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Laura is stuck in a rut. Forty-two and divorced, with her son and daughter away at college, she is enjoying cocktails with her best friend when she decides to reinvent her life and move to Boston. There she can be closer to her friends, keep working as a freelance designer, and start over, away from the memories of her dull marriage.
Jake is handsome, dominant, and successful. He's also a playboy. When he is introduced to Laura by mutual friends of theirs, sparks fly between them, but he immediately warns her not to expect a relationship. He's happy to see to her needs in the bedroom, but after an unhappy marriage of his own, he's vowed never to get emotionally attached again.
As Jake takes her on a journey of sexual reawakening and discovery, fulfilling her darkest fantasies, Laura finds herself getting more and more involved with him on a deeper level. She dreams of introducing him to her family and spending more time with him – despite his hesitation to get involved. And he, too, seems to be behaving more and more like a boyfriend than a friend with benefits.
Ahead of her lies a course where Laura has to find herself and discover the woman she longs to be. Does she dare to own her newfound, submissive sexuality and try to make her fantasy of being with Jake long-term come true? Or will Jake allow his past to ruin their future before he's even given it a chance?
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual scenes including elements of BDSM, anal, and ménage. If you don't enjoy such material, please do not purchase.
Dinner with Isa
"The divorce has been final for what, five or six months now?" Isa handed me the cosmopolitan she had just created. She even had the right triangular glass for it. Of course Isa couldn't serve cosmopolitans in a regular wine glass or a highball glass.
The red color of the cranberry juice reminded me of the first red lipstick I ever bought. It hadn't done anything good for my lips or looks, but I had felt so mature and grown up.
I took the first sip and let the cool liquid tickle in between my teeth and slide over my tongue. God, I could feel the tension ease away as I savored the tangy taste of the drink. I had never really gotten into Sex and the City, but they certainly gave us the cosmopolitan and for that, I'll be forever grateful.
"Yes. Five months and seventeen days. Argh! I sound like someone from AA. Hello, my name is Laura, and I have been divorced for five months and seventeen days."
"Well, yes, but look at it as your liberation. Divorce has such dreadful connotations." Isa took a sip and looked thoughtful. She frowned at her drink and squeezed two drops of lime into the glass.
"Divorces are about losses," she said, "broken hearts, cheating husbands, unhappy kids, wrecked homes. But you're not really unhappy about no longer being married to Mr. Always-so-bloody-serious, are you? I know you feel bad about the kids, but Louise and Ian are grown-ups and living their own lives."
"I know that, Isa, but somehow I feel like I have to start all over again. I'm back to square one. I'm back to where I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I hated it then and I hate it now." I took a big drink of the cocktail.
"I know that, Laura," Isa said, imitating my intonation so well, "I was there with you." She looked at me, finished her drink and then looked at the vodka label, like she was contemplating what to say next. I got the feeling we were heading in a serious direction.
Isa poured vodka, juice, and Cointreau into the mixing glass, then filled it with ice and began to shake it like she was doing a Caribbean dance. She was getting the second round of drinks ready, and I guessed we needed it if we were going to have the 'what am I going to do with my life' conversation.
"You were always somewhat laid back, and a go with the flow kind of girl. It was like it was easier for you to go along with someone else's game plan than finding out what you really wanted to do. Remember when we went to South America?" she asked.
"What about it?" After our first year of college, Isa and I had travelled around in Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, and Brazil. We'd wanted to practice our Spanish, and had fantasized about all these Latino men dancing like Ricky Martin. It didn't quite turn out that way. I was sick for a week with the worst case of diarrhea (I thought I was dying), and they speak Portuguese in Brazil, not Spanish.
"Laura, don't you remember? You talked about going to Europe, but when I said Europe was old school, and I didn't want to go, you didn't even try to argue."
"Of course not. By then I knew that arguing with you about men and dancing is hopeless. And Europe wasn't really a big deal for me."
"Exactly!" Isa sounded very triumphant, and I was sure she was about to make some very profound point. "Nothing is ever a big deal for you. There isn't anything you're really passionate about. Anything you would do or die for!" She poured herself one more drink, and gave me the rest of the cosmopolitan. "You have to find out what you really want for yourself. You have to find your passion."
Hmm. This was getting out of hand. "How much vodka did you put in that drink?"
Isa giggled, a sure indicator that she was not completely sober.
"I don't really know," she said. "I just followed the instructions and then added a bit more vodka to get the color right."
I had to smile. That was such an Isa thing to do. Color clearly preceded blood alcohol content. "Talking about passion, Isa, where is your passion?" I asked her.
Isa is married to Mitchell, and if she wasn't my best friend, I would kill her for a chance to be with him. He is exactly like the heroes in suspense romance books set in medieval Scotland. My ex-husband Michael, on the other hand, is just the opposite. Not that he's ugly or anything, but he is somewhat boring to look at—bland, I guess you could say. Come to think of it, bland is probably the right word to describe our marriage for the last ten years. Wishy-washy, my grandmother would have said. But he had been a safe and secure choice, and I didn't really have anything bad to say about him. He just wasn't very exciting, but then maybe I wasn't, either.
"Mitchell is in California with Jake." Whenever Isa talks about Mitch, she starts to glow. "They're meeting with some potential buyers for the new software they have developed. Have you met Jake before? I can't remember."
"No, you've talked about him, but I was so caught up in the whole divorce thing that I didn't really pay attention. Should we go out and find something to eat?" I didn't want to hear any more about this Jake. If Isa wanted me to meet him, he was probably way out of my league. I guess I'm fairly attractive, and in pretty good shape for a forty-two-year-old mother of two, but I don't have that little extra something that makes women like Isa stand out in a crowd. Isa isn't a classic beauty, but somehow she commands attention when she enters a room, and men tend to orbit towards her, wanting to do her bidding.
I often think that Cleopatra must have been the same way. By all accounts she wasn't a beautiful woman, but the most powerful men of her time wanted to conquer the world for her. For Isa, men always were too easy to have. I guess that explains why she never really thought too much of them, except Mitchell. He wasn't easy. Actually, he avoided Isa as much as possible, and for once in her life, she had to do the chasing. Of course she succeeded. When Isa wants something, she gets it.
"Or we can order out," Isa said, "that way we can experiment with more cocktails, get drunk and obnoxious, and pass out. We'll feel like we're nineteen again."
"You're right. That's just what I need." I grabbed my phone and scrolled through the choices in the vicinity. "So, do you want Italian, Thai, Indian, French, pizza or Ethiopian?" I asked.
She looked at me with a strange smile on her face. "I'll let you decide," she said. "What do you want to eat?"
I frowned and looked down at my glass. It was empty. Somehow, I had managed to down two big cosmopolitans without noticing it. "I don't think choosing dinner qualifies as knowing what I want to do with my life."
"No. But it's a way to practice your decision making skills." Isa laughed. She'd really put me on the spot, and we both knew it. I can never decide where to order from.
There were so many good things to eat, and so many wrong choices. Should I have salad, steak, pasta, Pad Thai? How many calories and carbs? What would Isa want? Back home, I have the local Chinese and Domino's on speed dial, and I've circled the numbers I usually order. That way, I've reduced the complexity of ordering take out. It's strange, though. This indecisiveness is limited to my personal life. As a freelance graphic designer, I make decisions all the time. In my professional life, I'm confident, outgoing and, well, professional. It's only regarding myself and my personal life that things become difficult.
Maybe it was the vodka but suddenly I felt inspired. If I could make this decision about our food based solely on what I wanted to eat, then that could be the first tentative step towards finding out what I, Laura Williams, wanted and, in that process, also finding myself.
I did it. I chose Italian. No need to take too big a chance on my first decision step and order Ethiopian, I figured. Better to get my balance first. I'm sure Isa would have thrown all caution to the wind and chosen the most exotic dish she could find, like that time when she ordered fried tarantula at the Cambodian restaurant in New York. She didn't eat it, though. She only took a picture and posted it on Facebook. And we did get drunk and silly and girly, talking about people from high school, shaving versus waxing, facial hair, and George Clooney.
Later, as I lay in bed in Isa and Mitchell's guest room, I thought about Michael and our marriage. Our relationship hadn't been stormy or passionate, that's true, but our sex life had been good—at least until a few years ago.
We weren't very experimental or anything, but I thought we'd had a satisfying sexual relationship. I didn't always orgasm, but I enjoyed the feeling of being as close together as two people can be. Sure, we had tried a few things to spice it up in bed, but even on a mainstream scale, I don't think we ever ranked very high in sexual creativity.
I have my rabbit vibrator; that seems to be a standard female accessory these days. It's a pink one, with various vibrating speeds and escalating and pulsating modes, and a couple of times, Michael and I tried to use it together. I've read a lot of erotic romances and BDSM books, and the good looking, all-powerful guys often use vibrators to extract several orgasms from the lucky girls. But though I did get off, and Michael also liked it very much, it was difficult to operate the various modes and vibrating speeds while enjoying the intense feeling it evoked at the same time. So after a few uses, the rabbit was demoted to my single nights, when Michael was at conferences or meetings in New York.
I'd shaved my pussy completely bare on two occasions. I'd felt very sensual for a couple of days. The sensations are heightened when nothing covers the labia, and my little erotic adventure was a huge turn-on for me—until the hairs started to grow back out and the itching began.
We also tried to watch porn together. One day, at the hairdresser, I read an article on soft, couple-friendly porn. Michael might have been serious and conventional—boring, Isa would say—but he wasn't opposed to trying new things, so when I came home with my new bob and showed him the article, he was game. The next question was how we should arrange ourselves while watching porn. Should we be in bed? Naked? In the living room, watching it on the big screen? What about popcorn? We ended up in bed but with our PJs on, without the popcorn. Watching this Tom Cruise lookalike playing handyman with a twenty-five-year-old woman with long and wavy hair was not a titillating experience for us. It was funny, though, and Michael and I actually ended up having pretty good sex that night.
So what happened? When did we stop trying? We went from being married to being roommates. I guess it was the usual story of growing apart. And then, when the kids go off to school, you realize that you have nothing left to say to each other. At some point, we stopped having sex at all. Well, at least with each other. I was never unfaithful to Michael, not physically, but in my fantasies, I had sex with hundreds of different men. Often they were just conjured up by my imagination, but sometimes it was a customer from work, the deliveryman, or the guy with the tattoos from Damon's Auto Repair Shop downtown.
When he was starring in my fantasy, it wasn't about feelings or romance. Just thinking about what was about to unfold in my head made me wet, and I let my fingers slide down and touch my cunt.
This fantasy is about raw sexual power. I'm usually driving somewhere late in the evening, when the car starts making these disturbing, clunky sounds. All the lights in the dashboard begin to blink. It's dark, and I start feeling a bit nervous. I drive to Damon's, and because it's so late, only the guy with the tattoos is there. He's big, at least 6'2". His shoulders are wide, and I just know he's all muscles. Beside him, I feel delicate and female. His black hair ends just below the shoulders, and he always wears black tee shirts with cut off sleeves so you can see the tattoos on his arms. His jeans are threadbare and dirty, riding low on his narrow hips. The muscles on his legs are straining against the denim.
As I drive into the garage, he's squatting down next to a black chopper. A radio is playing "The Unforgiven" by Metallica. Half the lights are turned off so the light is fairly dim. Some tools are scattered around the motorcycle.
He rises slowly as I pull up, and puts his hands on his hips. His eyes are hooded when he watches me getting out of the car. Slowly, he lets his eyes travel from my face, down to my legs, and up again, lingering on my tits.
"I, uh," I pull my purse strap up on my shoulder and let my right hand stay there, trying to cover my breast. I can feel my nipples harden, and the heat flooding to my crotch. "I know it's late, but my car started making these noises… I realize you're probably already closed for today, but I'm really desperate. Could you… I would really appreciate it if you could take a quick look."
For a while, he just stares at me. "I could look," he then says. His voice is deep and raspy, like it hasn't been used for some time. "But I won't guarantee I can fix it. It sounds like that car is way past salvaging."
He walks over and stops right in front of me, disregarding my personal space. I can feel the heat coming from him. He looks down at me and my whole body seems to tune in on him. I'm caught in his gaze like a deer in the headlights. A small smile on his face tells me he knows exactly how he's affecting me.
"Do you mind?" he says, and reaches in the car to open the hood.
I scramble back a few steps. "Oh! Sure. Of course not." I sound breathless, and can feel the heat rising to my face.
The hood pops up, and he walks around to the front of the car and secures it with the thin metal rod. For the next couple of minutes, he pokes around the engine.
"Can you fix it?" I ask him.
"Please will you try? I don't know what I'll do without a car."
He looks at me, and again I feel my body responding to him. He takes a rag from his back pocket and wipes oil from his fingers. He walks toward me, and doesn't stop until there're only a few inches between us. I try to back away, but I'm blocked by one of the steel columns that hold up the roof. I look around, trying to find an escape route, but he captures my chin with his right hand and forces me to look him in the eyes. His eyes are so very dark, and I get the feeling he's looking into the secrets locked away inside me.
"I can fix it." His left hand smoothes the hair back from my face, and he leans down. "But will you pay my price, I wonder?" he whispers. His breath in my ear makes me shiver, and all my senses are heightened. He lets his fingers trail down to my neck, and when he releases my chin, he grabs my hair and pulls my head back. I reach back and try to maintain my balance by holding on to the column. The shoulder strap slides down my arm and my bag falls to the floor, but I barely notice.
He closes the small distance between us, and I'm caught between the steel behind me and his hard body. It's difficult to tell which is harder.
"My price is you." His lips are slowly making their way down my jaw. He's still holding back my head, and with the other hand he touches my breast, covering it, and molds it gently. My nipples are hard as pebbles. His fingers find the rigid peak and squeeze, lightly at first and then harder, as if he is judging my reaction. A moan escapes me, and I arch towards him. He has completely taken control over my body, and I know I'll do anything he wants me to.
I'm not the only one affected here. "Fuck! You are hot," he groans, and grinds his hips against me. God, he's huge! His long, hard ridge is pressed against my stomach. He lets go of my hair and is biting my neck instead. It doesn't hurt, but is somehow holding me in place. With both hands, he grabs my ass and lifts me up so I'm level with his cock. By now, I'm so wet, I can feel my juice soaking my panties.
"Wrap your legs around me," he says. It takes a few seconds for the words to penetrate my foggy mind, and I guess I'm not reacting fast enough for him, because he reaches under my legs and picks me up like I weigh nothing at all. He holds me pressed against the column as he adjusts my legs around him. My thighs are spread wide open now, and I feel the tip of his erection pressing against my entrance.
My heart is beating like a drum and the adrenaline is pumping through my veins. I wrap my arms around his neck, grab his hair, and find his mouth. For a moment, I'm the aggressor. At first he doesn't open, but I bite his bottom lip, and with a growl, he lets me in. I'm so absorbed with his mouth, I hardly register that we are moving. He's turned around and walked the few steps to the car. Without looking, he frees the rod holding up the hood with one hand while holding on to my ass with the other. I hear the clunk when the hood comes down, and then feel the cold metal against my butt as he puts me down on the hood. He pushes me down and pins my arms above my head. Then he catches my wrists in his left hand, and with the right, he opens the buttons on my shirt and pushes it aside.
"Wow," he says reverently when he sees my pink lace bra. "Very sexy."
My nipples are pushing against the thin material, begging for his attention. With two fingers, he unhooks the front closure bra, and then his mouth is on me, his tongue sliding over my left nipple while his hand touches my right breast.
A phone starts ringing in the small office next to the workshop. I suddenly feel very exposed, lying here in the garage with my tits bared. What if somebody comes in? I try to move my hands, wanting to get free. "Please… Somebody could come…"
He pinches my nipple hard and a sharp pain runs through my body, but before I can protest, he lets go.
"Nobody will come. Nothing's gonna stop me from fucking you so fucking hard." He kisses me hot and deep. Once more, I'm under his control and forget my surroundings.
He reaches down and lifts my thin summer skirt up above my waist. Then he slowly dips a finger inside me. I'm swollen and so wet. One more finger enters and he stretches me. "You are so tight. Melting. So wet," he groans. "You're gonna feel so good around my cock, baby." He starts to finger fuck me, and at the same time, opens his jeans and frees his huge dick.
"Please," I mutter. "I can't take this anymore. Please fuck me.”
With his arms under my knees, he grabs my thighs and positions himself right at the entrance of my cunt. "Look at me," he orders.
His voice resonates through my body. With one push, he enters me. Fills me completely. It hurts a bit, and I try to move away, try to stop him, but he's way too strong. He lifts my knees up higher. I'm completely open to him, and I can't do anything but let him take me.
The pain only lasts a short time. Very soon, my body adjusts to him and allows him to move smoothly in and out. He leans on to me, and every time he fills me, I can feel the pressure on my clit. The friction and his relentless attack on my senses and my cunt are suddenly too much. There is no room for thoughts in my head, sensations only, and when he says, "Come, come for me, baby," he sends me tumbling over the edge in both my mind and reality, and my fantasy comes to an end.
This is one of my favorite fantasies. And because it's just that, I don't have to worry about condoms, oil on my clothes, or the fact that the guy with the tattoo never gets to fix my car. Fantasies are so nicely removed from reality.
I woke the next morning with a strange feeling that today would be a day that would somehow change my life. I felt ready, ripe for making profound decisions that would change the state of standby I had been on since the divorce.
Savoring my new sense of readiness, I got up and took a quick shower. While I was lathering myself up, I let my fingers linger over my clit, but didn't detect the slightest stirring of interest. Apparently, last night's orgasm had done the job.
The bathroom adjacent to the guestroom in Isa and Mitchell's apartment was modern and, like all the other rooms, reflected Isa's colorful and unique style. There was no clinical white that had been in vogue for too many years. The tiles on the floor were big, and checkered black and white. The walls were royal blue as a beautiful contrast to the white ceiling, sink and bathtub. Over the sink was a big mirror with an antique wooden gold frame intricately carved with a flowery pattern. The shower curtain had quirky little seashells in gold and pale green, and on the bathroom vanity was a little cactus with a big bright red flower.
It was a funny little detail, which made the room feel warm and personal. It made me smile, and I was pretty sure Isa had put the cactus in there as a reminder of that incident when I had sat down on one, and had to go to the emergency room to have all the spikes removed from my buttocks.
I put on my jeans and a tee shirt, and went to the kitchen. Isa was standing by the counter, reading the newspaper and eating her yogurt with toasted oats muesli.
She looked up when I entered the kitchen. "Good morning," she answered. "How are you feeling today?"
"Hmm. Actually, pretty good. Is there coffee?"
She pointed behind her. "Of course. Help yourself."
I did. One of the things I like about visiting Isa is that I feel so much at home. Probably because we have been friends forever and were roommates at college.
"And you? Are you feeling the effects of the cosmopolitans and the mojitos?" I asked innocently. After dinner, we had switched to mojitos. Isa had insisted that I made the next drinks, and mojitos are the only cocktail I can mix without consulting a recipe.
She glared at me. One of the things I do so much better than her is drinking. Or rather, I don't get hangovers, which is a wonderful thing when you're in college.
"I already took some Advil and drank a half a gallon of water," Isa said. "I should be good in about half an hour."
The coffee was strong, and I had to add some milk before it was drinkable. I took the cup with me to the window, knowing from experience that Isa was best left alone until she was feeling better. Looking down on the street below, I tried to examine that decision-making mood I had woken up with. It was one thing to know that I would make life-changing decisions, but I didn't know exactly what they were going to be.
The street was fairly busy. There were couples with strollers, a few runners on their way to The Riverway, the narrow park that follows the course of the Muddy River in Boston, and business people hurrying to work. A woman with three dogs was trying to untangle their leashes, and two women were chatting at the corner of the street. All in all, it was a very normal day in February with people going about their business. There was still snow on the sidewalk from last week's blizzard, but most of it was piled up on the curbs. The temperature was about twenty-eight degrees, but the wind chill made it seem colder.
If I had been home in Chicago instead of visiting Isa in Boston, it would have been a normal day for me, as well. I would have followed my regular pattern like I had been doing for the last year—working, shopping, doing laundry, working out, running, and having a drink with a few friends once in a while.
Since I moved out of our house and Michael and I filed for divorce, I'd been living in a small, three-bedroom apartment in the Lower West Side of Chicago. Three bedrooms were actually too much, but when Ian and Louise were home from school, both of them could stay with me if they wanted to. Since I was the one to move out of our house, it had been very important to me that they wouldn't feel as though I didn't have room for them. Ian usually preferred to stay with Michael in our old house, but Louise often stayed with me.
One bedroom had been converted into an office. I did a lot of my work from home. If a company hired me to redesign their logo or organize their website, sometimes it was better for me to have a desk in their offices, to get a better feeling for the company or have better access to necessary information. But mostly I worked from home or wherever I happened to be.
Right after Michael and I decided to split up, I spent a week in California, swimming and hiking during the days, and working in the evenings. I should do that more often. As a freelance designer, I had freedom that I seldom used.
For the past two years, I had been mostly dormant. Some people hurry out and reinvent themselves when they get a divorce—get a new haircut, a new job, go to school again, start online dating or whatever. For me, it had been enough to be on my own. I didn't want to engage in all kinds of single activities, so I built a chrysalis around myself like a caterpillar, and now I guessed it was time to finalize my metamorphosis. I just hoped my final stage would be an exotic butterfly and not a brown moth.
I was staring out of the window, but instead of seeing the red brick Boston townhouse on the other side of the street, I saw myself spreading my wings.
"Laura! What are you doing?" Isa's voice penetrated my mental metamorphosis. She sounded a bit puzzled, and I realized that I had actually spread my arms like I was trying to fly out the window.
"Oh! I'm a butterfly," I said with a grin. "I'm gonna fly away."
"That's nice. Do you mind putting down the cup first?" she asked and smiled.
I turned away from the window. "I'm ready to do something. I'm ready to make changes."
"It was about time, honey. I was starting to get worried."
Isa poured a cup of coffee and walked through the arched double doors separating the kitchen area from the main living room. I followed, and we both sat down in a corner of the big, brown leather couch. I pulled my leg up under me, resting one hand on the back of the sofa and holding my cup with the other. I took a sip of coffee, stalling for time, as I didn't quite know how to verbalize my epiphany.
"I can work anywhere. I don't have to stay in Chicago," I said slowly. Saying the words out loud made them more real.
"So, where do you want to go?"
I looked at her. "I want… I want to come to Boston. I want to live here." I paused and looked at Isa.
"Do you mind?" I went on. "Would you prefer that I moved to Philadelphia, or maybe West Virginia?" I was suddenly afraid that Isa would think it stupid that I wanted to come to Boston. Maybe she would think that it was just another example of me following her directions.
"Laura," she said in a very stern voice, "Boston is the only right place for you to be. But I wanted it to be your decision, not something I pushed on you."
For the next few hours, we made plans, and wrote long lists of the things I needed to do in order to relocate, then we had lunch and took a long walk along the river. We mostly talked about finding me a place to stay, what areas would be interesting, and where not to live. But we also talked about what I should say to Ian and Louise, and what I could do to find jobs and projects in Boston. Most of the jobs I was getting in Chicago were from return clients or word-of-mouth advertisement.
My business had been growing steadily since I began it about ten years ago. Before the children, I worked at a graphic design studio, but after Ian was born, Michael and I decided that I should stay at home. When Louise was about thirteen, I ran into an old colleague still working at the studio. She gave me the idea to start doing freelance jobs. That way, I could begin working again, but would still be at home and have time for the children and the house.
In the beginning, I only got jobs from my former workplace, but the assignments slowly began to come, and by the time Louise left for college, I was working full-time and had a pretty good portfolio I could bring with me to Boston.
By the time I flew home the next day, I had a complete game plan, ready to be set in motion.