“So, okay–are we cougars yet?” Brandi stumbled on the perfectly flat beach lit by the full moon and the distant hotels.
Cougar. Carly didn’t know if she liked that term. Was it derogatory? Admiring? Or was it neutral and merely descriptive of older women who dated younger men? Maybe it was derogatory when it referenced older women who wanted to date younger men and– And yeah, Carly was a little drunk too, like Brandi. And Lacey and Patrice. Carly brought out the big words on her third margarita. She’d had four.
The four of them had come to South Padre Island for spring break on a “cougar hunt,” as Patrice had put it. Four newly-single, still single, or might-as-well-be-single women in their thirties on the prowl for hot college studs. Carly was in the newly-single category, as was Lacey.
Patrice, who had organized the excursion, was still single. “Of course we are cougars,” she pronounced carefully. Yep, drunk. “We just haven’t started hunting, yet.”
“We’re checking out the merchandise,” Lacey hiccupped. She checked out the local view.
“And it is some mighty fine merchandise.” Patrice nodded solemnly. “Now you can say it: ‘Patrice, you were a genius to book us separate rooms.’” She cupped her ear.
“You were a genius,” Carly said. “It means I can escape when you maniacs get too crazy.”
Patrice let out a bark of laughter and Brandi stumbled again.
“Maybe we should stop walking down the beach,” Carly suggested, “and just stand here a while. Let some of the tequila evaporate out our pores.”
There was no statement of agreement from the others. Everyone just stopped. The night was warm. They’d all put on their swimsuits when they got in that afternoon, driving down from Houston in a caravan as Patrice had decided, so they would each have transportation. Except for Brandi, whose POS car was broken down again and her POS fiancé had the one that worked. She rode down with Patrice.
Carly was glad she didn’t have to deal with that kind of crap anymore, always driving the old car, the broken car, because Dorkface’s job earned more, so his– She cut off the thought. she was here to break free of the past. To do what she wanted to do, when she wanted to do it, how she wanted to do it. She let her head fall back–not so drunk as all that because she didn’t stagger–spread her arms, took in a deep breath of humid sea-salty air, and let out a howl at the full moon.
Seconds later, the girls joined her, then howls started to echo from up and down the beach, from the scattered clusters of drunk college students on break–the ones still vertical at this hour of the morning. Carly thought it might be sometime past two. Maybe. She’d taken off her watch when she put on her modest black one-piece swimsuit and tied the adorable brightly colored fish-print sarong around her waist. Time didn’t exist on spring break.
“I thought we were cougars,” Lacey said, “not coyotes.”
Carly snorted. Lacey might be a wee bit more drunk than the rest of them. Or maybe not.
“Since we’re actually women,” Carly said, “we can howl at the moon if we want. Didn’t it feel good?”
Lacy tipped her head, deep in as much thought as her pixilated brain could manage. “Yes,” she announced. “It did.”
Carly threw back her head and howled again. It did feel good cutting loose this way. The howl shivered through her body as she let it flow out her throat. It loosened things inside her–in shoulders she’d kept hunched with resentment, in her gut clenched with anger for so long, in her head where she was still wrapping it around the idea that she had no one to please but herself.
The howls dissolved into laughter, and they all whooped and hollered with it, falling against each other in hilarity.
“Whatever happens,” Brandi said, straightening to sway a little in the silvery moonlight, “at least we’re having fun.”
“We are,” Patrice agreed. “But we are also going to kick ass.”
“I don’t want to kick ass,” Lacey said. “I want to squeeze it.” She cupped her hands low, just where a nice set of male buns might be, and squeezed air.
“We will. We will squeeze ass, and take down names, and–and–” Patrice ran out of ideas.
“Have more fun than the law allows.” Carly was nice enough to finish the thought for her.
“Just look at us.” Patrice spread her arms to invite the look. “How can they not want a taste of this?”
They did look pretty damn good, considering they were no longer 18-year-old coeds.
Patrice had the compact, athletic body of the gym teacher she was, toned and tight and tanned. She was a girly-girl, an ex-cheerleader with a perfect manicure, perfect blond hair usually in a ponytail, and a practically perfect body minimally covered by her bikini and sheer cover-up sort of tied over it.
Carly wanted to be jealous, but couldn’t. She was who she was, and Patrice was who she was, and they were friends.
Carly was tall and curvy. Her ex-who-shall-remain-nameless had always nagged about her weight. She was the same weight now as she’d been when she married him 10 years ago. If it bothered him so much, why had he married her in–? Not. Going. There.
She was curvy. Big ass, big boobs, which made her waist look small in comparison. She also had thick, curly dark brown hair, a long thin nose in a round face, and brown eyes to match the hair.
Lacey was the shortest of the group, a half-Japanese tiny energetic pixie of a woman with a sleek cap of short brown hair and a tiny shape just made for a tiny bikini. She had on a suit similar to Carly’s modest one-piece, only red. Carly needed the support and shaping. Lacey didn’t. Her divorce had been even more acrimonious than Carly’s.
“Acrimonious.” Carly said the word out loud, savoring the feel of it in her mouth. It was a fun word, except for what it meant, of course. Carly taught English. Lacey was the school nurse, and Brandi was the principal’s secretary. They all worked at the same high school.
Brandi was the baby of the bunch, tipping the charts at a youthful 33. She was also the prettiest–Patrice’s perfection had a bit of a harsh edge to it, in Carly’s opinion. Brandi was just…pretty. Her hair was a light brown with gorgeous golden streaks, and just curly enough to fall in gentle waves past her shoulders. Her figure was just right–not too lean or too soft–and her face was sweetness itself, reflecting Brandi’s sweet personality. Which was why, in Carly’s opinion, Brandi had put up with her jerk fiancé for so long.
“You’re right,” Carly nodded wisely. “We are spectacular. And if those guys can’t recognize that face, then–well–” Her brain felt fuzzy. “They’re myopic.”
Brandi’s forehead crinkled. “Huh?”
“Blind,” Lacey translated. “Carly, we are too drunk for your drunk vocabulary.”
“Sorry.” Carly shivered. The breeze off the Gulf was chilly this hour of the morning, when one wore one’s swimsuit. But it wasn’t really cold.
“Hey.” The male voice broke into her thoughts.
Carly looked up to find who’d spoken. She did not jerk her head around. Her equilibrium wasn’t sufficient for that.
The body that belonged to the voice came trotting up the beach. Young and lean and carved out of lovely muscle silvered in the moonlight. Oh Lord, she’d started thinking in cliché.
“Hey, do y’all know who was howling?” He staggered a little as he came to a stop near them. He wore baggy blue-and-white flowered swim trunks and nothing else. His face was in shadow, but Carly could see a firm, angular jaw with moon-frosted stubble along it.
“Pretty much everybody,” she said, suddenly embarrassed.
“Yeah, but who started it?” He moved forward, joining them, no longer standing apart. “It sounded so cool. Wild, you know?”
“We did. We started it.” Patrice winked at him, running a finger down his biceps. He grinned at her.
“Carly did,” Lacey clarified, pointing at Carly.
She blushed. She couldn’t help that, but she wasn’t going to shrink from notice anymore. She wasn’t going to hunch over, or hide, or try to be invisible. That wasn’t her, not anymore. “That’s right,” she said. “I did.” She tipped her face up to the moon and did it again.
The guy joined in immediately, then the girls, then the others up and down the beach. It felt even better this time, more freeing. As if–Carly wondered if she’d have been able to admit to this stranger, this hard-bodied young man, that she was the one who’d howled if she hadn’t howled in the first place. The power of positive howling.
That thought made her collapse in laughter again. She lost her balance and bumped against the boy. The man. He was in college–she hoped. That meant he had to be over 17. Legal age of consent in Texas was 17.
He leaned against her shoulder to shoulder for a moment longer, as the laughter faded and the howls traveled away down the beach.
“Hey.” He straightened and looked at them, one to the next, wagging a forefinger between them. “Are y’all cougars?” He paused half an instant, then wiped his hand down his face. “Hell, I’m drunk.”
“So are we,” Lacey giggled.
“What if we are?” Patrice asked.
“Cougars,” Carly clarified. “Not drunk. We are drunk.”
“We’re cougars, too,” Brandi said. Then she giggled.
“Cool.” That was him. He was grinning. “I always wanted to meet some hot cougars.”
“Yeah?” Patrice propped her hands on her perfectly toned hips and looked him up and down. “What have you got to offer?”
Ryan was definitely drunk, but not too drunk to recognize that he had stumbled across the motherlode. Cougars. Hot ones. Four of them. Hot damn.
What had the blond one asked? Oh yeah–what did he have to offer?
He didn’t think–he was too drunk for thinking–just acted on his first impulse. He shoved down his swim trunks and stepped out of them, careful to keep them out of the sand, because sand on your junk sucked big ones. He straightened and spread his arms wide to display the goods, almost whacking the tall one with the big boobs in the face with his suit.
She ducked out of the way. “Give me that.” She snatched the suit out of his hand.
That made Ryan feel naked. Not stripping off the suit but her–Carly–taking it away from him.
The brown-haired woman, the one who’d announced they were cougars, gasped and turned away when Ryan got naked, but she kept peeking. The blonde crossed her arms under those tight tits and looked him over. Which of course shot straight to his alcohol-soused dick and started a slow semi. The tiny one had her mouth covered like she was shocked, but she was looking too. What about Carly?
Ryan slid his eyes sideways at her. She had her hands on her hips, his trunks dangling from one, and she was getting an eyeful too. More than the one on the other side of him, because that one had her back turned. Carly was looking. Ryan’s dick went right past semi heading for stiffy.
“I take it you’re an exhibitionist.” Carly arched an eyebrow as she looked back up at his face.
“I guess.” He shrugged. He’d never stripped in public in front of a bunch of women before, but he was liking it. A lot.
“You got any friends?” The blonde waved her hand at her friends. “You might have noticed there’s four of us.”
“Yeah, I got friends.” Ryan shrugged, resisting the urge to cover himself. It was starting to feel a little chilly. “They’re kinda geeky, some of them, but they’re good guys.”
“So where are they?”
He waved vaguely down the beach. “Back there.” Not chilly. He was feeling naked. Really naked. More and more naked every minute. He liked it, but damn, there was a lot of air out here. And a lot of beach, with a lot of people on it.
“Let’s go meet them.” The blonde started off down the beach in the direction of his wave and the other ladies–the cougars–fell in behind her.
It took Ryan a couple of steps to catch up. “Hey. Carly–you gonna give me my shorts back?” The sand sank under his feet, wet over soft, making odd, crunchy footprints.
She slid a look sideways at him, his face first, then down along his body to his cock in a way that heated him through, so he didn’t even feel the chill in the breeze anymore. “I don’t know,” she said slowly. She looked him in the eye. “What if I don’t?”
They’d fallen behind the others, so it was just the two of them. Ryan shook with nerves–excitement, fear, arousal. Hell of a lot of arousal in the mix. “Come on–” He didn’t beg, exactly.
The others had stopped, waiting for them. “Keep up.” The blonde didn’t exactly issue an order either, but– “Where are they?”
Ryan wasn’t sure he wanted to walk all the way back naked. It was making him seriously hot. And the guys would see him naked with these women. Which was good, because–damn. Him naked, with women. And it was bad. Him naked with a hard on and nothing happening.
“There.” He pointed. It was hard to see much in the moonlight, even with the spotlights spilling from the lined-up hotels. The spotlights made it harder. But the guys weren’t far. “That bunch, just off the terrace there? With the three coolers and the lawn chair?”
“The one nobody’s sitting in?” The little one squinted.
“Who do we say sent us?” The blonde arched an eyebrow at his erection. “In case we get there before you get your pants back on?”
“Patrice, stop being such a bitch.” Carly frowned at her friend. So, the blonde was Patrice.
“I’m Ryan.” He figured that was the safest thing to say.
The other women walked away, leaving him alone with Carly. Alone and very, very naked. And as long as she kept sneaking looks at his dick, he wasn’t hiding it behind his hands. “Come on. Give me my shorts.”
“Please give me my shorts.” She gave him a schoolteacher look, propping her hands on her hips again.
Almost, he said it. Nobody was around to hear but her. And her teasing, her little games were making his cock twitch. But he couldn’t. Just couldn’t make himself do it. He grabbed for the suit, but he was drunker than she was, or something, because she danced back out of the way. He grabbed again, missed again, and she turned and ran, waving his shorts like she was daring him to chase her. Ryan never turned down a dare.