When you fall in love for the first time it can be scary. But not for Charlie. When she realizes she loves Hugh it’s good. Like falling beneath the surface in a pool of warm water. The sensation of being enveloped, surrounded, completely in over your head, it’s just good when you’ve known the worst. She has. And how, she has. Enough to know to hold on with both hands when something good comes, and Hugh is good. In this unedited snippet, you can see that he’s better than good…

Charlie had learned a long time ago not to deny yourself things that felt good. She didn’t seek them out. She was too practical, too frugal for that. Too conscious that she didn’t have enough to waste things or behave unwisely. But when good things happened, when there was fun to be had, when Una came up with one of her good natured, hair brained ideas: Zumba after two margaritas, sledding on garbage can lids, going on a double date with two men they didn’t know and pretending their names were Priti and Johnnie from a remote part of Canada “where the accent is kind of southern in a way, she was down.

But unlike the guys who believed aboot sounded sexy in a West Virginia by way of faux Canada drawl, this guy, her very own hero Hugh, him she let in with nary a whimper. Judging by the way he posted up on her couch when they came back from walking, took several calls and worked on his phone for an hour, he wasn’t leaving any time soon. And that suited her just fine.

Charlie took off her clothes, put on her apron and began to paint. But she didn’t work on his portrait. That was a secret. Instead she started something new. Something she already knew even before she stretched the canvas on the frame, that she would call love. That she didn’t care if Hugh looked at.

In fact she wanted him to see it. Why not? He’d inspired it. She slung paint for hours, completely ignoring him. Something he pointed out with a flat, emotionless face later. He didn’t fool her; she knew pique when she didn’t see it. And she was proud of herself for what came next.

“Don’t get jealous of my work,” she told him coldly. “You’ll lose.”

His mouth quirked and he burst out laughing. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” she said, smiling like a shark.

He rubbed her bottom lip with his thumb, watching his digit press into the pillowy skin. “Well, You told me. You done yet?”

“For now.”

“You hungry?”

“Yeah.”

“I made tacos.”

She raised her brow. That was twice in one day he’d cooked for her. “Cool.”

After they ate she cleaned up the kitchen and went to shower. He was on his phone again, doing whatever it was CEO’s did when they were working remotely. Or he was. As soon as she was under the water he appeared like a big, naked genie to join her.

“Thought you were workin’.”

He took the soap and wash cloth from her. The latter he wrung out and draped over the top of the shower. The former he worked between his hands until he had a rich lather, then he washed her himself.

By the time he’d done her arms and back Charlie was slant-eyed and panting.

“I gotta go home tonight.”

She lifted her heavy head and scowled. “Why?”

“I need clothes, my computer so I can work.”

She wrapped her arms around his waist, holding on, she supposed, while she still could. “Are you coming back?”

He laughed softly. “Of course. I want your permission to stay.”

“Stay.”

He lifted her chin with a finger, kissed her softly as he kneaded her butt and pressed her closer to his front.

“Yes?”

She didn’t hesitate. “Yes.”

“Make room for me.”

On the surface one might think he meant a drawer, or space in the closet. But Charlie was starting to know this man. He hadn’t explicitly said so, but Hugh was asking her to make room for him in her life.

Again, she didn’t hesitate. “Yes.”

He grunted, and she laughed, a sound that quickly turned into a groan when he resumed her shower. He made her come before she got out, laughing when she bit his chest in the throes of her pleasure. She just smiled. It didn’t seem necessary to tell him she’d have devoured him whole right then if she could.

She’d figured out that she loved him, and suddenly she couldn’t get enough of him in her mouth. She wanted him in every orifice she possessed. Her mouth, her vagina, her ass, preferably all at the same time. She wanted to be crammed full of Hugh, to inhale him like air, then hold her breathe until she passed out.

But she held that back. She just stood there under the water, looking at him, drinking in his details so she could play them back when he was gone. Unknowing that he’d become her obsession, he continued on, playing with her tits and pussy, amusing himself and making her insane with frustrated desire before he deigned to her come.

She didn’t complain. She didn’t say one word as he played with her. When he finally let her out of the shower she realized he hadn’t washed her hair, her legs, feet or face, but Charlie had never felt more clean. His touch, she thought, was better than soap and water…

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