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Authors: N.M. Catalano

Tags: #Stranger


BOOK: Stranger
Number I of
N.M. Catalano
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2014)

I couldn't resist submitting to him. I still can't, no matter the cost. I thought I was fine, I thought my life was ok. Until I met him. One night of erotic abandon blew open the door to the prison of my life and there was no way I wanted to lock it back up. I couldn’t, not when he kept coming back. But I knew there would be a price to pay. There always is, I had been warned. The past always comes back to haunt you especially when it promised it would. Your body is my playground and I want to play. Life is good. I have control, I like having control. Until I met her. I thought that one night of her deliciousness would be enough to satisfy me. I was wrong. I wanted more, there was something about her, she was different. And now I was losing control, there was no way in hell I was going to lose.
Intended to be read as a stand alone but first in a series, there are no cliffhangers.
Disclaimer: explicit sex scenes, intended for mature audiences. Be prepared to sweat and your heart rate to accelerate.



By N.M. Catalano



























Warning:  The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the author’s or publisher’s permission.  Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 (http//




Copyrighted © by N.M. Catalano

Digital release: October, 2014


All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case with brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.


This book is a work of fiction.  The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination, or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real.  Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales, organizations is entirely coincidental.


To my two beautiful daughters.  My hope for you is that you will follow your dreams and always do what you love.  In that you will find peace, contentment and gratification.  It will not always be easy but it will always be easy for you.  I love you both more than you could ever imagine. 


Love does not conquer all.

Sometimes it tries to kill you.



Chapter 1

Last night while I was kicked back in my bed, rather than going in for some alone time with my book boyfriend, I decided to flip through a magazine to see what the rest of the world was doing.  I came across an article about statistics on ratios of single men to women throughout the US, (it figures I’d still find something about men).  It stated that the highest ratio of single women to men is in New York City and the reverse counterpart, men to women, is in San Francisco.  Yeah, the gay factor came to mind but it went on to say the primary reason for this is the large tech industry there which makes complete sense.  It also listed Seattle, (nope, too wet but I could definitely get into some hot Native American werewolves – I wish), Dallas, (uh, I don’t think so, I can’t help but think ‘All my exes live in Texas’), Denver, (yes, good possibility), and Los Angeles, (I don’t know about that).  Not that I’ve completely enlisted in the dating/looking for a man scene.  I’m still lurking on the street outside of my enrollment office, so to speak, while I watch the endless line of females go through that revolving door.  It’s been over two years and I haven’t quite completed my preliminaries to join the ranks.  Which is why I’m kind of looking forward to tonight.

It’s been a shit week.  The office has been crazy because of a promotion that’s going on which is putting additional demands on all of us.  Add to that the regular everyday emergencies and client requests and the network going down on Monday for a few hours.  Oh, you can’t forget my prima-donna boss who’s pregnant with 24/7 morning sickness which makes her such a joy to be around.  Mix that all together and stir and you’ve got one stressed out bunch of ladies.  I am so grateful its Friday and it’s not often I say it but today I’m ready for a drink.  I’m a representative in an office of one of the three major insurance providers in the country.  It’s really funny when I’m out and a kid just starts singing our jingle out of nowhere; marketing really got that one right.  My job is ok.  That’s the problem.  It’s just a job and really brings me no self-gratification.  And I haven’t been ‘gratified’ in a very long time.              That’s why Janie convinced me – no, badgered me – into a girls night out.  She’s one of my only friends and she draws people to her like the ice cream man.

“You need to get out, Elizabeth.  When was the last time you got laid?”

She didn’t wait for an answer because she already knew it.

“You’re ex.  I know you said he was the ‘the one’ and it was obvious how madly in love you were with him.  Hell, you probably still are but it’s been two and a half years and you haven’t really moved on.  I’m pretty sure a lot more happened between the two of you that you didn’t tell me and I’m not going to pressure you to but its way past time you got out from under that rock you crawled under and start living again.”

Janie is damn right.  But what she doesn’t know is that I’m afraid.  I’m afraid of what could happen if I get involved with anyone. 

His name is Santino and people call him ‘Sonny’.  Yes, there is one similarity to the character in the ‘The Godfather’:  his temper.  Except my ex’s was a smoldering volcano with bursts of preliminary shooting volcanic rock that culminated in a wrath of an all-consuming thick burning lava which completely devoured and destroyed me each and every time he erupted.  It took a long time for me to repair myself when I finally got him to leave.  When he unknowingly handed me an opportunity, I seized it with both hands and held his as I led him out the door.  An hour after he left I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt peace like that.  I’d put him on a plane and he was out of the country and I was free.  Or so I’d thought.

He told me very matter-of-factly when we split, or should I say when I attempted to extricate him from being the blood in my veins and the very life-force that infused my existence, that bad things would happen if I was with anyone else.  And they did.  Some blatant, others seemingly very unrelated.  But they did every time, none the less.  So, I retreated back into my warm and safe cocoon alone to prevent the devastation I knew would follow and was sure I couldn’t handle. 

It’s finally 5:00 PM on Friday night and I sit at my desk shutting down my computer. I’m going back and forth between looking forward to and dreading meeting Janie and a few of her friends for what could be called happy hour in our quaint little coastal city of Wilmington, NC.  Lori, the administrative assistant in the office, is walking by my office on her way out carrying her briefcase with the office laptop in it.  Every Monday when I come in and see her emails from the weekend I can’t help but automatically roll my eyes.  There’s more to people than their job and it’s sad when they forget that. 

She pops her head in and asks, “Are you going to belly dancing this weekend?”

“Nope, girl’s night out tonight with an old friend, happy hour, I guess.”

“Woohoo, have fun,” she smiles playfully, wiggling her eyebrows.

God love her, (as they say here in the south), she’s a sweet lady.  When I told her about the belly dancing class I had taken she took me on a trip down her memory lane when she used to take a class and how her waist was so tiny back then.  She’s at least 300 pounds and married to, I think, her second husband whom she met at some country dance.

I chuckle.  “We will.”

And she adds with a smirk on her face, “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”

It’s all I can do not to blurt out, ‘There’s no worries about that,’ but instead I say, “I’ll try,” laughing.  Who knows, maybe those two do get a little crazy, stranger things have happened.  Mama could do a little weekend belly dance for papa and they get a little frisky, good for them.

I don’t think Wilmington gets enough credit.  It’s beautiful with its immaculate historic district which, in my opinion, blows Savannah away.  The old graceful Victorian homes that line the cobble stone streets with Spanish moss hanging from the huge old oak trees canopying over them are so romantically picturesque. The area has some big companies which makes it attractive for young professionals like PPD and Duke Energy, along with an impressive state university.  Also, Wilmington has been dubbed ‘Hollywood East’ because of the large filming industry here.  Ironman III, Stephen King’s Under the Dome and Safe Haven are recent and current productions.  We have culture, the beaches and lovely safe communities while still holding on to a ‘small town feel’ because people actually talk to each other here.  I was born and raised in New York but have lived here most of my adult life and I look forward to hopefully someday raising children here.

Thankfully I don’t live far from my office, only about fifteen minutes, which comes in handy when I’m running late for work and is more often than I’d care to admit, (typical woman, I know).  It’s a perfect location within walking distance to everything downtown where restaurants, small galleries, boutiques and the riverfront are always filled with people, great for the favorite pastime of people watching.

When I get home I take a quick hot shower to loosen the tense muscles at my neck and shoulders.  Why do women carry all their stress there?  The pain can cut like a knife making you so tight that the skin on your scalp feels like it’s being pulled down into a tight ball around your neck.  As the water washes over my body and transforms me from feeling like a snarling troll to a woman again, my hand slides between my thighs and a wave of heat flashes through me.  God, my sexuality has exploded since I’ve approached my forties, I’ve gotten much more comfortable in my own skin and my inhibitions have become less and less.

Santino, (I never called him Sonny; I never called any of my exes by their nicknames, their proper names always felt right), had awakened in me things I never knew I yearned for.  I never had a vaginal orgasm with him during intercourse but he wouldn’t let me go until I came at least three times.  He was an amazing lover.  And he unleashed the beast within me making me feel like he’s ruined me for any other man.  No one before him had opened me to passion that hot.  But I still held back with him, I could never quite let go.  Probably because of all the horrible names he called me and ridiculing things he’d said to me, instilling in me such a bad image of myself that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to lose that picture in my head.  I guess that’s one of my demons I will always have to fight.

But I learned a lot from Santino.  We’d talk forever about spiritualism, the paranormal, life and the afterlife.  He introduced me to the book The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and I’ve got to say it’s my favorite.  I was reading it on the way back from visiting him once and I missed my connecting flight, I was so engrossed in it.  I could only laugh at how ridiculous that was.  He opened my eyes to different understandings of life on Earth, possible reasons why we do what we do and why we are the way we are.  But as much as I was, and still am, captivated by this amazing man it became too much.  And apparently not only for me but for him as well, they say geniuses are the most troubled individuals.  I want a normal man to live a normal life with, the whole white picket fence thing, and I finally realized I’d never have that with Santino.

My phone buzzes on the nightstand for the third time with a text from Janie.

Where are you??  You’d BETTER NOT stand me up!

Just leaving, be there in 1

Feeling pretty good about tonight I go to the bathroom to finish my makeup.  A little concealer on my fair complexion, eyeliner doing the cat eye thing on my lids highlighting my hazel eyes, then finish with nude lipstick.  I decide on my favorite shoes, the mile high black Jimmy Choo’s, because I’m feeling it tonight and I’m only 5’1”.  It’s going to be the black pencil skirt grazing just above my knees over my thigh-high stockings, paired with a white body hugging button up blouse, open just enough to see a hint of cleavage.  I have pretty breasts, not big but not too small either.  I smooth my long, deep brown hair and pull a little back from my face pinning it to give me some height.  I love this conservative look.  It doesn’t shout ‘I’m easy’ but rather, ‘If you’re worth it I might just let you have a taste’.  Just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate the tempting delectables of mouth-watering deliciousness of beautiful male morsels. 

We’re all meeting at The Reel Café downtown which isn’t too far from my apartment so I can walk and enjoy the beautiful early October crisp night air.  The place is three floors, the ground floor has an outdoor and indoor bar with a large seating area overlooking the sidewalk and another rooftop bar with a DJ while the second floor has a DJ/sports bar.  This place is always packed with a variety of people from college kids to the professional crowd.  Thank God, I hate college bars, they always stink like puke. 


I hear it as I’m just stepping off the sidewalk from across the street.  I want to hide but I can’t help but laugh as I watch the blonde ponytail swing and arms wave as Janie is jumping up and down like a big kid with a smile spread across her All-American face.  She is 30 but she is...not immature but playful.  Janie is an occupational therapist and has worked in schools and rehabilitation/retirement centers.  Her personality is perfect for her career because it brings a joy of life to the people she’s working with.  She’s a bigger girl, hippy, who loves her college football team but she’s just started running marathons and is doing very well. It’s so good to see her. Janie lives life and I’m proud she calls me her friend. 

I walk up to where she and her other three friends from work are standing, Cathy, Giselle and Amy.  Janie’s dressed up for her with khakis and a light blue chiffon blouse tied at the neck with flats on her feet.  Her friends each have on proper little dresses with modern graphic print that comes to their knees with ballet flats on their feet as well.  And then there’s me with my ‘fuck me’ heels.  Oh well, I never did quite fit in, it’s obvious I’m not southern looking like the misfit of the bunch.  I have a European look with high cheek bones, a prominent nose and a bit of almond shaped eyes.  Her friends are either married or have a boyfriend and hanging out with Janie is about exciting as their life gets.  Mine too, for that matter.

“It’s about freakin’ time!!”  She yells at me, pulling me in to a bear hug around my neck as I give her one right back.  We swing side to side smiling, laughing and hugging each other.

“I know, I know.  I’m a terrible friend.”

“Shut up!  You remember Cathy, Giselle and Amy, right?”

“Yeah, yeah, of course, how’ve you guys been?”




If they’re friends of Janie they can’t be too stuck up, right?

“So, what’s new with you Elizabeth?  Any men lately?” 

“Jesus, Janie, you know better than that.  Besides you would have been the first person I told.” 

“Well, then you have a lot of catching up to do.  Go get a drink and let’s get this party started, let’s have some fun for once.  The guys in here are sooooo hot tonight!”

“What’s up with John?”  She’s had this boyfriend since college I guess who’s around ten years older than she is but lives three hours away.  Janie’s always on the hunt to get laid but I don’t know if she ever actually has cheated on him.  I’ve never asked her about it, I don’t know how open she would be to tell me.  But one night after we’d had some margaritas at a local Mexican restaurant when she was hot for the waiter she told me about a time in college when she’d kissed a girl.  I would never have expected that from her and I don’t know if it was me who was being shy about the declaration or her.  Or if she was fishing for me tell her about any girl on girl action I might have had.  That door on the closet of my skeletons is being kept locked up tight.

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