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When a UPS box containing every imaginable sex toy available on the planet is dropped off on Avril Baxter’s front doorstep, her suspicions are confirmed -- her twenty-one year marriage is in serious trouble.
No longer satisfied with a vanilla sex life, Harold obviously wants more -- much more -- than Avril is willing to perform inside their bedroom. Avril leaves her husband, setting out on her own journey of self-discovery.
In this tale of seduction and sex games filled with a few twists and turns, Harold and Avril each play the game of sexual exploration to the fullest.
As they redefine their lives, they eventually discover their darkest sexual fantasies, and more than a few surprises about one another.
Avril Baxter had no idea her marriage of twenty-one years was in serious trouble. Not until the day she read the label on a large box UPS dropped off on her front doorstep.
Covered in plain brown paper, the return address read: Adult Home Entertainment, Inc., and her husband’s name, Harold Baxter, had been typed in bold print right above their home address.
Avril’s curiosity overrode any qualms she might have had about opening her husband’s mail. She usually left his letters and packages unopened on the foyer table. But not this time. Instead, she lugged the cumbersome carton through the garage and directly into the great room.
A twinge of guilt made her momentarily question her intentions, but she shook it off. After all, a marriage was at stake here.
Lately, Harold seemed like a stranger. He no longer behaved like the man she married back in the mid-eighties, when roles were more defined and expectations for a marriage basically met.
After weeks of constant speculation, and wishing Harold would tell her what was going on in his head, Avril had come to the only conclusion she could come to, under the circumstances. Harold, Avril decided, was apparently going through some form of mid-life crisis.
But worse, she suspected he was having an affair, and probably with someone he met while surfing the fucking Internet.
Avril could imagine the type of woman he’d choose for his mistress. A woman with loose morals, willing to provide him with what his wife of twenty-one years would or could not—perverted, kinky, uninhibited sex.
She suspected a problem. And the problem now affected their relationship to the extent Harold spent more time on the computer than with her.
Hell, she’d watched enough Oprah, and Dr. Phil to know what went on out there. Married men cheated on unsuspecting wives, and lived secret lifestyles. Men who would never dare ask their wives to do certain things, even behind closed doors, had no reservation engaging in these activities with total strangers.
Avril turned her attention to the box, tearing off the wrapping like a ten-year-old kid on Christmas morning, determinedly, hurriedly, without thought of consequence or reprisal.
Based on the size of the box, she guessed it contained a large assortment of products that Harold had ordered . . . probably from some X-rated online site—private, intimate, and disturbing. What could Harold have possibly been thinking? Boxes that came in brown paper packaging shouted, “Pornography!” What if one of their neighbors had seen the delivery? They’d be whispering behind their hands and spreading gossip quicker than you could say, “Penthouse Pet.”
Avril tugged at the outer flaps. Hopefully, whatever was in the box would give her some clue as to what she was up against.
“What the—.” She pried away the bubble packing, exposing the neatly packed items, some in small colorful boxes, others resting conspiratorially against each other.
“Jesus, Mary Mother, and Joseph,” she said, simultaneously made the sign of the cross. She pulled out a detailed invoice tucked on top.
Thank you for ordering our special “Toy Box!” We are sure you will enjoy these selections. If we can be of further assistance please let us know. We value regular customers.
Regular customers? What? They considered Harold a regular?
What else had Harold been ordering ‘regularly’ from these people who catered to the ‘adult only’ clientele?
Avril took a deep breath and dipped her hand into the box. She pulled each item out, placing them neatly around her. When she was finished, she sat back on her heels and studied the wide array of sexual ‘toys’ and devices. Hell, she didn’t even know what half of them were for! She picked up the accompanying brochure and read each description.
Two vaginal vibrators—one pink -- one violet. The pink one looked sleek and modern, and—if such a word could be used to describe a vibrator—powerful. “Offers firm stimulation during penetration.”
Was Harold looking for firm stimulation during penetration?
Her anger rose and her mind prepared itself like a rattlesnake ready to strike.
Firm stimulation? During penetration? Whose penetration? She tried to wrap her mind around what all this meant, but the more she thought about it, the angrier she got.
The violet one looked more like a penis than a bullet. She held it up to the light and noticed that it had a hard, jelly-like feel. Strangely enough, it wasn’t unpleasant to touch.
One anal vibrator—navy blue. Provides gentle vibration. Primarily used to relax the anal muscles. Mentally she repeated the last sentence. What the hell did Harold need this thing for? Why would anyone want to relax their ass muscles? How could he have the audacity to order something like this, and bring it into their home? Her stomach grew queasy and her mind conjured up all sorts of ugly images. Two, in particular—Harold using the thing on himself, or worse . . . on her. Acrid acid rose in her throat.
One dildo, nude. No fucking way.
Five cock rings—assorted colors. Again she wondered what Harold could possibly plan on doing with all this stuff. What did one do with a cock ring? She felt suddenly stupid, totally ignorant, unsophisticated in the ways of the world, and realized she had been living in the dark ages. She had not one damn clue of their use and had to look again to the informational brochure.
The cock ring fits around the base of the penis. Its tight grip restricts blood from flowing back out of the penis, thus strengthening erection and giving a feeling of fullness and pressure. Use for men with venous leakage problems.
Her mind reeled. Questions queued up, some producing more unpleasant images.
Was Harold having problems ejaculating? She didn’t think so, but then again, their sex life had practically been non-existent these past few months.
Did Harold have a leakage problem? Why the secrecy? His pulling away from her lately had left her feeling not only guilty about her negative response to him at times, but now suddenly responsible for whatever sexual problems he may be experiencing.
But she couldn’t help how things were between them now. He always seemed to want sex at inconvenient times, like just the other morning before she had to leave for work, knowing full well she, as one of the bank’s prominent executives, needed to be sitting behind her desk at a certain time every morning.
She took a deep breath and picked up the next brochure.
One anal wand—white and gold. A shudder coursed through her as she glanced at the line-up of vibrators.
She looked at the invoice again, read through the list, stopped at the words butt plugs.
What the . . .? Butt plugs?
Harold had apparently ordered three—opalescent white, cerulean blue, cinnamon brown. Avril didn’t want to begin to comprehend what Harold needed them for, and could barely staunch her rising nausea as she envisioned her husband of twenty-one years familiarizing himself with their use.
She reread the description, which was basically the same as that of the anal wand, in that it described the devices as providing a feeling of fullness.
A feeling of fullness? Good Lord . . . .
She studied the array of obscene sex toys. Her gaze fell on several acrylic paddles and she suddenly remembered something that happened during one of their recent lovemaking session. Harold had suggested they try something different, and although he did it quite lightly, he spanked her on her butt. His actions had shocked her. Intrigued her. Excited her. But she’d been so unprepared, and did not know how to react. For a moment, she’d felt as if she were having sex with a total stranger.
To some extent, the episode had frightened her.
Harold, obviously sensing her ambiguity, didn’t speak to her the rest of that day. Instead, he’d gone back into his cave and stayed on the fucking computer the entire night.
Avril mentally shook off the bad memory and returned her attention to Harold’s new toys. She grabbed a pair of steel handcuffs and held them up for closer scrutiny. Handcuffs, paddles . . . no doubt about it, her husband had developed a few incredibly kinky interests.
But what did it all mean? To her, to their marriage? She suddenly felt as if a stranger had entered her life.
“That was quick!” Harold said, coming up behind her.
She turned sharply toward him. “Did you actually order this stuff?”
“Obviously,” he replied, standing there in his tight-fitting jeans, a denim shirt, and a brand new pair of brown leather cowboy boots, instead of the conservative buttoned down shirt, tailored slacks, and Florsheims he characteristically wore.
“Why?” She dropped the handcuffs, then picked up a dolphin-shaped contraption.
“I thought you might enjoy that one yourself,” he said, his smile turning lecherous. “It’s a vibrat—”
“I know what it is,” she said, unable to suppress the disgust in her voice. Did he think her totally ignorant?
“You can use it in the tub or in the shower,” he said, as if she might find that information useful or somehow relevant.
She stared at him, flabbergasted by his matter-of-fact tone. “Oh I can, can I? Like I am going to do just that—”
“What’s the matter? I thought you’d find some of this stuff fun. Try it. You might enjoy it!”
“I might enjoy it? Come on, Harold. We both know that’s not what this is about. Obviously, you’re trying to tell me our sex life isn’t fun anymore, that you’re not enjoying it with me anymore.” She hated when her voice bordered on hysteria.
Harold took a deep breath. “Calm down, Avril. That’s not what this is about.”
“Oh no? Isn’t it? A man orders a box—a very large box—of sex toys in just about every color, shape and form! What wife wouldn’t think her husband had grown bored with her, that he needed more than what he was already getting? I wouldn’t be surprised to learn you’ve already got some mistress hidden away somewhere who’s taking care of some of those kinky needs of—”
“For crissakes, Avril, all this can be good for us, for our marriage.”
“Good for us?”
“Yeah, if you open up your mind some, see the potential here.”
“Harold, my mind is opened up, wide open, and I not only see the potential, I see the writing on the wall.”
“Call me Harry! From now, on I’d prefer you call me Harry.”
Stunned, Avril sat there for a moment, unable to respond. Then she shook her head and spoke through gritted teeth. “So now you’ve changed your name? For what? To go along with this degenerative lifestyle you’ve obviously taken on?”
“No, I didn’t change my name.” Harold—Harry—shrugged. “Harry’s simply another form of Harold. No big deal.”
“No big deal to you! But I’ve never called you Harry. I’m not sure if I can ever call you Harry, Harold. You’ve never been a Harry to me. What? Is that why you rented the Dirty Harry movie last week? Is that what this is all about? Becoming really, really macho.” She made a face, half smile, half grimace. “Harold, you were never macho before or during our marriage. Why now? Why this sudden need to change?”
He grinned, glanced down at the box then laughed. “Yeah,” he said, “call me Dirty Harry and make my day.” His laughter rang throughout the room.
Avril stood. He’d ignored her question, and he apparently thought this whole thing was a joke. “I’ll make your day, all right. First, you bring these . . . these so-called toys into our home. And now you think I’m going to turn into some vixen, some oversexed whore, and do all those wild, perverted things in bed with you, Harold,” she said. “You think that by changing your name and bringing this stuff into our lives you can change me! Well I’ve got news for you; you can’t make me into someone else because you want it. It simply doesn't work that way.”
He frowned. “What happened to the person I married? Always ready for something new? That first month after our honeymoon, you were the one who suggested we go whitewater rafting. And then you had us skydiving out of a damn airplane.”
“Is it so different? I don’t think so.”
“Sure it is. There’s a huge difference between skydiving and sticking a butt plug up your ass. Or my ass—like that would ever happen. I can’t believe you actually ordered three of the damn things!”
“Believe me, having a butt plug up your ass is a lot less unnerving than falling out of a damn plane and hoping the fucking parachute opens in time. And what if I asked you to?”
She blinked and stared at him. “Asked me to, what?”
“To put one of those ‘things’ up my ass. Would you do it?”
Vigorously shaking her head, she folded her arms across her chest and glared down at the box and the items strewn about. “It’s obvious you’ve made up your mind about all this. And there’s nothing I can say to get through to you and make you realize how sick this all is.”
“It’s not sick, Avril. Listen . . . I thought we’d go up to our mountain cabin. We haven’t been there in years. We could take all this stuff with us, put it to good use.” He chuckled. “It’s quiet there this time of year, we’d have lots of privacy.” He reached down and scooped up the handcuffs and a small switch. “Avril, we could scream our fucking heads off and no one would hear us.”
She looked at him in horror, yet at the same time his words conjured up images that intrigued her. And Harold seemed so serious, so intent upon getting her approval for his newfound interests, she was almost tempted to say yes. But if she did, what would that make her? A whore, that’s what. Decent women just didn’t do those kinds of things, even with their own husbands. She hardened her resolve and shot him a direct glance. “I am working this weekend. Remember?”
“You worked last weekend,” he said. “Is this going to be a regular thing?”
“There are rumors of layoffs at the bank, and I don’t want my name appearing on anyone’s shortlist of people who are expendable. That’s why I’m putting in the extra hours on Saturdays.”
“Avril, we’re not hurting for money. I make enough for the both of us. Maybe you getting laid off wouldn’t be such a bad thing.”
Had he gone mad? “It’s always about you!” she yelled. “And lately, it’s not like we do anything romantic together, not since you set that freaking computer up inside our den.”
“It’s my office, as well, and it’s where I do my work,” he said, his voice calm.
She shook her head. Sure, as an insurance adjuster, he needed a home office, and spent much of his time in their den compiling reports. But she also knew he’d been trolling around the Internet lately, accessing sites that only encouraged him to do something like this. She looked at the box again and felt that sense of control she had always counted on slipping away. After twenty-one years of marriage, suddenly she and Harold were no longer on the same page.
Oh, she couldn’t deny she had her own erotic fantasies. Most women did, but Avril always believed they should remain inside the mind, undisclosed, not to be shared, and definitely not to be played out in real life. She’d never shared a single one of her fantasies . . . not even with her husband.
In a way, she could understand Harold’s attitude. After all, sex was everywhere these days. On television, in books, and most especially on the Internet. Maybe she shouldn’t be so upset or surprised to find Harold had been sucked in by it all.
“Try to take the time off,” he said, not looking up at her.
She watched him pick up the various gadgets and organize them into neat, orderly piles.
“I’ll think about it,” she told him, but knew she wouldn’t.
“You said that the last time I asked for some of your time, but nothing’s changed.”
He was going to mope around now, she knew. He’d go into that godforsaken den and ignore her for the rest of the evening. Worse, he’d probably spend hours surfing those damn porn sites.
Well, she thought bitterly, she wouldn’t give him the chance to ignore her—not tonight, not ever. She grabbed the car keys from the side table in the foyer. “I’m going out for a while. I need fresh air.”
He didn’t even bother to look up. He sat in the middle of the floor, an anal wand in one hand and a cock ring in the other. The image burned itself into her mind.
She turned on her heel and made a fast exit out the front door, wondering if her marriage was well and truly over.
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