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“This sure beats the hell out of my normal lunch experience eating a sandwich and banana at my desk,” Jessica said with enthusiasm as she took another bite of chicken Caesar salad. “I’ve been so looking forward to this all week, Barb. Do you realize, we haven’t seen each other in almost three months?”

“I know. Things have been so crazy since the twins were born.”

“You’d better have pictures with you.”

“But of course,” she said, reaching into her purse and pulling out an envelope. “Us grannies are always prepared to show off our babies.”

“It still is bizarre as all get out to me that you’re a grandmother now.” Jesse smiled as she looked through the photos.

“Oh, your time is coming, sweetheart, what with Carl being married almost a year and Laurie moving in with her boyfriend.”

“No way! Every chance I get, I remind both of them that kids are expensive little pains in the ass that’ll suck the life right out of you for at least eighteen years.”

“Very nice mothering technique,” Barb laughed uproariously.

“It’s my job to teach them the truth of things, and they love me for it. Most importantly, they need to understand I’m way too young to enter that particular phase of life yet.”

“Speaking of your advancing age, how are you planning to celebrate being on the planet for a half century tomorrow?”

“Jesus, that sounds awful!” Jesse rolled her eyes and shook her head. “It’s bad enough that every card I’ve received so far has fifty printed prominently all over it.”

“So what? It’s just a number, plus I read that fifty is the new thirty-five.”

“Yeah right, tell that to my grey hairs, extra pounds, and less than perky boobs.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Jesse. Those minor issues are why the Lord created hair dye, properly tailored clothes, and sexy yet supportive bras.”

“Amen,” Jesse agreed with a chuckle.

“Seriously, what are you doing this weekend? You better not be having a party, since I didn’t receive an invite.” Barb raised an eyebrow.

“To my knowledge, nothing is going on. The kids all have other plans, so we got together last weekend to celebrate. I’m hoping David and I will go out for dinner or something, but we haven’t really talked about it.”

“Excuse me?”

“He’s working six days a week, ten or more hours a day, Barb. I’m working at all kinds of weird times so that I can be available for Mom when she needs me, and David is helping Carl build his addition on Sundays. I’ll be thrilled if we can steal a bit of alone time.”

“You guys need to make time for each other. What you’re describing is the perfect recipe for marital disaster.” Barb reached out and squeezed her hand, concern more than evident in her eyes.

“Wait, no, things are fine, Barb. It’s just another hectic phase. Hell, after twenty-five years together, we’re pros at dealing with whatever life throws at us.”

“Glad to hear it, since you’re my hero in the marital longevity department. I swear my next husband is going to be ‘the one.’”

Jesse raised her water glass in salute. “You go, girl.”

They’d been best friends for almost thirty years despite their lives taking very different paths. Barb had been married three times, changed jobs constantly, and loved moving around the state. Jesse had recently marked her twentieth anniversary at the accounting firm and still lived in the same home David had built early in their marriage.

Ignoring her feeble protest, Barb ordered a big slice of chocolate cake at the end of the meal for them to share and sang a wonderfully off-key rendition of Happy Birthday.

“Touch base with me about the birthday happenings on Monday morning, okay?” she asked as they hugged goodbye in the parking lot.

“What if our celebrating is of the personal, naked kind?”

“Then I’ll need a complete, detailed reporting!”


A little flutter of anticipation danced in her tummy when Jessica pulled into the driveway and parked behind David’s truck. She was early—it was only a little after five o’clock. “This is a good sign.” Jesse hopped out of the car and hurried up the front steps. She opened the door and froze with only one foot in the house.

“Happy day before your birthday.”

Her jaw dropped as she tried to take everything in. A vase full of red roses sat on the coffee table next to two glasses and a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket. Soft music was playing. The scent of her favorite pine cleaning liquid wafted through the air, and the carpet had obviously been vacuumed. David stood in the doorway of the kitchen, barefooted, in a black T-shirt and faded jeans, a towel in one hand and a bottle of window cleaner in the other.

“What?” he asked. His ruggedly handsome face lit up with a mischievous grin.

“You’ve never looked more handsome to me,” she giggled. “Give me a sec to enjoy the picture.”

“If you’d been here a half an hour ago, you’d have found me on my hands and knees on the kitchen floor.”

Jesse closed the door and dropped her purse on the side table without taking her eyes off of David.

“Ooo, yeah baby, tell me more.” She practically ran across the room. David put down his cleaning supplies and gathered her close when she threw her arms around his neck.

“There’s not a speck of dust on any surface.” He gently squeezed her ass cheeks. “The refrigerator has been cleaned out.” He shifted his hips forward. “Dinner is in the oven.” When he flexed forward, Jesse moaned.

“You took time off to do this for me?”

“We both live here, and I’m well aware that I haven’t been helping much lately, and I’m sorry, Jesse.” The stark emotion reflected in his eyes warmed her to her toes.

“Kiss me, you sexy cleaning man, you.” He cradled her head and took possession of her mouth. He nipped and teased before sliding his tongue slowly past her lips to do wonderfully decadent things to her. Desire raced through Jesse as she met him stroke for stroke and rubbed herself against him wantonly. They were both gasping when David lifted his head.

“Keep it up, woman, and we’ll be on the squeaky clean kitchen floor.”

“Okay,” she agreed instantly. David gave her a playful swat on the bum.

“Although I appreciate your enthusiasm, I have a plan and can’t allow you to sway me with your feminine wiles…yet.” David took her hand and led her to the couch. “Sit down, Jesse. Take your shoes off and get comfy. How was your lunch?”

“Great, um, what are you doing?” David was digging around in her purse. He came back holding her cell phone. “These are off limits for both of us until Monday morning.” He powered it off and opened a drawer in the coffee table. “See, mine’s in here, too.”

“David, what about the kids and my mom and your work?”

“They will all survive without us for a couple of days.” Jesse flashed a doubtful frown. “Don’t give me that look. Rob’s on call for the crews, and Laurie and Carl are on call for your mom.”

“The kids have stuff going on, remember?” David grabbed the champagne and sat down.

“Yes they do, and it’s helping us to have uninterrupted time together.” The cork popped noisily. He filled both glasses and handed one to Jesse. “This weekend is all about you. There’s going to be pampering and a whole bunch of lovemaking and a few surprises.” David wiggled his eyebrows, leered, and clicked her glass. “Are you game?”

“You didn’t make that face when you talked to them about this, right?” God, it had been so long since she’d seen David at his devilish best. Her nipples hardened.

“Don’t be ridiculous. I told them we were going antiquing up North.”

“What happens when they ask where we went and what we bought?”

David pulled a folded piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to her. “I knew you would ask me those very questions. This should help with the authenticity of our alibi.”

Jessica couldn’t believe her eyes. It was a typewritten list giving the destination, the hotel name, a couple of restaurants, and some antique stores.

“You researched a trip that we’re not taking so we can convincingly lie to people?”

“Yes I did. Adds intrigue and mystery, don’t you think?” He casually crossed his legs and rested an arm along the back of the couch. The relaxed position accentuated his impressive hard-on beneath the worn denim.

“Without a doubt,” she replied, staring pointedly at his crotch. “But be careful, old broads like me have to start taking things easy. Too much excitement is probably not good for my aging constitution.”

“Give me a break, Jesse.” She squealed with surprise when David hauled her back into his strong embrace. “You’re turning fifty, not ninety.” He gently kissed her forehead. “This is a great time for us. We’ve raised two well-adjusted adults who have finally left the nest to live their own lives. We are more than reasonably financially secure, can enjoy some of the finer things, and after all of our years of practice, we’re smokin’ hot in the sack.” He flattened her hand against his chest. His heartbeat pounded wildly underneath her palm. “Feel what you do to me.”

“I love you so much,” she whispered, snuggling closer. David slowly caressed her hip, sending heat racing through her body. “Can we just stay here like this for a while?”

“There’s no place else I’d rather be, sweetheart.”

Jesse was in heaven as they chatted, sipped champagne, and cuddled. She was a bit surprised at how much there was to catch up on, things that were happening in their jobs, stories about friends and the kids, even current events in the news. It had obviously been much too long since they’d spent quality time simply being together.

David started telling a story about having to teach the new guy on his crew about jacking up the floor joist and installing load-bearing walls. With his deep, baritone voice, he could read the phone book and it would sound sexy. She traced lazy patterns across his chest and along his ribs. He was a big man, almost six three, and his muscular build came from years of hard, physical labor, not a gym. Jesse closed her eyes and let her mind wander.

The first time she’d seen him had been on a construction site across the parking lot of her apartment building on a steamy hot August evening. She was leaving to go out with friends, and the sound of male voices caught her attention. David was loading stuff into the back of his truck. Jesse stopped and watched as he lifted what appeared to be very heavy equipment with no difficulty. One of the other guys walked up and said something, making him laugh. In one fluid motion, he pulled his T-shirt over his head and used it to mop his brow. Jessica had lost the ability to breathe as she stood mesmerized by the play of muscles in his arms and chest. When he met and held her gaze then winked, she’d thought she might melt into a puddle on the pavement. Embarrassment at being caught gawking had her hopping into her car and practically racing away.

Over the next week, she’d made sure she had lots of reasons to come and go. She’d never run so many errands in her life! He started to nod or give a little wave when he saw her, but nothing more. Jessica didn’t have the nerve to make the first move, and by the second week, she’d resigned herself to the fact that the gorgeous construction worker would never be anything other than the star of her fantasies.

One Friday night, after a particularly shitty day at work, Jesse parked in her spot as the skies opened up in a near torrential downpour. She had a week’s worth of groceries in the trunk. She’d darted out of her car and loaded herself down with every bag so she didn’t have to make a second trip. In the mere seconds it took to get to the front door of her building, the paper sacks had gotten soaked. The bottom fell out of one of them, sending cans rolling. She’d been swearing a blue streak and fumbling to get her key in the front door when, all of a sudden, David was at her side. He looked down at her with the most beautiful grey-blue eyes, flashed a killer grin, and took the bags.

Jessica grinned at the memories. She repositioned herself to lay her cheek against David’s stomach. She gave his erection a tiny squeeze before tugging open the top button of his jeans.

“I don’t think you’re paying attention to me,” he chuckled.

“On the contrary,” she disagreed and slid down his zipper. “You’re the only thing on my mind at the moment.” She reached in and freed his penis. Jesse wrapped her fingers around the base and gave a playful lick to the swollen head.


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