Short story/novella (25,572 words)
Ashley is in a relationship with an older man. She is twenty-three and he is fifty-one and there are times when that is almost unbearable. Ashley loves David with all that she has, but she cannot cope with the idea of settling down so young, before she has even lived. It is selfish and wrong, but she has an affair. David learns of it, and they try to work past it, but the difficulties seem almost insurmountable. Ashley has cheated, but she refuses to lie, and promising David she will never cheat again, when she isn’t sure she can, seems like a lie.
Then David suggests a deal. A get out of jail free card. Ashley will only sleep with other women, not with men. David thinks he could live with that, and not be destroyed by jealousy, and he thinks he can trust her to keep her promise, once it is made. Ashley agrees, unsure she’ll ever need the free pass, or want to use it, but seeing it as the only way to save them.
Two years pass, and Ashley meets Rose, and Rose is like no-one Ashley has ever met before. Ashley is honest about her situation, and tells Rose it can never be anything more than sex between them, and Rose has her own reasons for wanting that. But their lives become entangled, and they become friends as well as lovers, and the choices both are making threaten to spiral out of control.
This is not erotica, and isn’t really a romance. It has sex, and is romantic, and is about a relationship, but isn’t really either of those genres. It’s about one couple’s attempt at an open relationship, and the beginning of the involvement of a third person. I just wanted to warn everyone so no-one is disappointed if this isn’t what they expected from me.