Along For The Ride
by Ruby Bartek
When Laurel Sherman's boyfriend leaves her for a woman half his age, Laurel wonders if her romantic future is over. Forty-one years old, slightly overweight, she buries herself in the job she loves. But when her driver comes to take her to the airport each week, she can't help but give in to the allure of Rafi's cultured manners, engaging conversation, and smoldering, dark appeal.
Foreign-born Rafi may only be twenty-six, but he is unusually experienced in the ways of women. He is drawn to the mature sensuality hidden beneath Laurel's buttoned-up exterior. When sparks lead to a first touch, blazing passion is not far behind.
Laurel knew this was going too far. Few men had spoken to her so intimately and they were--she chided herself before the thought could form completely. They were professional men, attorneys and bankers, pale, suited men like Philip.
None, however, had ever made her feel the way Rafi had. And it had taken him only minutes. What would he do to her, if she offered him the chance? If he accepted?
Suddenly aware that her lips were parted in anticipation of an imagined embrace, Laurel clamped her mouth shut and tried to edge away. But Rafi, somehow knowing her moves, her thoughts, before even she could, took her hand again.
"I regret that we must get you to the airport now, Laurel. Next week I will be early." There was a question in his voice.
"Um ... I don't know..." A thousand protests flew through her mind, but Laurel could not manage to voice any of them.
"To talk, if that is what you need. Or if you like we shall have a latte, no?"
She nodded, relief tinged with disappointment at his words.
"But..." Rafi turned her hand so her palm faced up, and slowly traced his thumb along its surface. He deepened the pressure in the soft center of her palm, and her fingers involuntarily closed around his thumb. The touch was shockingly intimate, as he rubbed slowly back and forth, a perfect rhythm that awakened a long-suppressed hunger in her core. Then he slowly ran his thumb between each of her fingers before lifting her palm, limp with pleasure, to his lips. His kiss was chaste, but even in the pre-dawn hour his fresh shave had given way to a growth of stubble, and the sensation against her skin caused her to catch her breath.
"...it is not latte that you need, is it, Lauren?"