Wednesday, February 7, 2007

An Acquired Taste - Jude Mason

An Acquired Taste - Jude Mason
February, 2007 - ISBN 978-1-59426-945-5
$5.50 eBook (five formats) - included in Yes Ma'am - Buy Now!
Author's Backlist: Jude Mason

"Damn!" The word exploded before she could stop it. Since Tom's death, she hadn't been able to visit that room without tears blurring her vision, forcing her to leave. Today was no different. In the seven years they'd had together, they'd become best friends. They'd known everything about each other. He'd been the only man who truly understood her and had been willing—no, eager—to put up with her idiosyncrasies.

Hastily she turned and marched out, fighting back the feelings of loss and loneliness that had plagued her for the past six months. Softly shutting the door, she leaned back against it, and sighed.

Cynthia Lyon, hardnosed businesswoman, weeping widow, scowled. Her ragged breathing finally smoothed out. Looking up, her eyes came to rest at the corner of the dining room. She spotted a dark patch on the ceiling. "No," she groaned, and cursed again. "Damn!" She walked across the hardwood floor to get a better look and felt her anger rise.

The beam that separated the living room from the dining room looked fine, but on the dining room side there was a large, roughly circular patch that shouldn't have been there. A leak, perfect. That's all she needed. She'd thought their two bedroom cabin would be just right for her now that she was alone, but it seemed that no matter which way she turned, something happened to disrupt her life.

She walked around the large, open living room/dining room, checking for more of the ugly stains. The rich oak walls in the living room soothed her anger somewhat, and when she found no more watermarks, she was ready to let her mood improve.

The large picture window at the front of the room looked out over a lush green lawn with its island of shrubs set off to one side. The pathway leading to the river wound around clumps of bulbs and colorful perennials she'd planted the previous year. Turning away from the window, she spotted Tom's painting above the overstuffed forest green sofa, and felt a tug at her heart. He'd been an amazing artist, and each room held at least one of his wildlife paintings.

She circled the room and checked around the fireplace to be sure there were no discolorations around the chimney. Relieved, she carried on, passed her bedroom doorway, into the dining room again.

The oak table with its five high-backed chairs dominated the room, but the large window and the sliding glass door made it look as if she were almost outside. Two years earlier, she'd redecorated the dining room. Instead of the same wood walls as the living room, she'd put a chair rail around the room, and left the warm oak at the bottom, but the top she'd painted a calming, golden cream color. Two candleholders on the one wall framed a painting of a doe with her fawn resting beside a mist-shrouded river. It was one of her favorite paintings, but surprisingly, wasn't one of Tom's.

She did a slow turn, admiring her small world—galley kitchen, all in pale gold and burnt orange, with white frilly curtains over the sink, the door to that special room, the one she had trouble visiting, even now. Beside it was the bathroom, the door ajar, allowing some of its brightness to creep into the room. That was her sanctuary, and the one room she'd totally redone. Large, nearly as big as the spare room and too large for the size of the cabin, the Jacuzzi tub was the only thing she could count on to help her relax. She'd done the entire room in a mottled gray slate, and loved it.

Spotting Ginger, her cat, sprawled along the back of the couch, she said, "Well, Ginger, it looks like we're going to get the roof fixed." Going into the kitchen, she got a large glass from the cupboard beside the sink, filled it with pink grapefruit juice, and joined Ginger. Stroking the soft fur behind the cat's ear, she took a sip of her juice. The large feline rolled onto his side and reached for her with his front foot. Under her hand, she felt rumbling. He was purring.

"I also think it's time for that sunroom I've always wanted."

She pulled the cat onto her lap and together they watched the evening sunset through the living room window. Shades of bronze splashed across the floor as the sun slowly sank behind the distant mountains, reflecting off the few remaining rain clouds in the sky. With Ginger curled up in her lap, Cynthia thought of the calls she'd have to make in the morning.

Four years ago, they'd been financially burned when a contractor left without fulfilling his contract with them. Two months of trying to find him had proven fruitless. When Tom and she had tried to press charges, the judge told them they were in the right, but it was up to them to find the contractor before anything could be done. That left them with a gaping hole where the fireplace now stood, and a vow never to trust a contractor again. But, she also knew she wasn't capable of doing all the construction she wanted by herself.

Stifling a yawn, she picked up the cat and her empty glass. After depositing the glass in the sink, she checked the locks on both doors. It was a quiet neighborhood to be sure, but she wasn't about to tempt fate. Ginger leapt from her arms as soon as she walked into her bedroom, landing with a soft thud on the small chair beside the door. That was his guard post, and she stroked his head for a moment before going any farther.

When he'd settled comfortably, she straightened up and switched on the overhead light. The fan slowly turned and the room glowed with soft light. Deep burgundy carpet made the room feel warm and cozy. Large vases, filled with both dried and cut flowers scented the room. Facing the backyard was a door with a large pane of glass that opened onto a small, private deck.

Drawing the crushed velvet, deep gold drapes, she remembered how Tom used to come up behind her and wrap her in his arms. She felt a sudden pang of loneliness and need. Tom, how she wished he was there to share her bed. A subtle clenching in her pussy reminded her of how long she'd been celibate. Masturbation was fine, for a while, but she missed the touch of a man.

Slipping out of her blue silk blouse and the form fitting skirt she'd worn to the office, she admired herself in the full-length mirror. Black, curly hair framed an oval shaped face, and eyes the color of dark chocolate stared back at her. At five-eight, she knew she had more curves than was fashionable. A large bosom and way too much ass, she smiled remembering how Tom used to squeeze and caress her there.

Skimming out of her pantyhose, she tossed them into the hamper. The blue lace bra and matching panties soon followed, leaving her naked and flushed. Frustrated, but unwilling to use the vibrator she'd recently purchased, she slipped into the white silk pajamas she'd left folded on her pillow. Her nipples puckered and the damp warmth between her thighs was impossible to ignore.

She switched off the bedroom light, and climbed into bed. Cool sheets and the smell of flowers soon lulled her to sleep. Her dreams carried her into the arms she longed for.