Julia is getting ready for work, her camerawoman and best friend Amy by her side, when a notice is left at her door. She’s been chosen to receive a sculpted chocolate man picked personally by Eros to fulfill her romantic and sexual needs. While other women would jump at the offer, Julia is torn.
It’s been three years since she lost her beloved Jorge after twenty-five years of wedded bliss. How would she explain a chocolate man to her six kids? Anteros is carved perfection, luscious, and gorgeous with a surprise for her. He loves books and discussing history, he backs away when she feels a loyalty pull to her lost husband, respects her devotion to family. Time and patience pay off as Julia slowly opens her home, her body, and her heart.
“I haven’t had sex in three years, Amy. I’m afraid my lady parts will jump out of my suit and assault him.”
Three years since I’d felt the touch of a man. Five years since Jorge was healthy enough to leave me twitching. I hid the guilt I felt at even thinking about another man. Cancer stole moments long before it took lives.
The kids were grown now, making families of their own, scattered around the world. We raised travelers. Our daughters, with their parents’ Spanish looks, melted into the population of Madrid, heart and soul. Their mother’s family lived nearby, snapping pictures of the grandchildren, always including me. Our boys stayed in the area. Two were getting their degrees at the University of Miami, one a surgeon and the other a gynecologist. Julio was in his second year surgical residency at Broward health. His OCD got put to great use in surgery where he wouldn’t leave anything undone. Pedro, well, we always knew he wanted to spend his life in a woman’s crotch.
“It’s strange to hear you talking about assaulting a hot man in this room.” Amy looked afraid, like Jorge’s ghost would show up in our bedroom and scold me for talking about another man.
I forced a laugh. “Jorge was clear, Amy. I was supposed to get busy with someone else right away. I didn’t. He’s not going to show up pissed that I’m talking about banging a kid. He’d be ticked off it took me this long.” My beloved treasured our passion. When the kids got old enough to understand the noises coming from our bedroom, they begged their father to soundproof it. He did.
“Well, then. Bang a lifeguard,” Amy joked, still shifting her gaze around the room.
“Okay, you superstitious twit. Let’s roll.” I took one last look at the deep blue pantsuit Jorge bought me, paired with a white, cap-sleeved t-shirt.
Amy had her long blonde hair up in a sloppy bun, blue jeans with frayed ends, flip flops, and the kind of tan people in colder climates paid for. My five foot six inch frame felt petite next to her almost six foot stature. Her husband, a local baseball player, picked her out of a spring break bikini contest. She was my cameraperson. We met when I started at the station right out of college.
She was tall enough to stand in pounding surf and flooded streets with me while carrying a camera. There’d been more than one occasion when she’d pulled me out after I fell over, and then graciously deleted that section before transmitting back to the station. I didn’t want to be on the blooper reels.
“Move it, Julia. We have television to make.” She smirked as I walked past her.
“Almost thirty years, you still say that every time?” We worked together up until I left when the boys were teenagers.
“Only for you. I don’t talk to the other reporters much. They’re young, nervous, and any comment from me sends them into a tizzy.”
She was the best person to train new talent. Calm, laid back, no stress, even when standing with a camera in waist deep water during a hurricane. She was my safe place for the past few years.
“I’m sure they’re grateful.” Picking up my pace in front of her, my ankle boots clicked across the tile floor.
She laughed. “There are a couple who won’t make it through hurricane season. I’ll have to rope them to the van.”
I could see that. The station put us on the air nonstop as soon as there was a hurricane warning and kept us there until it was over. That’s when I met Jorge. Standing in front of his restaurant on the Hollywood boardwalk at 3 a.m. He came by to check on his place right as a wave pushed me over. He pulled me up and asked me out. That was it. I was sure I’d never look at another man with that level of desire again. So far, I’d been right.
I reached for the door handle as a loud knock startled us. “What the hell?”
“It sounds like Bigfoot has come to carry you away,” Amy joked behind me.
“Bigfoot? In Fort Lauderdale?” I pulled the door open slowly.
She poked my shoulder. “He got tired of hairy women?”
“He left a note.” There was a fancy envelope tucked into the door knocker.
Amy walked around me to check the driveway. “Dear Julia, run away with me. I’ll let you shave my back.”
“Shut up. I’d need a lawn mower.” My hands shook as I opened the letter. The last person to handwrite a note to me was Jorge. Who could be writing me now?
Written in beautiful longhand, it was from Viviana, the owner of the Candy Man Delivery Service. My breath caught. I’d been chosen. Backing up a few steps, I pulled the door closed, barely aware of Amy’s protests.
“Dear Julia, your request was received. Eros has picked you to receive a chocolate carved man. He has already chosen the flavor. I’ve begun sculpting him today. He will be delivered in two days. Please think carefully about what you want in your dream man, as a god with those qualities will inhabit him. Yours, Viviana.”
“Oh shit. I didn’t do this. I didn’t ask for this. I want a man to play with and send on his way. I don’t want another passionate love. I can’t take another loss.” The words tumbled from me.
Candy Man Delivery Service:
Tastes Like Chocolate – Happy Valentines Day.
Irish Cream Dreams – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
White Chocolate Cherry – Happy Fourth of July!
Apple Cinnamon Swirl – The heroine is a military veteran for Memorial Day.
Hot Caramel Passion – Happy Halloween with a caramel man!
Dark Chocolate Peppermint – Merry Christmas!