Looking For Love
By Anj (Azurenon)

Introduction: This is about a Xena fan-fiction writer (Rachael Perry) who, at the age of 42, is once again single following the dissolution of a long-term relationship. At a gay bar, in a small southern town, she meets up with a tall, dark stranger (Regi). Sorry, this isn't an uber story. Regi is not a ravishing beauty with blue eyes and Rachael is no Gabrielle by a long shot, either. She's just a lonely Xenite “looking for love”.
Disclaimers: No copyright infringements were intended by the use of artist's names, song titles, lyrics, soundtracks, movie titles, TV shows (actors portraying them) or the names of tennis players. These were used purely for entertainment purposes, I assure you. The characters of Rachael and Regi only belong to Anj (Azurenon) and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. I only asked permission to use the web site name: Lynka's Xena Page (Thanks Linda), the pen names Azurenon and Savanna Mac and their story names. <bg>
Yeah, I'm gonna be “tooting my own horn here” so to speak. But this was not done out of any form of conceit, believe me (I have nothing to be conceited about, that's for dog-gone sure.) Ya see it's like this: when my muse returned after her long hiatus - definitely been on vacation since penning “Love Slave”- she did so with a vengeance, stating in no uncertain terms, “Write what you know!” And that's exactly what I've attempted to do. Sexual fantasy is one thing I'm well acquainted with. <g> So, please bear/bare with me <wink>.
Violence: Not a bit!
Sex: Yes, a good bit! (At least I hope it's good) Okay-okay, so there's a whole lot! But hey, “smut”(my definition: Sexual Machinations Undeniably Trite) is all I know how to write. And so this contains an explicit sexual encounter between two consenting adult females. If you're under 18, it's illegal where you are, this is not your cup of tea, etc, etc, etc… Please, “close” the door behind you on the way out. <g> Thank you.
Language: Yep, there be cursing within. Not every word, but it's there.
Thanks go to all my friends for their continued support and encouragement. The Internet is probably the closest I'll come to ever being published, so pat yourselves on the back for getting me this far.
And to those readers who “hung in there” wading through the darkness of “Darby” and took the time to write some heartwarming, much appreciated comments: Thanks so very much, I truly enjoyed hearing from you.
Special thanks to Savanna Mac, who encouraged me to write from the very beginning and continues to inspire me. I only wish I could do your wonderful ideas and beautiful prose justice, my friend. Hopefully, there will come a time when you'll be able to put those wonderful stories in your head on paper.
To Maverick: part editor, part cheerleader, whose enthusiasm keeps me tapping away on these keys. Thanks so much! I hope there's enough of what you like most in this tale!! <BG>
And last, but certainly not least, to my partner of nearly 20 years now, for taking such good care of and putting up with me this long.
FYI: In its entirety this story consists of 4 chapters at around 10 pages per.
And… now that I've told you more than you ever wanted or even cared to know… Let's do this!

Looking For Love
By Anj

        It was the long, straight, black hair, flowing beyond shoulder length that first caught my eye. Since her back was turned to me as she spoke to the bartender, I couldn't make out her facial features, but the protruding buttocks, clad in tight, faded blue jeans captured and held my attention. A hand brushed aside a navy blue blazer, as long slim fingers reached inside the right rear pocket and withdrew a man's wallet. Long denim clad legs ended at ankle height, over a pair of low-heeled, square-toed cowboy boots. This is getting better by the moment, I thought
        The hand came back around, wallet clutched lightly, blue blazer pushed aside once again to reveal the contours of an obviously unrestrained, ample sized breast beneath a white button-down oxford shirt. A Native American designed belt surrounded a waist curved just enough to contrast with breast and hips. Gold pinky ring on the right hand caught the light, as she reached for the bottle of beer now in front of her on the bar.
        Okay, now she'll take a sip and turn around, I predicted to myself, lifting my own Vodka Collins to my lips in anticipation. Better be bucktoothed and butt-ugly, my mind sang out, voicing its ever-negative opinions, If not, you won't have a chance in hell. All you can hope to do is sit and drool. And drool I did, when she turned, looking into the room and my eyes beheld the most beautiful creature, short of Xena, Warrior Princess, I'd ever had the pleasure to gaze upon. Or at least in this small town's only gay bar. Olive complexion, full lips, straight nose, bit of a round tip and in the dim light I thought I even detected blue eyes.
        On second thought, there's a better chance of the proverbial camel fitting through the eye of a needle than you catching her eye! My mind corrected itself. I wiped the drool off the corner of my mouth, licked my dry lips and reached for a cigarette. I needed something to assuage my oral fixation and since the cool vodka seemed too eager to leak out of my mouth, I decided to opt for something hot and dry.
        I inhaled the nicotine laced smoke, my eyes drawn back to their previous endeavor, scanning the tall dark stranger from bottom to top. On my exhalation, I nearly choked; for, I'd been caught in the act, by a smoldering gaze. I flashed a quick smile that turned into a rueful smirk when I glanced away, as if to say, “Yeah, you caught me. And no, it probably won't be the last time, either. And yes, I'm well aware I don't stand a snowball's chance in hell.” My gaze moved down the bar, my mouth sucking in more nicotine and then sighing.
        Oh well, at least there'll be something to look at, I thought. The night's not a total waste. Now I needed liquid to wet my parched lips and dry tongue. Was I panting? No, not quite. The second perusal had left my mind saying, Okay, so she's not exactly Xena. Not close, really. About the size Xena appeared to be in the episode “Dreamworker” –Lucy not so willowy in those days. No bangs, per say, though the front was cut short, parted in the middle and feathered back on the sides. High cheekbones; face a bit more masculine, considering the square jaw; eyes set back further beneath heavy brows. But hey, you're no Gabby, either. (Dark brown hair, deep-set blue-gray eyes, fat cheeks and overweight body.) Let's face it, the only thing you got in common with that little mink on TV is your height and your compulsion to write. The latter of which, you aren't even any good at. So, in conclusion, even though she may not be a raving beauty, she's the finest thing you've seen in a long while, and you might as well face the fact that you still ain't got a ghost of a chance. You just keep them eyes a moving, girlfriend. It's gonna be another long, lonely Saturday night in Georgia.
        Scanning the entire room once again, I recognized faces from a few previous visits. Any that caught my eye were obviously taken. What the hell am I doing here, was the question I'd asked myself several times before. Looking for love in all the wrong places, came the usual response. That country song now played in my mind: “Looking for love in all the wrong places, looking for love in too many faces, searching their eyes, looking for traces of what I'm dreaming of. Hoping to find a friend and a lover, I'll bless the day I discover you… looking for love.”
How my mind focused on this, above the ruckus of some 90's dance song -I'd never heard before and didn't care if I ever heard again- was beyond me. I could only assume my brain was a relic from the past, caught in a time warp of the late 70's when Disco was king and Country was coming to the city with the “Urban Cowboy” soundtrack. It was at this time that I was just hitting the bar scene for essentially the first time, after my initial romance failed. It didn't seem like it had been so long ago, right at that moment, but in reality it had been nearly 20 years. Each of those years reflected back at me in the bathroom mirror every morning, in the from of crow's feet, drooping boobs and a shit-load of cellulite accumulated on upper arms, thighs and butt. The latter of which had once been nearly as smooth as a baby's. I also used to have a body with a halfway pleasing shape. Nowadays, however, my stomach poked out almost as much as my behind. I often contended that if anyone saw me in profile from above my knees to just below my breasts they might not be able to tell whether I was coming or going. Which is often how I felt about my life in general.
        I'm too old for this shit, I told myself, and not for the first time, either. But then where else was I supposed to meet available lesbians in a town of less than 100,000 souls? Meeting one of my own kind –old (better make that ole) married friends excluded- was not a daily, weekly or even monthly occurrence. I'd already had my share of crushes, infatuations, obsessions and the inevitable heartaches of falling for straight women in the past. I avoided them like the plague now, no matter how flirtatious they might appear.
I'm looking for… I paused in thought, stealing a glance in the tall dark stranger's direction to find her looking my way. I quickly lowered my gaze, knowing there were other patrons behind me, and this had to be where her attention was drawn. Surely it wasn't me she was looking at. Of course, I was dressed about as good as it gets for me: black, gray and white mingled design blouse, black -front pocket only- pants and shiny new black Reebox sneakers. (Nearly all my dress clothes were black because it made me look smaller. Ah, the woes of the overweight female!) Definitely NOT looking my way!
Hell, I'm not even sure what I'm looking for at the moment, I conceded, picking up the thread of my earlier thoughts. I wasn't at all certain I was ready for another serious relationship, even though these had been all I'd ever experienced, before this past year, that is. It had been a little more than a year since my previous long-term “we're in this through thick and thin” struggle. Or at least, I saw it as a struggle. Not so much that my partner had been hard to live with. No, I was the one hard to live with. Moody, depressed, lazy, and self-centered; I often couldn't stand myself, much less anyone else. Nor could I fathom how anyone could put up with me for 15 long years.
        She had kept the relationship going all that time. I'd had a hard enough time just making it from one day to the next -far too much of the time- without dwelling on how much I wanted to “end it all”. Not one with a will of iron, however, I'd never had the guts to go through with the ideas or even make a serious attempt. The scar across my left wrist –over a decade and a half old- had been a cry for help more than anything else, coming right after my first failed relationship –the latter of which I took a great deal of responsibility for. I'd been the first to stray. The break up hadn't been bitter, it just wasn't easy to tuck tail and go back home. Especially to parents who, although wonderful, couldn't help but desire that I attempt to walk the “straight and narrow”. Which of course, didn't work. I only ended up feeling guilty about a guy that claimed he'd fallen in love with me, while I, on the other hand, fell for a married woman merely attempting to help me through a hard time. I viewed that scar now as a visible reminder of my cowardice and utter failure at being a happy, productive member of the human race. My thoughts or ideations with “offing” myself were merely an ever present fall back position; a comfort of sorts to my “diseased” brain, suffering from “depression w/anxiety.”
        Of course, I missed K.C. (short for Katherine Calhoun)- the recent long-term relationship. Missed the life we had shared; quite comfortable for many years. I missed her taking care of me. Looking back, she'd been an angel considering all I'd put her through. So, I couldn't blame her for finally wanting out. She'd invested many years and lots of money trying to keep me sane; it was time she was rewarded for her suffering with someone younger, more vital and funny loving. Someone who didn't always “rain on her parade”; someone who could give her what she deserved and please her in ways I never had been able to.
        K.C. had a better life now and I knew it. I'd always told her she deserved far better than me and should find someone else. So the split was, for the most part, amicable. At least after I got over the initial shock and inevitable hurt. To her credit, however, she didn't move her new love in until six months after I left. She also provided financial assistance in securing an apartment, helped me move out at a leisurely pace, insisting I take car, computer, TV, VCR, one of the stereos and my bedroom suit. (We'd slept in separate bedrooms the last few years; the latter of which did not come about as any real split, we just kind of drifted apart.) I didn't feel I deserved anymore than this materially, because I hardly ever worked during our relationship. I had no education, beyond high school, and was too lazy and scared to go to college, so I worked at dead end jobs - paying barely above minimum wage- from time to time.
Work-wise, I was a little better off at present- several dollars an hour above minimum wage- in the office of a men's clothing factory; jobs being cut left and right around me, as more work was sent overseas to cheaper labor. I just happened to be in the distribution department or warehouse, where the orders came in from major department stores and I knew how to work a computer. I was content to have a job I could somewhat live with, even if I was living from paycheck to paycheck. The cost of keeping body and soul housed, fed and clothed -not to mention the price of those anti-depressants I had to take in order to maintain some semblance of sanity- was ridiculous. Matter of fact, I'd saved up for this “night on the town” for several weeks. That's how I liked to think of it: treating myself. Usually it turned out being more anguish than treat, however
        Was I desperate? Yeah, I suppose I was. I hadn't met a soul the past year I was truly interested in. Seemed everyone my age, over 40, were either taken or stayed at home. At least they appeared to do so on the nights I came out looking. Oh, I'm not saying there hadn't been offers; after all, I wasn't exactly butt-ugly. I just wasn't pretty by a long shot, either. Plus overweight, depressed and a bit disillusioned from looking for something I'd come to suspect only exited in romance novels. At least, I sure hadn't found any electric spark crackling between those who made the offers and myself, as of yet.
        Exhaling a stream of smoke, I stole another glance towards the bar. She was no longer in the vicinity. My eyes immediately began scanning, searching for the tall figure with long, dark hair. Guess she didn't see anything interesting either, I thought, upon not catching sight of her. Looking down at the watch on my left arm –its face turned towards the inside to better cover the scar beneath- I was quite surprised to see I'd been woolgathering for nearly fifteen minutes. Better slow down on the drinking, girlfriend. All you need is a DUI. What a depressing thought that was!
        Another puff, another sigh and my gaze fell upon a pair of eyes staring back at me from across the room. A stocky blonde -T-shirt, blue jeans and an extremely short haircut- was looking me over. A tiny earring in her nose caught the light. Sorta cute, I suppose but… too young, I surmised my gaze moving right along. Hmph, now there's a cutie: slim, short reddish-brown hair, pink men's shirt –sleeves rolled up on the forearms- black jeans, dark eyebrows, full lips and… someone's arm around her waist… Taken! Well, shit! I stubbed out the cigarette butt in the ashtray.
        Face it girlfriend, you got nothing to offer anyone here. The good ones are taken, the bad ones just wouldn't be your cup of tea- even for one night- and the young ones… too immature –I like older women- and you know they're just looking for a quick lay, if they're even looking at you. Beggars couldn't be choosers, or so they said, but I was choosy as hell, especially these days.
Yes, I'm sure you're probably wondering if my death wish was so great, what was I doing sitting in that bar “looking for love”? Seems I'd heard once that hope burns eternal inside the human heart. I'd found this to be true, even for those afflicted with depression. Combine this with a fear of the unknown and there I was: “searching their eyes looking for traces of what I'm dreaming of…”
I lit another cigarette, deciding to stay and finish my second drink of the evening, which was not even half empty. It was only a little after twelve after all. Who knows, maybe the love of your life, the hero you've been searching for, will walk through those doors in just a few minutes, I told myself. Yeah, right. And if a bullfrog had wings he wouldn't bump his butt when he hopped! The latter was one of my father's favorite saying. I'd always hated it when he used it to make a point with me, and yet my mind utilized it to keep my head out of the stratosphere, where wishful thinking only brought disappointment. Always expect the worst and you won't be disappointed, was my mantra, I guess you'd say. But I was forever losing sight of it, especially in my writing. Every character I created needed a hero to save her, because she couldn't save herself.
        Oh yes, I'd already been down the therapy trail –failed at that too, thank you very much- so I knew my glass was always half-empty, never half-full. Assholes almost always had a shitty outlook on life and I knew I fit that category to a “T”. I had no self-esteem, very little patience and was my own worst enemy. Saddest part was, even after two years of therapy- costing an arm and a leg and netting me little more than a terrible infatuation with the therapist- I still didn't have the foggiest idea how to change these deep-rooted, annoying personality traits.
        Therapy had been a double-edged sword for me. I always felt guilty about the money spent on such a worthless creature as myself and was forever threatening to quit, yet fell head-over-heels for the cute, older, married therapist, which kept me going back. And yeah, you got it: this only compounded the guilt, since I was in a long-term relationship at the time. It was a no win situation from the get-go. And to make a long story short, my journey into the realm of therapy did not have a happy ending. Suffice it to say, the only thing good to come out of this was the anti-depressant she recommended, which finally got the desired result –where others had failed- and produced fewer side effects.
Zoloft numbed me out. Nothing seemed to faze me after a few weeks of taking it on a daily basis. The tight -often burning- knot in the pit of my stomach settled down; nervous anxiety – feeling as if I were rocking back and forth ever so slowly when sitting perfectly still or my insides buzzing like a bee inside a jar- was quieted; and the crying jags –hours I spent weeping about nothing- were a thing of the past. Everyday annoyances seemed to roll off me like water off a duck's back. In the first few months, I often praised the inventor/inventors of this “wonder drug”. But then it became apparent there was a price to pay for this state of bliss; it numbed almost all my emotions save one: Anger.
After four years, it now took a LOT to move me deep inside. I rarely cried, even when I desperately wanted or needed to. At least, not in that boo-hoo cleansing fashion of old. Any true hurt or slight now evoked anger first and foremost. Not rage or violence, mind you. No, just your basic caustic, sarcastic, flippant, “I don't have to take this shit anymore” attitude -which I never possessed before; teeth gritting irritation, especially during PMS; and an occasional fly-off-the-handle verbal outburst (I'd usually end up apologizing for, if the situation warranted). The hurt, confusion and disillusionment with myself, therapy and especially the failed “marriage” of a decade and a half were seemly all kept in check by a dam built from Zoloft. Seldom did this barrier ever fail, but there were rare occasions when the dike would spring a leak. And the loneliness of this moment, combined with the alcohol, was fast eating away at a plug shoring up a previous hole.
I reached for my drink. “Anyone sitting here?” asked an alto voice -normal Southern accent- dragging me from my reverie.
I assumed it was the blonde from across the room and cut my eyes slowly towards the voice, stalling for the right words to let her know I wasn't interested. What my eyes beheld, however, were a pair of light blue jeans, dark blue blazer and a Native American belt, at my own eye level. My gaze proceeded upwards at a rapid pace now, noticing the white shirt, unbuttoned to the chest. Then they jumped up to meet a pair of green eyes the likes of which I'd never seen on another human being. In the glow, from the lit candle on the table in front of me, they looked like the feline orbs of a black leopard. The movie “Cat People” leapt into mind and a line from the theme song played out in my head: With these eyes so green…
One dark eyebrow arched skyward, as the verdant orbs narrowed, staring into mine. “Is there anyone sitting here?” the alto voice repeated, as if she thought I hadn't heard her.
My gaze dropped to the pair of full lips these words emanated from; the bottom fuller than the top. May not be Xena, I thought, realizing this woman wasn't willowy, but quite healthy, perhaps even muscular, But, oh Mama, what a pair of lips and eyes, I finished, my gaze following my thoughts.
“Oh!” I just realized I hadn't answered her question. “Uh, no. No one's sitting here. I'm alone.” I babbled, spilling liquid from my glass, when it connected at an awkward angle with the table. “Shit!” I hissed, shaking my right hand.
“Would you rather be alone?” she inquired, her right hand- holding a Michelob- landing near my left on the table, as she leaned over slightly, in order to be heard, I assumed.
“No, no, I…” I shook my hand again, while staring at the strong looking appendage near mine; the gold pinky ring initialized, though I couldn't make out the letters. Nice, rounded, clean, closely trimmed, I noted. “Ple-ase,” I squeaked and then cleared my throat, my gaze rising quickly to meet hers, though only briefly. “Have a seat.” I nodded towards the chair across from me.
Those green eyes were just too intense for me to maintain contact at this point. I was already as jumpy as a cat on a hot tin roof by her presence alone. My hand shook as I picked up my glass, removed the now soaked napkin from beneath and attempted to wipe Vodka Collins from the back of my hand.
She said something I couldn't make out clearly over the music. “What?” I queried, leaning forward a tad.
She leaned in towards the table, as well, her shirt gaping open, revealing the swell and beginning curve of one breast. “I said… I'm sorry if I startled you,” she restated. My eyes immediately flew up to meet hers. A slight smirk turned down the corners of her mouth; tiny laugh lines visible at the corners of those amazing eyes.
“Uh… you didn't. I'm… I'm just clumsy,” I responded.
The smirk turned into a wry smile. “Come here often?”
“No… not often, I…” I started to say I can't afford it, then thought better of that idea and merely shook my head, my gaze sliding down to her lips then back again. Like a foolish schoolgirl, I blanched as I felt my tongue flick out and lick my lips. I was further shocked to see her do the same thing as her gaze fell upon my chest. Out of your league! My mind warned. What the hell is she doing talking to you anyway?
        Her gaze remained on my chest for several heartbeats and then slowly returned to mine. The smirk returned as well, laugh lines forming ever so slowly, as those mesmerizing orbs made it pretty plain what her intentions were. I wanted to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. This woman had me ready to squirm in my seat with just a look.
        “You like this music?” she inquired.
        I assume the expression on my face was answer enough, because she smiled. And oh my, I'd thought her smirk was dangerous, but her smile was sweet, sensual and breathtaking. I cleared my throat once again, feeling a quiver in my stomach I hadn't felt in a long, long time.
        She leaned over a bit further. “Is there anyplace where we can talk around here?” Her face was inches from mine. The aroma of beer, tinged with cigarette smoke, mixed with breath mint hit my nostrils, followed closely by the subtle scent of a most alluring feminine cologne.
        “There's… a small patio… back there,” I nodded and cut my eyes in the direction of a door at the back of the bar.
        “Lead the way,” she said, so close to my ear I could feel her warm breath. My groin muscles actually tightened and my sex throbbed, startling me. I hadn't felt this in more than a long time.
        Jesus Christ! I wanted to hiss. No one had ever had this kind of effect on me before. I'd obviously been too long without. Of course three months since my last sexual encounter didn't seem like a long time, but then again that experience hadn't actually been a showstopper, for either one of us.
I swallowed hard and merely nodded, then got up from my chair. How I had the presence of mind to grab my cigarettes, I'll never know. I only knew I had them in my hand when she rose to her full height and I stood looking up into green eyes -my head, at 5'4, only nose level on her- the lighter slipping from my fingers and falling to the floor. It bounced once and landed at her feet. I started to reach down, but she put out her hand to stop me, then slowly leaned over and with moves as graceful as a big cat, swiped it up with long fingers.
My eyes admired her backside, briefly. Good god, what a woman, I thought. There's no way she's interested in me. She's probably just new in town and yours looked like a friendly face around her age. Yeah, that has to be it!
I had myself pretty much convinced of this, until she handed me the lighter, smiled, placed her left hand gently beneath my elbow and leaned over saying, “Don't worry, I won't bite.”
        Yeah, well…But I might, I thought and then smiled, put one foot in front of the other and proceeded on trembling legs out to the uncovered patio deck. Her hand didn't leave my elbow until I eased down onto the bench, she picked out, in the far corner. We sat in uncomfortable silence for a few moments, so I shook out a cigarette -desiring to calm my nerves- and was about to light it, when her larger hand closed over mine.
        “Allow me,” she offered, taking the non-descript Bic, in order to light my cigarette. I felt a bit awkward at first; this seemed like such old fashioned male/female, butch/femme role-playing. And yet at the same time, I liked being treated this way. By her, at least.
        The tip glowed orange and our eyes met; the lighter's flame reflected in those dazzling leaf green orbs.
        “I thought they were blue,” she asserted, as if confirming a previous assumption.
        I tore my gaze away and exhaled in the opposite direction out of habitual courtesy. “Not a pretty blue though,” I countered, thinking of the beautiful bright blue eyes of Lucy Lawless, the actress who played Xena or even the blue-green orbs of her lovely bard sidekick, Gabrielle (Renee O'Conner).
        “I beg to differ,” she responded. And I could hardly believe what I was hearing or feeling, as her other hand touched my chin, turning my face back towards her. The lighter was still ablaze between us, illuminating her pleasing features, as she added. “They have depth… and a dreamy quality, suggesting intense passion.”
        Oh lord, she's good, I thought, gazing into those mesmerizing verdant orbs. Too good. She's done this before on countless occasions I bet.
I smiled; she smiled and let go of my face to reach inside her blazer. You're looking at a one-night stand, here, my mind warned. Nothing meaningful… just pure sex. I watched as she withdrew a pack of Marlboro Lights, large hands and long fingers cupping the lighter. I could live with that! I was surprised to hear myself thinking, while admiring the way she exhaled a stream of smoke from her nose. I'd never known this could appear so… erotic. What the hell is going on here?
        Our gazes met yet again. “What?” she asked, simply, that smirk back in place.
        “Oh… I was just… wondering if you were tipsy or… merely blind?” I said, flippantly.
        She chuckled. “What makes you think I'm either one?”
        “The fact that you're sitting here with me for one. And what you just said for another.” I tore my eyes away and took a drag on my cigarette.
        “Well, I'm not tipsy and I'm certainly not blind. I merely speak my mind and… go after what I want.” I cut my eyes over at her. “And what I want right now is to take you home with me,” she added matter-of-factly.
        I was stunned almost speechless and had to look away. “You… you don't beat around the bush, do you?” I heard myself ask.
        “I've found it a waste of time.” I felt her fingers lightly brush against the back of my hair.
        “I don't… know a thing about you,” I stammered.
        “What do you need to know?” Her fingers were lightly stroking the side of my neck now.
        “Um, well, for starters… where's home?”
        “Well, the place I'm referring to is about twenty minutes from here. My parent's house. I inherited it when my mother passed away several months ago.”
        “I'm sorry,” I offered, slowly turning to face her.
        She shrugged, her attention dropping to her own fingers on my neck. “Home is actually in Atlanta. I come down on the weekends. I'm fixing the old place up, a little at a time,” she further explained.
        “You intend to move here permanently?”
        She met my gaze. “No, as I said, my home's in Atlanta.”
        “Oh.” I looked away and took another long drag on my cigarette. Yep, one-night stand, no doubt about it! “So you plan to sell it?” I queried, trying to keep the conversation going and get my mind off the index finger rubbing my sensitive ear. Her touch was arousing beyond belief! I didn't quite understand why this was so, nor did I want to reveal the effect it had on me.
        “At first I was. But now… I kinda like coming down here on weekends. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city.”
        “What do you do for a living?”
        “I work in an architectural firm.” I cut my eyes over at her. “Designing houses, office buildings,” she explained.
        I was impressed. “You build houses yourself?”
        She chuckled. “Hardly. I sit behind a computer most of the time. But, like I said, I'm fixing up the old place myself. At least the things I feel I can handle alone.”
        “That sounds… interesting,” I mused, opting to take another drag and reviewing the words, handle alone. Alone being the significant of the two.
        I felt her move closer, the finger that had been playing with my ear, now landing on the opposite shoulder. “Would you like to see it?”
        Well, you left that door wide open, I thought, and then exhaled before facing her. “You do this a lot, don'chu?” I asked, to my own amazement. One dark eyebrow arched skyward. “You always come on this strong?” The words just tumbled out.
        Instead of taking offense, however, she smiled before responding, “He who hesitates is lost. When I see what I want, I pursue it… with zeal.”
        “I'll say,” I mumbled, although I was enjoying every minute of this and I think she knew it.
        “I don't believe in playing games, so… I'm just gonna be very up front with you here.” She paused for only a moment and I felt her lean in closer. “I find you attractive and desirable,” she murmured near my ear. “And I want nothing more right this moment than to take you home, lay you down and put a smile on your face that lasts for several days.”
        The sultry quality of her voice intermingled with the spoken words, caressed my ear and sent a shockwave of desire straight to my groin where it reverberated like an echo, sending tingling tendrils of longing down to my toes. She then kissed my neck, somehow finding that oh so sensitive spot without even trying. A moan escaped my lips and I shivered.
        “You smell delicious,” she muttered and attacked my neck with more fervor.
        I was on fire! No one had ever made me feel like this. What the hell is this, some menopausal thing? All of a sudden my hormones start raging out of control and within minutes I'm eager and willing to go home with this perfect stranger, falling for her great come-on lines? Get real! Get a grip!
“L-Lead the way,” I heard my lips murmur.

Chapter 2

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