“Eight o’clock,” thought Alexis, “and it’s Thursday. I’d
better get myself going for the day.” Alexis held a part‑time job at
the University Florist Shop. She worked three days a week. The other
days, she ran her errands, kept her home immaculate, and did volunteer
work. Alexis was always busy. She couldn’t bear to sit around the
house watching soap operas or playing cards as so many of the wives did.
Alexis Scott Hendricks was an intelligent woman, tall, slender, with
beautiful auburn hair. Her hair was her best feature and as she lay in
bed it formed a beautiful, tumbled mass of color. With a huge yawn,
Alexis stretched, threw back her covers and stuck her feet in the white
sheepskin rug at the side of her bed. She wiggled her toes around in the
soft fur for a few luxurious moments before she stood up, stretched
again, and glanced at herself in the full-length mirror.
“Oh, God,” she hissed. “I hope Walter didn’t have time to look
at me closely before he left.”
She always woke up with puffy eyes and thought it most unattractive. She
didn’t stop to think that her eyes were closed when Walter had gone to
work. She smoothed her hands over her lithe body, enjoying the sensation
of her own smooth skin and firm breasts.
“I wish Walter were here now. Why is it that he’s always somewhere
else when I’m feeling the sexiest?” she thought.
She sighed, stepped over to the bathroom, and turned on the shower to
let the hot water run for a minute. Taking a last critical look at
herself in the mirror, she stepped inside the shower stall. The warm
water felt good on her skin. She let it massage her back and run down
her legs. She washed her hair and let the soap trickle down her neck and
over her breasts.
“Showers are so delicious,” she murmured.
She sang her favorite songs and rejoiced to herself that she could try
for the high notes without notice by anyone. The notes always sounded so
deep throated and mellow when she sang in the shower. She loved singing
and thought to herself that she almost sounded professional.
She finished showering and dressed carefully for her errands. This was a
day off for Alexis, so her errand list was a long one.
She looked particularly alive today. Maybe it was the outfit she had
chosen to wear, or perhaps it was the invigorating morning shower.
Whatever it was, Alexis thought she would turn heads that day as she
drove off in her little convertible to tend to her chores. She was
midway through her errands when she decided to stop and have a cup of
coffee at the local deli.
The deli was a favorite spot for the college community, popular with the
college professors as well as the students. It was reputed to have the
best food in town, besides being a cozy, cheerful place to sit and
relax. As Alexis entered, she caught sight of several of the college
professors sitting in a group at the rear. She smiled and waved a
She found a small table near the window, sat down and browsed through
her errand list unaware of the secret glances in her direction as she
sipped her coffee. The sunlight through the window danced on her auburn
hair, making little flecks of gold stand out here and there. She was
certainly unaware of the sensation she was causing among the professors
several tables away.
“My God,” one of the men exclaimed, “She looks like an angel
sitting there with a halo of gold.”
“An angel I’d like to have hover over me,” smirked another.
“She’s a sexy piece if I ever did see one. Walter is a lucky guy!”
They sat there drinking in Alexis’s beauty, and thinking their own
separate thoughts about their own wives. Alexis finished her coffee and
as she prepared to leave she heard a familiar voice.
“Well, I didn’t expect to find you here this morning. I thought
you’d be sleeping in.”
Looking up, she saw that it was Michael, her boss at the flower shop.
“What a nice surprise,” she said, “sit down and join me.”
“Only if I can buy you some lunch,” Michael remarked. “One does
have to eat now and then.”
Alexis glanced at her watch . . . So it was lunchtime!
She laughed, showing her even, white teeth.
The two of them sat talking and laughing through lunch. Alexis had
always found Michael easy to talk to. He was a tall, rugged-looking man,
certainly not the type you would expect to find in a flower shop. He had
shiny, ebony hair and lazy blue eyes, the kind of eyes that people call
bedroom eyes. His nose was a little large, but not unsightly. It fit his
features perfectly. And Alexis loved his sense of humor.
She didn’t realize it, but to Michael she appeared absolutely
glowingly beautiful with that smile on her face, her eyes dancing with
joy, and that red-golden halo of hair!
Michael found himself almost speechless. He had never noticed how lovely
his assistant was until now. “How could this have happened, he
thought. Am I blind or have I been so sorry for myself over my wife’s
sudden death that I have not noticed anything?”
Alexis, not guessing what was in Michael’s mind, laughed even more as
he stumbled and bumbled over his next words.
“Oh Michael,” she laughed, “You are so funny sometimes.”
This scene wasn’t going unnoticed from the back of the room either.
The professors had put their heads together and were whispering to each
other, covertly glancing her way now and then. Not one of them made any
effort to get up to leave.
Alexis and Michael finished their lunches, and after a last cup of
coffee, rose to depart. As Alexis uncurled her legs, the sunlight again
teased her hair, doing wondrous things to it, and accentuated the curve
of her silk-stockinged legs. Some male students sitting midway in the
room whistled appreciatively to themselves.
“Wow,” came a quiet musing from the back of the room.
Michael, taking Alexis’s elbow, helped her to her feet, and escorted
her to the door. As he touched her, a thrill shot through him, and he
almost tripped over a chair. When they reached her car, he realized he
still had hold of her elbow. It wasn’t until she was halfway into the
car that he let go.
Excerpted from "Hellfire and Snowdrops" by C. W. Henney. Copyright © 2013 by C. W. Henney. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.