So much for all the anticipation about the new millennium. Merry Delaney’s life is still in a rut and shows no signs of changing. Sex? A fading memory, gone long before her husband actually died. Excitement? Hardly the hallmark of an accountant’s life. At forty-two, what can she look forward to?
Until her best friend takes Merry’s predicament into her practiced hands. One passionate kiss unleashes possibilities Merry never dreamed of—and she wants to sample them all. Men? Women? Young? Old? Ménage? Toys? Yes, to all, to pleasure, to making up for lost time.
Enter Chicago Detective Jim Barnes, who solicits Merry’s help with a mob funds-skimming case. Can the scorching passion that soon smolders between Merry and Jim survive the escalating mob threats of exposure? Having discovered a zest for sex, will Merry ever again be satisfied with one man?
The lips pressing against hers were soft and pliant. They tasted of peaches. The tip of a tongue slipped out to trace the contour of her mouth, wetting her lips. Merry Delaney leaned in toward that kiss.
It had been far too long. With eyes shut tight, she parted her lips slightly, responding in kind. A gentle sweep of passion filled her with warmth.
The peachy lips became more eager, more insistent. A hand settled over Merry’s breast, and she focused her entire awareness on the nearly forgotten tingling sensation of her pebbling nipple. Good God, she’d missed that so.
Practiced fingers wove their way underneath her top and inside her bra until they cupped a breast. Merry frowned. The kiss intensified, and she redirected her attention to tasting those lips.
An arm gathered her close. Breasts crushed against breasts.
Merry’s eyes blinked and then opened wide. She jerked out of the embrace and moved a foot or so down the length of the couch, away from her lifelong friend, Camille St. Jermaine. “What are you doing?” Merry felt her face flush with embarrassment.
Camille patted her thigh.
Merry shrank away.
“Come on, Merry. It wasn’t just me. You were reveling in that kiss. I could feel it. So why did you stop?”
Merry shook her head. Her shoulder length hair failed to provide an adequate screen for hiding. “You’re right. I was enjoying it. But we’ve known each other since grade school.”
“And for over thirty years I haven’t hit on you. I figured it was about time.” Camille blew raven bangs off her forehead. “Damn it, Merry, you can’t stay wrapped up in your self-made cocoon forever. Dan’s been gone for over a year. I know for a fact you didn’t have sex for five years before that. M.S. killed Dan, Merry. Don’t let it kill you, too. You stood by your husband. You sacrificed. You put your life on hold. Now it’s time to let go—try some new things. Take some risks. Live the life you’ve got left.”
“You’ve said all of that to me ad nauseum since before Dan died.” Merry licked her lips. “But you’ve never kissed me—never tried to seduce me before.”
“Maybe I got tired of talking.” Camille traced a pattern on the couch between her thigh and Merry’s. “You’ve known I’m bi for years. You never seemed to have a problem with that.”
“Of course not. You’re my best friend.” Merry’s voice caught in her throat. “That’ll never change. But—” Her eyes widened.
“But you never thought of me in that way.”
Merry shook her head.
“You never thought of yourself with another woman.”
“But you’re not repulsed by the thought of it?”
Merry shrugged. “I’m not sure.”
Camille chuckled and placed a hand on Merry’s thigh.
Merry did not move.
“I know you pretty well, girl. Sometimes maybe better than you do. You need to take that pretty blonde accountant head of yours and go and figure things out. That’s fine with me. You know where I am.”
Camille rose to her feet and reached back toward Merry, who let Camille pull her up from the couch. Camille kept both of Merry’s hands in hers. “You need to know I’ve wanted you for years. I’m not just coming after you to get you to open up, although I hope that happens. I’m coming after you because I love you and always will.” She shook her head. “I’m not seeking a permanent relationship—we already have that. I want to taste you and let you taste me. I want to show you how a woman can love a woman—totally and completely. I even want to help you find a man.”
“Don’t look so horrified. I’m not trying to keep you for myself. I’m just trying to coax you out of that cocoon of yours, and maybe have a little fun along the way.” Camille’s dark eyes lit up. “I don’t know if I ever recall you speechless. Come. Let’s send you on your way.”
Camille led Merry to the front door, hand in hand.
Merry turned to face her friend, struggling with what to say. How could she make an exit that wouldn’t insult her best friend?
Camille leaned forward, brushing her lips across Merry’s.
Marshalling all of her strength, Merry resisted returning that kiss.
“Go, girl,” Camille insisted, “before I do something I’ll regret. Let me know when you’re ready or want to talk.”
Merry nodded and opened the door.
Camille patted her on the rear as she stepped outside.