Author: Alana Lorens
Genre: Mainstream/Contemporary Romance
Buy: The Wild Press
Lily Pearl joined one such discussion at the bar in the late morning early in December. No one was dressed yet, though she noticed since they’d discovered his true identity, the girls dressed more conservatively, and Gene dressed in a more casual style.
Maybe that was how they did things in South Florida .
Lily tiptoed into the room, not wanting to interrupt. She’d coaxed her hair up into a loose knot at the back of her head, tying it with a blue ribbon. She hadn’t worn her hair like that for years.
She felt ten years younger.
The lacy cotton dress with the full princess skirt helped, too.
The subject of the discussion seemed to be the effect of perfume on a man, from both a personal and professional point of view.
Vallie and Ruby stood behind the bar, the light reflecting from the glasses hung overhead creating little flashes of rainbow on their avid faces. Maisie and Inez perched on stools, one on either side of the man they plied with coffee and homemade biscuits with preserves, begging him to continue whenever he thought he was finished.
“Now, I read a study that showed one of the smells that actually stimulates the male sex organs is the smell of doughnuts,” Gene said.
“Get out!” Vallie burst into laughter. “No wonder big macho cops are always hanging around Dunkin Donuts.”
Gene glanced up as Lily joined them, his eyes warm with a sparkle of amusement. “Rescue me,” he begged.
She laughed softly. “You’ve dug yourself into this one, I think.”
“Come on, Dr. Gene, tell us more,” Inez asked, her hand on his arm.
“All right, all right. But I’ll need more coffee.”
The girls reached for the pot as one, Vallie contenting herself with providing cream and sugar when Ruby reached the coffee first. They poured it for him and then waited for his words, like little kindergarten girls with their first male teacher. Lily climbed up onto her usual stool and sipped coffee she’d brought with her from the kitchen, since neither of the girls seemed inclined to tend to her needs.
“Men like fragrance that’s subtle, and something that reminds them of their mothers,” he said, looking around, making eye contact with each one.
“Nothing kinky, mind you—not that they want to have sex with their mothers, but they want to be reminded of the security of that time and of feeling loved. Vanilla, cinnamon, even lavender, all these are attractive to the male.”
Maisie’s lips pursed in a pout. “But I thought men liked musk.”
Lily interjected, “Actually, I think you’ll find women are the ones who relate to musk scents, quite a bit more than men. That’s why I suggested that Carmen dump whatever she was wearing a couple of months ago down the drain.”
“Oh, yeah, that!” Vallie squealed. “Scent of musk ox and patchouli or whatever it was. Awful! At first I thought it was the morning sickness, but it was that.”
“What do you wear, Lily Pearl?” Gene asked, his gaze directly on her.
“Me?” Lily was startled to be pulled into the revelations. “I—I, ah, it’s called warm vanilla sugar, from the Bath and Body Works.”
“You use the perfume or lotion?”
Her brow pulled together in a furrow. “Both.”
Gene nodded, with a triumphant smile. “Vanilla. I thought so. You have a very distinct smell that almost lingers in the room after you leave.”
Her cheeks flushed with heat. Why was he analyzing her scent? How had he even noticed? And overall, wasn’t she really flattered he had?
She put the questions aside. “I hope it’s a good smell. I’ve known men whose scent lingered after they left and it was not a good thing.”
The girls laughed and high-fived each other.
“You know it!”
He just looked at her over the edge of his cup, his gaze intent enough to melt her.
“No, no. Yours is very good,” he said.