He let her dodge the question. "Susan Radebaugh, you mean. Yes." He neglected to tell her that Partridge Family alum Shirley Jones had also been an older woman fantasy of his during the show's four-year run.

Melinda continued to diverge. "I think Susan Dey has really come into her own as an actress in her role as a lawyer on L.A. Law, don't you?"

"L.A. Law is one of my favorite shows. I agree." He also agreed that he was beginning to get aroused from whatever scent she wore, not to mention the way she looked in that dress. Pressing ahead, he said, "But I'm still curious about what you mean by things not being what they seem. I get the concept, just not how it applies here."

She let out a nervous chuckle, picked up her glass and took several sips. "Are you and this Miss Radebaugh close?"


"Close as in intimate." She placed a hand over his and squeezed it. "Look, if I'm getting too personal, you can tell me to mind my own business."

He almost couldn't believe this conversation. He was talking to a Melinda Everette he never knew before. A Melinda Everette who, pardon his presumptuousness, appeared as if she wanted a little intimacy herself. If that was the case, he'd love to accommodate her. "We have sex, if that's what you mean. Why?"

She let out a shy, little girl giggle. "No reason, just curious." She rubbed a hand over one of her bare thighs, inching her dress higher. "It's just...oh, lord, this isn't easy." She pointed to her wine glass. "But this helps. Oaky, I'll stop procrastinating and tell you what I mean by things not being what they seem. It's nothing too complicated, at least on the surface. What I mean is that despite my snobby attitude toward you, I think you're very good looking. And not to be conceited, but from what I can tell, you think I'm a bitch, but at least a sexy bitch." Pause. "Am I on the right track here?"

His cock was on the right track, that's for sure. He felt it press against the fabric of his underwear, beginning its normal upward trajectory when given the right stimulus. And this woman sitting just inches from him, this middle-age, sexy woman, she with the luscious legs, emerald eyes, sensuous mouth and talk of sex, was indeed the right stimulus. "You're on the right track," he said. "Well, at least about the sexy part. You've been off my bitch list since we met in Giant."

She laughed. "Well, that's nice to know."

They looked at each other, trading sly grins and taking several more sips of wine.

She put her hand to her forehead. "I'm getting a little tipsy here."

He was feeling it too, not drunk but that proverbial buzz that loosens inhibitions. "Are you dating anyone now?"

"No. I stopped going to those Parents Without Partners things. All I seemed to meet were pot-bellied losers."

"So, no sex for a while?"

"Um, right. No sex for a while. A long while." Delicately and lovingly, she combed her fingers through his wavy mane of hair. "I'm hoping you can end my drought." She leaned in closer. "Kiss me."

He did. It was awkward. How could it not be? First-time smooches with someone "new" are often awkward. But more than that, this first-time smooch was with a good friend's mom.

She sensed his reticence and pulled back. "If you're uncomfortable, we can just talk some more."

"It's not you, Melinda, it's..." He looked at her as if to say, 'you know.'

She did know. "It's about what Brian would think. My thoughts also. But he won't think because he won't know. Not unless you tell him and I doubt you'd do that. I certainly won't."

He didn't need further convincing. Presumably, this was turning out to be a fantasy come true and he didn't want to blow it. Melinda Everette was too damn desirable for guilt or some kind of misplaced loyalty to Brian to stop him. "Let's try this again," he said.

She held his face between her hands. "Agreed. Let's. This time, just relax and enjoy. Things will be okay." She kicked her shoes off and told him to do the same.

His lips met hers. He followed her advice, and things were indeed okay. More than okay. She was warm, affectionate, almost nurturing. She was older, after all. Plus, maybe this was her way of atoning for the shabby way she once treated him. Whatever the case or cause, he was thoroughly enjoying this, locked in the embrace of this sexy older woman. She was hungry, starved perhaps, for something she hadn't received in a while, "a long while," as she had said.

She was on top of him, kissing him passionately, her dress way up, bunched around her waist. She lifted her head and said, "I love the way you kiss me." She tugged down the thin straps of her dress, unsnapped her bra, and then dove in for more, kissing him long and deep and smearing her lipstick in the process. She added a vigorous dry hump, drove her loins into his, moaning softly. She got more aggressive, pulled down his jeans and underwear to his knees, then squeezed his cock between her boobies. "They're not real big," she said, "but you've got to admit they're firm."

"Firm and soft at the same time," he said. "You're amazing and you smell amazing."

"And you're rock-hard and I think it's time we retire to the master bedroom." Then she added, "You won't become a dad, I'm protected."

Retire to the master bedroom were words he'd never in his wildest wet dreams expect to hear from the likes of Melinda Everette. But seeing was believing and feeling was even more so. He was doing lots of feeling, standing naked on the thick beige carpet, his arms wrapped around her equally naked body, kissing her affectionately like he meant it because he did, then licking the nipples of her firm-soft boobies, squeezing her cute, sexy butt and swishing a finger over her moist pussy, while his 'rock-hard' cock got bigger and harder, not just from the licking and feeling but from Melinda's erotic soft moans and breathless sighs, which culminated in her whispering this simple, but epic request: "Make love to me, Wade. I so want you inside me."

The covers of her king-sized bed were pulled halfway down because that's the way she fixed them prior to his arrival, not knowing if he'd be up for sharing her bed, yet hoping, of course, that he would. Now, any uncertainty she once felt burned off like fog against a bright sun. She was burning with desire, as the cliché went, desire she shared with a handsome young lover who knew how to please. She so wanted him inside her, yes, but she wasn't so impatient that she couldn't enjoy—no, make that thrill!—to his "preliminaries," his licking her sensitive tummy and then wedging his head between her legs and using his tongue to bring her already incendiary state to a fever-pitch. Silently, she asked herself, does it get any better than this? When he slipped inside her, she answered her own question, this time out loud: "Yes! Oh yes!" The kid she once loathed had become the man she couldn't get enough of, a most absurd juxtaposition, and one she was fully aware of, even in her current state of orgasmic delirium.

It had been so long that she'd almost forgot what a climax felt like. With a man, that is. Vibrators didn't really count. They were devices that pleased on a one-dimensional level. Wade jogged her memory of what it felt like on an emotional level as well. Oh man, did he, as she closed her eyes and surrendered to the succession of waves washing over her, first in torrents, then in gentle ripples, partnered by Wade's tender kisses and loving words. He climaxed moments after her, though so intense was her pleasure, that she barely heard it.

She wondered if he might do a wham bam and then sprint out the door—the same as what one of her single girlfriends said a guy did to her. But she needn't have worried. In fact, he snuggled next to her, nuzzled her neck. "Mere words can't describe how wonderful that was," he said. "I hope you don't want me to leave just yet."

She nuzzled him back, planting kisses on his clean-shaven face and squeezing his muscular arms. "I was just thinking that it might be you who wanted out. Actually, Wade, I'd like you to stay the night if you can."

Leaning on one arm, he threw his other arm around her. "Would love to." A question popped into his mind. "Melinda, please don't take this the wrong way. But do you see me as your gigolo?"

She threw her head back and laughed. "Ohmygod, no way! Sure, I'll admit that you're a hot young stud, sexy, manly and all that. But if I had a gigolo, if it was just about the sex, I wouldn't want him to stay all night. No Wade, not at all. I see you as..." She shook her head. "I'm not sure, other than you're Wade Kimball, a lovely young man who just made beautiful love to me. I see this as the start of a journey, leading to where, I'm not sure. But right now, it doesn't matter. How's that sound?"

His finger traced imaginary circles around her soft tummy, dabbled with tiny beads of sweat. "It sounds as if we'll be seeing each other on a regular basis. At least I'm planning on it."

"And I'm counting on it. But what about Susan?"

"What about her?"

"Do you plan to keep seeing her?"

"Yes, for now." He saw her lower her eyes. "You look disappointed."

She reached for his hand. "Listen, it would be unfair, not to mention absurd for me to insist that you tie yourself down to a middle-age woman. I mean, this is only the first time we've spent this sort of time together. On the other hand, like most women irrespective of age, I'm not comfortable sharing a man with someone else. I don't know this Susan, but I'd bet she feels the same way."

He knew Susan well enough to know that Melinda was spot on. "She won't know, just like Brian and Lisa won't know."

"But I know. And anyway, I wouldn't feel right knowing you're cheating on someone on my account."

He sighed. "Man, this is getting complicated already."

"Then uncomplicate it."

"Choose between you and her, you mean."

Melinda let out a sigh of her own, then sat up against the headboard. "Do you love her?"

He was on his back, hands folded against his chest. "There's the potential for that, I guess. She's a nice kid."

She reached out and pulled him next to her. "Wade, listen to me. I feel there's a certain potential for us also. But given the circumstances, it's a limited potential that will ultimately lead to a dead-end. I assume Susan is around your age." He nodded. "Well then, your choice should be obvious."

He chuckled. "Some bitch you turned out to be. Here you're considering the feelings of a girl you don't even know."

She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him, this time in a warm, motherly kind of way. Then she pulled back and said, "Yes, because prior to my marriage, I got burned by a boy who took up with someone else. I'd hate to see Susan hurt because of me."

He pondered that for a few moments while they held each other. Then he said, "Okay, but can I still stay tonight?"

"Well, um..." He looked at her with this adorable, little boy innocence that could make her melt. She so wanted him to stay, yet hesitated for fear she might not be able to stick to her guns. But one night wouldn't hurt, would it? "Yes, you can stay tonight."

By the time he left in the morning, Melinda was an emotional mess. Wade had made love twice more to her, once later that night and in the morning, and she craved for more. It wasn't just about the sex as she had said, but being with someone who liked to cuddle as Wade did, someone to hold her at night as Wade had. She had kissed him goodbye with the understanding that it would be their last time together, so long as Susan was in the picture.

Now, she wasn't so sure. She was wrestling with her conscience, trying to stick with her moral principles, while craving the company of a delicious young man who was involved with another woman. "Oh, this roaring craving of mine," she cried out loud, aware that her normal sense of discipline might be crushed by desires too strong to control.