Anya had expected the oddly balanced mix of excitement and nervousness, but the sadness, which curled around her heart like a gentle clasp, was a total surprise. She was going to have sex with another man, and it would be the first time since meeting Victor.
Eyes misting over, she brought up the little carton where she kept old pictures and began sifting through the collection. The pictures had initially been catalogued in a photo album, but a year after he passed away, she’d stacked every single photo of him and them together into this hand crafted box.
It had been for her the first step to letting go. But she’d never completely let go, of him, of their life together.
She was doing that now, wasn’t she?
When she took Saz into her bed…or more accurately, joined him in his bed, she would be letting go of Victor and their life together, permanently.
Was she ready to finally let him go, and in every way?
Anya stared at the picture of them coming out of the church right after their wedding. She’d picked that navy blue suit for him, because Victor had never been comfortable making decisions on fashion. He’d been a simple man, down to earth, who’d loved his simple life here and had been grateful for his successful welding business.
He’d thought he had a good life, which only got better with her being a part of it. She was his ticket to a better life he’d told her on the morning he’d proposed. She would bring him more blessings and all the things he didn’t yet know his life needed, he’d murmured in his low, caressing voice.
But she’d brought him death.
No. Fighting a shoot of remembered pain, Anya shut off the voice that came from whispered malicious accusations. It wasn’t her, but the disease, which had sickened his blood, that had brought him death. She hadn’t killed him, the disease had, and he was gone, from her, from this world.
Accepting again what was, Anya put the picture back in the carton, and the carton back in the drawer. Then she took out the ring box that held their wedding bands. She slipped on her own and stared with a sad smile at her finger.
The yellow colour wasn’t gold-plated, but the real thing. Pure gold. Victor had insisted on it. They were never getting married again, so why not do it exactly the way they wanted, he kept saying throughout the wedding preparations period.
But he’d done almost everything exactly the way she wanted. He’d given her the wedding of her dream, and for five months before he became really sick, the marriage she always wanted. Then he was gone. Too soon. Too quickly. Too young.
Memories. Anya rubbed off the tear under one eye and slipped off the ring, put it back and locked the drawer. One day, when she was truly certain she was starting a whole new life, she would do something permanent about the contents of the drawer.
At the moment, she had a date with a man she very much wanted to have sex with. And that was something she was ready for.
Allowing the bubbling nervous energy to nudge off what was left of melancholy, she tried to remind herself, as she left her bedroom, what it entailed to please a man.
The effort, of course, lasted only a minute before she told herself the truth that she was more interested in how he was going to please her. This was for her a particularly selfish move to satisfy a yen that had come awake after a long time asleep.
She wanted… No, it was now a craving to experience that marvellous feeling when a man you lusted for touched you. She wanted to savour the satisfaction when he did it right, and to feel the fresh yen of wanting him to do it again.
And boy, the man in dark brown slimline joggers and button-down short-sleeved shirt looked like he could do it more than just right.
“Good afternoon.” If her tone was raspier than it usually was, Anya figured it added to the mood.
“Good afternoon.” His eyes, alight with surprise and pleasure, roamed over her. “First time I’m seeing you in a dress. You look beautiful.”
“Thank you. I thought a dress suited best the occasion.”
“I think it does.” He slipped his arm around her, shifted her a little, and locked the door behind her. Then he returned his hand to her waist, drawing her closer. “I like you. I just like how there’s no pretense with you. It occurs to me now that I’ve never met a woman like you.”
“Well, that is explainable as I believe every single person on earth is different. We all have our own individual traits, physically, as well as in every other way.”
“I like your traits.” He brushed a light kiss on her lips. “I think I like them a lot.” He kissed her again. Then again, parting her lips to deepen the kiss.
She’d wanted this, his mouth hungry and possessive over hers, taking without hesitation and unbridled desire. He wanted her, and made that clear with every stroke and moan. Yes, this date was about her, but it was going to be twice as pleasurable, knowing he was burning with an insatiable need, too.
“That is such a wonderful appetizer. I can’t wait for the main course.” It took a push of her willpower to step out of his arms. “You know, I always wondered what this house looked like on the inside.”
He had the generator on, so the impressive chandelier was on, furnishing the large living room with good lighting. The drapes across the windows were only half drawn, so there was a seductive sense to the soft shadows at the edges.
“Elegant, as I’d suspected it would be,” Anya said, enjoying the stylish furnishings. “Homey too, which is mildly a surprise, as expensive furniture have a way of looking rich and cold. I think it’s the fact that it’s not all arranged in a studied way. There’s a feel of casual and familiar about the setting.”
“I think Ifeanyi changed it this way, after her mother passed. She’s my father’s eldest daughter,” he added in explanation.
“Yes. The sister who owned the oven.”
“Half-sister.” He took her hand, drawing her close as he turned them in the corner where the dining room was set with its upholstered furniture. “Being a Sunday, I went with the traditional food choice of rice. But instead of boring tomato stew, I opted for Iye’s favourite combo of fresh fish and chicken pepper soup. You will love it, trust me.”
“I love the aroma already, so I have no doubt.” Anya surveyed the display on the table and was dazzled. “I would expect this kind of setting from a woman. But from you, it’s a complete surprise, and a pleasure. You went all out.”
“The dishes were there, so it was easy to borrow them.”
Anya cocked her head to the side. “Borrow them?”
He looked at her, and shrugged. “They belonged to my stepmother. I didn’t ask Ifeanyi’s permission to use them, but I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.”
“Do you always have to ask her permission to use what is in your home?”
“Not my home, my father’s house. And yes, I do feel better getting permission before I use anything. But in this case, I am certain Ifeanyi wouldn’t have objected as I intend to put them back after use.” He paused and a small frown came on his face. “She wouldn’t have objected whether or not I intend to put them back. She likes to think this is my house now, and everything in it is for me to do with as I please.”
“But you don’t agree with her,” Anya said softly.
“No. The house is theirs, Somto and Ifeanyi’s, not mine.” He reached over and connected their hands. “Want to say the grace before meals? My grandmother always insisted on it when we shared a meal together.”
Of course, he would change the subject. And she would let him, because this date had another purpose. “We’ve shared meals together before and you never invited us to pray,” she pointed out, smiling.
He shot her a grin. “We were in public those times, and I pray in my heart when in public.”
“Did Iye teach you that?”
“Nope. She had no compunction praying wherever she found herself. But I prefer my own private piety.”
As his eyes were dancing with mischief, which was an unusual sight, Anya chuckled. “More like shy piety, if you ask me. Anyway, close your eyes and lower your head.”
She expected a teasing remark, instead he stared at her a moment before obeying, so she was forced to ask curiously after she said the grace, “Why did you stare at me with that small frown before you lowered your head?”
He picked a plate and the serving spoon before he cast her a glance. “Iye used to do just that–ask that eyes be closed and head lowered before prayers. She said it signified the proper reverential mood for prayer.”
“I guess it does, although I made the request now only in teasing.” She studied him as he rightly filled their plates with what was just appropriate. “You love her so much.”
“Shouldn’t that be past tense?”
“Maybe it should be, but it’s still a present thing for you, isn’t it? You love her just the same as you did when she was alive. You will always love her that way. She will always be a part of you; a part of your life.”
“Yes.” He heaved up slightly to set the plate in front of her. Then sat and drew his in front of him. “She will always be a part of my life, because she was the most important part of it. She made me what I am.”
He paused, in that way when it’s clear he’s giving a point a deeper thought. “My father was responsible for me financially, even after I left his home. But it is her love, her faith in me and her teachings that shaped me into the man I am today. She would have liked you.”
“You’ve said that before.”
“I have, and I do so again because it’s true. You’re just the kind of woman she would have wanted for me.”
“Well,” Amused, and not bothered to show it, Anya asked teasingly, “Is that meant to be a proposal?”
He laughed. And it pleased her that the fun reached his eyes before flitting off. “Not a proposal. Only an observation. I would need more than the sense of my late grandmother’s approval before I ask a woman to marry me.”
“I think that is wise.” She told herself she shouldn’t be curious about what he would need to propose to a woman and changed the subject. “You were absolutely right, I do love this. Of course, I’ve had rice and pepper soup before, but not with the soup prepared this way. It’s amazing, and you’re a great cook.”
“I had to be, as Iye insisted on it. Anyway, how are your mum and sister?”
“They are well. My mother, of course, had panicky feelings in her eyes when I left the house. I think she told me to be careful more times than she ever did when I was much younger.”
“And are you going to heed her repeated counsel?”
“Only as half-hearted as I did when I was much younger.”
He chuckled. And Anya found her insides curling with need at the low, rolling sound. “I am here for me. I want you to know that, that I am doing this more for me than for anyone else. I want to have sex with you, because it’s been so long I wanted to have sex with a man.”
His eyes were a little darker, and smouldering, when he looked at her. “This would be your first time since he passed away?”
“Yes. I’ve had slight attractions here and there, but I’ve not actively wanted to be with another man. I want to know that pleasure again.”
“And it will be, a pleasure for you.” It was a quiet promise. “I will make it a pleasure for you.”
“I hope so.” She set down her spoon, picked a plate to cover what was left on hers. “I want you now. You don’t mind if we finish eating later, do you?”
“Heck no.” Imitating her action, he covered his plate, and lifted to his feet, taking her hand to pull her to hers. “You’re constantly a beautiful surprise and such a rare pleasure. I have this hunger inside of me to enjoy you, but it seems to be in more ways than one.”
“I have the same hunger, I think.” Anticipation, and not just his stroking fingers on her back, set off the slight tremors. “Which way? I want a bed, amd not the hard floor, even though this one feels comfy with the plush rug.”
“This way.” He turned her towards an open entrance to a stairway. “Tell me what else you want.”
“You.” She shot him a smile, glad that he kept his fingers roaming along her sides. The light strokes kept up the low burn inside her. “It’s not just sex, but sex with you. I want your hands, your mouth, your body, all on me. In me.”
“Here.” His voice was slightly strangled as he shoved open a door. “This is mine.”
He led her inside, closed the door and pulled her against him. “I want your hands, too. And your mouth.” He kissed her. “And your body. I want you, Anya. So much.”
“Then have me. And let me have you.”
And desperate to have him, a taste of him at least, she clutched his shirt, tugged his head down and slanted her mouth over his.
Oh, to feel his warm, firm lips, it was heaven. It was better than heaven, she decided, moaning as he devoured her mouth with hungry kisses. He wasn’t gentle, and thank God because she didn’t want gentle. She wanted hungry and demanding and passionate and insatiable, and he gave them all to her.
Wild nibbles. Long strokes. Small, deep swallows. He kissed her like he couldn’t give her enough, or take enough from her. When he sunk his mouth into the curve of her neck and bit gently, Anya groaned and trembled wildly against him.
“Oh yes, that is exactly what I want. I was a little afraid you might want to go soft and gentle, but this pace is exactly how I want it. How I want you.”
“I couldn’t go soft and gentle even if I tried. I want you too much. I want so much to pleasure you.” He nibbled kisses from her neck back to her lips. “I feel like I’ve never wanted a woman the way I want you. So much hunger. So much of it.”
He kissed her hard, and then shoved her away from him and attacked his clothes. “Get that damn dress off you. I love it, but now, I want it off you.”
He threw his shirt off and bent to drag off his joggers. Then his boxers followed, and he straightened up to stare at her. “Why are you still dressed? Want me to take it off for you?”
“You can, if you want to. But I wanted to watch you, and enjoy you. I’ve never seen a man yank off his clothes so fast. I like it as it’s me…the desire for me that’s the driving force behind it.”
Anya looked at him, right from his head to the toes he was flexing, and then back up to where the evidence of that desire for her was standing strong and attentive. “Darn, that is a pleasure to see. A definite pleasure.”
He chuckled, and drew a little closer to her, pressing that pleasure against her. “It’s my pleasure to give you pleasure.” His fingers found her zip and tugged it down, then he nudged the dress off her body. “Well, wow. You are one long length of amazing curves. So female. So much of a woman.”
His hand came up to cup her breast. And then he moaned and dropped his head between the two. “I always thought you were beautiful. But seeing you like this, feeling you, I realise you are in a way I cannot describe. God, your body feels so warm, and soft and full.
“And the way you’re trim right here?” His hand stroked over her flat tummy, the other going around her back to caress her spine. He lifted his head to look at her. “You’re the image of a beautiful woman. You’re so beautiful, so tempting.”
His turgid form was pressed against just beneath her navel, and it was a temptation not to grab it and shove it in her burning centre. “Strap on your protection. I think I will literally lose my mind if I don’t have you inside me soon.”
“God, but you’re so blunt and direct. I like it. A lot.” He captured her mouth and kissed her. “Give me a minute,” he said, and turned to stride into a room Anya figured must be the bathroom.
While he took his minute, she unclasped and tugged off her bra, and then her panties before walking to the bed and climbing on it.
The mattress was appropriately soft and comforting, and she settled on the middle of it, focusing her gaze on the door to the bathroom as she waited for him.
She didn’t wait for long, and Anya decided it was even more of a pleasure watching a man walk towards you with a full arousal.
“But I think it’s twice the pleasure because of the way you look,” she mused aloud.
His eyebrows quirked as he stared at her in an inquiring manner, sliding down beside her. “What is twice the pleasure?”
“Watching you walk towards me with a hard-on.” She angled her body, but didn’t press into him. The tiny space between them added its own buzz of anticipation. “You have an amazing body, tight and rippled with muscles, and hot as hell.”
He grinned, and then reached for her, pulling her flush against his warm, hard body. “I’m glad you find me a pleasure. Now, let’s see if I can provide you other forms of pleasure.”
Oh, I think you can, Anya thought as delicious mouth closed over hers, letting out a soft moan when he smoothly nudged her back on her back, deepening the kiss as he devoured her.
Since she’d made it quite clear that she was ready, and eager, she expected him to slid into her and get them both moving. She wanted him to slid into her. But he didn’t. Instead, he peppered her with kisses, his mouth sucking on her jaw, her neck and her shoulder before he clamped on her breast.
“Oh God, yes! That’s been so long.” Pleasure shot through her, wild and impatient, and Anya arched up into his mouth. “That feels so good. You feels so good. Don’t stop. Don’t stop.”
“Never,” he swore. Or maybe it was a promise before he shifted attention to suck on the other breast, sliding his hand down her body to find her pulsing centre.
The second his finger sunk in, Anya yelped and shook, trembling against him as the combination of his mouth and finger filled her with such intense pleasure.
“Oh heavens, but you do know what to do with your mouth and fingers,” she rasped, grabbing at his back and realising she needed a real hold, so shifted her hands to his butt. “Boy, you have a nice ass. So nicely full and firm.”
He lifted his head to grin at her. “Thanks. And you’re a talker during sex, I see. I like it. A lot.”
“Good thing that you do, because every part of me is an active participant when I’m having sex.” So saying, she moved one hand in between their bodies and clutched his long, hard length. “Oh yes, I’ve missed this. I wasn’t conscious of it, but I really, really have missed sex. And a man’s dick in my hands.”
“And I’ve missed having a woman’s hand around mine. But you’ll have to let go, cause I have a little work to do down this way.”
His mouth curling with a sexy smile, he lowered his head, kissed her mouth slowly and sensuously before trailing sensuous kissed along her body, all the way down until he kissed her centre. And didn’t stop at just kissing her there.
Something else she’d missed, and wasn’t entirely conscious of, was an orgasm, and Anya screeched out his name as its intensity vibrated through her. “Saz. God, Saz.”
“Anya.” He said her name like it was a command.
And when she had enough grip on her senses to focus on him, he slid his hands up to her hips, tilted her up, and thrust into her.
The low rumble of pleasure that was a catch between a moan and a groan was both hers and his, and it continued to tremble out as they sought pleasure, and took it with each thrust, only turning into a cry when they reached the pinnacle of it.