The Hard Stuff
A lonely divorcee living in a tacky development in Dusky Beach, Florida, Theresa Tierney is an educated hick and her own worst enemy. She has a wild streak and a bit of a drinking problem, both leading to a few too many bad choices.
When her neighbor’s new roommate arrives, a good-looking body god, Theresa is both curious and disgusted. A brash New Yorker, Vario Fumesti says what he's thinking and looks sexy as hell doing it. The brawny mountain of pumped muscle is mega alpha male. But his frequent hot tub parties with friends from a local strip club fire up Theresa’s anger. In fact, Vario continually makes her feel and do things she isn't expecting.
A series of screw-ups, lust, and love set Theresa on a rollercoaster ride that’s out of control and threatening to jump the tracks.
As soon as he moved in next door, I started drinking more. Things went from lousy to terrible, then they got worse.
He first showed up on a steamy Friday afternoon while I was weeding the piddling rock garden I had going out front. My face was streaked with dirt, and I could smell last night’s brewskies seeping from my pores. I liked working in the yard the day after I overindulged. It was like a detoxification rite. Here in South Florida, I could detox daily. We don’t get much cold weather in the deep pocket of the Sunshine State, so almost every day was another opportunity to let my poor old body sauna out the booze toxins.
The car door squeaked when he opened it. I gawked at both him and his sleek little sports car, parked in the driveway next door. Both the man and his BMW convertible were look-at-me types, so I did. I looked. I don’t think he noticed me, though, because I was squatting low behind the sea grape trees that formed a kind of hedge between the two houses. He was talking on the phone, one of those fancy-ass hands-free cells. I could hear everything he was saying, and I will admit, I listened in.
“Tonight’s good,” he said in this sexy growl. “I’m heading for the hot tub soon’s I unload my car. Come by in a coupla hours. Bring candy and taffy.”
I tallied him up and down from my squat behind the trees. He sure didn’t look like the kind who went for sugar rushes. I would’ve bet a six-pack of Bud Lights the man was one of those purist vegetarians, just by the way he carried himself. Like his body was a holy site. Or a gem on a mound of velvet.
First impressions are not always bull’s-eyes, least not mine, but this time I was jack-on-it. The man was a walking temple of self-adoration. I kind of forgot about my weeding project while I watched him unload a bunch of cardboard boxes and lug them into the house next to mine. His biceps and triceps and everything else bulged in anatomical purity under a tight black tee. His chest heaved and he was sweating, but in the coy way that makes a girl want to snuffle up, not run for a gas mask. Guy was total alpha male.