Twenty five years later, Senator Robert Harrison is running for President of the United States. In the midst of a contentious presidential campaign, Joanna’s daughter, who has a passion to expose secrets, seeks revenge on her father she has never met.
She meets and falls in love with her father’s adopted son. As secrets emerge, Joanna and Robert meet again and confront the past and present. Robert confesses a secret that Joanna had never known. Now, on the world stage, they struggle to keep their families and careers from destruction.
Joanna was placid, but inwardly blazing with desire. She opened the refrigerator door and reached for an open bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. She poured half a glass and drank liberally, to cool her parched throat and heated emotions.
Moments later, she was outside on the deck, glancing about. She finished the glass of wine and inhaled. With an intensity she’d accumulated since entering the house, she left the glass on the table and started off across the walkway, toward the staircase that led down to the beach.
Robert suddenly appeared, cresting the stairs, slightly winded. He stopped abruptly when he saw her. She stood breathless. Their eyes met. They heard the sea surging and loud.
Joanna’s sun-glazed appeal captured him.
Joanna saw his eyes light up on her as he approached. It was the expression she’d hoped for.
He lifted his arms toward the sky. “What a fantastic day. A day for gods and goddesses.”
She removed her sunglasses, looking at him with the flashing eyes of a new love. “So it is.”
She looked down at his blue swimming trunks, his bare hairy chest. His body was trim and firm, anchored with assertion into the earth. “Does the suit fit?”
He tugged at the elastic band. “Well enough.”
His blue eyes widened. “Crashed into the sea—the source of all life—reborn from the sea, a better man.”
She smiled a little. “So poetic.”
“Not bad for an old fighter pilot.”
“I got the clothes.”
He looked at her with clear, expectant eyes. “Shall I model them for you?”
She held the smile. Her expression was of someone who has just discovered a brand new passion.
There was a conspiratorial aspect to the moment, as they shifted positions and realized their growing commitment to the illegal yearnings of the heart.
“... Of course…”
Back at the house, Joanna removed the pants and shirts from the bags and handed them to Robert. They didn’t speak. When Robert left the living room to try on the clothes, Joanna sat, stood and paced with the adolescent body language of desire and nerves.
Robert emerged, feigning a playful, rakish charm, and their eyes danced and their faces grew flush. He stood in olive green Khakis and a yellow polo shirt, and for a moment, Joanna allowed herself to think that she and Robert would fall in love and grow old together. It was a thought she’d never had before; not this exceptional and private thought—not even with her first husband.
When Robert approached and leaned toward her, intimately, she grew in height. “Joanna…I don’t want to go just yet. I don’t want to call them…They’re out there—way out there—somewhere. I don’t want to go back. Not now.”
Joanna’s lips parted, as their private passion expanded. “Then don’t go back. Don’t ever go back.”
Joanna’s muscles softened. She leaned against the door of her heart and it opened, releasing the blazing light of desire that she’d tried to smother. She could already feel Robert’s breath on her. She could hear his voice in her ear, calling her name in the night. She could feel his hands exploring her, finding her, delighting her.
It was clear, in that little doorway of light, that she’d always wanted him. She would reach for him and close the door behind them.
His face moved close to hers. She felt his warm breath. She felt the raw sexual power of him, silently reaching for her. His lips lightly brushed hers. She shivered. She ached for him. Her eyes went vague and unfocused and she closed them, feeling the sting of tears when his tongue slipped between her lips and probed her mouth.
She traced his cheekbones with her hand, touched his hair and ears, fading from consciousness to a rising ecstasy. He broke the kiss gently, and reached for her hand.
They touched, kissed and scattered clothes through the house as they fumbled their way toward his room—toward the teenage bed. By the time Joanna had released her bra, and stood proudly naked, she was stammering with passion, kissing him and running her hands through his wiry chest, caressing his shoulders, pressing him into her.
Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse grew up near the sea, roaming the beaches, reading and writing stories and poetry, receiving a degree in English Literature. She has enjoyed careers as an English teacher, an actress and a speech-language pathologist.
Douglas has been a musician, a graphic designer and an equity trader.
Elyse Douglas, have completed seven novels: The Summer Diary, Christmas for Juliet, Wanting Rita, Christmas Ever After, The Christmas Town, The Christmas Diary and The Other Side of Summer.