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The Lessons (Off-Limits #1)
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Question: What happens when a thirty-year-old virgin hires a sex surrogate to take care of her “little problem”?
Answer: Lots of laughs and tons of heat. You’ll be left wanting a Dr. Ryan Andrews of your own.
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Definition: A sexual surrogate or surrogate partner is a part of what is usually a three-prong team consisting of the client(s), supervising therapist, and surrogate. Therapy can be attended individually or as part of a couple. The surrogate engages in education and often intimate physical contact and/or sexual activity in order to achieve a therapeutic goal.
A little over eight years ago…
I lowered my voice and stared at my boyfriend. “I don’t understand. What do you mean, gay?”
Josh leaned back against the red vinyl seat and ran his hands through his hair as I scanned the restaurant. Although we were seated in a private booth, we were still suddenly much too close to the other diners.
I craned my neck to find the waiter, but instead grabbed the busboy who was passing by. “Could we get two shots of Jameson please?” I asked tersely. The busboy considered my dining companion and then me. “Now?” I repeated. He nodded and disappeared.
Josh gently shook his head at me. “Whiskey ain’t going to change it, babe.”
I stared up at the ceiling, a confusing mess of frustration. This wasn’t how today was supposed to go. This was our anniversary. First of two I’d planned. Then we’d graduate, and he’d get a job with a firm in Connecticut and—
I was blindsided by this strange tug of emotion coming from inside me. As my stomach churned I tried to put a name to it. It wasn’t sadness, but not quite anger either.
The busboy arrived with the shots and placed them in front of us. I picked mine up, and raised an eyebrow at my dining companion.
I downed my shot and then picked up his. “Mind?”
I threw my head back and felt a second burn move past my throat and warm my belly. I could not believe this was happening. I mean, for anyone else: gay, straight, whatever, I didn’t care. But why did it have to be my boyfriend?
I chuckled, now plied with alcohol. “Am I that un-fuckable?” To think I’d thought our lack of sex was because he was being a gentleman. Hah. Quite the virgin mistake.
He sighed, resigned. “LeeLee, don’t even go there. This isn’t about you, it’s—”
I snorted and then leaned in and lowered my voice to a whisper. “Are you serious? You are not seriously giving me the ‘It’s not you, it’s me’ speech?”
Josh smirked. “Eight inches; seven if it’s cold outside.”
I frowned. “That’s not what I meant.”
He ran his hands over his face before answering, giving me a moment to survey this man, who I guess now was officially my ex-boyfriend. He was handsome, that was for sure. When he’d asked me out, I hadn’t been able to believe my luck. I’m not exactly someone who sticks out in the crowd, but Josh was tall, tan, and athletic. Add the fact that he was pre-law and all-American during last rugby season—well, that meant I was the envy of most girls on campus.
Guess I was the envy of some of the guys now, too.
“I don’t know. I mean, I guess I’ve always kind of known,” he said, finally.
“So…” I said, trying to piece together my memories of the past year, “So you kind of knew but dated me anyway?”
He nodded. “I’m sorry Nat, I really am. You’re the first one I’ve told. Please don’t hate me.”
I sighed. Of course I didn’t hate him. Josh and I…we, well, he—he was my only friend. The one person I’d connected with during my three years at Columbia. He’d also been the one who helped me through my mom’s cancer scare last year, and the one who hadn’t let me give up on my Greek literature class. I stared over at my dining companion and suddenly I saw him for who he really was: my best friend.
And my best friend looked scared.
I offered a small smile and held out my hand. “Don’t worry Joshie, you aren’t getting rid of me that easily.”
Eight years later…
“Better blow out the candles. That ice cream is gonna melt.”
I glanced over at Josh. We were seated near the front window at our favorite Chinese restaurant on the Lower East Side and some fried ice cream had miraculously appeared at the end of the meal. And I had a sneaking suspicion my best friend had something to do with it.
I blew out the candles and turned to him. “Three candles?”
“They couldn’t fit all thirty on a single scoop,” he smirked.
I sighed. Thirty. Nothing like a milestone birthday to make you take stock of things. And me? This birthday made me realize how ashamed I was and how far my life had swung off course. The old Natalie Reese had goals and dreams and a clear plan that mapped out my future. That is, until life reared its ugly head. Nope, now all of a sudden, I was thirty. I couldn’t make any more excuses. It was time to get off my ass and get my life back on track.