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Wolf Purebred (She-Shifters of Hell's Corner Book 5) by Candace Ayers (1)

1

Muddy

If anyone would have told me ten years ago that I’d be spending my Friday night with a house full of senior citizens, listening to them prattle on about the joys of ergonomic sex toys, I would’ve told them they were nuts. If anyone would’ve told me that I’d be enjoying it, because finally I was immersed in a group of women with whom I had something in common, I would’ve told them I was nuts. Yet, there I was, at the ripe old age of almost thirty, sitting in my dining room with the New Mexico Flamingo Grannies listening to a much too vivid conversation about senior friendly sex toys.

And enjoying it.

There were ten Flamingo Grannies staying at my bed and breakfast. Another fifteen were staying at a motel in Smith and had come over in a chartered van. All my mismatched furniture and every one of my folding chairs held wiggling granny bottoms. Based on my assessment, the ladies were all over eighty, if they were a day. I’d never seen so much bright red blush dotted onto saggy, wrinkled cheeks in my life. There was also an overwhelmingly pervasive odor of hair perms and hair dye. Their midday excursion had been a day trip down to the salon and the Flamingo Grannies were rocking enough blue hair to make any wayward teen jealous.

I sat with the obvious leader of the bunch, Laverne Dane. What a hoot. She controlled her pack of golden girls better than a military officer. She even intimidated me a bit, if I was being honest. With her crystal encrusted cane and black fedora, Laverne had attitude for days. She was also the reason I was participating in the Flamingo gathering with women more than twice my age.

I’d been minding my own business, finishing up my nightly chores, when I skirted the dining room enroute to my bedroom. It’d been a long day. I’d been tired and anxious to crawl into bed and feel sorry for myself all night long until morning arrived. A practice which had fast become a habit after I’d paid a visit to my hometown of Chattington, Virginia for my uncle’s funeral a month ago. Instead of a solo pity party, I’d been summoned by Laverne’s strong, almost masculine voice demanding I sit and have some wine with them. I was hard-pressed to accept the woman’s invite.

As it turned out, I was glad I did. The old girls were a blast and had enough energy to shame a live electrical wire. Laverne kept everyone on their toes and had a lively party atmosphere going. I had a feeling that Laverne had been quite a hell-raiser in her prime.

“My granddaughter watches that show on Netflix, with the two older broads in it. You know that one we used to firm our butts with back in the day? I can’t remember her name.”

“Jane Fonda’s aerobic workouts!” A bigger woman with shocking pink lipstick and drawn-on brows was waving her arms in mock workout fashion.

Laverne granted her a big grin. “That’s right. Jane Fonda. She and her hippy friend came up with a vibrator for old battleaxes like y’all.”

Meredith, Laverne’s best gal, snorted. “You’re the only old battleaxe I see.”

It spiraled from there. I had to separate an arm wrestling match between the two of them which ended up with Laverne challenging me to an arm wrestling match. Turned out, the battleaxe was pretty strong for an old gal, but I was a shifter, so there was no way she was going to best me. She promptly informed me that she’d been arm wrestling champion of McCall County, ten years running. Me beating her had gained me her respect and friendship. And thusly, I made my way into the Flamingo Grannies inner circle.

Which was why, at one AM, I was sitting in my dining room with women older than my grandmother, drinking wine and gabbing about vibrators with arthritic grips.

The group was rowdy, but it didn’t matter since they were the only guests in the place. They’d booked the entire B&B for the week. The only problem I saw was that it was day one of their stay. I didn’t know if I could keep up with them for several more. Not if they did this every night. Surely, they couldn’t do it every night.

When I tuned back in, they were discussing Laverne’s late husband. My unfortunate timing.

“Ronnie wasn’t a small man, bless his heart. By the time he turned fifty, he was so big that we had to buy him one of those special recliners. The ones that throw you up when you’re done sitting. Ronnie had a penis that matched his body, though.” She waggled her eyebrows.

Meredith giggled. “Pale and limp?”

Laverne reached over and smacked Meredith. “Big. Huge. He was hung like a stallion.”

I looked around and noticed that everyone was leaning in, listening to her intently. I sat back and drained my wine glass.

Laverne, ever the hostess, apparently, stood up and refilled my glass while continuing to regale our group with poor Ronnie’s business. “He didn’t have the stamina that my lover before Ronnie had, mind you. Henry. Henry was average sized, but, ooh, that man could last for hours.”

“Hours?” I’d spoken without my own permission. It was like the wine had loosened my lips and tongue. And my mind.

“Hours, honey. Why do you look so shocked? As hotty-hot as you are, you must have a line out the door of men working it for you.”

I blocked the depressive thought stream that threatened to emerge and forced a smile that I hoped looked mysterious. “I don’t kiss and tell.”

Comments about my business were suddenly thrown out from all over the room.

“Which means she’s not getting laid.”

“Or, if she is, it’s not any good.”

So much for my mysterious smile. Meredith patted my arm. “Poor dear. Lack of good sex will age you.”

And, that sparked Laverne and Meredith all over again.

“Who are you to be talking about aging? Your face could pass for a sack of rubbish from a paper shredder.”

“You old bitch. Your mirror thinks you’re a two-week-old bowl of oatmeal.”

“Better than the crumpled cardboard box your mirror sees.”

“Oh, you go to hell. Your face has more lines than a road map.”

“You’ve been ridden more than the roads on a road map.”

“It’s not my fault that you chose little dick Henry and fat Ronnie with the special chair.”

I shook my head and stood up. “I’m going to bed.”

They booed me and someone even threw something that looked suspiciously like a purple condom at me. Laverne patted my arm and smiled. “Not everyone can stomach us. We’re an acquired taste.”

I wanted to argue, but she was right. I needed to get out of there before I heard something else that I couldn’t un-hear, or found myself referee in a fist fight between two eighty-year-olds.

I stumbled up to my room in the attic and shut off the lights before falling Nestea-plunge style into bed. I was too exhausted to think, and what an unexpected blessing that was. Maybe drinking with the Flamingo Grannies was the way to go.

The shrill sound of them laughing reached all the way up to my room and I snorted out a chuckle at the absurdity of fate. I had to admit, the evening had been a blast. I found myself drunkenly looking forward to another day with the Flamingo Grannies.

For a woman who’d very recently watched the last of her closest friends settle down with a mate, it was like a breath of fresh air to hang out with other single women. I would never “settle down”, never take a mate, and forever retain my single status, all of which had been eating at me. Even more so since I’d returned from Virginia. It had been the first time I’d been back in ten years, and boy had the memories resurfaced. Along with the pain.

The hole in my heart that had taken years to heal over had been ripped back open in a single weekend. And, every night since then, it had been expanding. My biggest fear now was that not only would I lead a life of abject loneliness, but that I would forever feel the deep pain of rejection by my mate.

Thank god for the wine buzz to knock me out. Breakfast at six, a special breakfast for the early risers, was going to come awfully soon.