By: Candy Caine
Struggling through an unhappy relationship, Carla Millhouse decides on a makeover—of herself and her life. She joins a gym to lose weight, buys a sexy wardrobe and changes her hair. But even though she is focused on trying to save her relationship, she finds herself gradually becoming intrigued by her hunky, green-eyed gym buddy, Richard. Especially when she starts having torrid, sexy dreams about him.
Trying to put a devastating broken engagement behind him, high powered attorney, Richard Klein, is definitely not in the market for a relationship. Then he begins having hot fantasies about his dusky, voluptuous friend, Carla–but she belongs to someone else. And in Richard’s book, it’s against the rules to poach. But after one explosive, passionate evening together, he sets out to change the rules…
Praise for Candy Caine and For Your Love
“What would you do and how far would you go for love? With great wit, twists and turns, a cast of well-crafted characters you’ll want to cheer for, (and some you won’t), Candy Caine’s delightful story asks and answers this age-old question.”
—Niambi Brown Davis, Author of Sanctuary
“A sexy, fabulous read. I couldn’t put it down. I was disappointed that the book ended when it did. I could have read on.”
—Bertrice Small, Best-selling author of Skye O’Malley
About the Author
Whether she’s writing a short story or novel, Candy Caine will make her interracial romances hot and spicy. Always striving to entertain her readers, Candy tries to breathe life into her characters, making life often interesting for her husband, Robert back in their home on Long Island, NY. And both are trying to teach their fifteen-year old yellow Lab, Sammy, new tricks.
Candy loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit her website at www.candycaine.com.
A week after meeting Lynne at the restaurant and declaring war on her fat, Carla forced open one eye and then the other. Today was going to either be the best or worst on Read More
A week after meeting Lynne at the restaurant and declaring war on her fat, Carla forced open one eye and then the other. Today was going to either be the best or worst one of her life. She was going to meet Joey, Lynne’s personal trainer, for the first time. Doubts began to seep into her mind like water flowing through a hole in a bucket. She needed to remind herself, why was she doing this? Why was she bent on adding more stress to her life? Besides, when Joey discovered how uncoordinated she was, he’d pee his pants. Again she asked herself, why was this necessary?
She replayed the scene at the restaurant in her mind. “How are you going to keep me on track?” she remembered asking Lynne.
“Look at it this way. If you get derailed, you’d only be hurting yourself. Just think of the satisfaction you’ll get by winning your husband back from some young bimbo.”
“Yeah!” she said as if those words were an elixir energizing her body into motion.
* * *
The phone rang just as Carla got out of the shower. The towel hardly covered her ample body and she held it tightly around herself as best she could as she went to answer the phone.
“I’m glad I got you before you left for the gym.” It was Lynne.
“I have a last minute house showing and can’t go with you.”
“That’s okay. I’ll wait until you can.”
“No. Keep the appointment with Joey.”
“I don’t want to go—”
“Carla, you can do this. Trust me.”
Beads of perspiration began to break out across Carla’s forehead. She feared making an idiot out of herself. With Lynne at her side there might have been hope.
“You still there?” Lynne asked.
“Yeah, but I don’t wanna go without you,” Carla whined.
“Joey’s a nice guy and he doesn’t bite—”
“You sound like a baby, Carla,” Lynne admonished. “I’ll go with you next time. Oops! Gotta run. Let me know what he says.”
Carla realized she was standing there holding a dead line. Lynne was right, she could do this. She went back into the bathroom and finished drying. What she saw in the mirror nearly made her cry. The woman who stared back at her looked older than her 35 years. Her breasts, always ample, were now over-ripened melons that hung there as if on the vine. Her once foxy figure was now marred by roles of fat at her disappearing waistline. Her ankles were still trim though those thunder thighs definitely had to go. Carla impulsively stuck out her tongue at her image. Well, at least she still had her high cheekbones and smooth skin. But what she saw in that mirror cinched it.
She’d take the plunge and go to the gym alone. What’s the worst that could happen? She wondered. Then she wished she hadn’t thought about that.
* * *
Carla drove to the 24 Hour Fitness Center on Camelback Rd. in Phoenix and parked her Honda in the lot. Entering the air-conditioned building, she immediately felt intimidated and wondered why.
Perhaps it was seeing all those perfect-looking bodies there to become more perfect, while she looked like a pickle barrel with feet.
Or could it be the rows and rows of shiny chrome bicycles in the cavernous room to her right looking like props in a torture scene from some Sci-fi movie? Whatever. She’d come this far. Taking a deep breath, she walked over to the polished reception counter.
An attractive brunette, with a perfect tan and dazzling white teeth, asked her if she needed help.
“I have an appointment with Joey, the personal trainer.
The brunette opened an appointment book. “You’re…?”
“Okay, then. He’s waiting for you in room number 6.”
“Which is where?”
The brunette gave her a of-course-you-don’t-know smile as she lifted a slender arm and pointed with a tapered finger to a set of doors on her right. “You walk through there and make a right.”
Carla hurried through the doors, but was so nervous that she made a left instead—straight into the men’s locker room. The sight of two huge, cellulite-filled, naked buns belonging to a man struggling to bend down and pick up his towel that had fallen under the bench, caused her to snap her eyes shut in fear of having been struck blind.
As she reversed her gears and retraced her steps, she came to another room. Half afraid that she’d find naked men doing cartwheels inside, she hardly wanted to take a peek. However, reminding herself that Lynne had gone to the trouble to set this appointment up gave her renewed courage.
A bronzed god was doing sit-ups on an exercise bench. All she could see was sweat-slicked muscles—flexing and releasing. It took her a moment to realize her breathing had become in sync with their movement. Even the legs emerging from his gym shorts looked like they were pumped with air. Martin was in good shape, but his body was nothing compared to this guy’s.
He sensed someone was there and grabbed a towel to wipe his face and under his arms, which she noticed were just as hairless as the rest of his gleaming body. She felt warmth spreading from her center. Good Lord! She mused. If the sweat glistening on his arms looked erotic, she’d been neglected by Martin far too long. She was going to make this work.
“Hi! You must be Carla,” he said, smiling warmly which made her feel welcome. “I’m Joey.”
She nodded. Prying her eyes from his body had been difficult. If a person’s body was considered a temple, she wanted to join his congregation.
He put down the towel and she studied his face for the first time. It wasn’t what she might consider handsome, but he was cute in a boyish kind of way. His hair was light brown and cut really close to his scalp making it look as if someone had sprayed it on. She loved his eyes, though. They were amber-colored with dark brown specks and became tight slivers when he smiled.
He came closer and offered his hand to shake. Carla shook it and noticed how small her hand looked next to his. Were the muscles in his hands pumped, as well?
“I wanted to meet here for the first time so we can get your specs in order to make an exercise chart. We need a jumping off point.”
“Forget about anything that concerns jumping. If I haven’t done it by now, I’m not going to. And as for my specs, just half of what you see now.”
Joey broke into a throaty chuckle. “Lynne mentioned you had a good sense of humor. Keep it up. A good mental state is important.”
Carla hadn’t meant to say anything funny. It was just the way she got when she was nervous. That’s why she avoided going to funerals.
“Let’s get started then. Put your things down on that chair and hop onto this scale.”
Carla hated scales. Just the sight of the abominable instrument made her shudder. Scales had the power to suck the very self-esteem right out of a person. And all you had to do was merely step on it.
Joey saw the hesitation in her large brown eyes. “Hey, by this time next week you’ll want to jump on the scale to see how much you’ve lost. Come on, trust me.”
Carla took a few tentative, baby steps in the direction of the damn thing and stopped. Joey nodded his head toward the scale to get her moving again. When she finally reached the base, she closed her eyes and stepped on. She heard him push the slider back and forth until he was satisfied.
“Open your eyes, Carla. It’s not that bad.”
She looked at the number and thought he was humoring her.
“You’re about 5’6”, right?”
She nodded, wondering how he knew.
“Okay, for a woman your age and height, factoring in your bone structure, you should be somewhere between 127-141 lbs.”
She sighed. She tipped the scales at 181. Jeez, how did she ever let herself go like that?
“I’m going to work up a plan of action for you and I promise results. But hey, you’ve got to work hard and have patience. Follow what I say and you’ll have a body you can be proud of,” Joey told her.
Great pep talk. He probably told all his clients this, Carla mused, watching him stride over to a desk and pick up a form. Muscles rippling everywhere.
“This is a medical form I need you to fill out,” he said attaching it to a clipboard along with a pen and handing it to her.
Carla filled out the information as best she could and handed it back to Joey. He read through it quickly and then gave her an overview of what he would be doing. Then he gave her a quick tour of the place.
The gym, which remained open 24 hours every day, was huge. There was a nutrition center, a daycare, a room filled with free-weight equipment, a group exercise room, another with treadmills, a tiled locker room with individual shower stalls and an Olympic-size pool. Located near the pool was a sauna, steam room and whirlpool.
Then Joey put her through a series of “easy” exercises and stretches. Carla ached in places she didn’t even know existed. Before he left her to work with another client, Joey suggested she try out the treadmill or bicycle to fill out her hour. Next time, they’d be working out for most of their hour together.
Feeling pangs of hunger, Carla felt like going home and having some lunch. Maybe a nice roast beef on rye with a side of fries. Then guilt overpowered her and she decided to take a more positive attitude. That meant taking Joey’s advice and trying out the treadmill. Maybe she’d even get one for the house.
She spied a free treadmill and ambled over to it, half-hoping that someone would beat her to it. It was a big one with lots of buttons and switches. She stepped onto the belt and pushed a switch. It lurched forward and she lost her balance falling against the panel of switches. All the lights lighted up like a car’s dashboard and the machine bucked and sped forward like a racehorse hearing the gunshot at the starting gate.
Frantic, Carla tried to get off, but the belt was going way too fast. All she could do was try to keep pace and hold on for dear life as she screamed for help. Unfortunately, no one heard her. Most of the other patrons had earplugs in their ears listening to their iPods.
The belt continued to speed under her slipping feet and her heart was beating nearly as fast. She didn’t know how much longer she could hold on. Then she heard a man’s voice over the tumult. “Hang on!” He came closer and yanked the plug from the wall socket.
“Oh, nooooo!” Carla cried out as she flew off the back of the machine like a cowboy being thrown from an angry bronco. She landed on her rear with a solid thump.
“Are you hurt?” a deep voice asked, as her rescuer looked down at her.
“Only my pride,” Carla replied, gazing up into a pair of green eyes sparkling behind black square-rimmed glasses.
“Here, let me help you up,” he said, offering his hand.
She extended her arm, but she was still a little shaky and lost her balance, her weight pulling him down on top of her. He wasn’t able to get up easily and the more he tried, the harder it got—especially with them both laughing. They both realized how ridiculous they must have looked, with her squirming under the guy in a vain attempt to get up and the poor man trying to get off what must have felt like jiggling Jell-o.
Finally, he rolled off and they sat there laughing until the gales of laughter subsided. The guy had a marvelous laugh, full-hearted and catching. Each time they stopped laughing to catch their breath, they looked at one another and burst into uninhibited laughter all over again. They laughed until the tears flowed.
Mr. Tall blindly felt the floor around him and found his glasses, but before he put them on, Carla got a glimpse of the long, thick eyelashes fringing his almond-shaped, green eyes making them more spectacular. When he looked directly at her, they nearly took her breath away.
“Give me your hand,” he said.
Carla gave him both and with a mighty tug he finally hauled her to her feet.
“Let’s go sit down over here,” he said, as he led her to an empty wooden bench nearby.
“I’m so sorry,” Carla said, feeling like an idiot, tears of mortification filling her doe eyes and her sweet, round face now flushed with embarrassment.
“It’s okay.” He said. “We both survived.”
“Not really. I feel so…so incredibly clumsy. You go out of your way to save me from being splat on the wall and I nearly yank both your arms out—not to add, making a scene that rivaled Abbott and Costello.”
He held up his hands and gave her an adorable crooked little smile. “I needed a good laugh. My name is Richard Stein.”
“Klutzy Carla Millhouse.” They shook hands.
Carla got nice vibes from this man, liking him instantly. He was quite tall, a little over six feet she’d guessed, with high cheek bones covered by taut olive-toned skin giving him an exotic Mediterranean look. Okay, Antonio Banderas, he wasn’t, but if she was in the market—which she wasn’t—she wouldn’t put a bag over his head in bed. His striking green eyes were warm and yet filled with impish mirth. Sitting there, she had to tilt her head back to look up at his face. He didn’t have a pumped body like Joey, but looked fit probably from working out at the gym often. And his chest had felt hard against hers. The rest of his physique looked well-proportioned, as well.
The guy was definitely attractive in an understated way. Carla noticed his dark-brown colored hair had specs of silver at the sides. He seemed to smile easily and often with full, soft, sensual looking lips. His teeth, even and white, contrasted pleasingly with his olive skin. The deep cleft in his chin matched the cute dimples in his cheeks.
Suddenly, Carla had this desire to reach over and grab this guy’s face and kiss those tempting lips. When she realized what she was thinking, she gave herself a mental slap. A quick glance at the gold band on her finger helped remind her she was off the playing field.
“Would you like to go get some coffee?” Richard asked. He had a deep voice that sent a little shiver through her, heaping on more guilty thoughts.
“I’m…married,” Carla blurted out in reaction to those very sinful unmarried thoughts.
A slow infectious grin crept across his face like an early morning sunrise. “It’s only a cup of coffee, not a date.”
Oh, boy, did he read my mind? How embarrassing. Then as it dawned on her they were only thoughts, not deeds, her anger over Martin’s infidelity resurfaced like pond scum. “You’re so right!” she erupted. “Sharing a cup of coffee with another man is a helluva lot more innocent than what my husband’s been doing lately,” she muttered, startling Richard.
Carla felt her face heat. What was wrong with her? “Sorry. I didn’t mean to blurt that out, but I’d love to have coffee with you, Richard. Only, I insist on paying as a small token of thanks for saving my life.”
“It wasn’t as dramatic as that.”
“Depends on from whose point of view you’re looking,” Carla replied quickly.
“It’s probably none of my business, but it sounds as if you need to talk.”
“Only if you’re not a divorce lawyer,” she quipped.
He chuckled. “Close, but no cigar. I’m a corporate lawyer.”
After changing out of their gym clothes, they had coffee in a small Internet café nearby called “Call Me”. People with laptops sat at round tables as they sipped their coffees and lattes. It would be Carla’s last latte for a very, very long time. As if the tangible guilt of indulging and having a drink dripping in calories wasn’t enough, she began to fear she’d been impulsive and had second thoughts about being with this total stranger.
And yet, there was something about Richard that put her at ease giving the impression she’d known him a long time. It was like finding a favorite old worn pair of jeans tucked away in a dresser drawer. And she rather liked that feeling.
After they’d gotten past the fact that she wrote children’s books and how her friend, Lynne, had set up an exercise program with Joey, the conversation took a more serious turn.
“So Carla Millhouse, why are you so angry?” Richard asked.
She couldn’t believe it. There she was, the same person who refused to try on clothes in a communal dressing room with other women, telling a complete stranger the sad story of her marital discontent.
Richard was a good listener asking questions only when necessary to clarify something she’d said. It would seem that all that was missing was a couch. At the moment that was a good thing. The vibes she was getting from this guy made her think of other uses for the couch. Perhaps she missed sex more than she thought and blamed her wayward thoughts on that.
“Just because you may have put on some weight is no excuse for Martin to cheat,” Richard said.
Carla bit her bottom lip. “I know, but I shouldn’t have let myself go.”
“What’s he? Some kind of perfectionist?” Richard asked. He could already tell Martin needed an arm broken.
“I guess you can say that. He’s in great shape and quite handsome. I’ve seen other women turn their heads to look at him.”
Richard frowned. Maybe he should throw in a kneecap for good measure. “Sounds like he might be too full of himself or maybe he’s going through some kind of mid-life crisis. You did say he was going to be 38.”
“With Martin, I guess anything is possible. It just gets so lonely sometimes even with Blondie, our yellow Lab,” Carla said.
“I take it you have no kids.”
Shaking her head, “Not a one.”
“It sounds,” Richard said mildly, “like you’d want to have children.”
“More than anything, but Martin’s not ready. I fear that by the time he is, it’ll be too late.”
Richard put a comforting hand on hers. “That’s too bad. I think you’d make a terrific mom and can picture you romping in the park with a couple of kids.”
Carla’s face lit momentarily. “Yeah, I’d probably be a great mom.” She sighed. “Maybe in my next life.”
“Have you spoken to Martin recently about starting a family?” Richard asked, still touching her hand. “No. I gave up trying to reason with him,” Carla answered. The quiver in her voice was quite evident.
God, what a jerk! “Richard patted her hand. “It appears you truly haven’t closed the chapter on having a baby.”
Carla smiled at him ruefully. “Truthfully, I’ve always wanted to have kids, but like I said, perhaps in my next life. This one’s done for.”
Richard’s bottle-green eyes looked directly into hers and said, “Never say never.”
She glanced at the time and realized she’d been out longer than she’d planned. She should be heading home to finish the story she’d promised her agent. Besides, poor Blondie, her mush of a yellow Lab, must be crossing her legs by now.
Richard noticed her looking at her watch. “Gotta go?”
She nodded. “Thanks for the shoulder.”
“My pleasure. I enjoyed the company.”
“Just don’t send me a bill.”
He laughed. “I look forward to running into you again at the gym,” he said taking her hand in his.
She noticed how warm his hand felt and yet she felt goose bumps race up her arm. She gave him a smile and nodded. Yes, seeing him again would be very nice.
As Carla drove home, she realized she couldn’t wait to start working with Joey. She wanted to lose the weight as quickly as possible. She might not be able to control everything in her life, but she sure as hell could do something about her appearance. Perhaps she’d see Richard at the gym the next time she went. She held on to that thought a moment longer and broke into a wide, open smile.
* * *
Walking to his car, Richard Stein smiled as he thought about Carla Millhouse and the way her soft body felt under his when they rolled around on the floor at the gym. She smelled like wild flowers. He wondered how she’d taste. He’d felt her ample breasts brushing against his chest. Were her nipples dark? How did they taste? Richard was startled to find himself semi-aroused from his thoughts.
What the hell was he thinking?
She was just a sweet, sad woman with a narcissist jerk for a husband. He really liked her. Why did all the nice women end up with men who didn’t appreciate them? Her husband, Martin, obviously had no idea what a gem he had. A guy could get lost in Carla’s brown Bambi eyes. Even a little overweight, she was an attractive woman—more than attractive. Martin better wise up and start treating her better…