“You’re a teacher?” Freya's pink shadowed eyes took on a dreamy quality.
“Yes, second grade.”
Freya handed her a slice of a chocolate cake that wasn’t there a minute ago, or was it? I’m losing my mind.
“Now, my dear, I want to caution you about the kind of men you seem to choose. There’s an old Irish saying. You can take the man out of the bog, but you can’t take the bog out of the man. Quit going to the bog.”
Well, she had met Barclay at LaRogues six months ago. The bar, adjoining a chic female only zumba and aerobics club, had a reputation of men trolling for willing women, but she’d chosen to believe Barclay was above all that. Evidently he wasn’t. Nor was she, it seemed. Perhaps she was too easy, too desperate, too eager to have someone—anyone. Time she grew a backbone and stood up for herself. It was also time she raised her standards a few notches where her male choices were concerned.
“Tell me, what is it you seek in a man?” Freya’s gaze was full of warmth.
“I’m at a turning point in that regard. Guess you could say I’m working my way through a maturing process.”
“That pleases me. What qualities are beginning to appeal to you?”
Hope sighed and closed her eyes. Twin tears moistened her cheeks as they forged a trail. “Before, I went for looks. A modern, stylish kind of guy. A shaker. A mover. A partier.”
“Now, I want a forever kind of man. Someone I can depend on. Someone who loves me—warts, curves, moods, and all.” She opened her eyes and regarded Freya through a veil of tears. “I…I want to be cherished. Am I expecting too much?”
Freya patted Hope’s hand. “My dear, what you expect is merely what a lady like you deserves.” She shrugged. “What we all deserve.”
She stared at the older woman for a few beats. “You mean that, don’t you?” A total stranger believed she deserved to be cherished. While a man she’d dated for six months didn’t feel she was deserving of anything good. In fact, he’d told her that her role was to please him.
“Yes, Hope Morningstar, I do. Now eat your cake.”
She forked a bite of chocolate cake into her mouth and moaned. Her toes curled in her sandals as the chocolate exploded on her tongue and revved her system. “Oh my! This is scrumptious.”
Freya’s eyes twinkled. “It’s quite yummy, isn’t it? That’s how a man should taste when you kiss him. His flavor should burst in your mouth and do sensual things to your system. You should moan in appreciation, and your toes should curl in your shoes. It should be a magical chocolate kiss. And…” she slid the plate away from Hope, much to her alarm, “…one taste is never enough.” Freya waggled her red penciled eyebrows. “Your job is to improve on the way you think about yourself. Mine is to make a phone call.”
The woman’s long fingers curled around a red cell phone and punched in a number. Five seconds later, she spoke. “Declan, I’ve found her.”
A TASTE OF CHOCOLATE --
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