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By now, the girls were in college and living on their own. Todd was at boarding school. If I didn’t have the man, I was at least going to have the city, so I sold the house in Wildwood and rented a small apartment in NYC with a girlfriend. I began writing my first novel. I poured my heartache into the story, complete with details of the heroine’s passionate sex life and fantasies of the perfect man. Twelve hundred pages later, I made thirty copies and mailed it to every publisher and agent I could think of. Literary House Publishers bought it, and Betrayal was published. It didn’t make me rich, but it made me published and it brought back a modicum of self-respect.

I knew when I was six years old that I would be a writer someday. Public Relations and Sparklers allowed me to earn a living writing. But I had novels inside me, waiting to burst out. I didn’t have a man, I wasn’t a Mrs., but with the publication of Betrayal, I was an author, a published author. Life goes on. I published two more novels in the next three years: Twice Betrayed and Deceitful Love. When I hit writer’s block on a story line, I threw in a steamy sex scene. Every ten pages you were guaranteed to get a little lick or a big pocket rocket:

Her lips met his lightly as his iron hand slipped into her velvet glove. Wordlessly she moved closer into his arms. The sweetness slithered out to the tips of her fingers as he moved his limb inside her. A persistent driving rod filled her. The tingling rose up her belly, as the wetness of his tongue seared her breasts, the heat coursing up her throat. “Wait…wait,” he whispered, twisting her nipples between his thumb and forefinger. “Wait…” She gasped as he almost withdrew, then rocked deeper into her, the force of his manhood thrusting open her thighs. Sucking breath as his back tensed, he arched, penetrating with longer strokes that pulsed softness then hardness.”

The sales were record breaking, but the publication advances were modest, so I continued to support myself with the PR business, confident that the next book would be the moneymaker that would take me to the top.

Annie graduated from college and was living and working in New York too. She rented a tiny studio on the upper east side, and took the subway down Second Ave to meet me for lunch at the café on the second floor of Saks. We might do a little shoe shopping, or walk over to MOMA to gossip our way through the newest exhibits.

I hadn’t quite gotten back into the swing of dating yet, as I was still licking my wounds post Jack. But whenever a friend, cousin, or one of my dear gay escorts felt like getting out on the arm of a woman, we treated ourselves to a Broadway show on a Saturday night.

One night a few months after I moved into the city, with everyone including Annie busy with other plans, I headed over to Times Square to see what last minute bargains were available, and scored one ticket for a fifth-row orchestra seat to a revival of My Fair Lady.

I was feeling very NYC chic, dressed all in black and wrapped in a red wool cape, with a fabulous multi-colored gemstone broach pinned to the lapel. Defiantly my brilliant 21-stone shiner adorned my “not married” right hand. A classy lady about town on a Saturday evening.

The usher led the way down the center aisle. Two couples stood to allow me to crush past them to my seat. Getting settled, I arranged the cape over the seat back, placed my clutch on my lap and opened the Playbill. Before delving into the cast biographies, I looked up at the glamourous theatre all around me. Chandeliers hung above, dripping with crystals that twinkled like stars in the night sky. The plush velvet stage curtain wasn’t the traditional red, but a more contemporary melee of rose and purples. I let my gaze roam past the orchestra tuning up in the pit, to see who graced the box seats, those private little circular balconies that hung over the edge of stage right and left. I had always imagined sitting in the elegant, sequestered seats with my hand in Mr. Right’s lap, and the privacy to make intermission extra special.

I was enjoying my reverie as I looked towards stage left when I realized the gentleman sitting in the adjacent seat was all eyes on me. Peripheral vision revealed thick peppery grey hair neatly coiffed and naughty hazel eyes framed by black tortoise shell glasses. Oliver Peoples frames, quite pricey and so Hollywood, I noted to myself, and looked at him straight on. He was a bit younger than me, and very impressive.

“Oliver Peoples?” I asked.

“No, Peter Handleman,” he replied with a spicy British accent. “Nice to meet you.”

“Oh, no.” I was a bit flustered despite my attempt to sound clever. “Your glasses. Is the frame by designer Oliver Peoples?”

With a quizzical expression, a slight crease between the brows, he removed his glasses and looked at them. Spotting the designer’s name on the arm he confirmed, “Peoples. Yes, they’re great glasses. I just got them, do you like?” He put them back across the bridge of his very straight Roman nose.

Unsure what compliment might be appropriate, I revealed my appreciation with a gentle flutter of eyelashes, and asked if he had seen the show before. I learned he was in the City to meet a client who had cancelled at the last minute and offered him the ticket in recompense. Our conversation paused as the theatre lights flickered. I smiled and nodded towards the stage as the piano led into the opening medley with “I Could Have Danced All Night” as the room darkened and the curtains parted.

After theater, Peter invited me to join him for a late dinner at L’Artiste, a sweet little theater district restaurant with a phenomenal muscles dish on the menu. I had been there several times with Jack, but Jack wasn’t escorting me to a corner table or helping me off with my cape, so my attention was on Peter.

Our first evening together was all talk and clean flirtation. When he placed me in a taxi heading uptown, after dinner, I instinctively reached into my coat pocket. I would have been disappointed to find he’d slipped in a hotel key, because after all, I’m not that kind of girl. But I was thrilled to discover his business card tucked in there.

Peter turned out to be an excellent re-entry into the social scene, and soon proved he could indeed dance all night. He was living in a corporate condo in Brooklyn, on extended business in the US for a year with a London based company. Over dinner that night, and the next, he didn’t hesitate to tell me that five years before he had divorced the woman who was his college sweetheart, and they co-parented a daughter. Two years ago, he was introduced to his fiancée, Elizabeth, by a friend at a dinner party. She lived in their home in Kensington, an upscale suburb west of London. They were very happily engaged with no specific plans to be married. She was a high-powered consultant and they both traveled extensively for work.

“She’s really wonderful. I know you would like her.” I think part of what I came to love about Peter was how much he loved Elizabeth. “My daughter is Lucy. She’s ten years old and lives with her mother in Switzerland. In fact,” he continued with excitement in his voice, “Elizabeth is coming over for a visit next month.” I sipped champagne and listened as he explained she would be in NYC for a week, and then they were flying to Lausanne to pick up Lucy for a ski vacation in Zermatt.

“Would you like to go skiing with me sometime?” He asked. “I’m excited to try some of the slopes in the American west.”

Over the next year, as well as gadding about NYC when Elizabeth was not in town, Peter and I managed to fit in a little skiing, in Tahoe, Vail and Killington. I particularly remember the Ritz in Lake Tahoe. He was excited by the ski-in/ski-out feature of the hotel. I have to admit I enjoyed the horizontal refreshments. Peter’s peeter skied in and skied out and skied in again. He was as rock hard and wide as the cathedral sized fire place that dominated the hotel lobby as we checked in.

With a crackling fire that cast flickers of light across the room, we luxuriated in the big bed. Peter stretched out beside me, as my fingers caressed the luscious muscles of his chest, and moved slowly over his well-defined six pack, a map of ripples guiding me directly to the hairy home of his perfect peeter. Suddenly, in a swift move that denied me my catch, he loomed over me. His thick matt of curls swept against my pussy hair, and I felt his mushroom tickle my inner thighs and twiddle teasingly to rouse my pearl. I planted my feet high up on the tufted black leather headboard. I was shaking with renewed emotions and longing that swept through me, like the heat of a flame. His foreplay exhumed lustful impulses within my body. We worked that king-sized mountain-view bed before ski and after ski, concentrating with an intense awareness of each other. I pressed my body against his, accepting his lips, and responded with a surging need. His practiced carnal embrace consumed all doubt, sensuous, wanton, and exhaustive. I stifled a moan and accepted his long solid limbs, the heavy pressure of his hands as he hoisted my hips. My feet drove against the leather, my pelvis rising, and our passion exploded into a million burning pieces of ecstasy.

Half the time with Peter I was thinking “Thank you thank you thank you.” He had rekindled my enthusiasm for life and you-know-what. The other half of the time I was looking forward to the end of his tenure in NYC and return to the arms of Elizabeth in London. He would always be a love in my heart, but his two-timing ways and broad definition of fidelity did not suit my long-term plans. I knew I would never be his wife.

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