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Sharing Adam by Madelynne Ellis
Becca had once seen lightning strike. The bolt had hit the pavement right in front of her feet and dispersed into the earth, its passage unremarked upon save in the fraying of her nerves and the knowledge that she'd just escaped a life-altering event.
She'd never hoped to survive it, let alone expected to face the same situation twice. But then she'd never expected to find her husband pinned in the shadows by a raven-haired vixen.
Their friends' wedding had passed unremarkably, as most did after the vows were said and the drinks began to flow, until that moment when she left the ladies and glimpsed Elliot a few feet away, embracing somebody else. He wasn't even being particularly circumspect about it, given that a deep alcove lay to his rear and yet he stood under the light adjacent to the cloakroom door.
Becca braced herself behind a marble column, terrified of being seen, though she wasn't in the wrong. What had possessed him? She risked another glimpse.
As the breath squeezed from her lungs and culminated in a cough, Elliot made a half-hearted attempt to peel the pale hand off his arse.
"Not cool, dude," he chastised, giving Becca her first hint that she wasn't dealing with what she'd originally thought. "My wifeâ€”"
"Can't give you what I can give you." The deep rumbling purr confirmed it. Not a vixen, but a viper. One of the ushers-a man she recognised from the overly zealous exchange he'd shared with Elliot on the way into the reception. Maybe that ought to have set off alarm bells, but folks met up at weddings who hadn't seen one another in years. Emotions tended to run a little high, and Elliot's response, a firm pat on the back, hadn't given her cause for concern.
The guy released his grip on Elliot's iron-like buns, only to make a grab for the ridge of his cock beneath his trouser fly.
"Bet she doesn't even know how you swing. Probably be horrified to know how much a little rear-door action turns you on."
Damn, if that wasn't a truth that hurt more than this little tableaux. Not the last part-she knew Elliot well enough to know he enjoyed a little exploration in that region-but the not knowing that his interests ran to other men. That was a little hard to swallow.
"Who said it does, any more?" Elliot said. The slight bristle to his words and the stiffening of his shoulders made no impression upon his pursuer.
"Your cock dancing about behind your fly desperate to get out says so."
She didn't need to see the ridge of Elliot's erection to know that it was true. The guy's large hand spanned the whole length of Elliot's imprisoned cock, while the curve of his index finger and thumb provided an extra pinch of encouragement. A softness infused Elliot's gaze, coupled with a slackness of his jaw that spoke of intense delight.
Private Investigation by Fleur T Reid
Miss Elizabeth James upset her cup and swore in a most unladylike fashion as hot tea splattered her hand and wrist and soaked into that morning's copy of The Times, obliterating the advertisement for Professor Mainwaring's Patented Nerve Tonic. It was her own fault of course-she had been trying to breakfast and gloat at the same time. She had graduated from the Metropolitan School for Shorthand in Chancery Lane, and what's more she had graduated top of her class in typing, shorthand, filing and arithmetic. And she had been the only girl in the class to master the stencillographic oscillator-a complicated clockwork device that transcribed dictation, although sometimes the spelling was a little suspect.
She sucked her burnt fingers. She was so happy and distracted that she had already spooned marmalade into her tea and tried to sip her toast. As one of London's new Typewriter Girls, she would be able to find work as a secretary or an author's assistant. Even as a copying clerk for a government official. Although perhaps not that last. To become a typist in a government department, a girl had to be at least five feet in height without boots or shoes. Lilly might just squeak through under that requirement if the person doing the measuring was lax with her tape measure and counted her rather wild, frizzy hair. Still, she had a whole world of options open to her-all perfectly genteel. Given that these days girls were running off to be explorers and fly dirigibles and goodness knows what else, she felt practically prim and proper in her choice of career.
The five guinea fee had been a struggle. She had managed to scrape her rent together, but had subsisted during the course of her training mainly on the breakfast of toast and tea her landlady grudgingly provided each day. But now she was a professional woman, and could expect to earn anywhere between fifteen shillings and two or three pounds a week.
She mopped ineffectually at the spilt tea with her handkerchief, and sighed. Perhaps she might even be able to move to lodgings where the taps didn't scream and clank and dispense brown, brackish water, where the bed wasn't lumpy with a spring that dug into the small of her back no matter how she tossed and turned, and where the landlady didn't look at her with chilly disapprobation every time their paths crossed.
Mrs Langley did not approve of working women-but then Mrs Langley did not much approve of anything. A skinny, middle-aged woman with a pointed, rather red nose that she enjoyed poking into other people's business, she had lost her husband after twenty years of childless marriageâ€”which was probably something of a relief to the poor man, since it meant he could finally get some peace. Except, of course, he couldn'tâ€”every Thursday evening at six o' clock, Mrs Langley trotted off in her respectable coat and her sensible button boots with her capacious handbag tucked under her arm to visit the shade of her late, lamented husband at Doctor Moriarty Caine's House of Spiritual Solace. When she got a message from the other side, she came back in good humour. When no message was forthcoming, she was even more officious and sour-faced than usual.
The Perfect Third by Morticia Knight
Alexa Wharton unsnapped the front of her deep purple, lacy, push-up bra and let it fall to the floor. With the last bit of clothing off her body, she inspected herself in the full-length antique mirror in her bedroom. Her round, heavy breasts hung beautifully, her large pink nipples peaked from the slight chill in the room. As she continued looking down her body, she smiled in satisfaction at how her Pilates and yoga classes had helped to shape her torso into a lean, but still feminine form. Slightly curved hips, a flat tummy and a perky ass with long legs made her any man's dream.
Yet, she was alone. She pulled her long, brunette curls into a ponytail that fell to the middle of her back, and scrunched up her slightly upturned nose in the mirror. She was almost twenty-five years old, a quarter of a century. What a thought that was. It was getting scary to think that someone who was as sensual as she was could be this hopeless when it came to finding a deep love and real pleasure in her life.
Perhaps it was time to take the proverbial bull by the horns, or at least his horn as it were, and really make something happen. She had always been attractive enough that having to go after a man hadn't been a problemâ€”many had approached her. The guys in her law firm in the financial district of downtown New York City never hesitated to come on to her. But she needed to remain professional, while having a social life. So she made do with meeting potential dates at attorney get-togethers where there were men from other firms. She wasn't much of a bar scene girl, and most of her friends were already in committed relationships.
Throwing on her cream silk robe, she went into the living room of her Soho apartment and opened her laptop. Internet sources might be a possibility. She wasn't quite ready for an e-date service, but maybe some ideas on the latest hot clubs, or she could look into joining a social group. This is pathetic. What sort of lame social group was she going to join? The same old business-minded, straight-laced men were not what she wanted. She had always fantasised about being with a wild and uninhibited male who would open up her mind and body to all manner of erotic thrills. She wanted a bawdy man with staying power. Someone creative and daring, who was ready to turn her on over and over again, all night long. I wouldn't say no to a huge dick either.
Just then her desk phone rang, and she jumped, abruptly torn from her sexual reverie. It was Jill, a very upwardly mobile colleague at her firm who loved to party, but could still negotiate the finer points of a business contract on only three hours of sleep. She was a tall and lanky temptress with a short, red bob who could literally charm the pants off any man.
"Hey, hot stuff," she cooed into the phone. "What are you doing at home at eight p.m. on a Saturday night, you naughty thing? Or should I say, you not very naughty thing?"
"Ha! I suppose I should ask you the same. You are the one calling me, after all, and I don't hear the customary laughter and clinking glasses in the background. Nor do I hear any dance beats, so you can't be at a club. Don't tell me you're losing your touchâ€¦"
Country Hearts by Nan Comargue
Isabel stood, hands on her hips, and looked over her empty apartment.
From the hall, a deep voice asked, "You ready?"
She had to swallow hard before she could answer. "Just give me a minute. Please."
Isabel heard his footsteps clattering back down the stairs and after that, she was alone with her memories.
For four years, she'd laughed and cried within these thin walls, listening to her neighbours laugh over their joys and cry over their frustrations. Lately all they must have heard from her unit were tears. Angry, bitter sobs over the man who had recently moved out. He was moving on, Jason had told her, as if she was an accident scene that had momentarily snarled up the smooth traffic of his life.
They'd only lived together for the past eight months, but already his personality had sunk itself into the furniture she'd packed away for shipping on to his mother's. He hadn't even wanted to give her his new address. Probably because it was her address, too. The other woman. His new woman. Which probably made Isabel the other woman now.
Damn him. Damn them both.
Jason hadn't thought to help Isabel pack either, and had left it to her and whatever help she could rustle up. There had been a lot of possessions to move, mostly the recent and expensive accumulations from Jason's side of the apartment, consisting of a state-of-the-art stereo system and brand new television set. They'd cost a big chunk of his last bonus from work, yet the people she'd asked to assist her with the task of emptying out the apartment hadn't seemed impressed. The magazines she'd thrown into the recycling bin behind the building were mostly his business journals. The books on his side of the bookcase were all about money and power. She'd seen her helpers grimacing as they'd pulled them down from the shelves. Between them, the two men who were helping to move her out of her apartment had enough wealth to buy and sell any of the partners at Jason's investment firm, but they'd never cared about the influence and clout Jason craved most of all.
Isabel had folded away the T-shirts he'd left in the drawers after taking only the newest designer versions and the jeans he rarely wore anymore since his promotion twelve weeks ago. They reminded her of the Jason she'd fallen in love with, a Jason whose dreams were still to be fulfilled. Now that he was realising them, he was a different man. Not cold, exactly, but distant. His affections were kept for material things now. Even the woman, she'd heard, wasâ€”
No, she wouldn't think about the other woman.
The Triumvirate's Consort by Shannon Peters
"He's still watching you. They're all still watching you."
Evangeline Flint frowned at her girlfriend Melissa. "I don't care. I'm not here to pick up. I have to be back at work in fifteen minutes." She sipped from her straw. She was on to her second scotch, and it still wasn't going to be enough anaesthesia for the coming afternoon's budget meeting.
"C'mon, Evie, live a little," Melissa urged as she put her wine glass on the table. "They're definitely interested."
"How can you tell? They're all wearing sunglasses." Inside a pub. On a dark and gloomy afternoon. Go figure. Yet they didn't look ridiculous. They lookedâ€”well, hot.
"He's obviously into you. He and his friends have been staring at usâ€”you, for over half an hour."
"And that's exactly why she wanted to run back to work. She wasn't the blonde nympho type that Melissa was, or the hot-man magnet that their other friend, Paris, was. She was Evie. Tall, dark, blend-into-the-background Evie. She made the effort to disappear in a crowd, and, at six foot, she was used to some stares, but only because of her above-average height. She never attracted any other kind of attention, and didn't know what to do with it when she did. They were looking at her. Staringâ€”at her. Her nipples peaked in her lacy bra. She'd checked the men out, too, but hopefully nowhere near as obviously.
"Evie glanced surreptitiously over her shoulder at the gentlemen at the bar. They stood out like construction workers at a tea party. Three of them, all tall, broad-shouldered and lean-hipped, with expensive sunglasses masking their eyes. The one with the dark hair kept drawing her gaze. She wished she could see him clearly. His curly dark hair brushed the collar of his shirt and should have looked scruffy, but instead it looked rumpled and sexy, begging for a lover's touch.
"At that moment he looked up from the conversation he was having with his blond companions, and met her gaze. He nodded at her, and Evie blushed as she looked quickly away. Hoo-yeah. He was gorgeous. Like a model from a Polo Ralph Lauren advertisement. No, make that a Calvin Klein advertisementâ€”at least then he'd be near-naked.
"I have to go, Mel. Baxter wants to do a quarterly review. I shouldn't be late."
"Baxter wants to do you, Evie. Anyone else in the department can look after that report. Why do you think he's always trying to get you to work back late?"
The Dare by Jordyn McKenzie
I sat staring into the fading orange-to-blue flames as they glowed from the remnants of a massive campfire. It was the final evening of what had been one of the most fun weekends I'd ever had with my closest circle of friends. Having just graduated from college, we were all heading into that dreadfully long phase of life called adulthood. I myself was the proud owner of a bachelor's degree in science and was preparing to start my first job in a medical laboratory in three weeks.
Planned as a celebration, a last hurrah before we all officially became grown-ups, the weekend had been spent hiking the trails and swimming the lake, with the guys unsuccessfully daring us girls to skinny-dip. We'd played and argued over various board and card games on the ageing picnic tables provided by the campground, and concluded each day in drunken revelry round the campfire. Feeling tired but oddly content, I allowed myself to become lost in my thoughts, surrounded by some of the people I cared for most in this world, while they exchanged stories of what would soon be known as 'the good old days'. I was looking forward to seeing what the future held for us, what the future held for me. Well, for the most part anyway. One particular aspect of my future wasn't looking so good, and I'd spent the better part of the weekend trying to convince myself that the time had come to make a very difficult decision.
"Where's the chocolate at? I need another s'more!" Mark's sudden and loud announcement jarred me from my deep thoughts. He stood up and walked over to the picnic table, knocking over unoccupied fold-up camp chairs and spilling beers in the process. I couldn't help but laugh at the wake of destruction my Hulkish friend had left in his quest for more chocolate.
"Dude! Watch where you're going!" Damien protested, jumping to his feet after his leg was soaked with beer. "These were the only dry jeans I had left here. Damn!"
"Not anymore." I smirked at him, and he replied with a middle finger. I waved my metal hot dog roaster at Mark. "Hey, Mac-daddy, will you hook me up with a couple more marshmallows?"
"He grinned at my years-old nickname for him and brought over the bag, plopping down in the chair next to me. "Anything for you, Sexy Lexi."
"You two are twenty-two years old, how much longer are you going to call each other those dumb fucking names?" groaned Natalie, Mark's girlfriend. Scowling, she stretched her long legs to bring her feet closer to the fire. Though she and Mark were very much an item now and had been for nearly two years, she hated the fact that for four months in eighth grade, Mark and I had been together. We'd broken up, become the best of friends, and, to her chagrin, the pet names Mark and I had called each other through our short-lived romantic relationship had stuck throughout our mostly platonic one.