Chapter 1 Spent, she lay on her side, her knees drawn up to her stomach, her arms crisscrossed gently cradling her tender breasts, humbly licking her wounds, quietly comforting herself. Holding her eyes closed, she tried to will away the ache between her thighs, though she knew it would eventually subside. Always the pain of being with Louis lingered longer than the pleasure of his passion; and always he stayed longer than he needed to--or rather, longer than she wanted him to. Telling him that she had a busy day tomorrow and needed her rest didn't move him along any faster, but telling him that it was 9:15 did--he had an hour's drive ahead of him out to Long Island. Yet it wasn't the lateness of the hour that motivated him, it was not wanting to be made to lie about where he was coming from. He cheated on his wife with a clear conscience, he just didn't like lying about it--he prided himself on not being a liar. As far as she knew, cheating and lying were one and the same, but that wasn't any concern of hers; she just wanted him to go. At the door, "Just one more kiss" turned into three more long, deep kisses. "I always hate leaving you," he said. "You know what they say about all good things." "And you're certainly a good thing." Riiiing! "I'd better get that," she said, trying to pull herself out of his smothering embrace. He held her tighter. "They'll call back." Riiiing! Her neck and face were suddenly hot. "Let me get that." "Let it ring," he said, nibbling on her left earlobe. Riiiing! "Louis," she said, pulling her head away so that her earlobe slipped out of his mouth. She was repulsed by his refusal to let go of her. He pecked her on the lips. "I wish there were two of me." Riiiing! Feigning a syrupy smile, she planted her hands firmly but gently on his chest and pushed him out the door into the hallway. "Sorry, you're just one man," she said, pushing the door up. "See how you treat me?" The telephone rang no more. "Go home. You made me miss my call." "If it's important . . ." "They may not call back. Louis, please go home before . . ." Riiiing! "I'm answering that. I'll talk to you tomorrow." She closed the door and locked it. She could hear him laughing on the other side of the door. "Go home!" Riiiing! "See you, baby love," he said through the door. She dashed for the telephone in the living room. "Hello?" "Slut." Click. Excerpted from Shades of Jade: A Novel by Gloria Mallette All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.