Reader email in response to my latest release, TWISTED STEEL AND SEX APPEAL, is rolling in. I was a little surprised to receive one note from a loyal “Hot and Henderson” fan telling me in one breath that she loved Luke and Shelly’s story and in the next questioning if I really thought someone with as much youthful virility and make-your-nether-regions-tingle good looks as my hero would realistically end up with a woman nearly ten years his senior.
The answer to that question was a resounding, “Hell yes, young Grasshopper. Now step away from the keyboard while I enlighten you!”
I have the great fortune of being able to view the antics and dating rituals of a group of older women. They are pack-like, but certainly different from cougars or bobcats or whatever the latest tag happens to be. In fact, they‘re more in the vein of pachyderms. They are highly intelligent creatures with thick skins, high levels of memory retention, and fierce loyalty to the other members of their inner society. We’ll pass over their fear of small rodents and the fact that they do have a few wrinkles around the eye and knee areas. That’s nothing a little therapy, a good firming serum and two hundred hours of leg curls can’t fix.
They’ve acquired the ability to allow the occasional insensitive male comment to bounce off them without making a hasty retreat to the ladies room to alert half the free dating world via text that so-and-so is a total moron. They need not resort to histrionics. Nine time out of ten, the ladies I know will simply employ ‘the look’—one finely arched brow and the quirk of gloss-free lips that silently tell the offending male that he has erred. For many women, this is a refinement of the knitted-brow, daggers-shooting-from-eyes visage we employed to keep our children in line without berating them in public. Of course, we realize now those looks contributed to the facial wrinkles issue, but I digress.
The mature method is subtle, yet effective. There’s no drama involved and if the guy is quick on his feet it gives him a chance to regroup and see where things might lead, much like my delicious hero Luke, who is more than willing to give credence to the idea of a possible relationship with his not-so-thin, highly intelligent, recently-divorced neighbor.
In fact, he’s much more open to a relationship than the heroine—a point that was touched upon time and again during my older women/younger men research. Now, being a crafter of fiction, this is where I should invent some wild, mind-numbing tales of hands-on fact finding, but the truth is, I Googled up a storm. So allow me to share what I learned.
Female life expectancy is increasing and with a gym on just about every corner, retaining or improving our physical appearance is easier than ever before. Forty, fifty and sixty year olds no longer fit the pre-conceived models of older age. Forget the hair in a bun, the pilfering of sugar packets from Denny’s and the granny dresses. Old lady stereotypes have been blasted to smithereens.
Older women have lived, which leads men to find them more interesting. Good looks and a nubile body can’t always compete with a life of lessons learned. If that weren’t trueism, would universities let you test out of classes based on your life experiences? I think not. I garnered six credit hours from a short career of cleaning government microfilm in an underground limestone mine. I don’t know many men who would find talk of who broke down into a blubbering puddle of tears on any one of the gazillion reality shows more interesting than that?
We are perceived as easier to converse with—men said they didn’t feel as much pressure to impress us due to the fact we tend to not let conversation drag, a skill that has been honed over the years in the business world and/or the mommy world. If we can calm male marketing managers who are threatened by our presence and hysterical children with gaping sports wounds, it’s a given we know the correct words and manner to alleviate awkwardness and fear.
Men feel that many older women are more financially secure. It’s not that they’re looking for someone to ‘keep’ them—give me a moment here. I’m imagining Gerard Butler standing in my kitchen in nothing but a half apron asking me if I’d like ‘seconds’. Anyhow, what they find more appealing is the fact she’s probably not going to do a subtle, or sometimes not so subtle, quizzing of his net worth or future earning potential because she knows the value of money: she’s earned it or budgeted it, she’s secreted it away or she’s invested it.
And now, my favorite found fact. Women of a ‘certain age’ tend to be more openly experimental, not only in bed but in the variety of recreation activities they’re willing to attempt. All I’m going to say is “pass the latex sheets and coconut oil, and sign me up for Saturday afternoon skydiving.”
Of course, older women have to be open to the new dynamic of the interested, younger male. Women who find themselves back on the dating circuit after ten, twenty, even thirty years of being in a steady relationship probably aren’t going to jump into the uncharted waters with a big giant “Wheeee!” I know my heroine in TWISTED STEEL AND SEX APPEAL was just as leery. But her personal insecurities and societies outlook on May-to-December romances is fodder for another blog on another day.
In the meantime, I invite you to check out the blurb and excerpt from my new release. In keeping with the tradition of my Henderson brothers, this story is filled with humor, scorchingly hot love scenes, and a giant glimpse into the male point of view. Whether they’re younger or older, who doesn’t like that? I hope you enjoy it! -- M.A. ELLIS
Prof. Shelly Latimer is spending the final moments of her day as planned—overlooking the river, a glass of good red wine in one hand and the coffin-shaped box containing her wedding rings in the other. She’s not looking for Divorce Day companionship but it finds her…in the hot, hard-bodied form of her neighbor, Luke Henderson.
Shelly’s logical mind balks at Luke’s sudden interest, although he strives to convince her—in ways she’s only dreamed of—just how genuine his attraction is.
Luke realizes he’ll have his hands full with more than Shelly’s womanly curves. There’s his playboy reputation to dispel, her apprehension of their age differences to ease, and the daunting task of convincing Shelly that the passion they shared is most definitely not a one time fling.
Was there anything sexier than a man with a deep voice? Goose bumps broke out along her arms as her mind answered that question with a resounding no. Little wonder the door to his bedroom all but revolved! With an arsenal consisting of breathtakingly good looks and a voice that could melt every bone in a woman’s body? Preoccupied with her professorship, Shelly had always been somewhat insulated when it came to local news but the tales surrounding the libidinous Henderson brothers didn’t stop at the university’s stone walls. Of course, Shelly really had no use for second-hand rumors. Her gaze strayed sideways to the way his elbows rested on his knees, how he held the wine bottle in one large hand and traced the foil-raised image on the label with his thumb, following the edge with slow precision. Her breathing increased as she imagined how thorough he’d be at other things, how he’d take his time, how he could focus on one thing and rub it over and over. She hurried to set her glass aside before he noticed how badly her hand was shaking. “Killer view,” she finally replied, shocked to hear the huskiness in her voice. He moved his arm and she heard the soft thud of him setting the bottle on the planked porch floor. “The view is pretty damn stupendous,” he said softly. The calloused pads of his fingertips brushing her cheek startled her. He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, flicking her lobe with his thumb and a slow shiver ran from the tip of her head down to her toes. She turned her head sharply and met his gaze. “What are you doing?” she asked, heart pounding in her chest, its accelerating rhythm reverberating in her ears. He studied her features and she felt the tiny flutter in her belly quicken when he leaned forward and brushed her cheek with his bristly jaw. “What do you want me to do, babe?” he finally said. If it hadn’t been for that overused endearment, one she knew for a fact was his favorite, she would have walked over to the porch swing, thrown herself down and told him to rock her usually sedate world until she had slat marks embedded on her butt and a kink in her neck. “Classic. Smooth as ever,” she said, drawing away from him and narrowing her eyes. She definitely needed practice on reading signals. “Well, thanks but no thanks, Scooter. I’m not so desperate that I’m willing to use pity as a prelude to…whatever.” His deep, sexy chuckle wrapped itself around her body and, traitorous little bitches that they were, her nipples came to life. “I prefer Luke, but if you want to do some sort of teacher-student fantasy thing or…whatever…I’ll roll with it, Professor.” His long slender fingers threaded through the hair at the base of her skull, his power unmistakable as he pulled her head closer and lowered his voice. “Pity generally doesn’t give me a boner,” he whispered. “But that hot little once-over you gave me when I climbed over the railing sure as hell has.” Shelly tried to ease her head backward but he held her steady. His wine-scented breath teased her lips in warm little bursts. She so wanted to kiss him. Just throw herself at him and see how he’d react. She already knew what he was capable of. But would he do all those things to her? Of course he will…he’ll do it to anyone. That thought slapped the reality back into her lust-filled mind. “Anyone with a pair of decent boobs gives you a chubby, Luke Henderson,” she eventually said. “A chubby? I haven’t heard that term in years.” He laughed and brought his lips close enough that Shelly knew if she stuck out her tongue she’d be able to taste him. And she knew he’d taste good. “You can’t make slanderous accusations without backing them up.” He rose slowly from his chair and pulled her to her feet, sliding his other hand around her hip and over the curve of her ass as he stepped his lower body into hers. “Prove it, Professor?”
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