Impasse (L.A. Nights) Online - Sylvie Fox

Chapter One

Holly Prentice wished that a flashing neon sign had put her on alert before her sex life went on hiatus. Maybe she would have paid more attention, perhaps coaxing one more orgasm from her ex. Instead, life without sex had crept up on her silently, stealthily. Two years, one month, and three days had come and gone without any physical satisfaction that she didn’t have to initiate and fulfill on her own. Not that she was counting.

Pulling her gaze back to the antique mirror as she sat at her well-worn mahogany vanity, Holly tugged a wide-tooth comb through her wet corkscrew curls and tried to focus her thoughts on the evening ahead. Thirty-two was too damn old to be Sally Field cute. Giving up on hair taming, Holly pulled the dark strands into a loose ponytail and scrutinized herself. Despite her frizzy hair, or maybe because of it, she had to admit she looked younger than her age. Her peaches and cream complexion was smooth and unlined—her face unblemished. Her features were well proportioned. Though she had always found her generous mouth to be a little too wide and her nose more cute than aristocratic.

Applying mascara to the lashes surrounding amber eyes the color of rich honey, she supposed that she was attractive enough. She wouldn’t let her smallish breasts or a bit of junk in the trunk keep her at home. She was too old to be insecure over the little things.

Glancing at the brass wind-up clock on her nightstand, she hurried her preparation. It was already seven thirty. Her friend Sophie would be there any minute. She knew her best friend was right. It was time to get out among the living.

More than a year had passed since Holly and her girlfriends made a champagne toast to her new life on the day her divorce became final. She fell out of love with Drew at least two years before she got up the courage to imagine her life without him. He was married to his career as a television executive. She had been eager to settle down, have a baby. Marriage hadn’t suited him, and when she told him she wanted more out of life than dinner by the glow of the television—or breakfast with the latest overnight ratings—he had asked for a divorce.

Surprisingly, she was not unhappy by the sudden turn of events. In a way, it had seemed inevitable. The end of their four-year marriage was anti-climactic. She and Drew had amicably divvied up their belongings and gone their separate ways.

They had sold the modern glass and steel showplace they’d called a home for a tidy profit, riding the crest of the last real estate wave in southern California. Holly had socked away her share of the equity for a rainy day. For now, she was happily settled in the top floor apartment of a turn-of-the-century duplex, contemplating her next move. Her next home would be permanent.

Holly heard a soft rapping on the front door and reached down to zip up the soft, brown calfskin boots she’d slipped into before rushing to the living room entrance.

“Girl!” Sophie cried, by way of greeting, and burst into the room. “Are you ready to party?”

Sophie Reid had been Holly’s best friend since the day they’d met on the set of one of Drew’s nighttime dramas. Looking at the two of them, a stranger would not expect they had much in common. But Holly kept Sophie down to earth, and Sophie added a spirit of adventure to Holly’s life.

At a time like this, Sophie was the kind of gal pal Holly needed. She was cute, friendly, and best of all, outgoing. Plus, Sophie had single-handedly taken on the onerous task of getting Holly out among the living, though Holly put on the brakes when it came to blind dating. Like a lot of her peers, she’d put up a picture and profile on popular dating web sites, but she couldn’t see dating any of the guys who responded. Half seemed to have no gainful employment, and the other half did not seem interested in her personality. They just sent nude pictures of themselves looking for a one-night hook up. Not a turn-on by any stretch of the imagination.

“Is this okay?” Holly asked pointing to herself and her last minute clothing choice. Donned in snug jeans she had just pulled from the dryer, she had decided on a sheer cashmere sweater over a modest lace camisole. She was hoping she had