A New Year
(A Story Excerpted from Dances of Redemption)
By Gwen Masters

It was exactly eighteen minutes into the New Year when my cell phone rang.

“Do you remember,” she asked quietly, “When you said I could call anytime I needed you?”

“I’m on my way,” I said. I dropped the phone into my pocket and turned to the guys at the bar. They were mostly tanked and I was the designated driver. What wonderful timing I have.

“I have to go,” I said to the one of them who seemed still in control of most of his faculties. I had to shout to be heard above the screaming guitars on the little stage.

“Go?” he asked, and I saw him start to sober up immediately. Good man.

“Yeah, go. I have to go. Right now.”

“Is she okay?”

That’s when I knew he was sober enough. “I don’t know.”

I watched as he pushed his drink away and hollered at the bartender for coffee. Then he glanced back at me. “What the hell are you standing there for? Run. Fly. Go, man.”

And I did. That Lexus did ninety on the interstate. She had been my best friend for years, and if she needed me, I would be there. Thank God for radar detectors. I slammed on the brakes at least a dozen times between the city and the little house in the little town in the middle of nowhere.

Yeah, she could call me anytime she needed me, and I would be there. It was my promise to her, the only promise I could make, but one I was determined to keep. Hell, I could have promised her the entire world and I would have, if not for the memories of him. If not for that guy she still held so deeply in her heart, the one who had walked out on her and the life they had built together. If not for him, I would have been cuddled up with her on the old couch, watching the tacky lighted ball drop a whole hour before it was actually midnight in the heart of Tennessee. We would have rang in the New Year in style.

I flipped open the phone and hit memory dial. She was number one on the little number pad. That fact alone probably meant a lot of things I didn’t want to think about just yet.

One ring. Two. Three. I was just starting to get worried when she picked up, her voice fragile yet with an underlying strength that told me she was okay.

“What happened?” I asked, and she began to cry.

Good. At least she was letting it out instead of holding it all inside.

“He was so cold and heartless when I called him to wish him a Happy New Year. I knew better than to call. Dammit, why do I do this?” she asked, not really expecting an answer.

“Because you love him and he made promises that you still believe.”

“I just want to be okay again.”

I smiled at the strong woman suddenly sounding like a plaintive little girl. “You did the right thing. You called me. And I’m almost there.”

“You were out having a good time,” she sniffled.

“Not really. Trust me.” It was true. I thought of her the whole damn time. Worrying about her being at home all alone in that house made me feel guilty as hell. If I hadn’t promised the guys I would go out with them, I would have been right there to keep her from calling him in the first place. I damned myself all over again for making plans two months in advance. Why couldn’t I just work on the fly?

Distraction would be good, I thought.

“Hey…do you by any chance have something to eat this late at night? I’m starving,” I lied.

“Ummm…” I listened to her try to switch gears. Listened to her pull it together. “Homemade Chili. I bought guacamole yesterday.”

My heart thumped harder in my chest. She did? She never ate the stuff, couldn’t stand it. But I loved it, and she knew that. I wondered…

“Did you buy that for me?” I said, my teasing light enough that she couldn’t read anything into it.

“Yeah, actually.” She laughed a little.

So she bought it for me. That meant she expected me to be at her place at some point.

Hot damn.

The radar detector beeped and I slammed on the brakes. Shit. She had to have heard that little annoying ping. I heard her sigh that frustrated yet teasing sigh she gets when a grown man is acting like a kid.

“You better slow down,” she warned. 

I smiled and pushed down on the accelerator again. Eighty. Ninety. No more beeps.

”I am slowing down,” I lied.


I actually blushed. Time for a change of subject. “Heat up that chili. I’ll be there in…oh…ten minutes.”

“Where are you…thirty miles out?” she teased.

“More like forty,” I shot back, and this time her laugh was real, and it ran right through me. The residual effect landed in an unmentionable place. I rolled down the window and let in air that was twenty degrees before the wind chill factored in. Damn, but January was hotter than hell.

“Be careful,” she said to me.

I was already too far gone for that. But I didn’t tell her. What good would it have done? It would have been nothing but more pressure on a woman who had already been pushed beyond her limits since that fool walked out of her life to figure out what he really wanted. It shouldn’t have been a hard choice. But some of us just don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone. I actually felt sorry for him for a moment.

Then I felt happy for me.

Then I felt guilty because she was hurting.

Then I decided not to think anymore.

All the lights were off in the house, save one in the kitchen. I cut the engine and let the Lexus cruise down her street, snuggling right up to the curb. I closed the door quietly, lest I wake the neighbors, and engaged the alarm. Then I stood there for a moment, looking at the silent house. Did she have any idea what it did to me to be welcome there? To be able to walk to her door anytime I pleased? To be one of those few she trusted to call in the middle of the night?

I decided to tell her exactly how glad I was to know those things.

I knocked quietly and then tried the door handle. It swung easily, already unlocked, and I stepped into the living room. The television was on, muted, some movie I had never seen before. The cat looked at me with sleepy eyes, then stretched luxuriously on the back of the couch. The microwave hummed from the kitchen. I placed my keys silently on the bookcase and latched the door behind me. I dropped my coat to the couch, thinking again how good it was to be comfortable in this place she had made her own.

I found her in the kitchen.

She was standing at the sink, washing dishes. She couldn’t hear anything over the running water. Her red hair was loose and flowing over her shoulders. She wore an old shirt, something her ex-boyfriend had probably left behind, a shirt that fell to her knees. She wore leggings under it, the kind that hug every curve just right. I smiled at the flash of a silver bracelet on her ankle. When she put another plate on the drain, I couldn’t help but notice her perfectly manicured nails. Tonight they were ruby red.

Then the microwave beeped, and we both jumped. She turned and saw me.

The smile that spread over her face was full of relief. She came straight into my arms. Her wet hands made marks on the back of my shirt. I was aware again of how short she was compared to my six feet. She was plump enough to fill my arms as I held her. Her hair was still damp from her shower. She smelled of mango and cucumber and citrus dishwashing detergent.

“I’m so glad you are here,” she whispered against my chest.

“I’m glad to be here,” I whispered back.

“Are you hungry?”

I didn’t answer. I just held her when she would have pulled away. I felt the resistance and held on. When she relaxed into my arms this time, she began to cry. Her tears came quickly and freely, staining my shirt and leaving equally large stains on my heart.

“I just didn’t want to be alone,” she whispered brokenly.

“You aren’t. You won’t be.”

“Is it weak? Not wanting to be alone?”

I shook my head and held her tighter. “No. It’s not weak. It’s knowing when to reach out.”

She sighed and sniffled. I pushed her away just enough to take her face in my hands. She didn’t like to be looked at when she was crying, so she kept her face turned away, slightly embarrassed. I couldn’t help myself. I kissed her forehead with a tenderness that shocked us both into stillness. The clock ticking from the living room suddenly seemed far too loud. We stood there in the kitchen for long moments while time slipped past. The tension in her said she was ready to turn and run. The tension in me said I wanted to do anything but.

Then I let her go, and the moment was gone.

“I’ll get the chili,” I said. “Why don’t you find a movie to watch? We’ll stay up all night.”

She smiled, glad to be back on firm footing.


“Tonight, yeah. We both need it.”

I watched her walk out of the kitchen, her body moving in that way that was uniquely hers. I stood there for a moment while I listened to her turn up the volume and flip through the channels. I could still feel the wetness on my shirt, both from her tears and her hands. Then I spied the guacamole on the counter, along with the sour cream and a bowl for it all.

She bought the guacamole for me.

I was just getting myself deeper into trouble.

Not that I minded.

When I opened the microwave I decided yes, I was hungry after all. Ravenous. I filled up a bowl with the fragrant chili and poured a tall glass of milk, proud of being able to move about her kitchen and know where everything was. I ambled into the living room just as she settled down on the couch, the cat in her lap. She looked so beautiful sitting there, her trusting blue eyes looking up at me in gratitude. That simple expression on her face was enough to make my heart flip over itself. I sat quickly, lest my body follow suit and embarrass us both.

“What do you think about watching ‘Behind Enemy Lines’?” she asked, still with a hint of tears in her voice. “There isn’t much else on.”

“No comedy?”

“Unless you want to see Ellen Degeneres,” she said, and wrinkled her nose.

“Shit, no. Let’s watch a shoot ‘em up movie,” I grinned. She chuckled at me and watched as I took a bite of the chili. It was delicious.

“This is even better with guacamole,” I said. “Thank you for that.”

“You’re welcome.” She smiled contentedly and sniffled. I looked down at my bowl.

“I mean it,” I said softly. “Thank you for thinking of me. I know I’m the only reason you bought it. That is more important to me than you realize. Knowing you did it for me, no other reason.”

She looked down and blushed. She didn’t know how to accept a compliment like that. It made her all the more appealing.

“When does the movie start?” I asked, breaking the silence that was a little too comfortable.

Turned out it had already started, but just barely. We watched and slowly fell into another world, one of much more strife than either of us had ever had to deal with. It seemed to put things in perspective. When the movie was over, she stretched long and hard, her hand brushing against my shoulder as she did it. The cat leapt off the couch and looked back at us with yellow eyes.

“I am so tired,” she said.

“Want me to leave?” I asked. No, I thought. Please let me stay.

“You can stay if you want.”

Ah, yes, there is a God.

“I can sleep on the couch,” I offered. “Got a quilt I can use?”

She nodded and pushed up off the couch, using my knee as leverage. The handprint might as well have been full of radiation. I could feel the heat of it even after she disappeared down the hallway. I got up and followed her.

She was standing in her bedroom, looking up into her closet. I watched as she reached far above her head. The shirt pulled against her breasts, throwing them into ample relief. The fabric pulled slightly up her belly. It made me smile. She stood on tiptoe to reach the top shelf. In two steps I was behind her, reaching over her to pull down the sheets myself.

Then somehow she turned just the right way, and I felt the heat of her body against my chest. She turned to look at me. And it felt like the most natural thing in the world to lean down and brush my lips against hers.

Her mouth opened in a startled gasp. I immediately pulled back. Her eyes met mine, filled with amazement and a confusion that said she didn’t know exactly what to say or do. She was out of her depth. I was even farther out of mine, already verging into reckless territory.

So I let the sheets fall to the floor. I slipped one hand under her hair, to the nape of her neck. Her skin was so warm to my touch. She looked at me with wide eyes. The innocence in them ran right through me and curled around my heart.

I kissed her.

Her lips tasted like tangerines. I licked the flavor from them and then there was nothing there but the taste of her skin, the salty sweetness I would ever after associate with her. When she sighed and her mouth opened under mine, she tasted like graham crackers. It reminded me of the innocence in her eyes. The simplicity of her. She didn’t try to pull away yet she didn’t press into me like I thought she might. She simply stood very still, testing the quaking of her soul, wondering if this was okay. Wondering if kissing me was wrong, or right, or if it didn’t matter one way or the other. 

My fingers tightened in her hair and she moaned. It was a sound of surrender.

Sweet surrender…

“You taste better than I thought you would,” I whispered against her lips. I felt her smile. She moved then, placing one uncertain hand on my chest. She looked down, shy and quiet, and I took her other hand in mine. I kissed each fingertip. She took a deep breath and let it out on a shaky whisper.

“I don’t know if I can do this…”

I quickly pulled her against me, cradling her against my chest. She went just as willingly as she had in the kitchen, burying her face in my shoulder.

“You don’t have to do anything at all,” I said, and I meant every word.

“I don’t know what I want. I don’t know…this feels wrong, doesn’t it?”

I shook my head and thought about that. Of course it felt wrong to her. She was still in love with someone else. But that man had left her, destroyed a part of her. So was it really wrong? She was just moving on, moving forward. Was there anything to save herself for?

“Let’s just lie down together. Is that okay?” I asked, knowing that would be okay with me. I wanted more but I was willing to settle for simply being in her presence. “Let’s lie down and just see what happens. You call the shots.”

“Are you sure?” she asked me with a hopeful note in her voice.

“Absolutely sure.”

Her bed was warm and comfortable, just like her. The sheets were flannel and the quilt was something she had made herself, a kaleidoscope of fabric that was just as pleasing to the touch as it was to the eye. I watched her carefully. This was a place I had never been before: uncertain and just as shy as she was.

I crawled into the bed and took her into my arms. She buried her face against my chest. Her small hands curled around my arm. Though we were fully clothed, I pulled the quilt over us anyway. It made her feel more secure, and some of the tension disappeared from her breath. She pushed her forehead under my chin and settled closer. I spread one hand across her back. She was so small compared to me.

The clock in the living room ticked away the minutes.

“You make me feel safe,” she whispered.

“You make me feel like I can keep you safe,” I said back.

She pulled away just enough to look up into my eyes. She blinked slowly, already fighting sleep. Instead of being disappointed, I found myself glad she was tired. Glad she was going to fall asleep right there in my arms, where I would be able to protect her from nightmares and the hell of waking up to an empty bed. I kissed her eyelids, one by one. Then her forehead. Then her nose. She smiled and ran her hand through my hair, making me shiver.

“Don’t leave,” she whispered.

“I’m not going anywhere,” I vowed.

I watched as her eyes drifted closed. Her breathing was soon long and even. She sniffled once and began to snore ever so lightly, so softly I had listen closely to hear it. It made her seem like a vulnerable child. She shifted once and her shirt rose up over one hip. My hand followed it, finding the warm skin of her waist. She was smooth as silk. I lay there rubbing her skin lightly, memorizing how good it felt to be beside her.

I awoke to the fall of sunlight across the bed. Now instead of one quilt, we were covered with two; she must have awakened during the night and found it had grown colder. She was lying against me, her back firmly against my chest, her feet tangled in my legs. Her hair tickled my nose. I buried my face against her neck and took a deep breath, then stayed there as I felt her breathing change. She stretched and reached back, sleepily running her fingers over my thigh.

“Good morning,” she whispered shyly.

I didn’t answer. Instead I locked my arms around her waist and pulled her even closer. Her body was warm and supple with sleep. She melted into my arms at first, then the tension ran through her like a shock from a faulty outlet. I whispered into her ear, words that meant very little, but that were all I could offer. “It’s alright,” I said. “It’s okay.”

She took a deep breath. I felt her belly rise and fall against my hands. Once. Twice. Then she took a deep breath and held it for so long I began to worry. It came out in a rush and a sigh.

“I slept beside you all night,” she mused.


“Why does that feel unfaithful?”

I tentatively kissed her neck. She didn’t pull away, so I did it again. “Because you are used to being faithful. For how long?” I asked softly.

“Two years,” she said. “Almost…”

“That’s long enough to make you feel as though this is being unfaithful.”

“But it’s not,” she said as if trying to convince herself.

“No, it’s not. It’s perfectly okay.”

“And if I make love to you, is that okay, too?”

I buried my face in her long red hair and bit back a moan. My body immediately sprang to life, though I tried hard to fight it. I knew she could feel what the simple suggestion did to me. I tried not to think of how voluptuous her body was, how trusting and innocent she felt in my hands when I kissed her…and then all thought fled when she arched into me and ground her ample bottom against my erection.

“Jesus…” I groaned into her ear. She took another deep breath. I let my hand slip up to cover one breast. It filled my hand. Her nipple was hard under the old shirt. She pushed harder into my palm and I settled my lips on her neck, tasting the slightest tang of perfume and fresh, clean skin. Then I didn’t move, because breathing was already a struggle.

“You want me,” she whispered in awe.

I fought to keep a clear head. “Of course I want you.”

“I didn’t think anyone would want me again,” she said wistfully. My heart suddenly hurt. Tears stung my eyes, tears I was completely unaccustomed to. I hadn’t cried since I was a teenager. How in the world could she do such things to me?

That thought alone would have made me hesitate. I didn’t want to feel so much.

But she didn’t think anyone would want her…

God help me, I thought. Please. I cannot mess this up.

“I do want you,” I said. “I want you more than I have ever wanted anyone.” It was true.

“I’m afraid,” she whispered. I could hear the tears in her voice. I slid my hand down her belly. She caught a breath as I lifted the end of her shirt. I slipped my hand beneath it to find sleep-warmed skin, then slid it up to find her bare breast, topped with a nipple so hard it felt painful. I squeezed gently and her breath instantly became ragged.

“How long has it been?” I asked.

“Too long…”

My other hand slid down to her belly. I cradled her close. When she arched into my hand, I began to play with her, gently testing what she liked. She liked a firm touch. And a little bit of teasing before I squeezed her nipple a little harder. She wiggled her hips against me and I pressed back, not hiding anything. She knew exactly how badly my body wanted hers.

“Touch me,” I whispered. “Don’t be afraid…”

She hesitated for a long moment. Then she reached back and found the button of my jeans. “Take them off,” she suddenly demanded. The button came free. The zipper slid down. Together, we pushed the jeans off my hips and I kicked them out from under the quilts. They landed on the floor, and the zipper made a little ticking sound in the silence.

That little sound sent a shiver all the way through her body. She turned to face me. For the first time, her blue eyes met mine. “I want you,” she said simply and then she blushed, and my heart soared.

“Good,” I managed to say.

I touched her face. She pulled on the hem of my t-shirt and I sat up. I let her skim the fabric up my body, lifting my arms to let her take it off. The only thing left were boxers that hid absolutely nothing. Before the cotton hit the floor she had her hands on my chest, tracing the planes and angles with her soft fingertips.

“You are beautiful,” she breathed, and then it was my turn to blush. I touched her hair. It was tangled from sleep and felt like silk strands between my calloused fingers. She turned her face into my palm. Her lips were soft and warm against the inside of my wrist. Her hands were not tentative…in fact, I felt as though I were with a woman much more experienced than I in the art of lovemaking. A surprise, that…give the innocence of her, I never would have expected that look in her eyes when they met mine.

That sudden look of raw passion and untempered need.

“Do you know what you do to me?” I asked. My voice was hoarse. What the hell was I saying? She seemed to make words pour out of me like water rushing over a broken dam.

“Tell me,” she said as her hands traced the pulse from my ear down to my throat. I wanted to tell her everything.

“You make me want to protect you. But you make me want to give in. All at once. Like flipping a coin and seeing it land on its edge. Every…time…”

Her lips touched the center of my chest. My hand tightened in her hair and she growled in warning, her blue eyes flicking up at me. The shakes set in when I pulled my hand away. I clenched the sheet to keep from letting it show.

“You do protect me,” she whispered, her breath warm against my already heated skin. “You take care of me. When I let you.”

“I want…” All thought fled when her hand trailed up my inner thigh. Her fingernails scraped gently over my skin. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. This was ridiculous. I had to get it under control.

Then she pushed down the boxers and I forgot how to breathe. She wasn’t hesitant. When her fingers closed around my cock, the shock traveled through me and escaped in a groan. My God. Did I really sound like that? I grabbed her wrist and held her still. Her eyes met mine.

“I can’t,” I whispered. “Jesus Christ, girl. I have to slow down…”

Her eyes held an innocent sheen. “Why?” she asked, and that’s when I realized what I had seen all along wasn’t innocence, not at all. It was shamelessness. Suddenly it was okay to be nervous. It was okay to be anything, as long as I was just as honest as she was.

“I’ll come…so fast. I have never wanted to come so badly.”

She leaned over and brushed her lips against mine. “What’s wrong with that?” she breathed. A low moan escaped me. Her lips hovered above mine as she stroked once…twice…I felt the rush deep inside. The tingling in my balls that felt so damn good. My hips arched up of their own accord. My voice was ragged.

“It hasn’t been…this fast…since…I was a…teenager…”

She suddenly stopped moving her hand. My eyes flew open. Her hair trailed over my face. My throat. My chest…then my belly, and I realized what she was going to do. Her fingertips grazed my balls and I whimpered. I couldn’t handle it. One touch of those lips and I would come, I couldn’t help it, there wasn’t a shred of control left anywhere inside me—

Then her mouth, warm and wet, slid down the length of my cock. My God…I was buried in her mouth…that did me in. My cock spurted so hard it hurt. The way she sucked, her lips almost at the base, just made me come harder. I closed my eyes and just gave in. Fuck control. Who needed that?

I think I screamed. I know I clenched the sheets so hard my arms hurt. When I came down from the top of the orgasm she had driven me to, the only thought in my mind was the same thing that was falling over and over from my lips: Her name.

She snuggled up to me, her head on my chest. My breath stirred her hair, sending little strands gently moving back and forth. I closed my eyes when she kissed my jaw. Long moments of silence passed before she spoke.

“You are too quiet.”

I took a deep breath. Let it out. Slow. Then another. “You scare the fuck out of me,” I said quietly, amazed that I could open up and give so much of my thoughts to this woman.

“You scare me, too,” she whispered against my chest.


She rolled to her side and fit her body to mine. Nothing but ample curves, and they all fit perfectly. Even her knee fit just right against the inside of mine, and her thigh curved around the little paunch I could never exercise away. That elusive six-pack suddenly didn’t matter anymore.

“Why?” I asked again, and watched her run her fingers through the hair on my chest.

“Because you are everything he’s not.”

I closed my eyes against a sudden surge of resentment. I didn’t want him here, in this bed, between us. Not now. Not now that I finally had her in my arms where I had wanted her for so long. But then I remembered that if not for him, I wouldn’t be there in her bed in the first place. It was a bittersweet kind of acceptance.

“I’m everything he’s not,” I repeated, just enough of a question to urge her on.

“He never came for me like that,” she whispered, and I could feel the blush of her cheek against my chest. “He never wanted me badly enough.”

I curled my fingers into her hair and took a deep breath. I took her hand and led it down to where I was already becoming hard again. I circled her fingers around my cock and she was the one who groaned aloud.

“I want you that badly,” I whispered into her hair.

“Show me…”

I began to move her hand up and down, slowly, knowing I could hold onto some control this time. When she began to move her fingers of her own accord, I reached up and unbuttoned the shirt she wore. One slow button at a time, the little black discs falling free of their mooring, opening inch after inch of soft, pale skin. I was aware of her eyes on my face, watching as I discovered what she looked like under that warm cotton.

Her breasts were heavy, her nipples thick and hard. I brushed the back of my hand over one of them and watched it pucker even harder. “Does that hurt?” I whispered, suddenly fascinated.

“Yes…a little. But it is a good hurt."

I cupped her breast and lifted it, tested the weight in my hand. I slipped one fingertip around that hard nipple and watched as she instinctively pushed into my hand. Slowly, so as not to push her too far too quickly, I leaned over and flicked my tongue across the little nub. She sucked in a breath as I blew cool air across it, watched the wetness slowly disappear. Then I did it again. And again. And once more, until she caught a hand in my hair and pushed me into her chest. I sucked the hardness into my mouth and she whimpered.

“That feels so good,” she said softly. Her hand was suddenly idle, gently circling my cock while her whole attention was pulled into sensation. I didn’t mind in the least. I abandoned her nipple to my fingers. I gently pinched and pulled while my mouth descended on her other breast. She arched harder and I let that hand slip down her belly, under the elastic of those leggings that had driven me so crazy all night long.

Goosebumps rose up on her hip. I felt them, ran my fingertips over them. The shiver that ran through her gave me a smug thrill. I did that. I made her shiver like that. Me.

I delved farther down, ran my fingers down the slope of her hip. She didn’t open her legs to me. I teased her with feather-touches, played her slowly, then left one nipple wet and begging in the morning air as I whispered into her ear.

“Please let me touch you…please…I want to slip my fingers inside you…Do you have any idea how hot you make me? How hard the simple thought of you makes me? You are so beautiful, everything about you is so beautiful, and I want to know all of you, every inch…please, let me touch you.”

Her breath was sweet against my neck as she lifted both hands to my hair. I tried to look at her but she held my head still, against her throat, not letting me see. Her legs slowly parted. Her hips rolled toward me gently. Heat poured from her. I slipped my hand between her thighs and we both sucked in a breath when I felt how wet she was.

I had to ask again. “How long has it been?” I said, hearing my own note of surprise.

“October,” she whispered shyly. I slipped one finger inside her as she said it. She bucked up to me instantly, every response fine-tuned and sharp.

“How long since he made you enjoy it?” I asked bluntly, and she hesitated, thinking.

"I don't want to talk about it,” she admitted, her voice suddenly hard, and I slipped my finger deeper. She moaned and the tension began to ease out of her. She was the most responsive woman I had ever touched, and I wondered how dense a man had to be to miss the firebrand she was. He must have been a terrible lover. I almost felt sorry for him.

“Do you enjoy this?” I asked.

“God, yes…yes…”

I slipped that finger back and forth inside her. Those long months of celibacy were clear; she was painfully tight. She took a deep breath and a small shudder went through her when I found that sweet spot, pressed hard on it, then ran my thumb up over her clit. She spread her legs wider. Her hands fell limp in my hair. She was completely focused on the sensation.

“Do you want my cock inside you?” I whispered. I felt the warmth of my own breath linger against her skin. I lifted up enough to slip my free hand under her. When I began to push down the leggings, she reached to help me. Within moments we were both naked under the quilts, and I wanted to see more. I lifted the covers and she suddenly grabbed my arm.

“No…no, please! I don’t want that…”

I immediately dropped back to the bed, pulling the blankets over us. “You don’t want me to see you?” I whispered into her ear, never stopping the motion of my hand.

“No…I’m scared.”

“I won’t do anything to make you scared,” I promised. Her breasts rose with every harsh breath. Was I too eager? I slowed down, thrusting my finger into her with deliberate strokes. She suddenly grabbed my shoulders and pulled, ground her hips against me, telling me all I needed to know. I settled between her legs and slipped my finger out of her. I waited until she opened her eyes, then I sucked my own finger into my mouth. I let her watch me suck it clean. Her eyes widened in desire, the blue depths of them suddenly the color of approaching summer storms.

“Can I taste you?” I asked, and she shook her head vehemently.

“No…I don’t want that.”

“He never did it, did he?”

She blushed scarlet, and I had my answer. I hesitated, my mind suddenly racing. There was a condom in the pocket of my jeans. Wasn’t there? Or was there one in the pocket of my jacket, back in the living room?

“I don’t want you to use one,” she said. A rush of passion ran through me.

“I’ve never done that before,” I whispered, and it was my turn to be shy.

“Never without a condom?”


“Does it bother you?”

I smiled down at her. “Not with you.” The smile caught fire in her eyes. Her legs were smooth as silk as she slid her calves over my thighs, trying to pull me closer.

“Then what are you waiting for?” she asked breathlessly.

I took my time. My hands settled on her hips to hold her still, and I slid the head of my cock through the wetness between her lips. She was so wet, the sheets would be soaked by the time we were through. Something about that turned me on beyond description. I slipped the head of my cock into her, and she arched hard against my hands, trying to take more. I had never been with a woman who was so eager to have me. It took every ounce of control I had to slide into her inch by inch. She wiggled her hips, her nails sank into my back, and her legs tightened around mine. She wanted me.

I let go of her hips and with one long thrust she impaled herself on my cock. She was so tight it almost hurt. The groan ripped from deep in her throat, a primal sound of wanton lust. She ground her hips against me and I leaned down to let my weight push her down into the bed. I ground back to reach as deeply into her as I could. Her eyes fluttered closed as I held perfectly still. I could feel little shocks of pleasure roll through her, tightening her around me. I had never felt that before. And I had never felt that kind of heat, the thrill of skin on skin, with nothing but desire between us.

“This is beautiful,” I whispered down at her, and she opened her eyes. She nodded. Then she smiled, a wicked and naughty smile, and I damn near lost it right then. My body surged and I bit my lip. She had the nerve to giggle. The sound vibrated through her body and made my control problem worse.

“I swear,” I panted, “I have more stamina than this. I swear I do.”

Then she laughed. Her pussy clenched down on me in waves. I groaned and pulled out quickly, lest I come within seconds. She laughed so hard, her body shuddered under mine. I chuckled right along with her, and then she pulled on my hair, lifting me up. I slid into her effortlessly, all the way, and she gasped. The desire in her eyes was almost tangible, cutting through my chest and slamming straight into my heart.

“Don’t stop until you come inside me,” she whispered, bold and wanton.

“I want you to come on me,” I whispered back. In answer, she ground her hips hard against mine. I pulled out halfway, then plunged back in. Then again. Then without conscious thought, my body simply taking what it had to have, my mind completely focused on the sensation, my chest full and my hands trembling. Her nails dug into my back. Her legs were like a vise around my hips. I thrust harder, and she suddenly felt tighter.

“Oh, God,” she breathed, then my name ripped from her on a small scream. I knew exactly when the orgasm hit, because I could no longer move. She clamped down on me so hard I cried out with her. The tingling suddenly ran through my spine, the weakness spiraled through my thighs, and I started to shake as I came. I came harder than I had in years, maybe harder than I ever had, and for the first time I felt the sweet release of letting go inside her, the warm flood that covered my whole cock. I heard the echo of her name and when I looked down to see the victory in her eyes through the haze of my own desire, I knew I had screamed it out loud.

I collapsed on her, then slowly moved to the side to keep from crushing her. I was lightheaded. I lay there without saying a word. Her chest rose hurriedly at first, then slower. I watched the goosebumps form on her skin, then go away, then come back again.

I thought back over the night. I wondered how hung over the guys were. I thought about how lucky I was not to get pulled over on the way here. I thought about the way her body felt curled up beside mine, all warm and supple, all night long. I thought about Homemade Chili and the way she looked standing there at the sink doing dishes, her hands covered in suds. I thought about that first sweet kiss and the sheets we left on the floor.

I wondered if she would let me taste her. How long it would take before she would let me look at her, all of her, in the sunlight that was streaming through the windows. I wondered if she smiled when she put the guacamole in the shopping cart at the grocery store.

“I left the guacamole out on the counter all night long,” I said slowly. She chuckled.

“We will buy more,” she whispered.