Read an Excerpt
The room has no outside windows, only the indirect lighting of small light fixtures hidden near the ceiling. That is the setting in a Denver International Airport bar when a man rocks my world with all the speed and moral consequence of a drive-by shooting. There is a sly, solemn, and eerie fidelity involved in falling headfirst into the bottomless pit of a thrilling new romance.
Nothing good has ever happened to me on a Friday, but then I have a tendency to overanalyze. Mom and Dad both died on separate Fridays, years apart. My current power-twist Friday has begun sorrowfully; it is the day I've selected to travel to the hometown of my youth and bury Dad's ashes. While I sat in the bar with my spirits gravitating lower and lower, Cash Baahner fires a shot across my bow. The by-chance connection turns into a blazing love dance within seconds of seeing him and hearing his voice.
I understand memorable battles generally occur under overcast skies and such is the situation on what will become the best Friday of my life. That was sixteen days ago. My pastime since our meeting has degenerated into waiting for him to return to me. I have sat for hours this day, peering through binoculars at aircraft in the landing pattern of Centennial Airport. While I await the arrival of the next short-haul transport, my mind wavers as I remember the first moment I saw him. I had been sitting in a concourse bar at DIA nursing a margarita with meager sips when the incredible Mr. Baahner wandered out of a passing throng and turned toward the bar entrance. His appearance provided a sudden distraction that pulled my mind away from the sorrow of losing my father. Until this moment,my vision had been mindlessly divided between watching people hurrying past, and an air terminal flight information board where an air carrier was busy playing with my mind. My flight had been postponed twice and now three hours later there is still no posted departure time. The notation beside my flight number merely reads, delayed.
The bar is filled to capacity and I dare not leave my elevated bar stool for fear someone will claim the perch as soon as I step away. I've already scoped all the Y-chromosomes in the room and found them either lacking or attached. My eyes play over the crowd flowing along the concourse, as the barroom sound system morphs into, The Power of Love. I am so captivated by that particular song that I have it on an endless tape at home. Every day, I turn on the big AKAI tape deck and listen to the melody repeat itself for hours. The psalm to love draws my perception inward, away from the flowing mass of people before me. I'm immediately involved in the melody as the vocalist pours her heart into every word. I listen to her celebrate my favorite love song as goose bumps form along my spine. If I knew the vocalist, I'd buy her CD. The constant murmur of the bar crowd causes me to strain to capture every delicious tone and note. My concentration is so complete the song blocks out all the other sounds in the place. With the hymn to love playing, I doubt a wild horse herd charging through this watering hole would break my concentration.
As the song ends, my gaze returns to surveying the endless crush of humanity and then suddenly there he is. The male lust-inducer looks so good I figure he's probably an infidelity expert. While I consider the subject, he alters course slightly and saunters toward the entry to the bar. I imagine a transparent shadow of Cupid fluttering along above him. The age appropriate man walks with his hands in his hip pockets and looks as carefree as a country kid on his way to a July blackberry patch. He wears the rugged look of a man with a horse parked at the curb outside; perhaps a fence rider who's decided to come in for a cold one. My fantasy image requires chaps, jeans, a pearl button long sleeved work shirt, and with a pair of well worn leather gloves protruding from his waistband. The fantasy also requires a blocked Stetson with sweat stains instead of the hunting clothes he wears. There aren't many swoon-worthy men on the planet like this one. You know the kind, devastatingly handsome until they open their mouth and what comes out causes the illusion to collapse.
The problem with this one is he gives me naughty urges too strong to ignore. With his chiseled face and muscular legs, he is the type of problem every woman wants cropping up in her life from time to time. Dressed in my imagined fashion he would pose the ultimate threat to my lingerie. Even dressed as he is, I know I'll be unable to enjoy the naughty thrill of just looking for very long. The man has a tanned face the approximate color of dark weathered canvas. Something about his features transmits a sort of forbidden sexuality that hooks me at first glance. I fanaticize an implicit conflict within him as though he has recently experienced some terrible misfortune. While I dream my delicious dream, I realize he radiates the forlorn sincerity of a lost dog. Since I've been wounded by love in the past, I remain cautious. In spite of that single agonizing experience, his troubling aura creates a nearly irresistible impulse for me to reach out to him. My affliction has something to do with his facial expression and the way he carries himself. I lack sophistication as I watch him and realize the care I crave will of course involve nakedness and a mattress. I want to draw him to my bosom to be consoled and to eventually wear the yoke of coupledom. I sense he'll model the harness like royalty from a prior age. What I notice next is he has the sort of neck NFL running backs wear. There is a brute strength about him. A quality of good health pours from every pore as he propels his wounded soul in my direction.
During my instant of contemplation, I notice my body is feeding off his rhythm and the feeling is rapturous. The only thing out of order with my composition is that most guys I've seen with that sort of neck have a face like a hog snout. Not this one, his features are like some heathen God of sensuality. Everything about him seems refreshingly spontaneous including his walk and the costume he wears. I judge him to be about thirty-five or six, and with the facial charm and body language of a clothier catalogue model. He's dressed outside my perceived characterization of him and what I figure he should be wearing. Instead of work jeans and chaps, he wears a complete camouflage hunting outfit. All he needs to further his image is a shotgun and a hunting dog at heel on a leash. As he moves into the room, I feel like a man-magnet with a license to thrill. I've never felt more like becoming an indentured sex slave than at this very moment. I struggle mightily with the desire to spring from my seat and scream, "Take me, I'm yours."
The hunky heartthrob provides yet one more ample reason for my endless skirmish with sensual exploration. While lust washes over me like a slow moving tide, I search for a way to attract him to me. No snappy comment or idea comes to mind. The desire for him to sit at my table is considerably more than admiring fan passion. If I had a pair of aircraft parking wands like the airline ground crews use, I'd stand and direct him to the seat nearest me. Without parking wands, I merely sit and surrender to the sensation of trying to look hot and approachable. There is something about Camo-man that makes me suspect he wouldn't have a beer if he were afield and hunting. He'd be like my dad; he'd value the experience too much to dull his senses with alcohol. Dressed as he is, Camo-stud is something people in South Dakota might see on a fall day in a hardware store buying shotgun shells for a pheasant hunt. With his neck structure and clothing he creates a response in every person around me, most notably the women. The men have a look of heightened envy while the women radiate desire. Within us all he builds a seamless commonality that creates feminine resentment and warfare. The feeling is prehistoric; it's the eternal search for the most powerful, best looking and most dominate mate to perpetuate the bloodline. Is it my imagination, or did I just hear the command "fix bayonets" uttered by a feminine voice somewhere in the crowd.
The center of all our disconcerting thoughts is dressed entirely in the Grain Field Shadow phase of a camouflage hunting outfit. The ensemble is complete to boots, coat, pants, and cap. He is detailed as a hunter in every respect, to include a wide leather belt and lace-up hunting boots. The boots even have a cloth insert down the sides to match the rest of him. The footgear is well used and has probably never seen polish. Instead, the leather portion is oiled and crisscrossed with the scars of ancient undergrowth encounters. His pants are bloused over his boot tops. The front of his coat hangs slightly open and the shadow-camo scheme extends even to his shirt. His entire wardrobe is faded to the exact same hue as though all items have been washed together after each use. He wears a matching billed cap with a large greenhead mallard drake embroidered across the face of the crown.
For me, the man is a walking wet dream; the type of stag who is immediately seared into my mind, probably forever. I haven't even heard his voice yet and already I want to feel his hands roaming over me. Following that last stupid thought, decrepitude arrives and he immediately becomes the regulator of all my emotions. In my entire memory, I've never felt this way about any guy either known or unknown to me. The man is the most sensual looking beast I've ever encountered. He's straight out of Greek mythology; perhaps Pan, the God of woods, fields and flocks, traveling in disguise. Beneath his camo he doubtless has the underpinnings of a goat, with the head and torso of a man. Underneath the cap will be the horns of a satyr. Camo bursts like a nova across my sky and the flash bears a crucial element that makes me want to tramp it up. I sense the need for uninterrupted flirting and excessive interaction. All I need is for him to sit at my table.
He's closer now as he pauses, inside, just beyond the door. Moving closer hasn't hurt his appearance; he continues to look like every woman's dream of a pleasure partner. My mind almost slips a gear as I wonder why in hell I'm so drawn to him. Perhaps a form of divine providence is at work, directing him to me. Deep in mid-brain I sense a pinch of dread when I realize this man will be able to play me like silly-putty. There's probably not another hunting coat in DIA but his, or in downtown Denver for that matter. The coat has a dark brown corduroy collar. It's the kind I've seen on my father in duck blinds all over the world or moving through undergrowth in search of game birds. I even have a leaf-brown colored hunting coat of my own at home with the same style collar. His garments look to be the degree of softness men won't give up even after the item has lost its serviceability. I on the other hand feel soft, fully serviceable, and unwilling to give him up to any other woman in the audience. Elbowing the others aside and going after this one will be like throwing water on a grease fire.
His visually rich costume continues jolting me. I sit on my stool, ready to engage in all the forms there are of my most favorite horizontal sport. For a moment, I consider reality. As far as I know there's no chance of hunting within ninety miles of the concourse and so I wonder why the hunting togs. There remains a possibility he's hunting chicks, but dressed as he is the idea lacks merit. His dress is so entirely out of character for where he is, I finally decide he's a scheming stud looking for a nymph to sneak up on and dominate. I have a burst of apprehension when I consider he might be here to meet someone on an inbound flight. If it's the inbound flight situation, then I'll consider managing things differently. That situation will include capital punishment for any woman showing up to claim him.
From my benign semi-amiable haze I consider the matter of an incoming flight. If he's here for that, then there'll be no rhythmic pounding anywhere in our future. Following a hesitation inside the doorway, he marches straight to my table as I hoped he would. Perhaps there's something to be said for mental telepathy. He doesn't remove his cap and bow at the waist to hover over my hand, but he does ask if the seat opposite me is taken. His husky voice only adds to my unladylike delight.
When I answer, "No," he politely asks if he can sit there. I merely nod in assent, afraid of breaking the spell he manifests. I perch on my seat and look as hot as I can manage while longing for the services of a lust-coach hooked to a remote plug in my ear. I try mightily not to drool when glancing at him from the corner of my eye.
Smile, you fool.
My soon-to-be table companion removes his jacket and drapes it across his seat back; that's when I have my second surge of adrenaline. That single, solitary act thickens the plot dramatically and originates the first blush of white-hot desire. I am shocked by the appearance of his upper torso. The top half of him matches his neck. Looking at his physique with his coat off is like staring into the sun. The air around me turns magical; it's as if I've suddenly discovered a chemistry sizzle I never knew existed. The view across the table makes me want to perform all manner of insidious pleasures with him. I'm certain his appearance has set lusty-woman-wants in motion throughout the room. A rapid glance at the other tables confirms my suspicion. His heavily muscled perfect body immediately engages my three-year dormant sex drive. I find his appearance so arousing I don't know if I can withstand a continuous close-up view, or even a solitary caress. By turning me into a voyeur he has created a sexual smoldering within me that only he can extinguish. I've sat on an elevated stool for three hours, while being bored nearly to death, and now I'm suddenly so wildly excited I can barely breathe. Perhaps I've discovered the sum total of what we both are. The sound of his voice causes me to visualize all his magical places starting with Big Jim and the boys. After seeing what lies beneath the coat, my mind switches from rueful to incandescent. With a physique like his, how can sex with him be anything but mind blowing? No man should look this good, so he probably has the heart of a huckster and comes with a problem list too lengthy to overcome.
And so here I am, the foundling, seeking a vacation from gray skies, the loss of a loved one, and now with massive civic insecurities. I glance around the barroom and become aware of all the sultry looks being cast in Camo's direction. Females are sitting at attention at every point of the compass. Another look at him and the thoughts of how, when and where go seething through my brain. What I had perceived as a cotton hunting shirt is in fact sort of a modified sleeveless tank top with a turtleneck. The muscle shirt matches the coloration of the rest of his uniform. The jersey-like material of the pullover strains to encompass his massive neck, chest, and shoulders. The garment offers the additional enticement of six-pack abs. Beneath the gossamer web lies an uber-physical specimen, the best I've ever seen outside a muscle magazine. When he moves, he ripples all over as his muscle structure combines to do his bidding. I look slightly left and study him in a pillar mirror. My coy glances give him a frisky once-over. During the glance, a deliberate thought process forms while I weigh consequences. Being a serial skipper of consequences, the weighing does not last long and that makes the next errant thought arrive swiftly. I'm still crazed with feeling full-blown naughty and offer up an internal prayer I'll be made to properly suffer for the indiscretion. That process makes me wonder if my suffering will require that I surrender all my willpower or just part of it.
Before departing home this morning, I had decided to find myself a man for my trip south by southeast; if not on the airplane, then on the ground at the far end. The proper man must parallel certain imagined physical attributes and be completely disposable. Being disposable means he must not look the way this one does. I want a man I can use and discard when I'm ready to return home. This one has not arrived with the warning stickers he should be wearing. Damn him, he makes me want to discover all the new, delicious, wonderful activities available with a guy like him, and that means he will not be the degree of disposable I need.