Real Good Man\Unbroken\I Can Still Feel You...
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Skull Creek, Texas (forty-five miles north of San Antonio) One week before Valentine's Day
It was just a penis.
Cheryl Anne Cash drew a deep breath and tried to calm her frantic nerves. A sophisticated, worldly, do-anything city girl did not freak out at the sight of a guy's johnson. And she certainly didn't hesitate. Or blush. No, she simply tackled the situation with an interested gaze, a steady hand and an attitude that said no biggee.
Except that it was a biggee. A gargantuan monster, in fact, compared to the average male penis which was only five and a half inches long when erecta little tidbit she'd picked up during her Internet research on the subject.
She eyed the specimen at her fingertips. This baby came in at a full twelve inches. Easy.
She drew a deep breath and gathered her composure. Reaching out, she touched the long, smooth shaft and eased her trembling fingers up and down in a quick slide.
There. That wasn't so bad. The thing didn't sprout horns. Or jump up and bite her. Even more, she didn't pass out from embarrassment. Nor did steam shoot out of her ears. A major coup since her cheeks felt as if they were on fire.
She shifted her attention to the forty-eight-inch plasma television her parents had bought her as a going away present six weeks ago. She studied the latest technique being demonstrated by a buxom blonde with bedroom eyes, bee-stung lips and crimson-tipped nails. After a few thoughtful seconds, Cheryl tackled the task with both hands.
"The key is to keep a firm grip," Buxom Blonde said, her tone bold and pronounced. While the appearance said ditzy porn star, the voice told a very different story. Smart. Educated. Knowledgeable. At least when it came to sex.
"Despite male perception, the penis is far from invincible. It's very possible to cause serious bodily injury during an intricate hand technique, which would obviously undermine the overall objectiveto increase the pleasure for both partners. Therefore make sure the fingers are touching at all points, but do not squeeze "
Cheryl Anne fought down her reservations and followed along for the next few minutes, practicing the various movements on the sizeable member in her grasp. Her right hand did a twist and curl around the base of the shaft. Her left petted and stroked. She even practiced licking her lips and lowering her eyelids just enough to give her that hooded, bedroom look as she eyed the object of her attention.
Soon she moved with confidence, her grip just right, her technique smooth and polished, as if she'd been doing it for six years rather than a measly six weeks.
She could definitely do this.
In private, a voice reminded her. With the instructional video Hand Jobs Made Easy blazing in front of her.
But could she do it in front of a bunch of paying customers eager to beef up their own sexual résumé?
Maybe. Maybe not.
In exactly five hours and forty-five minutesat seven-thirty that very eveningshe was going to find out.
She would have half the females in Skull Creek sitting in her sparse living room, looking to her for guidance.
Women who were sacrificing time with their significant other in the name of education. They would expect expert advice on how to jumpstart their relationships, and plenty of snacks to fuel the process.
Her gaze swept the small card table set up in her microscopic dining room. She had a half dozen bowls overflowing with everything from Chex Mix to Doritos, Cheez-Its to trail mix. She even had a vegetable tray that she'd sliced and diced herself.
The snacks she had covered.
As for the expert advice
Eyeing the newly framed diploma from the UniversityofLove.com that hung on her wall, she tried to summon her courage. She'd completed every assignment of the online course and she'd made a perfect score on the final exam, and so she'd earned the title of Carnal Coach, as well as the Pleasure Chest of educational tools sitting on her coffee table and the phallic-shaped name tag pinned to her chest. She was more than ready to instruct her first group of paying customers.
Without getting embarrassed.
The thing is, when she'd signed up at the UniversityofLove, she'd expected to learn something about, well, love.
To have and to hold. 'Til death do us part. Forever and ever That sort of thing. But other than a small section entitled "Revving up the romance"which offered tips like writing daily love notes and starting the morning with a lingering kissthe majority of what she'd learned revolved around the big S.
Not that being a sexpert was bad. It was great for a woman determined to do a complete one-eighty from boring, naive, sheltered country girl to exciting, knowledgeable, worldly woman.
Cheryl Anne drew a deep breath and went over her demonstration a few more times using the gonzo "penis"also known as a banana.
Being the youngest and only daughter of overprotective parents, she'd lived her entire life being coddled. Her mother and father were both obsessive-compulsives who worried about everything, from allergies to natural disasters. There'd been a can of disinfectant in every room, a No Pets Allowed sign posted in the front yard and a half dozen weather alert radios scattered throughout the large farmhouse. They'd gone out of their way to keep their children safe, to the point that they'd isolated Cheryl and her older brother Dillon from the rest of the world.
Dillon had been a bookworm who'd spent most of his time indoors because of their mother's fear of pollen and insect bites. He'd never mowed the grass (dangerous machinery) or camped out with his friends (the woods at night? Shudder). He'd never even played sports. Not that their parents had forbidden anything, but they'd had a way of pushing their children in the "right" direction.
Other than one wild night when she'd turned eighteen and gone skinny-dipping down at Skull Creek, she'd spent her entire life playing it safe. Partly because she hadn't wanted to hurt her parents who, while extreme, had always meant well. And partly because, after leading such a sheltered life and being dubbed a geek, she'd actually felt like one.
She wasn't very pretty or overly charming or supermodel skinny. Rather, she had dirty-blond hair and an okay personality and a little too much junk in the trunkand not enough in the chest. Sure, she had nice eyes and a cute smile, but she was still just average. Plain. Blah.
Ditto for her older brother.
Cheryl and Dillon had been the only twenty-somethings in Skull Creek still living at home. While Dillon had finally moved out six months ago, he'd still been the same geeky guy she'd grown up with.
Until last month, that is.
Just like that, he'd ditched his thick black glasses and pocket protector. He'd gone from bony to buff, traded in his slacks and button-downs for T-shirts and leather pants, and he'd even bought a custom-made motorcycle. He now spent his nights cruising around town. Andand this was the biggeehe had half the women in town panting after him.
Cheryl, on the other hand, had never had anyone panting after her.
Sure, there was Dayne Branson, her longtime steady boyfriend, but he didn't count. Dayne, a once-upon-a-time steer roper who now owned a local construction company, never panted, even when he faced off with a wily calf or picked up a nail gun to help out his crew. Rather, he smiled a lot. And winked. And oozed good ol' boy charm.
Enough to stir her hormones into a frenzy every Saturday night when they met for their weekly date aka roll in the hay. Despite their first wild night together (see the skinny-dipping above), Dayne had become just another part of her routine. While the sex itself was good, it was always the same.
Same time. Same place. Same position.
She wasn't sure what had prompted her brother's about-face. She only knew that it had forced her to take a long, hard look at herself. If Dillonknown to the fine, upstanding citizens of their desperately small town as Dill Pickle thanks to the costume he'd worn as a kid in the Skull Creek Elementary health pageantcould declare his independence and go after his dreams, so could she.
Cheryl Anne was through with safe. She wanted to spread her wings, to take some chances, to shake things up.
Professionally and personally.
She'd left her parents' place and bought a small house near the main square of townhardly the bustling metropolis she envisioned herself living in, but still a step in the right direction. She'd sold her piano, packed away her chess set and adopted a puppy from the local SPCA. She'd ditched her old tennis shoes and sweats and spent an entire day shopping in San Antonio. And she'd left her job as a nail technician for an exciting career helping clueless women revive their stale relationships.
At least, that had been the job description listed online. In reality, however, it was more like a semi-embarrassing career giving verbal instruction and hands-on demonstrations for every sexual technique in the eighty-five-page course syllabus she'd recently memorized.
She ignored a niggle of regret. Sure, it wasn't exactly what she'd envisioned, but it was much more stimulating than listening to customers debate the merits of acrylic verses gel.
Bottom line, she'd said goodbye to her old routine, including Dayne.
She wasn't sure if he'd taken the news well or notshe'd broken up with him via voice mailbut he had left her a message agreeing to give her some space. She knew he thought she was just going through a phase and that she would change her mind.
She wouldn't, even if she did sort of miss him.
Not that it was Dayne she actually missed. It was the idea of having a steady boyfriend, even one whose idea of a romantic evening was a slap on the rump and a "Hop on, honey!" But steady was overrated. For ten years they had drifted along, never seriously discussing their future. She wasn't even sure if Dayne wanted to get married or have kids.
No more. She needed a new man. Someone romantic. Wild. Spontaneous.
Which was why she'd signed herself up for several online dating services. She'd also paid for a class at the local junior collegeMingling in the New Millennium. She'd become a faithful Cosmo magazine subscriber, and had started reading the weekly "Sex in the Saddle" column in the San Antonio Star. She'd even entered the Valentine's Day contest being sponsored by the newspaper. In honor of the holiday, the Star was offering a free sensual home makeoverRomancing the Room they were calling itto the geekiest subscriber. To enter, she'd had to describe in fifty words or less why she deserved to win.
She'd done it in thirty.
Of course, she didn't expect to win. The contest was open to any and all readersthose who actually lived in the city as well as the surrounding areasso the paper had undoubtedly been flooded with entries from equally clueless individuals.
Still, it was the principle of the thing. Writing the entry had been her way of saying goodbye to the old Cheryl Anne. She was taking every possible step in her life to ditch the blah and grab some va-va-va-voom.
She stared at her small living room lined with the folding metal chairs she'd borrowed from the seniors' center. Rather than take her mother's old gingham couch that was collecting dust in the attic, she'd made up her mind to buy all new furniture. She'd even invested in several decorating magazines and mapped out the perfect decor for her new homelots of pale colors and clean accents. Something tasteful and modernthe opposite of the paisley-print room she'd had at home.
All the more reason to can her doubts and get her act together. She needed money and so, she had a job to do.
She finished up with the banana and added it to the overflowing stack that sat in a fruit bowl near her Pleasure Chest. The three dozen extra-large, passion purple vibrators she'd ordered hadn't come in yet and so she'd had to improvise. She'd wanted cucumbers because they had a wider girth and were, therefore, more challenging to women with smaller hands, but Mr. Presley at the Piggly Wiggly had been running a special on Chiquitas. Since she'd sunk most of her money into the vibrators, she'd gone the cheaper route.
A bad move, she decided as she eyed the long, slender fruit. This was her first workshop. It would set the stage for all others to come. The registrants would either tell all of their friends, who would tell all of their friends, who would tell all of their friends, or demand their money back. The last thing she needed was to cut corners, particularly with Old Lady Shubert signed up.
The woman was always the first picked for the tug-o-war team during the senior Olympics. And she'd been single-handedly responsible for cracking and shelling the twelve dozen pecans used in the pies featured at the last Senior Ladies' Bake Sale. Five seconds in the Widow Shubert's grip and the banana would be history.
"I need cucumbers," she announced to the ball of sleeping fluff parked under a nearby folding chair.
Taz, part doormat/part frantic puppy, lifted his head and started to wiggle his tail.
"Sorry, buddy. You can't come this time. But I promise to take you for a walk this evening if all goes well." She scooped up the dog and headed for the bathroom. She set him on the brand-new pet bed set up in one corner, rushed back to the kitchen and snatched up her purse. If she hurried, she could make it before the market closed
"Congratulations!" the cry rang out as she hauled open the front door and found herself blinded by several camera flashes.
She blinked and tried to focus on the handful of strangers crowding her front porch. "Excuse me?"
"Cheryl Anne Cash?" asked a hunky, handsome man with the whitest teeth she'd ever seen. He wore slacks and a pullover Henley, and she knew right away that it wasn't the UPS guy.
"Yes." Click. She blinked frantically, trying to see as a dozen red roses were thrust at her. "Wait" Click. "What" Click. "I don't" Click, click, click! "Who are you?"
"Randy Miles." A strong warm hand clasped her free one.
"I'm the marketing and promotions manager for the San Antonio Star. And this is Darryl Boyd" he pointed to the man wielding the camera "one of our photographers. And Kimberly Jackson from Alamo City Interiors. And her assistant, Angela Stone. And Jimmy Powell from Powell Renovations. And this" he indicated the petite blonde next to him
"is Lauren Nash, the editor for our weekly 'Sex in the Saddle' column."
"Hey there, honey." The woman waved French-manicured fingers while Cheryl's brain raced to process the smiling faces and figure out what was happening.
The newspaper? Here? Now? But that could only mean"Your entry blew everybody away. Twenty-eight and still living at home?" Randy went on. "With your parents and an older brother? Definitely a first."
"I loved the part about the portable snake bite kit that you carry in your purse," Lauren chimed in.
"Used to carry," Cheryl blurted. "I don't do that anymore."
"You're definitely our most sensually clueless subscriber," Randy went on, "which means that you, Cheryl Anne Cash, are the winner of our Valentine's Day Romancing the Room Makeover!"
The words registered. Shock bolted through her and her mouth dropped open and
Harlequin; January 2008
240 pages; ISBN 9781426812231
, or download in
Title: Tex Appeal
Author: Kimberly Raye; Alison Kent; Cara Summers
240 pages; ISBN 9781426812231
, or download in
Title: Tex Appeal
Author: Kimberly Raye; Alison Kent; Cara Summers
Buy, download and read Tex Appeal (eBook) by Kimberly Raye; Alison Kent; Cara Summers today!