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Authors: Joan Elizabeth Lloyd

The Secret Lives of Housewives

BOOK: The Secret Lives of Housewives
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Outstanding praise for the sexy and sizzling novels of
J
OAN
E
LIZABETH
L
LOYD
!

CLUB FANTASY

“This novel combines a well-written plot with sexually charged erotic scenes that are both tasteful and titillating. Readers will enjoy their trip to
Club Fantasy
.”

—
Romantic Times

NEVER ENOUGH

“Lloyd's steamy scenarios and passionate interludes will keep readers engrossed.”

—
Booklist

“Kept me engrossed to the very end.”

—
Rendezvous

“Be sure you have a fan handy, some of the scenes will have you experiencing hot flashes.”

—
Old Book Barn Gazette

THE PRICE OF PLEASURE

“I devoured every page of this enthralling tale…the secondary characters were magnetizing and add their own special charm to this evocative yet heartwarming story of love and friendship. The passion absolutely sizzles and the sex scenes are vivid but tastefully written.”

—
Rendezvous

“From the first page, fans of erotic romance will delight in Joan Elizabeth Lloyd's sizzling signature fantasies. Her engaging characters come alive with dreams, hopes, disappointments and love. Although the romance is secondary to the story, readers will love following Erika's page-turning tale from beginning to end.”

—
Romantic Times

Books by Joan Elizabeth Lloyd

THE PRICE OF PLEASURE

NEVER ENOUGH

CLUB FANTASY

NIGHT AFTER NIGHT

THE SECRET LIVES OF HOUSEWIVES

Published by Kensington Publishing Coporation

The
Secret
Lives of Housewives
JOAN ELIZABETH LLOYD

KENSINGTON BOOKS
http://www.kensingtonbooks.com

The
Secret
Lives of Housewives
Chapter
1

“I
t's pouring,” a statuesque redhead with great cheekbones and an atypical, peaches and cream complexion moaned as she and the rest of the yoga class walked to the front door of the East Hudson Community Cultural Center, the 3Cs.

Housed in an old elementary school, the 3Cs was used for various activities. One side was devoted to a thriving senior citizens' center which held activities such as craft sessions and art classes and also served hot lunches for those who needed them. Another set of classrooms was set aside for a small local museum. For the general population it housed free art and pottery classes, an amateur theatrical group that put on quite professional performances in the old auditorium, and the yoga class Monica Beaumont had found mentioned in the local Pennysaver. “Where the heck did that rain come from?” the redhead continued. Everyone knew that the weather at the end of July in New York was notoriously unpredictable but the sky had been hazy blue when she'd arrived an hour earlier.

“The weatherman said only scattered showers,” Angie Cariri, the woman who led the class said, staring at the fat drops covering the parking lot with a thick layer of rainwater. She'd introduced herself to Monica before the class and ascertained that Monica had done yoga previously, although not for many years. “I guess we're in one of the scatters. Damn. I've got to get to the supermarket and then home to the kids.”

“I watched it roll in as the class ended,” Monica said, brandishing her oversized, blue and white paneled umbrella in long, carefully manicured fingers, “and I'm glad now that I thought to bring this thing. We won't melt anyway. It's just warm summer rain. I'll lead. I think we can all fit under.” She had to get home. Lots of work to do: schedules to check, proposals to be meticulously edited, costs to be estimated.

Several men and women shook their heads at the offer of the umbrella, and pulling the hoods of jackets or scarves over their heads, dashed out into the torrents until only a few stragglers, including Monica, Angie, the redhead, and one other woman, a plain-looking brunette, remained behind the old wooden door. “Thanks for the offer but I think I'll just wait a few minutes until it slows down,” the fourth woman said, pulling her lightweight windbreaker around her shoulders and settling her rimless glasses more firmly on the bridge of her nose.

“Anyone want to share my umbrella?” Monica said. When the three others shook their heads yet again, Monica paused, her hand on the doorknob, ready to run to her car.

A few days earlier she'd had a bit of a scare, chest pains and a bit of difficulty breathing. She'd gone to her doctor, a stick-thin, middle-aged man whom she hadn't seen in much too long.

“Monica,” he'd said, “you'd better slow down or you'll have a coronary before you're forty.”

“This wasn't a heart attack?” Monica had said, relieved. Coronary was such a scary word.

“Not this time, but your blood pressure is much too high.” He finished writing orders for blood tests and a prescription for a hypertension medication, then leaned back in his chair. “Women have heart attacks, just like men. It's less common but not unheard of, and you're heading there at breakneck speed. You've got to slow down. You've told me you work hundred-hour weeks. You can't do that and not have your body protest. You don't get enough rest or enough exercise and as a result you're killing yourself.”

“Come on, doc, I can't take time off. I've worked my ass off to get where I am and I like it here.” Monica was senior account executive for a large Madison Avenue advertising agency. The term senior wasn't awarded for length of service but for the annual gross dollar billing of the business she brought in. That meant that to keep it, she had to not only keep her existing clients happy but pitch new business, as well.

“It's your body and I know you'll do as you please so I can only offer you advice. Slow down. Take time off, at least on weekends. Work only eighty hours a week, not a hundred. Make friends. See your family. Learn to meditate. Take a yoga class. Go to a concert. Learn to relax!”

Gazing at the rain Monica remembered that voice and hesitated, then took a deep breath. She had a lot to do that afternoon but she kept hearing the word
coronary
. With another deep breath she turned to the other woman. “I'm Monica Beaumont, by the way.”

“Thanks for the offer, Monica,” Angie said, “but I think I'll give it a few minutes, too. If you're still here, I might take you up on your umbrella then.” Monica dropped her hand and reread the slogan on the front of Angie's T-shirt: “The Hurrieder I Go, The Behinder I Get.” She'd caught snippets of conversation before class and learned that the woman had ten-month-old twins. She bet that Angie, a small, late twenties, slightly frowsy woman with a fly-away, mousey brown ponytail got very “behinder.”
Heaven save me from that.

As the door closed behind a good-looking man in a deep blue baseball jacket and gray sweatpants, Monica licked her lips with an exaggerated motion. “God, that's really quite a hunk. He's the best thing about the class. Just watching his crane position is worth the price of admission.”
Probably has the brains of a flounder and the ego of a rock star. Comes into a class of mostly women, does yoga, but in reality poses in his tight tank and butt-hugging shorts for an hour, pulls on his sweatpants, and exits without a word to anyone.

“Yeah, he's really gorgeous,” the redheaded woman said, tucking a strand of hair that looked like a shampoo commercial behind one ear.
God, she's really a knockout
, Monica thought. “Those tight T-shirts show him off at his best,” the woman continued. “I'm Cait Johnson, by the way.” She reached out a smooth hand with perfectly shaped nails polished a pale mauve. Taller than Monica's five-foot-seven, Cait was probably in her mid-thirties, a classy-looking knockout, with a model's figure and carefully styled, jaw-length, Titian hair. She wore a diamond solitaire on her left hand the size of a small cube of sugar and the studs in her ears had to be at least two carats each. Monica couldn't help but wonder how Cait, who obviously did yoga frequently and sweated like everyone else, ended up looking like an ad for cosmetics.

Monica took the proffered hand and grasped it firmly. “Nice to meet you.” She turned to the sad-looking woman whose eyes always seemed to be on the floor.

Hesitantly, the woman said, “I'm Eve. Eve DeMilo. Like the Venus.” The average-looking, slightly plump woman tentatively extended her hand, and Cait, then Monica, took it and squeezed.
Eve, huh?
Monica thought.
Well, if the original Eve had been as aggressive as this one, Adam would have remained celibate
. Eve had come into class a few minutes late, but although there was plenty of room, she'd laid her mat out in the back corner of the room. Monica thought that Eve could be anywhere from twenty-eight to forty, of average height, with hair that her mother would have called dirty blond, and hazel eyes covered by her glasses. Eve was attractive enough, but she could have been the poster child for “Shyness is Next to Godliness.”

“Listen, Angie,” Cait said, “I've been meaning to tell you how much I enjoy your class. It's really made a difference for me. I feel more limber and I use your breathing techniques when I'm stressed. Really. You're a great teacher.”

Angie lowered her chin and her cheeks reddened. “Thanks, but they aren't my techniques.”

“Don't be embarrassed,” Monica said, realizing she was having a pleasant non-business conversation, something she had few of in recent months. Maybe this was what Dr. Spitzer was talking about. “Cait's right. You're really good at this stuff. Although this is my first day, I can tell. You made me feel right at home.”

“Well, I've been doing yoga most of my life,” Angie admitted, tucking an errant strand of hair behind her ear.

“I have to tell you, those babies of yours are just adorable,” Cait said.

Angie beamed. “They're the best.”

“You should see them, Monica,” Cait said. “Twins. How old are they now?”

“They're almost ten months.” She turned to Monica. “I bring them every now and then when Tony—that's my husband—can't watch them.”

“Which side do the twins come from, yours or Tony's?”

“Neither. Brandon and MaryLee are the first multiples on either side.”

“I'll bet it's been tough, having twins and all,” Eve said, her look envious. “I always wanted kids.”

“You don't have any?” Angie asked.

There was a heartbeat's pause, then she said, “No.” She turned and studied the curtains of rain still falling outside the converted school.

“I love other people's kids,” Monica said. “I have several nieces and nephews and I spoil them all mercilessly. My sisters have almost drummed me out of the auntie brigade.” She hadn't seen any of them in more than a month. Maybe, if she finished the proposal quickly this afternoon…

“None of your own?”

“I'm not married,” Monica admitted. “Not interested.”

“In men?” Cait said, looking aghast.

“That's not what I meant,” Monica said with a chuckle. “I'm a pure heterosexual. It's just that men are great for decoration and for fucking, but not for permanent relationships.” Men. Not a one of them was worth his salt. Well, maybe a few, but not many.

“That's an amazing attitude,” Cait responded.

“The rain seems to be letting up,” Monica said, changing the subject and staring out the window that filled the upper half of the school's massive front door.
Coronary. Relax. Make friends who have nothing to do with work.
Maybe this was the moment to give his advice a try. “Anyone up for a cup of coffee across the street?” Monica indicated the Hudsonview Diner. She had work to do, but she'd let it wait. It would be good for her.

“I wish I could,” Eve said, sounding genuinely disappointed, “but I can't today.” Her voice got still softer. “Maybe next week after class?”

“Yeah. That sounds great,” Monica said, turning to the other two women. She had no idea what they would have to talk about but it was worth a half an hour's investment. “What about you guys?”

“I can't today either,” Angie said. “Tony is home with the babies and he's totally helpless if they wake up. I have to stop at the supermarket on the way home, too. I'm going to dash.” She pulled the hood of her sweatshirt over her head.

“Next week then, Angie,” Monica said, not allowing the sentence to end with a question. Among the three of them they should be able to find some common ground. “Tell Tony that he can watch the babies for an extra half hour and let's have coffee. All of us.”

“I don't know,” Angie said. “I'll see what I can do.”

“Cait?” This pampered princess wouldn't be her choice to complete a foursome, but who knew?

“Logan usually plays tennis on Saturday morning so I can probably join you next week. I'll let him know beforehand so he won't worry, that's all. He's very protective.”

Monica grinned. Friends. What a concept. “We could be like those girls on
Sex and the City
. We can be Sex in the Suburbs.”

“Sure,” Angie said. “I really like that show and I still watch it in reruns.” She giggled. “Actually, I usually watch it through my eyelids. I can't seem to stay awake past eight these days. I guess I'm Charlotte. Married. Wanting a quiet life with a husband and kids. Cait, who are you?”

“Since they all work, and I don't, I guess I'm not any one of them.”

“You don't work. Kids?”

There was a flash of something haunted in Cait's expression but it vanished quickly before Monica was sure it was really there. “Nope. Logan doesn't want me to work and we don't have kids.”

“What do you do all day?” Eve asked. “I think I'd go crazy if I didn't work.”

“I'm on about a dozen charity committees, I shop, play bridge, and do aerobics three times a week. And this, of course. It's amazing how much I do.”

As abruptly as the rain had started, it stopped, and a few shafts of weak sunshine lit the parking lot. “Well, ladies, whoever we are, I've got to run,” Angie said with a twinkle. “I guess my parting question is, who's Samantha, the sex fiend? She's the one I want to meet.”

“Who indeed?” Monica said.
Little do they know that I probably have sex more often than any of them, just not inside of any permanent relationship.

“I'm out of here, too,” Cait said. “Oh, and my name's Cait, short for Caitlin, not Kathryn. C-A-I-T. Just clearing that up.”

Figures
, Monica thought.
Even a pretentious name.

“Okay. See you all in class next week,” Eve said, opening the heavy main door. “Maybe afterwards, too?” It came out as a question as she headed out toward the parking lot.

“Maybe. I'm out of here.” Angie said. “See ya.”

BOOK: The Secret Lives of Housewives
2.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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