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To Anne Bohner.
Thanks for guiding me through this book
from concept to completion.
Jamie dropped the old sweater onto her bed and held up her hands. “So let me see if I get this straight. You have sex every night, and you often experience multiple orgasms.” She stared at her friend in disbelief. “And this is a problem how?”
“I'm not complaining!” Mia insisted, her words echoing in Jamie's attic apartment of her bungalow house. She immediately lowered her voice. “It's just that . . . well, having sex with Aidan is . . . I don't know how to describe it.” Overwhelming? Unnerving? If she told that to someone like Jamie, that would be considered a plus.
Jamie shrugged and tossed the sweater into the bag for charity donations. “So change it.”
“I've tried.” She did exactly what the magazine articles and tips suggested to take charge and try something new. But no matter what she did, she never felt like an equal in her boyfriend's bed. “Aidan is very dominant.”
“So? Wasn't that a requirement for you?”
It had been, but she had a very definite idea of what it would be like. She thought she could handle someone like Aidan and control the relationship. She was wrong on both counts. “Never mind.” She picked up a pair of jeans from Jamie's pile of discarded clothes and started folding them.
“No way. You brought it up.” Jamie yanked the jeans from Mia's hands. “You specifically went after Aidan because he was a take-charge kind of guy. You wanted a man who knew what he wanted in bed and knew how to please a woman.”
“And now you don't want it?”
Mia was about to argue but stopped. “I don't know. I like it. I'm not sure that's what I want every night.” And she didn't think she wanted it for a lifetime.
“You know what your problem is?” Jamie tossed the jeans in the bag and pointed her finger at Mia. “You've only had sex with one man.”
Mia pressed her lips together. The idea had crossed her mind on occasion, but she had always pushed away the disloyal thought. There were nights when she felt as if she had passed the beginner's stage and gone straight to the advanced level.
But she wouldn't change that, even if she could. She wasn't like Jamie, who had seen her virginity as a condition that needed to be dealt with right away. Mia hadn't seen it as a precious gift that had to be saved for the honeymoon, either. She had waited for the one man who was worth the effort.
“The moment I saw Aidan, I was attracted to him more than any other guy I met,” Mia confessed.
“You were so focused when you went after him.” Jamie shook her head at the memory as she balled up a shirt and tossed it in the bag. “I never thought you had that in you. I was so impressed.”
“And I got him,” Mia said with a triumphant smile.
“And now you're bored with him.”
“I'm not bored!” Aidan was never boring. He was intense, passionate, and probably the only unpredictable element in her comfortable life. Boredom was never the problem, but she was wondering if she had gotten in way over her head.
Jamie placed her hands on her hips, her threadbare tank top riding high, exposing her golden brown skin. “Or maybe this has nothing to do with sex.”
“How could it not?”
“He's pushing to move in here once I leave, isn't he?”
“Yeah.” It had been discussed since Jamie announced she was moving on. It would make a lot of sense for Mia and Aidan to live together in the bungalow she had inherited from her grand-mother.
“Are you going to let him?”
Mia looked away. “I haven't decided.”
“Drop it, Jamie. I'm telling you, that is a different issue.” And yet maybe it wasn't. If she was serious about Aidan, shouldn't she have immediately suggested he move in? And why did she feel guilty because she was holding back?
“Okay, fine.” Jamie returned her attention to the heap of clothes. “I won't say another word about it.”
“Thank you,” Mia said tightly. “But what am I going to do about my problem?”
“I would tell you, but you're not going to like it.” Jamie didn't look up as she dug through the pile.
Mia had a feeling that might be true. Jamie was known for her outlandish ideas, but she also came up with creative solutions. “Come on, Jamie. Lay it on me. What am I going to do about the sex?”
“There's only one thing you can do,” she said as she scooped up all the clothes and dumped them into the bag. “Change the guy.”
Mia blinked. “Excuse me?”
“You need to do a little research,” Jamie said matter-of-factly as she stomped the clothes into the bag with her bare foot. “Maybe Aidan was a good starter lover, and it's time for you to move on.”
Starter lover? Move on? Mia's stomach gave a sharp twist. “I'm not going to dump him so I can have sex with someone else,” she said in a scandalized whisper.
Jamie looked up and held Mia's gaze. “Then don't dump him.”
“If I don't dump him, then”âMia's eyes went wide as her mouth dropped openâ“cheat on him? You want me to be unfaithful to Aidan?”
“Oh, please, it's not that big of deal. Do you have an exclusive contract with him?”
“We've been monogamous for a year, so I'm going to say it's implied.”
“Okay, then maybe you'll need to get his permission.”
Mia laughed at the outrageous suggestion. “Oh, right. I can see it now. âHey, Aidan, I'm going to pick up a guy at the corner bar and sleep with him. Don't wait up for me.' Yeah, that will go over well.”
Jamie brushed off the concern with a wave of her hand. “It's all in how you present it.” Jamie stood still, and a smile slowly grew on her full lips.
“Uh-oh. I know that look. What are you planning?” Mia wrapped her arms around her stomach as the familiar mix of dread and curiosity bubbled inside her. “I'm telling you, I'm not cheating on Aidan.”
Jamie tilted her head. “How do you feel about swapping?”
“Swapping?” She dragged the word out of her mouth.
“I'll give you Caleb, and you give me Aidan.”
Mia took a step back, her heart beating wildly. “Are you crazy?”
“It's the best way to explore without dumping Aidan. And, even better, you know Caleb. He's hot, don't you think?”
“He's not my type.” She didn't know what to think of Jamie's standby lover. Caleb was a wanderer, yet Mia sensed he was searching for something or someone to hold on to. Jamie might be drawn to his mysterious nature, but that was the one thing that put Mia on edge. She sensed the man had secrets and was not as easygoing as he appeared.
Mia didn't care if the guy was sexy and knew how to keep Jamie coming back for more. The very idea of sleeping with him made her jumpy, and it felt like her heart was going to burst through her rib cage. Mia shook her head. “I am not screwing with my best friend's lover.”
“Why not? I'm giving you permission.”
And that changed everything, didn't it? If her best friend gave permissionâwent so far as to encourage itâwas it cheating?
Mia and Jamie had been friends since kindergarten and shared everything from clothes to chicken pox. Jamie was always generous with her, but this was taking it a step too far. Mia had to stop her before she approached the guys with the idea.
Mia tried to come up with a valid reason why this idea wouldn't work. “Caleb isn't interested in me.”
“Caleb likes women, and he likes sex,” she countered with her usual bluntness. “He's the perfect guy to experiment with. I can vouch for him.”
“Thanks for the recommendation,” Mia responded drily, “but Aidan isn't going to agree. And, no offense, if Aidan wanted to sleep with you, he would have done so already.”
Jamie's smile tilted slyly. “Leave it to me.”
Oh, God, what would she do? “No, Jamie. I've participated in a lot of your insane plans, and I backed you up every time we got caught and you improvised your way out of trouble, but I'm not going to do this one.”
“Why not?” Jamie threw an arm around Mia's shoulders and gave it a good squeeze. “Come on, you know you want to.”
“Not really. Being in a relationship means saying no to other possibilities.” Mia frowned. That hadn't come out right.
“Doesn't have to be.”
Mia stepped away from Jamie and held up her hands. “This conversation is over.”