The day following the funeral, the campaign was back in full swing. As Kate arrived at the campaign office, she was greeted by dozens of supporters and volunteers.
Over her office door hung Shakespeare’s quote from Twelfth Night. “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.” She stood for a brief moment, inspired and awed.
Dan and Stan had pulled together the re-launch of her bid to take over the mayor’s office. As Kate entered the crowded room, she was greeted with cheers as she enthusiastically shouted, “Let’s do this!” The energy grew with a series of toasts that was met with ruckus applause from members of the crowd. The media was in attendance, wildly snapping photos that would be posted online before the morning coffee break.
Kate was especially surprised, and rather delighted, to see the very striking Bradley Taylor in attendance. She made a mental note to ask Stan just how invested the newest resident of Lowden was in the campaign. She approached cautiously, not wanting to interrupt a conversation between Brad and Nigel.
Nigel reached out and greeted her with a kiss on each cheek. “Hey there, kiddo, welcome back.” She was always amused that a man only seven or eight years her senior could refer to her as kiddo.
“Thank you for coming, Nigel, and for rallying the troops,” she said, turning her attention, adding, “Bradley, what a lovely surprise to see you again.”
“I’m delighted to be here, Kate. I am so pleased that someone so bright and full of fresh ideas is challenging the mayor.”
“I’m sure that Brad would be particularly interested in your idea that Lowden can become a smart city,” Nigel said. “Clever girl…smart city,” Nigel added before he slipped away to greet some friends.
“What would make Lowden a smart city, Kate?” Bradley asked, listening intently.
“I think our future growth and development is centered around efficient and intelligent management of investments in human and social capital, efficient transportation, and modern communication infrastructure.”
“How does that work?”
“I’m glad you asked. It is an entirely new way of governance, and it does require genuine citizen involvement and participatory action in the concept. This isn’t an overnight fix. It is a gradual transition. We’ll be ambitious to pull it off in one term of service, but if we’re going to draw in high-value jobs and maintain a high quality of life for our residents…we have to offer them the infrastructure and services that they’re looking for…without drastic changes to their tax burden.” She spoke with her hands, motioning to add emphasis to her point. “Let me ask you,” Kate added. “You work in the high-tech space. What are you and your employees looking for when you select a location?”
“I see what you’re getting at. Employees in the high-tech and software business world operate in a completely different culture. They’re generally younger, the want flexible hours and more autonomy. They’re more sensitive to environmental issues, and”—he paused—“they absolutely insist on state of the art technology and global connectivity. Fast, reliable access to the Internet is a must.”
Kate nodded, now knowing that he could relate to the concept. She studied him intently. “I can’t place the accent. Where are you originally from, Bradley?”
He looked a little surprised. “I have an accent?”
“Just a hint.” She smiled. “Georgia? Florida?”
“Good guess. Georgia. But I’ve worked very hard to eliminate that accent.”
“Don’t try too much harder.” She smiled. “It’s quite charming.”
He flashed his boyish grin. “Nigel tells me you’re a member at the Lowden Country Club, Kate. I’m sure with such a busy schedule, you haven’t time to sit around sipping lemonade.”
Kate laughed at his characterization of the ladies who spent much of their day sitting leisurely in the clubhouse, sipping lemonade until happy hour permitted them switch to martinis. “Oh, I’m there every day for the early morning yoga class,” she responded. She realized how invigorating it was to be smiling again.
He looked around the room, noticing that media was circling for their chance to interview her. “I mustn’t keep you from the crowds, Kate. I do hope I’ll see you at the club sometime soon,” he said, shaking her hand as he gently held her elbow.
Bryan, an experienced reporter from the Observer approached, requesting an interview. Kate was instantly on guard, knowing that the paper had endorsed her competitor’s campaign, and that her comments would be twisted to suit the story they would like to tell. “Good morning, Mrs. Callahan. I’m a little surprised to see you back on the campaign trail so soon.”
She knew his barb was just a beginning. “My personal life is personal, Bryan, and my professional life is professional. I’m able to keep them separate.”
“I can appreciate that, Mrs. Callahan, but I’m sure that the residents of Lowden would understand if you took an extended leave to honor Dwayne’s memory.”
Kate became inwardly irritated as he continued to address her as Mrs. Callahan. “Is there a question, Bryan or are you just here to chat?”
“How long was your husband involved with Mrs. Bethany Phillips?”
Bryan fired another question at Kate. “Were you aware of the affair, prior to your husband’s untimely death, Mrs. Callahan?”
Kate held her composure. “Obviously, I was not.”
“Do you think that Dwayne’s affair had anything to do with your pursuit of the Mayor’s office?”
“I do not,” Kate answered tersely.
“Had you and your husband ever stayed at the Evergreen Inn?”
“I’m not going to say it again, Bryan. This is an election campaign. If you have questions about the business of the city, come and see me. Otherwise, this interview is over.”
“That’s much better,” he said with a smile as he bent down to kiss her.
His hands were exploring her body, and within moments she heard the soft whir of her zipper sinking down her back. He slipped the fabric off her shoulders, and slowly eased the dress off of her. “This doesn’t look like it belongs on the floor,” he whispered. As Kate stepped out of gown, he walked her to the seating area of his bedroom. He carefully draped the dress over the armchair.
As he planted slow silky kisses on her neck and then her shoulder, her bra dropped to the plush carpet. She slipped his suit jacket off his shoulders and hung it over the armchair. Without kissing him, she silently removed each of his sterling silver cufflinks and placed them on the table. He watched as she leisurely opened each of the buttons on his tailored shirt and slipped it off of his broad shoulders.
“Take all the time you want,” he whispered playfully. “You’re the one who’s naked.”
Kate thoroughly enjoyed that he could make her laugh, even as she stood uncovered in front of him.
Pointing to his newly exposed undershirt, she feigned exasperation. “If I keep going, how many more layers am I going to discover?”
He grinned as he raised his arms and she slid her arms up his toned torso and lifted the cotton tee over his head. “They’re comfortable,” he responded, meekly.
“Oh, it’s comfortable!” Kate teased, as she pointed to the beaded dress resting on the armchair. “Of course, that designer makes that frock in flannel,” she paused looking up into his blue eyes, “but I opted for the satin and sequins, just to be more…comfortable.”
He grinned and swiftly pulled her to him. The touch of his bare skin against hers set off a surge of heat through her body. She kissed him playfully, letting her tongue dart about his lips and mouth. Her hands danced friskily up his arms and down his torso. As his hands fell from her shoulders and began caressing her breasts, and she felt an ache begin to grow. Kate gasped as he delicately circled her nipple with his middle finger. The rising temperature of his body activated the spicy layer of scent in his cologne and she inhaled the rich aroma as she nuzzled deep into his neck, licking and kissing him, trying desperately to fill the need that was growing.
Pulling away and fanning her face, Kate whispered, “Now, I understand what the saying hot and bothered, means.”
He leaned her against the armchair, and as he sensuously kissed her, pulling playfully at her nipple, knowing that it would invoke extreme pleasure. She bit her lip and pressed her eyes closed, savoring the shots of hot pleasure that coursed through her body.
“Care to find out what the saying, rode hard and put away wet, means?” he added friskily, bending to nuzzle her neck with his hot, damp lips.
Aroused by both his touch and his wit, she quietly moaned. Taking control, Kate walked him backward toward the chaise. She slipped the belt from his pants, and teased seductively, “Saddle up, Mr. Taylor, it’s time to ride.”
Kate slipped his pants and his boxers to the floor, and pushed him down to the lounger. She walked over to the nightstand, and selected a few squares from the black basket before walking back and dropping them at his side.
Shifting to the edge of the lounger, he grabbed her hips and pulled her toward him. He nuzzled her panties with his lips, and whispered huskily, “You won’t be needing these,” and he slipped them off. He murmured as he kissed her hips, appreciating the freshly groomed sight before him. “Girl…” he moaned as he nuzzled and slid his hands up the inside of each thigh, not needing to finish his sentence.
He lifted her knee and placing her foot on the lounger beside his thigh, slowly slipped his hand back to her pussy. Kate felt his warm breath on her stomach, and her nipples hardened in response. His strong fingers gently explored her pussy and she grasped his shoulders to both steady her balance and to release the sweet tension that was building.
His finger, moist with her juices, slid slowly around her clit. Her knees buckled, and she collapsed to the floor in front of him. “I wasn’t finished,” he murmured as she kissed him urgently and pushed him back against the chaise. She kissed her way to his hardened shaft and slipped her lips over his cock. Kate was giddy with desire as she swirled her tongue around before urgently taking him deep into her mouth. She twirled her tongue as she slid his hard cock in and out of her mouth.
He gasped as he grabbed the foil square beside him, and tearing open the package, lifted her chin to slip the latex over his hard shaft.
Studying his face, she eased onto the chaise, confidently straddling one knee on either side of him. Kate lowered her hips, throbbing in anticipation. His tip rubbed against her clit and she bit her lip holding back a moan. She whimpered as he slid into her, filling her. Currents of sensual electricity surged through her body.
“Take me, girl. All of me.”