Jane had paced the floor for almost an hour waiting for her husband to return.
When he finally arrived, she said nothing at all, but stomped into the kitchen and
dished out his food. He avoided looking her in the eye as they ate in silence.

He attempted small talk several times, but each effort sputtered into nothingness
when she glared silently at him. Finally, after dessert, he got up his courage and
asked, “Janie, why are you being so hostile?”

“Hostile? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Little ol’ me, hostile? I think not.”
She cleared her throat. “Why should I be hostile? Just because you were an hour
late for dinner and came home with the overpowering smell of some female on
your clothes? Why, indeed?” Her dark eyes were smoldering embers.

He blushed, avoiding her cold stare. “Smell of some female?” He sniffed his
shirtsleeve. “Oh, that. That’s no female; that’s, uh, Samantha.”

“No female? Samantha’s about as female as any female ever I saw.”

“Uh—I mean, well, I got me some help with my homework, Janie. Sam was still at
school and offered to help me grade papers. She always wears a lot of perfume. I
guess I didn’t notice it on me.”

“I guess not. Dogs usually don’t sense the smell of the bitch they’re laying with.”

He stiffened. “Hold on there, darling. Don’t you go accusing me of improprieties
with Sam.”

“I didn’t accuse you of anything, sugar. I was simply using a metaphor, one that
you use regularly, if my memory serves me correctly.”

When he didn’t rise to the bait, she smiled coldly, adding, “So now you’re calling
her Sam?”

“Sam’s her pen name. Sam Lowes.”

As he turned to go to the drawing room, she remarked, “Oh, I almost forgot. I have
a new student writer. Remember the inquiry I received last spring? That Martin
Spieller fellow from Memphis? I got his bio sheet and cover letter today. Nice-
looking young man from his picture, maybe twenty-five. Do you suppose maybe he’
d like to come down and visit, maybe help take care of my personal needs around
the house while you’re busy grading papers with Miss America?”

“Now I know you’re teasing me.” He smiled, but looked down as his expression
wavered.

“Surely I am, sure as the world. Don’t need any help around here. Lord knows it’d
be too bad if I did.”

Like a switch being flipped, he turned on the charm. “Janie, speaking of help, don’t
suppose you’d reconsider sending my new manuscript to your editor? I wish you’d
help me even half as much as those so-called students of yours.”

“Sorry, John. You know my feelings on that subject. If you’d listen to me and do
some rewriting, maybe a little editing, I might be inclined to help. But your epoch,
what’s it called, ‘Tale of Two Tarts’, needs way too much work. I can’t risk turning
my editor off just because you won’t pay attention to my advice.”

He slammed his fist on the table. “That’s just fine! Help a damn stranger, some kid
who needs a mama to clean his nose. But don’t help me. That sure is a hell of a
way to treat your loving husband.”

“John Rivers! Don’t you dare go shoutin’ and swearin’ at me!”

“I need some fresh air!” He turned on his heel and slammed the door behind him.
A moment later, she heard the station wagon as he spun out of the drive and onto
the road.

                                    ~~~

Sam heard the knock on her door as she was headed for a glass of wine. John
was standing there when she looked out the tiny peephole. She swung the door
wide open.

“John, what a pleasant surprise. Did you leave something behind?”

“No.” He hesitated, then uttered in a hoarse voice, “Well, in a way, I did. Yes,
darling, I surely did!”

Without another word, he pulled her to him and kissed her fiercely on the lips. She
accepted his kiss passively for a moment, letting him set the pace. Then, she
melted into his passion with her own as her arms folded around his shoulders. She
opened her lips to accept his exploring tongue, meeting and dominating it with
hers.

After several seconds, she pushed him away and he watched her emerald eyes
sparkle. “John Rivers! My goodness, you surely do have a way of sweeping a girl
off her feet! What in the world’s got into you?” She stepped back to let him into the
room.

“I think you know, Samantha, but I need you to tell me one thing. If I’m wrong, I’ll
apologize and leave. This evening, when you were in the bedroom changing
clothes, did you leave that door open on purpose so I’d see you naked?”

She feigned a surprised look. “John? Indeed! Why would a lady do something like
that? With a married man, of all things.”

Her eyes teased him as she spoke, confirming that he was right. “Sam, damn it!
Don’t toy with me. Tell me the truth. Did you want me to come back here tonight?”

“Yes, John. I truly hoped you’d come back.”

As she spoke, she opened her arms for him again. Beyond words, he pulled her
close and kissed her. His lower body responded instantly, pressing the growing
intensity of his passion against her body. As their hands began mutual
exploration, she unzipped his trousers and reached in to expose the part of him
she was most interested in.  

“Oh goody! You really are long, John! I just love a long, tall man, don’t you know?
Are you going to be my Long John lover?”

He only grunted, releasing her long enough to pull her sweatshirt over her head
and toss it aside. Like a kid in a candy store, he sampled her charms, treat after
treat. Time slipped by as they advanced, retreated, parried and thrust into a
soaring cataclysmic cadence of lust. On the floor, on the sofa—on the kitchen
table.

Next verse, same as the first.

He went home late, well sated and unabashed, resplendent in the smell of his
female. But he was no fool. John slept on the sofa—the one Jane had made up for
him after his hateful exit.

A practice that would soon become a daily habit.
Baby Jane should have been just another statistic in the annals
of New Orleans history, but the infant survived abandonment. A
few years later she should have been a basket case after years
of sexual abuse at the hands of a foster father, but she found a
way to get free of him without losing her sanity.

Or did she?

Set in the charming hospitality of northern Mississippi, CROSSED
LINES is a most inhospitable story of seduction, mystery, and
revenge.
Crossed Lines
Pat Dale
Book Reviews
Excerpt
"I have read several books by Pat Dale and
have enjoyed all of them, but this was one of
the best!"
-gallini
Fiction-Psychological Suspense

Available in Print & e-book
May 2011

$11.95 / $3.99

ISBN-13: 978-1-
936167-43-2
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Contain graphic sexual
content and violence.