tagRomanceWas I Man Enough?

Was I Man Enough?

byAndyhm©

Was I man enough?

This is something that has been rattling around in my mind for several years ever since an old friend of mine told me how he'd been able to pull his imploding marriage back from the brink with the help of counselling and a sex surrogate. It got me wondering, what was the real story behind the use of surrogates, and not the tabloid press version, and how do friends and relatives react. I've been writing and rewriting various versions of this story for the last year, I hope that this version works for you.

The time line flits back and forth between the two main characters, not always in perfect sequence. But that's how the story grew in my mind so I'm afraid you will have to live with the confused musings of my imagination.

There is some sex but not as much as my other stories.

I can't thank Romantic1 enough for the time he spent reviewing, commenting on and editing this story, any remaining mistakes are mine.


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Prologue

I picked up my cup of coffee from the counter and walked to a table between two comfy chairs by the window. Sitting down I pulled out the book I'd bought a few minutes earlier at the bookstore downstairs and opened it to the first page. Four words leapt out at me from the page 'We need to talk'. With a wry smile I realised I'd been sitting in the same spot five years ago when the most beautiful girl in my life had uttered the same four words to me, turning my world inside out.

How did it all start? Downstairs in the bookstore five and a half ago, that's when and where. I was sitting on a comfy armchair, tucked away between a pair of book shelves, while I watched as Ian signed his name in a book and handed it the woman on the other side of the desk. I'd been shanghaied by my agent into offering Ian moral support at his first book signing. I remember my first one, the sweaty palms, the dry throat as you sit there hoping that someone, anybody, will turn up and want you to sign a book, so I felt a degree of sympathy.


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Daniel

My name is Daniel Davidson, and I'm thirty-six. I'm also an author; I'd begun by publishing erotic short stories online for my own entertainment over ten years ago. Somehow I'd managed to hit a cord with the readers and generated a following. Eight years ago a literary agent was sent a copy of one of my stories and liked it enough to contact me. I was one of the lucky ones. She found me an editor and between us, we managed to turn a series of linked short stories I'd written into a book.

I'd used the pen name Alexander Peters, I'm not sure why we'd chosen that name, it just seemed right at the time and now I'm stuck with it. The book did well enough that the publisher offered me a further five book deal. They waved a cheque with enough noughts on it to make it easy for me to jack in my real world job.

My publishers and agent were based in the States - (did I forget to say I'm British; I probably did knowing me. The Internet makes the world a very small place on occasions). They suggested I move to the States to write the other books. There was nothing but Liz, my bitter unfaithful ex-fiancée to keep me in England. My parents had died with months of each other a year before, and I was an only child. I can't say I was on the next plane but it was pretty close.

For the first few months I'd hung around Chicago where my agent had her office. She'd found me an apartment to rent while I sold my home back in the small village I'd grown up in Kent. To my total surprise the home and the surrounding two and a half acres of land I'd lived in all my life sold for a whopping million and a half pounds.

With that financial freedom I started to look for somewhere else to live. I don't like big cities; I found it difficult to write in the enclosed space of the city.

I'd lived and worked all my life in a small village set amongst the rolling hill and orchards of the Kent countryside. The only time I'd left it was the three years it took me to get my degree in history at university.

Jenny my agent listened to my tales of frustrations of ever finding just what I wanted and suggested I look farther afield. She'd grown up in Denver and proposed we take a trip to have a look at the towns in the hills above Denver. Take a trip with a beautiful blond, I'd say so. Then she dashed my hopes by saying she was bringing her girlfriend with her on the trip.

We found just what I was looking for an hour to the southwest of Denver. A three-bedroom log cabin set in the hills just above a small lake on the outskirts of a town called Evergreen. I fell in love with it the moment it came into view as we turned the bend in the dirt road. It was a large modern A-frame design and the whole of the end wall was glass with the most amazing views across the lake and the hills beyond.

I told Jenny, "This is the one, and I love it."

She shushed me and then proceeded to demolish the real-estate agent. We signed the deal at a hundred thousand under the asking price. I honestly think if Jenny had spent a couple of more hours the harassed agent would have paid her to take the place off her hands.

Six weeks later I was all moved in and with a working Internet connection I was half way through the editing of my second novel.


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Two more years, two short relationships that failed in part because of the insecurities that Liz had left me with, and three further best sellers brings us to Ian's first book signing In a bookstore in Evergreen, the town near where I lived. Jenny had begged, bullied and blackmailed me into going. I don't like attending my own signings let alone anyone else's. And I never did a signing this close to home, I kind of like my anonymity.

Jenny had disappeared leaving me on my own. I was sitting and watching as Ian grew steadily more confident as he saw the line growing. I stood to leave, texting Jenny to let her know I was going.

I wasn't looking where I was going and I ploughed into someone walking over to join the line with a book in their hands. The book fell to the floor and I bent down and picked it and straightened to look into a pair of the most mesmerising brown eyes I'd ever seen. Long glossy black hair was swept back from her oval face that had the hint of the orient in her features. I couldn't tell what the rest of her looked like other than she was probably in her late twenties or early thirties and she was about five-eight. The rest was hidden under the bulky long coat she was wearing. Had I mentioned it was three weeks before Christmas and it was well below freezing and snowing outside, again probably not!

"I'm so sorry," I said.

I think she was about to ignore me but my British accent held her attention long enough for her to calm down a bit. Then she saw how long the line was and cursed.

"Shit this going to take forever and I have to get back to the office," she moaned.

Her eyes had struck deep into my soul and I saw the perfect opportunity to speak to her. "Give me the book please, I can fix it for you," I said, and then thought to ask whom it's for?

"Ohh, It's for me."

"And you are?"

"I'm Mia."

I hurried off to the desk and caught Ian's eye. "Quick sign this one for me, and make it out to Mia." I thrust the book at him.

He grinned up at me and wrote on the title page.

To Mia,
Enjoy the book,
Ian Peters

or better still ask
Daniel to read it to you.


I smiled at the comment and hoped that Mia wasn't to upset with the addition. I walked back to Mia and handed her the book back. She gave me a quizzical look and then she glanced at the inscription and a small smile flashed across her face.

She said, "I guess you are Daniel," then she looked at her watch and cursed.

"Look I'm sorry," she said, "I have to go or I'll be late for my next appointment. It was really nice meeting you Daniel."

I fumbled in my pocket for a card and scribbled my number and e-mail address on the back of it.

I said, "I know we've only just met but is there any chance could we go out for a drink or a meal? You can get me on these numbers, please call me." I said as I tucked the card into the book.

She hesitated looking at me, and then she gave me a smile that lit up her face. "I think I'd like that," she said, "I'll get in touch later in the week." She gave me a quick peck on the cheek and left the store.

I returned to the signing and found that Jenny was back.

"Where were you?" She asked.

"I just needed to stretch my legs."

She gave me a long look, "I don't suppose you'd consider..." I stopped her with a look.

"Sorry, you know my rule; I don't do signings so close to home."

"You can't blame a girl for trying can you?" I laughed and left her.


~ ~ ~ ~ <> ~ ~ ~ ~



It was four days before an e-mail popped on my screen from an a.l.lee with the subject line: Can Daniel read me a story? It was a simple message, would Daniel like to read me a story over dinner with a telephone number and a list of dates. The first was on the coming Friday. A couple of quick phone calls and I had a reservation at a great local steak house for Friday night. I e-mailed her back with details and a question.

She texted back, 'can u pick me up from the office please', and then she sent the address. I confirmed and got back to reviewing the edits on the latest chapter.

On Friday night I pulled up outside her office. It was snowing gently, the flakes dancing in the light from the headlights. I didn't get a chance to get out of the car before she was standing beside the car opening the passenger door and sliding in. We talked about nothing as I drove us the ten miles to the restaurant. I kept glancing at her, at her black silk stocking covered legs, her delicate hands clutched in her lap. The elegant curve of her neck, the long glistening black hair gathered into a simple ponytail. And the amazing aroma of woman that wafted in my direction.

I saw the little glances she gave me and I wondered how she saw me. I glanced across at her window and saw my face reflected in it. I'm thirty-two, a tad under six foot and I've managed to keep reasonably trim. My hair is light brown and my short beard is speckled with the odd grey hairs. I have blue eyes and a fair skin curtsy of my Anglo-Saxon ancestors.

We pulled up outside the restaurant and the miracle of valet parking occurred, so we were able to hurry into the warmth of the lobby. We took our coats off and I was able to admire her properly for the first time. She was wearing the classic little black dress that every woman I've ever know seems to own. In her case it was the epitome of elegance. The hem was two inches above her knees the sleeves were full and the neckline just hinted at her exquisite cleavage. She filled the dress to perfection. I'd been right on my guess on her height, and she was maybe a hundred and ten pounds. I felt rather shabby beside her. I was in my comfortable chinos, an open neck shirt and my favourite tweed jacket.

We were led to our table and our drinks orders taken. We looked at each other and there was that feeling we'd know each other all of our lives.

She spoke first. "So tell me about you Daniel," then she grinned at me. "Or should I call you Alex?"

I looked at her in surprise, "How do you know that?"

She laughed and reached into her bag and handed me the card I'd give her. Shit I'd grabbed an Alexander Peters card from my pocket by mistake.

Then she pulled a paperback copy of my first novel from her bag and said, "I don't think your photos very accurate." The photo on the back cover was of me, but it was a very young me taken ten years ago when I was clean-shaven. If you squinted in a very bad light you might recognise me. I'd chosen to use it for just that reason, I like the trapping of success but I wasn't keen on the idea of being recognised by any Tom, Dick or Harry

"I'm Daniel to my friends," I said and I gave her a potted history of my life.

After we finished our steaks I asked her the same question. "So who's Mia?"

For a moment I thought she wasn't going to say anything then she smiled and said. "I'm Amelia Lee, but I warn you now I only allow my grandmother to call me Amelia, to all my friends I'm Mia."

She pointed at herself and her slightly oriental features. "As you can see I'm a quarter Chinese, my father is Anglo Chinese from Hong Kong. He met my mother when they were both working for a bank in Hong Kong. I'm twenty-nine, the eldest of my three siblings. I have a brother and a sister."

She grinned at me and said, "When you speak you remind me of my father, you both have the same accent. He calls it his public school accent."

I laughed and went to speak, but she put her hand up and said, "I know just what you are going say, my dad says the same thing all the time when people comment on his accent. 'I don't have an accent ..."

"You do," I completed. We both laughed and for the first time she held out her hand. I took it in mine and it was as though a spark of electricity shot through us.

She rubbed my finger and said, "No ring, and you've never worn one so I guess that means you're not married or that the men in England don't wear wedding rings?"

"Some do, some don't, but I'm single and currently much unattached, and how about you?"

She seemed to hesitate before answering, "I'm not in a relationship at the moment. My job makes it sort of difficult for me to have one."

I gave her a concerned look, I had written about love at first sight and stormy relationships. It was a little scary to think the girl of my dreams might turn out to be a character from one of my novels.

She paused for so long I thought that she'd finished talking. Then with a shake of her head she continued, "I'm a therapist working for a marriage counseling practice. I get to see the broken side of marriage and relationships. I tend to see the issues and risks of a relationship. It sort of makes it difficult for me to have one of my own." I felt that I was only getting the edited highlights.

I had always thought I knew about relationships, most of my books were about love and broken relationships. But as I listened to her musings that evening I wasn't sure anymore.

Mia seemed to relax and continued, "I've seen marriages founder on one wrong word and others survive the most extensive adultery. I've helped incompatible couples find true love, and I've watched as the most compatible couples implode and burn."

She finished in a very quiet voice, as if she was talking to herself. "I love my work but I'm scared it's going to affect me."

I squeezed her hand and she seemed to shake herself. Then she looked up at me and gave me a quick smile. "Thank you for asking me out and thank you for listening to me, I haven't done this for so long."

I said, "At least now I have a list of the nights you are free, well for the next week or so. There's a play I want to see in Denver, I can get tickets for tomorrow night if you are interested." I checked the calendar on my phone. "It's one of your free nights," I hinted.

She laughed and her whole face lit up, "You put all my free dates into your calendar!" I showed her the calendar page with her free dates highlighted. "I'd love to go to the theatre with you, what's the show?"

"Ah now, that's a surprise."

She grinned and we both ordered coffee. We were one of the last groups of dinners left so I paid the bill and we reluctantly stood up and retrieved our coats and waited in the lobby until the car was brought around.

As we headed back into town Mia said, "Can you drop me off at the offices, I left my car there."

"What about tomorrow, where shall I pick you up from?"

She leant forward and fiddled with the navigation system, "There I've set my home address, what time do you want to pick me up?"

I thought quickly as I wanted to spend as much time as possible with this enchanting woman. "How about I pick you up early, I could show you where I live and we can have light lunch. Then we can drive into Denver and get a meal before the show starts."

"How about you give me your address and I'll drive to your place for lunch."

"That would work just as well." I said, telling her my address and she stored it in her phone.

I pulled up outside her office block and she directed me to the parking garage next door. I parked next to her car, and she went to open the door. Then she stopped and leant over and kissed me, a long hard kiss that took me by surprise. I got out of the car with her and made sure she got into hers safely. I followed her out of the garage and down Main Street until she turned off and headed up the side street to her apartment block. I carried on and drove the five miles up into the hills back to my place.

I sat in the car listening to the ticks as the engine cooled. I pondered on her stories and the warm feeling I got from just thinking about her. I realised that I was experiencing something I'd never thought I'd feel again, love at first sight. Finally as the cold started to bit into me I went inside and poured a malt whiskey and took it to bed. Sleep came quickly, and I dreamed of beautiful dusky oriental girls on a sandy beach.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~



Mia pulled up in the driveway at twelve-thirty and my heart jumped to see her step out of her car. I met her at the door and took her coat. She wore a blue linen skirt and dark blue blouse. She walked through into the main room with the open fireplace and its wonderful view.

She froze and then whispered to me, "I love it, and this is the home of my dreams." She wandered round looking into all the rooms on the ground floor then up the staircase to the mezzanine and my office. She sat in my chair and let her fingertips drift along the surface of my desk, while she stared out at the same view I looked at every day as I worked. Your eyes were drawn out across the main room to the wall of glass that framed the slope down to the flat ice covered expanse of the lake and the distant shoreline. The conifer clad hills provided the perfect backdrop to the glistening ice and snow.

I stood behind her and tentatively let my hands rest on her shoulders. She looked up at me and placed hers on top of mine and gave them a gentle squeeze.

She nodded in the direction of the view and said, "Now I can understand why your books are so full of love, how could you ever write anything ugly with that view in front of you."

"You've read my books?" I asked, it was the one thing I'd carefully not asked the previous evening.

"All five of them," she replied. "They sit in my office so I can reread my favourite parts when work gets me down."

"If you've already got them then I suppose that you won't want these ones then?" I said as I pointed to the five first edition hardback copies on the corner of my desk.

She picked the top one up and smiled at the words I'd written on the fly page.

"Of course I want them. I'll treasure them; do they all say the same?"

"No each one is different."

She checked the front pages of each copy and smiled to herself. Then she said, "You promised to feed me."

I led her downstairs and into the kitchen. I got out the smoked salmon quiche I'd been keeping warm in the oven and placed it on the table. The salads were in the fridge as was the bottle of Cloudy Bay, Sauvignon Blanc. We sat side by side as we ate the food and drank the wine. I could feel the heat from her; it was as though we'd known each other for years not just a few days. I could feel the sexual tension sparking between us like static electricity.

"When do we have to leave to make the show," she asked?

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byAndyhm© 62 comments/ 39881 views/ 63 favorites

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