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Pleasure swept over Ayanna like the warm water that was falling on her naked body. Standing under a waterfall in a secluded cove on a Hawaiian beach, her low moan was swallowed by her lover's mouth, the mouth that had taught her more about love and sensuality than she thought possible. A week ago she wouldn't have believed this kind of abandon was possible, but now she knew for a fact that it could happen. It had happened to her over and over again since their getaway had begun. Ramon had shown her passion beyond belief every day and night, and now he was giving it to her again.
"Ramon." She sighed as his hands tightened on her butt, pulling her closer to his rock-hard manhood. The sigh turned into a sudden gasp as he lifted her so she could straddle him. The powerful muscles of his thighs were braced to hold her as she clung to his broad shoulders. He looked into her eyes, and her already rapid heartbeat seemed to triple. The way he was filling her yearning body was enough to make her faint, but the look in his ebony eyes was drowning her in sensation. Her nipples were so huge and hard she thought they might explode, but Ramon took one in his mouth and sucked hard and fierce so that the only explosion possible was the one they shared as
"Oh, crap!" Ayanna dropped the handheld shower attachment and groaned. Once again, the boys had used up the hot water before she'd gotten through with her shower. The now ice-cold water had jolted her out of her fantasy. It was her favorite one, too, the closest thing she had to any kind of sex life. Goodbye, Hawaii; hello, Chicago. She gritted her teeth resolutely and turned off the water before pulling back the shower curtain andreaching for her towel. As much as she didn't want to spend the money, she was going to have to get a new water heater. Her current one couldn't keep up with the demands of her two adolescent sons.
"When they were little, I practically had to stand over them with a stick to get them to bathe. Now they have to spend an hour apiece in the shower like they're mack daddies or something," she muttered. She wrapped herself in a fluffy pink bath sheet and laughed at her reflection in the mirror. "Well, at least they're clean. And who needs a sex life anyway? I've done without this long. I may as well go for the record."
She patted the excess moisture from her short curly hair and added some leave-in conditioner. With her usual efficiency, she dried her body quickly and put on her favorite scented lotion before getting dressed. It was Saturday morning, and she could have slept in a little longer, but she and the boys were going to a house-warming party that afternoon, and there was breakfast to be cooked and errands to be run before they left.
Ten minutes later she was dressed in jeans and a peach T-shirt and heading to the kitchen with a bag of laundry. Alec, the younger of her sons, appeared in the doorway. He took the laundry from her hands and stopped her from entering the sunny kitchen.
"Don't come in yet, Ma. We're making you a surprise," he said with his endearing smile.
"A surprise? For me? What's the occasion?" She returned the smile, flashing dimples that looked just like Alec's.
Cameron's voice answered. "We just wanted to do something nice for you. Okay, it's all done. You can let her in."
Alec stepped aside and bowed as he gestured Ayanna to the table, which was set for three. "Have a seat, Ma. We made breakfast."
"Aww, you guys are so sweet! What did I do to deserve this?" Ayanna had to blink away tears as she looked at the effort they had put forth. There were cloth napkins with napkin rings and even a bouquet of daisies in the middle of the table. And the food smelled and looked wonderful. "You made me waffles?"
"Yeah, Ma. Waffles and turkey bacon and grits and scrambled eggs. And it's all gonna get cold if you don't sit down and eat," he warned.
Ayanna beamed at the two loves of her life as they bowed their heads to say grace. They had always been sweet, cooperative children, and even now that Alec was fourteen and Cameron was sixteen, they were still good kids. The three of them shared a very strong resemblance, with the same rich brown skin and curly black hair. They all had the same big expressive eyes with long lashes, too; but that was all they shared. Her boys were now young men who towered over her. Ayanna was five-foot-six and slender, and she barely came to their shoulders these days.
Their hearty appetites were to blame for some of their growth. They loved to eat so much that they'd begun to learn how to cook so they could fend for themselves when they went off to college. "These are delicious," Ayanna praised. "And so are the grits and eggs. I can't believe you guys did this all by yourselves."
"I made the waffles and bacon, and Alec did the rest. And we're going to clean up the kitchen, too, as soon as you're done."
She obediently finished off her meal between compliments. "This was the best, guys. And to show you how much I appreciate it, we're going out to dinner after church tomorrow."
"Aww, Ma, you don't have to do that," Cameron protested.
"That's right," Alec added. "We didn't do this to get points or anything."
"That's why we're going to Dave & Buster's tomorrow. Just because you didn't expect a reward," Ayanna told them.
With big smiles on their faces, the brothers gave each other high fives. Dave & Buster's was one of their favorite places to go. They liked the games and excitement as much as the food, and since they didn't go out often, it would be a real treat for the family.
They made good on their promise to clean the kitchen, which they did loudly and cheerfully with Kanye's latest CD blasting as they put things back to rights.
Trying to ignore the loud music, Ayanna put a load of clothes in the washing machine. Maybe I don't have a love life, butwhatIdo have is wonderful, she thought. I have two beautiful boys, a nice home, a good job and a future. Life is good, and sex is probably overrated anyway. Can't miss what you haven't had, now can you?
A few hours later, their weekly errands were done, and they were on their way to the party.
"So, Ma, did Miss Billie do all the work herself on this house?"
"Pretty much," Ayanna answered. "She designed all the changes and supervised everything, but a crew from Hunter Construction did the actual work. She got her hands on a few things, though."
"Billie" was Billie Phillips Wainwright, one of her bosses at work and a very good friend. She'd been a top runway model until she quit modeling. Now her career was in home renovation with her brother-in-law Nick Hunter. When she married Jason Wainwright he'd surprised her with a big brick mansion, which she had remodeled and refurbished. The party was an open house for all her family and friends to see the end result of her hard work.
When they pulled up in the big circular driveway of Billie and Jason's house, there were several cars parked already. "Alec, will you get the cupcakes, and Cameron, please take that pan of bread pudding for me? Thanks, guys." The food was superfluous because all the women in Billie's family were there and they could all throw down in the kitchen. But Ayanna's Southern roots wouldn't let her go anywhere empty-handed, and her desserts were welcome everywhere because they were too good to be believed.
The recently wed Wainwrights came out of the side door of their new home to welcome Ayanna and the boys. Billie's eyes widened when she saw the packages being carried by Alec and Cameron. "Yummy! You shouldn't have, but I'm glad you did. Whatever it is I know it's good," she said. "Jason, look what Ayanna brought for the party."
Jason had his arm around Billie's slender waist and gave her a soft squeeze before greeting Ayanna with a hug. "I hope it's some German chocolate cake. That last one you made was the bomb. Here, guys, let me take those and you go hang in the back."
Since Jason had inherited some teenage nephews via marriage, Cameron and Alec were more than happy to comply. The backyard with its large patio and the tennis court beckoned, along with the prospect of an afternoon with friends near their age. Billie's big black dog, Sadie, was already in the yard and ran to greet them with her usual happy smile.
Billie held the door open for Jason, and she and Ayanna followed him into the big kitchen with all its new appliances. As Jason put the desserts on the counter, Ayanna grinned at him.
"You're in luck. I made cupcakes. Half are German chocolate and half are red velvet. And there's some pineapple bread pudding, too."
The swinging door between the dining room and the kitchen flew open and a loud voice boomed out. "Did somebody say red velvet? Who said red velvet? Is there seriously some red velvet cake on the premises?"
Ayanna burst into laughter with everyone else except the source of the voice, Billie's older brother, Johnny Phillips.
"Don't play with me. I just came back from the motherland. I've been delayed for hours in every major airport in the world, I may never see my other suitcase again and they were talkin' about strip-searching a brother at O'Hare just 'cause they could. So I'm not in the mood to kid around," he said sternly.
The afternoon sun streamed through the windows and glinted off his smooth shaven head. His slightly almond-shaped eyes were intense as his arms were crossed over his bare chest, and he towered over everyone as his expression demanded an immediate answer. Ayanna laughed again.
"Hello, Johnny. It's nice to see you, too," she said pointedly. "Yes, I believe the words red and velvet were used in the same sentence. Do they have special significance for you?"
Her last words were muffled because Johnny took a couple of steps toward her and gave her a big bear hug that lifted her off the floor. "I'm sorry, Ayanna. I didn't even speak to you, and I'm all over you for your cake. That was just wrong," he said contritely, kissing her on top of her head. "You smell good," he added as he set her down.
"So how was your trip? And how long are you going to be here?" She smiled up at him.
Johnny draped his arm around her shoulders. "I'mnot saying another word until I get my fix." He was completely comfortable with his lack of attire, but his younger sister wasn't impressed with his rugged physique.
"Um, I hate to point out the obvious, but why are you in my kitchen half-naked? Where is your shirt?" Billie asked with a frown.
Johnny didn't look embarrassed in the least. He glanced down at his broad chest rippling with muscles and shrugged. "I was on my way to the car to get my stuff when I heard the magic words that made me lose all reason. Are you going to help a brother out or what?" His warm black eyes crinkled in a smile that made Ayanna's knees a little weak, but she ignored the sensation.
"If you put on a shirt, I might let you sample a little somethin'," she teased.
"Sounds like a plan," he agreed and went out the back door, jingling the keys he retrieved from the pocket of his jeans.
She washed her hands at the kitchen sink, and by the time she finished, Johnny was back with a garment bag. "Can I get a taste now? You're not going to make me wait until I go upstairs and put something on, are you?"
Glancing up at him with a grin, she daintily opened the white bakery box and took out a perfect cupcake with a thick, enticing swirl of cream cheese frosting on top.
"Here. Now you've got your fix so you can get dressed and tell me all about your trip to Africa."
"Not yet, woman! Let me savor this before my pop comes in here and we have to fight over it." Johnny had peeled off the cupcake paper and closed his eyes. His strong, even white teeth sank into the pastry, and he devoured it in two bites while moaning like he was in the throes of ecstasy. "Damn, that was good. That tastes like more,'Yanna. Come on and hook a brother up," he pleaded. "Just one more?"
Ayanna was about to give in to his request when his other sister, Dakota Phillips Hunter, came into the kitchen with her new baby on her shoulder. "Johnny, leave this poor woman alone. What's he trying to get from you, Ayanna?"
By way of answer, Ayanna tipped the box so Dakota could see the cupcakes. "Oh, shoot. Well, you're on your own, girl. Nothing comes between a Phillips man and his need for high-quality sugar in the form of a delicious dessert. The groom's cake at my wedding was red velvet, and he ate the entire thing. I saw him do it. Go for it, brother."
The box had lost all interest for Ayanna. She was much more interested in getting her hands on Dakota's baby girl. "Knock yourself out, Johnny. I want to see this little cupcake right here," she cooed, holding her hands out.
The two women sat down in the dining room so Ayanna could dote on the baby. Johnny helped himself to two more cupcakes before joining them. "Ayanna, you're gorgeous, and you can cook. If I was a marrying man, I'd be chasing you down," he said sincerely.
Ayanna laughed softly and looked at little Bethany Anne Hunter, who was gurgling softly in her arms. "Sweetie pie, your uncle is nice, but he's crazy."
Johnny polished off the third cake with a deep sigh of enjoyment and licked a bit of frosting off his finger. "I might be crazy, but I know a good woman when I see one," he said with a wink.