As summer cedes to fall, I find myself reaching for what I consider to be quintessential “autumn reads.” Ghost stories, psychological thrillers, epic love sagas. I recently finished Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, which I enjoyed (though not as much as Gone Girl) and my beloved copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife has been whispering to me from its spot on the shelf. The trees are burning gold, and I’ve had to bring the space heater up from the basement so I can continue to write on the porch.
Yes, fall is in the air. But before you pack away the shorts and swimwear, allow me to coax you back into summer’s embrace for a few moments with my new short story, “Wading In.”
Once again, I’ve partnered with Bellesa to bring you this steamy story about an independent woman named Lorelai, who has vowed to put her pleasure first in the wake of a difficult break-up.
When the heat of the night reaches a fever pitch, she sneaks into her neighbor’s pool for a midnight skinny dip. To her surprise, she’s not the only one looking to cool off under the cover of darkness: her handsome new neighbor, Will, has the same idea. And while Lorelai doesn’t need a helping hand to get herself off, she can’t help wondering if it might be time to let someone get close enough to touch.
“Strange things happen to your body when you go a long time without physical contact. After the cravings subside, you start to forget what it feels like to be touched…”
Read an excerpt below:
Tossing back the sheet, I rose from the bed and threw on a T-shirt and shorts. Pippa lifted her head from where she lay sprawled out on her dog bed. I told her to stay, then padded downstairs, out the back door and into the night.
The moon was bright enough to see by. I didn’t bother trying the gate in case I tripped the censor light on Alma Crowley’s garage. Instead, I opted for the stepladder I’d been using to paint my shutters.
Once I was over the fence, I moved silently across her yard, though I doubted she could hear me with all her windows closed. Moonlight glinted off the ripples on the built-in pool. Feeling giddy, I stripped out of my tank top and shorts, and made my way around to the shallow end of the pool.
A soft moan floated from my lips as I descended the four large steps. Even at lukewarm, the water felt delicious against my hot skin. Dunking under to wet my hair, I propelled myself toward the center of the pool, then resurfaced. I wiped the water from my eyes and breathed a contented sigh.
“Feels great, doesn’t it?”
“Jesus!” I nearly jumped out of my skin at the sound of Will’s voice. I scanned the water until I spotted him, tucked around the bend in the kidney-shaped pool. “What are you doing here?”
“Same thing you are,” he said. “Taking a midnight dip. Sorry if I scared you.”
He didn’t sound sorry. He sounded amused. I moved to cover myself, though I doubted he could see me in the dark. “Why didn’t you announce yourself?”
“Calling out wouldn’t have been very smart, since I’m not supposed to be here. And seeing as how you snuck in over the fence, I’m guessing neither are you.”
Will swam away from the side, pushing himself toward the center, toward me. His teeth glinted. “Honestly? I was admiring the view.”
“Were you, now?” My tongue felt clumsy, too big for my mouth. Figures, the one thing I was trying to avoid would be waiting for me in the place I wasn’t allowed to go. It was like fate was challenging me to sin harder. And there was no denying that Will was sexy as sin.
He sidled up to me, the drops of water on his well-toned chest and arms sparkling like diamonds. “I know you were checking me out on your nightly walks with Pippa.”
I aimed my smile at the water. He’d remembered my dog’s name. “Was I that obvious?”
“No. I only noticed because I was checking you out, too.”
A warm shiver rippled across my skin; I felt as though I’d been dropped into a glass of champagne. I floated onto my back before I recalled that I was naked.
My nipples puckered to tight peaks. I wondered if Will was staring at my breasts, licking his lips and imagining what they might taste like. Arousal skittered like pebbles in a rainstick from the apex of my thighs to the tips of my fingers and toes.
“You know,” he said, “the first time I saw you I couldn’t take my eyes off you, especially your legs.”
My legs had always been one of my best features. I’d often wear skirts when I walked Pippa, hoping Will might notice. I righted myself in the water, planting my feet so I could press my thighs together.
Will swam closer. “I thought about you later that night. About what it would feel like to kneel in front of you on the sidewalk and have you drape your skirt over my head. I wondered what color panties you’d be wearing.”
I wondered if Will could read the desire on my face as clearly as I could read his, plain as white chalk on blacktop. I took a shuddering breath. “Have you thought about me since then?”
Will nodded. “Every night.”