Love at Second and 49th
Who knew sex got better at almost fifty?
Friends Patrice and Kade make a deal for a month of sexy times. But will their secret, friends-with-benefits arrangement end in heartache, or will the curvy widow and the sexy grandpa take a second chance on happily-ever-after?
Patrice Kincaid was going to be a grandmother. In two months. She thought she was ready, but at forty-nine, staring down fifty, she was feeling anything but. She didn’t consider herself wise or matronly, and she sure as heck didn’t want to be called Grandma or Nana.
What she was—unsettled and horny. Yeah, she was horny. The word reminded her of teenage boys snickering during math class in tenth grade, but it fit. Her recent mega-pack battery purchase for her vibrator attested to that fact. Unbelievably, her libido had been resurrected.
Not sure what she could attribute it to since all she heard or overheard from women around her age was the demise of their or their partner’s sex drives once they hit the big five-oh, some sooner.
Apparently, her hormones hadn’t received the memo. Dreams had plagued her. Specific scenarios starring her longtime friend, Kade Holt. And since he was off-limits, she’d resorted to making up excuses to avoid spending more than a few minutes in his presence. Cowardly? Yeah, but she’d struggled all her life keeping her facial expressions neutral.
Her dreams had begun right around the time their kids got married. His son Connor to her daughter Reese. And now Reese was pregnant, and she was going to be a…Nanny. Nope don’t like that name either.
Patrice shook her head to clear away thoughts of Kade before walking into her family room. Today was all about planning Reese’s baby shower. Pasting a smile on her face, she handed her closest friend, Lois Campbell, a plate of cookies to share with Sophie Grant, an event planner, and friend along who with her assistant Evie Nolan who was also a friend of Reese’s, and her Royce’s wife, Amber.
“Okay, let’s talk party themes. Reese, have you finally decided on a design or colors for the nursery?” Patrice bit into a lemon shortbread cookie and sighed. She’d decided earlier after picking up the order from the bakery that she’d let herself indulge today—no guilt.
After turning forty, she’d taken up yoga to keep her curvy figure from succumbing to middle-aged spread and did her best at portion control with a monthly cheat day. Not as thin as she was in her twenties and thirties, but who was. Patrice felt comfortable in her body. And thanks to good genes, she and Reese were sometimes mistaken for sisters, which boosted her ego the closer she got to fifty.
The group discussed colors and whether Reese should go with a character theme for the nursery. Her daughter was thinking of waiting till after the baby was born to decide since she and Connor were thinking about waiting until the birth to find out if the baby was a boy or girl.
It was pretty much a given that if they had a boy, Connor would want to deck out the room in a baseball theme since he played for the Idaho Outlaws of the United States Baseball League.
Patrice loved Connor like a son. He’d grown up next door and was her son Royce’s best friend. Connor’s dad, Kade, had been her husband Stephen’s best friend, but she had only seen him sporadically over the years since Stephen was killed in a car accident. It wasn’t until Reese and Connor had reconnected a couple years ago that Patrice’s feelings toward Kade had become more than friendly.
He was six feet of leanly muscled man. At the same age as her, forty-nine, he could easily pass for ten years younger. Kade’s eyes were a dreamy blue. His dark blonde hair was liberally sprinkled with silver, and he had a dimpled chin she wanted to explore with her tongue. She shivered at the thought.
Now with their grandchild on the way, she saw him all the time. And it was becoming awkward, at least on her end. She’d always found Kade attractive, but recently the crush she’d put on low simmer had turned into something else.
Her body went on high alert whenever they were together for a family dinner or sitting next to each other when the Outlaws had a home game. She found herself daydreaming about him while at work. It was as if she was a schoolgirl again, although she didn’t have to guess what sex was like this time. Instead, she wondered what it would be like with him.
If her recent dreams were any indication, it would be spectacular. And that was saying a lot since what she and Stephen had was okay in the beginning turning into an almost non-existent sex life with only the obligatory birthday and anniversary celebration.
She’d married Stephen during their sophomore year at college after discovering she was pregnant. Reese and twin brother Royce had been a handful, and they’d decided two kids were enough. Their marriage had been stable at best, lonely at its worst. It wasn’t until she’d become a widow at thirty-five when Stephen had been killed in a car accident did her suspicions pan out—he’d been having an affair the last five years of their marriage.
She’d mourned his death but more so for her kids and the woman he wasn’t brave enough to ask a divorce from. So many wasted years. For both of them.
In the years since, Patrice received plenty of interest from men. But she rarely dated, and when she did, she often stayed in a relationship long after the initial excitement wore off more for companionship and to have a plus one on speed dial.
She’d given up on finding someone who made her heart flutter, her stomach clench the minute he touched her or walked in the room. The last few years, she’d stopped dating altogether and put all her focus on her business and her kids.
But when Kade came back into her life, the realization of why her past relationships fell flat hit her. She chose boring and safe men. And compared to Kade’s outgoing personality and the super-sized butterflies that attacked her each time he looked her way solidified her choice to keep her time around him to a minimum.
They were practically family. She didn’t want to chance ruining their friendship or making things awkward between them, especially with a grandchild on the way. So the only time she’d be getting down and dirty with Kade would be in her dreams.
“Mom?” Reese’s voice held concern.
“Hmm? What’d I miss? Sorry I was thinking about work.” Patrice adjusted her blouse then reached for her glass of wine, taking a long sip.
“I was hoping we could have the party here. Would that be okay? The backyard is the perfect setup for the guys to hang out. They can play corn hole or basketball since you still have the half-court from when Royce was obsessed with making the high school team.”
Four pairs of eyes landed on her, waiting for a response. Patrice cleared her throat, “A co-ed baby shower? Sure, why not.” Did that mean Kade would be invited? So much for keeping her distance.
* * *
Kade Holt arrived at The Club on Main, his daughter-in-law’s restaurant and nightclub in neighboring Coeur d’Alene. The air was crisp, and the trees along the sidewalk still held their multi-colored leaves. He was meeting his son for lunch. The Outlaws had recently lost the USBL playoffs, but Connor was riding the high of soon becoming a father. The team was a talented ball club, and Kade was sure they’d be in the running again next season.
He spotted Connor as soon as he walked in. The hostess recognized him and flashed him a wide smile. She was young enough to be his daughter, but she’d made it known on his last visit she was available. He still hadn’t figured out the best way to discourage her.
Kade nodded at her and kept moving. He wasn’t dead, she was attractive, but he definitely preferred a woman closer to his age.
His interest lately had been locked on a woman he’d spent years keeping in the friend zone. They’d become close once again when their kids had married. In fact, the past two years had recently become a test he no longer wanted to pass. But he’d always avoided relationships having no interest in getting married again, not after the disastrous relationship with Connor’s mom.
Patrice Kincaid had been on his mind lately—a lot. He needed to figure out a way to get her out of his system one way or the other. He just wasn’t sure he was willing to put their friendship on the line.
“Hey, Dad. You need to dial down that smile of yours. Tricia has little hearts in her eyes every time you show up.” Connor stood and leaned in for a hug.
Kade laughed, “I keep telling you we’re cursed with the Holt mojo. Besides, she knows she’s too young for me.” He took his seat and picked up the menu.
“Riiight. What about that lady you dated a few months back, Linsey, was it?” Connor flagged down a waiter and ordered two drafts.
“She was great, but she was still in love with her ex. I heard last week they got back together and are engaged.” Kade rubbed his chin and looked around the restaurant. Reese had spent years improving the business and hiring local chefs. The place was always full, and when the Outlaws had a home game, it was impossible to get a table.
“Hmm. Maybe you should try one of those dating apps.” Connor grinned.
“I can find my own dates, thanks. But we’re not here to talk about my love life. How’s Reese feeling? The doctor find any reason why she’s so tired lately?”
Kade watched his son’s expression closely. If he were trying to keep something from him, he’d know it. He’d been able to read Connor since he was about five and got caught in his first fib.
Connor held his gaze. “Not yet. I mean, fatigue kinda goes hand in hand with pregnancy. They did another blood test yesterday to check her iron and a few other things. The doc doesn’t seem to be too worried, but he wants her to work only part-time for now.”
Satisfied that his son wasn’t holding anything back, although Kade knew Connor was worried as any father-to-be would, Kade held up the beer the waiter just delivered. “Okay. But if there’s anything I can do, you’ll tell me. Now, here’s to passing on the Holt mojo to the next generation.”
Connor clinked his mug and chuckled. “What if it’s a girl?”
“That’s your problem.” Kade grinned, set his glass down, and crossed his arms. “Now, let’s order. I’ve got a client meeting after this.”
The lunch progressed with Connor a bit subdued. Probably at the thought of having a daughter. Kade couldn’t blame him, although he didn’t think raising a girl would be much different. At least not until boys started showing up at the door. And when that happened, he’d do his best to keep the teasing to a minimum. Man, he couldn’t wait to be a grandpa.
After lunch, Kade had a few minutes and decided to work off his lunch with a walk down Main to check out the new sports equipment store. Maybe they’d have toddler-size baseball gloves. He’d held off buying anything until after the baby was born, but really did it matter if they had a boy or girl? Baseball gloves were for everyone.
Whistling, he slid his hands inside his slack’s pockets and waited for the light to change. A couple of young moms joined him, each with a stroller and one with a toddler in a fancy backpack carrier on her back. He took off his sunglasses and made a funny face at the child in the backpack. The little girl had ruby red cheeks and a pink hat covering her dark curls. She giggled and shyly waved at him.
Squealing tires and shouts laced with warning filled the air. Kade whipped his head to the left. A dark shape filled his vision. He raised his arms, grabbed the woman closest to him, then latched onto her stroller, pulling them all backward. The car’s front end jumped the curb grazed the light pole, narrowly missing their group.
The first mom stumbled and fell back on him. He caught her with one hand and thrust his right arm across the second mom’s stroller, preventing it from running into the street. Cries rang out. Pounding footsteps headed their way.
The combined weight and momentum from his actions pushed him down. Kade lost his footing as time slowed. Faces flashed in his mind just as his head bounced on the pavement, and everything went black.
“Mister. Mister, please wake up.” A female voice called out to him. For a moment, he thought he was still home, in bed. He heard shouts and sirens in the distance and came to with two women staring down at him, babies bawling in their arms.
“Oh, thank god. How many fingers do you see?” The woman with the toddler on her back held up three fingers.
“Um…ahem…three. Yeah, three.” His voice sounded thick and faraway.
“Okay, ladies. Please step back. We’ll check him out. Hey, Roger. Come get these women and their kids to the second ambulance and check them over.”
Kade tried to sit up. He made it, barely, after bracing his arm on the pavement.
“Whoa. Take your time, sir. We need to do a few things before you stand, okay?”
“Yeah—yeah. Okay.” Kade lifted a hand to the back of his head and drew it back. A small amount of blood laced his fingertips.
“It looks like a small cut. Can you tell me your name, sir?”
A paramedic began checking his eyes with a flashlight. He looked like a college student. Wavy black hair fell on the kid’s forehead as he bent down into his bag and pulled out a stethoscope.
“Kade Holt. I live in Pineville. I just had lunch with my son. I need to call my son.”
“You bet in just a second. First, we need to get you checked out, Mr. Holt. Make sure you don’t have a concussion. Gotta make sure the town’s newest hero is taken care of.”
“Hero? Yeah, no. Anyone would have done what I did.” Kade shook off the hero label from the Doogie Howser-looking paramedic and regretted the movement.
Kade sat still and let the paramedic do his job. He accepted endless thank-you’s from the women after they were checked out and deemed well enough to go home without a visit to the hospital. He narrowly missed a trip as well after they determined he didn’t have a concussion and covered the minor scrape on his head with a butterfly bandage.
Kade touched the back of his head. “It’s my turn to thank you. I didn’t catch your name.”
The paramedic finished putting his equipment back in the ambulance, smiled, and held out his hand. “Rex Stafford, sir. And my partner, Austin James. We need to get back in rotation. Make sure to call your son and if you have any dizziness or headaches, definitely call your doctor, okay.” Rex gave Kade a quick salute and walked to the front of the vehicle. Kade assured him he would and looked around for the women and their kids. But they were gone, already picked up by friends or family, hopefully.
Rex and his partner had already taken off when Kade thought about offering them tickets to an Outlaw’s game. Both men had been professional and a huge help getting the kids calmed down. They definitely deserved a trip to an Outlaws game.
Kade pulled out his cell and noted their names for later. Deciding against calling Connor since he felt fine to drive, he texted his client to let him know what happened and that he’d reschedule soon.
Once home, he sat on his sofa, put his feet up, and drank a gallon of water, all while puzzling over why the first face that had flashed in his head after the accident hadn’t been Connor’s.
It had been Patrice’s.
Love at Second and 49th is included in the upcoming A SEASON FOR LOVE: A CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE LIMITED COLLECTION