All disclaimers may be found in Chapter 1

Sedona Rain

Carole Giorgio:

Chapter 7

Oblivious to all that was going on around them, the two lovers stood in the driveway, lost in thought and lost in each other when they heard from behind the sound of purposeful footsteps and coughing.

Alex turned to face her crew leader.

"Sorry to interrupt, Alex, but you need to get your pre-flight check started if you want to taxi out of here on time.

"You're right, Jerome." She took the flight plan she received earlier that morning by fax to her mom's house out of her back pocket. "You did a thorough check, right?"

"As usual Alex and everything is in perfect condition." He smiled at the two women and turned, heading back toward the plane to supervise the fueling.

"You want to walk around with me while I check things out, Samantha?"

"Try and stop me," the blonde smiled grabbing the hand extended in her direction.

"Great, let's get started." She led Samantha over to the plane and motioned for her to stay by the wing while she stepped up and opened the cockpit door. "This part will just take a second," she advised the blonde.

Her ARrOW (air worthiness, registration, (radio), operations manual, weight and balance) documents were laying on her seat, as usual, and she checked to make sure everything was as it should be before sliding them back into the folder and down into the pocket behind her seat. After being seated she unlocked the yoke and turned on the master power to lower the flaps . . . 10E . . . 20E . . . 30E . . . beacon on and working, looks like they're finished with the fueling, both engines looking good. She turned the master power off and exited the cockpit.

"Okay, you ready for a walk around?"

Samantha nodded and followed beside the tall woman. Alex was carrying a clipboard and started checking off blocks as they walked around the plane.

"Alex would you mind reading some of that out loud? I have no idea what you're looking at or doing and it's interesting."

"Sure, Honey. I'm sorry. It becomes like second nature the things that need to be checked off. Here you hold this and follow down, when I say it's okay, just check it off."

"Okay." Samantha looked at the clipboard she had just been handed. She hadn't realized there were so many things that had to be gone over before taking off into the air. She had just assumed that Alex's crew would have taken care of everything. "Didn't your crew check this stuff for you, Alex?"

"In actuality, yes, they did. But for peace of mind, as the pilot, I need to go over all of it myself; it's like checking out your own parachute - if it doesn't open, it's no one's fault but your own."

"That makes sense."

The two women started going over the long list Samantha now held in her hand, starting with the left wing and working their way around the plane . . . wing inspection . . . empennage, including position light and rudder checks. Next they inspected the right fuselage . . . right wing (same as left - brake, tire, prop, alternator belt, wing tip, etc.). And finally the nose of the plane was inspected. With everything checked off Alex hollered over to Jerome that it looked like they were ready to board. He ran over to his employer.

"Meet inspection, Alex?"

"As usual, Jerome. Thanks for keeping her in such good shape." The tall woman held out her hand and received a firm shake from the pleasant man.

"Always my pleasure, Alex. You two have a good trip and I guess we'll see you back here on Sunday?"

"That's the plan." She turned to Samantha and helped her up the wing and into the compartment.

The cockpit was somewhat congested and Alex made sure the seats were both positioned and locked and that the safety belts were on and secured.

"Okay last checks before starting are right here . . . fuel - check, avionics - off, lights - off, and circuit breakers - in." She turned to Samantha who was watching the raven-haired beauty's proficiency in awe. "You ready to fly, Samantha?"

"Ready when you are pilot." A proud smile in the direction of her lover received one of the same in return.

Alex adjusted her kneeboard, and then placed the key into the ignition. She opened the window and yelled out to her crew, "Clear prop!" Turning the key started the left engine and she powered down to idle, then proceeded to do the same for the right engine. Next came readying the radio for communication and retracting the flaps back to 0Š.

Looking over at Samantha she smiled. "Okay, let's get this party going." Alex began flipping the switches and checking all the instruments as they came online. Everything that had been off was now being flipped or turned into the on position and as she pointed the aircraft toward the runway they slowly began venturing off the tarmac to their taxi position.

With her headset on Alex began speaking into the microphone. "Lindbergh tower, this is Cessna 69698 with information LIMA, ready to taxi for take-off.

Lindbergh ATC answered: "Cessna 69698, taxi to two-seven right.

Samantha could feel the excitement racing through her body. She'd never been up in a small plane like this before and her adrenaline was pumping.

They taxied onto the runway and stopped as Alex performed the remainder of her preflight checks. When she was finished, she called the tower a second time for departure clearance.

"Lindbergh tower, this is Cessna 69698, ready for takeoff on two-seven right for northeast departure, IFR to Sedona.

Again the tower answered: "Cessna 69698, cleared for take-off on two-seven right with right turnout approved. IFR cleared."

Alex looked over at Samantha and smiled. "Ready for lift-off."

"More than ready," Samantha admitted her hands slightly tightening on the arms of her seat.

Not missing the action of her lover, Alex snickered. "You scared Samantha?"

"No! What would give you that idea?"

"Maybe the death grip you have on your seat?"

Samantha looked down and laughed. "Okay, maybe a little - this is my first time in a private plane . . ."

"You don't have to explain, Samantha. I totally understand. But I've done this plenty of times and you're safe with me, I promise."

"I have no doubt about your ability, Alex, honestly. It's just . . ."

"I know the anticipation. Well sit back and enjoy because we've got the go ahead and we're outta here."

Within minutes the small aircraft was up in the air and Samantha was waving goodbye to San Diego.

"By the Gods this is fantastic," Samantha exclaimed looking out the window. "You just don't get the same feeling looking out the small windows in the back of planes, do you?"

"No. This is an entirely different ballgame. There is a freedom of spirit you get when you're up in the air with the clouds below you and the stars a little closer than you're used to." She smiled over at the excited blonde. "Of course you can't see the stars yet, but you just know you could reach out and touch one if you wanted to."

"Alex that is so un-you!"

"Guess you bring out the poet in me." The raven-haired beauty smiled over at her destiny, her heart filled to overflowing at being able to make this day so special for the one person who made her world smile.

"How long will we be flying?"

"I figure between 45 minutes and an hour, then we'll be back down on solid ground and in Sedona."

"Wow, that's not very long."

"No, it's a rather short flight, actually."


"What, Honey?"

"I was wondering why we didn't take this to San Francisco when we went."

"Actually, I guess there were a few reasons. First, Ray and Sonny wanted me up there the next day, and the plane hadn't been serviced in a while, so that would have taken time. It was their call and it was less expensive for them to fly us up than for me to take this baby up there. Secondly." A slight blush crossed Alex's cheeks and Samantha gave her a questioning look. "I didn't want you to think me ostentatious." She blushed even deeper and Samantha smiled broader, not saying a word. "You hardly knew me and if I were to say something like, 'Hey you want to take a ride in my plane?' I may have lost you right then and there."

"I doubt that very much, my love - remember - we are each other's destiny."

"How could I forget that?" Alex smiled over at her heart's desire, a hint of rose still gracing her cheeks.

"Pink is a nice color on you, Alex." Samantha smiled as she gently reached over and caressed her dark angel's face. "I love it when your body let's me know how gentle your heart really is without your mind interfering.

"Only for you, my Destiny, only for you."

The remainder of the short trip they talked about the clouds, the sky, the illusion of the size of the ground below, and how it felt to be a pilot. Alex twisted and turned the plane, allowing Samantha a look at things as she called attention to them. More than once the pilot showed off for her captive audience.

Once during the flight, Alex offered Samantha a chance to fly the plane by taking control of the yoke in front of her. The small woman was slightly intimated at first and pulled back with too much pressure on the small semi-circular steering wheel, causing them to ascend too fast. But, Alex quickly corrected the mistake, and Samantha tried again, using a gentler hand and found that it was not all that difficult.

Sam thought to herself how she hadn't felt this free in . . . forever . . . and that she loved being up above the clouds with the one person in the world, who could make her smile simply by being alive.

As they approached their destination the majestic formations of Arizona's red rocks came into plain view. Samantha was astonished at the simple beauty and the majestic aura the rocks created as they covered the ground below.

About 10 minutes outside of Sedona Alex began to make preparations for landing. She put her headset and mic back on and plugged into 122.8 UNICOMM frequency. Before calling the airport she checked her radio, ASOS, to make sure there were no wind or weather changes.

"Damn, I wanted to come in on runway 3. The winds are still out of the north 30 knots, but there's a strong crosswind on the runway. We're lucky that the weather is still calm, I guess that Santa Ana is holding her breath until we get back down onto the ground. Then she called in: "Sedona traffic, this is Cessna 69698, 10 miles southwest of airport, in-bound for midfield crossing at 6500', for full stop on runway 21 - Sedona traffic."

"Fairly soon you should be able to see the airport," Alex interjected to Samantha between calls to the tower. "For a little town it's really quite impressive and they have a marvelous restaurant there. It's great for watching the sunset . . ."

"That sounds like fun - a new place to watch our sunset. Could we go there one night this week Alex?"

"I don't see why not. Yeah. You got a date! We just have to figure out which night." Turning her attention back to the intercom she voiced again: "Sedona traffic, this is Cessna 69698, 5 miles southwest of airport, in-bound for midfield crossing at 6500', for full stop on runway 21 - Sedona traffic."

Turning back to her lover she explained roughly what she was doing and what was going to happen next. "We were flying most of the trip at an altitude of 9500 feet; we've now descended to 6500 feet.

Samantha began pointing out the window -- "Look, there's the airport. Oh Alex, this is so exciting."

The pilot smiled, putting another feather in her cap for new experiences, then, once again, at 2· miles out this time, she contacted the airport with the same information. Within minutes she was crossing the midfield approximately three nautical miles past the runway as she started turning and descending to 5800' to enter her traffic pattern altitude. "Sedona traffic this is Cessna 69698, right turn for 45Š downwind entry, Sedona traffic."

Crossing the end of the runway and flying parallel to it, she began her final throttle back to 1700-rpm carburetor, heat - on, throttle - back.

Samantha watched awe struck as Alex communicated, checked, flipped, and maneuvered. Sam smiled to herself while listening to Alex who seemed unaware that she was whispering to herself as she went through the landing procedures . . . "10Š of flaps . . . okay - 20Š of flaps.

The blonde watched as her the dark-haired pilot looked right, checking for traffic for final clear.

Then it was time for Alex to speak out loud again. "Sedona traffic this is Cessna 69698, left final, for active 21, full stop.

"Okay," she mumbled to herself as she turned. "30Š flaps."

Slowly she throttled back, clearing and making the runway, keeping the centerline even with the nose of the plane. Coming in closer to the ground she continued with all power pulled out, went to idle, and pitched for 85 knots. Suddenly they felt the back wheels as touch down commenced and Alex pulled up hard, flaring the front wheels, keeping them off the ground for as long as possible. Final destination was reached with all wheels down and a centerline taxi on the runway. Next step was to taxi off the active runway and out of the way of oncoming traffic. Last call to the tower: "Sedona traffic, Cessna 69698 cleared active 21 for full stop, Sedona traffic."

"Time to breathe, little one. We're down, all safe and sound."

"I was breathing the entire time," Samantha lied with a straight face. "That was fun, exciting, and highly unusual."

"Okay now all we need to do it taxi up toward the hanger area." As they approached the hanger the two women could see the ground crew coming out to motion them into place. Alex parked the plane and began her engine shut down. After turning everything off and locking it down, she turned to the woman sitting beside her.

"Ready to begin the Sedona adventure?"

"You betcha!" The small blonde got up from her seat and followed Alex to the door. They were greeted by warmer than usual late summer weather and clean, fresh smelling air.

"Welcome to Sedona, Samantha." Alex gave her lover a short hug then looked out to see if Gary had sent a car to pick them up.


Gary Black had no intention of leaving the meeting of one of his favorite people to employees. He decided to forego the limo and personally drove to greet Alexis Dorian. Without her help he was absolutely convinced his retreat in the red rock canyon of Sedona would never have amounted to the multi-million dollar business he enjoyed today. After all, it had been Alex's suggestion to start the clinic here; his original plans were to build in Colorado Springs. The savvy businesswoman was always in his prayers of thanks when he looked out over his estate and the 100 acres he purchased seven years ago. The land itself had more than tripled itĚs value and the resort, well . . . there wasnĚt another like it in the entire state.

It had been almost a year since he had actually seen Alex. They had talked on the phone occasionally, but it was always a treat to visit with the astounding lady in person. He had already been informed, by the exec herself, that this trip would be slightly different. She was bringing a new girlfriend along. He had never really liked Nikki and was hoping that the executiveĚs taste had improved some from her last affair.

Never being one for negativity, Gary decided ahead of time to keep an open mind until he met the new person.

It was a short 20-minute drive and he pulled up to the edge of the tarmac just as the Cessna was coming to a complete stop. Good timing, Alex, and another perfect landing. You are one hell of a pilot along with everything else you do so well. It's a shame your predilection is not the male of the species; we would have made a great team in more than just business.

They had met at a convention for physical therapists and he fell, head over heels the first time he looked at her. What mortal could resist the raven hair flowing freely down her back and the mesmerizing glance of her baby blue eyes? Oh, he'd seen them turn ice blue a few times, but the other hue, the soft velvet was the color he always remembered. He was broken hearted when he found out she was a lesbian and he didn't have a snowball's chance in hell at winning the exquisite lady over. So, he did the next best thing - he became her friend and then extended the friendship into a business relationship. It worked out well for the two of them, except for the fact that he never married. Once he had the picture of the ideal woman in his mind, it was hard for any of the women he dated to match up.

The door of the Cessna was beginning to open so he pulled the Jeep further up on the tarmac, shut the engine off and got out of the car to go meet his friend.


The tall beauty looked out over the runway and spotted a beige Jeep Cherokee. Standing beside the door was a middle-aged man with a slightly protruding belly; a full, neatly trimmed beard and long grayish hair tied back into a ponytail. "Looks like Gary came alone to meet us Samantha," she turned and informed her lover. "I think you'll like him; he's a very tender man."

"Oh? That's an odd description isn't it?"

"No, it's just the easiest way to describe him. He very soft spoken and has a soft, healing touch." Alex explained.

"And just how do you know about the touch?" Samantha wanted to know as they started down the step.

"I did tell you his specialty, remember Samantha?"

"Ah, yes," the small blonde smiled. "Let me see, you said he was a physical therapist and an expert in myofascial release massage, right?"

"Right. Have you ever had a massage without being touched?"

"Actually I can't say that I've had all that many massages." Samantha smiled up to catch the sun sparkling in radiant blue eyes. "Let's go meet your business friend."

Alex descended first then reached an arm up and helped Samantha down. Putting her arm around the smaller woman's shoulders, they walked towards Gary. As they got closer, she released her hold and stepped forward to give the burly man a hug.

"Good to see you Alex," he commented in his rich baritone.

"It's good to see you too, Gary. Looks like life's been treating you okay." She stepped back a bit and patted his rotund middle.

"I've become more of a teacher and less of the therapist; it shows in the body." He laughed heartily and then turned to look at Samantha. "And this is?"

Alex stepped back and introduced her lover to her friend. "This is Samantha Riley and today is her birthday. "

Without allowing Alex to finish the introduction, he stepped up to Samantha and held out his hand. " I'm extremely pleased to meet you Samantha and a happy birthday to you." The large man took Samantha's small hand in his and she could feel the warmth radiating from his touch.

No exaggeration on the touch, Alex. "I'm very pleased to meet you, too, Mr. Black . . ."

"No, none of that Mr. Black stuff; it's just Gary." His smile was as warm as his touch and Samantha was immediately put at ease. She had already decided that she liked the large, soft-spoken man. "So, let's get your luggage and get going, we're having a barbecue today so it will be an early dinner. Are either of you hungry?"

Alex laughed at the question, and Samantha elbowed her in the side as she shot green daggers in the direction of the dark-haired beauty. Leaning down Alex whispered, "I'm only kidding with you, don't be so serious - it's your birthday."

"I know," Samantha whispered back, "so you ought to be nice to me."

"I am being nice . . ."

"Did I say something to start a discussion?" Gary asked.

"Yes . . ." Alex started to answer.

"No — " Samantha butted in.

"Okay, that's as clear as quicksand." The confused man looked from one to the other of his guests.

Samantha sighed deeply, "To answer your original question, we are both starving. We had breakfast somewhere around 10:30 I think, and I'm positive there's not a trace of it left in my stomach. The discussion was about my hollow leg."

Involuntarily the man's eyes quickly glanced down at the shapely legs on the small blonde standing near him.

Alex burst into laughter. "Not literally Gary! She doesn't have a hollow leg. It's just that for the size of her she can eat her weight in food."

"All right as long as I didn't start a small war." He started to open the back door for Samantha, but Alex was right there beating him to it and helping her mate get into high backseat.

"Same old Alex," he mumbled, shaking his head.

The raven-haired beauty smiled over at her old friend across the top of the car. "Did you expect anything different?"

"Of course not, my friend." He opened his own door and allowed Alex to do the same as she stepped into the front passenger seat. "This is the Jeep you asked for. Does it meet with your approval?"

"Most definitely," Alex confirmed, "four-wheel drive and all. Did you get me the maps I asked about?"

"Right there in the glove box."

"Thanks Gary."

"My pleasure." Not wanting to put a damper on the festivities of the day but needing to get in some serious discussions about the reason for her being here, as delicately as possible he breached the subject. "When did you want to discuss business, Alex?"

Cool blue eyes looked over at him as she raised the accustomed eyebrow, accentuating her model perfect visage, but there was a twinkle in the blue eyes so he knew he wasn't treading on thin ice. "I thought we'd skip business today because it is Samantha's birthday. We'll be leaving Sunday so I figured tomorrow you and I can start and maybe one of your people can show Samantha around the establishment. She can perhaps take in a massage, listen in on a class or just relax in the springs or one of the pools."

"That sounds good, Alex, but it might take more than one day."

"And that's fine with us," she turned and included Samantha, "right Samantha?"

"Absolutely, I realize that this is a business trip first."

Alex turned back to face the driver, "Honestly Gary, I thought we could take most of Tuesday and Wednesday for business and then I could show Samantha around on Thursday. On Friday I want to take her on an overnight excursion. If there is anything to tie, up we can do that on Sunday before leaving. Does that sound fair enough to you?"

"Sounds very fair. Two full days should be more than enough time to go over the where, how, and how much considerations. People have been pushing hard for this addition; I think it's really going to be a plus for the center."

"You're absolutely right. They are hot items right now and only places like yours have the room or the finances to put them in after the business is already up and going."

"What kind of response is the climbing wall getting at your establishment?" he wanted to know.

"Fabulous, it was actually packed with pre-signed customers before we even opened."

"That's a good recommendation. I guess I should have listened to you a year ago when you talked to me about it."

"Better late than never, Gary."

"Yeah, I guess. So, how was your flight in?" He turned to Samantha and smiled.

"It was marvelous," the small blonde answered. "I've never been in a private plane before. It's really a lot different from the commercial airlines." She looked into the front seat at Alex. "But Alex is an excellent pilot."

"I've been up with her a few times; she knows her stuff." He smiled over at the executive. "Actually I don't think there is anything Alex does that she doesn't do well." He winked in the rear view mirror at Samantha, who immediately blushed, even though she wasn't sure exactly why.

Alex chuckled in the front seat and gave Gary a tap on the shoulder. "That's enough of that, old boy."

"Has Alex explained to you about the positive vibrations here in this little mystical town of ours, Samantha?"

"Not really, she just said that it was beautiful and peaceful here and that you could come to know yourself better through the tranquility of the area. I have noticed that the red rock is gorgeous."

"This area is known for having positively charged vortexes, which are giant magnets of energy. About, geez, let me think, yeah . . . it was August of '87 there was a phenomena called the harmonic convergence which had to do with the planets being aligned in a certain way. It was a time of a vibrational shift and worldwide love and harmony was the theme. This little town was absolutely teeming with tourists.

"Anyhow, getting back to the vortex. The ones in this area, as I said, are positively charged which means they contain feminine attributes, the nurturing characteristics of yin. Bell Rock is extremely popular for newcomers to actually 'feel' the energy. We also have some of the negative or yang vortexes in the region, so whatever it is you are in need, the cure is not more than a 20 minute drive." He smiled up into the rearview mirror at the small blonde who graciously returned his hospitality.

"Sometimes the rocks are described by visitors as temples of energy and I've yet to see someone leave Sedona without feeling changed or moved emotionally for the better." He had turned off the main road a while back and was now turning into a long winding drive. Within minutes the main buildings were coming into view.

"This is the office building here in front, Samantha." Alex informed her lover as they got a little closer.

Samantha was significantly impressed with the expansive architecture, and the red cedar fa°ade of the buildings blended perfectly with the red rocks and forest area surrounding the massage center. Until they had walked through the lobby and toward the back exit of the building, she hadn't realized just how large an establishment the Center was. The rest of the buildings had been hidden from view by either the front structure or the encircling Coconino National Forest.

"I can't wait for you to see this view, Samantha." Alex took her by the arm, leading her directly through the initial building and out through the back door. They stood on a huge cedar deck overlooking the complex. "It's deceptive when you first enter the building but we are actually located on a cliff here and the land drops and levels, as you can see nature did her own cutting out of the scenery." She pointed to the right toward a cascading waterfall. From where they stood, they could hear the faint sound of rushing water.

Alex pointed out the different segments of the establishment. The structures were situated so as to form an off kilter semi-circle; the back right portion of the area was taken up by the unbelievable falls.

"There are sun decks lining the treatment building so when the weather is nice treatments can be given outdoors."

The pool and Jacuzzi were located in the middle of the complex and Alex pointed out that there was another Jacuzzi over near the small lake that the waterfall emptied into.

All the way in the back left corner of the immediate acreage, almost invisible from the office area were stables and Alex told Samantha that Gary usually housed about six horses that could be rented by the guests while they were using the facility. Lastly, to the left of them was the residential lodge where the staff lived and where clients stayed. Gary had a penthouse on the third floor, but Alex and Sam would be staying in one of the extended visit suites.

"I just can't believe how beautiful it is here. It's so different from the ocean view but has the same calming effect. This reminds me a little of home, with the lake and all." Samantha looked up into her lover's eyes - tears misting her own, "Thank you Alex. This has been the best birthday celebration I ever had. I feel like we left California, flew over the clouds, and landed in a different world."

"We kind of did, Honey. It's nature through completely different eyes. I think you'll really enjoy yourself when we go off and do some hiking and maybe even camp out on Friday night." The taller woman drew the blonde into a casual embrace. "Guess we should go get settled in."

Gary had left them at the main lobby right after he had one of the employees get their luggage from the car and take it up to the suite he had readied for them. He promised to meet them up in the room within the next 15 minutes.

Alex took Samantha up and showed her around the rooms. The blonde was impressed with the small deck off the bedroom from which they could view the waterfall and the entire complex below. When Gary arrived, he informed them that dinner preparations were already underway, but Alex told him that she had decided to take Samantha into town for her birthday dinner and invited him to join them. The invitation was promptly and politely refused, with the man stating that he felt they would probably enjoy a quiet dinner alone on such a momentous occasion. Even Samantha tried to coax him to come along, but he smiled knowingly and begged off.

"Do I dress up or is this place you have in mind casual, Alex?"

"How about in between? I'm going to wear dress pants with a blouse and light jacket. But first I'm going to call for reservations. We shouldn't have any trouble it's the beginning of the week."

"So a short dress and sandals would be okay?" Samantha asked.


Forty-five minutes later they were dressed and stepping into the Jeep. "You don't mind riding around in a Jeep do you, Samantha?"

"Is that a trick question?"

"No, it's just that I requested Gary have this vehicle available to us while we were here because I wanted to take you to some off the road places. It's not real elegant . . . "

"Alex - it's a Jeep Cherokee, not an old beat up off-the-roader." She giggled at her lover's sense of the absurd. "Let me see. We have power windows and doors, air/heat, CD/cassette/radio, leather seats, and automatic 4-wheel drive. What are you apologizing for?" She waited until Alex got into the driver's seat and then reached over and gave her a kiss. "What Am I going to do with you?"

"Love me forever."

"Most definitely, Sweetheart, most definitely."

Alex pulled up in front of a quaint European-styled restaurant nestled between towering red rocks and partially bordered by a swiftly flowing creek. After giving the keys to the valet, the two women entered the building. Upon arriving at the terrace room, the matr' de welcomed them by name, smiled sweetly, and escorted them to their table, overlooking the babbling stream. Intimate lighting added an air of romance and soft jazz whispered through the eaves. Even though autumn gold and red was slowing beginning to dot the landscape, the smell of roses permeated the air and the atmosphere for the night was eloquently staged.

Samantha looked out over the terrace at the setting sun and took Alex's hand under the table. "It's absolutely magnificent. What a wonderful way to end my birthday. Thank you, Alex. We always manage to be somewhere magical at sunset, don't we?"

Alex squeezed the small hand and smiled, gazing lovingly into the crystal emerald eyes she loved. "I try to please," the raven-haired beauty murmured. "I'd give you the world if it were mine to give, Samantha."

The tender moment was interrupted as a waiter approached with a bottle of Mumm Cordon Rouge Cuvee Limitee 1990. "Compliments of Mr. Gary Black from the Center for Healing on the Rocks," he informed the women.

"Good old Gary," Alex grinned as she accepted the gift and had the waiter pour the champagne. "Thank you."

He placed the bottle into the ice filled silver holder and left them to sample their wine and look over the menus.

"So, here's to us, Samantha and a week of experiences."

Samantha raised her glass to touch her lover's and as the glasses clinked together she mouthed the words, "I love you," across the table to her heart's desire.

"Are you ready to order?"

"No," the blonde looked down at the menu with no prices. "What would you suggest?"

"Since this is a 'momentous occasion', I would say we go for the gusto and order the six-course gourmet dinner - are you up for it?"

Her eyes getting huge as she looked over the menu, Samantha swallowed hard, trying to imagine what a six-course gourmet meal would cost. Then she swallowed her foolish pride and shook the question out of her mind. "I think I could give it the good old college try," she smiled over at the dark-haired beauty.

"Great, then why don't we order two different entrees and we can share?"

"Fine," Samantha agreed. "Go ahead and order for both of us, Alex. I trust your taste," she smiled slyly.

"What?" Alex questioned. "You chose me, didnít you?"

"Funny lady!" Alex motioned the waiter over and placed their selections. She started with the fresh lobster bisque with a touch of Cognac, followed by the salad with Gorgonzola cheese and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Entrees were a little more difficult to pick but she asked Samantha if she liked lobster and from the look on the small womanís face it was definitely an affirmative. Consequently, Samantha received the braised Maine lobster with asparagus topped with Hollandaise sauce and Alex ordered the poached shrimp with zucchini topped with a creamy pesto.

The first course arrived with fresh baked French bread and whipped butter, followed shortly by the soup. Between the soup and the main course they were served a lemon sorbet with champagne to clear the palate and then the entrees arrived.

Samantha's eyes again lit up when the lobster arrived, fully removed from and sitting on top of its shell. "By the Gods, Alex. Would you look at the size of this!"

Alex grinned and shook her head, similarly receiving an oversized portion of poached shrimp. "If you think you are going to be stuffed eating it all, only eat some of it and we can take the rest home; we have a refrigerator in the suite. You must save room for dessert, Samantha. Their desserts are to die for!"

"Okay, but here let me split this with you before we start." She totally removed the shell onto a separate plate and the women proceeded to share their meals, eating and talking from one course to the next.

"It seems as though we've been eating forever and I still have a half full plate," Samantha remarked as she pushed the dish away from her. "You're right Alex, if I want to sample the dessert, I had best stop now."

"I agree." Alex looked over toward the anticipating waiter and he arrived, pushing the dessert tray. Samantha asked if they could have 'doggie bags', and the waiter assured them he would take care of everything. Before taking their plates he went over his tray full of divine decadence, describing each and every item on the silver wish cart. The ladies decided to share the delicacy entitled simply 'the gift'. The waiter removed their dinner plates and inquired if they desired coffee, tea, or an after dinner drink. After being told they were fine with the rest of the champagne and water, he disappeared back into the kitchen area.

They sat discussing everything Alex had planned for the next few days and while they were talking Alex poured the last of the champagne into their glasses.

Within minutes their waiter returned trailed by four other waiters. The dessert they had ordered arrived with a small candle stuck in the middle burning as brightly as one small flame can do all by itself. Putting down 'the gift', the waiter smiled at Alex then looked over at Samantha as he and his four accomplices began to sing Happy Birthday in French to the blushing blonde. They all congratulated her when they had finished and their waiter told them he would be back directly with their leftovers.

"This looks almost too good to eat, Alex." Samantha began to examine the sugary concoction that was placed between the two of them. It was a small gift box made out of semi-sweet chocolate and filled with a white chocolate mousse. Topping the mousse was a large portion of raspberries, drizzled over with raspberry syrup, and finished off with the candle she had just blown out.

"You don't have to eat it, you know? We could have them wrap it to go and . . ."

"Very funny, Alex. No one likes a smart ass."

"Ah but everyone likes a little . . ."

"Alex! Behave."

"Samantha you take the fun out of my evening." The brunette teased as she dipped into the soft sweetness and offered the first bite to her destiny. "Sweets for the sweet."

"Ugh -- that is really an old line. Alexis Dorian, you are incorrigible, but I'll take the bribe." She opened her mouth and allowed Alex to feed her. Taking her time to empty the spoon she smiled, a twinkle in her emerald eyes that seduction was only a trip back to the center away. "Umm. Good," she acknowledged as she slowly licked her lips, her moist tongue following her lip line; her eyes never leaving Alex's.

Sitting opposite the tantalizing blonde, Alex could feel her body responding to the tease. "Okay, you have five minutes to help me make short work of this dessert and we, that is you and I, Ms Riley, have a date back at our suite."

As Samantha was about to answer, the waiter came back with two silver foil swans. "Your 'leftovers' ladies." Catching the surprised look on Samantha's face, their waiter, Michael, grinned as he gently placed the foil art on the table.

"Thank you, Michael; we'll take the check now." Alex informed him.

"Certainly Ms. Dorian." While he was retrieving the invoice, Samantha picked one of the swans up to exam it. "This is soooo cute." She looked up at the young man.

"Yes, they are rather creative, are they not, Miss." He handed the check to Alex. "I'll take care of it whenever you are ready."

He turned to leave and Alex touched him on the arm, "Just a second Michael." She took a quick inventory of the meal and glanced at the total. "Everything seems to be in order." Already having her wallet out, she pulled out a visa and handed it to the waiter. "There ya go."

"Thank you, Ms. Dorian, I'll be right back."

A long slender arm reached across the table and Alex's hand intertwined with Samantha's. "What do you think of Sedona so far?"

"The scenery is beautiful, the cuisine is exquisite, and the company I'm keeping . . . absolutely fantastic." Samantha smiled at her lover,

Alex looked down at her watch and then over into Samantha's eyes. "Only a few more hours left in this special day, my Destiny. Most of the shops are closed. What do you say we call it an evening and go back to the Center?"

With a twinkle in her verdant eyes, the small blonde winked at Alex and gave her a half-smile. "I suppose going back to the suite would be okay. It's been a pretty full day."

Suddenly life intruded on the poignant mood of the evening, as Samantha bore the look of a panic stricken animal. "Alex, you need to call home and make sure everyone arrived safely."

"No need to get so excited, Samantha. I couldn't call when we first got here; no one else was home yet. Ray and Sonny have quite a drive from the airport, and I don't know how long it takes Sally to get home. Here," she handed the anxious blonde the satellite phone. "Go ahead, call Mom."

"Okay . . . I'm sorry. It's just that I was so caught up in the day and the moment that I completely forgot we promised to call Mom and they promised to call Mom and . . ."

"Samantha, take a deep breath!" Alex instructed.

Samantha did.

"Now another and then . . ."

Michael returned with the check for Alex to sign. She informed him that the evening had been lovely and thanked him before he turned to go, leaving her the privacy to sign her bill.

"Now, where was I?" Alex asked.

"You were calming me down, but I'm quite all right now, Alex. I just got a little excited because I had forgotten."

"Well, I'm glad that's all over with," she smiled and recited her mother's number for Samantha to call. Aurora answered and informed Samantha that everyone had arrived at their destinations safely and in timely manners. She was pleased that the girls were having a good time and told her to give Alex a kiss for her but she had to run. Kelley had made reservations for a late dinner at one of their special restaurants and she was running late. Samantha hung up and with a broad smile on her relieved face, handed the phone back to its owner.

"Ready to go now?"

"Yes, and I feel 100 percent better knowing that everyone is home and safe."

The two got up and walked to the entrance of the restaurant where Alex handed the valet her ticket and within minutes they were on their way back to the Center.

"You know Alex, I could get used to traveling like this."

"Oh, you could, could you?"

The inside of the vehicle was dark, but Samantha knew by the intonation that there was definitely an arched eyebrow on the beautiful face of her lover and probably that crooked smile that tickled her heart.

"I just meant . . . who wouldn't want to travel around in their own plane . . . eating at elegant restaurants, and being the guest at a beautiful place like the Center?"

"There's no problem with doing things like this more often. Especially after we have that little chat I've promised you for soooo long. I will let you in on a little secret though."

"I love secrets," the small blonde admitted, looking over at her lover with anticipation.

"Alternative Paradise is a hobby, Samantha. I only started it to fulfill a need to give something back for all I've been given in my lifetime. We are not stuck working a 10-to-10 forever. If you want, we can start looking for permanent people to take over whenever we decide to go on a mini-vacation."

A small gasp of air escaped the small woman's lips as the impact of the confession reached her brain. Damn that talk ought to be quite a shocker, if this is just a little secret. To her lover she tried to respond in a normal tone of voice. "Alex it sounds marvelous when you talk about vacationing so much, but I think something gets lost in the translation between your mouth and my mind. It's all well and good that you might be able to afford to go on vacation whenever, but . . ."

"Let me ask you something, Samantha." Alex glanced over to the passenger seat and could see there was a look of concern on the small woman's face. "How many years have your parents been married?"

"Let me see I believe this year it would be 30, why?"

"In all that time has your mother ever worked?"

"No. She stayed home, took care of the house and all of us."

"Did you think she was wrong for doing that?"

"No." It was obvious the blonde was not, as yet, grasping in what direction the conversation was leading.

"Why not?"

"Hey, I know about all the feminist issues over being 'just a housewife'." It seemed Samantha was beginning to get very defensive over the discussion.

"Slow down, Irish - I'm not condemning your mom; I'm just asking you a few questions."

"Sorry, Alex. I just get really upset when women start . . . "

"My point exactly, Sweetheart. Maybe I should just cut to the chase. Do you think any less of your mom for staying home and taking care of the family and the home when you dad went out to work?"

"I think I already said no."

"Mainly because his job was away from the home and hers was in it, right?"


"If he made enough money that he would only have to work, say three months out of the year, don't you think the family would have gone on many mini-vacations?"

"Yeah, I'm sure we would have. What are you getting at Alex?"


By this time they were pulling up in front of the Center. Alex turned off the car and took her lover's hand. "What I guess I'm trying to say is that I have more than enough money to support the two of us, if I never work another day in my life. I work because I enjoy it and because before you came along there was nothing I had a passion for, nothing I really wanted to spend my money on. I enjoyed working. I still do but I wouldn't mind . . . "

"Whoa, Alex are you saying that I would never have to work another day in my life if I didn't want to?"

Alex gently kissed the small hand she had been holding in her own larger one. "Yes, my Destiny, I believe that is exactly what I am trying to say. I'm trying to say that you are my mate and anything that belongs to me belongs to you."

Samantha shook her head from side-to-side. "This is a lot to absorb at one sitting, Alex."

"I know, my love." She opened the car door and started to get out. "Why don't we take a walk down near the waterfall?"

"Can we put the leftovers in the room first?"

Alex couldn't help but laugh at the request, had it been her choice, they never would have troubled bringing the leftovers home. "Sure we can, Samantha," she answered the blonde's question, while reaching back and grabbing the bag containing the two swan dinners, then she went around to join Samantha on the other side of the car.

Walking up to the building, Alex suggested that they merely put the bag inside. She assured Samantha it would be quite safe sitting in the doorway until they came back to go upstairs.

The soft rustling of the falls turned into a gentle roar the closer they got to the cascading waters.

"It's so peaceful here, Alex." Samantha looked around at the encircling trees and rock formations surrounding the buildings, which seemed to have been constructed so as not to disturb the nature of the area.

"Yes, this is a great place to come and unwind. You'll get a nice treat tomorrow. I had Gary set you up with one of his best people for a massage. Later in the afternoon, before the stores close I want to take you down to a couple of the crystal shops. This is an esoteric little town here."

"That sounds like fun," Sam agreed. They stopped when they got closer to the falls and stood watching the moonlight as it danced in the water. The taller woman stepped behind the smaller and cradled her in her arms. Samantha leaned back and placed her head on Alex's chest.

"I could stand here forever with you in my arms, my Destiny." She gently kissed the soft golden crown and squeezed her lover closer.

"I could, too." Samantha bent her head back to look up into eyes sparkling with starlight as Alex bent down to kiss the top of her forehead. "Do you know the stars are dancing in your eyes tonight, my love?" the small blonde queried.

"If they are, it's only because I'm standing so close to Heaven when you are in my arms." She turned Samantha around to face her. "Let's go up, okay?"

"Yeah, I think it's about time."

Hand in hand they took the long way back to their building, around the falls, through the middle of the court, between the structures, and around the pool. The pace was entirely different here than it had been the entire weekend before. No more the incessant need to rush here and there; solitude stood out in this picturesque setting. Here . . . now . . . they could simply relax and enjoy each other and the richness of nature in this secluded canyon nestled deep in Arizona's red rock. Samantha picked up their swans as they entered the building and examined again the intricacies of the foil creatures. "Aren't these cute?" She looked up at Alex who tried to show interest in wrapped leftovers.

"Sure are."

"I've never seen a doggie bag look this elegant before."

They reached the suite and Alex held the door for Samantha to enter with her little amusements. "Here, let me put those in the frig."

"Okay -- want to take a Jacuzzi?"

"Nothing sounds better," Alex answered as she walked toward the kitchenette.

"I'll get it started."

"Great, I'll get us something to drink." She knew Gary well enough to know that he would have stocked the small kitchen area with necessities and knowing Alex, he knew champagne, wine, and beer were three top priorities. A bottle of Perrier-Jou"t Fleur de Champagne was residing in the refrigerator when she opened it, along with a large fruit tray. On the kitchen counter were a dozen red roses with a note:

Alex ~ Thought these might be appropriate for the little one's birthday celebration, knew you hadn't the time to make small purchases. She's a real charmer. Enjoy your evening. I'll see you in the morning. Fondly ~ Gary.

The dark-haired beauty smiled as she remembered back to a time long ago when the champagne and flowers had been offered to her as an enticement to make their relationship one of more than simply business. She still remembered the look on her friend's face when she explained to him that men were not her preference, and she was glad they had been able to work through that awkward period in their relationship.

She retrieved the bubbling liquid from its abode and proceeded to pop the cork.

"I heard that," Samantha yelled from the bathroom.

"Can't surprise you with anything, can I?"

"Oh, I wouldn't go that far." Samantha came to the entrance between the bedroom and living room wearing nothing but a smile. "Are you about ready?"

"Just about." Alex turned and almost dropped the fluted glasses she held in her hand when she looked over at her lover. "Would you like this champagne in your mouth or on the floor? Don't sneak up on me like THAT! "

"Like what? You want me to take a bath fully clothed? Oh, my look at the roses, thank you Alex." She started closer to her lover.

"No I don't want you fully clothed, but to just appear naked . . . well . . . it just threw me off balance, and I didn't get the flowers, Gary did. Seems like I'm never the one getting the flowers for you -- what's with that anyhow? First Angel and now Gary." She was grinning so Samantha knew she was only kidding.

"I don't know, I guess I'm just irresistible," the small woman teased, raising an eyebrow like her counterpart always did.

"Okay, irresistible, get your naked body into the other room before we forego the bathing and get right to the bedding." Still toting the champagne bottle and fluted glasses she started toward the bathroom behind Samantha.

"Here let me take the bottle; oh this bottle is beautiful . . . would you just look at those white flowers on it." She took the bottle examining it.

"This champagne even more than a lot of the others is known as the champagne for lovers," Alex informed Samantha.

"Really, why?"

"The wine was originally produced by a couple in the 1800s, who were very much in love. In the early 1900's a relative inherited the winery. It was he, who decided to decorate the bottle, so that it would reflect the passion and romance of the couple who originally created the champagne. He commissioned an artist of the day to do the design and the rest is history."

"That is romantic. Here, let me get the glasses." She took them from Alex and put them over on the Jacuzzi. "We'll all be waiting right here for you when you get undressed."

Samantha stepped into the churning, scented, bubbling water. "Aaah, this feels great." Sinking down into the warm liquid she sat anxiously awaiting Alex to join her. With her eyes closed Samantha let her head fall back onto the headrest.

Sam jerked when a soft kiss touched her forehead, "Leave you for two minutes and you're sitting there snoring," Alex chuckled.

"Was not!" Samantha objected.

"Oh, yes you were, I know snoring when I hear it, and it's not very romantic." She smiled as she stepped into the tub and sat down next to her lover.

Samantha splashed her slightly and giggled, "I was just pretending, seeing if you'd notice."

"Yeah, and I'm Minnie Mouse. You don't want to start a splashing fight, Samantha. I hate bubbles in my bubbly." Alex reached over and picked up the two glasses from the rim, handing one to the blonde. "I guess this officially ends your birthday celebration."

"What about the rest of the week we're spending here?"

"The next couple of days are business and the last few are a well-earned mini-vacation. So . . ." she raised her glass to touch her lover's, "Happy Birthday, my Destiny, and may this just be the beginning of our celebrations together."

"Thank you, Honey. My wish is the same." Sam took a sip of the sparkling liquid. "Umm, this is fabulous! But it's really different from the one at dinner. That had a slightly vanilla taste and this one is more like fruit. It's delicious."

"Yes . . . well . . . I know what I've been waiting all day to 'taste'." The tall beauty pulled her lover over to her. Samantha wrapped her legs around Alex's waist, putting her arms around the long neck and running her fingers through thick dark hair. "I love you, Alex. You know that don't you?"

"I think I do."

"There should be no thinking to be done, just knowing and feeling." Small hands continued to massage and Alex put her head down for Samantha to continue.

"That feels so damn good."

"Feels good to me, too," the blonde admitted as she kissed the ebony head.

Alex looked directly into her lover's eyes. "Those emeralds of yours are really sparkling tonight; have you mischief on your mind, my love?"

"No . . . no mischief . . . just pleasure."

"Pleasure, now that's something I could get used to."

"I was counting on that." Samantha slid back a bit on Alex's legs, still leaving less than an arm's length between them, but giving her the ability to touch her lover's face, and run her fingers down the elegant neck to the nape of her shoulders.

"Even in this warm water, I'm getting chills, Samantha."

"Good, that way I know you're paying attention," the small blonde smiled as she leaned in again and began planting small, quick kisses over Alex's cheeks. "I love to touch you, kiss you, feel you."

While her lips played delicately on her lover's face, her hands were finding a different playground. Alex had been sitting with her arms around Samantha's waist, allowing the smaller woman to have her way with her, but as the small hands began to travel downward, Alex refused to sit still without joining in the fun. She began tracing her own fingers down the body in front of her and watching as Samantha's nipples responded to the tender caresses.

"No fair, Alex. You get to sit and be the strong, silent type tonight."

"I am the strong, silent type, but that doesn't mean I can't touch."

"I think it's getting very close to the witching hour, but until that clock strikes, it's still my birthday and my wish is to pamper and make love to you."

The dark-haired beauty leaned back against the Jacuzzi and slid down slightly, still keeping the blonde perched on the top of her thighs.

"I'm all yours - until the clock strikes 12 - then you had best watch out because I'm warning you, I intend to join in."

Samantha switched from sitting on both of Alex's thighs to positioning herself on only one. She sensuously slid her body from the top of the thigh to the knee and back again. The entire time she was moving her body, she was running her fingers down Alex's torso. The exquisite torture began at the long, swan neck, and continued down, encircling the firm breasts, then farther down to play hide-and-seek in the naval. The next movement of her hands found her fingers tangled around the soft dark curls of Alex's curly mound, all the while pressing firmly down on the muscular thigh as she rubbed back and forth, pleasuring herself almost as much as she was her lover.

"Damn Samantha. I wish midnight would hurry and get here. I know that even if we weren't sitting in this tub, my thigh would still be wet."

Samantha arched her back, teasing Alex, as the taller woman's arms kept a tight hold on the smaller woman's back to keep her from falling backward into the water. Sam then slid forward again, this time letting her fingers touch the swollen nub between the folds of dark curly hair. With one hand behind Alex's neck she placed her face next to one small ear and whispered softly, "I'm going to make you come harder than you ever have for anyone else in your life." With that she circled the ear with her tongue, then sucked contentedly on the earlobe. At the same time while pressing her body into her lover's she allowed two fingers to enter Alex's depths of passion, while her thumb continued to play with the outer regions of love.

"I love you Alex," she murmured as she slid back, causing her fingers to slip almost totally out. Then she slid back and as she closed the gap between their bodies, her fingers once again entered, this time harder and deeper.

The movements became more and more rhythmical as Samantha quickened her pace and when Alex could stand it no longer, she pulled the smaller woman close and refused to allow her to separate from her again.

"What do you want, my darling?" Samantha purred into Alex's ear. "Tell me what you want."

"Samantha don't play this game," Alex growled.

"Oh, but we've played before," Samantha grinned, continuing to move her fingers in and out. "You liked it then, remember?"

Alex had to grin back at her Irish imp as Samantha was only playing the game she had taught her. Having the shoe on the other foot was not as much fun, she was finding out. But, being a sport, she decided to play along.

"You asked for it, my Destiny." Alex pulled Samantha closer, so that it was now her mouth on the small ear framed by the soft golden hair.

"I want you to fuck me Samantha."

Alex heard a small gasp escape from her lover's lips. She had never used that term with Samantha before, but the blonde had her so keyed up and she had insisted on knowing what she wanted . . . "I want you to fill me with you and continue to ride your way to passion's fulfillment on my thigh." She tightened her thigh muscles and lifted her leg to give more friction to the movements as she began assisting Samantha in sliding up and down.

The small woman held Alex tighter and inserted yet another finger into her lover, then proceeded to increase the rhythm as she fluctuated in and out - in and out - all the while sliding back and forth on the muscular thigh. The water was cooling and spilling from the tub but neither of the lovers was paying any attention to something, which had nothing whatsoever to do with what they were experiencing.

The harder and faster Samantha entered her lover, the harder and faster she rode the well-defined leg. Finally, neither of them could stand it any longer and she bore down on Alex's leg while penetrating her lover to the fullest . . . holding, holding, holding . . . then feeling the strong inner muscles close ever so tightly on her hand. The spasms began, and Samantha smiled knowing that she had succeeded in doing exactly what she had set out to do. Alex quivered and shook, then spasmed again. Samantha forced her hand higher, pushing hard on the outside with her thumb and sucking on Alex's neck at the same time, sucking with a passion almost out of control.

Alex let out a groan and as Samantha started to disengage her hand a stronger one covered it and pushed her back inside. With a final shiver and spasm Alex let go of Samantha's hand and collapsed back into the Jacuzzi seat.

Ever so softly she confessed that Samantha had succeeded in her quest and the small blonde smiled. Samantha once again sat on both her lover's thighs as she leaned against her dark angel's chest and kissed the neglected breasts.

"The water's kinda cool," Samantha finally noticed.

"Yeah, and the midnight hour has passed," Alex added. "I suppose you know what that means?"

"Yes, it's no longer my birthday."

"No. It means it's my turn." The tall woman scooted Samantha off her legs and stood up, offering the smaller woman a hand. Getting out of the tub they each grabbed a towel and Alex poured them a fresh glass of champagne which they took into the bedroom with them.

Quickly drying off and drinking their wine, they pulled the covers down and lay on the crisp, clean sheets.

"Are you too tired to do anything else?" Alex asked, hoping for a negative response.

"I'm tired, but certainly not too tired to continue making love to you."

"No, no . . . that part of the evening is over, my Destiny." Alex shifted her position until she was on top of the smaller woman, holding the upper portion of her body up with strong, well-defined arms.

"It's now my turn to make love to you." The look of love appearing on Alex's face was so intense that Samantha simply smiled; no comment was needed. She reached her arms up and placed a small hand on either side of the face she now knew almost as well as her own.

Without blinking or losing eye contact the raven-haired beauty lowered herself until their partially parted lips were barely touching, "You're my world, Samantha. Don't ever leave me," she breathed into her lover's mouth. "As strong as I may seem to others, I don't believe I would survive if you went away."

A single tear trickled down the beautiful face and caught on the tip of Samantha's tongue, just as she was about to kiss her lover's lips.

"You're stuck with me forever, my love, have no fear," the green-eyed beauty whispered.

The bittersweet kiss evoked an ache in the heart of the small blonde, and she pondered on how she could be so important to someone as wonderful as Alex. As she drank in the essence of their mingling tongues she decided that fate most definitely played a part in their chance meeting. If a near deserted beach could bring two strangers together, nothing save for the Gods alone could tear her away from these lips, these arms, and the passionate blue searching eyes of her heart's desire.

Alex rolled onto her back, holding onto the small frame that had been under her and bringing Samantha to lie on top. She could feel the pounding of the smaller woman's heart increase as their lips remained locked. She wanted to crawl inside Samantha, consume every ounce of love the woman had to offer and lock it up inside her own heart so it might never escape. Her long, slender fingers left a pattern of goose bumped flesh in their wake as they traveled down the curve of her lover's back, coming to rest on two firm buttocks.

Alex opened her legs and Samantha fell between them, the mounds of the two women touching as ebony and gold intermingled and the fire within each body flickered out to find its release in the touch of the other.

"I won't ask you what you want tonight, my Destiny," Alex softly growled into Samantha's ear. "Instead I will tell you my desire. I will announce my every move. I will voice my thoughts as I enter you and make known how much a part of my soul you have become."

"First, I'm going to do everything different tonight." With hands slipping up to rest on either side of Samantha's hips, Alex brought her into a sitting position, their soft nether curls still touching. She placed one hand on Samantha's breast and the other slowly made it's way between the two bodies as she spread the golden folds with one adept hand and placed two fingers gently up inside the already moist recesses of her lover.

Samantha let out a small cry of desire as Alex's hand entreated her to move up and down.

"I want to look into your eyes tonight Samantha. I want to capture every facial expression you reveal and keep it my memory forever." Increasing the speed of her hand she smiled as Samantha could no longer remain fully erect without placing her hands on Alex's thighs as the larger woman traveled in and out of the dark recesses of the smaller.

Without warning, Alex flipped positions and without removing her hand from inside Samantha's passion she lowered her body down until her mouth covered the now swollen outer nub.

"I'm going to suck you dry of all your essence Samantha. I am obsessed with your taste, the feel of you in my mouth.

"Oh Alex do you know what you're . . . "

"I certainly hope so Samantha," the dark-haired woman smiled.

"I could dine on you for hours," she confessed.

Samantha's utterances became louder as Alex attempted to consume her lover's elixir. Occasionally sapphire eyes would glance up at Samantha's face to watch her expressions as they changed and to catch a glimpse of the small hands grabbing at the sheets and holding on until the knuckles turned white.

"I will take you to the brink and over. I promise." Alex's tongue flicked rapidly over the protruding bud, then down lower as she took her hand away and replaced it with her tongue, which she drove deep within her lover's overflowing well of passion.

Small hips could not keep from undulating as Alex's tongue continued to advance and retreat.

Moans of delectation filled the room and the scent of love permeated the air.

"I want you to come for me Samantha. Hard . . . and now . . . with my tongue deep inside you."

Alex continued with the in and out motion of her tongue, smiling inwardly when she began to feel the walls of the small, moist cave tremble and the spasms begin. She continued to plunge her tongue in and out, quickly and rhythmically until finally she removed the soft organ and replaced it with short spurts of thrust with her hand. A change of position found Alex astride the shapely thigh of her lover, rubbing her own passion up and down, sliding over the leg until the two women, in a simultaneous second of rapture, burst into orgasm.

Alex collapsed next to her lover, totally spent and utterly content.

Minutes passed as silence filled the air, and stillness surrounded the two women, save for the involuntary muscle fluctuations neither could control.

"Alex . . ." Samantha began.

"Hush Samantha," Alex pleaded, as she kissed her own index and middle fingers and gently placed them on her lover's lips.

Samantha hushed.

A few minutes later, Alex got up from the bed, walked over to the champagne bottle and poured the remaining liquid into the flutes.

Quietly she sat down on the bed next to the blonde, handing her the glass. "Never Samantha," she began, "never in my life have I ever been so lost in someone else. I have always been one who needed to be in control of every situation. When I'm with you I'm not even in control of my senses, no less the situation. Nothing else in the world matters when I'm making love to you and acting or looking vulnerable is no longer an issue because I simply don't care."

A satisfying grin was all she received from the imp of a woman now sitting next to her on the bed, as she reached out and kissed her gently.

"I feel the same way, Alex. I want you so badly sometimes I hurt inside. I've never wanted anyone or anything in my entire life the way I want being with you."

"You know, Samantha, Mom tried to explain to me long ago that when I met the one person in my life who was destined to remain with me throughout this lifetime that I would lose all my inhibitions. She told me all sense of self would diminish and that I would meld so completely that the only way I could be happy would be to have that person beside me. I was sure she was wrong, but now I know she wasn't. Don't let me forget to remind her of that distant talk. I need to tell her how right she was."

"I'll be sure to remember, Alex," Samantha promised as she reached over and placed the empty glass on the nightstand and Alex did the same with hers. "Can I also tell her that I feel exactly the same way?"

Samantha's Princess Charming kissed her gently on the cheek, "I'd be thrilled and I'm sure Mom would, too."

The two women lay back down and Alex took her life-mate into her arms, knowing that sleep would soon claim them both and that the new morning would welcome them, far before they were ready to unravel from each other's arms.

End of Chapter 7

Chapter 8

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