Author:Nina Lane

I seize his wrist, acutely aware of the little old ladies still rummaging around for their camelhair coats… but he twists from my grip and flicks his thumb against my clit. I suck in a breath, melting at my core.


He lowers his mouth to mine again, one hand steadying me at the small of my back, the other working me with deliberate intent. I part my lips beneath his and fall into the cascade again. His touch grows more intimate, sliding deep into my opening, his thumb swirling and rubbing and…


I can’t stop it. I don’t want to. It’s been far too long, and even this furtive, hasty rendezvous in the middle of a holiday party is like gulping cold lemonade on a blistering day. I try to suppress a moan and let my head fall back against the wall as his tongue slides against mine.


One more stroke of his fingers, and bursts of rapture explode along my nerves. He muffles my cries with the pressure of his mouth. I grab his shoulders, my legs weakening with the force of vibrations flooding me from head to toe.


I pull back and stare at him, my blood pulsing. He’s still fully clothed, his heavy erection pressing against the front of his trousers. Though the coats block the closet light, I can see the burn of his eyes. His dark hair is a mess, a thick swath falling over his forehead, his sharp cheekbones flushed. We’re both still breathing hard, and neither of us moves.


“Oh, here it is! Look, isn’t that Shirley’s coat?” Florence’s voice grows distant as she moves back toward the door. “She said it was lynx fur. Can you imagine? Heavens, but it is soft, isn’t it? Feel it.”


Ruth murmurs her agreement, then finally the light turns off and the door closes.


“We should go,” I whisper.


“I’ll go first.” Dean touches my cheek. “I’ll let you know if the coast is clear.”


We wait a few more minutes to give us both time to compose ourselves. We straighten our clothing, then fumble around to find my purse and his suit jacket, both of which have fallen to the floor. I manage to get my nylons back around my hips, concealing the rip beneath the swirl of my dress, and reach up to smooth Dean’s hair away from his forehead.


“Wait here.” He presses a kiss to my lips and ducks out of the closet. A second later, there’s a quick knock at the door.


I hurry out, unable to prevent a smile as our gazes meet fleetingly in the foyer. I feel like we’re a couple of horny teenagers sneaking out from under the bleachers.


It’s a good feeling and not one I’ve experienced much—the pleasure of a sneaky rendezvous, furtive groping, secret kisses—all so blissful now because I can share them again with my husband.


I cross the foyer to the bathroom and do a quick primping to straighten out my very disheveled self. I comb my long hair back into its ponytail, splash water on my face in the hopes of dimming the heated flush, reapply my lipstick, and try to smooth the wrinkles from my dress.


Dean is gone from the foyer by the time I emerge, likely to deal with his own rumpled appearance. I head for the refreshment table that’s been set up in the living room and pick up a bottle of mineral water.


“Oh, there you are, dear.”


I look up and find myself face to face with Florence Wickham, belted into her camelhair coat and tugging on a pair of leather gloves.


“I didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye and wishing you a merry Christmas, Olivia,” she says. “We’ve so appreciated all your volunteering with the Historical Museum and the preparations for the holiday festival.”


“I’ve greatly enjoyed it.”


Florence peers at me through eyes adorned with beige eyeshadow and mascara. I hope to heaven that my cheeks aren’t still overly flushed. Or that Dean didn’t leave a hickey on my neck.


“Don’t forget to take a present from beneath the tree in the parlor,” Florence continues. “All the gifts were donated by local merchants, and there are some lovely items.” She pulls at the wrists of her gloves. “Where is that handsome gentleman you came with?”


“I think he’s talking to someone in the kitchen.”


“Is he your husband?” Florence arches a delicately plucked eyebrow, her gaze skirting to my left hand.


“Yes.” I extend my hand to show her the antique cameo on my left ring finger. “It was my engagement ring.”


I wear the cameo alongside my wedding band only on special occasions, but no other symbol in the world could serve as a more meaningful declaration that I belong to one man alone.


“I love cameos.” Florence peers at the ring. “It’s beautiful.”


“Thank you.”


“If I may be so bold, Olivia…” She leans closer and lowers her voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “Your husband is quite dashing, but his adventurous spirit is… well, it makes him just irresistible.”


“I… I beg your pardon?”


“My dear, I’m seventy-three years old,” Florence says. “And in fifty-two years of marriage, I wish that my husband had even once shagged me in a coat closet.”


She winks at me, then turns and walks away. Through the burn of embarrassment, I can’t help smiling.


I picture myself at seventy-three, thinking back to all the sexy things Dean and I have done over the years.