Daisy was sweeping off the back deck. It was a warm afternoon and as usual, she was nude. With an eight-foot high fence around the backyard, there was no more reason to dress than if she had been inside. Besides, she enjoyed going without clothes and would have been a nudist if she hadn't always been so shy around people.

The leaves from the old oak tree kept sticking in the cracks between the boards so that she had to bend and pull them free. Sweep, sweep, bend, sweep, sweep—it was good exercise, she thought with a smile. Not that she really needed to exercise; she was as slim at forty-five as she had been at sixteen.

She frowned slightly and stopped sweeping. A funny smell tickled her nose. It was that sweet bitter smell like burnt sulfur. She remembered it from a chemistry class many, many years ago. She looked around the yard and, not seeing anything out of place, went back to sweeping.

A few minutes later, she bent over again to pull more leaves out of the cracks; a deep male voice spoke from behind her.

"You do have one fine looking ass."

Daisy jumped and spun around. A tall, slender, older man was leaning against the oak tree staring at her, his arms folded across his broad chest.

"Who . . . who are you?" Daisy asked quickly.

"Just a traveling stranger."

"What are you doing in my yard? Better yet, how did you get in my yard? The gates are all padlocked on the inside."

The man shrugged before speaking. "I just popped in."

Daisy looked at him sharply. His reply made no sense. His eyes had been wandering up and down her naked body and it suddenly dawned on Daisy that she was naked. She considered running into the house and calling the police, especially since she lived all alone these days.

"I mean you no harm," the man said. "I miscalculated my jump and landed here by accident."

"Jump? You jumped my fence? That is impossible."

"Yeah, that would be impossible, wouldn't it? I don't fly and I can't walk through solid wood so . . . Let's just leave the rest as my little secret for now, shall we?"

Daisy shook her head more to clear it than to disagree with him. His golden brown eyes had settled on her face for the moment. An odd color for a man with jet-black hair, she thought.

"Where are you from?"

The man sighed and shook his head. "You keep asking all the hard questions. I would tell you straight out but you wouldn't believe me so I'll just say around and leave it at that."

"A man of mystery," Daisy said more to herself than to him.

"That is a good way to put it." He stepped away from the tree to walk over to the steps. "I don't mean to be but that is the way of it."

He had a rolling gait but Daisy couldn't decide if it was like the sea legs of a sailor or if one of his legs was shorter than the other.

"I need to go inside and you need to leave," she said suddenly as he got closer.

"I can't leave for another hour. It takes time to recharge."

Now Daisy was confused again. "Recharge what?"

"Uh, let's just say my batteries or something very much like one."

The man was leaning on the handrail of the steps looking up at her. Even though his eyes were a strange color, they had a softness to them. They were old eyes that had seen a lot but then that didn't match his middle-aged appearance. She felt attracted to him in a strange way.

"Would you like some coffee? Or maybe iced tea would be better at this time of day," Daisy said softly.

"Thank you, iced tea sounds wonderful. I haven't had any in many years. Friends used to make it for me all the time but they are long gone and dead by now, I'm pretty sure. One lady made it super sweet with a hint of lemon."

Daisy looked at the man and wondered what he meant by the people being long gone and dead. He didn't look old enough to have dead friends, especially long dead friends but then his eyes drew her attention again. She shivered slightly.

"I don't think I have any lemon," she said as she turned toward the kitchen door.

"Without will be just fine," the man said as she went inside.


Daisy filled two large glasses with ice and was pouring the tea when she wondered why she hadn't screamed and ran in the house when the man appeared next to the tree. She felt far too calm for there to be a stranger in her private backyard. The fact that she was thinking the way she was and still being calm was even stranger.

With a deep breath, she sat the tea pitcher on the counter and picked up the two glasses. For some reason, it did not surprise her when the man opened the door for her.

"Thank you," she said as she carried the glasses over to the table and sat them down. Turning, she stared at the man. "Are you in my mind?"

He smiled sheepishly and sat down at the table. "Not so much in your mind as damping down your panic from earlier. I don't really want to draw attention to myself and your screaming would have certainly done that."

"What else are you doing that I should know about?"

He shrugged and reached for one of the glasses. "That's about it, although I do like looking at you and you do have a nice mind."

As he took a sip of the tea, Daisy said, "I'm usually very shy around strangers and you are very strange indeed." She paused a moment to pick up her tea glass. "What is so nice about my mind?"

"It is well organized and very calm and peaceful. Or at least it was until you saw me. After that, all bets were off."

Daisy smiled in spite of herself. She had not had any company since her son had left for college in the spring. Being alone for the first time in her life was peaceful in a way, lonely in another. Her mind shied away from her husband and daughter.

The man sipped his tea, his eyes roaming over Daisy's body. Smallish breasts, rounded hips, the hair on her sex trimmed short and neat. Obviously a woman who took care of herself. Her all over even tan spoke of a woman who was naked more often than not while outside.

"A shy lady who likes to be naked outdoors. That's quite a contradiction," he said with a smile.

"The big fence makes me feel safe from prying eyes." Daisy frowned. "Up until now, anyways."

"I apologize again for the intrusion, but I won't apologize for looking at you. You are a good looking woman," the man said.

"My husband . . . my husband loved to look at me also."

"Past tense," the man said softly. "My condolences."

Daisy shook her head and turned away to stare across the yard as her eyes burned. She had told herself she would not cry anymore. It had been a while since the last time but the feelings welled up as her mind supplied a picture of her late husband, Jim, sitting at that same table looking at her lovingly.

"He was a lucky man, to be so loved," the man said as he stood up.

Daisy still had her back to him as he walked up behind her and put his arms around her waist. She gave a jumping jerk and then whimpered softly as he pressed up against her back and hugged her gently but firmly. It was something Jim would have done.

"Accidents happen," the man whispered in her ear. "They are no one's fault."

Daisy felt her head nod but really did not agree with what he said. She should have been with them that day. Maybe she could have made things different. Daisy gave a jerk as the man went on.

"The only thing that would be different is your son would have been an orphan."

"How . . . how . . . are you reading my mind?" Daisy got the words out in a breathy whisper.

"Now that I'm touching you, yes, I can," the man whispered softly.

Daisy moaned softly and then whimpered as one of his hands moved slowly up across her ribs and caressed her left breast gently. She should have been shocked. She should have been outraged. But she wasn't. His hand on her breast and the feelings it was generating held her complete attention.

The man's lips and hot tongue on her neck made her close her eyes and groan softly. As he continued to kiss, nibble, and lick her neck, his other hand came up to cup and squeeze her right breast. Daisy felt like she was floating on a sea of pleasure. His touch on her neck and breasts was driving waves of pleasure down to pool in her sex.

She was trembling by the time the man lowered his hands and stepped back. For a moment she wondered why he had stepped away from her and then she was shocked by her own question. She spun around to see the man once again seated at the table. He smiled at her and sipped his tea.

"My husband was my only lover," Daisy whispered and then blushed deeply as she wondered why she had said that.

"Then you need to get out there and find you another. Love and lovers are what keep the world sane."

"The world is sane?" Daisy asked with a hint of sarcasm in her voice. "Not from what I see."

"Yes, things are a little hectic and crazy overall, but on the individual level, it is pretty sane."

Daisy moved closer to the table and picked up her glass of tea and sipped it as she thought over what he had said.

"There is a lot of truth in that, yes. All of the people I know well seem happy at least most of the time."

"Happy and sane are not the same thing. There are happy insane mass murderers. There are happy people in insane asylums all over the world."

Daisy giggled. "But they are not people I know. A few do crazy things sometimes but not anything terrible."

"True," the man said as he stood up. "Doing crazy things doesn't make you crazy. Doing crazy things can keep you sane and happy."

"I don't think I've ever done anything crazy in my life," Daisy said and then sighed. "Not really crazy anyway."

"Maybe you should," the man said as he walked around the table to stand in front of Daisy.

"Like what?" He confused her. Or was that scared her, she wondered as she looked up at him.

The man looked down at her and smiled broadly. "So many wonderful things do come to mind," he said softly and then sighed. "It's too bad I have to be somewhere else very shortly."

"Will you ever come back?" Daisy asked as her brain flashed pictures of some very crazy things she could do right there on the deck with the man in front of her. She blushed deeply and whimpered.

"I might be able to find the time here and there," he said as he leaned over and kissed her fleetingly on the lips.

Daisy's eyes went wide as she licked her lips and moaned. He smelled and tasted of cinnamon. She felt her sex tighten up inside as she licked her lips again. She shivered as the thoughts of making love to him returned full force.

A moment later she whimpered and whispered, "Anytime, anytime at all."

He smiled and sat the tea glass down. "Time for me to leave."

Daisy watched him go down the steps and then walk over beside the tree. "You need to turn around now."

She didn't hesitate to follow his request. A moment later she smelled that smell again and turned around. The man was gone. She ran over and looked behind the tree. He wasn't there. With a deep sigh she turned and went back up on the deck. With another sigh, she sat her tea glass down and picked up her broom.

She was smiling as she went back to sweeping and picking the leaves out from between the boards. Now she had something to look forward to. At least until her son came home for the holidays later in the year.

She didn't feel nearly as alone as she had earlier and that was a good thing. She had an angel looking after her now.

Daisy stopped sweeping and spun around, her eyes wide and her mouth open. Slowly her eyes returned to normal and her mouth closed. After another moment, she whispered, "No. I don't believe in that stuff anymore."

There was a loud explosion somewhere off in the distance. Daisy turned that way. "The refinery," she said sharply and hurried inside to see what was on the news, all thoughts of angels forgotten.

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