April Swings [Meghan's Playhouse Book 3]
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by Adriana Kraft
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance
Description: April Day deeply loves her husband Derek, but something's missing. To spice things up she books them on a Caribbean cruise for their seventh anniversary. She's not sure what she's looking for, but she knows she's found it as soon as she spots the delectable sprite of an actress who stars in the ship's daily shows. Meghan Keenan's having a blast with her latest squeeze, Josh Hendricks, who writes and directs the shipboard main shows. Should she turn down April's request to heat up her marriage? And if she accepts, where will Josh fit in? Derek is stunned by his wife's brash pursuit of the hot young actress. Must he match April's boldness to keep her from leaving him?
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: October 2009
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [139 KB]
Reading time: 79-111 min.
"There she is," April Day whispered to her husband as they shared a late breakfast in the fourth deck restaurant of the cruise ship. "There's that vivacious girl who does everything in the floor show."
"You're infatuated with her," Derek grumbled. "You've been mooning over her for the past two days. Do you even know her name?"
"Meg something, I think." April thrust out her chin. "Names don't matter much for what I have in mind." April inhaled, letting her gaze take in the petite auburn-haired actress. "She's a woman's woman. That's what matters."
"How do you know that? She's having breakfast with the guy who directs the show." Derek chuckled. "She looks like a man's woman to me."
Shrugging, April faced her husband. "So, I'm a man's woman, too. Maybe she's bi."
"How can you be so certain?" Derek's features remained stolid.
"A woman knows." April sipped her orange juice.
Derek grimaced. "I can see those cute wheels working overtime in your head. I don't know why you can't be satisfied with what you have--this is supposed to be our seventh wedding anniversary cruise."
"It is," April said sweetly. "We went over this before we made the reservations. You and I need to spice up our marriage, or we may be in real danger. You know about the seven-year itch. This is it. We agreed I have full rein during these two weeks. I'm doing this for us. Even you agreed."
"In one of my weaker moments. I must've been nuts to go along with this scheme of yours." He exhaled. "But you haven't found a willing partner yet."
"That's because I take my time. I'm not in a rush." She paused. "But I am determined. And this Meg woman looks like a worthy candidate for our bed."
"What about the guy she's with?"
April shrugged. "He can join us too. The suite bed is large enough."
"Damn suite cost us a small fortune."
"We can afford it, Derek. What we can't afford is staying stuck in a sexual relationship that's lost its fire."
"So you say."
"You know I love you," April said quickly, covering his hand with hers. "You don't doubt that."
He shook his head. "And I love you, but that doesn't mean I understand you. You always said you got women out of your system during your college days."
April felt her cheeks warm slightly. "I thought I did." She frowned. "You know there hasn't been anyone since you and I were engaged." She smiled faintly. "And I got one of the hunkiest guys in the fire department, and a six-year-old daughter I wouldn't trade for the world."
"But we've grown stale. We keep going over old ground. And I'm tired of being taken for granted."
"Hush. We get Samantha set up with Saturday morning cartoons and then have something that passes in your book as sex." Her voice rose. "If that's not being taken for granted, if that's not being in a rut, I don't know what is. And I'm going to do something about it."
"By fucking whoever you can entice to our suite."
"You don't have to be crude about it." April felt the sharpness in her tone and quickly winked at him. "There may be other places that'd work besides our suite."
"Great." Derek reached for his coffee cup and hesitated. "And I'm supposed to believe this seven-year itch thing will be worked through on this cruise. No roving eyes when we get back to Chicago?"
April shook her head. "Hopefully I'll have a re-energized husband by then."
"I'm not the energizer bunny," Derek said, looking glum and resigned.
"I've noticed. Come on, this is about both of us. Let's enjoy our cruise. There was a time when you couldn't get enough of me. Wouldn't you like to have those days back?"
Looking trapped, Derek nodded. "Yeah, you're right. I would, but this doesn't seem like the way to do that."
"I think it is." April swallowed. "This isn't just about you, Derek. I have to find my spark again. We've both allowed the sex part of our marriage to fizzle. I no longer believe you and I can find it on our own. I think another woman can help us both--at least, the right woman."
"And you think Meg the actress is that woman?"
"She's worth a shot. You know I'm not threatening divorce. But I'm not willing to give up on our sex lives just because I'm about to turn thirty. I don't expect to ever have to give up on our sex lives, but that means we have to do some things to give it some new life."
"You read too many romance novels."
"Maybe." She dragged a fingernail along his wrist. "But I'm not ready to give up on us. Now I'm going over there and introduce myself."
His eyebrows shot up.
"You can watch, if that suits you better." She narrowed her eyes at her husband. "I hope you'll join us with some enthusiasm." She pushed back her chair and grinned. "Maybe I'll have to audition a series of women before you're willing to join in."
He shrugged and looked at the curvy auburn-haired woman wearing a half-tank top and shorts who sat a half-dozen tables away.
April smiled at Derek's hard swallow. "There's nothing wrong with that woman. She does seem to have an outgoing personality."
She stood and pushed her chair back under the table. "I don't know about you, but I've been more attracted to her budding nipples than to her smile--though I can easily imagine a place or two where I'd love to put those full lips. Wish me luck," she said, waving.
* * * *
Derek winced and waved at his wife picking her way between the empty tables toward her prey. Exasperated, yet curious, he shook his head.
He hated like hell to think he and April needed help. He didn't seriously question her love for him, but their sex life had soured. Even he knew that. He'd refused to go to a sex therapist. He'd refused couples counseling. Reluctantly, he'd agreed to the two-week cruise, not quite believing even April would have the guts to pull off her scheme.
He watched the young actress break into a wide grin and gesture toward a chair when April reached their table. So much for April's guts. He groaned. Maybe she had more than he did. Maybe she was more desperate. It wasn't exactly like he'd lost interest in sex. There just wasn't time. And April was right--the spark was missing. He couldn't quite decide when that had happened. It had been so gradual he hadn't noticed until April continued upping the ante.
He hoped this cruise would give them an opportunity to straighten things out in the sack. It was an extravagance. Even though between his salary and April's substantial real estate commissions they could easily afford the suite--it still was an extravagance.
They'd made love the first night on board. Even that had been lackluster. He'd found his mind wandering.
He groaned as the man sitting at the table across from the actress rose and smiled before he left. What did that guy think about the two women laughing and carrying on as he exited the restaurant?
That April would be attracted to the auburn-haired woman didn't surprise him. On the surface, they seemed quite similar. Although April was a blonde, both women were rather tiny. Both had curves in the right places and both had infectious smiles.
Contrary to what April might think, it had been her smile that had first attracted him to her. He frowned. Some of the bubble had gone out of her. Wasn't that part of getting older? She was a very responsible mother and took her job quite seriously, often working more hours in a week than he did. Yet she wanted more.
He caught himself smiling at the two women. Another thing they had in common was that they each talked with their hands. It certainly looked like April's initial overtures weren't being dismissed.
Against his better judgment, Derek couldn't help imagining the two women intertwined on the large bed in their suite. He'd thought April had gotten women out of her system before they married. Apparently not. Maybe he should be grateful she was engineering a relationship with a woman with an eye toward including him rather than simply going out and having an affair with another man.
Could he really accept her explanation that she was doing this for them? That it wasn't about sex with another woman as much as enlivening their own sex life? He blinked as he saw his wife's knee grazing the actress' knee under the table. The actress did not pull away.
"Oh hell," he mumbled, trying to ignore his awakening arousal. He pushed back his chair, preparing to go out on deck for some fresh air when he saw April waving him over. "Shit."
* * * *
Meg shook Derek Day's hand. She wasn't surprised by his strong grip--his wife had already told her he was a fireman. What surprised her was the tint of pink on his cheeks. She'd tuck that bit of information aside for the moment. So maybe the husband wasn't quite as forward as the wife.
Amused, she said, "Hope you're enjoying the cruise."
"I am," he acknowledged. "Never been on a cruise before."
"There's so much to do aboard ship. There's no reason to get bored."
"It's difficult to choose among all the possibilities," April chimed in. "Maybe you'd be willing to help us make some good choices."
Derek coughed. "I've got to be going. Good to meet you, Meg."
"Me too," Meg said easily. "Maybe we'll see more of each other."
"Maybe," Derek said, hardly able to tear his gaze away from her breasts.
Meg didn't have to look to know her nipples had grown taut under the scrutiny of husband and wife. She waited until Derek was out of earshot and then directed her attention to the eager bubbly blonde. "I don't usually get involved with married couples. Unless I got them together in the first place."
April's smile broadened as she took in the implications of the second half of that statement. "I knew I was right about you. Derek thought I was crazy."
"I like women and guys, if that's what you mean. But as I said, I don't usually get involved with married couples. So what are you looking for, a little diversion?"
April winced. "More than that. Not a long-term relationship--I have that with Derek." Her fingers curled around a napkin, showing the first sign of tension. "We've lost the sexual spark that used to be so important to both of us."
"Ah. That explains a lot." Meg glanced toward the exit. "So you're much more interested in rediscovering this spark than your husband is?"
April shrugged. "I don't think he knows how to go about finding it. He refuses every thing I come up with."
"But you convinced him to come on this cruise."
Nodding, April said, "It wasn't an easy sell. I guess he finally bought the idea that it would be easier to have an adventure onboard a ship than in Chicago. Less dangerous in the long run."
"Possibly. So why did you pick me out of all the women who are looking for action, much like you? This is my third cruise. You and your husband aren't as unusual as you might think."
"You've helped others on cruises?"
"I didn't say that." She arched an eyebrow. "I've had my hands rather full with Josh. But I must admit you're the first person to approach me so directly. You're not into a lot of games. I like that."
"And you do enjoy sex."
"Of course I do."
"Are you planning on marrying Josh?"
"Heavens no!" Meg frowned and leaned away from her. "Neither one of us has time for marriage. We don't even live together, other than when we're working cruises. This works for us. We're both heavily involved in the New York theater world. Some day I imagine we'll each get around to marrying, but that doesn't mean we'd want to marry each other. We're comfortable with what we have."
"So Josh won't be a problem if you choose to get involved with me and Derek?"
Meg shook her head and grinned. "He won't be a problem. He might want to watch or even join us. Josh is always looking for material for the next play. He's never turned down any other woman I've brought to him."
"Ah, so this wouldn't be a first?"
Meg squeezed April's fingers and then brought them to her lips, laughing softly. "I thought you trusted your judgment more than that. Looks to me like your husband would be the reluctant participant--if I choose to participate."
"He may need some encouragement." April turned her smile up a hundred degrees. "But from what I've seen of you onstage, you should be able to charm a dead man, and I can assure you Derek is not dead."
Meg wet her lips. "You have the advantage on me that you've observed me from a distance. You do have a lot of confidence in me. I like that."
"So, I'll think about it. I don't simply hop in bed with anyone. We'll have to work at it some. I like to get to know people a little bit before we fuck."
April blanched a little. "Okay. How do we go about doing that?"
"Why don't the four of us meet for drinks after tonight's show? We'll see how things progress."
"Perfect," April said, getting up.
Meg grabbed her hand. "Don't expect much tonight. I won't be rushed."
"Of course not. I wouldn't think of that." April blew her a kiss and headed for the exit.
Meg watched the perky blonde sashay out of the restaurant. She steepled her fingers. This little cruise might get interesting quite quickly. She'd avoided passengers before. So why did this possibility get her juices flowing? And they were flowing.
The couple intrigued her. April's directness and air of innocence was refreshing, and Derek's reticence could prove an interesting challenge. And he was such a large man, and April such a small woman. Were they really still in love, or were they grasping at straws?
Meg had no intention of contributing to the breakup of anyone's marriage. But if the blonde and her husband were already on the rocks, getting involved with her wasn't going to hurt anything. She shrugged. Could it help?
She'd proven more than a little helpful as a matchmaker. Though that hadn't been the goal for herself, she had been instrumental in getting Cat and Kurt together back in Wisconsin. And then more recently she'd been quite successful hooking up Josette and Zachary. In both instances she'd been in the middle, quite literally, helping her charges discover themselves and what they shared.
Could she do the same for a couple stuck in the throes of a dying marriage? This required more forethought than her other experiences. With the other couples, their relationships evolved through a process of self-discovery.
April seemed convinced that what her marriage needed was a quick sex fix--another woman, a little swinging on a cruise ship. Meg shook her head. Why at twenty-two did she feel like a wise old woman? She doubted any fix for April and Derek's marriage could be handled so easily. She had no idea what they still had to discover about each other, but she didn't doubt there was plenty.
Meg lifted her coffee cup and swallowed cold coffee. What would Josh say if she undertook this new project? She chuckled. At least they weren't threatening to take her captive like Josh had.
She smiled remembering their first cruise together. He had played her pirate and taken her aboard the cruise ship two days before they took on passengers. For most of twenty-four hours he'd taken her every which way possible as his captive. She'd been blindfolded, shackled, spanked and fucked--oh, gloriously fucked. She was so pleased they'd waited to fuck until they got onboard ship.
Now, three cruises later, they still reenacted the pirate slave fantasy. They'd agreed on this cruise it was her turn to play the pirate. She grinned. What would April wear if she invited her to join her as a pirate? And how would Derek respond to being their captive?
Meg thought back to the man's hasty retreat from her table and laughed again. He might already be thinking he was a captive.
* * * *