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Authors: Ann Mayburn

Summer's Need

BOOK: Summer's Need
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Summer’s Need

Ann Mayburn

 

Summer has it all—a hot-as-sin husband, two wonderful kids
and a fantastic career. Unfortunately, her success in the business world has
come at the cost of her marriage. Summer and Dave have been drifting apart, and
in an effort to save their marriage they go to one of the best couples’
therapists in the country.

Following their therapist’s unconventional advice, Summer
and Dave embark on a sensual and emotional journey filled with moments of
heartbreaking vulnerability and overwhelming desire. On the warm sands of the
Outer Banks, Summer will have to confront her own self-doubt and trust her
husband enough to open her heart to a pleasure unlike anything she’s ever imagined.

Summer’s Need

Ann Mayburn

In marriage, each
partner is to be an encourager rather than a critic, a forgiver rather than a
collector of hurts, an enabler rather than a reformer.

 

~H. Norman Wright and
Gary J. Oliver

 

Chapter One

 

Summer Torfan stared down at her neatly manicured
fingernails and the large diamond ring on her left hand. The big, glittery rock
had replaced the teeny-tiny diamond of her original ring and right now she
wished she had the old one back. Had those days back when she and Dave were a
couple of twenty-year-old kids who were crazy in love with each other. Now she
had a three-carat diamond ring, wore a cream Chanel suit that cost more than
three months rent at their first apartment, and a marriage that had definitely
lost its sparkle.

Dave shifted on the leather couch next to her and their
silence seemed to thicken the air, making it hard to breathe. She stole a peek
at him and was struck as ever by how handsome he was. Broad shoulders, strong
legs and a powerful chest she loved to cuddle with. Add to that his head of
thick, dark hair with the first hints of gray coming in and he could be on
GQ
.
Unfortunately his good looks also led to people calling him her “trophy
husband”. A term he despised.

While she traveled around the world and made a
million-dollar salary as a computer security consultant, Dave stayed home and
raised their two young boys. He’d had a decent job, but when she’d been made
the youngest VP in her company’s history they’d both decided him staying home
with the kids would be the best of all worlds. To everyone’s surprise,
especially her father’s, Dave had made a fantastic stay-at-home dad and their
boys adored him.

Thinking of their kids made her reach across the six-inch
divide on the couch between them at the marriage counselor’s office and grab
his hand. She loved him, she truly, deeply did, and she was going to do
whatever she had to in order to make things right between them. She hated this
tense silence between them but had no idea how to mend the breach. Talking
about emotions and feelings always made her uncomfortable, vulnerable, but
right now she would happily sell her soul if it would fix their marriage.

Even holding hands with her husband felt awkward and she
hated it. They used to constantly touch each other and it had felt as natural
as breathing. Now the emotional walls between them had become physical things,
invisible barriers that kept them apart and seemed to grow stronger every day.
Her analytical mind went into overdrive, trying to repair what was broken as if
their marriage were a massive computer program that just needed the right data
replacement to start operating smoothly again.

He cleared his throat and flexed his hand beneath hers. With
a start she realized she was squeezing his hand hard enough that her knuckles
stood out in white relief. “Sorry.”

He ran his thumb over her fingers in a caressing circle.
“It’s okay. You know I like it rough.” He grinned at her, the tension breaking
and filling her with the warmth that only Dave had been able to bring into her
life. “Wonder what’s taking Ember so long.”

She smiled back and rolled her eyes. “Who knows? Maybe there
was a drumming circle on the way to work and she couldn’t pass it by.”

Dave laughed and she looked around the room cluttered with a
bewildering array of stuff, glad to think about anything but why they were
here. Wait, not stuff, hippie artifacts. That’s what their marriage counselor,
Ember, called it. For all that Ember appeared as a flaky old woman from the
seventies, she was extremely intelligent with degrees from both Harvard and
Oxford. According to Ember, the objects weren’t stuff from her hippie days, or
random collections of crap, they were artifacts of a fascinating time in the US
psyche.

When Summer looked at the old concert photos in that context
she did see them as fascinating objects instead of stuff. It was all too easy
to imagine the mood of the country at that time with free love standing up in
the face of a never-ending war in Vietnam. Though she didn’t think having a giant
hookah in your office was the most professional thing, even if it was allegedly
a gift from Jimmy Hendrix.

The owner of all these artifacts, Ember, breezed through the
door in a flurry of some sandalwood-based perfume and flowing brightly colored
gypsy skirts. Her long silver hair was back in a thick braid as usual and she
wore a beautiful necklace of orange and white glass beads with an iridescent
sheen. After tossing her motorcycle saddle bags into the corner she gave them a
bright smile and sat in her worn brown suede chair with a happy sigh.

“Summer, Dave, I’m so happy to see you again.” She abruptly
sat forward and folded her hands. “I got both of your assignments and I’m so
very, very proud of you for being open with your fantasies and sharing them
with me.” Her grin became teasing. “And look, you expressed your desires and no
morality police came and said you were perverts.”

Clearing his throat, Dave tried to cover up his laughter as
Summer flushed. She had felt like a pervert when she typed up one of her
favorite sexual fantasies for Ember. It was only the fact that she knew Ember
wouldn’t judge her that allowed her to spill some secrets. Evidently Dave had
felt the same way because his grip eased on her hand.

Ember tilted back in her chair, her silver-ring-clad fingers
drumming on the battered arms. To Summer it seemed as if the other woman had so
much energy it was physically impossible for her to stay still. Dave thought
she was on meth.

“How are you doing? Did you manage to chill out together?”

Summer and Dave exchanged a glance. Things had been better
between them, but it still wasn’t good. She still found it next to impossible
to not think about the work she should be doing instead of just sitting around
and being lazy. Her father had abhorred lazy people and blamed most of
society’s ills on those who chose to sit around and let someone else do the
work.

She shrugged. “It went okay. We watched a movie together.”

Dave snorted and Ember turned her attention to him. “Do you
have something to say, Dave? I mean other than the passive-aggressive man noise
that you know drives your wife up a wall.”

“Ask her what the movie was about.”

Heat filled Summer’s cheeks and she glared at Dave. “It was
about some cowboys or something.”

Ember sighed, drawing their attention back to her. “Let me
guess, she was on her laptop.”

“No I wasn’t.” Summer squared her shoulders and pulled her
hand away from Dave’s. God, it felt as if he’d tattled on her.

Dave crossed his arms and leaned against the other side of
the couch, bringing that cold distance back between them. “No, she wasn’t on
her laptop, she was on her smartphone.”

“I had to! It was nine a.m. in Seoul and my client’s server
was being attacked. You know my job requires that I be available twenty-four
hours. It’s not like I can say to them ‘Oh, sorry that hundreds of thousands of
dollars are being drained from your bank account. Wish I could help but I have
to watch a movie with my husband’.”

“That’s just an excuse, Summer, and you know it. That kid
your boss hired as your assistant, Eric, he could have taken care of it.”

“They need me, not Eric. Me!”

Ember’s mellow voice interrupted them. “Summer, your family
needs you more. You are the only person in the world who can be his wife and a
mother to your children.”

That statement pricked the balloon of her anger and she
sagged into the couch, guilt and shame rapidly replacing her anger. “I know
that.” She sounded sullen and petulant, even to herself. “I just need a few
more years and I’ll be able to take more time off.”

Dave sounded incredibly weary as he asked, “Isn’t that what
your dad used to say? Just one more business trip, just one more year. How did
that work out, Summer?”

“You leave my father out of this.”

Ember sat up in her chair. “Dave, we discussed this. Apologize
to Summer.”

Her husband and her marriage counselor exchanged a weighted
look and Summer wondered again about what they talked about during their
private sessions. Whatever it was it must have meant something to Dave because
he appeared both chagrined and a bit defiant.

He glanced at her face then looked down at the floor.
“Sorry.”

“Like you mean it.”

Summer burst out laughing at the incredulous look Dave gave
Ember.

Dave gave her a sullen look, which only sent her off on
another round of giggles. “What’s so funny?”

She shook her head, her laughter bubbling through her like a
cleansing mist, taking away some of the anger and hurt clouding her mind. “For
a second there you sounded like our boys being forced to apologize to each
other.”

“Do not.” The corners of his lips twitched in a suppressed
grin. “You started it.”

A small, immature part of her wanted to continue arguing
that he was the one who started it, but the sight of Ember rolling her eyes
made her swallow back the retort. Barely. Instead she flipped the bird at Dave
in a purely juvenile display of bad manners that would have made her mother
faint with embarrassment.

“Promises, promises,” Dave muttered and reached across the
couch, reclaiming her hand and lacing his fingers between hers.

“What?” It dawned on her a second later that he was
referring to the “fuck you” meaning of her obscene gesture. An unexpected bit
of arousal tightened her lower body. “Oh.”

Ember chuckled and wrote something down on the notepad on
her desk. “I’ve been seeing you crazy kids for three months now and you’ve made
great progress, but I think it’s time for you to have a take-home quiz.”

“Quiz?” Dave asked with a grin.

Summer cleared her throat, hating to break the warmth
between her and her husband. She’d been avoiding telling him the news because
she knew as soon as she did he would begin to withdraw from her. But if she
didn’t speak up now she’d put it off until the cab came to pick her up for her
flight.

“Actually…” She sneaked a peek at Dave’s face and hated the
suspicion and anger she already saw growing there. “I’ll be out of town next
week for a managerial conference.”

Dave stiffened next to her and his grip felt suddenly loose.
“You said you weren’t going on any business trips for the next month.” There
was so much anger in his tone that he might as well have yelled at her.

Immediately her self-defense mechanism kicked in and her
mind started coming up with excuses. It wasn’t that she’d lied to him about it,
she’d just not mentioned it yet. She opened her mouth to make justifications,
to say how it wasn’t her fault, that she didn’t know about it but that she had
to go. All the usual things she told him every time she had to suddenly leave
for a few days. Instead of giving him the usual spiel she caught Ember’s weighted
look and instead said, “You’re right. I should have told you sooner. It’s
bullshit and I’m sorry. I really am.” She blinked back tears, straining to
maintain her composure. “Please don’t be mad at me.”

Dave’s grip tightened again and he blew out a slow breath,
closing his eyes and visibly relaxing his shoulders. When he looked at her
again he seemed more determined than angry. He started to say something, then
shook his head and took a deep breath. “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed.” He
looked up at her and his dark eyes softened. The pressure around her heart
eased a bit but a tear managed to escape before she dashed it away. “Don’t cry,
love. We’ll need to make sure our time together isn’t wasted.”

He turned back to Ember and tugged Summer closer on the couch,
his hand resting on her hip in a possessive manner she found soothing. In need
of the comfort he offered, she pulled his arm tighter around her and sank into
his warmth. No matter what craziness was going on inside her head, being held
by Dave always made her feel better.

Ember watched them with a small smile. “Ronald Reagan once
wrote a letter to his son giving him some marriage advice. He said, ‘You have
entered into the most meaningful relationship there is in all human life. It
can be whatever you decide to make it’. That is as true today as it was forty
years ago. I can give you the tools to help you maintain and reinforce the
structure of your marriage, but you are the ones who will have to do the hard
work to make it what you both want.”

Summer found herself nodding along with Dave. This she could
understand. She wanted to fix it, would work as hard on her marriage as
anything she’d ever done, she just didn’t have the tools. Dave must have felt
something similar because the look he gave her was hopeful.

“In your email at home you’ll find some instructions from me
for your quiz. Do not share with each other what those instructions are.” Ember
narrowed her eyes at Summer and she tried not to squirm. “I want your promise
on that, Summer. You don’t need to control every aspect of your life. I want
you to promise you won’t get try to get Dave to tell you his answers. And don’t
you pout at me, it won’t work.”

Dave burst out laughing and she flushed with heat as she
realized yes indeed, her lower lip stuck out in a definite pout just like
Charlie, their youngest son did. Well at least now she knew where he got it
from. Still, Dave was laughing a little too hard so she elbowed him in the
ribs. “Fine, I swear I won’t try to see what you tell Dave. But he doesn’t get
to see mine either.”

Giving her a lewd look and wiggling his eyebrows, he said,
“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”

She lightly smacked his arm and yelped when he pinched her
bottom.

Ember smiled and stood, tossing her long braid over her shoulder.
She moved around to the front of the large desk, perching on the edge next to a
stunning carved amethyst egg she said Jim Belushi had given her. “Summer, your
job requires you to have strict control over every aspect of your work, and you
can’t help but bring some of those control issues home with you. We’re not
robots. It’s hard for us to switch gears between work and home. You need to
step back a bit and trust your husband to take care of you. Guys like your old
man, they like to be needed and they like to take care of their old ladies. It
makes them feel complete.”

BOOK: Summer's Need
12.89Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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