations every other month. Yeah sure, nothing special there.

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I sighed. Nothing worse than a smug jerk, especially when he had something to be smug about. I called the charity, gave them my address, then headed down to the coffee shop to pore over the morning paper in search of my new basement hovel. After a few hours, my head ached and I felt exhausted, like I’d been running a race all day only to find that I’d somehow gone off track and was back at the start again. I couldn’t believe the crappy apartments I’d seen. They were all horrible, and only the most horrible of the lot were in my price range. What a misery, to think that with a Master’s degree and a nearly full-time job, all I could afford was a leaky, musty dungeon in a creepy part of town. I sat down heavily on a bench overlooking my own leafy neighborhood. Correction, my former leafy neighborhood. There were lovely parks around here, the bus ride to work was easy, and I never had to worry about my safety, even if I went out in the middle of the night. I was definitely going to miss living here. A young couple walked past me, both of them eating an ice cream cone. All of a sudden, the woman stopped and laughed, then pulled his free hand towards her swollen belly. He laughed too, obviously feeling the baby kick. I watched wistfully as they continued out of sight. It looked so nice to be wandering through a sunny park with the one you love, living the perfect family dream. I sighed, wishing that I could find someone like that instead of continuously wasting my life on losers like Martin. I’d spent 3 years of my life with him, and now here I was, single again, except older, fatter, and that much closer to being a dried-up infertile prune.

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Okay, so I was only 32 and only a few pounds heavier than I was in my twenties, but I knew the statistics— anything over 30 was trouble. Who knew how long it would take me to finally settle down with someone, have the perfect family—two kids, a dog, the whole package? Maybe never at this rate. I wished things had worked out with Martin. I wished he hadn’t been such a weasely boring slug of a man. If only he’d been like that guy with the ice cream cone, sure of himself, happy in his relationship instead of squirming out of anything more significant. Sure, I didn’t exactly adore him, but we worked well together. I’m sure we would have made a very functional, pleasant family unit. I shook my head at the thought of giving up my happiness, that sparkling light inside my heart, in order to have a “functional, pleasant family unit.” If that wasn’t a recipe for an unhappy life, fuelled by desperation, I didn’t know what was. It didn’t look like I was going to get that family dream any time soon, but at least I could have a tiny piece of that dream right away. I jogged down the hill to the ice cream shop to get myself a double scoop chocolate cone. *** By the time I headed home that day, I realized I had two choices: share a decent apartment in a nice neighborhood with a potentially psycho stalker type, or have my own crappy place in a bad neighborhood. I still wasn’t sure which I would prefer. Maybe if I looked for places that didn’t have real kitchens, since I didn’t cook much… I was so deep in thought that I almost crashed into James as he rounded the corner on his way to the condo.

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“Oh, I’m sorry,” I mumbled, steadying myself against him so I wouldn’t fall. I shot a quick glance at my front lawn—no mattress. I breathed a sigh of relief, although why I felt like I should feel guilty around him, I had no idea. It wasn’t as though he was a specimen of perfection, after all. He looked at me with his unreadable, molasses-dark eyes set in that gorgeous chiseled face. Okay, so maybe he was a specimen of perfection in some ways. “Hello, Mandy,” he said with a polite smile. He was obviously pleased to see that the lawn mattress drama had finally been resolved. We stood for a moment, not really having anything to say to one another. “Well, I’d better go inside now,” I said. “Long day, you know how it is.” My voice sounded bright, friendly, but all I wanted was to end this conversation and climb into a hot tub and wash away all the grit from those dingy apartments. He nodded briskly, as though sensing my haste, and headed off to his condo. I went with relief into the house, only to find that on the doorstep was a long rectangular blue box, addressed to me in familiar handwriting. My heart sank. Martin had been here while I was out. I let myself into the house cautiously. “Hello?” I called. No answer, thank goodness. He must have come for some of his things. Luckily he hadn’t stuck around. I set the blue box down on the kitchen table. I wasn’t sure I wanted to open it. Obviously it contained apology flowers. Did I really care what he had to say now? But I couldn’t help myself. I pulled the ribbon off the box and lifted the lid. Of course, it was my favorite—purple roses. I lifted them to my nose, pleased to find that they had a

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strong scent. One of my pet peeves was roses that didn’t have any scent—what was the point? But of course, Martin knew that, didn’t he? I hesitated before finally deciding to put the roses in a vase instead of dumping them in the trash. After all, it wasn’t the roses’ fault that Martin was a world-class jerk. I could enjoy the flowers without even thinking of him. But every time I walked past the vase on the kitchen counter, I felt a tug of something I couldn’t place. Not sadness, exactly, but a sort of nostalgia, a feeling of loss. Why should I feel like I’ve lost anything? I’ve actually regained my life and my future, not lost it. Being with Martin was sucking my life away. Breaking free of him was one of the best things I had ever done. Or so I kept telling myself. It sucked to be alone, to have to start from scratch with someone new, to be homeless and poor all at the same time. I looked at the blue box, still sitting open on the table. I had noticed the card inside but had refused to read it. What harm would it do to take a little peek? I opened it and read, “My darling, I am so deeply sorry that I’ve hurt you and betrayed your trust and the beauty of our relationship. Our home has been badly damaged by my selfish choices. I only wish there was a way for me to repair it. I am here for you, waiting for you. Please forgive me and let us start our life together again.” I crumpled the card tightly in my hand. What a load of flowery-sounding crap. Martin didn’t talk like that, didn’t think like that. He was just saying what he thought I wanted to hear. I sighed and straightened out the card again, rereading the words written in Martin’s neat handwriting. The problem was that that was what I wanted to hear. It hurt my pride too much to think he

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would just disrespect me and dump me, and that was that. Everyone thought Martin and I would get married this year. How embarrassing that instead, now I was single again. Maybe I would end up a spinster. I thought back to my adventures in the park yesterday and smiled in spite of myself. There were some benefits to being single. Maybe I could just enjoy my new freedom for a while instead of worrying about it. I balled up the card again and tossed it into the trash. I missed the target by about a foot, but in true devil-maycare fashion, I just shrugged and left it on the floor. I lived alone now—why bother to pick up after myself all the time? I poured myself a tall glass of wine and headed for the bathtub. I just wanted to forget about everything except the cool wine and the hot water, and let the rest of my life go for a while. I came out of the tub feeling like a fresh new person. I wished I hadn’t promised to go to the neighborhood watch meeting tonight. The half-full wine bottle in the fridge was calling my name, and rather loudly in fact. But a promise was a promise, so I headed next door for the meeting. I stiffened despite myself as I waited on James’s front step. I knew I was only here out of neighborly obligation, but I didn’t want him to think I actually wanted to see him or anything. He opened the door without the usual hyper attentions of Frankie, who had been shut in a back room so she wouldn’t get in everyone’s way. He nodded at me, opened his mouth as if to say something, then shut it again. “Hello James. It’s a nice evening, isn’t it?” I said with half-attention as I walked into his condo. I had to admit his house was lovely. Beautiful modern furniture,

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gleaming hardwood floors (how did he manage that with Frankie always running around? I wondered), and lots of sunshine streaming through the side windows. My unit didn’t have any windows on the sides, and I was surprised at what a difference they made in enhancing the cheerful feeling of the house. He said something equally inconsequential in reply then turned his attention to the group of people in his living room. “Well, now that we’re all here,” he began, “let’s start the meeting. Anybody have any issues or concerns this month?” He paused expectantly, and I almost expected him to interject with a comment about people leaving unsightly furniture items on their front lawns, but he kept silent. In fact, he stayed mostly silent throughout the meeting, which wasn’t exactly like him. Usually he tried to take charge of the whole meeting from beginning to end. But today was a low-key meeting with not much on the agenda other than housekeeping items. “Actually,” I announced when the meeting was winding down, “I probably won’t be attending any more meetings after this.” There was a gratifying murmur of protest as I began to explain that I would soon be moving away from the complex. But before I could say much about it, James interjected abruptly. “Perhaps we can cover personal issues during the coffee break,” he said. “As your plans are not yet fully formed, who knows where you’ll actually be in a month’s time?” I was stunned at how rude he sounded, dismissing me like a flighty child who can’t decide which flavor lollipop to get. “Actually, I’m pretty sure that I—” I began, but James stood up quickly and started ushering people into the

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kitchen, where there were plates of snacks and some drinks that we’d paid for from our contingency fund. I sat in astonishment as the room emptied. It was as though everyone had forgotten about me and my news. I guess they didn’t care about me as much as I’d thought. A moment later James reappeared in the doorway. “I apologize for interrupting you earlier,” he said formally. “More fake apologies,” I muttered. “Spare me.” I tried to push past him towards the kitchen but he grabbed my elbow and steered me in the other direction. “Actually, I didn’t want you to say anything more because I’ve got a proposition to make, and if you accept it then you won’t need to move.” I stared at him. What on earth could he be talking about? He took a breath, seemed to be gathering his courage for a moment, then quickly began to speak. “I just wanted to ask you—I mean, I was wondering—well, I know you’re looking for a new place and, well, I hope you won’t think this is too inappropriate or anything, especially if Martin keeps living in your old place.” I was starting to get annoyed now. When would he ever come to the point? Usually James was the blurt-it-out type. Was he getting ready to scold me again for the mattress or for some other infraction of the condo rules? “Well, the thing is, you know I travel a lot for work,” he continued. “And I don’t really want to leave Frankie in a kennel all the time, so I was thinking of looking for a house sitter, or maybe a full-time roommate.” He glanced at me, his face a bit anxious now. “So I was thinking that since you need a place to stay, and I need a person to stay here, that maybe—I mean, Frankie really likes you, and—”

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I shook my head in confusion. Live in the same house as Mr. Perfect himself? How would I keep it neat enough to satisfy him? How would I ever manage to feel at home, if I was always walking on eggshells? But then again, he did say he wouldn’t be home that much. I looked around the sunny living room, admiring the comfy furniture and the artwork on the walls, trying to picture myself curled up with a book on the sofa, Frankie snoozing at my feet. But then the image shattered as I pictured James storming in and reprimanding me for spilling tea on his precious sofa. No thanks. I started to say as much, but he interrupted me. “I mean, you’d have to do a lot, like take Frankie for walks twice a day, so the rent would be really low because of it.” My ears perked up at that—really low rent was about all I could afford at the moment. “And you’d have a private bathroom, but it’s not an en suite unfortunately. The room’s a bit small, but it does have a nice view of the park.” He paused. “But what am I going on for? You’re probably not interested. Never mind.” He looked so deflated that I almost laughed out loud. He really seemed to want me to live here. I guess he must be having a difficult time finding someone to look after Frankie. Despite myself, I felt a spark of interest. Really low rent, a private bath, a view of the park, a not-quite psycho roommate, a super-simple move just two houses away. It was tempting, surprisingly tempting. “It doesn’t sound like such a bad idea,” I said slowly. “I do like Frankie, and I go in to work late enough that I’d have time to walk her in the morning, and again when I get home. And if you’re not around that much, then it wouldn’t be so bad—” I broke off, embarrassed. “I mean, I’d have lots of privacy.”

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He smiled. “For the next few months I’m travelling every other week, so it would be great if you could come right away. I have Frankie booked at the kennel while I’m away this weekend, but if you were here that would be so much better.” I could see the sappy look on his face. For all his other annoying faults, James really did love that dog. I nodded thoughtfully. “Let me think about it,” I said. “It sounds like a good idea, at least until I find something more permanent.” He looked surprised and relieved. “Okay then, you think about it and get back to me,” he said, grinning broadly. I agreed and started heading towards the kitchen to grab a snack. I hadn’t seen James smile like that before. He looked like a little kid, not at all like the stern mattress cop he’d been earlier that day. I stopped and turned around. “You know, I think I’ve thought about it enough,” I said. “I’d be happy to live here and take care of Frankie.” His mouth gaped open for a moment, and then that boyish smile returned to his face. “That would be great!” he said. “I mean, if you’re sure. You can change your mind any time, you know.” He looked so afraid that I would that I laughed. “I’m sure, I’m sure,” I said. “It works for me to make such an easy move. I love the neighborhood, and I hate all of the awful apartments in my price range.” I shuddered, remembering the rickety one-bedroom with moldy orange carpets, overlooking a charming alley full of dumpsters and an obliviously urinating old man. “This place would be perfect.” I was convinced now—I would rather live here than even go and look at another awful apartment.

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And maybe James wouldn’t be so bad once I got to know him better. “Good. Well, we can move your things in any time you like, at your earliest convenience.” His pompous voice had returned. “I can provide you with an itemized list for Frankie’s care requirements.” He droned on as we approached the kitchen. I sighed and tuned him out. Maybe living with James would be a pain in the ass after all. I glanced up at him as he ticked off Frankie’s schedule on his fingers. When he talked about her, I could just see the faint outlines of that boyish smile on his face. I would try to focus on that, forget the rest of it. I smiled as we entered the kitchen and the buzz of conversation drowned him out. All I had to do was tune him out, smile, and basically pretend he was someone else altogether. No problem, right? That night I packed my things. I didn’t have a lot of stuff to pack, as most of the furniture was Martin’s. I went through my photo album, tossing most of my pictures of Martin into the trash. Maybe he’d want them, but I didn’t want to look at them anymore. I packed my grandmother’s china tea set, my portable sewing machine, my piles and piles of books, my big fleecy white robe and my CD collection. I filled two suitcases with clothes, two grocery bags with my dozens of boxes of tea and my jars of spices, and nestled my few dishes into a couple of boxes lined with my fluffy purple towel set and my Christmas afghan. And then that was it. I was ready to leave the next day and not come back.

Chapter 8 The next morning I was standing outside the library, bracing myself against the potential awkwardness of seeing Sean again after that eventful evening. I didn’t regret what we’d done exactly, but I wasn’t sure how well I’d deal with remembering it while I was sorting books and sitting in staff meetings. But I couldn’t hide out here forever, so I squared my shoulders, plastered a pleasant smile on my face, and walked inside. Sean was in the staffroom, processing the morning newspapers like he always did. He looked up and gave me a relaxed smile. “Good morning,” he said, his voice sounding completely normal and friendly without being overly familiar or suggestive. “Are you feeling better today?” he asked, glancing over at the other workers who were within earshot. Oh right, I was supposed to be sick yesterday. “Yeah, thanks. I’m still a bit tired but feeling better now.” He smiled at me and gave me a little blink-and-youmiss-it wink, followed by his usual poker face. I couldn’t help smiling back, feeling relieved. Maybe it wasn’t going to be so awkward working with Sean after all. All morning he was nothing but business-like and friendly; I was starting to relax. In the usual mid-morning lull at the reference desk, Sean beckoned me into the stacks, indicating a clipboard he was holding. I guessed he had a question about something, so I followed him to the

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back corner of the library, very close to where Mr. Sparkly Eyes and I had been the other day. “I have a question about this part of the collection,” Sean said. “It doesn’t seem to be circulating very well at all, and I was wondering if we should move it down to the closed stacks at the central branch.” He picked out a book from the top shelf. “Like this book on Estonian history, for example.” I started when I recognized this as the same book Mr. Sparkly Eyes had asked for the other day. Maybe it was just a coincidence? Sean leafed through the book. “I can’t imagine there would be any demand for a book like this in this branch,” he went on. “And having such an obscure collection in a dark corner of the library can only lead to trouble.” He was staring at me now, his eyes steely and unwavering. “What kind of trouble?” I asked faintly. He shrugged. “You know, like people could meet back here for drug deals or other illicit activities.” He leaned closer to me. “And the illusion of privacy might make them do things they might otherwise never do. Which could be dangerous if, in fact, they were not as unobserved as they had thought.” He was even closer now, almost pinning me back against the bookshelf, the underlying meaning of his words becoming clear. I knew that Sean had seen me here the other day, but I didn’t know how much he had seen. I opened my mouth to explain myself, but he placed his hand over my mouth. “Don’t worry, Mandy,” he said. “I wouldn’t judge you.” He smiled with obvious pleasure. “I enjoyed watching you with him, which was a bit of a surprise, frankly. And I especially enjoyed the little show the two of you put on in the park.”

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I gasped in horror. I’d forgotten that Sean often went to the park on his breaks too. He laughed and then grabbed the hair at the back of my head and kissed me hard on the mouth. “I didn’t know you were such a little slut,” he murmured between kisses. “But it’s lucky for me, now, isn’t it?” He kissed me roughly, his tongue forcing my mouth open. Despite myself, I felt that twisting lust start to grow in my belly, like butterflies. This Sean was so much different from the Sean I thought I knew. So much hotter. I shivered as he ran his hands down my shoulders, squeezing my breasts hard before grabbing my hips with his hands and pulling me against him. My legs wrapped around him automatically as he lifted me and sat me on the book truck beside us, as easily as if I weighed no more than an armload of books. He pushed my long peasant skirt up and pulled my ass to the edge of the book truck. He kissed me again then knelt on the ground in front of me. “What if someone sees?” I whispered. “Let them watch,” he growled as he pulled my panties away from my already wet and swollen cunt. “That didn’t seem to bother you in the park, now did it?” Once again my face burned with shame. I thought no one had seen me in the park. I looked desperately around the library. I couldn’t see anyone from this dark corner, but what if someone noticed us after all? But then his tongue flicked against my clit, tracing a wet circle around it, and I forgot to care what was happening around me. I arched my back and stifled a moan as he teased the wet heat of my pussy with his tongue, kissing and loving it as expertly as he had kissed my mouth.

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He slipped his fingers into my pussy, sliding them deeply into my wet heat, while his lips and his tongue still traced lazy circles around my clit. He slipped a third finger into me and I almost cried out at the wonderful stretching feeling. As he thrust his fingers deeply into me, my body opened to him, and I started to shudder. He pulled his fingers out suddenly then with a flick of his tongue around my clit, he stood up and pulled me to my feet, grabbing the clipboard and pointing back at the top shelf of books. At that moment, one of the library pages walked past the far end of the aisle, giving a casual wave as he gathered the stray books from the shelves. As soon as he was out of sight, Sean lifted me back onto the book truck and flipped my skirt up again. This time, I didn’t hesitate; I spread my legs for him, pulled my panties aside. He groaned softly as he looked at my soaked, needy pussy. “Such a little slut,” he whispered, and for some reason his words thrilled me. As he watched, I spread my pussy lips with my left hand, slowly rubbing my clit with the fingers of my right hand. He caught his breath as he realized what I was doing. I slowly slipped one finger into myself, then another. He knelt in front of me, his face only inches from my pussy. I pushed my fingers in as deeply as I could, enjoying the delighted lust on his face as he saw my lips spreading just for him. I felt a rush of pleasure as I saw his hand reach down into the waistband of his jeans. It was just like I’d imagined with the college guy on the bus. He didn’t take his eyes off my cunt as I rubbed it faster and faster, arching my back against the waves of heat flashing through my body. I could see the tip of his cock, huge and purple with need, through the now-open waist of

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his jeans. It was shining with pre-come. To know I could cause that need without even touching him was a thrill unlike anything I had felt before. I couldn’t believe how swollen and wet I was. I spread my legs even wider, pushed my fingers as deeply into me as I could. Sean rubbed his fingers across the glistening head of his penis then raised his slick fingers to my already dripping pussy. I started to pull my hand away but he stopped me, smiling as he pushed my fingers back into me, sliding his own wet digits in along with them. The feeling of fullness was exquisite. I had three of my fingers in me, and now two of his as well. I imagined what that would look like if someone was watching us, and that was all it took. With a shudder I stifled a cry as my orgasm ripped through me. He pushed into me as deeply as he could, feeling the walls of my vagina squeeze around him. After a moment he pulled his hands away then stood up roughly and plunged his cock into me, not even letting me pull my fingers away as he thrust possessively inside me. I felt like I would split right open—his cock was so thick with need that it seemed twice as big as it had yesterday, and with my fingers there too, I was almost afraid, the feeling was so intense. Another ripple of pleasure shuddered through me as I pulled my hand free and cupped its sticky wetness around his tightening balls. “I wonder if I’m the first guy you’ve ever fucked in the library,” he said in my ear, his voice husky and labored. “I wonder if I’m the first guy who’s ever filled your horny little pussy with hot come in the library.” He thrust harder and faster in rhythm with his questions then with a hard smile, he grunted, “Probably not. You little slut,” and then with a rough, almost violent thrust, he

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emptied his need into me, smothering his cries against my sweater as he shuddered and pounded against me. He pulled my hips tight against him, pushing as deeply into me as he possibly could. I could feel his wetness inside me, knowing that it would soon be leaking out of me, but I didn’t care. I liked his big, horny bare cock inside me; I liked feeling like I’d been used to satisfy it. Slowly he withdrew from me and watched as his come started to drip from my swollen cunt. He pushed his fingers inside me then brought them to my lips. “Taste it,” he said, putting his fingers into my mouth. I sucked the sweet combination of our juices from his skin as he pulled my panties back into place. He watched me intensely as I savored the taste, still sitting with my legs spread open on the book truck. “You’ve got such a hot little cunt,” he said, bringing his lips to mine without removing his fingers from my mouth. Together we tasted the evidence of our lust as our tongues tangled and my pussy started to tingle all over again. Reluctantly he pulled away and set me on my feet again. I straightened my long skirt and smoothed my hair as Sean tucked his shirt back into his jeans. I shivered as his juices started to trickle down my thigh. Thank goodness for such a long skirt, I thought with a smile. He picked up the clipboard and gestured at the Estonia books again as we heard footsteps approaching. “I think if we opened up this area, maybe took away this whole shelf, we could turn it into a sitting area, which would be an improvement in terms of library security,” he was saying. The footsteps stopped a couple of yards away and went down one of the other aisles. I took the clipboard from him and glanced at the blank sheet of paper on it. “Good idea, Sean,” I murmured, “but

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you know, we should do a user needs study before embarking on any kind of major changes. Maybe we should make a point of visiting this area of the library more regularly, just to see how much it’s being used.” He nodded as the footsteps approached again. “Sounds like a good idea,” he said then took back the clipboard and scribbled something on it. “I have another idea too,” he said, handing the clipboard back to me. He had written, Mandatory dress code for this research: skirts every day, as short as possible. I smiled. “You’re right. I think that would be a necessary condition for the validity of the research project.” I nodded briskly and turned to greet the heavyset woman who was standing at the end of the aisle, looking a bit lost. “Can I help you find something?” I said brightly, leading her away from the dark corner where Sean was still standing. *** The rest of the day passed in a bit of a haze. I tried to avoid looking at Sean as much as possible. Whenever I caught his eye I was temporarily unable to think of anything but the still-swollen ache in my pussy that seemed to get worse whenever he walked by. I tried to distract myself with work, but it only half-worked. The horniness wouldn’t go away, and I found myself entertaining more than a few inappropriate fantasies about the occasional hot guys that would pass by the reference desk or on the street outside the window. Somehow I made it through the rest of the day without tearing my panties off for anyone else, but by the end of the day I was exhausted. Sean offered to bring me dinner

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in, but I declined, saying I wanted a night to myself. For some reason, I didn’t feel like telling him that I would be moving in with James that night. I knew I’d have to tell him eventually, but I wanted to wait until I was at least half-sure I would actually be staying there for more than a night or two. I guess I didn’t want to reveal how obviously desperate I was for a place to live for fear that Sean might do something insane like invite me to live with him instead. It was weird. I liked Sean a lot, and I really enjoyed fucking him, but somehow I was already getting tired of him. Too much too soon? Another wave of embarrassment washed through me when I thought of how outrageously I’d been acting these last few days. My body was so desperately hungry for physical contact, it was as though my brain had no influence over the things I did. I’d never felt so out of control, and I didn’t exactly enjoy sharing that experience with someone else, even if it was with my friend Sean. Especially now that he was turning out to be somewhat different from the person I’d thought he was.

Chapter 9 I finished stacking the last of the boxes, bags and suitcases beside the front door of my old condo. I stood looking at the small, haphazard pile—this was what my life came down to, an odd assortment of stuff with almost no financial value whatsoever. Although I never really was one to care about material things, it was strange to have so little to show for my life thus far. Shouldn’t I have two or three kids by now, a pair of calico cats, a white picket fence? Instead I had a sewing machine, hundreds of books, some photo albums, and an excessive selection of tea. I felt like a big, lumpy failure, like a teenager going away to college instead of a thirty-something professional moving out of her condo. Oh well, it wouldn’t do any good to feel sorry for myself now, what was done was done. I grabbed my big suitcase and one of the grocery bags and began the half-dozen or so treks across the lawn that it would take to get me all moved into James’s place. Before I even knocked on the door, James had opened it and was taking my suitcase from me. I thanked him and headed back for the next load, but he insisted on carrying most of the boxes and the sewing machine, leaving me with just a few of the lighter bags and the suitcase on wheels. He wouldn’t even dream of letting me do it myself, annoyingly perfect gentleman that he was. Not that I really minded being spared the effort, but as I was already feeling like an aimless child. I didn’t appreciate

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being treated like a helpless female as well. By the time we had transferred the pile of belongings from my old foyer to his, I was thoroughly bitchy. It didn’t help that James was acting uncharacteristically cheerful and friendly the whole time. I eyed him suspiciously as he almost bubbled over with good host vibes—can I get you a drink? Do you need to freshen up? Let me show you around, etc., etc. James was anything but a sociable person, I knew that. He seemed so relieved to have me staying here, obviously he must have been feeling pretty desperate to get someone to stay with Frankie. At that thought, James opened the door to the main floor office, and out bounded Frankie. She was a bit overhyped at being kept away from us for so long, and she leapt around the room for a while before nuzzling into James’s leg and then trotting over to press her head into my hand. She was really a sweet dog, and I was kind of looking forward to living with her, curling up on the sofa with her, taking her for long walks through the park. “Well, shall we go up and put your things in your room?” James asked. “Or if you prefer we can put some of it in storage downstairs. You can use the bookshelves in the living room if you like, and there’s room in the kitchen cupboards if you have any dishes or anything.” He was kind of babbling, which was cute but a bit disconcerting. James was never “cute.” He was usually formal, polite, abrupt. Good-looking, no doubt about it, but somehow you almost didn’t notice that behind his serious frown. Maybe he was nervous, I thought as I listened to him going on and on with that weird smile on his face. The thought almost made me laugh out loud—yeah right, as if

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James would be nervous around me. He was always so cool and collected, he was probably just having second thoughts about inviting me to live with him. In a rush of anxiety I interrupted him. “You know, James, if you change your mind and don’t want me living here with you, you only have to tell me, and I’ll understand.” The look on his face was almost comical, his grin frozen over a shocked expression. “I hope I didn’t give you that impression,” he finally said, in his usual formal voice. “I must apologize if that is the case.” He was so stiff now, so much more familiar to me, that I started to relax. Now this was the James I knew. “No, no, you’ve been great. I just thought maybe I’d taken advantage of you by moving in here before you’ve even had a chance to think about it.” He turned abruptly from me and grabbed one of my suitcases. “I’ve thought about it,” he said crisply. “I’m very pleased that you are here, but if you’d like to back out of it, I will understand.” I hurried towards him as he bent to get another of my suitcases. Why did I always have to put my foot in it when I was talking to him? I put my hand on his arm and he froze in place. “I’m grateful, really I am,” I said softly. “It’ll be like I’m living in a real home instead of a miserable one-room apartment someplace. And I’m glad I’ll have Frankie to take care of, and to take care of me too.” The look on James’s face was softening a bit as he picked up the two suitcases. “All right then,” he said. “Follow me.” With a crisp nod he led me up the stairs and into my new home. It was a cozy room, medium sized with a big window on one wall overlooking the park across from the condo

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complex and a smaller window on the perpendicular wall which had its view blocked by a leafy maple tree. I liked it; it was like living in a tree house. There was a queensized bed in the center, a tall mahogany dresser, a little writing desk in the corner, and a small easy chair in front of the side window. Mentally, I was already rearranging the furniture—I would move the easy chair over to the sunny front window and put the desk in front of the leafcovered window, so I would feel like I was in a magic tree house space when I was writing my letters back home or when I was working on a sewing project. I smiled as I looked around, but James’s face was apologetic. “It’s not such a big room,” he was saying, “and it’s nothing fancy, but all the furniture is top of the line.” He opened the closet door, revealing a deep double closet that would definitely hold all of my clothes and shoes. “So I hope you like it. The bathroom is unfortunately across the hall,” he said, leading me to it as he spoke, “but it’s completely for your own use. I have my own bathroom off the master, and guests generally use the powder room downstairs.” He sounded like a tour guide. “I hope it will not prove too inconvenient for you to cross the hall to— well—” He seemed so flustered at the thought of me actually using the washroom that I had to smile. The old James was back, that much was obvious. I felt comforted by his familiar stiffness and watched him absently stroking Frankie’s head as she stared adoringly up at him. James couldn’t be such a bad guy if Frankie loved him that much. I had a feeling that I would be able to make it work here with him, especially considering that he wouldn’t be there at least half the time. ***

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I was sitting on my new bed while James took Frankie for a quick walk around the block. I looked at my stack of boxes and bags, which had migrated from the downstairs foyer to the edges of this room, trying to motivate myself to start unpacking them, when my cell phone trilled in my purse. I picked it up—Sean. “Hey, babe, where are you?” he said. “Oh, I’m just at—” I was about to say I was at home when something stopped me. “I’m at a friend’s house,” I said instead. “Aw, that’s too bad. I just dropped by to bring you a cinnamon bun for your breakfast, but I guess I’ll just have to eat it all myself instead.” His voice sounded playful, but I could tell he was disappointed. I edged over to the window and peeked around the curtain. He was standing on my old front step, holding a paper bag from the corner bakery. I drooled looking at the bag, but somehow I still I didn’t want to tell him where I was. “Yeah that is too bad,” I said. “I’ll have to eat boring old cereal instead.” He laughed softly. “No, tell you what—I’ll leave it in your mailbox for when you come home. I was in the neighborhood, so I just thought I’d drop by. I’ll see you at work tomorrow?” I watched him break off a piece of the cinnamon bun and pop it into his mouth, then close the top of the bag and put it into the mailbox. He was so sweet, and so cute, even from this far away. “Yeah, thanks Sean. That’s so thoughtful of you. You know, you don’t have to bribe me with sweets all the time. I’d always be happy to see you even if you came emptyhanded.” I crossed my fingers behind my back as I said

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this. Why wasn’t I rushing out to see him now if that was the case? “Sure, sure, I’ll believe that when I see it.” He was walking away now, licking the stickiness off of his fingers. I could hear the slurping sounds through the phone and despite myself, I felt a thrill of heat running through my pussy. “Sweet dreams, okay?” I hung up the phone, feeling a bit like I’d been punched in the stomach. That’s what Martin always used to say to me whenever we had a long-distance phone conversation: “Sweet dreams.” Why did I feel like I’d just escaped something dreadful? I liked Sean, I knew I did, but for some reason I didn’t want to see him tonight. Maybe I just wanted to be alone instead. But then when James and Frankie came back from their walk, I found myself drifting downstairs to hang out with them. Obviously I didn’t want to be completely alone, but just with someone less intense than Sean. James was in the kitchen, banging pots around. He looked up when I entered. “I was just about to make a pot of popcorn the old-fashioned way.” He brandished the pot and smiled that disarmingly boyish smile that only occasionally flitted across his face. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had old-fashioned popcorn, but I think I’ve still got the knack.” He twisted the pot and his hips at the same time, looking sort of like a matador teasing the bull with a pot instead of a red cape. I couldn’t help but smile. “Cool, how about a beer to go with it?” I said, glad that I had brought over a six-pack of my favorite ale along with all of my endless varieties of tea. I went to get the beer out of the fridge, pausing when I noticed for the first time that the entire front of James’s fridge was covered with photographs, children’s drawings and letters. It was

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so out of character in the otherwise spotless, uncluttered condo that I stopped and stared. There were at least a dozen children in the photographs, several rough crayon drawings of a tall black man in a suit standing beside various children and the usual oversized trees and smiling suns. I squinted at the pictures. Who were all of these kids? James must have noticed my staring because he calmly stepped in front of me and opened the fridge. “I suppose it’s getting time to clear away some of that clutter,” he said wistfully, “but they keep me company, so I’ve been putting it off.” He handed me a beer as the fridge swung shut. The glass was cool in my hand, snapping me back into awareness. “Are they your relatives or something?” Good grief, what if they were all his children! He shrugged. “No, just some kids I know.” He turned back to the stove and started melting butter for the popcorn. I waited, but he didn’t say anything more. “Um, hello? Just some kids you know? Care to elaborate?” “It’s not particularly interesting, just something to do with work.” When I still waited, he sighed and turned back to me. “Okay, so maybe you’ve wondered why I travel so much? I’ve been working with this group that I started when I was living in D.C. It’s not much, a pro bono legal service for kids in foster care. I still have a few cases that I’ve been working on, kids I’ve known for years, and I can’t let them down. So I head out there every once in a while, even though most of my pro bono stuff is here now.”

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I was stunned into silence. And here I thought he was jetting off to some glamorous financial conference or something. “But I thought you worked in corporate law?” He nodded. “When I finished law school, I tried to make a career out of representing children but I found that in Legal Aid, I was like a hamster in a wheel—I never had enough time with the kids to make a real difference. So I decided to get into an area of law that paid well enough that I could afford to do the pro bono cases that really matter to me on the side. After a while, I got so many cases that I started a foundation that brings in lawyers to act as advocates for the kids. We mostly work on behalf of kids and families in the foster care system, supporting relative foster care and adoption and all that.” He stopped to take a breath and then turned around, looking uncomfortable. “But like I said, it’s not very interesting.” “Are you kidding? It’s one of the most interesting things I’ve heard all day. I had no idea you were so into helping kids. It’s weird.” He turned back to me, his eyes flashing with something—anger? “What’s so weird about it? Those kids are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. All they need is a bit of support. If I had had that kind of support when I was a kid—” He broke off and turned away. I put my hand on his arm. “What do you mean?” He took a shaky breath. “It’s nothing. My life wasn’t even close to some of these kids, that’s for sure. But my mom was in the hospital for a while when I was younger, and we didn’t have any relatives nearby, so I ended up in foster care. But even when she got out of the hospital, they wouldn’t let me go back to her. All we needed was a bit of help, and instead we just got dirt kicked in our

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faces.” His expression was bitter. “I was lucky that I ended up in a good foster home, and my mom eventually got us out of that bureaucratic nightmare. Most kids aren’t that lucky.” I had never seen James looking so vulnerable, never even imagined he could feel as much pain as I saw on his face now. Even though he had dismissed it as nothing, I knew he felt it much more deeply than he wanted to admit. Carefully I steered the conversation away from the past. “And now you get to make a difference with these kids. I think that’s amazing. But there are so many of them—how do you manage to do so much?” He nodded, looking embarrassed. “Well, I’m not really putting a lot into my savings account, that’s for sure. Kind of like being a librarian. It’s a meaningful career, but not a very well-paying one.” I smiled. As if being a librarian was anything like being a lawyer crusading for children’s rights. But I appreciated the comparison. It wasn’t as though I worked in the lowest-paying public library system in the county just for the fun of it. There was a bit of a silence before James grabbed the bag of popcorn and poured it into the pot with a clatter that ended the conversation. I was relieved that we wouldn’t have to talk about this anymore. I wasn’t sure I could take it all in. So Mr. Uptight Corporate Lawyer was really a bleeding-heart, change-the-world superhero in disguise? Who would have thought? I watched him expertly tossing the pot of popcorn and realized that maybe there was a lot more to James than I had realized. James’s popcorn turned out to be delicious, a perfect complement to the ice cold beer. We sat on the couch together, tossing popcorn to Frankie and watching a

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Three’s Company marathon on TV. What a cheesy show; I couldn’t believe I’d liked it so much when I was a kid. Watching James laughing at it, I knew he must have enjoyed it too. All we needed was a hot buxom blonde living here and we would be living in our own Three’s Company script. The thought made me laugh, so I told James what I was thinking. He laughed then looked at me seriously for a second. “You know, you can tell people that if you want to, if you feel awkward about living with a man who’s not your partner.” “Tell them what?” “That I’m gay, that I’m not a threat—you know. Perhaps that’ll make it easier for you to live here comfortably.” I burst out laughing. Why would that make it easier? Because he was such an irresistible stud that nobody would believe I could possibly keep my hands off him unless I thought he was completely uninterested in anyone of my gender? “Don’t worry, I’m quite capable of resisting your seductive charms, even if you’re straight.” He startled then shook his head. “I didn’t mean—I just thought that if you were worried about telling your friends or your parents or anything—” I smiled and thought of my hippie parents, the last people who would ever care that I was living with a man, especially a handsome lawyer with a great condo. They’d never been too fond of Martin, for reasons that were now becoming more obvious to me. “No, you can relax. They won’t think I’m a fallen woman for rooming with a guy.” I smiled. “But thanks for your chivalry.” I rolled my eyes then stopped short as

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something occurred to me. In the last year that I’d been living in this complex, I’d hardly ever seen James with a woman. “Um, wait a minute, James—are you gay?” His eyes bulged as he choked on a piece of popcorn. “You think I’m gay?” he asked finally. “There’s nothing wrong with that. Lots of guys I know are gay. At the library there are at least three guys I know of who are gay, and two lesbians too.” I was babbling now, but I was feeling awkward for blurting it out so tactlessly. “I’m not gay.” His jaw was tight as he glared at me. “I can’t believe you think that.” “Well, I don’t think that, I just wondered if you were trying to hint that you’re gay. And I wanted you to know that if you did happen to be, you could tell me and I wouldn’t think it was weird or anything.” I waited expectantly, waiting for him to admit that yes, indeed he was gay. That would explain a lot of things, like the fact he always looked so put together, that he had such great taste in furniture, and most importantly the fact that I had never seen him looking twice at any women around the condo, even the scantily-clad ones who were openly drooling over him. He didn’t say anything, just kept glaring at me. “I’m not gay,” he said again, even more emphatically. “But you never have any girlfriends over,” I hinted. Why didn’t I just butt out and mind my own business? This was turning into another one of our epic arguments disguised as a civil conversation. “I don’t have any boyfriends over either, now do I? Just because I’m not always screwing a new piece doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in women. I respect women,

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so I’d rather wait for the right one to come along. Not that you’d understand that.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” He sighed. “Nothing. It’s just that I’d rather be with the right woman than waste my time with just anyone.” His words hit me like a flash of a signal flare. “Oh, whereas I’ll just settle for any old clod who comes along.” My words were cold, clipped. He shook his head, ran his fingers through his hair. “No, Mandy, I’m sorry, I’m not—I mean, I’m just glad that you’re away from Martin now, that’s all, because you deserve someone better than him.” I opened my mouth to snap back at him, but then I realized that what James had said was actually kind of sweet, in an annoying James sort of way. I sighed. “Okay, fine. I’m sorry if I offended you. Truce?” He nodded. “You didn’t offend me. I was just surprised you didn’t know that I’m not—but anyway, sure, let’s call a truce.” We sat stiffly in front of the television until the end of the episode, neither of us laughing again at the ridiculous show, before we finally called it a night. So far, my first night in my new place had been full of surprises—not a total disaster, but not exactly an easy, relaxed evening, either. But at least the popcorn had been good, so it hadn’t been a total loss.

Chapter 10 When I woke up the next morning, the house was quiet. I had heard James leave a few minutes earlier, taking Frankie out for her morning walk. It was nice to have the place to myself. I got out of bed to take a shower, but when I smelled coffee in the kitchen I took a detour downstairs to grab some first. James had brewed a full pot of coffee—what a luxury to drink a cup that I didn’t have to make myself. Martin had almost never made any for me, instead brewing his own latte in the espresso machine. He had said it was because he knew I preferred an Americano to a latte that he didn’t make me one too, but looking back now I think he was just being lazy and selfish. I poured a cup of coffee and stood in the kitchen, sipping it like a queen. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad living with James—as long as he made me popcorn every night and coffee every morning, I would never complain about him again. I was lazily making my way out of the kitchen when I heard a key in the door. I froze and looked down in horror. I hadn’t bothered to put any clothes on, since I knew I was alone in the house. The door was opening now; I tried to race towards the stairs but it was too late. James stood in the doorway, staring at me. He gaped at me with his mouth open for a long moment, then sort of flinched and turned away. Was I really that hideous-looking?

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“Sorry, but I didn’t know you’d be back so soon,” I mumbled, trying to position my coffee cup in such a way that it shielded my body from view. Not surprisingly, I was unsuccessful. “I’m not back,” James said through clenched teeth, “I just forgot to bring—oh, never mind.” I could hear the scowl in his voice as he fumbled in the drawer of the hall table, pulling out a handful of doggy bags. “I hope you’re dressed when I get back.” He slammed the door behind him, sending a blast of cool air towards me. I shivered, partly out of cold and partly out of rage. What a prude—it was just the human body, completely natural, not something revolting that needed to be hidden away all the time, especially in my own home. I felt like throwing open the door and yelling out at him, but I stopped myself just in time. It was one thing for prudish James to see me in the buff, but quite another for creepy old Mr. Wickham across the street to catch the show too. I trudged back upstairs, muttering under my breath. But as I sipped my rather extraordinarily delicious coffee, my anger faded a bit. Hadn’t I just promised myself I wouldn’t complain about him anymore? That might turn out to be more difficult than I’d thought. I showered fast and skipped breakfast so I wouldn’t have to face James in the flesh, so to speak. As I passed my old condo, I remembered the cinnamon bun that Sean had left for me and grabbed it to munch while I walked to work. It was a bit stale but still pretty good. One of Sean’s best talents was selecting the yummiest treats from the best bakeries. I felt a pang of guilt for avoiding him the night before. I’d have to tell him where I was living sooner or later, and better to do it sooner. With a burst of resolve, I decided that I would tell him that very day, at

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the first opportunity. What objection could he possibly make? I knew he didn’t much care for James, but then neither did I, so at least we didn’t disagree about that. *** It was after lunch before I got a chance to talk to Sean one on one. I felt some trepidation at having to explain the whole thing, but I just took a deep breath and blurted it out. “Sean, I thought you should know that I’m moving in with James next door.” He just stared at me, not even seeming to understand what I’d said. “Sean? Did you hear me? I just wanted you to know that I’m moving—” He cut me off with a quick shake of his head and a look of disbelief. “What the fuck? You sleep with me one day and then the next you’re moving in with another guy? Classy, Mandy.” The lines of his jaw were sharp, his lips tight. I was stunned. “I’m not ‘moving in with him’ like that, geez!” He looked confused, so I went on. “He’ll be my roommate, you know, like on Three’s Company? Just platonic. I mean duh, obviously—it is James, after all.” He looked unconvinced at first but then he smiled. “Yeah, that guy’s such a dork,” he said. “Hey you know, I bet he’s gay! That would explain a lot!” I felt offended, even though that was exactly the same assumption that I had made the night before. “He’s not gay, I’m pretty sure.” Sean’s eyes narrowed. “I mean, I don’t know from personal experience, because he certainly doesn’t act like he even notices me as a woman

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at all.” I was babbling now, and then I started blushing as I remembered the way he had turned away from me this morning, utterly repulsed by my nudity. I shook my head firmly. Somehow I was pretty sure that James was straight, even though I obviously wasn’t his type. “Anyway, it doesn’t matter because there definitely isn’t any kind of male-female vibe between us, and he won’t actually be around much anyway, so I’ll be taking care of Frankie. That’s why he wanted me to move in, to take care of Frankie.” Sean smiled. He liked the dog, as almost everyone who met her did. “So maybe you’ll need some help house-sitting then. Might not be safe staying there all by yourself without a man around.” His eyes were travelling up and down my blouse, lingering on my breasts and then dropping lower down. “Stop that,” I hissed. “Today we’re just going to work. None of that other stuff!” But when his hands followed his eyes down my body, my legs immediately began to tremble under his touch, heating up beneath his hand as though it was melting my skin. He slipped his hand under my skirt. “Excellent, I’m glad you obeyed the skirt rule,” he said with a smile. “But let’s see if you obeyed the other rule too.” “What other rule?” My voice was husky, almost a whisper as his hand travelled up the silky skin of my inner thigh. I parted my legs automatically—did I have no selfcontrol? “The no-panties rule, of course.” At that his fingers brushed the silky fabric of my pink panties. “Bad girl,” he said. “You’re breaking the rules. Don’t you think you should be punished?”

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“You didn’t say there was a rule about panties,” I said. Why didn’t I just tell him to leave me in peace while I was at work? Because I didn’t really want him to, that’s why. “It’s a new rule. I just made it now. So I guess I’ll give you another chance, since you just found out about it.” He brushed his lips across my neck, tracing with shivery softness all the way up to my hairline. “Take them off,” he whispered against my ear. My whole body shuddered as his fingers made it clear what he was talking about. “Right here in the staff room?” I stalled. “I’m waiting,” he said, sinking his teeth almost painfully into my skin. I looked over my shoulder then reached up under my skirt and pulled my panties down. “Give them to me.” I obeyed. He smiled, brought them to his face for a moment and inhaled then put them into his pocket. “Don’t break the rules tomorrow,” he warned. “Or I will punish you.” The slight creaking of the staff room door had us jumping apart. “Oh there you are, Mandy,” said Janine, one of our shelvers. “Someone’s here to see you? He’s at the reference desk?” She said this like she said everything, as though it was a series of questions. “Thanks, Janine,” I said. Then, turning back to Sean, “Well, duty calls!” Sean smiled at me, that sweet bookworm smile I felt like I hadn’t seen on him for ages. It surprised me how much he seemed to have changed over the past few days. Or had I just never known the real Sean until now? I wasn’t sure which Sean I liked better. There were parts of the new Sean—big parts—that I liked very much, indeed.

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But what about the old, dorky Sean, my sweet buddy with a novelty watch for every occasion, button-up plaid shirts of every color, and an extra cookie for me every morning? I was still musing about this when I walked out into the public area of the library and stopped in shock. Standing in front of me, wearing a suit and holding a huge armload of purple roses, was Martin. He walked towards me, holding out the roses and kneeling down in front of me. “Please forgive me,” he said in a quavering voice. His expression was so earnest I almost wanted to slap it right off his face. What was he doing here? This was completely inappropriate for work. I looked around me furtively, hoping that nobody was looking at us. But of course, there was a small crowd of patrons smiling at us from behind the display rack, and at least half of the staff members were watching as well. I saw a flash of red plaid at the staff room door—obviously Sean could see what was happening too. I tugged on Martin’s arm, pulling him to his feet. “Come on, let’s go somewhere less embarrassing,” I muttered through clenched teeth. I dragged him into one of our public meeting rooms and shut the door behind us. A couple of patrons still watched through the window, but at least nobody could hear us now. “Martin, you’re crazy if you think a few long-stemmed roses are going to change my mind about you. One minute you’re the most spineless jerk of the century, the next you’re some kind of gallant knight swooping in to rescue me? I’m happy on my own, believe it or not. Much happier than when we were together.” Martin just looked as though he hadn’t heard me. He was concentrating on pulling something out of his pocket with one hand while balancing the roses in the other. He

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found what he was fumbling for and with a dazed, nervous smile on his face, he knelt slowly in front of me. He held the roses in front of his body like a shield while brandishing the object in his other hand like a sword. It was a small box—a small blue velvet box. I wanted to stop him before he said anything more, before he humiliated himself in our meeting room. But I couldn’t say a word. I just gaped at him, horrified, as he took a deep breath and began saying what was obviously a rehearsed speech. “Mandy, I feel like such a fool. I can’t believe I would ever do something like that to you. Whenever I think about how I’ve hurt you, I feel cold inside. You are the most wonderful woman I’ve ever been with, the one who made me feel most like myself, except that I was a new and better version of myself. I love living with you, spending time with you, making love with you and even arguing with you. The thought of waking up without you feels like the end of the world. When I’m with you I feel like a king. Will you please marry me and be my queen?” He looked up at me with glazed eyes, not even seeming to focus on me. It figured that Martin would propose to me and somehow manage to make it all about him. He was clumsily attempting to open the box with one hand, but succeeded only in losing his grip on the box altogether. I watched as it bobbled from his hand to the roses and down to the floor then bounced and rolled beneath the meeting room table. For the first time, Martin seemed to notice his surroundings. “Not a very romantic setting to propose, I know, and I’m sorry about that. But I didn’t want to let another moment go by before I said this to you. I love you, Mandy, and I know that you’re the one for me. I hope you can forgive me.” He finally gave up on

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the roses and set them on a chair then reached under the table and pulled out the box and opened it slowly, presenting it to me as solemnly as a waiter at a fine restaurant would present the main course in its silver dish. Wow, this was a gorgeous ring. It looked gigantic, but maybe I was just blinded from all of the flashing sparkles from the three single-carat diamonds on their slim platinum band. I blinked, looked away, looked back—it was gigantic, all right. Despite myself I saw my hands reaching for it. It was as though I was hypnotized by the sparkle—it was so beautiful, I just wanted to try it on, just for a second. I snatched my hand back and tore my eyes away from it with a tremendous effort. “Martin, it’s not all about the ring and the fancy speech,” I said. “You don’t really love me, or you wouldn’t have screwed someone else in our bed. I’ve moved out now. It’s over.” He looked at me blankly, as though I was speaking another language. “I know I’ve been such a fool. But I want to make it up to you. I want to start a family with you. I’ve already started looking for a bigger place with a yard, so the kids can play outside with the dog.” Whose kids? What dog? Certainly not Martin’s, the reigning president of the commitment-phobic club. “I know I’ve said before that I didn’t want to settle down and have a family, but losing you has made me see how much I really do want that with you. I want you to be my wife, and to have our children. I want to start right away.” I narrowed my eyes at him. He knew that was the one thing I’d wanted from him in our relationship, and he had

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always steadfastly refused to consider it. Had he really changed his mind, or was this just a way for him to weasel his way back into my life? He looked sincere enough, but he also looked like he was desperate enough to try anything. But why was I even thinking about it at all? Martin was a spineless jerk, and I had already moved on to someone else. Well, sort of. My eyes flicked to the window of the meeting room. I couldn’t tell if Sean was watching us, but I knew that even if he couldn’t see us, he’d have a pretty good idea of what was going on. But for some reason, I didn’t care what Sean thought, or what Martin thought for that matter. I just listened to my own thoughts—what did I want? Yes, I wanted a family, but did I want it with Martin? Not a chance. I couldn’t even bear to be in the same room with him for another minute, let alone procreate with him. But then again, what if he was telling the truth? What if he really had changed? I could have everything I ever wanted, starting tomorrow. A couple of cats, a few kids, a house with a yard… Sure, I would have to say goodbye to great sex, but after a while, I wouldn’t notice that, right? I thought about Sean’s strong arms wrapped around me, the hoarse tremor of his voice in my ear. I thought of the way my body had responded with so much desire to a handsome stranger on a park bench. I might not be able to give it all up so easily after all. I looked at Martin, who seemed so vulnerable beneath me, still holding the ring out in front of him, and suddenly it was all too much for me. I turned on my heel and ran out of the room, not even saying goodbye to Martin. I raced past the gawking patrons, most of whom were probably expecting the usual tearful joy that tends to

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accompany marriage proposals. Sean seem to breathe a sigh of relief, staring into the meeting room, where Martin still knelt on the carpet. “I’m going home sick,” I announced as I walked into the staff room. I didn’t even pause for a response, just grabbed my purse and hurried out of the library. I kept my head down so that I didn’t have to look at anyone as I walked, but I could hear footsteps pounding after me as I exited the library. “Mandy,” said a breathless voice as a hand reached my arm and slowed me down. I turned to see Martin still clutching the ring box in his hand. “Please think about this. I know I made mistakes, but I can change, I promise.” He glanced down at the ring box and pulled the ring out with trembling fingers. “At least put it on,” he said, sliding the ring onto my left ring finger. I stood frozen as I watched the gorgeous ring slide across my knuckle. It felt cool and heavy and substantial against my skin. For just a moment, I was dazzled by it. A man that would pick out such a beautiful ring couldn’t be all bad, could he? I glanced at Martin, uncertain for a moment, and then I came to my senses. I paused for a second, then tried to pull the ring off, with a great effort, as it seemed to have gotten stuck. “I’m sorry Martin, it’s a beautiful ring, but it’s over between us,” I said, still struggling with the ring. I twisted it around, but it only seemed to be getting tighter and tighter. What if I couldn’t get it off? Hmm, I almost smiled at the thought—it wouldn’t be so bad if I was forced to keep wearing this gorgeous ring forever, no strings attached. Martin put his hand over mine. “I understand. You need some time to think about it. I’ll come and see you in

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a few days, give you a chance to consider. I’ll be waiting for you, darling.” His eyes still had that dazed look to them as he pressed my hands to his lips. I tried to pull my hands back, tried frantically to pull the ring off so I wouldn’t have to see him again in a few days to give it back to him. But it was stuck, and now Martin was gone. I stared down at my left hand. Even though my finger was red and slightly swollen from my efforts to remove the ring, my eyes were drawn to the sparkle of the diamonds. I held it up in front of me and smiled as it caught the light, flashing like fireworks. I hoped I could get it off later without having to cut it off and destroy it. Maybe I could use butter or vegetable oil or something to get it off. But in the meantime, borrowing a diamond ring for a few hours wasn’t exactly the most distasteful predicament to be in. I twisted my hand from side to side as I walked down the street, almost colliding with the man in my path. “So you guys are engaged now,” said a cold, flat voice. It was Sean, his eyes granite. For a moment, I was too taken aback to reply. I had never seen Sean looking so angry. It was like he had turned into a completely different person. “I—I just can’t—” “Yeah, I get it. You were just killing time with me until you could get back with the guy you really want to be with. I can’t believe I was so stupid as to think you were really interested in me. I mean, I should have known.” He turned and started walking back to the library. I called out to him to explain, not so much to spare his feelings, but mostly because I was embarrassed anyone could think I would actually get back together with Martin.

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He whirled around at the sound of my voice, then grimaced. “Oh yeah I suppose you want these back, don’t you?” He reached into his pocket and threw something at me. My lacy pink panties landed on the sidewalk between us. I grabbed them and tucked them into my purse before anyone could see. “I’m not back together with Martin,” I began. He snorted. “Yeah right. Why don’t you just admit that you got what you wanted? I’m a big boy, I can handle it.” He smiled slowly. “And anyway, now that I know the real you, I know it doesn’t really matter. I bet it’ll be okay with you if we still fuck once in a while. I mean, obviously you’re not the sweet virtuous type that I used to think you were.” He laughed a rough, short laugh and unexpectedly reached around me, grabbed my ass and pulled me towards him. “You see? You’ve been engaged for two minutes and already you don’t care who grabs your ass in the middle of the street.” With his other hand, he squeezed my breast as he put his face close to mine. “And you don’t care who grabs your tits in the middle of the street either.” As he said this he slid his hand under my skirt and across my ass until his fingertips brushed against the edge of my pussy. He squeezed my breast even tighter as he slid the tips of his fingers along the opening to my cunt. I couldn’t believe I was getting wet for him, after the way he was acting. But I could feel myself arching into him as he pressed his lips against mine. “You’ll do whatever your slutty little heart desires, won’t you? Who cares if you’re engaged or even married? All I have to do is get your little pussy wet and you’ll do whatever I want.” As if to punctuate his words, he ground his hips against mine and pushed his fingers deeper into

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my cunt. My leg wrapped tighter around him and I groaned, in spite of myself. I felt so horny and humiliated at the same time. He chuckled softly and roughly shoved me away from him. “Don’t worry, we’ll finish this up later,” he said, licking the taste of me off his fingers as he walked away.

Chapter 11 I felt hot and cold inside, like I was burning from a fever. Obviously I had never really known the real Sean, as I never would have imagined he could ever act like this. How could I have thought he was a sweet guy when this whole other side of him was so abrasive and crude? How could I be so appalled by him and like him at the same time? I was confused and embarrassed—I wanted to get as far away from him as possible, and yet I would still feel turned on whenever he touched me. Maybe Sean was right and I was just a slut. It would explain a lot. Maybe for me there was no such thing as Mr. Right, only Mr. Right Now. My eye wandered to the flashing sparkle on my left hand. If that was true, then maybe Martin was as much Mr. Right Now as anybody. At least with him, I knew what I was getting into—unlike with Sean, who seemed to change on an hourly basis. I had to admit Martin did have fabulous taste in jewelry. And he had great taste in women, too, come to think of it. I couldn’t help smiling at the picture we must have made in the library, Martin on his knees with a ragged bunch of flowers strewn beside him, me with that shell-shocked look on my face, surrounded by a motley crew of library patrons with their noses pressed to the glass, watching us. And then again, here in the street, Martin on his knees on the filthy pavement, me almost wrenching my finger off in my desperation to remove the ring.

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I twisted the ring around on my finger again, but it was stuck tight. Oh well, there were worse things than being forced to wear a few flawless one-carat rocks for the afternoon. If only the man who’d given it to me had been anyone other than Martin. I sighed but then began to smile. No harm in pretending that Mr. Perfect really had come along and swept me off my feet. This might be as close as I ever got to an engagement ring. I held my hand in front of me as I walked, twisting it back and forth slightly so that it would catch the light. I was starting to get a blind spot from the flashing lights, but I didn’t mind. A voice in my ear made me freeze on the spot. “Your boyfriend works fast,” the voice said with a soft huskiness that made me quiver. I spun around and found myself staring into a familiar pair of sparkling blue eyes. “Congratulations on your engagement.” He smiled, nodding down at the ring. I blushed and tried to explain that it wasn’t really my ring, that I wasn’t really engaged, that in fact I didn’t even have a boyfriend anymore, come to think of it. But he just smiled, shook his head and stopped my babbling by brushing a soft kiss across my lips. I was temporarily without words, without even a thought in my head other than that shivery “wow” feeling that I always seemed to feel whenever he was around. “I don’t believe in the artificial boundaries we draw around our relationships. A ring, an engagement—what does that change? It’s just a box we build around one relationship, but it doesn’t really affect our others, does it? Like, the connection between us doesn’t feel any different now, does it? It’s a totally unique bond, you know?” Instead of waiting for me to answer, he circled his arms around my back and drew me up against him. His

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body was lean, hard, warm. He was wearing a pair of cargo shorts, flip flops, and a thin T-shirt. Through the fabric of my light silk blouse, I could feel his body almost as distinctly as if he was naked against me. Just the thought of his naked body against mine made me shiver all over. He felt my tremor and pulled back a bit. “Are you cold?” he whispered. I shook my head, gazed up at his sparkly blue eyes. They were darker now, the pupils swallowing me into him. I ran my hands across his back, feeling the curve of his muscles beneath the threadbare T-shirt. I tried to cling to him to keep from falling into those eyes, but it wasn’t working. All he had to do was kiss me one more time, and that would be it. As if he heard my thoughts, he smiled and brushed his lips against mine again. So softly that it seemed for a moment like it was just a platonic kiss. As his hands dipped lower on my back and his lips slowly parted against mine, his tongue tracing the edges of my lips, I knew this was definitely not platonic. How many guys was I planning to make out with on the street today? Would I stop at just two? Or would I just keep on going with every hot guy I met on the way home? I didn’t really care anymore. All I could think about were these lips against mine, and that tongue, so soft it felt like I was dreaming it. I stretched up towards him, trying to force him to kiss me deeper, to stop his gentle teasing. He pulled back just enough that the pressure remained slight. I started to push him away, almost angry with frustration, but he just cupped my ass in his hands, pulled my hips tightly against his crotch and kissed me with a fierceness that took my breath away. I could feel his erection through

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the thin fabric of my skirt. It was all I could do to stop myself from reaching down and touching it with my hand. His cock was as hard as it had felt in the library. Suddenly there was nothing I wanted more than to see it and feel it in real life. He pulled his lips away from mine in a slight smile. “Are you in the mood for a picnic?” he asked. For a moment I was confused. Were we supposed to stop now and eat a sandwich or something? But as he nibbled slowly along my neck, tasting me like an ice cream cone, I realized what he meant. He glanced to his right and cupped my ass tighter in his hands. I followed his gaze and saw the entrance gate to the park where we had last met each other. My eyes opened wide. Sean had seen us there last time. What if someone saw us again? “I know a really private spot,” he said, persuading me with the pressure of his lips against mine, the tangling of his tongue with mine. I nodded helplessly as he guided me towards the park. He reached down and took my hand in his, as though we were a young couple in love. I felt proud and excited to be walking hand in hand with such a gorgeous guy. It was like I was a movie star, walking down the street with Brad Pitt himself. Strangely though, I didn’t feel like an imposter being with him. I felt like I had a right to be with him, as though I deserved it. Why shouldn’t I be with the perfect guy? Why shouldn’t the hottest guy around want to be with me? I shook my head in wonder. Wow, he had to be one smooth operator if he could make me feel that confident. As I looked up at his profile I realized that I still didn’t know his name. I laughed and started to ask him, but stopped myself. For some reason I actually preferred not knowing his name. It was exciting to be with an

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anonymous stranger. I didn’t really need or want to know who he really was. The fantasy was good enough for me. He laughed along with me, not knowing why we were laughing, but not seeming to care. Wow, he was hot when he laughed. I quickened my steps and pulled him along with me. I couldn’t seem to get to the park fast enough now. He led me into the far corner, to a spot that was hidden behind a clump of trees on one side and a thorn bush on the other. The spot was very private, but still bathed in sunlight. It was like stepping into a quiet, sunny corner of the library, completely still and peaceful. Mr. Sparkly Eyes was rummaging through his backpack now, pulling out a thin beach blanket and spreading it on the grass. That was pretty convenient that he just happened to have that with him, I thought, starting to get a sick feeling in my stomach. Was I just another dumb girl falling under his spell? I sighed and took a step back. He glanced up just as I was about to disappear behind the bush and race away across the park. His face looked stricken. He jumped up and ran over to me. “What’s wrong?” He took my hands gently in his and looked deep into my eyes. “We won’t do anything you don’t want to, I promise.” I almost laughed at that. There was nothing I didn’t want to do with him, if I was really honest with myself. Including openly screwing him on a blanket in the park, for that matter. And that’s what scared me. “I just don’t think I—” He stopped me with a soft kiss on my lips. “Don’t think, okay? It’s not about your mind now. It’s about your body. Think with your body instead.” He traced his

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fingers across the top of my breast. “What do your beautiful breasts have to say about it, I wonder?” He brushed his hand over my nipple and squeezed gently as it instantly hardened under his touch. “I think they just voiced their opinion,” he said with a smile. “I wonder what your neck has to say about it?” he asked, moving his lips to the side of my neck, nibbling just below my ear, down to my collarbone. Goose bumps rose all over my torso. His breath was warm against my ear as he spoke, “I think your neck is in favor. What about your mouth?” He moved his lips to mine and kissed me deeply. I melted into him, my legs trembling so that it was almost difficult to stand. His tongue seemed to wrap around mine, making me dizzy as I imagined the skills it would have in other areas of my body. After a long moment, he pulled away slightly and gazed into my eyes. “Your mouth wants something more, and I can see it in your eyes too,” he said. “Your hands and your legs seem to want me as well.” I realized then that my arms were wrapped tightly around him, and I had twined my left leg around his, almost braiding our bodies together. Reluctantly I disentangled myself and almost managed to pull away, but then I looked into his eyes and it was like I was falling into him, like Alice into the rabbit hole. I knew it would be a wonderland to be with him. Why shouldn’t I? What was stopping me, really? Well, for starters, how about my reputation if somebody saw me? Or my self-respect, whether somebody saw me or not? But then his hand was drifting down my back, coming to rest on the curve of my ass and sliding lower and lower until I could feel his warm touch on the back of my thigh,

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slipping under my skirt and moving higher. Halfautomatically, my legs parted in anticipation of his touch. “Shall we see what the rest of your body has to say about it?” he whispered as his fingers moved up my leg. I could feel the goose bumps rising, the trembling in my knees as my body tensed in anticipation. His hand moved across my ass then he chuckled and moved his hand to the front of my thigh. “No underwear, you naughty girl,” he said with a smile, brushing his fingers across my pubic hair, sending shivers through my whole torso. My hips arched towards him as he teased his fingers lightly across my pussy lips, so gently that I almost couldn’t feel them at all. I groaned in frustration. He laughed and flicked his fingers across my pussy again. “I think this part of your body wants me as much as the rest of you.” He increased the pressure of his fingers for just a second before resuming that feather-light, teasing touch. “So which part of you has the most say?” he asked, looking intensely into my eyes as his fingers circled everso-gently across my clit. “What gets to decide? This part?” As he said this, he squeezed my breast with his left hand. “This part?” He pressed a long kiss against my lips. “Or this part?” And with that, he slid one of his long, gorgeous fingers slowly into my pussy, pushing it deeply into me while his other hand still caressed my breast and his tongue twisted around mine. A wave of pleasure and relief surged through my body. I felt like I could come at that moment, just standing there in the park. But just as slowly as he had entered me, he pulled his hand back again and stepped slightly away from me to gaze into my eyes. “What do you decide?”

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He must have seen the confusion on my face. I felt like I couldn’t even remember how to speak, let alone what I should say in reply. He took my hand with a smile and led me back towards the blanket. “Maybe you should rest and think about it for a while,” he said, lowering me gently to the ground. “Just lean back, close your eyes. Relax.” His voice was soothing and his touch so comforting that I felt myself relaxing onto the warm blanket, letting all of my thoughts and worries fall out of my mind like water pouring from a glass. The sun soaked into my skin; the world through my closed eyelids glowed red. I felt like I was being carried into an alternate reality, and when a pair of warm, strong hands joined the sun’s touch on my skin, I let myself drift even more, forgetting where I was and who I was with, forgetting everything except the hot sun sinking down into my skin, and the growing heat inside my body. His hands travelled down my body in a gentle massage. It was all-encompassing, confusing, as though he had a dozen hands all touching me at the same time. But I didn’t try to analyze it. I just relaxed against the fantasy of his touch, picturing his blue eyes shining down at me, knowing that so many women would line up to switch places with me now, if only so they could open their eyes and see that beautiful face smiling down at them, and feel those strong hands all over them. I half-opened my eyes and watched his face as he explored my body with his hands. That soft smile on his lips, that look of intense conversation and naked admiration—him admiring me! It was hard to believe he would actually want me. A swell of pride rushed through me at the realization. I let my eyes fall shut again, let the

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rhythm of his touch rock me into a half-trance. My whole body felt like it was a thousand times more sensitive than usual. His fingers grazed across my stomach, shifting my shirt up so that I could feel the soft breeze against my bare skin. I could feel him unbuttoning my blouse, but I didn’t care who saw me. After all I was wearing my cute little pink satin bra, which actually provided more coverage than my bikini. Nothing scandalous about a little sunbathing in the park, right? But then his hands slipped under my back and loosened the clasp. I moved to stop him but he held my arms down gently. “Don’t worry, nobody can see us here. I just want to look at you.” I could hear the urgency in his voice and a moment later, I was helping him to slip my shirt and my bra off, shivering at the unexpectedly erotic sensation of the sun on my breasts, and the light touch of wind on my nipples. I opened my eyes for a moment and looked around. We really were quite private here. And wasn’t it a double standard that men were allowed to go topless and women weren’t? I managed to convince myself I was standing up for women’s rights, that I was doing something noble for womankind. Or something like that. “You’re so beautiful,” he murmured, gazing at my breasts in naked admiration. Or maybe he was just pretending to admire them—it didn’t matter to me. For the moment I felt like I really was the most beautiful woman around. I knew it was just a fantasy, but because I was enjoying the fantasy so much, I just let myself go along with it. I felt sexy being exposed to him like this, putting my body on display for him. He traced his fingers around my nipple, and I watched it pebble at his touch. He lowered his head and circled his

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tongue around the sensitive tip. It got harder still, and I shivered at how cool the air was against my wet skin. His lips closed around my areola, gently at first, then harder. The cool goose bumps transformed to liquid heat, melting through my chest. I arched my back against his lips as pulled them across my skin, his teeth scraping deliciously across my nipples. He pulled away to admire the swell of my breasts, glistening wet in the sun. “You’re so beautiful,” he said again. I knew it was a line, but somehow I didn’t care. Somehow I knew that in that moment I really was as beautiful as he said. He lowered his lips to my other nipple, expertly teasing it until it too was as tender and erect as the first one. When he pulled away for the second time, I squirmed beneath him. He couldn’t stop now! But he wasn’t stopping. He was tracing a path down my torso with his lips, circling lazily around my belly button, watching the goose bumps rising up in waves, my stomach fluttering against his touch. “So beautiful,” he said as he moved his lips from my stomach to my thigh, pushing my skirt high on my leg and nuzzling the skin of my inner thighs. He tugged my legs apart slowly, gazing down at my obviously wet and eager pussy. “Gorgeous.” He bent his head and, with only the lightest of touches, circled his tongue around my swollen clit. With his lips, he suckled softly, tugging at it just as he had done with my nipples. When his teeth scraped ever so gently against my sensitive skin, I trembled against him. I had never felt anything like that before. He licked and sucked until I could feel the heat like a fire taking over my body. I squirmed against him and he licked slowly across my

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pussy, tasting the wetness at the entrance to my aching cunt. “You even taste beautiful,” he said as he dipped his tongue inside me as deeply as he could. “Like dessert.” I could feel him smiling against me. “Maybe crème brulée. Or strawberry shortcake.” I moaned softly and raised my hips against him. The more he talked, the less he could do to my body with that wonderful mouth. He chuckled and traced his tongue around my clit again. I shuddered as he drew it into his mouth, in and out and in and out, circling me with his tongue each time. At the same time, he teased the opening to my vagina with his fingers, brushing around the entrance before slowly inserting just the tip of a finger into my cunt. I was so wet and swollen I almost couldn’t feel his finger as it slid slowly, teasingly, in and out of me. He added a second finger, and then a third, and I drew in a shaky breath as the pressure mounted inside my throbbing pussy. The stretching feeling was exquisite; I wanted more, and he added a fourth finger. I gasped in surprise as the surge of initial pain gradually transformed into an almost unbearable pleasure. His mouth moved away from my clit for a moment as he pulled back to see his hand disappear into my soaking cunt. I couldn’t believe that he was fucking me with his whole hand, and even more, I couldn’t believe how much I liked it. I spread my legs as wide as I could, somehow craving more pressure, more fullness. “Wow, you’re amazing,” he said, staring at my cunt as he spoke. I was more exposed than I had ever been with any man before, and I savored every moment of it. I loved knowing that he could see my whole cunt wide open to him, that he could still taste me on his lips, but I still

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didn’t even know his first name. A stretching, burning pain in my cunt made me want to clench my legs together. But he held my knees apart with his hand, murmuring, “It will be fine, just give it a moment.” His hand stilled in my cunt, though the pressure remained as he lowered his lips to my clit again and licked it gently. He slowly sucked and licked his tongue across my clit as the pressure in my pussy began to subside into a wonderful burning pleasure. My legs relaxed open again as I moaned at the unexpected new sensation. It was as though my cunt had become the entire world. I could think about nothing else. His hand began to move slowly again, just the tiniest of movements as it pushed deeper into my pussy. He had added his thumb and pushed into me, past the first knuckles—his whole hand was inside my cunt. It was strangely exhilarating, both mind-numbingly painful and inexplicably soothing all at the same time. As I relaxed against his hand, he kept his mouth against my clit, stretched tight against the fullness in my cunt. I shivered with delight as I realized that here I was, naked on a blanket in the park, being fisted by a stranger, and really, really liking it. When he pulled his hand back a little, the pressure eased, and he moved his lips back to my clit, making me squirm with pleasure. But just as I felt myself fluttering at the edge of orgasm, he pushed his hand deep into me again and pulled his lips away. He let the tingling, thrilling sensation in my cunt linger for what seemed like an eternity before he pulled back a little and teased his lips across my clit, over and over again. There was a pressure building inside my cunt, more powerful than anything I had ever felt before. With each

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thrust, I could feel the pressure growing stronger, threatening to break out of me. I didn’t know how much longer I could handle this, but I knew I didn’t want him to stop. If this was just the foreplay, then what would the sex be like? The thought of it made me thrust my hips up towards him, helping him to push his hand even deeper than before. The pain was almost entirely pleasure for me now as he bent down to taste me again. This time he didn’t pull his lips away when he thrust his hand in. Instead he just kept circling my clit with his tongue, fucking me while he sucked and flicked his tongue around my swollen bud. I had never been fucked like this before, never knew I would love it so much. As he moved his hand in and out of me, he twisted his hand slightly, increasing the stretching fullness of his hand even more, then soothing the pain with the expert touch of his tongue against the outside. This time, when the deep pressure inside me surged again, he sucked at my clit, pushed his hand inside me, and I cried out as he finally let the pressure begin to overflow. He kept his lips against me as the first explosion shuddered through my body. His hand shoved deeper into me as my cunt spasmed around it for what seemed like hours. I tried to keep quiet, but it was almost impossible to stop myself from crying out, screaming even. My cunt was the whole world, pleasure and pain and longing and release. It was an incredible feeling to orgasm with such fullness, the sensation of pain only enhancing the pleasure of the release. As the waves of my orgasm began to subside, he slowly pulled his hand out, so exquisitely slowly that my body half-shuddered again with the pleasure of it. I could

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see his palm and fingers glistening with my juices as he removed it; even his lips and his chin were wet with the taste of me. He had a dazzled smile on his face, like someone who was under the influence of a powerful drug. It amused me to think of my body as something that could have that effect on someone. When he looked at me, I saw that even though they were dark with lust, his eyes were sparkling even more than usual. “Thank you,” he said, leaning down to kiss each one of my nipples and then, very softly, my lips. He reached over for my shirt and handed it to me. “But you didn’t—” I began to protest but he smiled at me. “My pleasure is your pleasure,” he said. “And if you are as pleased as I think you are then I feel extremely satisfied right now. Am I right?” His eyes glittered at me as he said this, and I nodded dumbly. “I will, however, take this as a souvenir,” he said, picking up my pink satin bra and shoving it into the pocket of his shorts with a grin. “Don’t worry, the universe knows what’s best. The fates will decide when we meet again and how much pleasure we will share with each other then.” He pulled me gently to a sitting position and smoothed my skirt down over my still-swollen pussy. “But your beauty will haunt me until we meet again,” he said, running his hands over my breasts, watching as the nipples rose to attention again. I raised my eyebrows at his flowery words, but the smile on the edge of his lips reassured me that maybe he was kidding, at least a little bit. He helped me put my arms through the sleeves of my blouse then slowly, almost reluctantly, started buttoning it. When he was finished, he pulled me to my feet and kissed me again, the length of his body pressed against mine. I

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could feel that his cock was still half-swollen inside his shorts, and I reached for it with a mixture of guilt and longing. He chuckled and pulled my hand away gently. “Next time, don’t worry. There will definitely be a next time, even if I have to come to the library every day until I see you again. We have to save something to look forward to.” He kissed me one more time, still holding my left hand in his. “It’s really a nice ring,” he said. I had forgotten about the diamond on my finger, and I glanced down at it. “Your friend is lucky to be the one to fuck you tonight. But I think I definitely had the better view.” With his other hand, he cupped my wet, swollen pussy as though he was going to lift me up and carry me around by my cunt. “You’re so very beautiful, thank you.” With that he picked up the blanket and shoved it into his backpack, then took my hand and led me across the park. Once again, I had that proud movie star feeling, walking with him. I felt like every head should turn in our direction, but in reality nobody paid us any attention at all. In a way, I was relieved, because it meant that maybe nobody had been watching what we had been doing. I smiled up at my gorgeous sparkly-eyed escort and sighed with satisfaction as the wind blew cool against the wetness spilling onto my inner thigh.

Chapter 12 I smiled and gazed at the beautiful park around me. I felt a sense of ownership as I looked back at the grove of trees that had concealed us just moments earlier. When I looked across the park, I froze mid-step. Just a few yards away, bounding happily across the grass towards us, was a big black dog, her tongue lolling out as she ran. Jogging along behind her was a tall shirtless man wearing black running shorts. Very familiar, ratty-looking black running shorts. James and Frankie. I immediately let my hand drop, hoping that James hadn’t seen us yet. But he seemed oblivious as he jogged along, his face in a frown of concentration even now. He didn’t seem to notice us, but Frankie did—she was racing towards me with a big floppy grin on her face. “What—do you know that guy?” Mr. Sparkly Eyes asked me, following my gaze. “Whoa, that’s not your fiancé, is it? He’s a pretty big guy, isn’t he? Um, maybe I should wait for a better time to introduce myself.” With that, he turned and ducked through a gap in the hedge. “See you soon, beautiful,” he said as he disappeared into the bushes. I stood staring after him for only a second before I was almost knocked off my feet by a joyfully exuberant Frankie. James had a look of horror and apology on his face as he rushed towards us, then his expression changed to surprise and confusion as he recognized me.

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“Mandy, I’m so sorry,” he panted as he pulled off his earphones and tugged Frankie away from me with his other hand. “Hey, don’t worry about it,” I said, smiling in spite of myself as I greeted Frankie. It was nice to be the one getting the apology instead of giving it for a change, I realized as I saw the awkward look on James’s face. So, even Mr. Perfect isn’t perfect all of the time. “Wasn’t there someone else here with you just a second ago? I thought I saw two people, but then maybe not.” He was peering at me intensely. Maybe he had seen Mr. Sparkly Eyes sneak away through the bushes. “Um, yeah, I was talking with this guy I know from the library, but he was just on his way through the park, didn’t really stop to chat for very long.” I was babbling now, but what else was new? “It’s weird, isn’t it? I run into one person I know, and then right away another one shows up.” I gestured towards him and Frankie, and he shrugged. “It’s not that weird, really. After all, I do live right around the corner. And of course, I always go for a run at this time on Thursday afternoons. And most of the people who go to the library must live in the neighborhood, so I’m surprised you don’t see more people you know while you’re out and about.” I resisted the urge to roll my eyes at his obsessive attention to detail. “Sure, but you know, I was sort of just making conversation.” “Oh right. I’m sorry, I think I’m just getting a bit overheated or something.” He pulled his tank top off and used it to wipe the sweat off his brow. Wowzers, either I was still incredibly horny from my recent adventures behind the bushes, or James had a seriously amazing

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body. His chest muscles rippled as he dried his forehead and the back of his neck. He had only a small amount of short, dark chest hair, just enough that I could see that he wasn’t the vain chest-waxing type, but not so much that it would obscure the strong curve of those sizeable pecs. The muscles in his shoulders and arms were impressive too—not body-builder huge, but definitely the strong, athletic, “real man” type that I loved. I had half-noticed his body before, but today it was having an unusually strong effect on me. I was uncomfortably aware of the swollen wetness of my naked pussy under my skirt; the more I looked at James, the wetter it seemed to be getting. To divert my attention from his glistening chest, I let my eyes travel down his body. Unfortunately the lower half of the view was just as distracting as the top half. He had tight abs, with a thin line of dark hair disappearing into the waistband of his shorts. I felt a powerful urge to move closer to him, to reach out and see what was hiding at the end of the proverbial treasure trail. But I stopped myself just in time, focusing on the ratty ugliness of his tattered running shorts to distract me. It almost worked, but then James spoke, and I made the mistake of looking at his face. He had that sexy sportswear model expression and all I could think was how much I wanted to be lying directly underneath that face, gazing at it from about six inches away. But as he continued to speak, the illusion crumbled. “I’m glad I ran into you. I have to leave a day earlier than I’d planned, so I was hoping we could set something up for tonight to go over Frankie’s schedule, and perhaps also discuss some of the house rules. In light of this morning, I think we should work out some rules to make

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cohabitation easier.” He spoke formally, but fiddled awkwardly with his tank top as he spoke. I blushed and nodded. Of course he wouldn’t want to see me running around naked again. Once was traumatic enough, for both of us. “Actually, if you’ll be home for dinner, perhaps we can each contribute something and eat together? I was thinking of chicken and salad, if you would bring the salad? Or did you have something else in mind?” I was staring at his mouth as he spoke and was so caught up in it that I almost forgot to listen to what he was saying. “Sure, whatever, salad. Fine.” Although I hated salad—why couldn’t I bring French fries instead? Oh well, I could bring some sinful dessert to make up for the overabundance of health food at dinner. He was silent for a moment, and I looked up at him. His eyes were riveted on my chest. I glanced down and saw that my bare nipples, without my bra, were hard and completely visible through the thin fabric of my shirt. I felt a bit embarrassed but then smiled to myself. If that was all it took to shut James up, then maybe I’d have to flash my tits at him more often. “Well, I was just heading home now actually,” I said brightly. He seemed to start back to attention and nodded quickly. Was he blushing? It was hard to tell under his dark skin, but he definitely looked a bit redder than usual. “Goodbye then. See you around six?” I nodded and turned to walk across the park. I wondered if he was watching me go, looking at my legs in the short skirt, hoping to catch a glimpse of my ass as I walked. But when I glanced back over my shoulder, James and Frankie were jogging away from me at top

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speed. His ass looked pretty cute, even through those ratty old shorts. And his back muscles were literally rippling as he ran, still shirtless. James was so hot to look at; if only he would keep his mouth shut. I shook my head and forced myself back to reality. Yes, James was very nice to look at, but he was also extremely annoying, and he was my roommate, which meant that I had to get along with him at all costs. Daydreaming about his body wouldn’t help me to act like a normal human being around him, so I decided I wouldn’t even go there. To distract myself I tried to focus on work. I was falling a bit behind after taking so much time off this week. Maybe I would head over to the wholesaler and catch up on my book order that I had planned to do the other day. I had time, and for some reason I didn’t really feel like sitting around the house anymore. I felt energized, reawakened somehow. That was partially due to the tremendous satisfaction I could still feel pulsing throughout my body, but more than that, I just felt happy all of a sudden. I felt like I had opened a door behind my old identity, and now my real self was coming out at last. I wasn’t just the boring, dowdy librarian that I had always thought I was. I was somebody else, although I didn’t quite know who yet. Maybe I was just an insatiable little slut who would fuck anyone that moved, especially if he moved against me in just the right way. I was getting to the bus stop now, and felt a wave of déjà vu as I remembered the last time I had taken the bus to go to the wholesaler. More proof that I was a desperate, indiscriminate slut if I could get so much enjoyment out of becoming a little more than a sex toy for strangers on a public bus. But I felt pretty safe now, maybe not quite as

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hopelessly horny as I had been the other day. I got a seat near the front of the bus, across from a young couple holding hands and occasionally kissing. I smiled at their young love, wondering if I had ever had that kind of infatuation with someone, or if I ever would. I had always gone out with the safe guy—the predictable one, exactly the kind of guy you’d think of setting up with a librarian. I’d never really been in love, certainly never been in that infatuation stage, where the only thing you can think about is tumbling into bed with your partner. In fact, I’d never really been with anyone that I’d had more than the most unspectacular, almost perfunctory sex with. Well, there had been that one guy while I was in college, that I’d had a one-week fling with just before Christmas break. He had been the complete opposite of my usual type—great-looking, athletic, dumb as a post, but incredibly sexy and fun in bed. We’d tried so many things together and liked them all—from anal sex to spanking to erotic photography and even a couple of videos. But other than our physical connection we’d had nothing in common, and I had been sure he’d figure that out before too long, so I’d called it quits at the end of the term. After that, I’d played it safe with one “nice guy” after another—a long string of Martins, really. I had never even come close to the physical excitement I’d felt with that pre-Christmas college guy. Well, at least not until this week. It was like a balloon had burst inside me—I couldn’t wait any longer. Maybe I’d just kept it all pent up for too long, and now my body was making up for lost time. I figured I would give myself this one limited window of opportunity—a week, let’s say—to get it all

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out of my system before I settled down with the next Martin type. I sighed at the thought of more dreary sex with a conventionally handsome, moderately successful, chalkdull accountant or pharmacist or whoever I ended up with. But I knew that was how it would be for me—I couldn’t expect to keep this fantasy life going for long. After all, someone as gorgeous as Mr. Sparkly Eyes would never want me as a girlfriend, but a quick roll in the hay (or a roll in the park, as the case may be), now that’s a different story. I felt a bit better now, knowing this was all just a temporary interlude, rather than a reflection of the kind of sleazy person I really was. After a few days, I would feel like I was back to my usual self and could meet another nice young man and start all over again. I felt a pang of sadness as I realized that even though I now had a chance to experience all of that physical excitement that I’d been missing out on, I would likely never be able to experience that true “in love” feeling of being both physically and mentally in sync with someone. More than anything, I longed to fuck someone who understood me, who clicked with me, who adored me as much as I adored him. But I knew that was asking for too much. The kind of guy that was right for me was too practical for frivolities like love and sex, and so was I. I always watched the world through practical lenses, never letting my heart get involved. What good would that do? Love eventually fades, after all; it’s all of the other things that matter the most. Maybe Sean really was the next guy I should be with. After all, you can’t get much more suitable than a fellow librarian. But the thought of being with Sean forever felt like a bag of sand on my chest. The sexual attraction

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between us would fade away, and then what would we have left? I couldn’t forget how volatile Sean had turned out to be. No, I could have fun with him for a while, but that was it. Maybe I should just get back together with Martin after all, skip over the finding-a-new-Martin part. But I didn’t think I could forgive him for humiliating me. I did have my pride, if nothing else. Maybe I would just end up an old maid. I shrugged, not really minding the idea as much as I’d thought I would. I could almost be content being a doting aunt instead of a proud wife and mother. Almost, but not quite. I sighed as I watched the young couple snuggling impossibly closer together across from me. So I would never be happy in that giddy-in-love sort of way, but maybe I could at least find someone to be content with. I had a prickly feeling at the back of my neck and looked up to see that the male half of the young couple ahead of me was now staring intently at my chest. I could feel my breasts swaying with the motion of the bus and I knew my nipples were hard, as I could feel them chafing against the silky fabric of my blouse. I didn’t exactly have the kind of chest that should go braless in public, especially in a thin shirt like this one. My breasts weren’t gigantic, but they weren’t small either, and they were obviously attracting some interested looks. I glanced down to see that my nipples were clearly visible through the fabric of the shirt, almost as evident as if I wasn’t even wearing a shirt at all. No wonder everyone was staring at me. Maybe I should have just gone home instead of trying to get this errand done. Hopefully nobody from the library would run into me today, I thought with a flash of panic.

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The young man was still staring at me, smiling slightly. As he stared, he reached over and gently stroked his girlfriend’s breast. She smiled and snuggled into his shoulder, her eyes closed dreamily. He brushed his fingertips across her nipples, squeezed her breast then pinched her nipple between his thumb and forefinger, all the while staring at my breasts with that half-smile on his face. He took his other hand and rested it on his thigh, just under the bulge in his jeans. Was it my imagination, or had it grown a bit larger now? I looked away, not wanting to encourage him. But after a moment, I couldn’t help glancing back at him. He was still staring at me, and the bulge in his pants had indeed gotten larger. What a jerk, staring at another woman with his girlfriend right beside him. I wanted to tell him to fuck off, but then I found myself doing something quite different instead. I began to cross my legs, very slowly and seemingly carelessly, so that he would see that I wasn’t wearing any panties either. I kept my eyes averted while I did this, but when I looked back at him to see if he’d noticed I saw that he had a look of shock on his face. I guess he’d noticed. Served him right for staring at someone—you might get more than you bargained for. I waited a few moments before I uncrossed my legs and crossed them in the other direction. Sharon Stone, eat your heart out, I thought. I could feel my heart pounding with the unexpected thrill of revealing myself to this stranger. My nipples contracted under my shirt, becoming even more noticeable than before. The man shifted uncomfortably in his seat. I guessed that he was getting a bit sore now in his constricting jeans. Well, so he should suffer a little bit, disrespecting his girlfriend like that.

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The girl opened her eyes, looked down at his lap and giggled, resting her hand on his other thigh, very close to his groin. Obviously she didn’t know why he was suddenly so much harder than before. And she doesn’t need to know, either, I scolded myself. What had gotten into me? Could I now add cock tease and homewrecker to my list of slutty new pastimes? I jerked the bell to signal for the bus to stop. I should have stood up carefully, I really should have, but I couldn’t resist scooting forwards to the edge of the seat, parting my legs as I pretended to search through my shoulder bag, letting the bag pull my skirt up even higher on my thigh as I did so. I sat like that for a moment longer than necessary, then smiled brightly at the young man as I stood up. He blushed furiously and averted his eyes, tilting his girlfriend’s head up for a kiss. But I knew he was watching me as I walked past him, knew he would be thinking of me when he fucked his girlfriend that night. I shivered at the thought that I could have that much power, noticing for the first time the male eyes that were following me—or rather, following my bouncing nipples—as I walked down the street. I couldn’t help smiling at their attention. So that was all it took to get noticed—bare, hard nipples swaying inside a flimsy silk shirt. I’d have to remember that.

Chapter 13 By the time I had finished placing my book order, buying a salad for dinner and returning home on the nowcrowded bus, it was almost six o’clock. I was getting a bit tired of being stared at, especially in the grocery store, where the cold air had had the usual effect on my nipples. But I just kept my head down and tried not to notice all of the attention. The ostrich technique seemed to work, and I successfully managed to avoid having any other random sexual encounters that day. I breathed a sigh of relief as I rounded the corner outside of our condo complex. The lights were on in the condo, which meant James had arrived before me. I opened the door and was met with the usual deliriously happy greeting by Frankie, and a decidedly less enthusiastic greeting by James. I was also welcomed by the most wonderful smell from the kitchen—garlic, ginger, roasting chicken, and maybe some peanuts? I savored the aroma, glancing guiltily down at my bag of prepared salad and bottle of prepared balsamic dressing. “Honey, I’m home!” I sing-songed as I whisked into the kitchen, immediately wishing I could take it back when I saw the look on James’s face. He looked pained at the thought of ever having me as his honey. “Sorry, just a dumb joke.” I deposited the grocery bag on the counter and started getting the salad ready. “Smells awesome in here! I thought we’d just be having plain old chicken.”

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James didn’t react, just stared at me for a long while. Good lord, not the nipples again? But he wasn’t looking at my chest, he was looking at my hands as I emptied the bag of prepared salad into a big glass bowl. Correction, he was looking at my left hand, or rather at the gigantic diamond ring on my left hand. His mouth hung open for a moment before he clenched his lips together again. “So, I guess you worked things out with Martin?” His voice sounded stiffly polite, but not overly warm. “Oh good grief, no.” I held my hand out, admiring the ring in spite of myself. “He asked me today, but of course I said no. I mean, he’s an asshole, I know that. But now I can’t get the stupid thing off.” I grabbed the ring and started wrenching it around my finger to try to loosen it. He grabbed my hands. “Well don’t do it like that, or you’ll just make your finger swell up and you’ll never get it off.” Hmm, not that that would be such a bad thing, I thought as I admired the sparkle of the ring under the kitchen lights. “Here, I know a trick that might work.” James was pulling me back towards the sink, turning on the cold water tap and shoving my hand under it. “Just keep your hand there for a minute or so—it’ll shrink your finger a bit and make it easier to get the ring off.” As I stood there freezing my fingers off, he was rooting around under the sink. He came out with a bottle of blue window cleaner and grabbed the dishtowel off the rack. He pulled my hand out of the cold water tap and dried it with the towel. Then he started spraying window cleaner all over my finger. Weird. I’d thought about using Vaseline or hand cream, but window cleaner? I could smell the crispy smell of the window cleaner and thought of my mom, who always used window cleaner to clean

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pretty much everything in the house. I definitely got my housekeeping skills from her—that is to say, they were pretty much nonexistent. James held my left hand in his and gently rocked the ring side to side as he attempted to pull it off. He wasn’t twisting it around like I had been, and it almost felt like he would be able to remove it. He stopped to spray some more window cleaner onto my finger and started again, bracing my arm against his chest as he worked. His chest was warm and strong against my cold hand. I relaxed as he worked on me, hoping that it would come off, as I didn’t think I’d have the heart to watch this beautiful ring get cut off, and I didn’t want to end up marrying Martin just because I couldn’t get the ring off my fat finger. James pulled at the ring, rocking it more as he coaxed it over my knuckle. Finally I felt it sliding over my knuckle and off of my finger. I was almost regretful as I looked down at my now-naked finger. “Wow, that’s a pretty cool trick,” I said. He shrugged, examining the ring that he still held in his hand. “Just something I read about once, thought it would work.” He was holding the ring up, moving it from side to side so it would catch the light, just as I had done when I’d first put it on. It was a mesmerizing, lovely ring. And somehow it looked even more stunning in his strong, dark hands. I imagined him dropping to one knee, holding the ring, and gazing up at me with those liquid chocolate eyes overflowing with love and lust. I shivered at the rush of desire I felt, shaking my head to clear it of the utterly inappropriate fantasy. There was absolutely no chance James would ever look at me like that. No way would he ever be interested in me, beyond his current need to ensure I was acting in accordance with

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the rules and expectations for a person living in his spotless home. He looked up at me then, and I jumped when I saw that his eyes looked exactly as I’d just been imagining they would look. He held the ring out to me, adding to the illusion even more. “It’s a beautiful ring, but it was more beautiful when you were wearing it.” He put the jewelry in the palm of my hand and folded my fingers over it. My stomach did a flip-flop at the combination of his warm hands and those liquid eyes, as though he could see down into my soul. Was prim-and-proper James flirting with me? Surely not. I gazed back at him for a long moment before I realized he was still holding my hand in his. As though we were both waking up, he dropped my hands and stepped back abruptly. I had thought that sort of thing only happened in movies, but I guess not. Maybe James had been celibate so long that even I was looking like someone he’d want to go to bed with. I watched as he busied himself at the stove, bending over to take the chicken in the oven. He certainly did have a nicely shaped ass, and I could see it a whole lot better in the khaki pants he was wearing now than his ratty old running shorts. He stood up and I averted my eyes before he could see me ogling him. It was one thing to admire him as an aesthetic object, quite another for him to think that I might actually be interested in him. James would be totally nonplussed if he thought I was attracted to him. I definitely did not need the humiliation, thanks. He was looking at me now, somewhat expectantly. Had he asked me a question? I tried to rewind the last few seconds—what had he said? Something about the ring, wasn’t it? Oh, he’d asked me what I planned to do with it.

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“Well, I guess I’ll give it back to Martin the next time I see him.” “Next time?” He raised his eyebrows like a disapproving parent. “Well he does technically live next door, so I’m bound to see him sometime. And actually he’s being a bit persistent about this, so I’m sure I’d see him even if he didn’t live next door. He really couldn’t believe that I didn’t want to marry him.” “Maybe that’s because, deep down, you really do want to marry him.” I stared at James in disgust and more than a little irritation. Now James thought he was a mind reader, too, in addition to all of his other talents? “Why would you say something so idiotic?” I burst out. He shrugged and turned away. “Well you were living with him just a couple of days ago. Lots of people get into fights like that, break up and then get back together.” He was back at the oven now, flipping the chicken, his distractingly perfect ass right in front of in my face. I closed my eyes so I could focus on what he was saying. “And it’s not as though you moved all that far away, where he couldn’t find you in twenty seconds if he wanted.” There was a note of something in his voice— annoyance? “If you don’t want me to be here, you should just say so.” There was definitely more than a hint of annoyance in my voice as I glared at him. He straightened up and turned back to me with a start. “That’s not what I meant—” He moved towards me as though he was going to shake me or hug me, but instead he just put his hands on my shoulders. “Listen, I’m very

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happy that you’re here, Mandy,” he said quietly. “I don’t care what’s going on with you and Martin. It’s none of my business. I guess I’m just worried about losing my new roommate so soon.” I softened at the awkward expression on his face. “I’m glad you’re here,” he continued, “and I hope you stay for a little while at least. I know that we might have a few issues to work out, but Frankie loves you, and that’s what matters most to me.” For some reason, I was dismayed by that. Of course I knew that James only wanted me around for Frankie’s sake instead of his own, but still I felt a twinge of embarrassment that I was important only for my ability to provide company for a dog. But that was just stupid. James and I had had a good time together the other night, but we barely knew each other. And anyway, the evening had totally degenerated after I’d made that whole gay comment. Our conversations always seemed to fall apart at some point. “Oh, James, I do want to stay here.” I sighed. “I guess I’m just a bit sensitive these days. What with breaking up with my asshole boyfriend and then having him propose to me a few days later.” I laughed, but it sounded fake. His hands were still on my shoulders, his eyes peering thoughtfully into mine. It wasn’t a look I’d seen on his face before. Maybe he was trying to read my mind again? But then he just grabbed me and pulled me towards him in an incredibly stiff and uncomfortable hug. “I know it’s hard to break up with someone you’ve been with for a long time,” he said. After a moment of tense surprise, we both started to relax, and the hug became less awkward. His hand on my back pressed my body tightly against his. I could feel the

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warmth of his body through his soft T-shirt and the contours of the muscles on his back as I slipped my arms around him. To my surprise there were tears in my eyes. It felt so good to be held by someone with no hidden agenda, no pesky sexual attraction getting in the way. I rested my head against his chest, surprised at how tall he was and how hard his chest muscles were. Everything about him was hard and strong. Good thing we weren’t attracted to each other, because he smelled amazing, a mixture of olive oil soap and something else I couldn’t identify, something so delicious I wished I could spread it all over my skin and smell like him forever. I held my breath and focused instead on the comforting, platonic closeness that we were having, clenching my hands to keep them from automatically exploring the ridges of muscle on his back. James was becoming a friend, and I wanted to keep it that way, not complicate things with sex the way I had with Sean. Abruptly he let me go and stepped back. His eyes were shining a bit. I looked at him thoughtfully, wondering why I had never seen James with a woman. “Have you ever had a bad breakup?” I asked, immediately wishing I could take the question back when I saw the pained expression on his face. But then he took a deep breath and looked at me and nodded. “I was engaged,” he said softly. “About a year ago, to Stephanie—I think you met her just after you moved in here.” I nodded, remembering the sleek, beautiful Asian woman who had occasionally attended the condo association meetings when I’d first joined the board. “We’d been together for four years, living together, we just got a new puppy, and we were going to get married.

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We’d planned a small beach wedding in Barbados where her family lives, just a small event for our families and us. But then, a few days before the wedding, Stephanie called it off. She ended the relationship, didn’t even want anything to do with Frankie anymore. She said it was too serious too soon. Four years is too soon?” He shook his head. “So she moved out, left Frankie with me but took most of our furniture, and I haven’t seen her since. Last I heard she was living in New York, married to someone else. So much for getting too serious too soon. I guess it was just me she objected to.” He turned and stabbed at the chicken, a cold frown on his face. I was silent for a moment then put my hand on his arm. “Wow, that sucks.” I was stunned, looking at James. She dumped a great-looking guy with a good job, who was a good cook and loved her? Was she insane? “Obviously she was a moron.” His eyes flashed anger at me before he broke into a smile. “Sometimes I want to defend her, like she’s someone I still care about, even though I definitely don’t. It’s sort of a habit, I think. Do you still have that with Martin? I know it hasn’t been as long for you.” I thought about that moment I’d had on the street, with the ring on my finger, the easy path that opened up in front of me and threatened to pull me down it. “Well actually, I almost said yes to Martin today. Sort of out of habit, like you say. It’s hard to imagine starting over with someone new.” I felt embarrassed about that, but somehow I didn’t mind sharing it with James. He laughed ruefully. “Tell me about it. I’ve been on a couple of dates since Stephanie, but nothing even close to serious.”

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That gave me pause. If James hadn’t gotten into anything serious, did that mean he hadn’t had sex with anyone in a whole year? He didn’t look like the type who would go for casual encounters. Before I could stop myself, I blurted out, “But what about sex?” The shocked look on his face told me everything I needed to know. “Oh, I’m sorry, that was a personal question, I shouldn’t have asked it. I take it back.” My face was so hot, I felt like it was as red as the oven element that still glowed through the oven door. But to my surprise, his shock turned to a smile. “Yes, that is a personal question, but I don’t mind. We’re both grownups, right? And we’re friends, I think.” I nodded as he paused for a moment. “Well, it’s not as though you need to be in a serious relationship to have sex with someone,” he said slowly. “If you’re careful about it, sex can sometimes just be a physical thing. Although it’s not usually as good if the heart’s not involved.” I thought that was a sweet way to answer the question, but I was more than a little shocked. I’d thought James was a prude. I mean, he was so OCD about all the condo maintenance issues, like the mattress on my front lawn. And of course, there was his reaction to my nudity this morning. I took a gulp of my wine and blurted out my next question. “But then why were you so pissed off when you saw me this morning?” He stared at me with a dazed sort of look on his face, and his eyes wandered down my body for a moment before he seemed to shake it off. “I wasn’t pissed off,” he said quietly, firmly. I laughed. “Well then you’re a good actor, because I definitely thought you were angry. And isn’t that why you

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wanted to have dinner with me tonight? To discuss the “incident” this morning?” He looked away, fiddled with the spatula in his hand. “I was caught off guard this morning, not angry. It was a bit of a shock to walk into the house and see you standing there looking so, so—” “Naked?” He smiled. “I was going to say stunning. But naked works too.” Stunning? I guess he really hadn’t gotten any in a while. I rolled my eyes. “Anyway, I was a bit surprised, obviously. But then I thought that after all, this was going to be your home, and I do want you to feel comfortable here. If it makes you feel comfortable to walk around nude, then I won’t say anything about it. And frankly, it’s one hell of a wakeup call, better than a cup of coffee any day.” There was a twinkle in his eye. “I presume you won’t mind if I also walk around naked from time to time?” I almost dropped my wine glass when he said that, spilling half of it down the front of my blouse. The thought of seeing James without even those skimpy running shorts was so distracting that I didn’t even notice the spill for a moment. He grabbed my wine glass and set it on the counter. “That will stain if we don’t treat it right away,” he said, frowning at the stain spreading through my blouse. “I have some club soda in the fridge—we can soak it in the sink.” He opened the cupboard and pulled out a box of salt, which he poured all over the front of my blouse, spreading it across my chest with his fingers. I was too stunned to say anything—didn’t he realize he was basically just fondling my breasts when he did that?

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He turned and grabbed a bowl out of the cupboard and poured a can of club soda into it, then stood looking at me expectantly. “Well?” “Well what?” “The shirt?” He motioned toward the bowl then reached over and started to pull the blouse over my head, pausing when he noticed I wasn’t wearing anything under it. But he just turned his head away slightly, keeping his eyes averted and his face expressionless as he put the shirt into the bowl of club soda. “See? This just gives us a chance to prove that we can both be totally comfortable with nudity in the home.” He handed me the dish towel to dry my skin, then a smile broke across his face and he started to laugh. I couldn’t help joining in. “It’s almost like you did that on purpose!” “I didn’t! Trust me!” We laughed some more, and I realized I was comfortable in this moment, standing halfnaked in James’s kitchen. I felt like I was truly at home, that I had made a new friend. “Thank you, James, for making me laugh. And for making me feel welcome here. I know it’s not easy to share your space with someone.” I felt like I should give him a hug, but was grateful when the doorbell rang and distracted me from doing something so stupid. A bare-chested hug? Against that hard, hot, delicious-smelling body? As if I’d be able to survive that without drooling all over him. Instead I kept the towel in front of my chest and ran upstairs while James went to answer the door.

Chapter 14 I was just pulling on a soft pink sweater, enjoying the feel of the soft fabric against my bare nipples, when my bedroom door opened. Sean stood there, smirking at me and leaning against the doorjamb. “Your gay roommate said I should just head on up to see you. I told him I was your boyfriend now, and all he said was to make sure I took my shoes off before I stepped onto the carpet. What a prude.” I started to defend James but then decided not to bother. Obviously he was just trying to get a rise out of me, especially with that boyfriend comment. Did Sean really think I would even want anything to do with him now, after the way he’d treated me that day? “What are you doing here, Sean? We were just about to have supper.” “Oh sure, nice little happy family,” he said, entering the room and half-closing the door behind him. “I told you we’d finish things up later, and now it’s later.” He crossed his arms in front of his chest, standing with his legs planted wide apart. It didn’t look like I’d have much luck getting rid of him. “Sean, I’m not too impressed with you right now. You were acting like a jerk today. You didn’t even care to find out what the real story was—you just acted like I was a pile of dirt that you could walk all over.” His face softened, and he stepped closer to me. “I’m sorry. I know I acted like a jealous prick. Obviously you

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would never get back together with Martin, I know that now. And what right do I have to say anything, either way? I guess I just got upset at the thought of you getting sucked back into that vortex of a relationship.” I nodded, letting my guard down a bit. Maybe Sean was back to his usual self after all. “Truce?” he said, holding out his arms. It felt good to trust Sean again. He had always been such a good friend. His arms around me felt strong, secure. I relaxed against him, soothed by the sound of his breathing, the pounding of his heart. His hands smoothed down my back, from my ribcage to the small of my back. “I like this sweater a lot,” Sean said. “I especially like what you’re not wearing underneath it.” As he said this, he started to pull my sweater over my head. This was getting ridiculous—how many guys were going to take my shirt off in one day? I tried to push him away; I really wasn’t in the mood. But Sean wrenched the fabric over my head and twisted my arm behind my back. “You think I didn’t see you in the kitchen with that roommate of yours? He didn’t even care that you were waving your tits around in front of him. But if he gets to see your breasts while he’s talking to you, then so do I.” He threw my sweater on the ground and grabbed my hair, pulling my head back roughly. “We’re just talking, after all,” he murmured, lowering his mouth to the base of my neck. He kissed and sucked my neck until I felt weak-kneed, as though I was really being attacked by a vampire. A creeping, cold fear twisted through the hot pleasure in my body, somehow intensifying my reaction to his touch. He let go of me and shoved me down on the bed. I tried to roll away from him, but he grabbed both of my wrists in

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one hand, leaning on my torso and crushing my chest so that I could hardly breathe. Part of me wanted to push him away, but another part of me relished being vulnerable to him like this. Deep down I knew I could trust Sean not to hurt me, but on the surface I felt only the heart-racing thrill of fear, and the desire which seemed to feed on it. The more I tried to resist, the more of a thrill I felt. I had never been with someone so rough with me before, and I was surprised at how much my body wanted it. “Just lay there and enjoy it. I’ve been waiting for this all day.” He sat on the top of my thighs, biting savagely at my breasts until my nipples stood large and red and wet on my chest. Even though I was annoyed Sean would try to take advantage of me like this, I could feel my pussy getting wet as he teased my nipples with his rough mouth. My breasts were so sensitive that even a casual touch could turn me on, and this was definitely more than a casual touch. I moaned and tried to wriggle away from his lips. He just laughed and sucked harder. “That’s a sound I recognize from my little slut,” he said, reaching his free hand down between my legs. “Still no panties, just like a good little girl. And wet, so wet.” He pinched my clit and shoved two fingers deep into my pussy. “You’ve been waiting for me to get here, haven’t you? You’ve been waiting for someone to fuck you, to fill that slutty little cunt and make it feel good again.” My stomach clenched as I unwillingly recognized the truth in his words. I really did need someone to fuck me. And Sean definitely knew how to fuck. My body relaxed against him, my legs easing open against his touch. A smile flashed across his lips, and for a moment I recognized the old Sean there.

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But no, I couldn’t get involved with Sean again now. It was just too confusing. He fumbled at the button of his jeans while still pinning me down on the mattress. I tried to struggle away from him, attempting to kick my legs to throw him off. But he just laughed at my ineffectual movements. “Yeah sure, pretend to struggle like a good girl should, even though we both know what a bad girl you really are.” “Sean, get off me! I’m not in the mood right now,” I hissed. He smiled and shoved three fingers into my cunt. “So this is what you feel like when you’re not in the mood? I’d love to feel you when you are.” I shivered as my body welcomed his touch inside me. “Sean, I just don’t know if—” He shoved his hand over my mouth and pressed hard, almost bruising my lip. The pain sent an electric thrill through my body, making my nipples harden even more against his chest. He smiled and moved his hand to my breast, squeezing the nipple tightly. “So you enjoy a little pain, do you?” he mused. “I thought you’d like that.” I wanted to say no, but I hesitated too long. “You know, the good girl act is cute and all, but why not just shut the fuck up and let your body have what it wants?” He grabbed my sweater, which was still on the bed beside us, and shoved one of the sleeves into my mouth, forcing it in until I gagged. I tried to shake the sweater out of my mouth, but there was nothing I could do. Sean leered down at me and used his now-free hand to work his jeans down off his hips. His penis stood out, hard and angry looking, even bigger than I remembered. “Just shut your mouth and open your legs. That’s it. See how easy it is?” His voice sounded so strange, so

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rough and distorted with need that I almost didn’t recognize it. I shook my head, eyes wide as he shoved the swollen head of his cock against my cunt. Even as I struggled to get away from him, I couldn’t help remembering how much my body had welcomed his touch just a few days before. How had everything between us changed so fast? As he started to shove his way into my pussy, I tried to squirm free, just as I heard a knock at my bedroom door, and the door swung open. “Mandy, dinner’s ready. Is Sean planning to stay—” James broke off abruptly as he took in the scene before him. His face looked stricken with shock, and he started to apologize and back away when his eyes locked on mine. He must have seen the fear there, figured out that this wasn’t the typical love scene, and he took an uncertain step forward. Sean looked over his shoulder at James, not even pulling away from me as he grinned at him. In fact, he just kept pushing his cock into me, sliding it slowly into me as deep as he could. “Bet you wish you could switch teams sometimes, with such a hot piece of pussy sleeping right down the hall. You know, I’m sure she’d let you try it anyway, if you wanted to see what it’s like. You could fuck her in the ass if you needed to, just keep your eyes closed and imagine whatever you have to imagine. Feels pretty fucking sweet, I’ll tell you.” He was still sliding his dick slowly in and out of me as he said all this, while I tried unsuccessfully to squirm out from under him and scream out for help from James. All of a sudden there was a rush of movement, and I felt as light as air. James had grabbed Sean by the back of his T-shirt and was literally dragging him down the hall and down the stairs. I sat up on the bed and watched as James

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kicked open the door and threw Sean out onto the front porch, his dick still hanging out of his pants, a stunned expression on his face.

Chapter 15 The door slammed. A moment later, James was standing in my room, eyes flashing with rage and concern. I was still pulling sweater fluff out of my mouth, tears of humiliation in my eyes. James pulled the blanket off the bed and wrapped it around my shoulders, pulling me towards him in a comforting bear hug. “Are you okay?” I nodded, not trusting my voice to speak. He pulled back abruptly and looked at me. “I did the right thing, didn’t I? It wasn’t just an extremely convincing role playing session, was it?” I shook my head, my humiliation flooding back through me. Now even James thought I was a slut. “Sean’s just—well, he used to be a friend, and then I guess he was more than a friend, but now I don’t know what’s going on.” Tears filled my eyes, and I turned my head into James’s shoulder so he wouldn’t notice. But it was too late. James’s arm tightened around me. “Did he hurt you? Is that why you’re crying?” His voice was steely and cold. “No, he didn’t hurt me, at least not like that. It’s just that I’m so embarrassed!” I felt a sob rising up, and couldn’t help feeling even more embarrassed that this was what bothered me most about what had just happened. “Don’t worry, it wasn’t your fault. He was taking advantage of you. I certainly don’t think anything less of you now.”

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“It’s not that, it’s just—well, the most embarrassing part of it is that even though I really wanted him to get away from me, it was like my body had a mind of its own. I was still getting turned on, somehow. And even though I was really glad you came along and stopped him, I also kind of wanted him to keep going, on some level.” I buried my face in his shoulder, ashamed to meet his eyes. “It’s so pathetic and embarrassing.” He was silent for a moment before he answered. “It’s not embarrassing, it’s understandable. I mean, your body has its own responses, separate from the ones in your mind. It’s sort of like a reflex—you react without thinking about it. When a hand touches your breast or your pussy, then you get turned on. It’s just automatic. Your body doesn’t know whose hands those are when it reacts. It just knows it likes to be touched. And when it’s touched like that, then of course, it wants to be fucked too. That’s natural.” I felt a strange thrill hearing James say those words in his clipped, precise voice. Pussy. Fucked. It sounded so foreign coming from his lips, and yet so wonderfully appealing. “You don’t have to be ashamed of your body’s reactions. Perhaps I should leave you alone for a few minutes before we have dinner?” His voice sounded awkward now, and I realized with a start that he was asking me if I needed to have some time to masturbate. I blushed so hotly I thought my face would burn James’s chest. I couldn’t imagine masturbating knowing that James was on the other side of the door, fully aware of exactly what I was doing. Maybe he would even be standing outside the doorway, listening. But to my surprise, at that thought, I felt that strange thrill again.

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That would be sort of fun, wouldn’t it? I sighed, remembering I had packed my vibrator away in one of the boxes that we’d put in the basement. It might take me hours to find it. “What is it? You don’t have to be ashamed. It’s a perfectly natural thing for single women to do. And men,” he added, his voice low and serious. He looked so concerned I had to laugh. “I’m not ashamed, but—oh, never mind, this is ridiculous.” The look on his face hadn’t changed, so I sighed and mumbled into his sleeve, “I just don’t know where I packed my vibrator, but it doesn’t matter. I’m sure I can make do.” I looked around the room for ideas. Water bottle? Hair brush? James was thoughtful, nodding slowly. “I suppose the vibrator would be helpful for—for maximum pleasure?” His voice was formal. I shrugged, and he stood up suddenly. “Wait here,” he said, disappearing from the room and returning a couple of minutes later with a red gift bag in his hand. He looked very uncomfortable as he handed it to me. “Don’t worry, it’s brand new. I got it for Stephanie as a honeymoon gift. But then of course she dumped me before we even had our honeymoon, so that was that.” He shrugged and pulled a red card out of the bag. “Just ignore the inscription.” I opened the bag and pulled out a beautiful, huge dildo, still sealed in the box. I just stared at James as I opened the box and held the object in my hands. It felt quite realistic, made of soft silicone, with realistic veins and a thick head on it. I didn’t know quite what to say. Who knew that James of all people would give his fiancée a dildo for a honeymoon gift? Is that because he knew he

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wouldn’t be enough man to satisfy her? Or maybe she was the type to enjoy a little double penetration action? I shook my head to clear the image that came into my mind. No way would James’s girlfriend be the type who would even use a dildo, let alone for any double penetration fantasies. Maybe this was more of a gag gift than a real gift? “Wow, James, thanks.” I wasn’t sure how to respond to this, focusing my attention on the base of the dildo instead. Fucking you always. Love, James was inscribed around the base. “It was sort of a gift for when I would be away on all my business trips,” he explained when he saw me reading it. “So she would have something to remind her of me while I was gone, I guess.” I glanced down at the sizeable dildo in my hand. More than nine inches long, and very thick. This was supposed to remind her of James? If he was part equestrian, sure. I glanced surreptitiously at his crotch, thinking maybe it was true what they said about black guys. But I couldn’t see anything in those baggy pants that he was wearing. “Oh, well that’s good. Now I’ll have something to remind me of you while you’re gone this weekend,” I teased. He looked horrified for a moment. “That’s not what I meant when I said—” I laughed at James’s distress. “I’m just teasing, James. Don’t worry.” I turned the dial on the bottom of the dildo, and it started to vibrate quietly in my hand. I pressed it against the inside of my thigh, enjoying the soft tickling feeling. I turned the vibration up higher and moved it down my thigh experimentally. It was powerful at high speeds, and

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yet very gentle at low speeds. It seemed like the perfect dildo. James was looking carefully away from me as I did this, perhaps recalling the woman he had originally purchased the toy for. “I’m sorry you never got to use it with her,” I said, waiting for his reaction. He just shrugged. “I don’t mind now. I should have just thrown it in the garbage right away, but now I’m glad I didn’t. At least someone will get to use it.” He stood up and smiled at me as he stepped out of the room. “Have fun. Let me know when you’re ready for dinner.” He pulled the door closed behind him, but it didn’t latch and fell open again. I didn’t bother to get up and close it. I figured I would just wait until later to satisfy myself after all. I started to get dressed again but then stopped to take a look at the dildo. A reminder of him, he had said. I picked it up and examined it carefully. It did indeed look very realistic. I looked at the box, reading the manufacturer’s name for the first time: Clone-A-Willy. I had heard about that, where people could make a dildo that was a replica of their penis. But surely James wasn’t really this big? I wrapped my fingers around the thick silicon and examined it more carefully. It was frankly gigantic, the most beautiful penis I had ever seen, so long and thick, the head very prominent and nicely defined. It had a lot of realistic detail on it—a few thick veins, even a slight curve in the middle of the shaft. But if this really was a replica of James’s penis, why would he want me to have it? Wouldn’t that feel kind of weird for him? I looked again at the inscription on the base of the dildo, then at the box. In small print on the bottom of the

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box was a date, and the words Made with lust by ______, where James had written his name. Could this beautiful dildo really be a model of James’s penis? Was I really holding James’s cock in my hands? It was tantalizingly big and realistic-looking, and all of a sudden I didn’t want to wait until later to try it out. I glanced at the open door. The lights were off in the hallway, which meant James had probably gone downstairs. I turned the dial on the vibrator until it was humming at low speed. I traced it lightly across my breast, watching as my nipple stretched towards it. I smiled and lowered it to the mound of my pussy, rubbing it gently across my pubic hair, enjoying the relaxed way I could just barely feel the vibration on the inside of my cunt. I circled the dildo around my clit, allowing a quick, fluttering wave of pleasure to wash over me. I glanced back towards the open doorway—I was still safely alone. I leaned back on the bed, this time imagining that James was standing there in the doorway, watching me. Slowly I let the tip of the dildo disappear into my cunt. I sighed in pleasure and relaxation as my body opened to the slow fullness inside me. I turned the dial on the vibrator up a bit and slid it a bit deeper into my cunt. I closed my eyes and let the sensations take over, moving the dildo in and out, tracing the vibrations slowly around my clit. I let my legs fall open, imagining that James was looking at me. Would he like what he saw if he was watching? Would his dick get hard? Or would he just walk away, like the gentleman he was? I smiled a bit, thinking of how James wouldn’t even meet my eyes when he gave me the vibrator. No, he definitely would not want to see me doing something so

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personal. It would probably make him uncomfortable just to catch a glimpse of me doing this. I thought I should close the bedroom door before he saw me, but I was enjoying the feeling of his silicon cock in me, and the thought of him watching me made me enjoy it even more. I opened my eyes slightly, imagining him standing in the hallway then gasped. As though I had conjured him up, James was standing in the doorway, his eyes wide as he stared in at me. “I’m sorry, I was just passing—I was about to shut the door—” He looked mortified but still didn’t move from the doorway, as though he was frozen in place. “It’s all right, James,” I said, aware that my legs were still wide open to him, his dildo cock deep half-buried in my bare cunt. I made no move to cover myself, realizing he had already seen everything there was to see. “I’m not embarrassed for you to see me like this, if it doesn’t offend you.” I wanted to keep things from turning awkward between us, and figured that if I acted like everything was natural and fine, then he might think of it that way too. I tried to keep my voice casual, but it was difficult to think of anything other than my open legs, and the vibrator that was still buzzing quietly inside my cunt. He looked stunned, shaking his head wordlessly. “Your body could never offend me, Mandy. You’re so beautiful. But I just don’t want to intrude on your privacy,” he said after a long moment. He turned to leave, pulling the door closed as he went. “No, wait,” I called out, surprising myself. To my shock, I really didn’t want him to go. “I don’t mind, really.” I couldn’t believe I’d just said that. I almost wished I could take it back, but at the same time, I could

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feel hot excitement growing in my cunt at the thought of him watching me, getting turned on by me. He stared at me, gripping the door handle so tightly I thought he might break it off. Slowly I circled my fingers across my nipple, tracing them down my stomach to the skin of my thighs. I let my legs fall open even more, giving him a better view of the dildo in my cunt. I couldn’t believe I was doing this in front of James, of all people. But it felt so exciting—I was amazed at the thrill I felt, knowing that he was watching me touch myself, watching me fuck myself. Silently I willed him to stay as I moved my hand back to the dildo, sliding it slowly out of my cunt and then just as slowly back in again. James leaned against the doorway, his eyes on my hands. Gradually, he relaxed his grip on the door handle and slowly folded his arms across his chest. I saw the powerful muscles in his forearms twitching, and I could vividly imagine what it would feel like if those strong arms were wrapped around my body. I let out a shaky breath, realizing that I had forgotten to breathe all this time, expecting him to walk away in disgust. But instead he stayed where he was, gazing at me intently. Slowly I moved the vibrator deeper into my cunt, enjoying the thrill of knowing that James was watching. I pushed it in as deeply as I could, taking the whole length inside me. His eyes widened as I did so, obviously fully aware of how big the dildo was and how unusual it was for a woman to be able to take the whole thing inside her. I could feel the dildo pressing into the back of me, a pain that quickly turned to pleasure as James’s mouth opened and closed again, his jaw clenching in an effort to keep still.

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I tilted my hips slightly and spread my legs even wider, giving him the best possible view of my wet, swollen pussy. His breathing quickened now, his face shining with sweat. I pulled the dildo all the way out of my pussy, feeling the ache as my body longed for it again. With the fingers of my other hand, I spread my pussy open for him, hearing him catch his breath. At the same time, I teased my clit with the vibrating head, sending another surge of pleasure through my body. I knew he could see how wet and swollen I was, how incredibly turned on I was. A quick image flashed through my mind of what it would be like to fuck James, and my pussy throbbed in response. I glanced down at the front of his pants, disappointed that because of the backlighting in the hall, the front of his body was in shadow. I let the tip of the dildo circle around my swollen pussy lips, brushing across my cunt, but never entering it. I wanted to tease James, to make him watch in frustration as his penis substitute never quite managed to satisfy me. I knew I should stop, that this wasn’t the way to convince myself and others that I was nothing more than a slut, and was a surefire way to ruin a good friendship, but as usual lately, my body was doing what it wanted. I knew that wasn’t quite true—what my body really wanted was to be fucking James, but since that was out of the question, I was actually restraining myself by letting him watch me fuck myself instead. I circled the dildo around my cunt, teasing myself until I was aching with hunger to be filled. I had a flash of how I must look to James, lying naked on my bed with a dildo in my pussy, begging him to watch me fuck myself. I was starting to feel a bit pathetic, almost wishing I could stop

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this, but how could I now? Instead, I buried the tip inside me. My body was yearning for more, my hips rising to meet the dildo, but my hands felt frozen in place. For some reason I suddenly felt too shy to do anything more with James watching. I felt disappointed—I was still a prude after all. My eyes filled with tears of frustration as I slowly removed the dildo from my pussy and closed my legs together. “I’m sorry, James, I guess I’m too shy after all.” I closed my eyes, unable to even look at him now. His reaction surprised me—he was laughing, deep and assured. “Mandy, you’re definitely not shy,” he said. “Maybe you just need a little help.” A moment later, strong hands were parting my legs, thick fingers were stroking my pussy lips and deep chocolate eyes were smiling into mine. “Keep going. I liked what you were doing so much,” he said, looking now at my pussy. The thought that there was someone so close to me, paying attention only to my cunt, made me feel bold again. I moved the dildo back to my pussy. I was so wet now I couldn’t believe it, aching for something to fill me up. I let the head of the dildo enter me again, enjoying the slight stretching feeling as I pushed deeper, letting my hunger build even more. “Help me,” I whispered. James took the dildo from me and wordlessly, slowly, pushed it in deeper. It was a sweet, endlessly slow penetration. I opened to him as he watched me, yielding to his gaze and his touch. He pulled the dildo out again just as slowly, a painstaking, teasing rhythm that had me moaning in frustration and delight.

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I moved my fingers across my clit, matching my own touch to the speed and rhythm of his. When he sped up, so did I, when he slowed, my fingers did too. It was exquisitely painful, all-consuming. I could think of nothing but my hungry cunt—everything in the world began and ended with his touch. Suddenly the dildo plunged deeply into me, so deeply I could feel it at the back of me. My eyes flew open and I stared at him, but he was still looking only at my pussy. He was fucking me hard with his dildo cock, smiling as my hips rose automatically to meet his thrusts. “You are anything but shy,” he murmured with a smile as I spread my legs even wider, rubbing my fingers fast and hard against my clit. I kept my eyes on him, watching as he pulled the dildo almost all the way out, fucking me with just its head for a while. I felt so turned on just looking at his face, knowing he was watching me get off, that he was enjoying it. When he plunged the dildo in again, the relief of it almost took my breath away. I knew I was going to come soon, and he must have known it too. I felt the vibration of the dildo increase as he once again buried it in my cunt, hard and fast. My fingers matched his rhythm as my hips reached for him and before I could even realize what was happening, I was spiraling out of control. I cried out—I must have, as the force of the orgasm gripped me like a tornado and nearly threw me across the room. The effect of the huge vibrator so deep in my cunt, the unpredictability of his movements, and the knowledge that those tender, hungry brown eyes were watching my every move with obvious delight—all of these combined to create one of the most amazing, overwhelming orgasms I’d ever had. It really did feel as though the whole world

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had changed its orbit around me and everything in it was joy and delight. I didn’t care that my friend and roommate had just watched me come, that he had seen and smelled and touched my body as I came. I didn’t care that he must think I was a slut. I didn’t even care that he was not the first man who had watched me come that day. All I cared about was whether or not I would have a chance to do that again anytime soon. Suddenly, I wanted James so much, in every way I could think of. Where had this come from, this desire for James of all people? Prissy James, who wore an apron whenever he cooked to keep his clothes looking perfect? Who organized all of his spices alphabetically with the labels facing out just so? I looked at his face, astonished I wasn’t feeling regretful or guilty, even though my legs were still wide open to him, his face only inches away from my cunt. James glanced up at me then and, to my surprise, my eyes filled with tears. I was overwhelmed by the rush of feelings I was experiencing that I had to look away. James sat up with a start, grabbing the blanket off the floor and throwing it over my legs. “Forgive me,” he said, his voice stiff and formal again. Before I could reply, he was gone.

Chapter 16 For a sickening moment I wanted to call out to him, wanted to turn the clock back to that perfect moment, but it was lost now. Obviously James had come to his senses, horrified by what we had just done, disgusted with me. A wave of shame washed over me, a skin-crawling heat that made me wish, again, that I could turn back time—only now I wanted to go back to a few days ago instead of a few minutes ago. What had come over me this week? I had let my whole life fall apart and then rebuilt it in such unbelievable ways—I’d left my long-term partner, moved in with Mr. Organized, had random sexual encounters with strangers, had an affair with an old friend, and now this. It was as though I had no idea who I was anymore and was reinventing myself, except I wasn’t at all sure I liked the new me. I had discovered one thing about myself, however— even I didn’t know all there was to know about me. Who knew I could surprise myself, even now? When I thought about all I’d done over these last few days, I knew I should feel horrified, or at least concerned about my mental wellbeing. But I didn’t. Instead, I just felt—what? Fine. Okay, indifferent. Not proud exactly, but comfortable with the things I had discovered about myself. It was as though I’d finally allowed my true self to come to life, and even though I

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wasn’t perfect, I was still myself, more than ever. If James didn’t like it, well that was his problem. I clenched my fists in rage. After all, he had been a willing enough participant. What right did he have to judge me? I sat up in a hurry, throwing off the blanket and grabbing my clothes from where they lay scattered around the room. As I dressed, I looked back at the bed, its rumpled quilt, the discarded blue vibrator. Through my anger, I felt a residual flutter of pleasure as I remembered the feel of that big object inside me. I was sure now that it wasn’t a clone of James’s dick—no way would prissy James ever have the guts or wherewithal to make something like that, and no way could he possibly have a dick that big. He was way too asexual to have such a beautiful cock hiding in his pants all the time. Oh well—if he was that disgusted by me, he wouldn’t have to put up with me much longer. I would find an apartment somewhere, a dingy little basement suite or whatever, and he could put Frankie in a kennel when he went out of town. And he would never have to be inconvenienced by me or my body again. I stormed down the stairs and into the kitchen where James stood. He kept his back to me, pretending to examine something on the stove, even though he had obviously heard me coming. “Don’t worry, James,” I said coldly. “You won’t have to put up with me much longer. I’ll look for another place to live while you’re away on your business trip. By the time you get back I’ll be ready to move out.” He turned around and his face looked stricken. “I understand,” he mumbled. “I’m sorry I offended you like that. I didn’t mean to—I mean, it was like I was possessed or something.”

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“Right, so it was all a big mistake, I get it. You’d never dream of doing something so gross and disrespectful, I get that too. But you have no right to treat me like that and not treat yourself the same way. You were equally involved, don’t forget.” He shook his head, kept his eyes down. “I know it was my fault. I don’t know what made me take advantage of you like that.” “Take advantage? Like I’m some damsel in distress? Please. I make my own choices, and I don’t need to feel like dirt about what I decide to do, especially by someone who did the exact same thing himself. If you’re embarrassed or if I’m not good enough for you, then you should have thought of that sooner or just kept your mouth shut about it.” He gaped at me, shaking his head. “I’ve worked so hard to be good, especially with you. I thought we had a good friendship going, and I didn’t want to fuck it up. But sometimes it gets so hard—like when I came home and saw you naked that day, it was all I could do to not attack you right here on the kitchen floor.” He looked embarrassed, still unable to meet my eyes. “The truth is that Stephanie left me because she said I was too wild for her. She said I wanted more than she could give me, and maybe she was right. But I thought if I pared it back a little, if I could be more square and straight-laced, then maybe I wouldn’t scare off any more women. But I guess I overestimated my ability to change.” I was getting confused now. James wanted to be more square? Seriously? How could anyone be squarer than James? Wow, his ex must have been a major prude. “Well, James, it’s natural to get a boner when a girl is walking naked through your house, or when she’s lying

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spread-eagle on the bed right in front of you. It doesn’t make you a sex maniac.” He looked at me now, his gaze piercing. “I know that, but I promised myself I’d stay away from anything like that, at least for a while—nothing outside of traditional relationship type stuff if I could manage it. But when I saw you lying there I couldn’t help myself. I just feel so bad for taking advantage of you.” I shook my head. “You think you were taking advantage of me? When I was practically begging you to touch me? I would have been pissed off if you hadn’t, to tell the truth. It’s more like I was the one who was taking advantage of you.” He looked incredulous. “Don’t try to spare my feelings. I know you’re the kind of girl who would prefer to be in a committed relationship with someone who respects you, rather than with someone who’s using you for your body.” His eyes flicked down my body then, and I was aware of a small heat building in my belly. But the heat turned into anger again. “How do you know what I want? How do you know I don’t just want to be fucked like crazy by a stranger in a park, or on the stairs, or in the back of the library? Just because you’re Mr. Perfect, Mr. Honorable and Respectful doesn’t mean that everybody else is. And it doesn’t mean that any of us even want to be that way, either.” He was staring at me, and then he started to laugh. “Me, perfect? Honorable? Respectful? As if! All I can think of most of the time when I look at you is pinning your arms behind your back, leaning you up against the kitchen counter, pulling your skirt up with one hand and—” He broke off then, noticing that he was moving closer to me with each word that he spoke. “No, I won’t

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do it. I refuse to fuck up another friendship like that. I’m determined to keep it in my pants from now on.” I couldn’t help it, when he said that about his pants. I just took a quick glance down, not even for a split-second, but it was enough to see that maybe the dildo in my room wasn’t that far off from being a replica of James’s penis after all. There was definitely something long and hard in there, getting longer and harder with each moment, it seemed like. My mouth was instantly dry. Was James honestly not the prissy, stuck-up guy I thought he was? Was he really just holding back for my sake instead of his own? How could I find out for sure? I took a deep breath. “James, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong about me. I’m not the kind of girl who wants a straight-laced guy. I’ve had that already, and I hated it.” I shuddered, thinking of Martin wearing his black socks in bed for our scheduled Friday night fuck. “Yes, I suppose I do want a traditional relationship in some ways—a true partner, someone who loves me and respects me—but if having that means I have to go back to the traditional once-a-week-on-Fridays, only-with-the-lights-out, missionary-position, boring sex, well then sorry—that’s not good enough for me.” The words were spilling out of me now, and I was surprised at how true they were. “And yes, I know that I can’t get everything I want in one guy, but if I have to choose one or the other right now—a traditional boyfriend or a great fuck buddy—then honestly I’ll choose the fuck buddy.” I paused for a long moment, stunned that I had just admitted that to James and myself. He looked at me thoughtfully, a little skeptically. “But doesn’t that make you feel worthless or trashy? Like you’re just being used for your body?”

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I shrugged. “Well it’s not as though I wouldn’t be using him for his body at the same time. I’ve just given up on all that maidenhood-is-a-virtue crap. It’s bullshit, and it’s honestly not that much fun.” James looked at me then with such intensity in his eyes that I started to feel uncomfortable. Even though I hadn’t noticed him moving, he suddenly seemed much closer to me than before. “So what you’re saying is that ideally, you would like a guy who cares about you enough to treat you like a slut? Someone who would love that about you and would think you’re the perfect woman because of it?” The hairs on my arms stood up as I nodded. James was standing so close to me now, looking even bigger than before. “You want someone who loves you, and who loves that you love to fuck.” His eyes were dark, gazing intently at my lips. “And someone who loves to fuck you.” I nodded again, unable to speak. “Well, it looks like we’ve got at least one out of three down—I really, really love that you love to fuck.” He was close enough now that I could feel his breath on my cheek as he spoke, even though his voice was so deep and soft that it was barely more than a murmur. He looked away from me for a moment, suddenly a bit awkward. “And I hope this doesn’t make me sound crazy, but I’ve kind of loved you since the first time I ever saw you.” I thought back to that first encounter—it was a year ago, at a meeting of the condo board, and I was arguing that we should be allowed to grow vegetables in our front gardens. James was arguing for neighborhood unity instead. He had won. “I was pretty sure you hated me,” I said in surprise.

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“Oh, I hated you all right,” he laughed. “But I loved you at the same time. I think it had a lot to do with the little blue dress you were wearing at the time.” I blushed, remembering that my “little blue dress” was really only meant to be a tunic top, but it had been so hot that day that I’d worn it as a dress. James was running his fingers across the hem of my skirt now, seemingly lost in old memories. “But you were engaged then,” I said, remembering. “Yes, well, I told you that Stephanie wasn’t exactly thrilled at how much time I spent thinking about other women. Well, it was really just sex that I was thinking about, but since Stephanie wasn’t into it, most of my fantasies did tend to involve other women. I thought of you a lot, if you want to know. I especially enjoyed thinking of you while I was watching you sunbathe in the back yard.” I blushed again, knowing that most of the time when I sunbathed in the yard, I wore my skimpiest bikini, and sometimes even went topless. He shifted his feet and hesitated for a moment before adding, “Actually, that was one of the reasons why Stephanie decided to leave me in the end. She caught me watching you one day.” “That’s crazy. You were just looking out the window!” He smiled. “I wasn’t just looking out the window, Mandy.” I caught my breath as the meaning behind his words finally registered. Wow, I was pretty obtuse. “So, like I said, we’ve got at least two out of three now. I love that you love to fuck, and I love you way more than a sane person would admit to at this point, even more now that I know how much you love to fuck. The

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only think we don’t know about is that third thing.” The back of his hand was on my leg now, soft against my thigh, almost innocent and yet so not. “What third thing?” My voice was a bit shaky. All I could think about was the pressure of his fingers on my thigh, the way his voice was sending shivers through my body, the enticing scent of him that was so close I could almost touch it. “Whether or not I love to fuck you. Oh, and I suppose there’s a fourth question too—whether or not you love to fuck me.” His voice in my ear was like a physical touch, traveling down through my body to my still-swollen pussy. I felt myself getting turned on even more, much to my shock. Was I really so insatiable? My voice was still a bit shaky. “I doubt we’ll have to wonder about that,” I said. His lips brushed my neck, jolting another thrill through my body. “And I doubt we’ll have to wonder about the third thing either,” he said. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to love fucking you. At least for the first seven hundred times we fuck. And then maybe we’ll have to spice it up a bit.” His hand on my leg slid around to the back of my thigh, cupping my bare ass and pulling my leg tight around his. Suddenly his lips were on mine, soft and possessive, not the least bit shy or tentative or prissy like I might have expected. The kiss tangled us together for what seemed like hours, spinning through a wonderful confusion of lips and tongues and hands and bodies. I couldn’t get enough of him as he pushed me roughly against the counter. The length of his body against mine was hard, strong, so hot I felt as though steam would rise from his skin if he took off his shirt. Mmm, that shirt—I couldn’t help pulling at

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it, remembering how he had looked that afternoon in the park with his shirt off, all glistening and ripped, like a professional athlete. He smiled and pulled his shirt over his head. I ran my fingers down his chest, amazed to be touching his body at last. He felt as good as he looked, his skin smooth and firm, with only a swirl of short dark hair on his chest. His nipples hardened beneath my fingertips, his chest muscles rippling against my hand. He groaned and reached for my T-shirt. “Equal playing field.” With a smile he pulled my sweater up and off. I stood before James as before, bare-chested, this time not feeling the least bit self-conscious. He was gazing at my breasts in total absorption, slowly reaching out to trace his fingers down the sides. I shivered at the electric spike that raced through my body, knowing that my nipples were hardening even though he hadn’t touched them yet. He bent his head to my breast and gently closed his mouth over it, teasing the nipple even harder with a slow circle of his tongue. He scraped the tender bud across his teeth, making me gasp in surprise and pleasure, pulling half of my breast into his mouth. He moved from one breast to the other, his lips growing gradually rougher and more possessive with each moment. My nipples were hard now and painfully sensitive, but the pain was an exquisite pleasure. He stood up again, pulling my bare chest against his and reclaiming my mouth with his own. His tongue was even more possessive now, more confident, hungrier. My hard nipples against his warm chest felt so right, as though they had been waiting for years to be there. I pressed my body closer to his, enjoying the pressure of his swollen cock against my hip. I desperately wanted

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to see if the dildo really was a copy of James’s cock. Impatiently, I tugged at the button on his khaki pants, sliding the zipper down with one hand while reaching inside with the other. He wasn’t wearing any underwear, which sent another thrill of surprise and lust straight to my insides. I let my fingers travel slowly through the soft patch of hair until I reached his cock, straining against his pant leg. I gently circled my fingers around it, feeling how thick it was. I couldn’t quite meet my fingers and thumb around him, which was a very promising sign. Slowly I slid my hand down, down, down, until I could feel the head of his penis, and then the tip. James was beyond big—I had no doubt now that the dildo really was a copy of his penis. I shivered with anticipation, breaking off the kiss to devote my full attention to this wonderful new surprise. With both hands, I lowered the waistband of his pants, sliding it down over his hips, watching as his massive black cock sprang up out of his pants, finally free. He was beautiful, his long legs strong and muscular, his strong abs and chest and arms making him look like an exotic dancer, an image only enhanced by his porn star sized dick. I sank down onto my knees, almost without intending it, amazed at how sexy James was turning out to be. From up close, I could see his cock was the same as the dildo, right down to the vein on the left side and the slight bend in the center. He was so long, so hard, so turned on that I couldn’t help feeling surprised. The head of his penis was shining with wetness, and I couldn’t resist licking it off. It tasted sweet, delicious. He groaned as I ran my tongue around the head of his penis and then closed my lips around him, sliding him as

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deeply into my mouth as I could. At the same time I ran my hand down the length of his cock, noticing how huge and hard he was. My other hand explored his tight, soft balls, tracing my fingertips along the sensitive area behind them, down the inside of his thighs, and then back up to cup my hands around his balls, giving a soft squeeze as he groaned again. Hearing how turned on he was, feeling him pulsing against my lips, made me long to feel him inside me, to see if he would even fit. But I had managed to take the whole dildo hadn’t I? I remembered his look of surprise when I had done that—obviously not a lot of women could hold all of James inside them. I shivered, remembering the feeling of that big vibrator, James’s intense eyes on mine. I wished I could take his whole cock inside my mouth in the same way, but I could barely manage more than the head. With my hand, I slid up and down his shaft, making it into an extension of my mouth as I licked and sucked his cock. I had never tasted a black man before and I closed my eyes, seeing if I could sense any difference. But other than the size of him, the eager hardness straining against my lips, he didn’t feel different to me. I opened my eyes and pulled my head back to admire him, watching my hand stroke up and down his strong cock, twisting around the swollen head and down again. I loved the way he looked, the way he smelled, the way he tasted. I knew I would love the way he fucked, and when he reached down to pull me to my feet, I was more than ready to taste him with the rest of my body. He kissed me hard, pressing my bare chest to his again. I felt myself melting into him all over again. I wriggled out of my skirt, impatient for the touch of his

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body against all of my skin. At the same time, James kicked off his pants, pausing to stare at my naked body. “Wow, you are so incredibly sexy,” he said, pulling me towards him again. With his hands, he cupped my ass and pressed me against him. I trembled to feel the length of his body against mine, his cock hard against me, his arms pinning me tightly to him. And then he was lifting me onto the counter, kissing me hard on the lips, his tongue deep inside my mouth. I was lost in the kiss, almost not noticing that my legs were being spread open, strong fingers were testing the slick readiness of my cunt, then a moment later, a wonderful, almost shocking fullness as he opened me with his cock and plunged himself deep inside. No teasing foreplay, no slow buildup, just deep and hard and fast, exactly the way I liked it. How did he know I liked it that way? Oh, but of course—I had just given him a training session upstairs. Somehow his cock felt even bigger than the dildo had been. Longer, so I could sense a sweet pain whenever he reached the back of me. I pushed my hips towards him with each stroke so that I could feel it every time. He groaned as he stroked my insides with his cock, almost in surprise when he felt himself completely embedded inside me. “You’re so amazing, so fucking beautiful,” he said between groans. “Your face, your lips, your hands, your breasts, your ass, your cunt. Oh, but especially your cunt,” he said, pulling back so he could watch his cock disappear inside me. I shuddered as his huge black cock filled me again and again. I couldn’t believe I could take all of him, couldn’t believe how good it felt to be possessed by him. Unexpectedly he pulled out, still watching my pussy with admiration. He knelt in front of me, keeping his eyes

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on my pussy. “Such a gorgeous little cunt,” he said, tracing his fingers around my wet opening. He pressed his lips against me, circling his tongue around my supersensitive clit. He kissed my pussy like he had been kissing my lips—deeply, passionately, possessively. With his hand he pulled my lips open, slid his fingers inside me, licked and sucked at my clit until I was starting to see stars. I didn’t want to come yet, not without his cock inside me. I squirmed against him, and with a knowing chuckle he pulled his mouth away and stood up. Again he didn’t pause before fucking me, didn’t tease or ease his way inside me, just plunged his huge cock deep inside me and possessed me with a smile and a deep moan of delight. “So amazing, I can’t believe it.” He thrust into me even more forcefully now, and I spread my legs as wide as I could, so that he would meet no resistance. He touched his long fingers against my clit as he thrust, making tiny circles against the super-sensitive flesh. It didn’t take much, not with that huge cock inside me, that hard body in front of me, that chiseled face watching me so intently. I came suddenly, effortlessly, unbelievably powerfully. The fullness of his cock so deep inside me, the pleasure-pain of his possessive thrusts, it all came together into the perfect spiraling moment. I felt amazingly larger than life, like a sphinx ruling over the desert. Then with a violent abandon, James thrust even more deeply than before, crying out along with me, thrusting again and again as he came deep inside me. I dug my fingernails into his shoulder as the pain of his thrusts mingled with pleasure. I was amazed at his confidence, at the way he had taken ownership of my body. He thrust

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hard into me one more time, covering his lips with mine as our cries died away, then held me to him and lifted me off of the counter. I wrapped my arms and legs around him, feeling his strength as he carried me across the kitchen, his cock still buried in my cunt. He carried me as effortlessly as if I was made of air, remaining hard and snug and deep inside me.

Chapter 17 “I’ve wanted you for a long time, Mandy,” he said, still keeping his cock inside me as he lowered me onto the sofa. “Since that first day I saw you, I’ve wished I could fuck you like this.” He slowly moved inside me, back and forth in an achingly slow, tantalizing echo of the last few minutes. He kissed me, a long, slow, tender kiss, unlike the others we had shared in the kitchen. “It turns out I was right—I really, really do love fucking you,” he said with a smile. The look on his face was so sincere and sweet that I had to smile too. “I really love fucking you too, James,” I said. I felt a bit awkward with even this little bit of dirty talk, but when his eyes lit up, my shyness faded a bit. “Your cock is so gorgeous,” I said, feeling a bit bolder. “No wonder you made a dildo out of it.” He laughed in surprise. “I should have known you’d figure that out. It really turned me on to see you fucking my cock like that and enjoying it so much. You weren’t offended, I hope?” “No, that made it hotter. And it’s even better, now that I know I’ll be able to fuck two of your cocks at the same time.” He groaned in surprise and I felt him stirring again inside me. “You’d really be up for something like that?” I blushed and nodded. Suddenly I felt like I could share anything with him. “It’s actually one of my favorite fantasies—to have two guys at one time. Preferably when

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I’m tied up and blindfolded, though that’s not a requirement. ” As soon as I said that, I wished I could take it back, but when I looked up at James, he wore an expression of awe and delight. “You’re amazing, you know that?” he said, letting his eyes trail down my naked body, apparently imagining me in the middle of a ménage a trois scenario. As his eyes traveled lower I could feel him growing hard again inside me. I smiled. “You’re pretty amazing yourself, although I’ll admit I’m a bit surprised to be saying that.” He frowned in mock confusion. “You mean my charms aren’t immediately obvious to anyone who looks at me?” I smiled. “Your most charming assets are hidden by your perfectly pressed pants and your annoyingly impeccable manners. The wonderful things about you are things that nobody can see until they get this close to you.” To emphasize my words, I pressed my hips against him, leaving not even a sliver of space between us. “Not everybody would think of my rather cumbersome physical size and insatiable appetite for sex as blessings,” he said with a frown. “Well then I’m glad, because that means there will be fewer women that I’ll need to beat off of you with a stick. I’m just glad that I had a chance to see the real you, so I wouldn’t miss out on the chance to do this.” At that, I rolled on top of him, settling myself even deeper onto him. He was completely hard now, filling me as completely as before, but in this position it felt somehow even deeper. I rotated my hips a bit, enjoying him touching every part of my cunt. I sighed with the exquisite pleasure of

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feeling him in parts of me that seemed like they had never been reached before. I pulled back from him for a moment, pausing in anticipation before sliding down onto him again, relishing the long, smooth movement as I filled myself with his cock. Through it all, he kept his hands on my hips, watching my body in wonder as I took possession of him, as he had possessed me before. I had never really enjoyed being on top before, not quite knowing what to do with my hands or my hips or what expression to put on my face, never feeling like I was getting the rhythm quite right. But with James, I finally felt comfortable being the one in control. I felt like I could do no wrong—I was sexy and powerful, like I could actually let go and be a bit wild. I enjoyed imagining that he was helpless below me as I satisfied myself with his body; I liked teasing him with the motion of my hips, playing with my breasts while he looked on helplessly. I could tell he was getting even longer and harder inside me as I brushed my fingers across my nipples, pinching them so they would stand out more. He was so focused on my body that I could watch his face openly without him even knowing that I was staring. His eyes were glued to my breasts, my stomach, my hips, my pussy and his penis disappearing into it. His face was rapt with attention, eyes so intent on my body that I could almost feel their gaze on my skin. His hands travelled up my thighs, the muscles in his arms straining to keep themselves from grabbing me and flipping me under him. James groaned as I teased him once again, rotating my hips on just the head of his penis. I could see the tension in his face as he arched his hips towards me, trying to get closer to me, but I just laughed softly and pulled away a bit more. His hands tightened on my hips, his fingers

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digging into my skin. He gave a guttural growl and then a wicked glint came to his eyes. He gripped me even more tightly, pulling me down onto him with a force that slammed my hips onto his. I gasped in surprise and pleasure—I loved how rough James could be, how passionate. He lifted me again then slammed me back onto him. The muscles in his arms were tight, his chest shining with sweat. He was incredibly sexy, so much like a gorgeous sports model that I felt a rush of pride and possessiveness wash over me. For the moment at least, this hot man was all mine. I could sense how incredibly wet I was, the mixture of our juices running down my thighs. I reached my hand down and ran my fingers through the wetness, bringing them to my lips to taste our excitement. It tasted sweet, salty, musky, and somehow spicy, all at the same time. He smiled and watched me suck the juices from my fingers. “Give me some,” he said, lifting me high again. I reached my fingers down between my legs, touching his tight, hot balls and his wet, hard cock as it disappeared inside me. He was coated with my juices. I loved how turned on I was. I pulled my hand away as he slammed me down onto his cock again. He was deeper than ever against the back of me, that sweet pleasure-pain tingling through my body. He grabbed my wrist and pulled it to his face, inhaling the sweet musky scent on my fingers. Slowly he slipped my fingers into his mouth and sucked them clean, his hot, soft tongue around my fingers sending a jolt of lust straight to my clit. I moaned and tried to grind my clit against his body to get some relief. The friction of our bodies together was teasingly gentle, not enough to soothe the burning ache in my cunt. I tried to press myself deeper onto him, but

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somehow it still wasn’t enough. I groaned in frustration, and he seemed to sense my need. He took my fingers from his mouth and led them towards my clit. “I want to watch you make yourself come again,” he said. “Only this time, it will be a real cock inside you instead of the imitation.” I brushed my fingers against my clit. Immediately I felt a shuddering mini-release. “Yeah, that’s it,” he said, his eyes intent on my hand. With his hands he squeezed my ass and rocked me up and down on his cock. A wave of sensation rippled through me as his cock massaged all of the deepest parts of me. I rubbed my fingers across my clit, pulling them away for a moment so he could see how swollen and turned on I was. He smiled and tilted my hips away from him as he lifted me to the end of his cock for a better view. “Such a beautiful cunt,” he said. “Gorgeous tits.” He squeezed my breast with his right hand. “And a scrumptious ass,” he said, using both hands now to squeeze and spread my ass cheeks as he pulled me down onto him. He groaned and closed his eyes, thrusting his cock into me in little jabs, leaking wetness into me with each thrust. His left hand snaked around my ass to the back of my cunt, sliding along my swollen, wet lips. Watching his look of intense concentration, the halfsmile on his face, his eyes still closed as he explored me with his fingers, gave me such a thrill. I hadn’t been sure that I could make myself come in this position, but now I could feel myself moving surprisingly close to the edge. His fingers were exploring my ass now, brushing tenderly across my asshole. It felt good—I arched my hips towards his touch. His smile widened a bit as he circled his wet fingers around my tight opening. I sighed in anticipation.

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It had been so long since anyone had touched me there, not since my college boyfriend, and I was surprised to remember how much I liked it. “Everything about you is so beautiful.” He sighed as he penetrated my ass with his finger, plunging his cock deep into my cunt at the same time. The pleasure of being so completely filled by him took my breath away. My hands on my clit stilled for a moment with the awe of it before he thrust into me again. “So beautiful,” he breathed. I could feel his cock growing even harder inside me and I knew he was going to come. I only had to move my fingers a tiny bit against my clit and I came in a shuddering wave. I cried out in surprise and pleasure as my body rocked with sensation. I opened my eyes and saw that he was looking at me, the intensity of his gaze so overwhelming that another wave of pleasure washed over me. This time I almost screamed with the joy of it. “Oh, Mandy,” he cried in a guttural, almost unrecognizable voice as he thrust into me with all his strength, over and over again, pulling me down against him until it felt like we had fused at the hips. He was filling me with come; I could feel it spilling out of me and leaking onto my already soaked thighs. I reached down to taste it. It was so sweet and delicious that I felt my muscles clenching again. Another orgasm, so soon after the last one? I had barely a moment to wonder about it before I was lost to another whirlwind of pleasure. This time, I lost all awareness of what was around me. Nothing existed except my swollen, pulsing cunt, the hard wet cock inside me, the tight balls emptying themselves into me. After a long moment, the wave passed and I trembled

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at the effort of remaining upright. James put his arms around me and pulled me down against his chest. “You’re amazing,” he whispered against my hair. I just nodded, and he laughed. The rocking of his chest felt somehow so intimate I wanted to cry. I couldn’t cry again—what was happening to me? Instead I kissed his chest, tasting the wet saltiness of his skin, feeling in that moment as though he belonged to me. His arms tightened around me “Thank you. You have no idea how much I enjoyed that.” I laughed now, feeling more liquid draining out of me at the movement. “Oh, I think I have some idea. If only based on how much I enjoyed it.” I looked up at him, the lust hopefully evident on my face. He gazed at me for a moment before pressing his lips against mine in an unbelievably soft, tender kiss. I could feel his heart thumping against my chest, could almost hear it, it was so strong. But then his lips stilled against mine, and he pulled back slightly. “Did you hear something?” he asked, turning his head slightly. And then there it was, a pounding at the door. “Let’s pretend we’re not here, and they’ll go away,” I hissed. But the pounding only grew louder, more insistent. “James, I know you’re in there. Open the fucking door or I’ll smash it down!” The voice was distorted with rage, but I could still immediately recognize it. It was Martin. “Oh shit, what the hell is he doing here?” I was so pissed off Martin was ruining this perfect moment that I wanted to run over to the door, throw it open, and punch

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him in the face. But I figured that wouldn’t help the situation, so I just cursed at him instead. “Maybe if I just talk to him through the door?” He sounded uncertain, and I knew that wouldn’t work to get rid of Martin. “What a jerk,” I muttered as I stomped into the kitchen to find my discarded clothing. James was behind me, throwing on his now-crinkled pants and shirt. I couldn’t help giggling at him—he looked so sloppy compared to how put together he usually was. He frowned at me for a moment then smiled as he looked down at his misbuttoned shirt. “Well, you don’t look all that much better,” he said, nodding at my creased skirt and sweater that had a wet patch across the sleeve where we had tossed it onto the edge of the sink. I raised a hand to my hair, knowing what a fright it must be. Sure enough, it felt like a somewhat subdued cross between a sixties beehive and the bride of Frankenstein’s hair. As the pounding on the door continued, the shouting got even louder, and I knew I wouldn’t have time to brush my hair, so I grabbed an elastic band out of the kitchen drawer and dragged it back into a rough ponytail. That would have to do—besides, it’s not as if I needed to fool anyone. As James sighed and headed towards the door, I took a quick glance around the kitchen. Other than a level of general messiness that anyone who knew James would think was an automatic red flag, there was nothing suspicious in here. The living room, on the other hand, with its wet stain on the sofa and the lingering smell of sex, was a bit of a disaster. I tossed a blanket over the sofa and hoped Martin wouldn’t go into that room. Actually, I

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hoped that he wouldn’t even come into the house, but I knew that was just wishful thinking. I could hear James opening the door, attempting to talk through it using his silky-smooth lawyer voice, but Martin was having none of it. He pushed his way through the door, shouting as he did so. “Where is she? That little bitch.” His voice was cold, spitting with rage. I assumed he was talking about me but kept silent in the vain hope he would assume I wasn’t here and then just turn around and leave. But like a bloodhound he came straight to me, where I was standing in the dining room, my arms folded across my chest. “There she is, filthy slut of the century,” he sneered. “You look like you’ve been practicing your slut role, all right,” he said, yanking on my tangled ponytail. “Ouch! Get away from me.” I swatted his hand away. “You must have thought it was hilarious to watch me going all moony over you, getting down on one knee, giving you an obscenely expensive ring, while all the time you were spreading your legs for this piece of shit.” He jerked his thumb towards James, who was now standing behind him. “At least I waited until the relationship was over before I started screwing somebody else—” I began to defend myself but then stopped. What difference did it make if Martin thought I was involved with James? What did I care what he thought of me? “Yeah, don’t even bother trying to lie to me. I know you’ve been living here since the day you left, and I’m sure you didn’t just start fucking then.” He turned towards James. “And here I thought you were my friend. I thought you were a decent guy, but it turns out you’re just like all the others. Just thinking of what’s hanging

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between your legs. Who cares who you’re fucking, as long as it’s pink on the inside, right?” he shook his head and looked at me. “I thought you at least were a bit more discriminating than that. Who knows what kind of diseases you might catch? I won’t be surprised if your cunt just turns black and rots right off, and the rest of you too. I hear that almost all blacks have AIDS, and the ones who don’t have some other STD.” I was speechless with shock. I’d never heard Martin say anything so blatantly racist. I knew he had a low tolerance for the “filthy homeless,” and he didn’t have a very racially diverse group of friends, but I couldn’t believe that he would ever even think such a thing, let alone say it aloud to someone who had been his neighbor and friend for the last year. I glanced at James. His jaw was tight, and I could see the muscles in his arms working to keep his body still. “Martin, how dare you talk like that? Barge into someone else’s home and pollute it like that? I knew you were a jerk, but I really wish I’d known how much of a bottom-feeder you really were, oh, about three years ago, so I wouldn’t have wasted so much of my life on you.” I was shaking with rage, with shame, with selfrecrimination for being so stupid that I had ever actually considered starting a family with this man. “Oh don’t worry. You won’t have to see me around here anymore. I’m quite happy to be finished with you, believe me. If you’ve been slutting around with him, who knows how many other pigs you’ve fucked over the last few years.” James’s careful restraint snapped then, and in a flash of movement he had grabbed Martin by his shirt and slammed him up against the wall. “You will not speak to

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Mandy like that,” he said. “Not ever. I don’t care who you think you are.” He slammed him against the wall as if to emphasize his point. For a moment I saw a flash of fear in Martin’s eyes, and then he began to smirk. “Go ahead, hit me. I’d be happy to sue you for all I can take. You know how the legal system works. You know I’d win.” He chuckled as James froze, his hands still tight on Martin’s shirt, his arms shaking with the effort of not throwing Martin across the room. “Don’t bother,” I said. “Just get him out of here, he’s making me sick.” I went into the kitchen, grabbed the engagement ring where it was still sitting in a bowl on the counter. I was disgusted now by the obscenely large diamonds that had almost sucked me back into a relationship with Martin. How could I have been such a materialistic fool? I shook my head, holding the ring out in front of me with the tips of my fingers, keeping it as far away from my body as I could. I walked back into the dining room, where James was loosening his grip on Martin’s shirt and stepping back. I could see the same look of disgust on his face that I was feeling about the ring, the same desire to get as far away as possible. “Here, I think this will persuade him to leave,” I said, waving the ring in front of Martin’s face. He reached for it, and I pulled my hand away. “If you want it back, then go and get it,” I said and raced to the front door, pulling it open and tossing the ring out onto the sidewalk. Martin’s face went white as a sheet and his mouth hung open for a second before he ran towards the door. “You psycho bitch! Do you have any idea how much that ring is worth? If it’s lost or damaged, you’re going to

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pay!” He was out on the porch now, looking frantically in every direction. “It’s over there,” I said, pointing towards a glittering object on the edge of the grass. He lunged for it, and I slammed the door shut behind him, drawing the deadbolt with a sigh of relief. “You’re lucky, bitch!” he shouted through the door, but I didn’t care. As long as he didn’t come back, he could say whatever he wanted. I took a shaky breath and looked at James. What an awful way to end our incredible evening together. His face was solemn, his jaw still clenched tight. “I’m sorry—that was so unpleasant,” I said, moving towards him and putting a hand on his arm. He looked at me, nodded stiffly. “It’s not your fault. There will always be assholes in the world. Murphy’s Law, right? You might, however, find that the assholes are a bit more outspoken when you’re hanging out with me. If you know what I mean.” He spoke with obvious effort, his eyes not quite meeting mine until he was finished. I nodded. I knew what he was trying to say, though I was surprised it was still true nowadays. “James, I know it sounds trite, but I really don’t care about that. If people are going to be jerks, then that’s their problem. I’m pretty good at being completely oblivious to the world around me when I want to be.” He half-smiled at that. “Yeah, I noticed that about you when you would sunbathe in the backyard, never considering that anyone at all might be watching you.” I could feel myself blushing as I once again pictured him standing at the window looking down on me and stroking that beautiful cock at the same time, me not having the slightest clue.

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“But seriously, I never meant to compromise your reputation like that by asking you to move in here. I mean, I definitely fantasized about you plenty, but I should have thought that people would talk if you moved in with the guy next door.” I shrugged, knowing that none of the people I really cared about would have anything bad to say about me finally dumping Martin and trading up for someone as awesome as James. But before I could say anything, he went on. “Perhaps we should take things a bit more slowly. I mean, after all, you were in a fairly serious relationship just a few days ago. You should probably have some time to get used to everything, rather than just get dragged into something with me before you’re ready.” I felt a surge of that familiar anger I was so used to feeling whenever James tried to boss me around. “Oh, so once again you know what I’m ready for? You know what I need even better than I do?” I narrowed my eyes at him, even as I saw him shaking his head, holding up his hands in protest. “That’s not what I meant. You know that.” “Oh, so now you even know what I know better than I do?” But by now the fight had gone out of me. I knew I was just overreacting. I sighed and shook my head. “No, never mind. You’re right, of course. It’s just weird to go from insanely mind-blowing sex with you to that whole thing with Martin. He’s such a jerk. I feel so embarrassed.” He opened his arms to me and I relaxed against him. His body felt so warm and soft that it was like I was lying on the hot sand at the beach. I could almost forget the last few awful minutes. Almost but not quite.

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“Okay, you’re right. I guess we should take things slow for a while, at least let the dust settle a bit.” I sighed. “It’s probably a good thing that you’re going out of town tomorrow, gives us a chance to digest everything.” “I just want you to be happy, Mandy,” he said into my hair. “And of course, I hope that an integral part of your happiness involves fucking me for several hours a day, but I don’t want to pressure you or force you into anything.” I had a quick flash of him holding me down, forcing my legs open, pushing himself into me, and an intense, hot thrill traveled through my body. I could smell his warm, unidentifiably delicious scent, the masculinity of his skin, his sweat, and I knew I’d have to get away from him soon before I started tearing his clothes off again. I pulled away from him reluctantly and gave him a quick kiss on his full lips. It took all of my strength to keep from sliding my tongue into his mouth, slipping my hands under the back of his shirt. I could feel his body tightening against me, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist for much longer, so I quickly suggested that we have something to eat as a distraction. Already I was wet for him again, just the thought of that beautiful body, that huge cock was enough to make me want to forget dinner and just run up to his bed instead. But James was right— we should take it easy for a while, at least for a week or so. I figured I could wait until he got back from his business trip in a couple of days, but feeling how turned on I was just watching James reach for some plates in the cupboard, I probably wouldn’t be able to wait even a minute longer than that.

Chapter 18 In the morning James was up and gone before I even woke up. I was disappointed that I wouldn’t have a chance to see him before he left but pleased when I saw the fruit plate and muffin he had left for me on the counter, along with a white envelope propped up against the plate. He was so thoughtful and perfect—maybe too perfect? Maybe all that sweet, thoughtful stuff was just to cover up the fact that deep down he was really a serial killer or something? Frankie stood by the counter, gazing from me to the muffin with a big doggy grin on her face, her tail swaying back and forth. I laughed. Anyone with such a sweet dog definitely wasn’t a serial killer. But I knew James had to have some flaws. Maybe he had OCD, what with his neatness obsession. Or maybe he snored really loud or flailed his arms around when he was sleeping. Or maybe he was sexually insatiable and wanted it several times a day, every day. Hmm, that wouldn’t exactly be a flaw, now would it? I settled down to read the letter he had left. There were a bunch of instructions for taking care of Frankie, most of which I already knew, but it was nice to have them written down for easy reference. At the bottom of the letter, he had simply signed his name—no endearments, no “love” or “xox,” just “James.” Sort of disappointing. But then

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again, I probably would have been scared away by anything mushier or more possessive than that. I was glad I had a few days to myself to think everything through. It was all happening so fast, I had to admit. Just last week I was considering a permanent future with Martin, and then only a few days ago, I was getting into a new relationship with Sean, and now here I was falling head-over-heels for James, a man I'd almost hated less than a week ago. Maybe I was having a nervous breakdown or something? I nibbled on the muffin as I considered that, lost in thought until I was jolted back to the moment by a plaintive whining somewhere in the vicinity of my knee. I looked down at Frankie, who was giving me a pitiful look that I recognized as her “feed me, love me, pay attention to me” look. “All right, all right,” I laughed, breaking off a piece of muffin for her before getting up to grab her leash for her morning walk. A stroll through the early morning sunshine in the park might be just what I needed to get me feeling grounded again. As soon as we got to the park I felt a wave of conflicting feelings wash over me. At the same time, a rush of heat surged through my body that was something between pleasure and pain, followed by a lightheaded, self-conscious feeling that reminded me of what it felt like to be walking down the street naked in a dream. My skin prickled as I glanced over at the corner of the park behind the rosebushes, remembering my most recent experiences there. I didn’t feel embarrassed, exactly, just a bit flustered. Perhaps this wasn’t the best place for me to go to feel grounded and relaxed.

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I took a deep breath and headed away from the corner of the park, towards the little pond with the curved footbridge over it. Frankie splashed down into the water, chasing the ducks away in a frenzy of wings then taking a noisy drink before bounding off across the grass. I watched with a smile, letting Frankie’s joy and spontaneity soak into me. Why did I feel so guilty just for enjoying myself? Frankie wasn’t feeling anything but pleasure in the moment—I should just copy her. I couldn’t help but smile at that, at the idea of emulating a shaggy, slobber-faced dog. But I was starting to feel better now, or at least the pleasant memories were overshadowing the uncomfortable ones. A thrill of pleasure between my legs reminded me of the way I felt with those sparkling eyes gazing down at me, those strong hands buried inside my body. I leaned back against the bridge railing, the sun warming my face, and closed my eyes, remembering the way it had felt to have the heat on my bare chest, on the tender skin of my inner thighs. “Happy memories?” asked a voice at my side. My eyes flew open. I wasn’t sure if I was still daydreaming, but there were those same, familiar, dazzlingly sparkling blue eyes smiling down at me. I blinked in surprise—yes, it was really him. I was too surprised to say anything, so I just stared at him like an idiot. “What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?” he purred, and suddenly he was kissing me, his tongue sliding past my lips. He tasted delicious, like cinnamon toast and honey. “No, it feels like your tongue is all in one piece.” He smiled as he pulled back for a moment.

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“What are you doing here?” I blurted, not even trying to sound polite. What if he actually lived in the park or something? Good lord, I hoped not. “Oh, I just live around the block, so I always cut through when I’m going places. And of course I come here even more lately, now that I’m hoping to see you here.” He ran his fingers down my arm as he said this, sending a long shiver down my spine. I knew it was just a line, but I was used to that now with him, and I didn’t mind. “So we didn’t have much of a chance for goodbyes last time we saw each—” He broke off as a blur of shaggy dog raced up to us and leapt up beside us. “Oh shit, you’re here with your fiancé!” He shoved away from me and tried to look like a casual acquaintance while at the same time searching for a quick escape route. “Don’t worry, he’s not here. He’s out of town,” I said, not bothering to correct him that James wasn’t my fiancé. His face relaxed back into its customary charming smile. “Well, that’s good. I would hate to cause trouble in your relationship.” As he said this, he stepped closer to me again and took my hand lightly in his. I burst out laughing again. “Yeah right, you don’t care what happens in my relationship. Otherwise you wouldn’t still be here with me now. But you do care what happens to you if you get caught.” I couldn’t believe I was being so blunt, but as I spoke, I realized just how true my words were. He shook his head, looking so earnest that I almost rolled my eyes. “No, that’s not it at all. It’s just that you looked so happy together, and I wouldn’t want to mess with that. I mean, he didn’t exactly look like the type of guy who’d understand my relationship philosophy.”

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That’s using the term “relationship” loosely, I thought, but as I looked at his pleading expression I couldn’t help smiling. He might be corny and narcissistic, but he sure was good-looking. “I suppose you’re right. James wouldn’t enjoy knowing I was interested in someone like you.” His expression clouded for a second, confusion in his eyes, and then he shrugged and smiled his charming smile again. He brushed his thumb across my wrist as his other hand moved slowly to the small of my back. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves while he’s unavailable for comment,” he said, pulling me closer to him. His eyes danced as he looked at me, and I felt that familiar thrill of thrill of lust when I smelled his spicy-soft scent. I looked at him for a moment, knowing I wanted to pull away from him but not quite convincing my body to follow through. His magical eyes were having that meltingly hypnotic effect on me; I was just about to give up on my resistance when I felt a wet, shaggy lump shoving against my leg. Frankie was trying to wedge herself in between us, looking up at me with obvious impatience to get on with her walk. Gratefully I let her push us apart, watching a shadow of fear cross his face as he looked down at the big dog between us. “OK, so maybe now’s not such a great time,” he said. “But I’m sure I’ll see you around.” I shrugged, suddenly not caring whether I ever saw him again. “Sure, but if not, it was great knowing you,” I said. I was surprised to realize that I meant it—I had enjoyed my adventures with this nameless, dazzling, godlike creature. Who knows, maybe he really was Eros the god of love, come down to spread lust and pleasure to all

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the needy, sex-starved women in the world. I smiled at the thought as he waved and walked away, his perfect ass looking very god-like indeed in a pair of well-fitted jeans. Watching that backside, I was almost tempted to change my mind and call him back for at least a quick make-out session before work. I was still feeling astonishingly horny after last night, and I wasn’t sure how I’d make it through the next 24 hours without sex. James would be back by tomorrow evening, but even that felt like a long time away. As we walked on through the park, I recalled the feel of James’s big, strong hands on my hips, lifting me onto the counter, the pressure of his lips against my pussy, his huge cock stretching me open underneath him. I shivered as I remembered how surprisingly sexy James had turned out to be. Was it just an illusion brought about by my mind-alteringly horny state yesterday evening? Heck, even Sean climbing on top of me and forcing himself on me turned me on yesterday. Maybe there was nothing special about James after all. I sighed as I thought about Sean. He would be at work today, and I would have to deal with whatever craziness he would be dishing out. I had half-hoped he would simply go back to normal, but I was starting to think that would be too much to ask. The best I could hope for was that he would ignore me for a while, and that life would gradually go back to normal. Not likely, but no harm in using wishful thinking as a problem solving strategy. I grabbed a big stick from under a tree and threw it across the park for Frankie to chase. She bounded off happily, and I recognized once again that carefree attitude I had been admiring earlier. If Frankie could be happy with just the simple things in life, then so could I.

Chapter 19 The library felt remarkably the same as usual when I arrived; no arrows of hostility speared me as I walked through the door, no guillotine waited to snap off my neck when I sat at the reference desk. Sean was polite to me, if a bit cool, and none of the other staff members gave any indication that anything strange was going on. It looked like Sean was planning to keep things mature at work, not spread any rumors or start any hostile discussions. I breathed a sigh of relief as he nodded hello to me and continued on with his work. By closing time I felt as though things were really going back to normal. I was so comfortable and relaxed that I didn’t even realize until after we'd locked the library doors that Sean and I were the only ones left in the building. We both did our closing duties in silence, but obviously we had to acknowledge each other at some point. I took a deep breath and began to speak, but Sean just shook his head and cut me off with a sad smile. “No, Mandy, please don’t say anything. I’m embarrassed, and I’m sorry. I should have known one man wouldn’t be enough for you, especially someone like me. I know you've always had the fantasy of having more than one guy, and now I’ve gone and ruined our friendship because I couldn’t handle it.” He hung his head sadly and looked so Sean-like that I had to smile. Maybe the old Sean was back, and there

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wouldn’t be any more crazy Sean? “That’s okay. You weren’t the only one acting weird these last few days,” I said. “I don’t really know what came over me, but I’m hoping it’s all over now.” He smiled his sweet, shy smile, and it felt like everything was good again. “I like you however you are—the crazier the better.” He grinned. “So anyway I got you something,” he said, looking a bit nervous now. A present? Wow, he must really be serious about wanting to be friends again. “Sean, you shouldn’t have. I don’t have anything for you.” “It’s nothing expensive or anything, just something I thought you would like. And honestly it’s something I can share with you, so it’s not really as altruistic as it seems.” As he spoke, I heard a movement behind me and I turned. A man was walking out of the shelves in the back corner of the library—a man who looked very familiar. It was Mr. Sparkly Eyes, smiling that beautiful, confident smile of his. “Surprise!” Sean sang as he came and put his arm around my shoulder. “I know you’ve always wanted to have a threesome, and so I thought this could be your chance. I know you like Chad, so I tracked him down, and he was totally into it.” Chad? His name was Chad? I grimaced, glad that I hadn’t known his name before now. I glanced up at Sean, who was smiling down at me with hopeful eyes, his cheeks flushed bright red. Either he was excited or embarrassed or he'd been drinking for the last couple of hours—probably all three. “Um, thanks, Sean. That was really—thoughtful of you,” I said slowly. “But I don’t know if I’m really into

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that sort of thing.” Thinking that yes, of course I’m into that sort of thing, but not in the real world, not with real people. His face fell for a moment, but then it brightened almost immediately. “I know it’s weird and you feel selfconscious and all, so I brought you a blindfold.” He pulled a blue silk scarf out of his back pocket. I felt my knees buckle a little bit. A threesome, blindfolded? How did Sean know that was one of my ultimate fantasies? He traced the scarf across my neck, sending shivers down my back. “Maybe she’d like to be tied up too?” Chad asked, his eyes sparkling with mischief. Tied up and blindfolded at the same time? I shivered again. Yes, this was exactly the same as my fantasy. Obviously I must have told Sean about it, although I couldn’t remember mentioning it to him. I shook my head in weak protest. Sean only smiled and pulled a small coil of rope from the top of a bookshelf. “I was disappointed to see you broke the rules today and didn’t wear a skirt. Naughty girl.” Sean shook his head in mock seriousness and stretched the rope taut between his hands. “But don’t worry, it’s only a minor obstacle.” He reached out and cupped me between my legs, his touch so sudden that for a second, I didn’t react. When I started to push him away, he nodded at Chad, who came around behind me and grabbed my arms, pulling them behind me. I screamed and tried to pull back from Sean’s hand, but Chad pressed his body against mine and pushed me forward so I could barely move between the two men. Sean took his other hand and pressed it over my lips, stifling my protests.

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“I can’t tell whether you’re wet or not, but I can feel how swollen and excited your cunt is,” Sean said as he slid his hand across my sensitive flesh. As I felt that familiar, full-body shiver rush through me, from my pussy right to the pit of my stomach, I knew that he was telling the truth. When his touch pulled away slightly, I had to restrain myself to keep from pressing back onto his hand. He chuckled and increased the pressure of his hand again, rolling his fingers across the flesh of my cunt. I could feel the wetness of my panties pressing into my skin—soon the moisture would be soaking through to my pants as well. It didn’t help that I could feel the length of Chad’s muscular body pressing into my back, the bulge of his erection prominent against my ass. Without loosening his grip on my arms or relaxing the pressure of his body against mine, he lowered his lips to the base of my neck, nibbling a row of excruciatingly soft kisses against my neck. The hair on my neck prickled as his lips travelled up to my earlobe, sending a long shiver through my body. Slowly, Sean pulled his hand away from my mouth, and I let out a soft moan of indecision. He just chuckled again, quickly unbuttoned my pants and lowered them down below my knees. Now it was as though my legs were tied together at the ankles—I couldn’t walk, couldn’t use my legs to kick him away, couldn’t do anything except stand there and wait for what he would do next. My heart pounded. I was torn between screaming at them to leave me alone and begging them to keep going. What if this was my only chance to experience a threesome? There was nothing wrong with having one last fling before my relationship with James turned into something serious, right?

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Sean stood back and admired my tiny red panties, a pair of lacy thongs that were loose around my pussy and so thin that I knew they would be soaked through. “Look at that little wet pussy,” Sean said in a low voice. “Slutty little red panties for a slutty little pussy.” Chad pulled away from me for a moment so he could take a look at the back of the panties. “Cute—it’s a Gstring, so I can see her sweet little ass.” He pulled me back to him again, this time grinding the bulge of his erection against the flesh of my ass. Sean was kneeling before me now, tracing his fingers across the wet lace of my thong. “Yes, she’s ready for us, all right,” he said, leaning towards me and inhaling my musky scent. He slipped his finger under the edge of my panties, sliding it across my swollen wet slit. Even though I should pull away and I knew I didn’t want Sean to be this close to me again, I couldn’t help enjoying the way I opened towards him, the way I was stretching towards him almost automatically. It was as though my body had a mind of its own. He teased his finger across the entrance to my pussy, pushing the panties aside so he could see how wet and open I was. He slipped the tip of his finger inside me, just enough that I could feel myself wishing for more, and then he pulled away. “Let’s get this party started, shall we?” He grinned and picked up the blindfold and rope again. It was all getting to be too much. “No, wait, I don’t think we should—” I began but then broke off as Chad turned me around to face him and kissed me. It was one of those patented, spine-tingling kisses that made the whole world stop moving for a long moment. My knees

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trembled as his tongue twisted around mine, his hands soft and self-assured against my neck and my back. Finally he pulled away and gazed into my eyes, his sparkling blue-eyed softness as hypnotic as ever. “We won’t do anything you don’t want to do,” he said in his calm, smooth voice. “We’ll take it just as far as you want and no further. So you can relax and enjoy it, and if it gets to be too much we’ll stop. Okay?” He trailed his fingers down the front of my chest, skimming across the top of my breasts before slipping under my shirt and cupping my breast in his hand. I didn’t know how to respond. I knew he was only saying what I needed to hear, but somehow I felt too hypnotized by his eyes and touch to disagree with him. “Can I just look at your body one more time?” he asked softly. Before I could stop myself, I nodded. He smiled and slowly pulled my sweater over my head. He stepped back to look me up and down, lingering on the peaks of my nipples showing through my red lace bra. I cursed myself for wearing such blatantly sexy lingerie today, but at the same time it turned me on to know that I was looking my delicious, sexiest best. “Beautiful,” he said, cupping my breasts again before letting his hands explore lower on my body. I could see Sean watching us, his expression unreadable, slowly twisting the blindfold between his hands. Chad slipped his fingers under my panties, sighing as he felt the hot flesh. “There’s my gorgeous little pussy,” he said, slowly pushing two fingers into me. I gasped at the sudden penetration, spreading my legs as much as I could to allow him to push inside me even deeper. He smiled and looked over at Sean. “You’re right, she’s definitely ready,”

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he said, pulling his hand away and licking the wetness off his fingers. “I told you, the slightest touch and she’s ready to fuck,” Sean said. “It doesn’t matter who it is or where it is—the library or the park, whatever, as long as there’s a hard cock involved, she’ll fuck it.” Chad smiled and pulled my hand to the bulge in his pants. “Well, there’s a hard cock right here waiting for you.” Automatically my hand reached out to stroke him gently through his jeans. He was long and thick and very hard. My fingers went to the button on his jeans and he laughed. “Don’t worry, we’ll get there soon enough,” he said, gently pushing my hand away. “But for now, you can just sit back and relax and let us do all the work.” His gentle touch became forceful as he tightened his grip on my wrist and pulled me over to one of the library’s long wooden study tables. He smiled and pushed me down onto the table, laying me on it gently. The table was hard and cool beneath my back, and I struggled to sit up again, but he acted like he didn’t notice, pushing me back down and raising my arms over my head so that Sean could tie them together and fasten them to the table leg. I’d done a lot in these last few days, but this was too much. A threesome was an amazing fantasy, but I didn’t think I could handle it in real life. Tied up and blindfolded at work? With an old friend and a guy I barely knew? I could handle a lot of things, but not this. “Wait, I don’t think I want to—” “Don’t think. Just lay back and enjoy yourself,” Chad said, trailing his fingers down my body, from my neck all the way down to my toes. “When you tell us to stop, we’ll stop.” His gentle touch felt like a massage, and I closed

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my eyes at the feeling of relaxation, so strangely tinged with sexual frustration and even a bit of fear. My arms were tied very loosely and my legs were still untied, so I knew I could easily end this if I really wanted to, but a big part of me didn’t want them to stop. True, the good girl part of me wanted to just get up and walk out the door, head home to walk the dog and wait for James to come home. But the other part of me was so much stronger today, the part of me that wanted to let my body take over, that wanted to just relax and enjoy this fantasy I would probably never have a chance to experience again. I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize my relationship with James, but I figured if I just played around a little bit, it would be okay. By the time Chad’s hands had traveled back up my body to my thighs, I was finished weighing the pros and cons and was ready to give in, at least for a little while. I sighed as his hands paused at my panties and slowly began to pull them down. I raised my head to watch him, just as Sean tightened the blindfold around my eyes. “You didn’t think we’d forget one of the most important parts of the fantasy, did you?” Sean said as he tied the blindfold in a firm knot at the side of my head. His voice was rough, cold, and surprisingly sexy. I tried to loosen the blindfold by moving my head, but it was no use. I couldn’t see anything except deep blue darkness. “Give me those,” Sean said as Chad pulled my panties all the way off. A second later he gave a low throaty laugh. “They’re totally soaked, little whore. Looks like you want it pretty bad.” Strong fingers gently spread my cunt lips apart, held them open. Every movement around me was magnified by my inability to see it happening;

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every sound was as loud as a shout in my ears. Even the slightest touch felt unbearably rough against my skin. “Yeah, she definitely looks like she’s ready for us.” Chad’s voice now, and his fingers pushing slowly into me, spreading me even wider than before. I shivered as I felt how wide open I was, imagining what Chad must be seeing so close to his face. I felt his lips warm and soft against my cunt, kissing me as tenderly and magically as he had kissed my mouth. It was a swirling, beautiful pleasure, and I could think of nothing but Chad’s tongue sliding expertly over my clit, tasting my sweet depths and pulling me closer and closer to the edge. “She’s ready for us, but maybe we’re not quite ready for her yet,” Sean said. I could hear the zipper on his jeans opening close to my ear, sounding as loud as a tree crashing to the ground beside me. A moment later there was a hand on my face, turning my head to the side, a pressure against my lips, parting them, and then my mouth was full of hard cock. Sean groaned as he slowly pumped his cock in and out of my mouth. He was not as wide as James’s, but almost as long, and I gagged when it reached the back of my throat. “Suck it,” he grunted. “Get my cock ready to fuck you.” Obediently, I closed my lips around his cock and sucked. I could taste little spurts of salty pre-come leaking into my mouth. I hadn’t sucked Sean’s cock before, and I liked it. He wanted it rougher than I was used to, but I found myself enjoying it when he held my head tightly and fucked my face hard and fast for a while before pulling out all of a sudden. “Well done, slut,” he said,

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breathing hard. “Now I’m good and ready for your juicy little cunt.” Someone’s strong hands grabbed my hips and pulled me down to the edge of the table, pushing my legs up against my chest. Now I knew why Sean had left the ropes around my wrists so loose—in this position, my arms and the rope were stretched tight above my head. There was a pressure against my lips as the head of a thick cock rubbed across my mouth. I could smell Chad’s familiar scent of sunshine and coconut, and I opened my lips, eager to taste him too, but he gave me only the tiniest touch of the head of his cock before pulling away with a chuckle. “You really like sucking cock, don’t you?” he said softly. My mouth opened wider, my tongue reaching for him to find him and pull him back into my mouth. “Is this what you’re looking for?” he said, rubbing his length across the outside of my lips as I tried to find the head of his cock and pull him inside. He laughed again and let my lips find it, let me suck on just the tip for a while. At the same time, I felt a pressure against my cunt as Sean slowly pushed inside me. He paused with only the head of his cock inside me, pulsing shallowly at my entrance, fucking my cunt in exactly the same way that Chad was fucking my mouth. I groaned in frustration, bucking my hips and raising my head to try to get at least one of them to fuck me deeper. The rough rope dug into my wrists as I strained, reminding me of how much I was at their mercy, fully under their control. I couldn’t believe I was fucking two guys at once, couldn’t believe how good it felt. Part of me was embarrassed to be lying like an object on the table, so greedy for my own pleasure that I would let myself be tied up and used like this. But at the

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same time, unbelievably, I felt proud. I really could do this after all. Slowly Chad pushed further into my mouth, and at the same time Sean shoved deeper into my cunt. Chad wasn’t as big as Sean or James, so I could fit him almost all the way into my mouth without gagging. Sean, on the other hand, filled my cunt completely. He felt even bigger than I remembered, maybe because of the position I was in, with my legs pinned back against my body. When Chad pulled out slightly, Sean did too. When they both pulled completely out at the same time, I felt suddenly, achingly empty. Then when they simultaneously rammed themselves back inside me, I felt a rush of pleasure, like an addict getting her fix. I wished James could be here to share this with me—or rather, to share me with them. Thinking of James, I felt a pang of sadness. Even though my body was still eager, my heart was completely disengaged. What was I doing? Yes, this was a fantasy of mine, but it was only a fantasy. James was real, or at least he had the potential to be real. Did I really want to sacrifice my future with James just for a little physical pleasure? I turned my head, separating myself from Chad. “Wait,” I said. “Stop.” The cock in my cunt froze in place. “What is it? Are you okay?” Chad’s soft voice. I shook my head. “I’m sorry. I don’t want to be a tease, but I just don’t think I can—I mean, I think I’m onto something pretty special with James, and even though this is definitely a fantasy of mine, my other fantasy is to meet a great guy and settle down with him, and I don’t know if I can have both of those fantasies at the same time.” I paused for a moment, making sure that this was what I

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really wanted to do. “If I have to pick one fantasy or the other, then I think I’ll pick James.” I held my breath, waiting for Sean to withdraw his cock from my body, worried about what I would do if he refused to stop now. He stayed where he was, deep in my cunt, feeling even larger inside me than before. “So our little slut has had a change of heart?” Sean growled. “Good thing it’s not too difficult to change her mind—just give her another cock to suck on and she’ll be good to go in a few minutes.” I started to protest but was interrupted when a cock was shoved between my lips. I tried to turn my head away, but strong hands held my face down as the cock was shoved deeper into my mouth. This time it wasn’t Chad’s cock—it was much bigger than Chad’s cock—but I could still feel Sean’s cock in my pussy. Who was this in my mouth? I started to panic and heard Chad’s reassuring voice in my ear. “Don’t worry, just let yourself enjoy it,” he said, stroking his hands down my neck and across my breasts. Soft lips closed around my nipples, a practiced tongue circling across the sensitive skin. For a moment all I could feel in the world was the hunger in my nipples as they stretched towards Chad’s talented mouth. Then the thrill of sensation traveled from my nipples to my cunt, where I could feel the cock in my pussy twitching impatiently as it waited for me to assent to this new situation. Despite myself, I felt my jaw relaxing around the cock in my mouth, opening wider to take it deeper, could feel my legs relaxing open just slightly. If a threesome had been my fantasy, a foursome was even more of a fantasy.

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But no, I couldn’t do this. I pressed my legs together and tried to turn my head again. This time the hand on my face relaxed and the cock in my mouth pulled away. “I’m sorry, but as much as I’m absolutely loving this, I just can’t.” “Not even if your friend James really wouldn’t mind sharing you, just this once?” A very familiar, very sexy voice spoke the words, in deep, formal tones. I could hear the smile in his voice before the blindfold was lifted from my eyes and I saw it on James’s gorgeous face. He was standing naked between my legs, his huge cock buried deep in my pussy. Chad was on my right, smiling his dazzling smile, and Sean on my left, his erection only inches from my face. “I know this is your fantasy, Mandy,” James said, “and I wanted you to have it at least once. I don’t want either one of us to spend our relationship longing for all of the things that we never had a chance to do. So here’s our chance to share this fantasy together. As long as I’m the only one who gets to fuck your pussy, I don’t care who does what with the rest of your body.” I stared at him in disbelief, a smile spreading across my face. All along it had been James fucking my pussy— no wonder Sean had felt larger than usual. I glanced from Chad to Sean, who both seemed surprisingly relaxed and comfortable with the situation. “You mean this whole thing was your idea? I thought you were out of town? How did you manage to convince them to—” James silenced me with a shake of his head, a small smile on his lips as he shoved his cock so deeply into me that I gasped.

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“So many questions.” He smiled. “Yes, I planned this. I came home from my trip early just so I could fuck you with these guys watching. I asked Sean if he’d be into it, and he said he knew this other guy that you liked, and then one thing led to another. It didn’t take much convincing, other than the threat of bodily harm should things get out of hand. But enough questions—I think I’d rather fuck, how about you?” In answer, I opened my legs wider and curled my legs around his hips, pulling him closer. I turned my head and opened my mouth for Sean’s cock, just as Chad pinched my nipples between his fingers. As Sean shoved his cock in my mouth with a guttural groan, I glanced at James as he watched me suck another man’s cock. He smiled as he rocked his hips against me in rhythm with Sean’s cock in my mouth. “Remember, I’m the only one who gets to fuck your pussy,” he said smugly as Sean groaned in frustration. “Don’t remind me,” he said. “But her mouth is pretty fucking sweet too. Little bitch sure knows how to suck cock.” James just smiled his agreement, not objecting to the way that Sean was talking about me. He knew I liked a bit of dirty talk. “Speaking of which,” Chad said, “how about if you let me have a turn with those beautiful lips?” Sean shrugged and pulled out of my mouth. A moment later Chad was rocking his cock in and out of my mouth while Sean traced damp circles around my nipples with the head of his cock. I could see Sean pumping his cock, could feel the trail of pre-come he was leaving on my chest, and at the same time could taste the sweet fluid leaking from Chad’s cock inside my mouth. My body felt overwhelmed

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with sensation—everything from the tips of my fingers to the deepest part of my insides felt amazingly sensitive, as though my body was coming to life for the first time. I swallowed hungrily, enjoying the taste of Chad’s cock, combined with the deep painful pleasure of James pumping my hot cunt. I almost didn’t notice when Sean walked away and picked up the condom package on the bookshelf beside us and rolled one down onto his rockhard penis. What was he doing? I thought only James was going to fuck my pussy? I looked at James in concern but he only nodded and smiled. “You’ll get your whole fantasy, not just a portion of it,” he said as he shifted his weight up and forward, spreading his legs wider as Sean knelt between his legs and circled his tongue around my asshole. The pleasure of having a cock in my cunt and a tongue on my ass was exquisite, and I moaned with the unexpected pleasure of it. I could imagine how close Sean’s head was to James’s ass, and I wondered how James had convinced homophobic Sean to go for it. But then again, sometimes the people who are most outspokenly opposed to something are actually the ones who are the most interested in it. James was gazing at me intensely, a look of admiration on his face, no hint of anything but excitement and pleasure in his expression. He was fucking me very slowly as Sean carefully inserted first one lubed finger and then another into my tight asshole. It hurt, but only slightly; I was so turned on that my body was literally ready for anything. Chad pulled his cock from my mouth and rubbed it all over my face, smearing his balls across my cheeks, owning my face with his cock. I saw a twinkle in James’s eye as I sighed with enjoyment.

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Below us I heard Sean’s voice as he slowly fucked my ass with two fingers, and then three. “It looks like the little slut is ready to take two cocks,” he said as he stood up behind James. “Wait,” James said, looking at me carefully. “Are you sure you’re ready?” My eyes widened and I nodded, unable to believe that this was really going to happen. “Good.” He looked over his shoulder at Sean and shifted his weight even further, leaving space for Sean behind him. I saw a glint of conflict in Sean’s eyes— excitement and aversion over the almost-homosexual contact between the two of them, and then it was replaced by a look of sheer lust as he slowly pushed his cock into my asshole. I gasped at the amazing feeling of fullness inside me. It hurt more than I'd expected, but I forced myself to relax until the tightness faded away and pleasure took over. The two of them moved slowly inside me, rocking gently until the smile on my face and sigh in my voice convinced them I was truly enjoying this new experience. At the same time, Chad leaned down to kiss me with his magical lips, squeezing my breasts with his hand. When he pulled away I looked at James. His expression was intense, but there was a sweet smile at the edge of his lips. He enjoyed seeing me kiss another man, that much was obvious. I kept my eyes on James as Chad brought his cock to my mouth. I opened my mouth and licked my lips, still watching James as Chad’s cock disappeared in my mouth. James’s smile broadened as he again began to match the rhythm of the cock in my cunt to that of the one in my mouth. At the same time, Sean’s shallow penetration in my asshole was like an echo of James. My

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body felt rocked by waves of sensation. I was surfing on them, dangerously close to getting swept out to sea. James spoke now, emphasizing his words with quick, strong, deep thrusts. “You look beautiful with a cock in your mouth, Mandy. You should suck cock every chance you get. But remember, I’m the only one who gets to fuck your pussy. I’m the only one who will ever fuck your pussy again, understood?” I nodded, thrilling to his possessive words and the possessive thrusts of his cock. James owned my cunt— there was no doubt about that now. Sean groaned as the faster rhythm of James’s cock inside me made his own need stronger. He gripped the edge of the table and began to thrust deeper into my asshole. The sharp pain of the initial penetration had eased, leaving only the beautiful, splitting ache of fullness inside me as two large cocks took over my body. “Fuck, Mandy, you’re such a slut,” Sean grunted. “You’re the biggest slut I’ve ever met.” I smiled, hearing the awe in his voice as he said this then worried that James would take offense. But he surprised me. “It’s okay, Mandy. I know how much you love to fuck,” he said with a smile. “And that’s why I like you so much. You’re so perfect for me, it scares me. I’ve been waiting for you and your cunt my whole life.” He punctuated his words with deep, hard thrusts, rotating around inside me so that he touched every last corner of my pussy. “Oh fuck, I can’t wait anymore,” Sean groaned as he tightened his grip on the table and thrust his cock inside me, as hard and as fast as he could. James leaned even farther forward so Sean could fill me as deeply as

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possible. Sean let out a thick, guttural cry, almost as though he was in pain, rutting against me like an animal. In my mouth, Chad was as hard as steel. I saw he was watching Sean, his eyes shining with the same look I'd seen when we were in the park and he'd been admiring my cunt with his fist buried inside it. I sucked his cock harder, sweeping my tongue around the sensitive skin as he thrust roughly inside my mouth and began to come with a sharp cry, plunging to the back of my throat and emptying inside my mouth. I tried to keep it all inside, letting my mouth fill up with salty-sweetness before he finally pulled out of my mouth and I could swallow it all. Immediately, he bent down to kiss me gently. “Thank you,” he said. “You’re so beautiful, I can’t even tell you.” With that, he turned around and walked away, a dazzled smile on his face. A moment later Sean was pulling slowly, reluctantly, out of my asshole. “See you at work next week,” he said with a grin as he too walked away, leaving James and me alone on the table. James loosened the rope around my wrists, keeping his cock deeply inside me as he did so. He lowered his body onto mine as my arms went around his back. With his fingertips, he traced along the edge of my face, smiling at me as he spoke. “I meant what I said, Mandy. You’re the one for me,” he said. “I don’t think you’re a slut, I just think you like to fuck. One of the many, many reasons why I’m falling in love with you.” I couldn’t believe we’d gone from a triple-penetration bondage fantasy scenario to talking about love, but for some reason, it felt like the most natural transition in the world. “I’m way beyond falling for you, James,” I said, surprising myself with the truth behind those words. “Out

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of all the fantasies I’ve ever had, you’re the one that turns me on the most, by far.” When I said that, I felt my pussy respond, and I knew it was true. He smiled, nodded his agreement, and pressed his lips to mine. “Except that I’m not a fantasy, Mandy, I’m the real thing.” I almost laughed at his cheesy line, but as I felt his cock growing harder inside me, I knew it wasn’t a line. Talking about love with James had turned me on more than anything else we had done that day. James saw the look on my face and slowly, inch by beautiful inch, he filled my cunt completely with his cock, again rotating his hips so that he touched every place inside me. He leaned back and brushed his thumb across my clit and watched me come, so suddenly and powerfully that it took my breath away. “You’re so beautiful,” he said, thrusting inside me again and again, sustaining my orgasm longer and longer until another one was climbing on top of it. And then it was starting all over again and he was filling my cunt with his own desire, tangling our needs together until I was filled with him and spilling over onto the table. His eyes were locked on mine, and as he rocked his hips against me again, I felt yet another wave of pleasure ripple through me. “You’re wrong, you know,” I said after a moment. “You are a fantasy, and you know it.” He smiled and shrugged. “What we have together is definitely a fantasy, but it’s so real,” he said. “A wonderful, gorgeous, perfect, real-life fantasy.”

About the Author Shelley Aikens is a writer and librarian living in Vancouver. She grew up on a farm and is relentlessly torn between living a quiet life as a librarian and following her adventurous spirit around the world. She has visited libraries in Nepal, New Zealand, Belgium, Scotland and Anguilla, but so far, none has been quite as interesting as the one in this story. Shelley loves road trips, Bollywood movies, secondhand stores and long hikes to secluded lakes. In her spare time, she makes quilts for her cats to snooze on and tries to teach her dog circus tricks. She also spends a good portion of her time reading books on the beach and dreaming up steamy scenes for her next erotic novel.

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ISBN: 978-1-4268-9070-3 Copyright © 2010 by Shelley Aikens All rights reserved. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3B 3K9. All characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all incidents are pure invention. This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A. ® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher. Trademarks indicated with ® are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Canadian Trade Marks Office and in other countries. www.CarinaPress.com