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New York Times best-selling author Carl Weber is a master at portraying unforgettable characters and complex, passionate relationships. Voluptuous Loraine Farrow is as successful as she is curvy, but life is never easy when you want to have your cake and eat it too. With her husband Leon confronting issues from his past, trouble arises on the homefront—and more drama is on the way in the form of Michael, an ex-lover desperate to rekindle his and Loraine's once torrid flame....
New York Times best-selling author Carl Weber is a master at portraying unforgettable characters and complex, passionate relationships. Voluptuous Loraine Farrow is as successful as she is curvy, but life is never easy when you want to have your cake and eat it too. With her husband Leon confronting issues from his past, trouble arises on the homefront—and more drama is on the way in the form of Michael, an ex-lover desperate to rekindle his and Loraine's once torrid flame.
I eased back on the soft, butter-cream leather armchair when Roberta walked into the room. For us, it had been the same place, same time for almost a year. I'd been waiting for her; not long, only about five minutes, but long enough to wonder if her damn phone had cut into my time with her again. If so, it wouldn't be the first time. Her phone was constantly ringing whenever we were together. Most of the time she ignored it, but there were a few occasions when she glanced at the caller ID and excused herself. Sure, I knew the calls were work-related, and she wouldn't take them if they weren't important, but damn, this was supposed to be my time, the time we spent together.
If she were anyone else, I would have kicked her to the curb a long time ago, but I was a creature of habit, and her pros so outweighed her cons. Roberta had a way of making me feel good about myself. I don't think I could ever find someone to replace what she'd done for me. I always left with an incredible yearning to see her again.
When we first met, I was such a broken man, but with her help, I was starting to put the pieces of my life back together. I was starting to see myself as a man again.
She sat down across from me, adjusting her body until she was comfortable. I immediately noticed she was wearing a new scent. It was a little lighter than usual, but sexy all the same. She always smelled so good.
"New perfume?" I asked.
"Why, yes, it is." She gave me a smile that lit up the room.
I'm sure she was surprised that I'd noticed. She probably thought that, like most men, I didn't pay attention to the little things. But what she didn't understand was that when we were together, I paid attention to everything, just like her. Oh, I tried to play it cool. What type of man would I be if I didn't? But I left no stone unturned when it came to the time we spent together. It was that important to me.
We'd started this little Monday-and-Thursday-afternoon ritual about a year ago. Back then, you couldn't have paid me a million dollars to think I'd still be seeing her after all this time. She was without question the only woman I'd ever let in my head-other than my wife, Loraine. In fact, I'm sure Loraine would be shocked at how much more Roberta knew about me than she did. Roberta was not just my keeper of secrets; she was slowly taking over Loraine's place as my new best friend.
No matter how wonderful she was, though, I still wasn't quite ready to let the world know I was seeing Roberta. I liked keeping things on the q.t., or on the DL, as they call it nowadays. I was convinced that if anyone found out about us, my life as I knew it would be ruined.
Funny thing is, it all started rather innocently around the time my wife and I were on the verge of divorce. Loraine had kicked my ass out of the house behind some old bullshit she called a lapse in judgment on her part. Oh, she was right. It was a lapse of judgment all right-a lapse of judgment called Jerome, her jealous-ass friend. Thank God Roberta was there for me when no one else was. I was under so much stress at that time that I don't know if I could have made it without her. It seemed that fate just brought us together.
"So, here we are again. I've been giving a lot of thought to our last conversation, Leon. Did you happen to do what I asked you to do?" She was no longer smiling. Her face was serious. She wanted an answer, one I wasn't sure I was prepared to give.
I gazed down at her stilettos. There was no doubt in my mind that they were expensive. As was customary with her, they looked brand-new. There wasn't a scuff mark on them. You can tell a lot about a woman by looking at her shoes, and hers almost screamed how classy she was. But, I wondered, how could such a classy woman talk to me about such lewd things, even if it was for my own good?
"Are you ignoring me?"
"No," I replied, but I'm sure she knew I was.
"So, answer my question. Did you-"
"Did I jack off first? Yes, I jacked off first, all right?" I finished her sentence in my own words. I just didn't want to hear her say it again.
My eyes traveled from her shoes, up a little farther. Her legs were crossed neatly at the knees, showing off her well-built calves. She had an amazing hourglass figure, while her face and hair defied her almost fifty years of age. She reminded me a lot of Angela Bassett.
"Leon, are you embarrassed?"
Was I embarrassed? Of course I was! Here was this beautiful woman sitting across from me, wanting to know if I'd masturbated. What was even more embarrassing was the reason she'd asked the question in the first place. You see, I had a little problem in the bedroom. And, no, it wasn't that I couldn't get it up or that my shit was little. I got it up just fine, and I was packing enough meat for two. My problem was that ... Well, my ... my stamina wasn't quite what it should be, and I ejaculated a little faster than I should.
"Leon, there is no reason for you to be embarrassed. We've been through this before. Plenty of men go through premature ejaculation. Masturbating before sex should help with your stamina. You just get too excited. There's nothing wrong with being excited. We just have to find a way to harness that excitement."
After all these months, she still didn't get it. She still had no idea how crushing it was not to be able to satisfy my woman the way she wanted to be satisfied.
"Roberta, I don't think I know how to 'harness my excitement.'"
I looked up at her, our eyes meeting for the first time. I was hoping she would understand, as she always seemed to. This had been the topic of conversation between us for quite some time, but this time she tried to hide a frown. It didn't work. Her disappointment was written all over her face, and it was making me feel even more self-conscious.
"Why are you looking at me like that?" I asked.
"I'm just trying to figure out how serious you are about this. Do you want to stop prematurely ejaculating? Do you want to enjoy a normal sex life?"
What was that supposed to mean? Was she taking a potshot at my manhood? If she was trying to humiliate me, she was doing a good job. My embarrassment turned into defensive anger.
I stood up. "Of course I wanna have a got-damn normal sex life. Why do you think I've been paying your sorry ass a hundred dollars an hour for the past twelve months?" I pointed my finger in her face. "I should be asking your ass when I'm going to have a normal sex life. You're the damn therapist-oh, excuse me, psychiatrist! So, what's up, Doc? When am I going to be cured? When am I going to be able to fuck like I used to?"
Roberta sat up in her chair, her bottom lip quivering just a bit. There was no doubt in my mind she did not appreciate my sudden use of profanity or my accusatory tone, but this wasn't the first time I'd gotten loud. Truth is, I just wanted her to snap back at me, give me a reason to walk out that door and feel sorry for myself, but she never did. No matter how ignorant I got, she always kept it professional.
Surprisingly, her face softened. "You know what, Leon? You're right. I'm sorry. I know you're trying. And to be totally honest, I can't say when you're going to be cured. But I'm committed to finding a solution to your problems. I just need your help."
Well, if you haven't figured it out, Roberta is my shrink.
"What can I do?" I asked.
"Why don't you have a seat so we can talk about that?" I did what I was told and sat back down.
"So, I take it you and Loraine made love this weekend, and things didn't quite work out as you planned?"
"I did exactly what you said." I sighed. "I took her out to a nice romantic dinner at Luigi's. When we got home, I went in the bathroom, locked the door, and took care of business."
"Okay, that's good. What'd you do next?"
"I broke out the massage oil and gave Loraine a massage from head to toe. You would have been proud of me, Doc. I took things nice and slow, just like we talked about." My eyes panned her office, which was trimmed in cherrywood molding that matched her Queen Anne desk.
"I'm already proud of you, Leon." She patted my knee like I was a schoolboy who needed approval. I have to admit I did appreciate her words. "What happened after that? How were things afterward? Did you get intimate?" She was trying to get back in my head. She knew we'd gotten intimate.
I twiddled my fingers and wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans, stalling for time. I really didn't want to answer her, because I knew what she would ask next. I finally admitted, "Yeah, we did."
"So, how was it?"
I lowered my head and closed my eyes. Once again, I could see Loraine's look of disgust when I collapsed on top of her within a minute. I just knew that was going to be the time I held out until Loraine reached her climax, but once again, I came too quickly. Loraine didn't say anything, but I could tell she was getting sick of my Speedy Gonzales performances. I felt about as low as a man could get.
"Leon, how was it?"
"Horrible. Worse than ever." "What do you mean?"
"I tried to hold back, Doc. I tried every trick in the book. I bit my lip, I tried to count, I even tried to imagine her wearing clown makeup, but it seems like the more I try to hold back, the more excited I get. Once I got inside her, that was all she wrote. I exploded like a short fuse on a firecracker-quick, fast, in a hurry."
"I see.... Maybe we're going about this wrong. Maybe we should be looking at the cause of your excitement, not the effect." Roberta gave me a compassionate look, which encouraged me to open up. "What about Loraine gets you all worked up?"
I let out a low whistle. "Wow, I mean, where do I start? She's just so ... so sexy to me, Doc. I've told you this before. I just love a big, thick woman, and when Loraine takes off her clothes, all the blood in my body rushes right to my groin. She just makes me feel like exploding." I glanced down at my pants. "I'm all excited just thinking about her being naked."
"Yes, I can see that." Roberta averted her eyes. "Have you ever been attracted to smaller-framed women?"
"Not really. I mean, I've been with a few, and I can appreciate the beauty others see in small women, but they do absolutely nothing for me."
"Hmm, interesting. So, when did your attraction for big women begin?"
I shrugged. "I don't know. I've always loved big women. Back in the day, I used to always tell my friends, 'you can have anyone who looks like Whitney Houston, but stay the hell away from anyone bigger than Jackée, 'cause she mine'!"
"I see. Any large women in your family?"
"My aunt was a big, beautiful woman." I smiled at the thought of Aunt Barbara.
"Is this the aunt who raised you, the one married to your abusive uncle?"
"Mmm-hmm, Aunt Barbara was the best. Sweetest woman in the world."
"Really. You don't talk about her much. Why is that?" She began to write.
"I don't know." I heaved a deep sigh before I continued. I was treading in some dangerous waters that I preferred to keep locked away inside my heart. "Probably because like every other woman in my childhood, she ended up leaving me alone. She died when I was in high school. She didn't even get to see me graduate."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"Yeah, kinda painful, you know."
"I can imagine." She started writing again. I hated when she did that, because it always made me feel like I was some type of case study for some book she was writing. "Was your mother a big woman?"
"Well, my mother passed away when I was five. I barely remember her, but from the pictures I've seen, no, she was about average size."
"How about your father?"
"I never knew my father."
"I see. So, did you and your aunt have a good relationship?"
"Yeah, Aunt Barbara was the best. She was like a mother to me."
"Interesting. Tell me more."
"I can't. Like I said before, she died when I was young. I can barely remember what happened last week. Don't ask me about my childhood."
"Okay, so tell me what you remember."
"Funny thing is, I can't even remember anything about her other than she was good to me, made me feel safe. Every time I think about a woman adoring me, I always think about my aunt." I watched as her pen flew across the page. She sure was taking lots of notes about my aunt. Something about what I'd said must have really intrigued her. "So, is that why I like big women? Because of my aunt?"
She flipped the page on her notebook and finished a few more notes before she replied. "That makes sense. A lot of our adult life is based on our childhood. We are often attracted to people who remind us of our parental figures. It's not unusual for men to look for mother figures, especially with all the physical abuse you took from your uncle. Perhaps your aunt was the only one protecting you from your uncle."
I nodded. "Maybe so. But I don't see what this has to do with me not satisfying my wife."
"Does Loraine remind you of your aunt?"
I paused. "Yes. No. I don't know. Maybe. They both have the same body type."
I was feeling confused. It wasn't like I didn't understand her questions, but more like my emotions were too mixed up for me to make sense of them. Usually my conversations with Roberta were pretty black and white: How did I feel about my uncle's abuse? Bitter. How did I feel about Loraine leaving me? Hurt. And how did I feel about her friend Jerome setting me up? Pissed me off. But now that she was digging for answers about my aunt, I suddenly couldn't pinpoint my emotions.
"What do you think about your aunt that has to do with your issues?"
"Why should she have anything to do with what's going on with Loraine and me?" I noticed my heart started racing. What the hell was wrong with me?
"Let me rephrase this. What do you remember about your aunt that was so kind when you were a teenager?"
I shook my head. "I can't remember."
"Leon, do you realize that every time we try to go back into your teenage years, you draw a blank?"
I hadn't given it much thought until then, but she was right. Everything from high school and earlier was vague. "I do now."
"I know you decided against it when we started looking into your uncle, but I think it may be time we revisited the idea of hypnotism."
The last time she hypnotized me was about three months ago. That's when I found out that my beloved uncle Charles had physically abused me when I was a young boy. My memories from that session were so intense that Roberta had to snap me out of my hypnotic state right in the middle of my uncle beating me with a razor strap. Afterward, she told me I was screaming so loud that she was afraid I was going to have some type of psychotic breakdown. I don't know how true that was, but the pain was so real I could still feel that strap slamming against me, ripping my flesh, to this day. I'd been having nightmares about it ever since and was terrified of the idea of being hypnotized again because of it.
I glanced at Roberta's face. She looked sympathetic, despite the fact that I knew she was pushing for me to go back under hypnosis. "Doc, if it's going to help me save my marriage, I'll do whatever it takes. I'm desperate."
I was awakened by the cool night air as it hit my naked backside. I was sure he'd pulled the comforter off me accidentally while getting out the bed, so I wasn't upset. I opened my eyes and saw him sitting on the edge of the bed with his pants in hand, about to get dressed. He smiled, reaching over to cover my nakedness. He was kind in that way. Knowing him, he was probably beating himself up inside for waking me in the first place. I blew him a kiss.
The way he glanced at me made everything below my waist start to stir. I reached for him, hoping to get some more of what he'd given me earlier in the evening. Unfortunately, he gently pushed me back, shaking his head to let me know that wasn't going to happen.
I glanced at the clock on my nightstand and then turned toward him with a pout. I felt like I was being punished. What had I done to deserve this treatment? Had I not satisfied him? He never left this early, not on a Saturday night.
Excerpted from Torn Between Two Lovers by CARL WEBER Copyright © 2010 by Carl Weber. Excerpted by permission.
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