Sunday, January 25, 2004

Garden Romance

Finally. The first warm day of spring. And, it was a Saturday. I was eager to work the garden
Barbara and I had planted and tended together. My work would be a labor of love, preparing the
flower beds for planting. The smells of the rich earth, the feel of the dirt in my hands, the warmth
of the sun on my back, were healing and reinvigorating.

Barbara was thirty-one and I was twenty-three when we married. My friends thought I was crazy
for marrying an older woman. Barbara's eleven-year-old daughter, Vicki, was additional
evidence of my insanity as far as my friends could see. But I could see much farther. I saw in
Barbara what I hoped for in a wife.

I lost Barbara to a drunk driver. I retreated to our garden to maintain my sanity. The beauty, the
order, of the plants were stabilizing. The new growth gave me hope my life could again be filled
with beauty.

As I lugged the tools from my storeroom, I thought of Barbara. As I carried the sacks of mulch
from the car, my eyes teared. Barbara would have been appalled by those tears. She was
probably sitting on the white cloud hovering over me, watching as I leaned on the handle of my
spade in disconsolation. I could see her head gently shaking back and forth in a silent 'tsk tsk'.

"Jack," she would say, a hand lifting my chin to make me look at her. "Life goes on. You need
to live each day to the fullest, to relish its beauty and uniqueness. No pity parties. No gloomy
Guses. Come on, Jack. Get on with your living."

Yes, Barbara would say that. She faced more than one loss with grace and serenity I envied.
Barbara would be right. It had been seventeen months since she died. It was time to stop
grieving and get on with living.

Saying it is a lot easier than doing it. I had told myself a hundred times to start anew, but my
own advice fell on sterile soil. Maybe it was the passage of time. Or, maybe it was the spring
season when life is renewed. I knew now was the time to start. I shoved the spade into the heavy
soil, driving the blade deep with my foot. I turned the first shovel full. I began.

By two thirty, the sun was high overhead. The temperature had soared. My muscles moved
easily in the hot sun beating down. Sweat poured from me, its residue prickling my skin. By
evening, those muscles would be sore. In spite of jogging and gym time, some muscles always
ached from the hard toil of spring.

Dirt streaked my sweat covered body. Dressed only in shorts and sneakers, I was on my hands
and knees. The earth felt good. I was lost in the reverie of the gardener, communing with nature
a handful of soil at a time.

A shadow passed over me. Ten pink toes sticking from the thongs of sandals came into view. I
fought to still a quiver as I sat back on my haunches, hands on my thighs. My eyes slowly
traveled over the shapely calves to long, muscular thighs. Perhaps for too long, my eyes
hesitated where thighs widened into hips covered by brown shorts. Continuing past the narrow
waist, I lingered on the swelling under her bright green halter. I finished my visual journey
staring into twinkling, big, brown eyes over a grin bordered by dimples.

"Hello, Jack."

"Hi, Beth. Join me. Please."

Gracefully, she knelt and leaned forward to be kissed. She always did that, offering a cheek to
me in greeting. The angle was askew: our lips touched. We each looked away, but not before our
eyes had met for an instant.

"It's good to see you," she said, a small catch in her voice.

"I've missed you," escaped from me. I looked away quickly. "Vicki's not here. She went to the

"I knew she'd be gone. She told me you were starting on your garden. I came to help."

"All the way from college to spend spring break working like a Turk. It doesn't sound very

What did she not say? What was the look she gave me? That look evaporated like my sweat on
this hot day, leaving a residue which prickled my imagination. She was grinning when she

"Hey! Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. I'm a good worker."

"Well, put on some work gloves and let's get after it," I replied, my own smile matching hers.

Beth was my step-daughter's best friend and college roommate. She was fifteen six years ago
when she arrived at our house for a party. Even that first time, I noticed her. Those big, brown,
eyes and warm, quick, smile drew my attention. Beth had an easy way about her, as though
being happy and positive was so embedded in the core of her personality, no other emotion was

As the girls grew, Beth was a frequent visitor to our home, spending almost as much time there
as Vicki. Barbara welcomed Beth with open arms. I, too, developed a caring relationship with
Beth. I told myself we were like father and daughter. I resisted the thought of a different
relationship, which sometimes required conscious effort.

As we worked and talked, my mind's eye suffered from double vision. Beth and the present
overlaid memories of the past which flowed like a disjunctive home movie. A party Barbara and
I chaperoned when the girls were sophomores in high school. Trips to the beach. Quiet evenings
in winter by the fire, all of us bundled for warmth.

There were sad memories, too. Memories of life after Barbara. Without being asked, Beth
moved into the house, occupying the guest bedroom. What needed to be done, she did with a
quiet and loving competence. She listened and consoled. After living with us for four months,
she left as unobtrusively as she came.

When she left, I was surprised how much I missed her. There had been nothing sexual between
us, but our relationship had deepened. Since that time I talked to her often. I must admit I
sometimes called Vicki at school hoping Beth would answer. With each call, each visit when the
girls came home, our relationship ripened.

I had been blinded by grief to the loving woman near me. The sunlight of that bright spring day
pushed away the shadows letting me see clearly, maybe for the first time.

She was on her knees, legs spread for leverage. Her brown hair was piled on her head, secured
by a blue and white bandana. She was valiantly pulling on the stump of a dead bush to extricate
it from the soil. Holding it with both hands, she was wisely using her legs and shoulders to pull.
I could see her muscles flexing under sweat-sheened skin. Her muscles stopped and she was
looking at me.

"Are you going to watch me or help me?" she asked.


I was shaken back into the present. Beth had a soft, gentle expression as she stared at me over
her shoulder. Perhaps it would have been easier for her to turn her body. My view was certainly
better with her turning the way she did.

"Well, Jack?" she said.

A wise gardener would have used a shovel to cut the bush's roots below the surface, making the
task much easier and quicker. A wise man would have knelt in the soil to be next to Beth. I
knelt. Dirt covered her calves. Her thighs were streaked with the same brown color. There was a
smudge on her cheek where she wiped sweat away with her dirty glove.

A rivulet of sweat slid down her throat, caressing the mound of her breast before disappearing
into the halter. Beth watched me watching her.

Kneeling now, facing her, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer feminine attractiveness of
this woman. As I leaned toward her, she moved to meet me. I saw her lips part and her eyelids
flutter. Our lips touched in a soft and gentle kiss so electrifying I twitched all over. When my
eyes opened again, she was still leaning forward, her eyes closed, a sensual expression on her
face. Her eyes opened dreamily.

"Maybe I should get the sharpshooter to cut the roots," I said.

"Maybe," she replied in a low, husky tone. "Or, maybe we can dig it out with our hands."

Working in the dirt around the dead and forlorn shrub, we used our hands to scoop away the soil,
to pull out the roots. No speech was necessary. Four hands worked as one to slowly free the
bush from its death trap. We sometimes touched, bumping into each other: a thigh against a
thigh, a hip against a side, an arm touching a back.

I could smell her. She smelled of light perfume and natural womanly odor heightened by her
sweat. Her sweat was sweet, unlike my own. It was fragrance spewed by a flower: alluring,
appealing. I could hear her ragged breath when she struggled: a little grunt, sometimes a
"humph," as she worked the soil. Heat radiated from her. Not just physical heat or reflection of
the day's glorious sun, it was energy, a magnetic field drawing me to her.

"Okay. It's loose enough. Let's pull it out," I said.

Shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh, we each took a handhold on the dead bush. Moving as one,
we pulled, our muscles straining. The roots gave with a pop. Beth squealed as we fell back
together. She landed on her back. I fell over her. I gazed into her face, seeing a twinkle and the
tip of a pink tongue snake between her lips. I bent to kiss her. Her arms went around me,
holding me to her.

We kissed, slowly, deeply, powerfully. Her breasts were against my chest. Her hands stroked
my back. Again, I brought my lips toward hers.

"Am I interrupting anything?" Vicki's sharp voice rang out.

I jumped, landing a yard away, feeling like a child caught in the candy jar. Beth quickly sat up,
trying to straighten her appearance. She hoped her blush would disappear before it was seen, but
that was not to be.

Vicki laughed. It was not a girlish giggle. She guffawed. Beth twittered, covering her mouth
with her dirty gloves, smearing her face with a brown hue. I had to laugh, too. We stood and
began brushing the dirt from our bodies. It was a lost cause.

"Here. You need this for more than one reason," Vicki said.

"No, Vicki!" Beth screamed as the stream of water hit her full force.

Using her thumb to create a biting blast, Vicki relentlessly sprayed Beth who danced and twisted
under the stinging water. Beth's halter and shorts were quickly saturated. Magically, the cotton
molded to her shape, treating me to a delicious sight. I was watching Beth when Vicki decided it
was my turn. The water was icicles hitting my overheated skin. In spite of the distractions, I saw
Beth watching me. She had a sensuous gleam in her eyes.

With a tackle an All-American would be proud of, Beth drove Vicki into the mound of dirt piled
by the beds. Except the pile was not dirt. It was mulch mixed with composted sheep droppings.
Or, as Vicki shouted, "Beth, this is shit."

Laughing and teasing, the girls struggled to stand in the loose pile. Without pretense (can one be
dignified when covered in manure?), they hosed each other off. Arm in arm, they went into the
house to shower. They needed it. They neither looked nor smelled like ladies at that moment.

I cleaned up the mess we made and put away the tools. It had been a long day of work. But it
had been a delightful day. I realized how much I enjoyed being with Beth. I was thinking of her
in a way I had never allowed myself before this spring day. To say my thoughts were salacious
would be an understatement.

After my shower, I slipped into shorts and a pull over shirt. When I went downstairs, Vicki and
Beth were talking on the couch. They stopped when I entered, following me with their eyes.

Vicki was wearing a blouse and skirt, I think. Beth was wearing one of Vicki's cotton sleep
shirts, the kind which hangs to the knees. It was the blue one with the red piping. She was to
Vicki's left, legs tucked under her. Her hair, still damp, lay on her shoulders. Her eyes were soft,
like twinkling stars. Her smile held a secret.

"Well, Jack, you wore out poor Beth. If you don't mind, she wants to stay here while I hit the
hot spots."

"Mind? No. Are you sure, Beth?" I asked, looking at her.

"Yes. I'm sure," she replied.

Her voice was soft was a hint of a promise. Her smile was loving, her eyes hot. Our eyes met
and held. A tingle went down my shoulder, racing to my fingertips. They were twitching when
Vicki cleared her throat.

"Well, I see neither of you'll mind if I leave now," she said sardonically.

"No. Go ahead," Beth and I replied in unison before laughing self-consciously at our eager
anticipation of Vicki's departure.

"Dad, can I talk to you?" Vicki said with a faux lightness as she headed toward the door.

I followed her. Calling me "Dad" meant she had something important to discuss. Normally, she
called me by my name. On the front steps, she took my hands in hers. I felt her nail points dig
into my palms.

"She loves you. She loves you very much. And...."

The serious expression gave way to a mischievous twinkle.

"If something happens, you have my blessing. You would have Mom's, too, I know."

"Nothing will happen," I assured her.

She snickered.

"Oh, Jack, you're going to get laid tonight."

A quick laugh, a peck on the cheek and she was gone, leaving me in the quiet of a spring
evening. The air was crisp and clean. The stars were particularly brilliant in the calmness. I was
euphoric, every nerve poised, every sense alert.

When I returned to the house, Beth was in the kitchen. The bread was in the toaster. The smell
of ham came from the frying pan. She was humming to herself as she cracked eggs into a small
bowl by the sink.

As I watched her, I realized how I had missed having a loving woman in my home. More than
that, I realized how much I had missed Beth with her dancing eyes and smiling face and, most
importantly, kind and loving heart.

"Do you like watching me?" she asked softly, her back toward me.

She was still, poised for my answer. Balanced on one foot with the toes of the other pressed into
the floor, she turned her head slightly to better hear me.


It was all I needed to say. I saw the corner of her lips turn up in a smile. She turned back to
dinner, her humming just a little louder. Dinner was a lively affair. We gorged, replenishing our
bodies after a hard day. We laughed and talked. We shared. We finished with a glass of wine as
I did the dishes.

"What will you plant where we dug out that dead bush?" she asked as she stood sipping the wine.

"I've always wanted a rose bush, a Queen Elizabeth rose. It's beautiful, with a large, pink
blossom. The scent is mild, but definitely rose. Besides, I like the name."

"That sounds nice. Can I help you plant her?"

"That sounds very nice," I replied.

Somewhere in the very special time between Vicki's departure and that moment, apprehensions
had left me. Beth sensed it. She set the wine glass on the table. She offered her hand. When I
took it, she winced. Then, I saw the blisters her hard work had raised.

"Labors of love cause pain sometimes," she said softly. "I don't mind. Love is worth it."

I kissed her, a soft, loving kiss. An anticipatory grin crossed her face. Without a word, she led
me up the stairs. At the entrance to the bedroom, she stopped abruptly. I bumped into her.

"Second thoughts?" I asked, my heart in my throat. She turned in my arms.

"Never!" she whispered.

She kissed me then, hot, hard, demanding, her body crushed into mine. She stepped away,
holding my hands.

"Come on, Jack. I've waited long enough."

Brightness and heat. Ferocity and gentleness. Lost in passions, we began that deepest of all
relationships until we lay spent, our bodies entwined, her head on my chest.

"Jack," she whispered. "When it's time, I want to bloom from your seed."

"That sounds wonderful," I replied before I kissed her again.

We had drifted to sleep when I heard the front door closing. Beth stirred against me. We listened
to the footsteps coming up the stairs and down the hall. They stopped outside my bedroom door.

"Goodnight, Vicki," I said.

"Goodnight, Jack," was the soft reply from the hall.


"Goodnight, Beth," Vicki sang out.

We heard her chortling as she went down the hall to her room.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Happy Wedding Anniversary

Their life had been like that of most other couples married five years: two children, a mortgaged house, good friends, some good times, and some bad times. Their fourth anniversary, four days in a seaside cabin, had been a surprise, planned by him to make it special for her. She blessed it with tears of joy and her hot body. She had planned and worked for months to make their fifth anniversary special for him.

Her plan demanded physical as well as mental fitness. She was running and lifting weights at the gym. Watching her muscles ripple, she smiled to herself thinking of what his responses would be when she gave him the gift. He had made positive comments on the changes in her appearance. He was always positive and supportive for her, as she was for him.

She designed a new white evening dress that covered her from its high collar to the flowing hem around her feet. The dressmaker had eyed her knowingly when she told her what she wanted. The dress was really six pieces attached to each other with velcro. Skin tight, both hiding all and hinting at more, it was designed to be removed piece by piece. Under her dress she would wear six different items. She purchased matching shoes, higher heels than would be comfortable, but she would not be wearing them for very long.

She rented a small nightclub with an elevated stage and effective lighting for their anniversary night. She arranged a caterer. She hired a young lady named Vicki to assist her. When she told her brother she wanted him to help her interview and hire an exotic dancer, he looked askance but knew better than to ask too many questions.

About a month before their anniversary, her husband asked if she wanted to go away for a few days and take some time for themselves. She smiled at him, a smile laden with hidden meanings.

"I've planned our anniversary celebration. I want it to be a surprise, so please don't ask about it."

The hook was set. She knew his curiosity would eat at him, and anticipation is part of the fun.

He tried. She knew he really tried, but as the date got closer, his anxiety about the evening increased. She would only smile, her secretive womanly smile designed by God and nature to drive men crazy.

"It's not much longer, honey," was all she would say.

A week before the date, as he was hurrying to leave for work, she handed him a white envelope. Eyes twinkling, she told him, "Our anniversary's next Wednesday. Please take off Thursday and Friday. This envelope has your instructions. Don't open it until Wednesday morning."

"You're driving me nuts with all this secretive stuff!" he complained.

She smiled that smile and pressed herself against him. She kissed him hard, deep to his soul, then her fingers slid down his chest to fondle him before she pulled away.

"I know," she whispered. "Isn't it fun!"

She walked away sexily rolling her hips. She knew he was watching every movement and wondered if he would follow. From the kitchen window she saw him standing by the car with a look of total confusion on his face. She smiled as she saw him sigh and open the car door.

He opened the envelope as soon as he got to the office. It read: "Honey, be home by four. Shower. Put on only the clothes on the bed. Directions to dinner are enclosed. Be there promptly at six. I love you."

In the evenings before the date, he watched her as she did the dishes or read to the children at bed time. She was serene and at peace. She would catch him watching her, and that smile would flit cross her face. Gone in an instant, it became a ghost walking the hallways of his mind.

Tuesday, when he moved in bed to touch her, she said, "No, baby, not tonight. Let's wait one day . . . please, just this time." Her smile was soft and warm, a genuine signature of love.

"I can't wait one more minute, let alone one more day! Are you trying to drive me crazy?" he exclaimed, his voice rising in frustration.

Her fingers touched his cheeks as she lightly kissed his lips. She smiled like a cat with a canary as she said, "Yes." She rolled over, turning away from him. "Good night, my love," she whispered. She slept like a child. He knew because he was awake a good part of the night.

He was home at four the next day. The house was empty and quiet as a tomb. He wondered what she had done with the children. He took the stairs two at a time. When he charged into the bedroom, the only sounds were his breathing and the ticking of the old clock on the bedside table. His tuxedo was on the bed, neatly laid out, shirt freshly ironed and starched. However, she'd forgotten his underwear. Or had she omitted them on purpose?

He bought flowers. The woman in the florist shop took his order for one dozen red roses. "Looks like a special evening," she said. She smiled at him, that knowing smile women have at these times when they can feel a man's excitement. He decided to buy two dozen and waited impatiently as she completed the order.

He arrived early but waited, knocking on the heavy wooden doors at exactly six. His wife was stunning, so beautiful and radiant that his breath caught when she opened the door. She took his flowers and smiled at him, a sensual take-me-now-or-regret-it-all-your-life smile, and slowly turned so he could see her. She was dressed in her white masterpiece, her coal black hair piled high on her head, emerald ear rings matching her emerald eyes. He watched her sway beneath the dress as he followed her to the table. She had always turned him on, it was a major reason he married her, but tonight he could not remember ever wanting her more.

The caterers had laid out the feast: warm spinach salad, lobster steamed in white wine and served with drawn butter, angel hair pasta with red plum sauce and fresh asparagus. Desert was his favorite: vanilla ice cream with fresh strawberries served over home-made pound cake that she had lovingly baked earlier that day. All served in small portions, so as not to dull their other appetites, and wine with each course, naturally.

A beautiful young woman with long golden hair, dressed in a French maid's costume with its low, square bodice and short stiff petticoat, was standing by the table. His wife said, "This is Vicki. She'll be our waitress." As Vicki curtsied, he glimpsed the bounty behind the bodice.

His wife put the roses in two elegant vases on the table. They sat opposite each other enjoying the outstanding food and fine wine as Vicki provided impeccable service. His darling wife was a scintillating and stimulating dinner companion, tonight more than usual as he sensed her anticipation and exhilaration. As always, she enchanted him as he floated in her corona.

After dinner, as Vicki cleared the dishes, his wife rolled in a large, comfortable recliner and faced it towards the stage. She handed him a glass of port and extended the foot rest. She gave him a fine cigar and held the lighter as he stoked it to life. She sat on the chair arm, making small talk, her fingers idly stroking his arm.

The house lights dimmed and lights flooded the stage. The music started. Vicki entered stage left dressed in a flowing evening gown with a cape.

"Relax and enjoy," his wife whispered in his ear.

She knelt at the foot of the recliner, removed his shoes and socks, and began massaging his feet. She watched his face. She could not see Vicki; she did not want or need to. She knew Vicki's dance would last eleven minutes and thirty-five seconds. She knew it would begin slowly and build to a crescendo. She could listen to the music and tell what clothing Vicki wore and each step Vicki took. She knew because she had choreographed Vicki's dance.

Vicki had warned her. "No one does a dance this . . . well, this sexy. He'll go wild."

"Good," his wife had replied, "let him go wild."

She sat at his feet because she wanted to watch him. She wanted to see how he reacted when Vicki removed her clothing, particularly at the ten minute fifteen-second point when the music changed to a hard, fast rock'n roll beat and the last of Vicki's garments hit the stage. Vicki was hot. She loved to dance and pushed the limits. His wife knew he would enjoy Vicki and his tension would increase. After five years, she knew exactly how far she could stretch him.

She watched her man as she knelt at his feet. She could see his discomfort as Vicki's routine moved into its fifth minute. He would glance at her furtively, tearing his eyes from Vicki to see if she minded his reactions. She would smile at him reassuringly to let him know he was welcome to enjoy these moments. She felt the tension in his feet as she massaged them. She felt him move once, then again, to hide his erection. She looked away and smiled to herself. She'd expected this and it was funny when he tried to hide it from her. After all, she had selected her position to watch him.

The music and Vicki were approaching a climax. He was paralyzed, barely breathing. She rose when the music stopped, looked at Vicki, and was startled. She looked at her husband. He was dazed. She knew it was a hot number but it must have been something special when Vicki unleashed her sexuality in the actual performance. She vowed to tip her for the extra effort.

She stood behind him rubbing his temples in a slow, circular motion. She felt his blood throbbing beneath her fingers as he decelerated. She refilled his glass and resumed her massage. As she caressed his cheeks and scalp, his tension eased from her ministrations. He leaned back, eyes closed. She let Vicki out and locked the door. They were alone in the club.

The spotlights covered only part of the stage allowing her to move in and out of the brightness, using the shadows to her design. He sat up when she started her music.

She let her hair down as she slowly walked to the edge of the stage and said to him, "We're alone. My dance is only for you. You're my man and I'm your woman. I love you." She blew him a kiss and began gently swaying to the slow and easy rhythm.

Sometimes, if a man is lucky, he will find a real woman, an honest, unique, three-dimensional creation of God. Something about her will burn into his brain, becoming essential to his being, forever in his memory. Maybe it's a physical feature, or movement, or smell, or aura, or a look that fires him up, forever molding him by the heat she created. And, if that man is very lucky, she will become his woman and a great, lifelong love will have been born.

When he saw her for the first time, she was dancing. Her movements, lyrical and sensual, radiating energy and passion, mesmerized him. He knew he must possess her. But it was her many smiles, the ethereal and indefinable kaleidoscope of skin and muscle that sealed his fate. Her "take-me-or-lose-your-mind" smile that caused him to fall captive, her "I-want-and-love-you-forever" smile guaranteeing their heat would never cool.

She was so graceful, so lithe, as she moved in unison with the music, each beat sounding a carnal movement as the woman animal inside her was freed. Slowly, wantonly, she moved in and out of the light, artfully using and then discarding the separate pieces of the dress in a vision of eroticism, raising his temperature and hypnotizing his mind.

And her face . . . her face played on his soul as it mirrored her passions to him.

She was sweating, her body covered with her wetness, undergarments clinging to her. He was sweating too. He wondered if he could last through her dance.

She began to strip her lingerie, revealing pink skin, satiny and shiny with sweat, covering flowing muscles. Stockings and shoes gone; shapely legs and feet revealed for him to feast his eyes. Perfect timing, building towards an end he knew would come if he were strong enough to withstand temptations and tensions unfolding at a maddeningly slow pace.

Her pelvis undulated as she undid the garter belt and tossed it aside. Only the bra and panties remained as she gyrated barefoot to the ever increasing tempo of the music. He was unaware he was also stripping as she led them towards climax. All he knew was he was becoming a wild man, desperately needing her and unable to withstand the torture much longer.

"No, no," she said with a wicked smile. Only then did he realize he was stroking himself through his pants. He moaned, grabbing the arms of the chair in desperation.

The music escalated as she removed her bra with painful slowness. She turned and twisted, using light, material, her arms, to hide and reveal, teasing him.

He managed to stand and remove his trousers. He moved to the edge of the stage. She danced above him, seeing his tension and naked hardness. She fell to her knees, moving arms and hands, covering, then finally revealing, her breasts. She offered them to him, tantalizing, teasing, withdrawing when he leaned forward to kiss an erect nipple. He grabbed her legs. She pried his hands off her, pushed them down, using all her strength to guide his fingers to the metal rail. Her eyes never left his.

She smiled, a "you-want-me-so-badly-you-would-kill-to-get-me" smile, passion dripping from every pore, as she moved above him. His knuckles were white from holding the railing and the muscles in his arms stood out like cords of steel cable, pectorals twitching from the stress he bore. His breathing was shallow and ragged. The veins in his neck and forehead throbbed like blue snakes under his skin. His eyes were glazed and unblinking, stupefied. A tear ran down a cheek, a tear of tension and frustration. He was on the edge where she'd hoped and planned he would be.

The music accelerated as did she, maximizing intensity, on her knees before him, pulsating, slithering in wild abandon, her smell thick as a field of flowers, her heat radiating in heavy waves. He was catatonic but began to shake uncontrollably. Her face was the flame, her body the fire, which would engulf him.

Body heaving from exertion and need, knees wide, heels under buttocks, she lay back, shoulders to the floor as the music stopped . . .

Silence! except her panting and the crashing of the blood through his brain. Panties gone, her pelvis inches from his face . . . shaven bare, bloated with desire, glistening wet.

Like a wave rolling into the beach, she rose to put her arms over his shoulders. Lithely she moved to lock her legs around his biceps. She thrust her pelvis against his lips. He growled like a rutting beast. Down, down his body she slid until her face was against his.

"Fuck me now," she groaned in his ear.


He awakened in his own bed, his body drained and sore. He shook involuntarily upon remembering last night, the unbelievable force of the maelstrom, the power of the passion that had consumed him. Every muscle ached as he tried to sit up. He saw the nail marks on his arms and chest, teeth prints on his inner thigh.

He threw off the sheets to look at her. Her face looked so innocent and pure, incongruous to her womanly form and her wanton wildness a few hours ago. He marveled at her, thanking his lucky stars.

Her eyelids moved; she stretched.

"Hi, stud," she said sleepily. "You were something."

That smile flashed again and his guts churned.

"I hope you enjoyed it," she teased.

She pushed him down and lay against him, head on his shoulder, warm softness of her breasts against him.

"Happy Anniversary, my love," she whispered as she drifted back to sleep wearing a warm little smile, the smile of a woman in love.