Cover cover Long, Slow Ride
an Oh, Yum! Quickie by Mardi Ballou
from Ellora’s Cave
Also available in print in the Better with Age
anthology with five other great stories

Here’s an excerpt. Enjoy!

“Want to dance?”

Surprised, Lori Nelson looked up at the hot young guy holding his hand out to her. Jeff, the only other unattached person at her table at the wedding was doing the polite thing and offering to rescue her from wallflower status. The fact that he was the bride and groom’s chauffeur shouldn’t count against him, right?

“Uh, thanks. That’s really nice of you but not necessary.” Even though the deejay was spinning Aretha’s “RESPECT,” one of her all-time favorites, and she’d been drumming her fingers on the table and wiggling in her chair, she figured she should act her age -- at least a decade older than Jeff -- and sit it out.

He kinda leered at her. “I want to dance. You sure as hell look like you do. I want to dance with you. End of story.” He half dragged her out of her chair. Okay, so he didn’t have to drag too hard. Aretha was hard to resist. So was Jeff.

A lot taller than her -- and buffer -- Jeff gave Lori a major workout as they boogied. Luckily, she’d been extra conscientious about getting to the gym since the break-up with Charlie. All the extra kickboxing she’d mentally aimed at his pointed head helped her almost keep up.

The deejay segued from “RESPECT” to “Yesterday.” That was a low blow. The last thing she wanted to think about was all her yesterdays with that low-life scum Charlie. Luckily there was an open bar. Lori thanked Jeff and was about to head there when he drew her back to him. “This one too, pretty lady,” he whispered, giving her goose bumps with the sound of his voice and the expression in his ocean gray eyes.

Heck, one slow dance with him would probably be better than the double vodka that had been Plan A. Besides, she could have her drink after the dance. “Okay.”

“The pleasure’s all mine,” he murmured, enveloping her in his very strong arms.

Hmm, up close and personal, Jeff’s body was all hard planes and barely contained energy -- emphasis on hard. In moments, his erection made its presence known pressed against her belly. Ah, the pleasures of dancing with a younger man. “How old are you, Jeff?” she whispered in his ear.


She swallowed hard. He was even younger than she’d thought. “Sure you know what you’re doing? I’m thirty-six.”

“Cool.” He held her even tighter, which she wouldn’t have thought possible. Cool definitely did not describe the way she felt in his arms. A pool of warmth had gathered smack in her groin, spiraling waves of inappropriate but not unwelcome desire from head to toe. Jeff was definitely cute -- okay, hot -- but he was so not for her. Those spiraling waves had merged into one gigantic tidal burst that threatened to pull her under.

“Yesterday” ended. Without breaking stride, they continued dancing to “When I Fall in Love”. Of course, by this point, it didn’t really matter what the deejay played. Jeff and Lori were locked in their embrace, barely moving and just about oblivious to everyone and everything.

Too bad she couldn’t allow herself to linger in the delicious haze of being with him. She snapped to alert and mentally smacked herself for what she was thinking, trying -- not too hard -- to break away. Jeff’s crisp citrus scent invited her to lick and then take a bite. The way he held her, she suspected  he wouldn’t mind. Heck, he’d probably lick and bite her right back. She shuddered at the prospect of his full, sensuous lips parting so he could take a taste. Her nipples beaded and she leaned into him even harder because the perverse, bad girl side of herself wanted him to feel her reaction. His groan expressed approval. So did his growing erection.

The proximity to his arousal practically had her whimpering with need. So close but, in reality, way beyond reach. Cripes, she was on a public dance floor with her work buddies all around her. They’d gathered for a colleague’s wedding. No matter how much booze had flowed and how dim the lights were, people would notice and talk.

“I hate to say this but,” he rasped in her ear, arching his hips so she knew they were on the same track. “Duty calls. I’ve got to go now. Trust me, I don’t want to leave you.”

So they wouldn’t even get to have the last dance together. She pulled herself into polite, professional mode and cleared her throat. “Nice meeting you, Jeff. Thanks for the dance -- er, dances.”
His eyes devoured her. “Uh-uh, this is not good-bye...”


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