Avon Books
December 2017 (11-28-17)
ISBN-10: 0062566393
ISBN-13: 978-0062566393

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Between the cheats…

Simone LeDeux replayed the voice mail from her mother, Adelaide Daigle, for the second time as she stood at the kitchen counter of her Chicago apartment, eating a cheese sandwich on toast with a glass of cold sweet tea. She always kept homemade sweet tea in her fridge, like the good Cajun girl she no longer was. As for food, whatever!

It was midnight, and although she’d turned up the thermostat when she’d got home, there was a chill in the air. March in Chicago with its blustery winds was not for the faint of Southern heart.

Simone had just ended her shift as a detective with the Chicago P.D. After her grueling night…images of a pre-teen girl overdosing came to mind…her mother’s voice was soothing to her bruised senses. Hard to believe after the years of strife between the two of them, most of it ignited by Simone, who’d given “difficult child” new meaning.

She had to smile at the length of the message. Her mother had no concept of electronic devices. There had been a few times when her long messages…as much as five minutes…had caused her mail box to shut down.

Simone also smiled at the familiarity of her mother’s deep southern accent. Simone had lost most of hers, except for an occasional lapse into a Cajunism, such as, “Holy Crawfish!” Or the traditional, “Mon Dieu!”

However, even as she welcomed her mother’s call, she felt a shiver of alarm at the synchronicity of her words. The timing was, at the least, a coincidence. Was God, or the powers that be, conspiring to draw her back to the bayou…her worst nightmare? Or was it just Cajun mothers who had this instinct for sensing when their daughters were in need of help, even if only a hug.

    “Hi, honey:

    I haven’t heard from you since las’ week. Did ya kick that no-good Jack Landry out on his cheatin’ be-hind, lak I told you to?“

“Yes, Mama, Jack is history,” Simone replied out loud to her cat, Scarlett, who was enjoying the remnants of the unpalatable sandwich. Talking to her cat was nothing new, but this time, it was an indication of her exhaustion and, yes, disgust, at once again being duped by a man she trusted. Honest to goodness! One year and thirteen days wasted!

    “Heavens ta horseradish, girl, how you manage ta attract so many losers is beyond me, and all of them from Loo-zee-anna? Even when you move ta Chee-cah-go, you gotta latch onto a slow-drawlin’, southern man.”

Simone couldn’t argue with that. There was somethiout a man who could say “darlin’” in a husky, slow croon that could make any girl melt. Especially her, with her southern roots. “Darlin’” was the Dixie male’s equivalent to the Yankee man’s “babe,” a girlfriend of hers in Chicago had said one time. Face it, she was a magnet for a Louisiana man, even if he’d lived in Chicago for almost fifteen years, as Jack Landry had. “World class architect, low class loser,” she muttered.

Scarlett stretched with disinterest, expressing her boredom, as only a cat could, pretty much saying, “Man problems again! Yada, yada, yada. You oughta be fixed, like me.” The cat went off to sleep on Simone’s bed, which was forbidden. The cat had heard her man complaints before. Lots of times!

    “Are you Cajun crazy, or sumpin’? I remember the first time I called you Cajun crazy. It was when you were fourteen years old and you fell head-over-hiney in love with that pimple-faced hell-raiser Mark Comeaux, jist ‘cause he had that devilish Cajun grin…and a pirogue with a motor.

    I talked ta Tante Lulu yesterday an’ she said some women jist got bayou mud in their eyes when it comes ta a Cajun man who’s hotter’n a billy goat’s behind in a pepper patch, ’specially when they’re in the middle of a stretch of hormone hot-cha-chas. I told her you were smarter’n that, bein’ a po-lice detective an’ all, but maybe she’s right.

    Me? I got a thing fer men with a mustache, as you know. But that’s another story. Ha, ha, ha!”

Yep, a billy goat’s butt. She’d have to remember that one when the hot-cha-cha hormones hit her next time. Which would be NEVER AGAIN.

Her mother was right, though. You’d think Simone would have learned her lesson by now. She’d been married and divorced three times (well, one of them was an annulment after one week, don’t ask!), and she’d been jilted, robbed, humiliated, punked, and seduced by more men than one woman should have in her twenty-nine-and-a-half years. With a college degree and eight years in police work, she should have more sense.

    “Anyways, I went ta the bone doctor t’day, and he said I gotta lose thirty pounds and I need two new knees, unless I wanna spend my las’ years in a wheelchair.”

What? This sounded serious.

    “I’m not that old yet! I’m only fifty. I would lak ta have them new knees, though. But, nope, not an option, not ‘cause I cain’t lose the weight, please God, but the doctor sez I need ta have someone at home with me fer three months of out-patient rehab after I’m released from the hospital. My insurance won’t cover three months in a rehab place. Oh, well. I’m gonna buy the “Skinny Gals” exercise video tomorrow or sign up fer the ‘Prayers Fer Pounds’ program at Our Lady of the Bayou Church.”

Uh-oh! Was her mother pitching a guilt trip her way? Come home and help her, live with her once again in the Pearly Gates Heavenly Trailer Park on Bayou Black, best known as The Gates? Me and Mom as roomies? Horror of horrors!

Wait…wasn’t it a timely coincidence that this all came up just when she’d ended another relationship?

But, no, even her mother wasn’t devious enough to do that. The situation must be dire. Last time she’d been home, her mother had walked with a decided limp, and could only go short distances before sitting down, due to the bad knees and her excess weight. All of which hampered her duties, even back then, as a longtime waitress at Crawfish Daddy’s restaurant.

And thirty pounds was a gross underestimation, in her opinion. Her mother had been plump, as long as Simone could remember, but she hid it well, being so tall and big-boned. Like all the women in her family, including Simone, darn it, who were always fighting diets, and the genetic big butt bane. Thank the exercise gods for jogging and daily rounds of tush crunches!

Peeling off her jacket and her shoulder holster, she continued to listen to the voice mail.

    “That’s about all that’s new here. I hear the pingin’ noise. I think it mean it’s time fer me ta shut up. Why don’t ya get a bigger mailbox?

    Call me, sweetie, and don’t be cryin’ no more tears over that Jack Landry. I’ll be prayin’ fer you. Kiss, kiss!”

Simone yawned widely. She would call her mother in the morning.

As for Jack Landry, Chicago architect, but born and bred in Baton Rouge…Simone was done crying. In fact, from the moment she’d discovered his secret life, she’d been more embarrassed than hurt. Okay, she’d been hurt too. Badly. She’d been dumb enough to think Jack was “the one.” Which was ridiculous for a twenty nine-and-a-half-year-old woman. When would girls stop looking for “the one,” and settle for the “not so bad?”

All Simone could do now was repeat an old joke that had become her motto, or should be. George Strait might wail about “All My Exes Come From Texas,” but Simone would modify that to, “All My Losers Come From Loo-zee-anna.”

She was thinking about having it tattooed on her butt, which was big enough.


From the mouths of babes…

Adam Lanier was driving his daughter Mary Sue, or “Maisie,” to her kindergarten class at Our Lady of the Bayou School. Wending his Harley through the early morning traffic, with Maisie riding pillion behind him, he barely noticed the people who gave them double takes, not so much because of their mode of transportation, but him in a business suit with biker boots, and his little Mini-me with her arms wrapped around him, wearing a tee-shirt and skinny jeans tucked into her own tiny boots. (Yes, they made skinny jeans for five-year-olds! And teeny tiny bustiers for tykes who were a decade or so away from having any bust to speak of. But that was another story.)

There were also those busybodies who disapproved of his having a child on a motorcycle. Screw them! He’d bought a special backrest attachment for his bike seat and fitted foot pegs, as well as a harness buddy belt to protect his daughter. Maisie was more likely to have an accident on her bicycle than on his motorcycles with all the precautions he took.

After dropping off the kid, he would go to his Houma office, LeDeux & Lanier, Esquire, where he’d recently formed a partnership with Lucien LeDeux, the half-brother of his cousin Rusty Lanier’s wife, Charmaine. A convoluted kinship by marriage that would have the average person crossing their eyes with confusion, but was typical of the bayou network of families.

He and Maisie had moved from New Orleans to Bayou Black six months ago, and it was the best decision Adam had ever made. At least, he hoped so. He’d made a name for himself in the Crescent City DA’s office as a sometimes outrageous, almost always winning, prosecutor. The news media had loved him, and he played the image for his own purposes.

This was his first venture into private practice and a switch from indicting to defending. But it was a good match, working with Luc, who had an equal or more outrageous reputation for courtroom antics…uh, skills. Luc wasn’t known as the “Swamp Solicitor” for nothing. Maybe Adam would become known as the Bayou Barrister. Or something.

Bottom line; the law was a game he’d learned to play, well. Didn’t matter if it was in the city or in a Cajun courtroom, or whether he played on the black or white side.

Stopping for a red light, with the cycle idling, he glanced over his shoulder and inquired with supposed casualness, “So, Maisie Daisy, you settlin’ in okay?”

“Oh, Daddy, stop worryin’,” she advised in her too-old-for-her-five-years voice. “I’m fine. ‘Specially since PawPaw came ta live with us. He makes better pancakes than you.”

He laughed. His father made everything better than he did. Adam was one of the best lawyers in the state, hands down. And the best single parent he could be. But a cook, Adam was not. Nor a housekeeper. And reliable babysitters to hold down the fort while he worked were hard to find. Thus, his finally throwing in the towel and asking his widowed father, Frank Lanier, to move here from northern Louisiana.

Who would have imagined that a self-proclaimed legal (and personal, truth to tell) hell-raiser like himself, at the ripe old age of thirty-five, would be back to living with his father, who’d raised him pretty much alone after Adam’s mother died in a car accident when he’d been seven years old and his brother Dave, only four? But then, who would have imagined that Adam’s wife Hannah would die of a brain tumor, diagnosed too late for treatment? She’d been only twenty-eight. That had been two years ago, and like the old cliché said, life went on.

“Thank you for taking off the ballerina tutu,” he said. His dainty daughter, with her mass of black corkscrew curls, liked to pick her own attire, and if left to her own devices, the attire would have involved girly frills and ruffles, sometimes inappropriate-for-her-age choices. Like the tutu that showed her Snow White panties when she bent over.

He would be glad next year when Maisie moved into first grade where school uniforms were required. He didn’t doubt for one minute that Maisie would find a way to glam up the staid plaid skirts and white blouses.

“Ya didn’t give me any choice, Daddy,” she pointed out, “but don’t worry. I’m still wearin’ my sparkle shirt.”

She was, indeed, wearing a tiny red tee shirt that proclaimed in silver letters, “I’m Hot. Live With It.” A gift from his brother Dave who was a captain in the Army, a Green Beret currently serving in some super secret, specially important black op in Afghanistan. According to Dave, that was. He was probably just banging some nurse in Tahiti, for all Adam knew. But then, Dave did have a lot of medals.

“Besides, you tol’ me you would pick me up on the Harley after school if I changed. That way PawPaw kin get a haircut and a mustache trim soz he kin go ta the casino t’night with Tante Lulu and Addie Daigle.”

The imp loved riding pillion on his classic motorcycle, and his father loved to gamble. The nickle slots or Poor Man Craps (a low minimum dice game). He guessed there were worse things than a bikeress-in-training and a senior citizen with a lust for the Big Payoff.

“Do ya think Tante Lulu and Addie Daigle are PawPaw’s girlfriends? Kin a man have more than one girlfriend? What’s hanky panky? That’s what PawPaw said this mornin’ …he has ta get his hanky panky on before his hanky gets rusted out. He was talkin’ ta Uncle Dave. How can a hanky get rusty? Is your hanky rusty, Daddy?”

What could Adam say to that?

The light changed, thank God, and he eased the throttle to move forward.


You can go home again, but leave the motor running…

Simone was blow drying her long brunette hair in the phone booth size bathroom of her mother’s double wide trailer in the mobile home park on Bayou Black. Although “mobile” was a misnomer since none of the tin cans here had been moved in at least twenty years.

Every time she turned a certain way, she knocked her elbow on the curtain rod. At five-foot-nine, she could easily touch the ceiling. The mirror over the sink was six inches too low; so, she had to bend her knees to see properly. The dryer heat, on top of the sub-tropical temperature of a unseasonably warm, late April morning in Louisiana, on top of the two-mile jogging run she’d just completed an hour ago, on top of the fifty tush crunches she did religiously every morning to hold back the posterior tide, all followed by a tepid shower, was enough to make her almost faint. Even her cat, Scarlett, which she’d brought with her to Louisiana, was panting near the door. The cubby under the sink was her favorite napping spot. Every once in a while Scarlett gave her a look that pretty much said, “And we’re living here…why?”

“I gotta get out of this dump,” she crooned softly, putting her own words to that old rock song by the Animals as she danced in place, shutting off the dryer, “and it won’t be the last thing I ever do.”

And she would shortly. Get out of this place.

She hoped.

No, no hoping about it. She’d be leaving, definitely, one way or another. The question was, which way to go?

There was a knock on the door. “You almos’ done in there. I gotta pee,” her mother said.

“Just a sec,” she replied, pulling her hair off her face and twisting the mass into a long coil which she secured to the back of her head with a claw comb. Her make-up could wait till later. It would probably melt if she did it now anyway.

She barely edged out of the doorway, making room for her mother, who was braced on her walker, when Scarlett scooted out. Wearing a purple floral “housecoat” and fuzzy duck slippers, she had big foam rollers on her head that would probably touch the ceiling (her mother was tall, too). Those big rollers were a necessity for the huge, teased hairdo her mother had sported since forever, following the southern tradition, “the higher the hair, the closer to God.” Of course that tradition of Southern women with big bouffant long hair went out about 1970, but that was her mother, stuck in the 70s. And, actually, her mother’s go-to hairstyle was a back-combed French twist up-do, which had been the rage back then and was still suitable for her waitress job which would otherwise require a hair net.

Her mother edged sideways through the door, past Simone, leaving the walker behind in the hallway.

Simone had to give her mother credit. After two months of rehab, the feisty lady had made great progress, aided no doubt by the thirty pounds she’d lost and daily exercises at the Houma medical fitness center. She really didn’t need the walker anymore, and, although she had another thirty pounds to lose, she was in better shape than she’d been for ages.

Simone poured herself a mug of coffee from the blue-speckled, enamelware coffee pot on the stove. No modern K-cup contraption for her mother. In fact, her mother made the best Creole coffee in the world. The secret being a dash of blackstrap molasses, even when serving café noir.

Her mother came back, walking this time without the aid of the walker. She’d removed the rollers, but hadn’t combed out her hair, which was dark brown, almost black, and as clear of gray strands as Simone’s, thanks to her old friend, Lady Clairol. But, no, Simone seemed to recall her mother patronized Charmaine LeDeux’s hair salon these days. Sometimes Simone forgot that her mother was only fifty, which was seeming younger to her by the day, now that she was pushing thirty. In fact, she had a few of the gray monsters herself.

Her mother had gotten pregnant with her by that horndog Valcour LeDeux when she was only nineteen and naïve, not knowing he was already married. Ernest Daigle had married her mother soon after Simone’s first birthday, not soon enough to save Simone being given the surname of the “bastard.” That’s the way Ernie always referred to Valcour, never using his name. It was: “The bastard won another lawsuit.” Or, “Cypress Oil just hit another well; so, more moola for the bastard.” Or “I heard the bastard knocked up another young lady.” Or “Rumor is, the bastard has kids in Alaska. Talk about!” Ernie never made Simone feel anything other than his little girl, though. A true father to her, he’d always been.

Pouring a cup of coffee for herself, her mother eased down onto the opposite, built-in, mini bench of the tiny alcove kitchen table, which was just the right size for a trailer and sufficient for the two of them as Simone had been growing up. The trailer had been purchased twenty years ago when Ernie had been killed in an oil rig explosion out on the Gulf. (Not the same company that Valcour was associated with. That would be too much of a coincidence.)

Little had her mother known back then that a good lawyer could have gotten her a major settlement. A good lawyer probably could have gotten her a bundle in a paternity settlement from Valcour LeDeux, as well. Instead, Adelaide had accepted $75,000, which allowed her to buy the used trailer and the lot in the Pearly Gates trailer park, put some toward Simone’s college education, and set a little aside for a “rainy day.” Meanwhile, her mother had continued to work even longer hours as a waitress to support them both. She still waitressed, until this recent knee surgery.

And that had been part of the problem between mother and daughter for many contentious years. Later…much later…Simone had realized how much her mother sacrificed for her. But back then, Simone had only known that her mother wasn’t around much, and when she was, she was often grouchy and undemonstrative. In fact, she’d probably been tired and grief-stricken. But to an adolescent and then teenage Simone, she’d only seen that she was left alone at a time when she’d been missing her father and craving attention. No surprise she’d looked for love in all the wrong places. And still did, dammit.

“That Jack Landry fellow called again this mornin’ while you were in the shower and left a message on your phone. I saw the caller i.d.,” her mother said right off, motioning with her head toward Simone’s iPhone sitting on the counter. “Lordy, Lordy, the boy doesn’t give up, does he? He’s chasin’ your tail like a dog with the hornies.”

The “boy,” who was close to forty, did, indeed, have a bad case of the “hornies,” or at least regrets for his one fall from grace. Yeah, right, like she believed that the time she’d caught him with his tongue down his assistant’s throat and his hands cupping her cute little nineteen-year-old butt was the only time he’d strayed! And to think she’d actually been considering marriage! Again! When would she learn?

“Maybe you should change your number,” her mother suggested.

“I’d rather not do that. He’s just a nuisance, nothing threatening. I’ll delete his calls without listening to them.”

“You aren’t thinkin’ about goin’ back ta Chee-cah-go, are you?”

“No. I already told you that I quit my job.” She was sick of the drug detail anyhow. “And I gave up the lease on my apartment. Everything I wanted to keep is in storage.”

“You could have brought it here.”

Simone looked meaningfully around the smaller trailer. “It’s okay where it is until I decide what I want to do next…and where.”

“Oh, Simone, cain’t you stay here?”

“We’ll see. I should know more today when Helene and I meet for lunch.” Helene Dubois was her best friend since childhood and a lawyer. They were thinking about combining their respective talents…her with police investigative skills honed over ten years, and Helene’s ability to file court documents…into a business.

“I’m gonna say a prayer that everything works out.”

Simone smiled. Her mother was always going to “say a prayer” for one thing or another. That the roof would hold out. That the tips would be higher next week at work. That Simone wouldn’t get another divorce (which was against her Catholic faith). That Cletus Bergeron would suffer an early demise while serving his latest incarceration at Angola for yet another felony.

In her mother’s mind, Simone was still married to Cletus, whom she’d eloped with when she was seventeen and divorced a year later when he’d been arrested for armed robbery. How her mother justified wishing a person dead was beyond Simone’s understanding of religion, but just last night she’d said, “I hear Cletus got a stud over at the prison and it’s rotting off his privates. Maybe God is pullin’ him ta the other side. Wouldn’t that be…convenient? You’d finally be free.”

“I’m already free. I was free when I divorced him. I was free when I divorced Jeb Cormier, that Cajun guitar player with the coke habit. And I was free when I annulled my one-week marriage to Julien Gaudet, when I got a looksee at what was on his personal computer. Talk about perversions!”

Her mother would be shocked to know what men…grown men…looked at on the Internet…to know that THAT was on-line. If anyone knew human nature, it should be a diner waitress. How her mother managed to stay so naïve after twenty-five years of “What can I get for you, sugah?” was beyond Simone’s understanding. But then, Simone had been jaded by ten years of police work.

“Those other two marriages didn’t count,” her mother insisted.

It was an old argument and not worth pursuing. “Back to Cletus, how can a stud rot off his privates?”

“Not a stud. A std.”

Simone blinked several times. “A sexually transmitted disease?”

“That’s what I said. His Mama told Charmaine LeDeux over at her beauty parlor that—”

“Enough!” Simone said, putting up a halting hand. “I don’t want to know anything about Cletus.”

“I was hopin’ you might wanna go up to Angola and visit him. As long as you’re stuck with him, maybe you kin kindle the fire again.”

Simone’s jaw dropped with amazement. “Are you kidding me? How can you go from wishing a person dead to hooking him up with your daughter again? And him with an STD, besides.”

“They prob’ly cured him already with a couple shots of antibiotics.” She waved a hand airily. “Let’s be honest, Simone, you haven’t had much luck in the love department, bless your heart. Maybe you should start from the beginning again. I’d like ta have grandbabies before the Final Judgement.”

“And you expect me to manage that in a conjugal visit?”


“I’m going to pretend you never made that suggestion.”

“I was just kiddin’ about you and Cletus,” her mother said, although Simone wasn’t so sure about that, “but I was thinkin’ that if you met with him, maybe you two could go to a priest and get an annulment, jist like you did from that other husband. The Church still doesn’t recognize divorce, y’know.”

“The Church doesn’t grant annulments when a marriage has been consummated, either, Mom. Unless you go through a lot of red tape, providing grounds.”

She let her mother mull that one over for a moment. But she didn’t give up easily. “Anyways, back ta your meetin’ this morning with the lawyer…”

“Not ‘the lawyer’. Helene. You’ve known her as long as I have.”

“Right. Her Daddy and Ernie were on the rigs t’gether.” She gave Simone a pointed look for diverting her. “When you’re meetin’ with Helene, you might mention that I already got some customers fer your new business.”

“What? Mommm! We haven’t even decided for sure that there will be a business.”

Her mother shrugged. “Anyways, as I mentioned, I was at the Curl & Dye, your half sister Charmaine’s shop in Houma, yesterday havin’ my roots done…”

She didn’t recall her mother mentioning being in the beauty salon. Oh, wait, she did say something about Cletus’s. Please, God, don’t let her be beating that dead horse again. “So that’s where you went after rehab. I thought you were gone a long time.”

Her mother ignored her comment. “While I was there, I happened ta mention your new Cheaters agency, and everyone in the shop got excited. Two ladies wanted your business card. Do you have business cards yet? Bet I could drum up business fer you all over the place. At the restaurant. The supermarket. Church.”

“No, no, no,” Simone said. “There is so much wrong with what you just said.”

“Like what?”

“First, I wouldn’t classify the agency we’re considering as a Cheaters model.”

“Why not? You’re gonna investigate cheatin’ spouses, aren’t you?”

“Yes, but more than that. We’re also going to offer divorce processing, with Helene’s background. And we’ll work for parents who suspect their children of using drugs or engaging in illegal activities. Maybe elder abuse. A whole range of services.”

“Yeah, but cheaters will be yer main business, won’t it?”


“I still say Bagged and Tagged would a good name fer yer business.”

“No way! We’re leaning toward Legal Belles, if we do decide to open this agency, which is not certain.”

“We took a poll in Charmaine’s shop. Do ya wanna know the name they all voted for?”

Not really. “I’m afraid to ask.”


Simone would be busted, as in burst with frustration like a big balloon, if she stayed with her mother much longer.

“Personally, I’m leanin’ toward The Honey Pot.”


“Bet I could be one of your undercover agents. Specially since I jist ordered some Spanx® from the Internet. Bet I’ll look like that Kim Kardashian when I’m all squeezed in the right places. Big butts are ‘in’ now, you know. Bet there are some older cheatin’ men who’d go fer me.”

Simone put her face on the table. Maybe she should go back to Chicago, after all.



The things you learn in yoga class!...

It was Friday night, and Adam had finally gotten away from the house and was driving his Lexus up toward Thibodaux. He would have taken his bike, but it was supposed to rain later this evening. His dad would be doing babysitting duty until the wee hours. Time for some adult entertainment!

Between his busy work schedule and activities with his daughter, he didn’t have much spare time, though he did play racquetball on occasion, and he’d inherited his dad’s talent for poker which he indulged once a month with some fellow lawyers. He’d long outgrown clubbing; in fact, the only clubbing he’d ever indulged in had been more like bar hopping to meet chicks in college. And, although he loved his Harley, he wasn’t into the biker scene.

What Adam really liked was women. Cut to the bone, pun intended, he liked sex. And he was never one to deprive himself, not even when he’d been married. And, no, he hadn’t been one of those losers who complained that his wife didn’t understand him and therefore he sought comfort elsewhere, blah, blah, blah. Believe it or not, Hannah had been the one responsible for that state of marital affairs, another pun intended. She’d been the horndog in their marriage. Horndog Hannah! He’d even called her that one time, and she’d just laughed. Later, she just became Hardhearted Hannah when it came to their daughter and the only reason he’d stayed.

Soon after they had married, Hannah, a psychologist who specialized in partner counseling (That should have been a clue.), informed him that she would be having sex with multiple partners and she expected he would do likewise. Why she hadn’t told him before the vows, or why he hadn’t suspected, was beyond him. She claimed he was just old-fashioned.

Now, some men might have been doing the Happy Dance, but he’d always been a monogamy kind of guy. Or at least serial monogamy, as in one relationship at a time. And he’d fashioned himself in love. Foolish boy!

“Oh, Adam!” she’d said when he’d naively voiced that sentiment. “Everyone does it. As long as no one gets hurt!”

“Bullshiiit!” he’d replied.

So, he stayed (in a separate bedroom), and there had been lots of women; no sense building a relationship when he was already married. In fact, he’d gained a reputation as a wild and crazy guy, despite his best attempts at discretion. A player. Nowhere near as bad as Hannah, but then, he’d stopped counting after their first anniversary.

And then Hannah died. But the marriage, dysfunctional as it had been, was worth it for Maisie’s sake. He’d adored the squirt from the moment she’d come squalling from Hannah’s overused love channel. (That was mean! Shame, Adam, shame!) And he had to give Hannah credit; she’d been a good mother…most of the time.

Now he was off to a date with Sonia Easterly, a yoga instructor from Baton Rouge. He’d been hooking up with the redhead for the past five months (a record for him), ever since they’d met at a Mardi Gras party. Sonia was teaching him things about sex and yoga that boggled the mind. Who knew there were things he didn’t know about the dirty deed at his jaded age?

It was almost ten p.m. by the time he got to Sonia’s townhouse, which was making this feel more like a bootie call than a date, which was not his intention. He would have taken her out to dinner first, if he’d been able to leave the house earlier, and then they would have enjoyed the bootie call. Bad, Adam, bad! Was that what they meant by “putting lipstick on a pig?” That no matter how you painted it (with dinner, flowers, a movie, whatever), it was still a bootie call.

He shrugged. He didn’t think Sonia was offended. He would ask her. Later. After he took care of her bootie. Or was that his bootie? Or both?

By midnight, he lay naked and depleted on her futon after a Frog aka Garland Pose sexcapade (Garland was a fancy name for a wide, low squat, if you asked him. Like a…frog.), followed by a wide-legged forward-from-the-waist bend with her hands locked on her ankles (no fancy name for this, unless you considered Downward Facing Dog as anything but down and dirty). After he regained his breath, he was going to try a Camel (these yoga folks had a thing about animals) which was pretty much a kneeling back bend. Whoa boy! He couldn’t wait.

“You still need to work on drawing your energy inside, instead of letting it all out in a rush,” Sonia told him, snuggling up with her red hair spread out over his chest, and one knee over his thighs.

“By energy, you mean ejaculation?”

“Exactly. It’s more satisfying if you stop yourself from climaxing, and focus all that physical force into a spiritual buoyancy that will ripple through your body, and settle under your skin like a peaceful vibrancy.”

“If you say so.”

She slapped him playfully on the chest, knowing he wasn’t convinced. Slipping off the bed, she said, “Let me get us a smoothie, then we’ll see what else you can handle.” She tossed her mane of red hair over her shoulder and wiggled her hips as she sashayed out of the room, aware of his scrutiny.

She had a great body, an athlete’s body. Of medium height, but willowy thin, with muscle definition in her arms and legs. And her butt wasn’t too bad, either.

He leaned back against a stack of pillow, his arms folded behind his neck. It was amazing how sex could relax the body. He’d been tired and stressed when he got here. Not anymore.

When she came back, she was carrying a glass of green slime that he declined, graciously. He was ready to engage in another bout of sex, but she wanted to talk. “I’m getting out of Dodge. Moving on, and about time,” she told him. Turns out that she would be moving to California where she and her sister were going to open their own yoga studio in Malibu.

“Seems a little sudden.”

“Not really. Cindy and I have been talking about it for years, and the place where she works is up for sale at a decent price.”

He was already thinking, No more yoga sex. Damn!

“Don’t look so heartbroken,” she said with a laugh.

“What? I will miss you.”

“You’ll miss the sex.”

True. “I like you, Sonia. You never seemed to want more.”

“I don’t. Be honest, Adam, you’re not in love with me.”

“Are you in love with me?”

“Of course not.”

So, no harm, no foul. “When are you leaving?”

“In a couple of weeks. I still have time to teach you a few more yoga moves.” She placed her empty glass, and his as well, on the bedside table, then smiled seductively at him from where she stood next to the bed. No false modesty here. With hands on hips, she openly displayed all her assets for him to scrutinize…her smallish breasts with their big, kiss-swollen nipples, her navel with its winking gold ring, the runway-style trim to her red bush below.

With an inborn dexterity, he rose from the bed, grabbed her by the waist, tossed her to the mattress and moved himself atop her. “Forget your loosey-goosey hippie crap,” he growled against her ear, adjusting his already burgeoning erection between her legs, “let me teach you a few Cajun moves. You could say we invented yoga. Have you ever heard of the Gator Slide?”

She laughed.

And then she wasn’t laughing anymore.


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