Sunday, January 29, 2006

Random Acts of Kindness

We've all heard of these, but how often do you carry them out?

Last week I was in the scrapbooking store and had been waiting quite a while to pay. The clerk was helping someone on the phone and the lady in front of me had a lot of questions. The lady in back of me had a cranky toddler. It was obviously getting toward nap time, so I let her go ahead of me. I remember those days well, even though my kids are 10 and 12. She was so grateful that she thanked me at least twice.

See if you can do something nice for someone you don't know this week. I'd love to know what you did.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Harvey Wallbanger Cake

I've never had a Harvey Wallbanger drink in my life, but this cake is to die for. It's my husband's favorite cake. The Galliano is a bit pricey, but worth it.

1 boxed lemon or orange cake mix
1 box (3 3/4 oz) instant vanilla pudding
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 oz. Liquore Galliano
1 oz. vodka
4 oz. orange juice

1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbsp Liquore Galliano
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp vodka
(I add orange zest if I have it.)

Combine cake mix and pudding in large bowl. Blend in eggs, oil, Galliano, vodka, o.j. Mix until smooth and thick.

Pour into greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until done. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove and place on rack. Have glaze ready to spoon on cake while still warm. If you want, you can poke it with holes.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Through the Roof Hot Factor

My book Carnal Devotions (see sidebar) was published on Halloween, 2005. I got a couple of good reviews and since this is my blog and a place for me to be me, I'm posting excerpts from the review. If you'd like to see the whole thing, go to or click on the title of this blog entry.

Carnal Devotions is...a wonderful edge of the seat ride. Ms. Willoughby writes a tale of a magical sex ring that will deliver orgasmic delight to the wearer yet draws them deeper into the world of the goddess who made it. Her sensual weaving of a storyline left this reviewer breathless as Nathan fantasized about Annie more and more.

This reviewer was amazed at the character definition during the story. They started off stilted and stiff but it was like they were warming up to a room of people, they just took off in after a few chapters were read. The next thing this reviewer found was the hot factor went literally up and through the roof!! Carnal Devotions delivers a wild climatic ending that will have the reader rooting for Nathan and Annie. Run to read this exciting and breathtaking new author’s first book and find out what happens when an ancient sex toy brings two unlikely people together and the bliss it will give them.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Rich Or Famous?

It's only my first week of blogging and I'm already stretching for topics. So much for being creative.

I've again turned to my bookshelf for inspiration. Gregory J.P. Godek wrote a book called Romantic Questions, Growing Closer Through Intimate Conversation. In it he asks, if you would rather be rich or famous.

I would rather be rich. Being famous has too many pitfalls. And if you are really rich, you could arrange to be famous, but being famous doesn't mean you can get rich.

Ever the pragmatist.

Another question he asked was, if you had a million dollars and had to give it away, to whom would you give it to?

That is a tougher question. I've often thought about how the lottery should be spread out among many winners, instead of one big amount to one person. Spread the joy and all that. I wonder if it would be cheating to give a lot of it to my children, enough so that they could attend any school they wanted, buy a home, invest for the future.

If I couldn't give it to them, I would perhaps choose two hundred people to give five thousand dollars to. Of course, if I chose to give it to friends, where would I draw the line? Which friends would I exclude? Would it be better to set up college scholarships for kids who apply to me? Maybe I would keep it and give it away bit by bit as causes made themselves known to me.

Or, here's a wild thought. I wonder if I could set up an orphanage - a kind and well run orphanage, unlike the Dickenseque stereotype. I think the foster care system is flawed, with kids getting shuffled from home to home, never knowing stability. Perhaps with a million dollars I could hire competent, dedicated people and purchase a building that could house a lot of kids. We'd serve them healthy food, see that they had decent clothes, a home, albeit a big extended one, and a "family" of people that cared about them.

Okay, I guess I'm not as much of a pragmatist as I professed to be. Call me a pragmatic dreamer. Heh heh.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I Wanna Be Eloisa James

One of my top-ten favorite romance authors is Eloisa James. I have adored and admired her since I read her debut book, Potent Pleasures. Not only is she a gifted writer, she is also a lovely woman, as I have written her fan letters and gotten advice on my own writing career from her. She is kind and down-to-earth and a role model.

She wrote an article for this month's issue of MORE magazine about Florence, Italy, a place I also adore. (See "Must Have Coffee" blog entry from yesterday.) It seems that Eloisa is married to a hunky Italian and journeys to Florence every year. What a life, huh?

What a bummer being dragged to one of the most beautiful cities in the world, a city so steeped in art and history and culture that you could probably live there your whole life and not absorb it all.

And the food? Get outta town. I got one word for you. Gelato.

Okay, maybe two words. Gelato and espresso. Pasta, too. (Someone stop me before I gain weight.)

Anyway, back to the article. She buys her lingerie there. What's that about? When I went to Florence, I bought a wallet. In retrospect, I can see what a ridiculous waste of money that was. First of all, the coin part never closed properly. Secondly, I just never considered wearing Italian underclothes. I think if I had a bra from Italy, I'd feel the urge to make homemade gnocchi or break out in a rendition of That's Amore. My only excuse is that I was young.

So, Eloisa's dresser is filled with frothy lace and satin and silk. What do I have in mine? No-nonsense Maidenform brassieres and all cotton Jockey underwear, some with polar bears on it. Jockey makes tighty-whities for men, for God's sake! (Note to self, go buy something sexy tomorrow if it kills you.)

The final aspect of Eloisa's life that I wouldn't mind having is, ahem, her Italian speaking husband. Okay, because when he speaks English, he must have that to-die-for accent. And when he speaks Italian...? Oh. My. God. I think my husband can still recite the Greek alphabet (a skill he learned while pledging Sigma Chi), but that's about it. (He has other talents, but murmuring sweet nothings in a foreign language ain't one of them.)

So, basically, like I said in the title, I wanna be bestselling author, jet-setting, lingerie collecting, married-to-an-Italian, Eloisa James. If I can't, then at the very least maybe the next time I see Ms. James at the Romance Writers of America Conference, her husband will be there and if I beg, he'll read my hotel bill for me in Italian.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Must Have Coffee

Like recipe day, I'm going to make it a regular occurence to post some interesting trivia about topics that interest me. So, because this idea occured to me while I was enjoying my mandatory morning coffee, today's trivia topic is coffee.

The heavy tea tax imposed on the colonies in 1773, which caused the "Boston Tea Party," resulted in America switching from tea to coffee. Drinking coffee was an expression of freedom. The founding fathers often formed national strategies in coffeehouses.

Here is more proof. Not only do I adore Italian food, the language, the country, and the art, I find out that Italians revere coffee so much that they do not drink espresso during meals. It is considered to be a separate event and is given its own time. "Barista" is a respected job title there, and espresso is so essential to life there that the government regulates its price.

In the ancient Arab world, coffee became such a staple in family life that one of the causes allowed by law for marital separation was a husband's refusal to produce coffee for his wife.

It's said cowboys made their coffee by putting ground coffee into a clean sock, immersing it in cold water, and heating it over campfire. When ready, they would pour the coffee into tin cups and drink it.

Frederick the great had his coffee made with champagne and a bit of mustard. The Italians drink their espresso with sugar, the Germans and Swiss - with equal parts of hot chocolate, the Mexicans - with cinnamon, the Belgians - with chocolate. Moroccans drink their coffee with peppercorns, the Ethiopians - with a pinch of salt. Coffee drinkers in the Middle East usually add cardamom and spices. Whipped cream is the favourite amongst Austrians. The Egyptians are extremely fond of pure and strong coffee. They seldom add sugar to it, nor milk nor cream. They serve unsweeteened coffee to mourners and sweetened coffee at weddings. The Italians are the unrivaled World Masters of Espresso.

See? Italy rocks! (So, I've confessed, and now my mother can now be officially disgusted with me for holding Italians (not Chinese) in such high esteem.)


Sunday, January 22, 2006

I Give Up

Here's my book. :D I was trying to figure out how to display it on the sidebar of this blog, but after hours of trial and error, I've resigned myself to failure.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Everyday Enlightenment

I just got down my copy of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff...and it's all small stuff, by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. It's chocked full of wonderful ideas on how to make your life more fulfilling. One strategy he suggests is to imagine that everyone you encounter is more enlightened than you. That you should look at every person in your life as someone who has been put there to teach you something.

I want to try this. I never want to be so set in my ways that I feel like I can't learn anything anymore, especially from people. So the next time I encounter someone who irritates me (which unfortunately can be quite often) I will attempt to figure out just what the heck it is that they are trying to teach me about life.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Lessons Learned

My grandmother is 93 years old. I love her dearly. I will miss her a lot when her days are done. It occurred to me recently one of my earliest memories is of her teaching me how to tie my shoes. I recall her patiently showing me again and again, and being the independent perfectionist that I am, I wouldn't quit until I had succeeded. I remember being so proud of myself when I had done it and so I wrote a her a letter to tell her about that memory and how I was grateful to her for teaching me that simple but important skill.

So, in this blog entry, I'll list a few other lessons that stand out in my memory and acknowledge the teachers.

When I was a preschooler, my mom taught me how to read from a mail-order kit. I remember the big white cardboard flashcards with the bold red print on them. The cards were about 5" by 15". Some of them had recognizable logos on them like "Chevrolet" and "McDonalds." Others just had common words, like "brother" and "mommy." Still others had street signs. I remember being so tickled when I read those words somewhere other than the cards. By the time I was in kindergarten I could read sixth grade material. Couldn't exactly comprehend it, but could read it out loud.

In that same letter to my grandmother (they live together), I told my mother about how that gift has permeated every area of my life, given me enjoyment and success and self-confidence. I would not be the person I am without having learned how to read so well and so early.

My dad is a top-notch surgeon. He loves it and I don't see him retiring anytime soon. From his example I learned that you have to do what you love. Our time is limited on this earth and you shouldn't waste it on a career that doesn't give you joy and satisfaction.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I learned a valuable lesson for which I will be eternally grateful. My neighbor across the street, Linda, told me that she really regretted allowing her children to sleep all night in her bed when they were babies, because it took many years to get them out of it. Obviously, this had repercussions on her marriage. I know there are people who who believe sharing a family bed creates a bond among all the family members, but I'm not one of them. Because of Linda, the bed I share with my husband is a mainly kid-free zone. Cuddling is allowed. Sleep-overs are not, not even when they're sick.

Another woman to whom I am beholden is my high school English teacher, Mrs. Sternlicht. She taught me the very basics of writing paragraphs. I think that the success I earned in her class reinforced an innate enjoyment of writing that must have contributed to my being a writer today. She tried to engender a love of reading Shakespeare too, but that didn't take quite as well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Chicken Cacciatore Soup

Since I'm unsure whether I'll be inspired by a unique topic everyday for my new blog, I've decided that Thursday will be Recipe Day. I'll share a yummy recipe that I love. The innaugural recipe is for a soup I just had for lunch. It makes my nose run but it's delish. Credit goes to one of my favorite cooking gurus, Rachael Ray. If you're familiar with Rachael, then you know this is can be made in 30 minutes!

3 tbs. olive oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
2 tsp. grill seasoning (or coarse salt and pepper)
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 large white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
8 cremini mushrooms, chopped (baby portabellos)
4 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium onion, peeled, quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper cored, seeded, quartered lengthwise, then thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 c dry red wine (I didn't have red, so I used white)
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 29 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
3 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped

Heat a deep skillet or a medium soup pot over medium high heat. Add 2 tbs of oil. Add chicken. Season with grill seasoning and cook until lightly browned all over.

While chicken cooks, chop veggies.

Remove cooked chicken to a plate and reserve. Add the remaining oil to pan. Add crushed red pepper flakes and potatoes. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add mushrooms, celery, onions. Cook another couple minutes. Add bell pepper and garlic. Cook a couple minutes. Add chicken back to pan. Deglaze pan with wine, scraping the bits off the bottom. Add tomatoes and stock and stir. Add rosemary and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook about 8-10 minutes.


Angst Anyone?

Because Liquid Silver Books bought my manuscript, Carnal Devotions, so quickly, I find myself a bit anxious. I recently submitted a second story to them, and about a month later, I still haven't heard.

Rationalization begins:
--It was the holiday season. They were busy.
--It got lost in the Internet somewhere and some horny teenaged computer geek is really enjoying it.

Then comes the inevitable doubt:
--Well, Kensington passed on it. It's probably not marketable after all.
--You are really not as good a writer as you think you are, you self-important twit.
--That's what comes of feeling "entitled." Having published with them before is no guarantee they'll like everything you write. Welcome to the Real World.

However, it boils down to, that's the name of the game. Waiting. And the key to beating that game is to have a lot of submissions out there so there's always the opportunity that the day will bring some great news.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Excerpt: All In

Mariah Hughes stared at the young woman who had just entered the shop and wondered if it was bad manners to ask if she was off her medication.

Knowing it was definitely bad customer service to do so, she asked instead, “Who are you again?”

Wearing a sleek sandstone business suit and a pair of pointed-toe pumps, the woman had her short black hair in a slicked back style, chic and professional. After removing her sunglasses, she flipped open a snakeskin wallet to display a shiny badge made of what looked like mother of pearl. The writing on it seemed to be part of the natural iridescent pattern.

“My name is Davina Traherne, UWF.”


“Universal Wish Federation. License number 14-007,” Davina said with a wink. “Great number, huh?”

“Yeah, sure. Fantastic.”

Sighing, Mariah decided there should be a law that all the kooks—even the well-dressed ones—should be restricted to a one-mile radius of the Strip where they would blend in with the Vegas tourists. But even one mile might still be too close to her specialty chocolate shop.

Davina cleared her throat. “Now I’m afraid I’m running late today, so let’s get down to business. According to my records, you made a wish on May 25th of last year, contingent upon a woven bracelet. Said bracelet detached from your wrist at 0930 today, which means your wish is now scheduled for completion.”

Davina pulled out a slick-looking electronic device and dialed up a video. Dumbfounded, Mariah watched a muted clip of herself and her friends, Paige and Livvy, goofing off on that weekend cruise they’d taken together last year. During an excursion onshore, the three had bought woven bracelets from a street vendor in Cabo. Legend had it that if you made a wish on the bracelet when you tied it on, the wish would come true when the bracelet eventually fell off. On the make for some man meat, the three had made some outrageous wishes, but they’d been so drunk on margaritas that Mariah couldn’t quite remember what she had wished for. All she could recall was that their wishes had pushed them into gales of tipsy laughter.

“You guys were pretty snockered,” Davina said with a snort.

“This is some kind of joke,” Mariah said, glancing around suspiciously. “I’m being filmed right now for some reality show, aren’t I?”

Tucking the mini video player into her satchel, Davina shook her head. “No. I’m completely serious. To prove it, I’m authorized to grant a good faith wish. Nothing big like a million dollars or the cure for cancer. Something trivial, but make it quick.”

Mariah shrugged. What the hell. Maybe if she humored the woman she’d go back quietly to her room at the asylum. “Okay, I…ah…wish the order I got this morning for that bachelorette party was finished.”

Davina smiled. “Done.”

An instant later, two boxes of life-sized chocolate penises appeared out of nowhere, each wrapped in cellophane and a red ribbon that read, “Julie’s Last Hurrah”. In the air around the boxes a faint glitter hovered and faded away, like the aftermath from fireworks.

Mariah gasped.

Davina smirked. “Told ya.”

Reeling from the impossible feat, Mariah gingerly picked up one of the chocolate penises and examined it. It felt solid. In fact, it looked exactly like the prototype she’d shown the client the previous week, down to the last detail.

Davina leaned an elbow on the counter. “Now, you didn’t specify a time limit for your wish, and we usually fall back on a default twenty-four hour period, but maybe you and I can make a little deal.”

She glanced around Mariah’s high-end chocolate boutique, her eyes glittering. “I could extend your playtime a few extra hours if you could see your way clear to giving me that chocolate purse over there. The one with the pink sugar flowers.”

Mariah frowned. “If you want chocolate, can’t you just snap your fingers for it?”

“I wish,” Davina answered, chortling. “Get it? ‘I wish’?” She shook her head. “No, my magic is only operational when I’m on the clock, and then only for wishers.”

Ever the wheeler-dealer, Mariah crossed her arms. “Well then, you should know that inside the purse are a comb, lipstick, a coin purse and a cell phone, all made of chocolate, but,” she said with a dramatic pause, “wait here. I have something you should definitely see.”

Hurrying to the back, she grabbed the mold she’d purchased for a man’s fiftieth birthday six months ago. When Davina saw the outline of a gun with the numbers 007 on it, her eyes went huge. “I want it.”

“I can even make it say 14-007.”

Incredibly, tiny lavender fireworks began going off around Davina’s head. “I really want it.”

“Make my wish last for three days, then, and I’ll throw this in with the purse.”

“Two days and we have a deal.”


Cackling with glee, Davina thrust a hand into her pocket, pulled out a small gray pamphlet and slapped it on the counter. “Here are all the stipulations of the grant. It’s not like you can sue us, but humans these days like to be informed. Your forty-eight hours begin at the moment you and the subject touch, rounded up to the nearest hour. I’ll be back on Tuesday for the chocolate. Have a good time.”

Then, in a kaleidoscope of colors and a few bars of the Bond theme song, Davina winked out of sight.

Mariah blinked hard, still skeptical even though she’d seen everything with her own eyes. A moment ago, Davina had been standing there and now she wasn’t. This was way beyond Siegfried and Roy. Those types of tricks had to be set up in advance, and Mariah knew no one had arranged anything strange in her store.

She rounded the counter and stared at the spot on the floor where Davina had been, then slid her eyes reluctantly toward the box of candy cocks. They were still there. She couldn’t deny what had happened. The proof was in the pricks.

Mariah went to the phone near the cash register and dialed her friend Livvy.

“Liv, it’s me. Remember on the cruise when we got drunk and made wishes on those bracelets?”

“Sure. I’m still wearing mine.”

Mariah paced behind the counter. “What did I wish for?”

“World peace.”

“Livvy, be serious! It’s important.”

“Jeez. Jump down my throat for making a joke.”

“Sorry. Just answer the question. Please.”

“Well, my memory of that night is kinda vague, but I think it had something to do with that Tucker guy…”

Oh my God. It all came rushing back.

Mariah stammered a hurried goodbye and hung up. She now remembered her wish with mortifying clarity. I.C. Tucker. A guy she’d spent one night with six years ago but remembered like it was yesterday. The man she fantasized about regularly in the privacy of her room, lights out, battery operated boyfriend in hand…

Usually he was silhouetted in the doorway of her bedroom wearing a Stanford t-shirt and jeans. With that lazy, rolling gait of his, he sidled up to her bed and looked down at her, his face still in shadow. Then he knelt and caressed her cheek before lowering his head and giving her a kiss that spread pleasure throughout her body in a slow, warm wave. His mouth was gentle at first, but grew more and more demanding until they were both breathing hard and ready for skin against skin.

In the way of fantasies, Tucker was then suddenly naked and in bed with her, his long, lean body stretched out against hers, his cock hard against her thigh. She imagined his lips dragging along her sensitized skin until he captured a nipple in his mouth, making her moan. The slick suction drove her wild, and down below she was so wet that when he moved between her legs to finally enter her, he slid in like he belonged there. His hard length stroked in and out, filling her over and over again, faster and faster until his hips were slamming against hers and both their bodies were slick with sweat. His eyes locked onto hers and they came together. Mariah arched upward and shuddered with ecstasy just as he exploded inside her, gasping her name like she’d saved his life.

Of course, that was fantasy.

That one night with him six years ago had definitely been the best sex of her life, and she didn’t think she’d embellished it too much (except for the gasping of her name). So this wish deal was either going to be a complete dream, as in my-world-is-about-to-be-rocked-forever, or a total disaster, as in why-couldn’t-I-have-just-wished-for-a-winning-lottery-ticket?


Startled, she glanced at the phone. God, was it Tucker? Could Davina have worked that quickly?

With a suddenly sweaty palm, she picked up the receiver and looked at the caller ID. It wasn’t a number she recognized.

“Thank you for calling Chocolate Fantasies. This is Mariah. Can I help you?”

“Yes, my name is Rhonda Jones and I’d like to order a wedding cake. It’s a bit of a rush job. I need it on Monday.”

“A rush wedding job? Hey, this is Vegas,” Mariah said with a laugh. “How many guests are we feeding?”

“Twenty or so.”

“No problem, then.”

As she took down the customer’s information and made an appointment to meet that evening, Mariah relaxed. Her heart had gone into overdrive at the notion of talking to Tucker on the phone. With all this UWF craziness going on, she had imagined him calling her up and saying, “Hey, baby, what are you wearing? I hope it’s nothing, because for the past six years, I haven’t been able to get you out of my mind.”

But it wasn’t him. It was just another order.

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 01, 2006

All In

When three close friends made margarita-fueled wishes on magical woven bracelets, none of them ever dreamed that their sexy wishes might come true. But then a real-life fairy appears with United Wish Federation credentials and a ludicrous claim that Mariah’s wish is her command. And before Mariah can say bippidy-boppidy-boo, old flame Tucker arrives in town…and in Mariah’s bed.

Life on the road is a lonely one, but when Tucker bumps into Mariah again, all that changes. Sparks immediately fly and it’s all he can do to keep his hands off her. As things deepen between them, he swears he'll be damned before he passes on a second chance to reconnect with a woman he never forgot.

But wishes aren’t always simple and Happily Ever After is never guaranteed. It will be up to Mariah to go all in and make her wish last a lifetime…or lose Tucker forever.

IBSN #9781419912429

Buy It


5/5 Clovers
I absolutely LOVED this book! Kate Willoughby left me utterly delighted with her whimsical tale of love and magic... From page one, I was hopelessly captivated – not that I minded one little bit.
Jennifer of CK2's Kwips and Kritiques

5 Angels and a Recommended Read
All In was a fantastic story. The story was funny, warm, and with a dose of hot sex, I couldn’t help but root for Mariah and Tucker to have their happy ending. All In is the first in the Be-Wished series, and I am eagerly looking forward to Kate Willoughby’s second effort.
Melissa of Fallen Angels Reviews

5 Hearts
ALL IN is the first in a Be-Wished series and this reviewer must say it’s off to a great start! Ms. Willoughby has created an intriguing premise around a wish-filled bracelet. Her characters will capture you in their dilemma immediately, making you want to continue turning the pages to find out what will happen when their time is up. And just when you think you know what will happen; she cleverly throws in a twist or two.
Tina of Love Romances

A fun little fantasy of dreams coming true. A touching story of love with the best of fairytale endings of course.
--Aris of


Excerpt: Losing It

“How much pain is there when you lose your virginity?”

In the bathroom where he was laying tile, Ben Hayden fumbled. With a wild juggling motion, he caught the float just before it clattered into the tub. The splattered grout dribbled down the unfinished wall, but Ben just stood there, frozen, listening hard.

Although he knew it was wrong to eavesdrop, he hadn’t bothered to remind his client, Charlotte that he was still working in the bathroom. After all, she and her sister Kerrie were only discussing seating arrangements for Kerrie’s wedding. He’d expected to hear them chatter about cake toppers or menu choices.

Unfortunately, the bride-to-be had something less mundane on her mind.

“I mean, what if it hurts so bad I cry or something?” Kerrie asked. “You know how bad I am with pain. If I cry it could ruin everything.”

Despite the risk and his disapproving conscience, Ben leaned toward the open doorway. He was curious to hear what Charlotte had to say, because on and off over the past couple of months, he’d often considered crossing the line between contractor and client. Something about the way she used her hands seriously turned him on. She had this graceful way of manipulating things that mesmerized him, whether it be turning the pages of a book or buttoning a sweater. It didn’t matter what she was doing, her hands drew his attention and had him thinking sexy thoughts in no time flat. Thoughts about what those hands would feel like splayed over his back as he kissed her, or clutching his butt as he thrust into her.

Ben blew out a silent breath and glanced at his watch. Today he’d lasted forty-five minutes before fantasizing. Sometimes he didn’t even get past the front door before his imagination dove into the gutter. Good thing he always wore loose canvas pants to work.

“You won’t cry,” Charlotte assured her sister. “It’ll be wonderful. Now, let’s get back to business. We have a wedding reception to plan.”

“On a scale from one to ten, then,” Kerrie insisted. “One being a paper cut and ten being … oh, I don’t know … decapitation.”

Ben smothered a laugh, but Charlotte’s reply sounded strangely off-hand. “Oh, somewhere in between, as I recall.”

“Well, is there anything I can do to alleviate it? Any certain position? Should he go in slow or just push real fast and get it over with?”

Crap. That did it. Glancing at the door, Ben decided to make a run for it.

“Kerrie, please!” Charlotte said, clearly exasperated. “I really don’t want to discuss the thrusting velocity of your future husband!”

“I can’t help it!” Kerrie sobbed, and to Ben’s great discomfort, she started crying. “Please, I love Michael so much. I don’t want him to be disappointed.”

With the utmost care, Ben set the float down and took a slow-motion step out of the tub. If he made it to the hall, the front door was only a couple of yards away.

“Look,” Charlotte said, “the truth is, I can’t help you because…”

He took another cautious step toward the door

“…because I’m a virgin, too.”

Ben stopped, mid-stride. Charlotte was a virgin? A smile dawned on his face as his mind did a half-gainer back into the gutter for an erotic free-for-all, celebrating the idea of introducing Charlotte to the wild, wet, and wonderful world of sex. He was busy imagining her panting under him, shuddering through her first man-induced orgasm, when he realized something wasn’t quite right. The delicious sexual scenarios he’d been imagining scattered as he listened and noticed that—Jesus Christ—there was now a chorus of crying: Charlotte and Kerrie, both of them in tears, two virgins whimpering together over their chastity.

Could things get any worse?

Yes, he thought, they could. Because if they found out he’d been listening, they were going to rip his ears off.

Labels: ,

This is a picture for my profile.