There is something so damn sexy about a younger man.
Dumped by her husband of thirteen years for the younger model, forty-year-old Rachel Michaels needs to jumpstart her life. After years of fitting into her husband's rigid mould, she's ready to reinvent herself, and a fling with a hot younger man is just what she needs. Her sexy landscape designer is the perfect man for the job.
Twenty-eight-year-old Mark Beaumont is fascinated by the woman in her sexual prime. She's assertive and fun, with a vulnerable core. After giving Rachel her first partner-induced orgasm, he knows he wants more than just a brief fling—he wants to help her explore everything she kept suppressed during her boring marriage.
But can he convince her that there is more between them than just great sex or will she let her fears stand in the way?
|Publisher:||Totally Entwined Group|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||505 KB|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
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"You want me to do what?" Rachel Michaels gaped at her best friend in horror before turning her attention to the other woman in the room. The cute blonde aesthetician, Tammy, stood off to her right, wearing a smirk and a pink smock.
Rachel eyed the vat of hot wax and gulped. I'm too old for this shit!
"Seriously, Jan." She laughed, nervously looking at her best friend. "Tell me again exactly why it is you think I need to be completely bald. I've lived my entire adult life without having a Brazilian done, and I've been just fine."
"Have you really?"
She scowled at her friend. Alright, so her life had been pretty dull lately, but a Brazilian? That seemed a bit extreme. It wasn't like anyone was going to see it anyway. Jan walked closer and looped her arm around Rachel's shoulders in a familiar gesture that had been getting them both into trouble for fifteen years.
"Come on, Rach, live a little. You used to be so much fun. What happened to that wild spontaneous girl I used to know?"
"She got lost, along with everything else in the marriage, before I got tossed aside for the younger model."
Jan pulled Rachel tighter against her body and squeezed. "Your ex was an idiot. Come on. It's your fortieth birthday and you're newly divorced. I thought we decided it was time to shed your inhibitions. You know 'off with old, in with the new'."
"Yeah, but when we had that discussion, I didn't think my bikini line was in question. I thought you were talking just a little spring cleaning." Rachel blew out a deep breath. "Fine, but you are so buying me a drink when this is done."
She slowly walked forward like she was heading towards the guillotine rather than a waxing table. Tammy's bubbly grin made Rachel want to smack her. With her eyes narrowed, she stared down the aesthetician. "You're getting far too much enjoyment out of my discomfort."
"I promise you're going to love the results," Tammy replied. "I'll leave the room and allow you to get comfortable. You'll want to undress completely from the waist down."
"Jesus," Rachel muttered. "But if I hear so much as a giggle out of either of you, I'm out of here," she told them, ensuring her tone left no question that Rachel meant business.
"You won't hear a peep out of me because I'm waiting for you outside," Jan told her.
"What? You dragged me in here, and you aren't even going to hold my hand?" Rachel whined.
"Trust me, honey. This will be much easier on you without an audience." Jan shuddered. "I know I certainly wouldn't want you to see me having this done."
Rachel eyed the door, wondering if she could escape. "Why would it be that bad exactly?"
Jan giggled. "It is going to be completely worth it when it's done. You will feel like a new woman. Honest." She reached out and squeezed Rachel's hand. Instead of reassuring Rachel, it only increased her wariness. Just what the hell had she signed on for?
With Jan out of the room, Rachel removed her jeans and underwear. Eyeing her white blouse, she decided it was probably wise to remove it as well. Clad in only her bra, she lay down and grabbed the towel that was draped on the edge of the table, trying desperately to cover her body.
When Tammy came back in the room, Rachel shifted nervously on the table. She crossed her legs hoping to feel less vulnerable.
Tammy placed her hand on Rachel's leg. "Try to relax. There's nothing to be embarrassed about. I've done this hundreds of times." The aesthetician strolled across the room and lit a lavender scented candle. "It's to help you relax," Tammy told her before she turned some soft music on in the background.
When Tammy stepped back towards the table, Rachel rubbed her damp palms on the towel. It was like she was a nervous virgin before her first time. She breathed deeply. This was ridiculous. It was just a waxing. She'd had bikini waxes lots of times; this was no different. Women did it every day.
Tammy pushed the towel up and started the process the same as any other bikini wax, pulling the hair that would show with her underwear on. Rachel breathed a sigh of relief. Okay, this wasn't so bad. She glanced down. Wow, she was really taking off the hair on the front. Only a little landing patch remained.
"The easy part's done," Tammy told her.
Rachel's head whipped up. "Easy part? That hurt like a son of bitch."
Tammy bit her cheek; it looked like she was trying to hold back a grin and Rachel groaned.
When Tammy moved Rachel's legs apart to examine the area, Rachel bit back a gasp and covered her face with her hands. Could this get more mortifying?
" I need you to hold your knees up to chest like this," Tammy told her.
Rachel laughed. Alright, clearly it could get more mortifying. She grasped her legs. As hot wax was applied to the area, Rachel relaxed. It actually felt kind of nice.
"Okay, are you ready?" Tammy asked.
"Sure," Rachel told her. How bad could it really be?
With the first excruciating tear of linen, Rachel arched off the table. "Oh, sweet mother of God," she moaned. The bikini line had been nothing compared to the sensitive flesh of her lips.
Tammy laughed. "You alright?"
"Holy shit." Rachel shuddered. "I honestly didn't expect that. Wowza!"
"Well, one down, so now you know what to expect."
"You mean there's more?" Rachel pushed up on her elbows. "How much hair can I still have left?" She twisted her body to try and see the space in question.
"Honey, that was only part of one side."
Rachel dropped down onto the table. "Oh, good God."
Rachel pointed her finger at the aesthetician. "You are getting way too much enjoyment out of my pain. You're like the freaking Marquis de Sade."
Tammy laughed loudly and shook her head. "Don't be a baby," she admonished. "Women do this all the time."
"That's 'cause we're idiots," Rachel mumbled. She drew her knees up to her chest again. "Alright, Marquis, rip away."
* * *
With her torture treatment finally complete, Rachel and Jan strolled across the parking lot. Jan looked at her over the top of her Lexus SUV, grinning like a Cheshire cat. "So how do you feel?" Jan waggled her eyebrows.
"Cold," Rachel replied, feeling a draft even with her jeans on.
Jan snorted. "Cold, ha, good one. You'll get used to it, and you'll never go back. Now, get in." She pulled open the car door and slid into the driver's seat. Rachel fought the urge to fix her underwear as she climbed into the car. This was definitely going to take some getting used to. She had never been so aware of her genitals in her life.
Jan merged the car into traffic. "Now that you're feeling like a new woman, I thought you might be open to me fixing you up."
Rachel groaned audibly. Ever since Jan's divorce six months ago, she had been on Rachel's case about getting back out there and dating.
"Come on, Jan. A blind date. Really?"
"It's hardly blind, you have seen each other. I'll bet he could really warm you up."
Rachel shuddered at the very thought. When had they gotten so old that middle-aged men with paunches were desirable? "Yeah, I think I'll just use a blanket, thanks."
Jan's deep throaty chuckle brought a grin to Rachel's face. "I think we can do better than a blanket. I'll keep working on it. I'll just have to think on it a bit more. You're still up for going by Lila's to look at her gazebo now, right?"
"Of course. If it's as good as you have been telling me, I can't wait to see it," Rachel told her.
"Trust me; it's gorgeous, as is Lila's son who will be some nice eye candy in your backyard while he builds one for you."
Rachel shook her head at Jan's audacity. "I'm sure Lila would love to hear you talking about her son like that."
"What? He's legal. Plus, come on, she has to know her son is hot."
"I'm sure she does. I just don't imagine she thinks her friends are lusting after him," Rachel replied. "Besides, I don't care what he looks like as long as he can make my backyard into an oasis."
They pulled into Lila's driveway twenty minutes later. Rachel sighed with pleasure at the gorgeous landscaped front yard. "God, I love Lila's place, but the yard has all changed since the last time I was here." Rachel swept her arm out, indicating the wooden bridge and walking path in the front yard. The natural stone path complemented the Tudor style house to perfection. The landscaping blended beautifully. It looked like it had always been there.
"It's gorgeous, isn't it?" Jan asked as she stepped out of the car.
"It is, but it doesn't really look like Lila's thing. It certainly doesn't go with her taste in interior decorating." Rachel shuddered when she thought of the battles she had with Lila before they decided Rachel wasn't the right interior designer for the house.
She turned to Jan. "What did she say when you told her you were bringing me by today?"
"She asked if I had finally convinced you to get some culture and join our book-club." Jan flashed her wicked grin, her brown eyes twinkling with amusement.
"Yeah, good luck," she muttered. "Just because she didn't like my taste in interior design doesn't mean I don't have culture. I just don't happen to enjoy trying to prove it to a bunch of bored middle-aged socialites."
Jan reached out and squeezed Rachel's hand, offering immediate comfort and solidarity. "Put your claws away, hon."
Rachel wrinkled her nose at Jan's teasing tone. How many times had they had a conversation about the hypocrites in her old social circle? She pasted on a saccharine sweet smile. "Let's do this."
Lila opened the front door and stepped towards Jan. She warmly hugged her, placing the appropriate air kisses on Jan's cheek before she pulled back and air kissed Rachel's cheeks with somewhat less enthusiasm. With the welcome out of the way, Lila linked arms with both women and led them through her house towards the backdoor. "So, Rachel, Janice tells me that you are interested in having your backyard landscaped differently."
"Yes, I am. Roger chose the current style and it doesn't really reflect what I am looking for any longer. Jan told me that your son built you a fantastic gazebo, so I thought it would be worth checking out."
"Oh, he did. Mark is incredibly talented. It's too bad we couldn't convince him to use his business degree for something better than opening up his own landscaping company. Who ever heard of using an MBA from Harvard for landscaping?" Lila shook her head.
Rachel met Jan's gaze behind Lila's back and rolled her eyes. God the woman was pretentious."Well, at least he's putting his education to use. I'm sure all of those courses will help his new business thrive," Rachel told her. For some reason, she felt the need to defend Lila's son. After the tongue lashings she'd taken while working for Lila, she could only imagine what growing up with her as a mother must have been like.
"Yes, well ..." Lila's smile didn't quite meet her eyes. She pushed open the French doors and stepped outside. "Here we are," she said, gesturing towards the yard.
Rachel scanned the backyard. "Wow," she murmured. Lost in her own world, Rachel walked down the stairs of the deck, absently running her hand along the railing. Now this was a backyard.
She followed the flagstone pathway, intent on reaching her goal. Ahead of her lay the most fantastic teak gazebo. A stunning array of climbing roses covered the wall. The furniture was a bit ostentatious for Rachel's taste, but the gazebo was amazing.
She could already picture something similar in her own backyard. With fantastic outdoor furniture you could just get sucked right into and spend an afternoon lazing about. Rachel stepped up closer to the gazebo and trailed her hand over the craftsmanship. Roses were intricately carved into the wood, sweeping up the arms like a living entity. It truly was a thing of beauty.
Lila's harsh voice broke her from her reverie. "The gazebo is nothing too fancy but it serves its purpose. Mark said this design would work the best." Although, her tone suggested she disagreed with her son's decision. Rachel bit back a smirk. Of course, Lila thought she was always right, that was a huge part of the reason she fired Rachel.
"No, I think he was right. This is fantastic." Rachel's gaze roamed around the backyard. "Your son did all your landscaping, front and back?" she asked.
"Mmmhmm. He did the front a couple of years ago just for fun while he was in University, and then did the backyard this past year when he started up his business. It's not really my thing you understand, but what kind of mother would I be if I didn't let him play with it?" Lila's patronising tone grated on Rachel to her very core.
"Well, I would say he did a huge service for your yard. This is beautiful. He's incredibly talented," Rachel told her.
"Hey, Mom." A husky male voice came from the deck. "I rang the bell, but I guess you didn't hear me. I just wanted to drop off those flowers for your pots."
Rachel looked up and it was all she could do to keep her jaw from hitting the ground. Standing on the deck was the most incredible looking man she had ever seen. His hard body drew her stare. He had those delicious kind of shoulders men get from hard work, not the gym. His lush lips curled into a grin when he saw the women.
Lila stepped out of the gazebo, leaving the two women behind. Rachel looked over at Jan. "Wow!"
Jan nodded and mouthed back, "I told you."
"Mark, would you come down here please. I would like you to meet someone." Lila beckoned.
"Sure," he called as he made his way down the steps.
Rachel couldn't keep her eyes off him. He was the stuff of fantasies with his low slung, worn blue jeans and cocky walk. His T-shirt pulled tight across his muscular chest as he moved towards them. How the hell could Lila have a son who looked like a Greek God? And how had she not seen him before?
Mark walked up and kissed his mom on the cheek then turned his attention to Jan. "Hi, Mrs. Collins, how are you doing?"
Rachel bit back a laugh at the look on Jan's face when Mark called her Mrs Collins. Then she choked on her breath as Mark pinned her with the full force of his blue eyes. "Hi," he said, smiling.
His gaze roamed over Rachel's body. His confident smile one of a man who knew exactly how attractive he was to the opposite sex. "I'm Mark." He stuck out his hand and enclosed hers in his warm grasp. His rough fingers slid across the smooth surface of her skin. A shock of heat raced through her body.
"Hi, I'm Rachel. It's nice to meet you." Her voice came out huskier than she had ever heard it.
Jan snorted, drawing Mark's attention to her. "So, Mark, Rachel here was just admiring your handiwork."
"Is that right?" He turned back to Rachel and ran his hand through his dark, chocolate brown hair. The action drew her eyes to his biceps as he moved. "You like what you see?" he asked, his mouth quirked up at the edges.
Rachel gulped. Unable to trust her voice, she nodded like an idiot. When Jan laughed, Rachel glared at her then glanced towards Lila who was watching her through narrowed eyes. Shit! Just what she needed, to make an idiot out of herself in front of Lila of all people. Rachel shook her head. She was a grown woman, for God sakes. She could talk to a handsome man without acting like an idiot.
"I definitely like it. I love how you were able to match the moulding on the railing with the house. It looks like it has always been here. And the gazebo is stunning. The details and intricacy of the work are phenomenal. I was interested in having something like this gazebo in my backyard as well as some other stuff done. I don't know how swamped you are with work, or if you would even have time to give me a quote," she asked him, rambling like an adolescent schoolgirl.
He looked her up and down, the look of male appreciation so hot and lustful it seared her with heat. "I am sure I could find the time to squeeze you in."
"Great," she replied, her voice pitched higher in nervous excitement. God, she was pathetic. She cleared her throat and tried again. "I mean, great." That was better.
He grinned at her, his blue eyes twinkling with amusement.
Lila linked her arm with her son's. "Rachel was the first designer I hired when we bought this house."
Mark looked at his mother, his brow knit in confusion. "First designer? How many did you hire?"
"Oh, Mark, darling," his mother chided. "You know I have very particular tastes. It took a great deal of trial and error to find a designer who truly understood my vision."
"Right." He chuckled and, turning his attention to Rachel, he gave her a lopsided grin. "I guess you didn't get the vision."
"Nope. I got the boot," Rachel replied.
Mark laughed. "That sounds about right."
"Oh, honestly, Rachel." Lila gasped. "You didn't get the boot. I told you that I thought you just needed a bit more culture and experience before you were ready for something like our home."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Aged to Perfection"
Copyright © 2010 Lauren Fraser.
Excerpted by permission of Totally Entwined Group Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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