Authors: Ella Vines
by Ella Vines
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.
Editor: Em Petrova
Cover Art: For the Muse Designs
Pam sat in her driveway for a moment, willing her eyes not to close after a brutal afternoon of reading files. A bird trilled in the bushes as the sun sank in the sky, spreading threads of pink through the blue.
She pulled herself out of the car with a heavy sigh. The days grew longer and longer, or so it seemed with the onset of spring in the South.
And having a stressful job and no love life isn't helping any.
She suppressed a groan and half-turned toward her neighbor who lived to the left of Pam's ranch-style house, Joan Winchell.
“Gorgeous day, isn't it? It was perfect for gardening.” Joan mopped at her brow, her perfectly toned biceps flexing.
“I bet.” Pam glowered and pivoted toward the mailbox.
Last thing I need is to deal with that perfect busybody today. Great life, wonderful husband, and me—well, good job at least, and I'm not dead yet.
“Have a wonderful evening.” Joan's sing-songy words floated on the air.
“You too.” She grimaced as she pulled a bundle of bills from the box.
Pam threw the wad of mail down on the table a minute later, busying herself with supper. She whipped eggs in a frenzy as annoyance from Joan's comments and a terrible day settled over her.
She has it all and definitely rubs it in—handsome husband, good marriage, and plenty of money and good looks.
Pam sighed. “At least I have a good omelet,” she said to Fluffems as he purred around her ankles.
* * * *
After the last television show she normally watched on Monday evenings ended, and her toenails were dry from the quick paint job she'd done, Pam wandered into the kitchen, her gaze falling on the unopened mail.
“Fun thing to do before bed,” she muttered and grabbed the pile.
Bills and more bills and sales flyers.
Her fingers stopped on the last letter—one in a mint green envelope.
“A Lineton P.O. Box with no name. That's strange.”
The only people that still wrote her letters were her parents, who lived in a retirement community in the south of Florida, and the odd graduate or other young person she gave a gift to for some special occasion.
She ripped into the envelope, cutting her thumb as she did so.
“Ouch. Dammit. Whoever wrote this wasn't worth that.” Pam sucked at her thumb and managed to open the letter.
The white stationery peeked out of the top.
Pam plucked it out.
“No el cheapo here. This is quality stuff,” she said, glancing in her cat's direction. He was used to her conversations with him. She grinned and unfolded the sheet.
Strange to write you, I know, when email is the easiest way, but it's been so long since we last spoke. I've been out of touch. Well, you know how we left things. And I'm sorry about that.
Pam stopped reading and gazed into the distance. Ross?
She read on:
I just wanted to ask how you're doing. I wondered if we could start again. I'll await your reply by letter. You know I've always loved letters, especially love letters. But maybe you've forgotten that. It's easier to write, so we can have more time to think about things as they develop...or don't.
“What the hell has gotten into him?” Pam sat down on the couch with a thud, thoughts of Ross flooding her mind. His wicked smile had been the first thing she'd noticed about him years ago.
She rose swiftly and grabbed the envelope she'd left on the kitchen table.
“No return address. What if it's not Ross?”
Fluffems mewled as she talked to herself.
“Sorry, cat. Trying to figure this out.” He jumped onto her lap.
Pam sat there for a minute, stumped.
But it has to be Ross. I think he even called me Angel once or twice, and he's a lawyer. He writes well. And he lives here in Lineton, or he did four years ago.
They hadn't talked in over seven years, and she didn't go to their old haunts. For a town of 20,000, it was easy to lose someone if you wanted to.
“Why are you doing this now, Ross?” Pam pursed her lips and paced for a moment. Then she stood abruptly, dumping the cat off her lap. Fluffems gave her a dirty look and stalked ahead of her to the kitchen.
“Sorry, buddy.” She rummaged through drawers for some stationery, having trouble finding it, as usual with her disorganized house and life.
It really has been a while since I wrote a letter.
She slid into a kitchen chair and held her pen for long moments, staring at the cheerful paper with strawberries on its border.
This is totally crazy. It didn't work out the first time. Ross isn't the man for me... but what if? What if he's changed?
She growled in frustration. “Great. Fluffems, what do I write?”
The cat swished his tail in response.
She sighed. “You're no help.”
I think I know who you are. As for how I am, I'm fine. Why are you writing me after all this time, and why all the secrecy? I've missed you too—in my weaker moments.
She smirked and sealed the letter, adding no return address.
Her laptop was open on the kitchen table as usual, her companion in so many late nights of work.
Pam did a quick search for Ross Miller's address.
“Yep. He's still here in town. Maybe he's always had a P.O. Box, or maybe I'm just that special, but why all the weirdness?”
She snickered and jotted the P.O. Box number on the envelope and stamped it before she could think again. Marching to the mailbox, she shoved it in. A surge of excitement raced through her.
Now I have something exciting in my life, too. I'm not a pathetic, single cat lady, or at least I'm not as pathetic as people think I am. Joan Winchell only wishes she had a secret admirer.
Pam grinned. “Now, we'll see what happens.”
* * * *
What happened for the rest of the week was nothing. Pam found herself thinking of Ross all the time, remembering the good times such as when he'd surprised her with three dozen roses on her birthday the first year they were dating and his smile—the little gap between his front teeth she'd always found so disarming.
Restlessness made her stay up late nights, wondering what she'd missed, wanting more from her life. She'd found her old trusty vibrator that she'd thrown in a drawer months before when her work as a lawyer had gotten especially busy.
Her fantasies included Ross tying her up. As she visualized him looking down at her and doing whatever he wanted, her orgasm came before she wanted it to.
She lay on the bed, breathing hard, thinking about that day with the roses and wine.
“But that was one of the best days before the end.”
Saturday morning she fought the urge to check the mail, until she couldn't take it anymore. At nine, she bounded out the door.
“Pam, you're up early!” Joan hollered across the lawn.
She gritted her teeth. “Not really.”
“Oh. I didn't think you were a morning person.” Joan hummed a loud tune and peered over the bushes between them.
“Expecting something important in the mail?”
“Not really.” Pam forced a smile.
Damn. It's like she's reading my mind.
She tried to look nonchalant as she grabbed the pile from the box and headed back inside.
“Enjoy your weekend,” Pam sang out.
“Of course. You too.”
“Grr. I can't stand her,” Pam muttered as she slammed the front door. She sank into her favorite chair and looked at the first piece of mail.
And more junk.
“Another letter. Ross, you devil, you.” She grinned, her heart doing a slow dive like a practiced Olympian.
The whole thing made her feel like a seventeen-year-old. The loneliness she battled with most days threatened to slip away at the thought of a new love affair—even one with an old lover.
Not a bad trick at forty.
She groaned at the thought of how the years had slipped away and at all the failed relationships in her life. The thought of Ross would always be linked with her younger years when she still felt adventurous and not old and stifled by routine. Taking a deep breath, Pam opened the envelope with trembling fingers.
Pam, I was so glad to hear back from you. I want to see you again. I can't forget the chemistry between us and how you laughed at all my jokes, which I know weren’t funny, and the way you always listened when I was telling you about the stupidest thing at work. And I can go on. I remember how you looked when we made love, the curves of your body, the look in your eyes. I've never had that with another woman—not before, not after. Say you'll meet me. I'm sorry I couldn't be what you wanted. I was young and stupid then. I'm not now, and I'll try harder to make you happy.
She stared at Fluffems for a long moment.
But the sex wasn't that good... at least it wasn't for me.
Laughter bubbled up inside her. She let it go, and it shook her whole body.
“Oh, my God. Who knew I was a sex goddess?”
“I know. Me neither.”
She bit her lip, picking the letter back up from where she'd dropped it in her lap.
“This is so strange. No one writes letters anymore, well, no one except grandmothers, maybe. And after seven years of not hearing from him.”
I've got other things to worry about today.
During her workout at the gym and mundane errands she had to run, Ross's face swam into her mind's eye.
Should I give him another chance? Maybe the sex will be hotter this time, and if it's not, he's the only man who ever made me laugh. I'm so serious.