Authors: June Whyte
Sex on Tuesdays
By June Whyte
Copyright 2011 by June Whyte
Cover Copyright 2011 by Dara England and Untreed Reads Publishing
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This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to the living or dead is entirely coincidental.
Also by June Whyte and Untreed Reads Publishing
Chasing Can Be Murder: A Kat McKinley Mystery
Sex on Tuesdays
By June Whyte
Monday, 6:30 a.m.
My name is Danielle Summers and the worst week of my life began exactly like any other.
At 6:30 a.m. I batted the alarm clock off my bedside table and sent it skittering across the polished wooden floor.
At 6:32 I answered the phone and, stifling a yawn, advised my mother not to have a boob job done. I told her at eighty-one the operation was way too risky.
At 6:45 a.m. I heaved myself out of bed and spent the next half-hour showering, dressing and slathering Miracle-Glo wrinkle cream over my face and neck, in the vague hope it might make me look like Cameron Diaz on a half-decent day.
Two cups of coffee later, and with a slice of leftover cold pizza in one hand, I drove my pre-loved, silver-grey Ford Futura to the
s newspaper office in Murray Street, Gawler.
I sat down at my desk and spent the rest of the morning sorting through letters and emails sent in by readers of my daily “Sex onâ¦” columnâa daily column I'd acquired by default, but was determined to turn into a
section of the newspaper.
Then, after a quick lunch at the sandwich shop over the road where they made the most delicious, creamy-right-to-the-bottom cappuccinos, I began crafting replies for “Sex on Tuesdays” in readiness for the following day's column.
Oh yesâ¦and just to get a rise, I initiated an argument on the subject of “women can read road maps better than men” with my long-time friend and colleague who sat at the desk next to mine, the
s taciturn crime reporter, Simon Templar. That's rightâ
, Leslie Charteris's suave and sophisticated heroâexcept
Simon was not suave, not sophisticated, and definitely not a saint. And as usual, it was dead easy to get his contrary male hackles up and tangoing.
Yep! As I saidâ¦just like the beginning of any other weekâ¦so who'd have thought it would disintegrate into murder?
Monday, 4:30 p.m.
My wife won't focus during sex. Unless we have the radio on in the background, preferably tuned into a talk-back show, she refuses to participate. I feel as though she's just going through the motions. What should I do?
Dear Distinctly Frustrated,
I can see how your wife's lack of interest could be a big problem for you. Have your foreplay techniques become rusty? There are some great chocolate sauces on the market, which seem to liven up many couples' sex life. And what about role-playing? Why not try dressing in red jocks and a blue cape and bursting into the bedroom disguised as Superman?
Do whatever it takes to make your wife feel sexy and desirable, and maybe your frustration will disappear.
I lifted my aching fingers from the keyboard, carefully flexed the kinks from each joint and groaned. Note to selfâcall into pharmacy on the way home and invest in a supersized bottle of Glucosamine tablets. Together with the mega bottle of Fish Oil capsules I kept in my freezer, which according to the local health shop proprietor is a fail-proof trick that eliminates the vomit-inducing taste of fish, I was set for the winter.
Finished for the day, I logged off my computer, tossed a couple of first-draft sheets into the trash can and purred like a cat gorged on cream. Tomorrow's column was every bit as good as anything a
sex therapist could write. That is, a
sex therapist with a framed certificate on the wall. Me, I lifted my facts from the Internet, read self-help books, and discussed problems with my friend Megan Starr, an ex-prostitute who's had sex with thousands of guys. I figured Megan would have more hands-on skills than a dry-as-dust academic sitting in a sterile office surrounded by certificates and textbooks.
Okay, okay, technically, I admit, I am an impostor. But even though I dropped out of high school after three of the most miserable years of my lifeâ¦and the only certificate that hangs on my wall is the one I received after competing in the 50 meter dash at the Master's Games the year before lastâ¦and even though I haven't actually had sex myself for over two yearsâI was getting pretty damn good at solving other people's bedroom hang-ups.
When Daisy Mae, the previous sex therapist for the
died at her desk while chewing on a steak sandwich six months ago, I was a bit tentative about taking her place. I mean, I
a spinster. Correctionâ¦single person whose sexual parts are in need of oiling. However, my older sister Penny, talkedâor perhaps a better term might be
âher husband Joe, the
s bad-tempered editor-in-chief, into giving Daisy Mae's column to me. Up till then my brother-in-law had only entrusted me with gardening articles, births, deaths and an occasional second-class wedding.
“Well, I'm off now,” I said and stood up to rearrange my clothes. Satisfied that my long-sleeved, tiger-print top wasn't riding up under my armpits, I turned towards Simon. “I guess I'll see you in the morning, Templar.”
“Off already?” Simon asked without taking his eyes from his computer monitor. I shook my head at him and bet my tickets to the show,
Menopause the Musical
, he was playing solitaire instead of typing up today's Crime Report.
Clicking on the ace of hearts, he slid his mouse across the pad. “What's the big hurry? Racing home to water your hydrangeas?”
“Bite your tongue and feed it to the seagulls, Templar. My life is
Still without looking up he hiked his eyebrows skywards and dragged a red four of hearts under a black five of clubs.
!” I insisted.
Well, it wasn'tâ¦
Friday nights I always went out with the girls to the local pub and we regularlyâwell occasionallyâ¦well if we were celebrating a birthdayâpainted the pub redâ¦or at least a very pale pink.
I let out a sigh as I contemplated my dreary, lonely, beige life.
But not anymore!
The new Danielle Summers was currently on the look-out for a belated Mr. Right. After much soul searching, and a recent problem in opening those hard-to-twist pickle jars, I'd figured it was time to share my life and my bed with someone other than my flatulent, but loyal greyhound, Horace.
But first I had to run the gauntlet of the dating game.
So, although I know it's not a pretty sound, I let loose a snort of exasperation. Simon can be such a drag at times. “As a matter of fact,” I said, not even attempting to keep the growl from my voice, “I'm in a hurry to get home because I have a hot date tonight.”
Solitaire stopped dead in its tracks.
“A date? You?”
“With a bloke?”
“No,” I spat, my exasperation moving up a level, “with a bloody wild pig! What do you think? Of course I've got a date with a man.”
“None of your business.”
“Do I know him?”
I shrugged. “Dunno. You might.”
Simon fastened me with one of his steel-eyed glares. “More to the point, Danielle, do
The glower didn't waver. Geez, it was like being interrogated by my mother.
“His name is Craig, that's all I know.” I lifted one shoulder, aiming at blasÃ©, but Simon's glare grew fiercer. “Okay, okay.” I flailed my arms in surrender. “I'm going out with some guy Suzy set me up with from her work. Happy now?”
A slow grin spread across Simon's face. A grin that sent little crinkles fanning out from the corner of his eyes and accentuated the dimple in his chin. “I don't believe it. I. Do. Not. Believe. It.” His eyes, richer than yummy dark chocolate, continued to twinkle merrily up at me. “Danielle Summers, our resident sex expert, is going on a blind date.”
“Simon,” I hissed, shuffling closer while glancing over my shoulder to see if any of the other journalists were listening. “Keep your voice down. I'll be the laughing-stock of the office if this gets out.”
He immediately did that damn eyebrow hike again.
The rat. Itching to shake him, I winced as my fingernails dug deep into the palms of both clenched fists. “Look, I'm only doing thisâ¦this
to get Suzy off my back. Okay?”
“That's a crap excuse. And if you ask me, that niece of yours is far too pushy.”
“Well, isn't that luckyâcuz no one
asking you, Templar.”
Ignoring my sarcasm, he leant back in his chair until I thought it would tip over. “Shouldn't Suzy be getting her own love life in order before putting her oar into yours?”
“What do you mean?”
“You know what I mean, Dani.” He shook his head at me as though I were ten. “In less than one year, that flaky niece of yours has recently broken up withâ¦whatâ¦her secondâ¦or is it her third husband?”
With a wave of my hand I sat back down on my chair ready to fill him in on the details. “Oh, didn't you know? It's simple. He refused to have sex with her.”
Simon's eyes widened in evident bewilderment. Just shows how men have a limited capacity for focusing on more than one thing at a time. “What?” he bleated. “Who refused to have sex with whom?”
“Suzy's second husband refused to have sex with her, so she left him.”
“You're kidding me.”
“Nope, Suzy screamed out her first husband's name whenever she climaxed, which didn't go down too well with husband number two,” I said. “Naturally I tried to advise her about her problem; even came up with a couple of suggestions on how to keep her mind focused on the job-in-hand. But she said Jayâthat's her first husbandâwas much better in bed than Neilâthat's the second husbandâand Jay's face seemed to superimpose on Neil's face every time her dam burst. Hence she'd call out Jay's name.”
Simon blinked rapidly. “Erâ¦right.” He shook his head hard, as though attempting to clear out the detritus. “Let's get back to your hot date. I'd have thought at your age you'dâ¦”
“My age?” I gasped, amazed at my friend's lack of sensitivity. “Simon, I'm
nine!” Hurt and angry, I ground my teeth in a snarl and counted to ten in my head. No. It wasn't worth it. If I slugged him now, I'd probably get the sack. I'd finished paying off my house but I still had to eat and pay the bills.
I'd slug him later, when we were away from the office.
For now I raked up my
expression. The one I use to deter insistent salesmen who actually believe I'd be interested in another mobile phone when monthly fees for the one I already owned would probably feed a family of six on Big Macs and fries for a year.
“And who are you to criticize my love life?” I peered down my nose at him, haughty expression firmly in place. “I've known you close to twenty years, and in that time I haven't noticed a
Templar in the picture. You know, cooking your meals, sewing buttons on your shirts, keeping your bed warm at night.”
Clearly unfazed by my outburst, Simon grinned. “And you are thinking about who is keeping my bed warm at night becauseâ¦?”
Embarrassment slammed into my chest and sent rushes of heat up my neck into my cheeks. “That's not what I meantâ¦.”
Simon shrugged. “Hey, don't sweat it. I long-ago decided against marriage. Figured if I got married I'd have to feed a family and continue working fourteen-hour days in the police force until they kicked me out at sixty-five. Instead of which, I'm already retired and doing exactly what I want with my life. Not many fifty-two-year-old men can say they spend their days playing golf, going to the track to have a bet on the doggies, and putting in a mere two or three hours work a day writing Crime Reports for a newspaper.”
I leant forward and studied my friend's crinkly, weather-beaten face. “But are you happy, Simon?”
“Happy? What did I just tell you? Clean the wax out of your ears and listen, woman. I'm doing exactly what I want with my life. If that's not being happy, tell me what is?”
“But are you lonely?”
“Why should I be? I do what I want, when I want, and with whom I want. The odd time I feel like talking to someone other than my ditzy cockatoo, I go down to the pub and have a few beers with my mates. Does that sound like the life of a lonely man?”
I let out a sigh. Actually it did. And I knew exactly where Simon was coming from. I'd been there. In fact, it was strange how alike we two were.
But not anymore.
A couple of days ago, like a lightning strike, reality had come smashing in on me. At the end of this week I had a birthday I was not, repeat
, looking forward to. I was going to turn fifty. Yes, fifty! As a pimply teenager, I remembered smirking at a school teacher who'd just celebrated her fiftieth birthday and thinking, geez, the woman's on her last legsâprobably won't see out the night.
And what did I have to show for those fifty years? A small two-bedroom cottage on the outskirts of Gawler. A job I was not qualified to do. Two long-term, failed relationships that left me believing I was crap in bed. And a complete collection of Janet Evanovich books in my bookcase.
Definitely time to lasso a second toothbrush for my bathroom plus a partner to my fluffy pink
When I mentioned my latest goal to Suzy, my sister Penny's eldest daughter, she'd jumped in with her shiny Gucci boots and organized a date for me with a guy from her work. Okay, I'd be the first to admit a blind date wasn't exactly what I'd had in mind when I decided to go on a hunt for a graying-at-the-temples older version of Hugh Jackman, but even if I went through an online dating service or trawled the nightclubs, the guy would still be a stranger. This way, at least