Keeping Pace


Genre: Contemporary, Cougar
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60928-490-9
Length: Short Novel
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One spark could burn her world down.

Six years after her husband’s death, Regina Pace is still just going through the motions, her only pleasure a nightly glass (or three) of wine to dull the ache. Tonight is no exception—until a sensual outdoor encounter with her neighbor’s son, freshly home from college. He’s older, wiser, more devastatingly handsome than she remembered. He’s also fifteen years her junior.

Despite her misgivings, it isn’t long before her nightly ritual includes a long, deep drink of Josh Smith. Ogling leads to touching, then the sparks flare into an erotic encounter that feels wickedly right—and deliciously forbidden.

Yet the intense heat can’t burn away the doubt pestering the back of her mind. That the gap between their ages is too large, even for the most determined leap of faith…

Warning: Features a boy-next-door who won’t take no for an answer, more than one sexual fantasy (including some outdoor self-loving!), and a burning romance that proves age is just a number.



“Josh and Regina’s sexual chemistry is smoking hot. The sex scenes are sizzling and will leave the reader breathless. If the story ended there, it would be a steamy, erotic tale. However, it doesn’t end there. The author adds an emotional dimension that raises the story to another level. This is not just another sexy cougar story but an honest and realistic look at age and it’s perceptions… I was emotionally involved with both characters from the outset. I hoped and cried with them even as I fought the overwhelming urge to want to slap some sense into both of them. This is a wonderful story with enough lust, romance and angst to satisfy anyone. Ms. Carney aptly proves that sexuality is a state of mind and not a product of age. Kudos to her for a smart, erotic story about rediscovering life and love.” 5 Hearts, Susan P, The Romance Studio

“The story of Regina and Josh is also hot, to the point of scorching and I love that about Dee, she brings the heat along with the heart and in Keeping Pace the mixture is just right making for a delicious read. Keeping and Conveying the chemistry between the two especially when you consider the differences and the back story is a feat of writing prowess and I give a lot of extra credit for that alone, it would have been so easy to fall into cliche and lose the reader but things are kept fresh and entertaining throughout and I loved that. Wonderfully Written and Ultimately Satisfying this is one to curl up with!” 5 Stars / Editor’s Choice, Kevin Mitnik, Sexy Reads

“This book is beautifully written, the characterization is brilliant.  You would have to have a heart of stone, to not be moved by it. Ms. Carney is now firmly installed on my must buy list.” 5 Ribbons, Claudette, Romance Junkies Reviews

“Gorgeous, descriptive, beautifully written, yet so achingly tender and poignant with a divine first encounter over a back fence that left me breathless. Wonderful characters portrayed in such vivid detail, that I couldn’t have put this book down to save my life! So full of love and alive were they that I felt like I was watching a movie, not merely reading a work of fiction…it came across as fresh, bittersweet, intensely erotic, evocative and had me crying and laughing all at the same time. Simply Bliss!” 5 Cherries, Clematis, Whipped Cream Erotic Reviews

“I loved this story till the very end. It had heartache, romance, and some hot lovin…Dee Carney brings so many emotions to her books. They are hot and satisfying. You will gobble them up in just one sitting. If you love hot romances with no boundaries you have to read Dee Carney, she is guaranteed to leave you panting and dreaming about all the yummy things you should be doing. I simply couldn’t get enough of Regina and Josh. I hope you enjoy Keeping Pace as much as I did.” 4 Stars, Danielle, Lush Book Reviews

“Keeping Pace is a very readable story…and I have to say, Ms Carney has succeeded very well in portraying Regina as a real, vulnerable, and yet endearing character. Her loneliness is palpable and sometimes cuts like a knife, and it’s great to see her finally sort herself out, even if getting there can sometimes be frustrating.” 83, Mrs. Giggles

“It’s a really gorgeous love story and I enjoyed every aspect of it. It’s fun to read a story where the guy is absolutely the pursuer in the relationship.” A, Christi, Smitten with Reading


Chapter One

I could say some sort of spell kept me transfixed to the spot as I watched my neighbor’s son masturbate, and it would almost be the truth.

I certainly couldn’t blame the glass of Pinot Noir; I’d barely had a sip. Instead, I’d swirled the glass, letting the crisp evening air infuse into the rich liquid. This habit of mine, pouring a glass of wine as soon as I walked through the door, was becoming expensive yet was an indulgence I loathed to break. There was something to kicking off my shoes and padding barefoot through the dimly lit house to head for the kitchen, where I’d find comfort in a bottle.

Tonight I’d decided to head outdoors. The buttons at the top of my blouse had been loosened, the button at my waist similarly unfastened. Needing to shake off my day, I pulled damp air into my lungs. Rain would be coming soon. Already the smell of grass blossomed, as if the blades reached for the heavens in their quest to be blessed with the droplets of moisture.

Unthinking, I’d made my way onto the teak patio, which had been built by my late husband when we’d first moved into the two-story house. He’d been a master at woodcraft, the deck smooth and treated beneath my toes a testament to his skill. I moved to the banister opposite the house and set my glass down. It still needed to breathe for a few minutes more before I could enjoy it at its peak.

At this height, I had an amazing view into my neighbors’ yards, but the eye-level vista wasn’t why I was here. The twinkling of a billion stars drew my attention, coaxing good and bad memories to rush through my mind.

We’d had so many good times here together before he’d become sick. Friends and family tried to convince me to leave and start over fresh elsewhere, but it was because of those memories that I stayed. I couldn’t join Patrick in death, but here, in the house where we’d planned to start a family, I could keep his memory alive.

My beautiful redheaded husband, with his dancing blue eyes and pale, freckled skin. On nights like this, I missed him the most. I ached for his touch. His kisses. Him.

Tears tracked down my face before I recognized them for what they were. He’d been gone for six years now, and that I would still cry for him was, intellectually, stupid. Emotionally, understandable. No other person could complete me the way he had. I walked through life now without purpose and missing something I couldn’t get other people to recognize. Perhaps the time to reacquaint myself with a therapist had returned.

After wiping away the tears, I’d reached for my liquid courage. A small sound of appreciation rumbled from my throat as I swallowed the burgundy wine. As the drink warmed me through, I reluctantly pushed aside thoughts of my dead husband. He wouldn’t want me to still mourn him. He’d told me before he passed that he wanted me to live. He wanted to know I would find someone else to love, someone else out there to comfort me. It hadn’t happened, and I doubt it ever will, but for Patrick, I wouldn’t shed another tear tonight. Tomorrow or the next day, perhaps, but not tonight.

I don’t know how long I stood there letting time pass. My stomach rumbled every once in a while as a gentle reminder that dinner had not yet been consumed, but ever mindful of that fact, I didn’t use the wine to quiet it. Tonight I just wanted to savor the evening and the remains of my life.

Around me, the sounds of families settling into their own evening routines mingled with the echoes of children’s laughter, until eventually with the passing minutes, it all faded into nothingness. Lights blinked in and out of existence as people within the neighboring houses consumed their evening meals or perhaps settled in for watching sitcoms. A more well-rounded person might have taken the cue and gone inside to do some eating or boob-tube watching of her own, but silly me, I didn’t quite fit in with these people, even when Patrick was alive. That we’d chosen to live in a neighborhood of young families had made sense at the time, but now it became just a way to mark time.

Thinking about nothing and everything, I gave the neighborhood one last visual sweep before I would go inside to find something to nibble on. Perhaps enjoy some briny olives and crisp table water crackers to go with the wine.

The people directly behind my house had draped little white Christmas lights across their fence, lighting up the boards in not a holiday manner but definitely one that was festive. More like a party mood. Some of the lights had also been hung from the branches of their orange trees, and I vaguely thought about doing the same to my own drab yard. I hadn’t entertained there in years, but the decoration would be nice to view on a night like this.

The house next door didn’t need such adornments. They’d opted to have a built-in pool added to their backyard, and light inserted between pale blue tiles provided enough illumination there to read by. It created an oddly ethereal effect, but with the sound of gently lapping water, from this side of the fence it also seemed romantic.

I found myself frowning as I studied the pool. Strange I’d never noticed before the pattern etched into the bottom. The Smiths had interwoven a darker color between the light tiles. The result created a delicate swirl that stopped in the middle of the water. I visually followed the trail of dark tiles, momentarily mesmerized by its simple beauty.

Motion off to the side caught my attention, and I squinted into the darkness, trying to gauge what had moved in my neighbor’s yard. Perhaps a meandering cat or perhaps just a bit of debris kicked up by the breeze. But then it shifted again, and pale light reflected from what I recognized as glass.

I followed the shape of the bottle, glossing over the hand wrapped around its dark brown form. As my eyes adjusted, I recognized the outline of a person reclined in a deck chair. His defined chest was bare yet too far away to determine if any hair existed or even the color of his nipples. What I did notice was the flexing motion of his abdomen during his rough breathing. Not just the flexing of his flat stomach but the rhythmic up-down motion of his arm.

I almost took a step back when my brain finally registered what it all meant. A small cry of surprise tried to spill from my lips, but I bit it back in time. Instead, I stood transfixed and watched an amazing specimen of human musculature move with an erotic beauty that took my breath.

I’d seen men masturbate before. Who hasn’t been drawn to the free sites on the Internet that allowed such decadent voyeurism? But watching him now, my neighbor, was nothing like I’d ever before seen.

His thighs were spread, his feet planted on the concrete. He wasn’t muscular like a bodybuilder, but he had natural definition, as if he’d spent time doing manual labor. Shadows hid his face from view, but between his slow strokes, he sipped from the bottle, allowing me to triangulate where his face would be.

From his position, he probably couldn’t see me. I hoped to God he couldn’t see me. But the idea of getting caught watching wasn’t enough to make me turn my head. Besides, I was similarly afraid any movement made by me would draw his attention. If I left, perhaps he would think I hadn’t seen a thing, but then again, maybe he would know the truth.

I became fascinated by the motion of that one hand stroking over an elegantly long cock. He used his fingers to tease the head, and then on the downward stroke made certain to pay attention to his testicles. Instead of the urgency I expected, he seemed at ease with the lazy pace. As if he knew he’d get himself to where he wanted to be eventually.

My own arousal swept over me in a rush, surrounding me in its embrace. Reminding me it had been too long since I’d known a lover’s hand or even my own.

I thought briefly of Patrick. What would he say to see me here, yearning and fascinated?

I braced myself, ready to feel the guilt. A heated blush should have crept over my face, the shame of wanting to be here burning me from the inside. Instead, I remembered his lovely smile and knew if he saw me here now, his mouth would be curved into a grin. Enjoy yourself, honey. He wouldn’t be outside if he didn’t want an audience.

Perhaps that was my own justification for staying, but at the same time, I was sure Patrick would have said those words…or at least something similar. Bolstered by my own wants, and what my husband would have approved of, I stayed. I watched. And I enjoyed it.

My neighbor’s pace increased, his hips jerking as I suspected he brought himself closer and closer to the point of no return. Mouth dry, I watched every lovely moment, waiting to see the rush of his release. Between my thighs was damp, my breasts heavy.

Up until now, he’d been silent, but when I heard his first low groan, my focus sharpened. Licking my lips, I stared at his cock and could have cried out in triumph when his hand’s action sped up, and then his hips punched into the air. I couldn’t see it clearly, much to my disappointment, but the way his body tensed, I knew the moment he climaxed. The sounds he simultaneously made, just as sexy.

His chest heaved as he drew air into his desperate lungs. I knew his need to gulp in the night based on the way my own body reacted, my empty pussy pulsing with a familiar ache.

He picked up the forgotten beer bottle and ran it over the muscles of his abdomen. Over the muscles of his chest, and even the points of his nipples. He must have been scorching and let the glass cool him down as much as it could.

With a groan, my neighbor stood, leaving behind the bottle. He stepped out from the shadows, and this time I did not catch my gasp in time from piercing the night. For the past several minutes I thought I’d watched the antics of a middle-aged man who’d somehow kept himself well preserved. I should have known better.

The person who stepped out from the shadows was not the owner of the house, but instead, his son. Jeff—Josh, maybe—was home from college. Some stint at the state college that his parents had been very proud of. My God, he’d grown up. When was the last time I’d seen him? Six, seven years ago?

This time, heat flooded my cheeks because he was easily ten years younger than I, if not younger than that. I’d crossed the line from sexually curious into improper prurience. Still, did that stop me from watching him move with liquid grace toward the pool? Nope.

It wasn’t until he dove beneath the waters that fear of being caught and guilt about my resultant arousal urged my feet into motion. He swam in my direction, and the very last thing I needed him to do was break the surface, look up and find me staring. So I made certain he was completely submerged, his body nicely silhouetted against the pool tiles, before I made my escape. I quickly backed away from the deck railing, grabbed the forgotten glass of wine and almost stumbled in my haste to go back inside.

What would my neighbors think if they knew I’d seen him in all his naked glory? What would my coworkers say? I had an obligation to my community, and lusting after one of its barely legal members wasn’t included. My heart raced, adrenaline finally catching up.

“Mrs. Pace!”

Not more than a foot from the sliding glass door, I stopped. Why, I couldn’t say, but hearing my name called across the otherwise quiet night served as well as a traffic light. I couldn’t bring myself to put my foot in front of the other. Couldn’t get myself to keep going. I’d been caught and deserved whatever chastisement would be coming my way.

“Mrs. Pace?” The voice, mellow yet deep, was nearer now.

I turned slowly, ready to face my accuser. “Yes?”

Mrs. Smith’s boy, my next-door neighbor’s son, walked toward the fence that separated my yard from theirs, his lean body glistening and dripping. I quickly took in the rugged features of his face: narrow nose, broad jaw, dark eyes. Although he was as naked as nature intended, he moved leisurely. His steps still somehow managed to cross his yard in short order. He grasped onto the fence, elevating himself just enough so that I could see him well over the six-foot privacy fence, and so he could also see me.

His eyes glittered in the night. “Same time tomorrow, Mrs. Pace?”

Thoughts of how to respond to him tumbled in my mind, and I stood momentarily too stunned to answer. Was he being serious? Or just cocky? Was this an invitation or an accusation?

He must have thought my hesitation had some special meaning, for he added, “It would be my pleasure.”

A smile touched my lips at the thought of this young, arrogant man propositioning me. That’s what it was. Permission to repeat tonight as part of his enjoyment. And mine.

I still didn’t know what to think of what he’d done. Of my being here. But the idea of a similar clandestine meeting made my pulse surge. Every bit of common sense in my brain shrieked at me to voice my indignation. To perhaps chastise him for putting us in this uncomfortable position. Young enough to be my child, he shouldn’t invite me to pursue another such strange yet titillating adventure.

But then I thought of my Patrick, and my life—or lack thereof—and I wondered where, truly, was the harm? So long as I stayed on my side of the fence and he on his, this was nothing more than consensual adult fun. The potential for a line to be crossed was there, but I knew myself enough to know I would never breach it.

I turned and put my hand on the door handle, using it as an anchor for my sanity. One single step inside accompanied by my silence would give him the answer to his question, but instead of crossing the threshold without reply, I said over my shoulder, “Perhaps.”

Bonus Content

So by now you’ve gone out and bought your copy of Keeping Pace, right? Right.

Well guess what…the chapter 14 you’ve read isn’t the original. So, for kicks and giggles, I’m adding it in here now as it was originally written. To access the page, simply type in the last name of the author featured at the end of Keeping Pace. (I’ll wait while you go open up your copy again.)


Alternate Chapter 14

This page has the following sub pages.