Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Behind the Mask of Anonymity


By Tim Smith

“The difference between involvement and commitment is like an eggs and ham breakfast—the chicken was involved, but the pig was committed.”

That quote was credited to Anonymous. I don’t know who this Anonymous guy was, but he sure got around, judging from the number of quotes, stories and songs credited to him.  

The anonymous persona has been getting a workout lately, thanks to online social media such as Twitter. People like to get on there to rant and rave, but for some reason not many use their real name. They hide behind pseudonyms or cute tags, like EatMyShorts or NastyGirl69. You’ll find the same thing on most dating websites and chat boards.

Many people have finally figured out that potential employers, colleges and lending institutions use social media as a character reference. When I worked in civil service, I was very careful with my Facebook page. I didn’t “friend” anyone who was in a subordinate position. I didn’t use my real first name, the one that appeared in my personnel file. I used my middle name, the one by which my friends know me and which I publish under. And I listed my occupation as “writer/photographer,” working at “self-employed.” Nowhere on my page does it say which state agency I worked for. I set it up solely to promote my writing.

I took these extra measures because word came down that the good folks in Administrative Services were monitoring the online postings of state employees. Big Brother was compiling dossiers on the worker bees to see what they were up to. Did one of them post an unfavorable comment about the governor? Put a red checkmark next to their name. Did someone indicate sympathy for a radical organization? Better keep an eye on them. Did anyone endorse a candidate in the upcoming election? They are so screwed!

I think one of the reasons for this is the ongoing push for full disclosure from news organizations, especially those investigative teams that boast about “holding government accountable.” The Freedom of Information Act allows them access to the records of public employees. A few years ago, one such request resulted in a major metro newspaper publishing the name and salary of everyone employed by the state. Most of us looked at it to see how much our co-workers were being paid. The result was comments like “That slug is making how much more than me???”

There’s a site called Literotica.com, where semi-talented writers can post erotic fiction. Naturally, no one uses their real names. This anonymity allows their id to concoct outrageous fantasies on a variety of topics. I’ve read some of the posts and many of them weren’t half bad from a writing standpoint. Others, though, were so poorly written I hoped none of those folks pursued a publishing career. I made the same observation about some self-published erotica writers when I reviewed books online.

I have a good friend who has been writing erotic fiction for over 40 years. He began with “one-hand books” in the 1970’s and he’s still cranking them out, but in digital format now. He’s been hiding behind a pseudonym all this time, and the only time he used his real name was when he attempted a mainstream novel. It didn’t sell, so he went back to writing what I call porn with a plot. When I asked him about it, he explained “I write as this persona, and I sell books. I write as myself and nobody cares!”

There’s something to be said for anonymity.       

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Park Cruising

My heart is pitter-pattering and racing and doing all sorts of crazy in my chest. My nerves are getting the better of me and shutting my body functions down — like my need to piss. I’m in here to piss, I keep telling myself. I’m not in here for anything else. Certainly not for…

Fuck. I can’t lie to myself.

I’m here for ... for … for whatever it is that guys do when they cruise.

I’ve never touched a guy before, never even admitted to myself that I want to do so, even though I secretly watch gay porn when my roommate is asleep. Because straight guys can like gay porn too, right?

Damn it. I’m not even convincing myself.

I need to get out of my head, just let my body lead.

I’m here for … for what? What do I really want? I don’t even know. I’m just … here.

This dirty men’s room in the back of the park is supposed to be a hot cruising spot, or so the forums say on that website I found. But I’ve been here, standing at the trough urinal for something like five minutes and not a soul has come in. And I haven’t pissed a drop in all that time, despite my nervous bladder screaming at me that I need to let loose.

Suddenly, the door clatters and I jump and gasp. I look over my shoulder but then jerk my head back forward. I’m-I’m-I’m too nervous to take the lead, to let the guy know I’m into … into something. I don’t have the guts to send him a signal, whatever that signal might be.

Piss, I tell myself, piss. I gotta piss. I’m just standing here.

The other guy steps up to the trough, an arm’s reach away. He unzips and pulls out and oh my fucking god he’s huge. He grunts and starts pissing.

I can feel my cheeks burning with a hot blush. I focus on myself and my own cock. Piss. Piss. Fucking piss. Finally my bladder lets loose and I piss too. I let myself empty, let the remnants dribble, and give myself a shake — but before I pack it away and walk out, I cast a subtle glance toward the guy beside me.

He’s done pissing — and he’s stroking. Fuck, he’s cruising me.

How does this work?

He tilts his head and catches my eye. My cheeks are flaming hot as I look down again, down at my quickly-thickening cock in my hand. My heart is slamming against my ribs, threatening to break through. All I can hear is the blood rushing through my body. My vision even seems to narrow a bit.

Just do it. That’s my libido, my deep unacknowledged desires, speaking up, telling me what to do.

I’ve been driving through this park and past this washroom for weeks now, each time telling myself that today was the day that I would finally park the car, get out, go in, and let my cock hang out. Well, today is finally that day.

The guy is still stroking. Maybe because I haven’t left yet and my cock has long drained of piss so he knows that I’m here for more than just bladder relief.

I watch him out of the corners of my eyes, just enough that I can see his hand stroking his thick cock, but not enough that I accidentally make eye contact. I can’t look at his face right now.

Fuck, his cock is huge.

It’s not until several thundering heartbeats later that I realize that I’ve started stroking my cock too. He notices, then shuffles closer, closing the distance between us. My breathing gets shallower, my heart races faster, and my hand slowly drops from my cock — I’m so in over my head and unable to do anything more than watch.

Then he reaches across and takes my cock in his hand, stroking both of us in time. I groan softly and let my head fall back, closing my eyes. Fuck. It’s just a hand job — I’ve had girlfriends give them to me many times before — but it feels fucking amazing.

He keeps stroking me, not seeming to mind this over-exaggerated response I’m experiencing simply from having his hand on me. If anything, it seems to drive him forward. He grips my dick a little firmer and strokes a little quicker.

I open my eyes and stare down at my dick — I’m so hard and almost as big as him now, but it’s mesmerizing watching a thick, manly, hairy hand stroking my dick. A hand that’s not my own. A hand that belongs to another man. A man that’s going to make me come.

I look across to his dick. The head of it is dark and it looks like he’s about ready to blow. Somehow, this is turning him on as much as it’s turning me on.

He starts flicking his wrist as he strokes up my shaft, giving extra sensation to the hand job, bringing me ever closer to the edge. Suddenly, he shifts position, but I still can’t look at him to see what he’s doing — I’m not able to look at his face yet. He’s still stroking me, but he’s moving closer, he’s — fuuuuuck … he’s kissing my neck. His stubble is scratching against my skin, sending currents of electricity through me, currents that are shooting straight to my dick.

It’s too much. I can’t hold back anymore. I—

“Fuck…” I moan, the first word spoken between the two of us.

I look down at my cock as he pumps even faster and harder. A surge of overwhelming energy rushes through me and suddenly I’m shooting a thick load, casting a heavy white line against the metal trough, more of it shooting to the bottom. It somehow feels far more intense than any orgasm ever. He grunts and pivots his hips toward the trough urinal and soon his thick cum is plastering the metal trough alongside mine.

I stare at the two messy lines of cum. My chest is heaving, my breath coming in pants, and I feel lightheaded. But I also feel amazing. That was … amazing. I have no words for it all.

A moment later, I hear him zip up and head out, the door clattering behind him.

I don’t even know what he looks like. I don’t know if that even matters.

And now I want more.

I zip up and go to wash my hands, not quite ready to leave this place. As I’m drying them, the door clatters and a different man comes in. He gives me a look that’s far too long and lingering to be a passing glance, then steps up to the trough and unzips.

I watch him for a moment and he looks over his shoulder at me, turning his body slightly so that I can see his cock in his hand. His eyes flick from my head to toe and back again, then he turns back to the trough.

My heart is still pounding heart, thrashing against my ribs — but the immense nervousness has abated.

I act on impulse.

Instead of leaving, I step up to the trough.




Cameron D. James is a writer of gay smut. His most recent publication is the (surprisingly smut-free) gay YA romance, Gay Love And Other Fairy Tales, under his YA pen name, Dylan James.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Anonymity, Dark and Bright


I’ve led a fairly tame life, at least in terms of erotic encounters. In the “play party” period of my second adolescence I may not have known much about some of the people I met, but I always knew that they were known to other people that I did know well. And I always knew that I had to drive home alone at night.

As far as my writing goes, the excerpt below is the closest I’ve come to anonymous characters in a story, and that might be stretching the point. But the characters don’t exchange names, and they meet in an isolated wilderness setting, so maybe that counts after all. One is there for the fishing, and the other is there as a photographer obsessed with the “ephemeral art” of nature.

This is from one of my earliest attempts at erotica. I think it was my third time in a volume of the Best Lesbian Erotica series, which would make it 2001. I included it in the first collection of my own work, A Ride to Remember, from Lethe Press, in 2011, which seems a very long time ago, so it’s been kind of fun to revisit it.
_______________

Of Dark and Bright
                                                                     
Sacchi Green

     How has it ever come to this? What am I doing here? The opening of my show, and I'm lurking high on a shadowed stairway looking down at the bright rectangles on the gallery walls, at my photographs, my visions, my studies in light and dark. And my whole bone-shaking desire is to step back into that sun and shadow, that scintillation of sky mirrored on rippling water, that light as it strikes so harshly even the smoothest of stream-worn granite, but flows like a lingering touch over the angles of your body.
     What I'm doing here is watching for you. Without any reason to think you will come, though you recognized the name of the gallery when I mentioned so casually that I sometimes show here. Or any idea of what I will do, if you do come. So much for the wisdom of age.
     Nature is playing tricks on me. Not that I'm complaining; a second adolescence is a torment I'm in no hurry to escape, and my body still gets me wherever I want to go. But where does this surge of raging hungers fit into life's cycle? Where's the archetypal progression from maiden to mother to crone? I've made it almost through the first two, not without joys, not without scars, not without clawing at the boundaries. You'd think some wisdom would have been gained, in all that time; but not enough to ease me through this turmoil. Or even through the next few hours. How will I bear it if you don't come? How will I bear it if you do?
           
     The first time you saw me, you retreated.
     I should have been glad. These few days to myself had been hard enough to pry from a life of too many entanglements. No matter how graceful the undulation of your line out over the stream, how elegantly precise the settling of your lure onto the water, barely creasing the tension of its silvered surface, you were an intrusion. Good fly fishing form, skilled hands, nice balance, but--go away, kid. You bother me.
     I watched, unseen, as you moved upstream, searching out the deepest pools among the rocks. No closer, I thought. Go back. Even at a distance, even before I understood, I was reluctant to let your serene concentration be rippled by a chance encounter.  
     My elkhound Raksha tensed on the opposite shore, gray fur blending imperceptibly into the rocks and driftwood. A low growl rumbled in her chest, a prelude to whatever menace might be required.
     I signaled with my eyes to be still, since my hands were occupied with balancing stone on stone, building structures to be photographed--some as cover art for a book set on a distant planet, some as a sequential study of "ephemeral art" showing the effects over time of wind and water and ice, and some for my insatiable obsession with aspects of light and dark. I should have wondered at how quickly she subsided, but I had forgotten, for the moment, that her savagery was reserved for unknown men.
     Then the trout struck. Your lean, intense face transformed with joy--and I knew. I watched you play the fish, draw it carefully, inexorably toward you, stoop to deftly grasp and then release your prize. The lines of your body revealed what the multi-pocketed fishing vest, the baseball cap over close-cropped hair, had at first concealed. But I already knew.
     The stream swirling past my hips might as well have rammed a log into my crotch. A hunger raw as pain, irrational as the jerk of a hammered knee, lurched deep and low inside me. I cursed at my old-enough-to-know-better self; and in that moment of distraction my balance wavered.
     One stone shifted, then another. I tried to restore the equilibrium of my construction, but the pebbles in the streambed turned under my feet. I staggered, and stones from the disintegrating tower bruised me on their way to the bottom of the river.
     You heard the avalanche of rocks and looked up. In a calmer moment I might have enjoyed your expression as your gaze traveled over the surreal array of stone circles and pillars, the camera and tripod on the shore, and Raksha observing you with a lupine grin. By the time you saw me I was pulling myself up onto a wide, sun-warmed boulder, and then wishing I hadn't, realizing how mercilessly revealing my soaked t-shirt had become, how inadequate my denim cutoffs had always been. Damn it, how far into the wilds did I have to go to be spared seeing myself through someone else's eyes?
     Expressions shifted across your dark-browed face like the drifting shadows of clouds on the mountainsides. I knew you were cursing the shattering of solitude, and considering what, if anything, of yourself to reveal. I saved you the trouble of deciding.
     "Raksha, stay!" I commanded, turning toward the shore, knowing that she had no intention of doing otherwise. I stepped from rock to rock until I stood beside her. Then, one hand on her shaggy neck, I faced you again, smiled, and nodded in casual acknowledgment of shared humanity.
     Your answering smile was brief, startled, and lit with a sweetness you would have cursed yourself for showing. You could pass, in the right circumstances, but never with that smile. Then you turned away. I watched you retreat downstream, leaping from boulder to boulder with a long-legged, impetuous sureness that sent a shiver of delight across my skin.
     So I've done it, I thought, gone completely round the bend. Fantasies, delusions...and delusions of what? I wasn't even sure which I wanted more, to fuck you, or, in spite of the scars the world could be counted on to inflict, to be you. Not that it mattered. My chances of one were about the same as of the other.
     But then, in the morning, you came back.
     Extension of my dreams or not, I went with it. Those dreams had left me sweaty, slippery, tangled in my sleeping bag, and utterly without relief. Raksha sniffed at my crotch with interest. I pushed her nose away and headed for the river.
     Mist rose from the water into the early coolness of the July morning. I eased into the deep cascade-fed pool between the largest boulders. The current here had often swept away tension, pain, everything extraneous to pure being; but I didn't even want it to cool this fever. Some aches are to be savored.
     Raksha stood above me on the bank, testing the breeze. I knew by her focused stillness when she caught a human scent. There, across the river, half-hidden by hemlock branches, you stood, watching her wolfish form, and watching me balancing breast-deep.
     This time I wore nothing but my river sandals. Fantasy, delusion, whatever; I chose to pretend that you cared. "Good morning!" I called across the rush of the water. "It's all right, I won't turn you into a stag."
     You grinned, not startled this time, and came down in easy strides to the riverbank. "You sure? Might be too late. Kinda feels like you already have, antlers and all. But I would've taken you for Venus, not Diana."
     "Venus?" I said. "That manipulative bitch?" If this were delusion, I'd make the most of it. Your deliberate drawl and uptake on the Actaeon myth made my skin tingle; your voice, low and with just a hint of huskiness, would have done the trick all by itself.
     "Nothin' wrong with a little manipulation," you said.
     Damn, why hadn't it occurred to me before that this could be fun? Whatever else it turned out to be. It was a gift you offered, your willingness to play the game, to take the risk of sharing this self with me.
_______________

[Snipped: several pages on which more explicit fun and games ensue]
_______________

I hear your voice before I see you, and the petulant reply of your companion. I struggle to be glad you aren't alone. I watch you move slowly through the gallery, studying the pictures, while she fidgets with her hair. Then you stop before the central work, the one that makes everyone stop. Your body takes on that blend of stillness and tension I remember so well; and this time you see it, too, in the photograph before you. You lie there on a wide, flat rock in midstream, leaning on one elbow, looking down into the rushing water. Sunlight slants across your naked, smoothly muscled back and buttocks, your long, lithe legs, but your head is in the shadow of a higher boulder and your face is turned away. The arm you lean on hides all but a mere, subliminal trace of your curving breast.
     Your companion pauses, says, "Ooh, sexy!" and moves on. She doesn't recognize you. No one could recognize you unless she truly knew you, truly saw you. You should be with someone who will always know you, always feel her heart jump and her breath catch at the sight of you, at your least movement, at your stillness, all through a long, long life. It can't be me, but it won't be her, either.
     You lean forward to read the caption, then turn and scan the gallery. I have retreated up around the curve of the spiral stairway, but you come unerringly toward me, and your movements as you climb quickly and easily up the stairs make something lurch deep inside me.
     I look into your face, watching for anger, half-wanting to see you angry, at least once--your anger could be as breathtaking as your joy--but never hurt. Though your expression is casual, detached, your dark eyes are intense. "Nice bunch of stones," you say, gesturing below.
     "I'll take it down," I say, "if you want me to. You could sue me for not asking your permission, but I didn't know how to reach you." I had deliberately refused to let you tell me how to reach you, for fear that I might descend into stalking. You, sensing that my life is not elegantly simple enough to be all my own, had let it go at that.
     "You might as well leave it up," you say. "Just another pile of stones."
     "No! That's not how I think of you!" My throat is so tight I can scarcely breath.
     You tilt your head slightly, considering. "Where did you get that title? 'All that's best of dark and bright.'" You glance down briefly toward the photograph. "Sounds familiar. From a poem, isn't it?"
     "Byron," I say. "'She walks in beauty, as the night/ Of cloudless climes and starry skies,/And all that's best of dark and bright/ Meets in her aspect and her eyes.'" I manage a slight smile. "On top of everything else, you've turned me maudlin."
     You give me that sudden, blindingly beautiful smile, and relax, and lean your shoulder against the curving wall. "So, will you be going back to get more pictures of those 'ephemeral' towers?"
     "Next month, over Columbus Day." I'm still far from relaxed, but at least I can breathe again. "I was hoping you'd ask."
     Your wide grin makes my heart leap. "I kinda feel an urgent fishing trip coming on," you say, ignoring the querulous voice from below calling your name.
     Then you're gone, leaving me throbbing from a quick, hard, incendiary embrace. And a promise.
_______________

I feel kind of guilty doing nothing but posting an excerpt when it’s my turn at bat for this blog, but I have some urgent final editing to do on a second collection of my own work, Wild Rides, coming out fairly soon, so I really have to concentrate on that, having frittered away my time yesterday baking two birthday cakes for two family birthdays, and celebrating those birthdays today at a family gathering. As I said, I live a fairly tame life. It's a good thing I have writing to keep me sane--or, rather, to keep me from being too sane.  




Friday, October 26, 2018

Stranger Danger

by Jean Roberta


Sexy stories about first-time hookups are exciting not in spite of, but because of the possibility that something could go wrong: two people who don’t know each other well could misread each other’s signals (hence the need for safewords), or one of them could have horrifying intentions.

Even when two potential playmates are introduced by a mutual friend, that doesn’t guarantee that they will be compatible.

Here is the opening scene from “A Bushy Tale,” my lesbian story from Best Lesbian Erotica 2004.

“Louanne and Thomasina (who could stand being called Tommy but not Tommy-girl) were getting acquainted over leisurely cups of coffee on the patio of Café Mocha. They had been introduced by their mutual friend Mick, a dyke d.j. who enjoyed watching women on a crowded dance floor, and occasionally tried to match them up.”

Tommy explains that she rescues injured animals. Louanne says she can understand why that would be satisfying.

[Louanne says:] “I’ve been a volunteer counsellor on the sexual assault and abuse line for a few years. Dealing with women who’ve been abused is hard, but it’s good to see them getting their lives back, little by little.”

Tommy responds politely.

“You sound like a good counsellor,” remarked Tommy, thinking that some delicate flirting would not be taken amiss. She noticed that Louanne’s face was classically beautiful, and almost innocent of makeup.

Louanne looked charmingly abashed. “I just listen,” she explained modestly. “That’s all we can do. I just wish there wasn’t such a need.”

“I bet your clients are glad they have you to talk to. Do you have any other job?” Tommy persisted.

This implication that Louanne had no income and was looking for a Sugar Mama made uncomfortable prickles rise up her neck. “I’ve worked in the library for eight years,” she snapped, sounding colder than she intended. “Books are my life,” she added. “I love helping people do research. You never know what you’ll find when you start digging for information.”

“I’m sure,” laughed Tommy, stretching. She had an easy, contagious laugh which she sometimes used to hide her quick, contagious temper. She had heard the chill in Louanne’s voice, and wondered if the book-lover thought the animal-lover was stupid. Tommy hated being patronized.”

Notice how easy it is for both women to hear negative subtexts in each other’s comments.

“She [Tommy] reached for the front page of the local newspaper, which lay neglected on an adjoining table. “What do you think of this?” Tommy asked Louanne, referring to the headline about government cutbacks to libraries and educational institutions.

Louanne took the paper from Tommy’s hand, letting her fingers linger. Tommy was slightly surprised, and looked thoughtfully at the other woman’s dark, clouded eyes.

Louanne was looking at the front page. “Aggh,” she sputtered. “The case of the South End Rapist. He’s only being tried for the latest one, but we’ve heard about him for years. The cops are idiots.”

“Have you met the victims?” asked Tommy. This was getting so interesting that she was only vaguely aware that her words might be politically incorrect.

“Not the one he’s being tried for,” sighed Louanne. She couldn’t take her eyes off the article. “Who writes this stuff? Everything he did is described. He tied her up and forced her to – there was vaginal and anal.”

“Male bastard,” Tommy remarked calmly. “Why they like to do it without consent is beyond me.” Louanne noticed that she had the bright blue eyes and freckled face of a healthy farm girl, but her energy was edgy and urban. Louanne decided not to think about consent.

“She’s a teenage girl who met him in a chat room on the internet,” Louanne pointed out. “When will women and kids learn how dangerous that is?”

Tommy decided to play the devil’s advocate. “Do you really think that’s more dangerous than finding a pen pal through a club that’s been set up to bring people together, or even meeting someone at work or through a friend? Reaching out to a stranger always involves a risk because ya never know. And no one can promise you that someone else is perfectly safe.” She paused. Everyone wants something,” she mused.

“Everyone,” asserted Louanne. Tommy noticed a trace of bitterness in the set of her mouth. “But not everyone is an asshole.”

“Doing it to someone who doesn’t want it seems stupid to me,” she assured her companion. “I can’t see what guys get out of that. But desire isn’t a simple thing. Sometimes people don’t know what they want until they see it, feel it, taste it.”

The two women looked at each other for a heartbeat. Tommy reached for Louanne’s hand, and it was not pulled away. Tommy heard a soft, answering sigh. “But don’t some things, uh, hurt no matter what?” asked the librarian. She wanted to know.

“Some things,” agreed Tommy. “But some kinds of pain are good, you know? And some – activities just need lots of good will and lube.” She licked her lips. “And natural wetness. Encouragement. You gotta be willing and eager.”

Louanne’s eyes flashed, showing a mixture of feelings. “Eagerness isn’t always appreciated,” she countered. “Willing women get called some ugly names.”

Tommy turned and squeezed Louanne’s hand. “I have the greatest respect,” she assured her, “for sluts.”

Louanne boldly asks Tommy to take her home, where the surroundings aren’t exactly welcoming.

“Tommy drove Louanne to an old brick apartment building that had a certain period charm. Tommy parked in her space in the parking lot. She helped her date out of the car and herded her, with a warm hand on Louanne’s lower back, up a short flight of concrete steps to a heavy wooden door with the name “Fairfield” on it.

In the tile-floored entranceway, Louanne faced a flight of wooden stairs which were graced with a curved black banister. Grasping it for support, she found it slick with layers of old shellack. Louanne was reminded of the 1940s detective novels that she had read as a teenager.

On the first landing, Louanne paused to catch her breath. Tommy circled her waist and pressed her crotch into Louanne’s jeans-covered butt. “Need a rest?” Tommy chuckled.

“Just – for a minute,” gasped her guest. Embarrassed by her weakness, Louanne moved forward as soon as she felt she could tackle the next flight.

Tommy’s apartment was on the third floor, and Louanne was relieved when the number on the door came into her view. She stood still, trying not to gasp for air. She didn’t want to give the impression of being helpless or out of control.

“Why, babe?” Tommy asked. She smiled coolly. “Why did you climb up all these stairs with me?”

Louanne was taken off-guard. “You asked me,” she exhaled.

“So do you accept every invitation you get from people you hardly know?”

Louanne filled her lungs, clutching the railing. “Well, you don’t seem dangerous.” With alarm, she noted the common sense in Tommy’s question. Louanne didn’t like to consider herself a risk-taker.

“Because I’m a woman? Does that make me trustworthy?” Tommy barked with laughter. “Is that what you believe? Or maybe you think you’re safe here with me because it was really your idea.”

Tommy stayed behind Louanne, holding her by the waist so that her guest couldn’t see her face. “How many times have you advised other women to avoid rushing off into the unknown?” she taunted. “Are you sure you could outrun me if you wanted to?”

This question sounded rhetorical, and Louanne didn’t answer it. “Now you’re here,” Tommy reminded Louanne, her mouth close to her guest’s ear. “You’ve worked so hard to get here that I bet you’d like to stay awhile. Welcome to my cave, honey.” Tommy smoothly unlocked her door with one hand and pushed Louanne forward with the other.

Tommy closed the door behind her and ran a hand through Louanne’s silken hair. “I like reckless women,” Tommy purred. “They’re usually bitches in heat.”

Of course, things heat up from that point on. Louanne and Tommy discover that they share a common interest, something which is probably not quite a fetish. Tommy loves working with real animals, and Louanne, the librarian, loves children’s books about anthropomorphic animals who usually appear in charming illustrations wearing clothes from a bygone era.

Louanne consents to be Tommy’s bitch, so to speak, at least for a day. It’s a new experience for both of them, and they’re both surprised and thrilled at how well their role-playing works.

Role-playing is something we all do so often that our roles seem to merge with our personalities. Several of us here at the Grip play the role of teacher when we’re not writing. We also play roles in our relationships: parent, son or daughter, sibling, Significant Other.

Wanting to be free of our usual real-life roles and try on different ones is probably a major motivator for actors as well as writers. In our imaginary worlds, we can be anyone. We can try on different names, and see if they make us feel like different people.

Underneath our social trappings, we’re all really Anonymous.

------------------

NOTE: "A Bushy Tale" was illustrated when it appeared in an on-line subscription website, and the artist gave me permission to reuse his drawing in any way I want, but it's a PDF, and therefore it can't be posted here.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

"Giselle has lots of sex and then writes books about it!" @GiselleRenarde

https://www.audible.com/pd/B07JH5YY66/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-130582&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_130582_rh_us
by Giselle Renarde

I spent the day with my grandmother. She's back in hospital, unfortunately, and she's been so badly delirious that the nurses have been dosing her with anti-psychotics.

But today she was pretty much back to the good old grandma you know and love. Her hearing is really bad, so when one nurse told her "I'll check on you later," my grandma shouted "You'll sext me for lunch???"

She should go into comedy, I swear.

In an obvious attempt to embarrass me, she said to another nurse: "Giselle has lots of sex and then writes books about it!"

Yup. My grandma said that.

I made no comment, but what I was thinking was... I wouldn't say I have "lots" of sex. Though, I must say, the sex I do have is pretty damn noteworthy. That's why I do incorporate it into my fiction. Some of my fiction. Not all. And mainly just short stories.

In fact, I don't think I've ever written an entire novel based on sex I've actually had. I could be wrong. I've written a lot of books, at this point. But when it comes to novels, the sex I write is generally fictitious in the extreme.

Since this fortnight's topic is Anonymous, I would be remiss not to mention a book I wrote called... "Anonymous." Especially when you take into account the fact that the audiobook just came out two days ago.

If ever there was a book about sex I haven't had, it's this one.



I wrote "Anonymous" years ago in response to a demand for MMF menage erotica. It's about a husband who wants to suck another man's cock, and a wife who wants to watch him do it. The husband's got his eye on a waiter at the bistro down the street, but the wife thinks the only way to go is to hire someone anonymous. No strings. No names. Just sex.

It's a "careful what you wish for" situation, big-time, because once they've gone through with the big date, the wife becomes obsessed with discovering "Mr. Anonymous"'s true identity.

She thought she knew what she wanted, but she didn't. Isn't that always the way?

Recording the audio version of this novel was an all-round awful experience. I love doing audio narration. It's fun, it lets me put my acting chops to good use, and it's a great way to focus my mind when I'm having a bad time with my mental health. But I have a short attention span in all things, and this book took me more than two months to record. Plus, in the middle of recording, I got strep and I blame the gravelly voice I was trying to pull off for the husband character.

There's this trend in my life where things that feel easy end up being highly beneficial (financially and otherwise), but anything that's hard and/or takes a long time falls flat on its face. It happens every time.

That doesn't bode well for this audiobook.

It took a long time to create. I worked hard on it. It made me physically ill. You're taught that hard work pays off, but that's never been the case for me. Easy work pays off. Hard work ends up being a huge waste of time.

So why work hard?

Good question. I guess I must figure one of these days a project will come along that'll break all the rules. I'll work hard, put years of my life into some book, and lots of people will read it and enjoy it.

Anything's possible. But my hopes aren't high.

https://www.audible.com/pd/B07JH5YY66/?source_code=AUDFPWS0223189MWT-BK-ACX0-130582&ref=acx_bty_BK_ACX0_130582_rh_us
In the meantime, feel free to use your Audible credit to listen to the book that made me physically ill. You can also buy a copy... well, pretty much anywhere you can buy digital audiobooks. If you're a member of other audio subscription services, you can check and see if they've got Anonymous. My distributor's busy getting it out into the world, but sometimes it takes a little while.

I've also released my Eugene Onegin adaptation, TRAGIC COOLNESS, as an ebook and in print. I haven't even begun to promote it because I've been so busy with family and other stuff, but it took me two years to write, so it's bound to fail no matter what I do!

(I keep hearing authors say that they're cutting negative people out of their lives, and I'm kind of like... oh, so that's where everyone went... heh)

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Owl and Pussycat



Pleased to meet  you.  How are you crazy?  Crazy as owl shit, I mean?  

Let me tell you first  how I'm crazy.

These days its Panera.  I like Panera because of the light and because they have decaf late at night.  I need my coffee when I write, but I also have trouble enough these days trying to sleep.  It used to be Barnes and Noble in the mall, where the Starbucks was my favorite place to read and write, but that’s when my wife was working at Macy’s.  She’s overseas looking after her ailing mother, and has been for close on seven months.  She’s a good daughter.  She’s a good wife, and like many good wives underappreciated until her absence is felt like a black hole in the astral plane, sucking up everything in its gravity well. These days if I go to Barnes and Noble I feel haunted.  I miss my pussy.  I miss my pussycat.  Her spirit is everywhere, like a ghost.  

I think what we experience as being a ghost may be less a disembodied spirit than a disembodied neural circuit, a deep memory with no where to go.  An important and intimate friend, recently said "Where will you put that love?"  A ghost can be a love that has no where to go.  I walk around Macy's and I feel her presence, as though she inhabits the air itself.  There's nothing wrong.  She's alive.  We're married and well enough and someday she'll finish her work in Panama and be back and we'll settle back into the old grooves of a well seasoned couple.  We never really know someone, even when we are intimate with them.  We know only what they show us, what leaks out at us in vulnerable moments when the armor is down.  We know our illusions and the story line we tell ourselves, but the person will always be out of our reach.

Until then the photo flash image of her haunts me, friendly as Casper, nothing wrong, nothing threatening, yet profoundly disturbing.  I miss my pussy.  I miss my pussycat.  Where will you put that love?

My close friend says I’m grieving for her.  That’s an interesting way of seeing it.  I think she’s right.  I'm surprised that I can grieve for a person who is not dead.  After years of marriage, a couple becomes less passionate and more like a symbiotic organism.  When one half is gone, the other begins to come apart in big messy pieces.  That one would be me. 

These last few months have been a difficult journey.  Growing old is not what I had thought it would be when I was young.  Why am I not wise yet?  I’ve discovered panic attacks and a legion of other odd demons that I had not known were there.  But I’ve been comfortable for so very long, and I wasn’t growing.  Now I feel something.  Sitting hard on the chest of my madness, holding it down and mostly out of sight, I feel very much alive.  Motivated to grow.  Grow - or else.  

One of the better points of growing older is that one judges others less.  Seeing one’s own vulnerability and occasional outbursts of public lunacy up close, you begin to see that everyone else is carrying a heavy load as well.  What you realize is that each person you know is crazy, each in their way, not just amusingly crazy, but truly “Crazy as owl shit,” as my friend says.  Truly.  When people are getting to know each other for the first time, on that first date, maybe the thing to know is not how are you compatible, but how do we sync up our mutual crazy and make it sing?
 
Another thing about growing older is that a person becomes more and more sexually transparent.  More anonymous.  Unless you fight it.  Women especially feel this.  The brave ones fight against it, rage against the dying of the light, the dying of the erotic magic.  Some find menopause a kind of relief, a license to stop worrying about the male gaze and just get on with it.  There’s something to be said for either.

I was never a man that women looked at twice or even noticed.  As time goes by I’ve become more vain and neurotic about it.  A little more longing.  I’m also one of those  who wants to rage against the dying of the erotic.  Or rather the fading of presence.  I’ve been luckier than many men my age, in that in these later years I have friends, even close friends.  I need them passionately.  They inspire me.  I love them.  They love me back.

I am more and more anonymous.  The better to be crazy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

#Anonymous #LaBrat #spanking

An anonymous spanking, taken from La Brat (2015). Enjoy...



“Take your pick. Or if you prefer I’ll just use my hand.”
“That one. If you please.” Eugenie pointed to a pretty little lemon-colored paddle made of flexible silicon. She honestly had no idea if she was making a good choice or not, but her limited experience had at least taught her that the difference would be made by the skill and intent of the Dom, not the implement used. If this man wanted to hurt her, he could and he would. If it was too much, she could stop him by using her safe word.
Sure enough, his next question addressed that issue. “What’s your preferred safe word for this, Miss…?”
“Eugenie. My name is Eugenie d’André. And my safe word is Maupassant.”
At his raised eyebrow, she felt moved to clarify. “He is one of my favorite authors. He was French.”
“Ah, right. Excellent choice. Very classical. You will address me as Sir.”
Naturellement, Sir.”
His tight smile was his only further response. He gestured for Eugenie to lean on the bench and lift the short skirt she was wearing. She did as instructed, quashing her natural modesty, which had no place here. Even so, she appreciated his choice of the cubicle as it did offer a degree of privacy.
“Would you like me to remove my thong also, Sir?”
“That’s up to you. It makes no difference to this.”
“Then I will leave it in place. Thank you, Sir.”
“Ten strokes okay?”
“Yes, Sir, ten will be fine.” Eugenie wriggled against the soft leather padding on the bench, making herself comfortable as her handsome playmate for the evening positioned himself behind her. Now that the initial embarrassment was behind her, she was glad that she’d taken the plunge, so to speak, and accepted his invitation to play.
“I’ll start when you tell me you’re ready.”
“I am ready, Sir—ooh!”
The first stroke fell immediately, sending a sharp burst of pain across her left buttock.
“Too hard?”
“No, Sir. That is perfect.”
He made no comment, just proceeded to deliver the remainder of the ten strokes, pausing for a few seconds between each. Eugenie presumed this was to allow her the opportunity to use her safe word if she wished, and she silently appreciated his care. There would be no safe wording, though. His technique was heavy but controlled, the slaps just painful enough to elicit a squeal or two by the time he reached eight and a definite scream at the tenth. Eugenie was impressed. By the time he offered her his hand to help her to stand upright once more, her bottom was smarting and her pussy moist. She began to wonder at the wisdom of retaining her thong, but it was done now.
“Thank you, Sir. I enjoyed that.” Eugenie was careful to assume a suitably submissive posture, her head bowed, hands clasped behind her. She liked this Dom, wanted to make a good impression. Perhaps he was a regular here. If so, she would certainly be returning frequently.
“My pleasure, Miss d’André—or do you prefer mademoiselle?”
“Either is quite all right, Sir. Just as you please.”
He gave a low chuckle, as though he knew exactly what was going on in her head. Perhaps he did—some Dom’s had that knack, she’d found. She had no idea how they did it, where they learned that peculiar brand of telepathy. Were they born with it? Or did they perfect it by going to classes or some such thing? Probably the latter. She was aware that good Doms would read about BDSM, fact as well as the fiction that she was so fond of. They would practice, they would finesse their art before laying a hand or anything else on a submissive. This man certainly had all the skills. She had felt safe with him.
“Is there anything else I can do for you, mademoiselle? Do you have further plans for this evening?”
“No, Sir, not plans as such. I just, I… This is the first time I have been here. I do not know the facilities well.” Please take the bait. Please.
“Miss d’André, is that your way of hinting that you’d like me to give you a tour?”
“Yes, Sir. If you are not too busy, and if you have no other—commitments.”
“I think I can make time for you. Are there any more items of equipment you might like to sample here, whilst we’re still in the dungeon?” He gestured beyond their cubicle to the public area where couples and groups milled about in various states of dress and undress. Prior to his offer of a spanking, she’d already checked out the St. Andrew’s Cross at the far end, the stocks set up in the centre, as well as the many and various straps and hooks affixed to the walls and ceiling. Shelving and racks held an assortment of paddles, whips, crops, canes, and Eugenie knew that electrical aides such as vibrators could be supplied on request.
“Yes, Sir. Anything. All of it.”
“My my, you are ambitious, to say this is only your first visit. For myself, I prefer to take things more slowly. I’m thinking one of the private rooms might be more suited to our requirements right now.”
Dom intuition again. Amazing. Eugenie gave a quick, grateful little nod.
“Follow me, please.” He turned on his heel and strode away from her across the dungeon. He never once looked back to see if his companion was behind him. He didn’t have to.



Monday, October 22, 2018

Anonymous #ziplessfuck #fantasy #danger

Venetian mask

By Lisabet Sarai

A train finally pulled into the station. Miranda rode one stop then transferred to the Red Line at Downtown Crossing. The second train was even more deserted.

The car held one other passenger, a young Japanese businessman who sat across from her. His thick, shiny black hair was expertly styled. He wore fashionable wire-frame glasses and a beautifully-cut dark blue suit. He was reading a paperback. However, when she entered the car, he stuffed that in his jacket pocket and stared at her in a manner completely out of keeping with the reputed politeness of his culture.

Annoyed but somehow fascinated, Miranda stared back. The man’s eyes narrowed. A slow smile curved his surprisingly full lips. He deliberately removed his eyeglasses, folded them precisely, and deposited them in his expensive attaché case. Then he resumed his scrutiny of her.

The train stopped at Park Street and the doors creaked open then, after a few moments, they clattered shut. No one got on or off. The Japanese man remained focused on her.

Miranda recognized the sexual charge in his gaze. She knew her taut nipples were visible, poking out the fabric of her top. Her skirt was only half-buttoned, she noticed. The man was focusing now on the shadowy area where it fell open, just above her knees.

Suddenly she felt hot all over, her cheeks, her earlobes, her fingertips, her breasts all flushed with blood. The cotton of her panties bunched damply between her thighs. The young executive watched her reactions, stroking his own thighs with pale, well-manicured hands.

Without conscious thought, still holding him with her eyes, Miranda began to undo the other buttons on her skirt. She lingered over each one, building suspense. Her companion sat still, composed and patient, but Miranda sensed his underlying eagerness. Her own arousal grew each time she released one of the buttons. The Japanese stranger adjusted his position, moving his legs a bit, showing her the bulk in the crotch of his well-tailored trousers. Her own sex felt just as swollen, the need for stimulation almost painful.

Leaving the button at her waist still fastened, she slowly pulled the two halves of the skirt to each side. Now her white underwear was clearly visible. Her traveling companion sat entranced as she slipped her hand into her panties and lightly fingered her clit.

Then she shut her eyes, overwhelmed by her body’s reaction to this barest of touches. Ripples of pleasure flowed out from that sensitive center, until she was tingling all over. Tentatively, she slipped a finger into her pussy, marveling at the wet heat she found there. He was watching every move, she knew. That knowledge magnified the pleasure a hundred fold.

The back of her hand brushed against damp cotton. Of course, he could not actually see what she was doing, in detail. Miranda felt sure that he would want to. She opened her eyes again and found that her partner’s gaze had not wavered. With the same deliberate pacing she had applied to the unbuttoning, she raised her bottom from the seat. She removed the obscuring panties, sliding them smoothly down her legs to her ankles, then bending as gracefully as she could to pick them up. Dangling them from one finger, she let them drop beside her on the bench.

Now the stranger opposite could see Miranda’s dark thatch, with the pink lips protruding, engorged and slick. Miranda spread her thighs wide. Using both hands, she parted the curls and began to frig herself in earnest. She slid the first two fingers of both hands into her vagina. Meanwhile her symmetric thumbs briskly massaged her clit.

She saw delight and disbelief on the face of the Japanese man. His suit trousers were hugely distorted by his erection. Miranda felt outrageous and powerful. She placed one sandaled foot on the seat, opening herself further to his view. His eyes never left her nimble fingers, sliding in and out of her cunt. Meanwhile, her gaze remained locked on his face as she edged ever closer to climax, the lust she saw there inflaming her beyond reason.

The train lurched to a stop, startling them both. Miranda realized that they had reached Charles Street station, her stop. Acting far more composed than she felt, she removed her hands from her crotch. She stood, picked up her purse, turned her back on the stranger, and walked out of the train without looking back.

Still, she was intensely aware of his presence. She knew he’d paused to retrieve her sodden panties. His breath caught as he slipped out of the car just before the doors closed. His footsteps echoed on the stairs behind her as she descended from the platform to ground level.

As in Chinatown, all the businesses on Charles Street were dark. The gas lamps made pools of golden light at intervals along the street. Miranda could hear her heels clicking on the cobblestone sidewalk, and a few paces behind her, the muted sound of the businessman’s leather soles. A mild spring breeze stirred her skirt and touched her naked privates underneath. She shivered at the touch, delicate but intimate, the fingers of some ghostly lover.

A few blocks from the station, Miranda reached the alleyway that led to her apartment. She ducked inside and stood with her back to the brick wall, breathing deeply.

Overhead, the moon shone cold and distant. Halfway down the alley there was a lamp, but the area near the entrance where Miranda lay in wait swam in darkness. It seemed a long time before the Japanese man reached the narrow passageway. For a moment, Miranda thought that he was going to pass right by. But no, he turned abruptly as he caught sight of her. Before Miranda could move or speak, he seized her in a fierce embrace and had his tongue deep in her mouth.

Flirting, playing, teasing the man on the subway was one thing. His sudden physical presence was something else, shocking and foreign. He smelled of some men’s cologne, brash, almost bitter. He tasted faintly like licorice. His tongue was agile and his mouth demanding. She was no longer in control. Miranda gave herself up to the kiss. It sent electric sparks shuddering down her spine to her sex.

He sucked her earlobe into his mouth, nipping at the tender morsel of flesh with sharp teeth. The brief pain was immediately overwhelmed by delicious spasms between her legs. Now he was nuzzling at her neck, his coarse, thick hair tickling near her collarbone. He held her with one arm and with the other, pulled up her jersey, reached behind and deftly unhooked her bra. The night air caressed her bared breasts as he pushed the bra out of the way and fastened his mouth on one taut nipple.

Miranda’s knees grew weak. She loved his force, his strength. When his hand moved below her waist, she spread her legs wide, silently offering him her sex. But instead, he unzipped his trousers, releasing his straining penis.

He stood back for a moment, so that Miranda could see it. Smooth and pale, it seemed almost luminescent in the moonlight. His cock was elegant, slender and straight with a glans scarcely larger than the shaft, and totally hairless. Like ivory, Miranda thought. Then thought disappeared as the man roughly pulled her legs apart and, with a single upward thrust, buried himself in her depths.

He was as hard as ivory, or bone, or stone. He worked her cunt with fast, furious strokes, leaving her little time to breathe. Miranda could only moan and clutch at his shoulders as his unyielding rod slid in and out of her. Her eyes closed. Other sensations mingled with the exquisite roughness of his thrusts. She smelled his sweat, dampening the armpits of his business shirt. The brick wall scraped her back. She heard a siren, blocks away, and it seemed like its keening rise to crescendo matched the progress of her arousal.

She was soaked, so wet that at one point he slipped out of her folds. He uttered what sounded like a curse in Japanese. With both hands, he grabbed her buttocks and raised her off the ground, settling her firmly on his erection. Miranda instinctively locked her legs around his waist. Their bodies thus linked, the stranger resumed his thrusts, his penis now firmly embedded in her hungry cunt.

In their new position, Miranda had more control. She rocked her pelvis back and forth, seeking deeper penetration. There were always those aching places, too deep for any cock, that craved stimulation. Her partner growled and dug his nails into her hind cheeks. Wonderful pleasure-pain. She clamped her thighs more tightly. At the same time, she tensed her cunt-muscles, gripping the ivory rod inside her and grinding down with fierce energy. She teetered on the edge of orgasm, screaming inside for that one perfect thrust that would push her over.

As she clenched around him, he exploded. He rammed her against the wall, tearing her jersey. Oh, that was what she wanted and needed, to be torn open! His cock pierced the balloon swelling inside her, and her climax took her like a hurricane. The gale rang in her ears, bore her aloft, battered and blessed her.

When the force of the orgasm faded, she found she was still entwined with the body of the Japanese man. She looked at his face, for the first time since the subway. He smiled, a bit sheepishly, and helped her to stand.

Miranda felt dizzy. No, giddy, overwhelmed and amazed by her own audacity. She pulled her bra and her tattered shirt down over her naked breasts. Brushing off brick dust, she watched the businessman stuff his now-limp penis back into his pants and close the zipper. She smiled, a secret smile that she knew the stranger would not understand.

He straightened his clothing and retrieved his briefcase from the pavement where he’d left it. With the same care he had used on the train, he extricated his eyeglasses and put them back on.

Then he surprised Miranda. He stood very straight, looking conservative and affluent, and bowed low. “Arrigatou gozaimasu,” he murmured. Picking up his case, he turned and left the alley. Miranda could hear his soft footsteps on the sidewalk as he disappeared from her life.


~ From Miranda’s Masks by Lisabet Sarai



Friday, October 19, 2018

Down the Rabbit Hole with Dangerous Characters


Like many writers, I’m convinced that my characters have minds of their own, and they sometimes take me into that twilight zone where nothing goes according to my well-laid plan. It happens like this. First, I become aware that the plot is veering into unmapped territory. It’s never as simple as me changing my mind about where I should take the story line, though that does happen often enough. But this is different. I am no longer the one calling the shots. The character I’m writing about at the moment has hijacked my story. At this point, all I can do is take a deep breath and hold on tight for the wild ride. 

Then, when my character has my full attention, what he does reveals something about himself that I would have never expected and would be far too timid to write anyway, except I’m no longer left with a choice. Not to write it his way would be dishonest and, frankly, when I actually have such an encounter with a willful character, I’m a little bit frightened of what he might do if I don’t write it his way. 

I don’t always enjoy it when a character takes me off the map and into the dark. Here be monsters. Besides, I don’t want to see his flaws up close and personal. I suspect that’s because it’s too much a reminder of my own darkness and flaws. But once I’m no longer in control, there’s a shift that happens, and I realize that I’ve been taken deeper down the rabbit hole of my own inner workings than I would ever be brave enough to go on my own. Denial may not be just a river in Egypt, but it’s most definitely a state I’m totally at home in. 

My characters, however, don’t like denial, and the ones that like it least are the villains. One of the scariest and most unredeemable villains I ever wrote was Terrance Jamison, the baddie in two of the four Executive Decisions novels I wrote under the name Grace Marshall. If ever there was a character I wanted to hate, it was him. If ever there was a character I felt uncomfortable with, it was him. And yet, Terrance Jamison also compelled me to feel the same lust and rage toward him as the heroine of the story, Stacie Emerson did in The Exhibition

When she allowed herself to think about that horrible time, it was always with thoughts of what might have been if she could have gotten Zoe away from him, if they could have gone somewhere he couldn’t find them. Strangely, it was his scent that permeated all of her memories of him. Every time she had ever been with him it had surrounded her, practically drowned her; when he held her, when he stroked her hair, when he caressed her. He always smelled like the desert, with everything that was dangerous about it. Everything that was poisonous or desolate or sharp-angled and deadly seemed to seep through his pores in a way that was both dark and compelling. How was it that something as simple as the way someone smelled could elicit such desire, such hope, such terror, such rage? How was it that the scent of the man was the first thing she remembered about him and the last thing that haunted her in her dreams?

It was a summer evening, one of those glorious times when daylight lasts forever and you can’t bring yourself to go inside the house. I was ensconced on the patio sipping Malbec and tapping away on my laptop well into the first draft of The Exhibition. I remember distinctly how everything shifted when Terrance Jamison took control. The encounter he forced me to write was not the one I had planned. There was never any question that he had taken over, and none too gently. Jamison didn’t do gently. He didn’t tell me what to write. Instead he dragged me right into the disturbing, uncomfortable thick of it all. Being with Jamison was not an out of body experience; instead it was a little too much in the body for my comfort. And yet I might have been a million miles from my homey little patio in Surrey. When the scene was finished, he left me feeling euphoric, aroused, disturbed and in need of another glass of wine. 

Here is an excerpt from my time under Terrance Jamison’s influence. 

When she remembered that night, the night she truly realized just how in over her head she really was, she recalled it with the sounds of sex. Perhaps that was because when she revisited that night in her dreams, she always heard their lovemaking from a long way off – if you could call it lovemaking. It was only much later, too late, that she learned just how cruelly Jamison had used Zoe. In her dreams, she could hear them the moment she entered Zoe’s building. She could hear them in the elevator all the 29 floors to the flat as she road with her heart in her throat, fearing for her friend, wondering why she hadn’t shown up for their dinner meeting, or at least called. Zoe hadn’t been herself since – well, since Jamison came into the picture as more than the distant presence Zoe spoke about from time to time. In her dreams, she heard their moans and gasps as she exited the elevator and walked the interminable distance to Zoe’s front door. In her dreams, the door was always wide open with a view into Zoe’s bedroom, with her naked on the bed, with Jamison on top of her. 

In reality, she had heard nothing, been aware of nothing, until it was too late. In reality, she feared the worst. So when Zoe had left no messages and not returned her phone calls, when there was no answer at the door, she let herself in with the spare key Zoe had given her. In reality, it was the fact Zoe’s bedroom door was closed that had led her to knock softly, call Zoe’s name, and push the door open, fearing … She wouldn’t have dared name exactly what it was she feared. And looking back, even in dreams, she could never visit that unnamed fear without its true horror being thrust upon her in reality far worse than any of her nightmares. It was the beginning of the end – or at least in her memories that’s how it felt. But in reality, the end had begun the moment Zoe had introduced her to Terrance Jamison, with her still flushed from the excitement, from the glitz and the triumph of her second exhibition. 

Even after she pushed the bedroom door open it took her a few seconds to make the connection, to figure it all out. At first she saw only a man’s back, a man lying face down on Zoe’s bed. For a split second, she thought someone was assaulting Zoe. It was then she heard the sounds of sex, as though someone had just turned up the volume, as though a tidal wave of noise and smells and connections had washed over her, threatening to drown her. And then she heard Zoe’s yelp of surprise, saw a naked arm shove from under the fully-clothed man, and Zoe called her name. 

‘Stacie, Jesus, Stacie, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I meant to call. Really I did.’

It was all so disjointed in her mind, even though at the time every second of it felt like a pinprick to cold skin, so vivid, so powerfully focused. 

It was then she realized the man was Jamison. He rose from the bed, still wearing that same smile he always wore, as though he owned the world and he were greeting a favorite vassal. She had interrupted their lovemaking and he welcomed her as if he were inviting her to tea at the Ritz. ‘I wasn’t expecting you, Stacie,’ he said. But she knew that he had been. She could see it in his eyes, feel it in the way he looked at her. She was exactly who he was expecting, and it was as though he had forgotten Zoe was even there.

‘I’m … I’m sorry. I was worried. I was worried,’ she managed before turning and fleeing. In the back of her mind she could hear Zoe’s voice, high-pitched and thin with words staccato and clipped, the way she always sounded when she was drunk. But her words sounded like gibberish against the hard hammering of Stacie’s pulse in her ears as she fled, feeling mortified and humiliated and other hot prickly things she didn’t want to think about. Then Jamison yelled something that had silenced Zoe. Stacie heard the bedroom door slam with a loud crack, and then he was calling after her.

‘Stacie! Stacie, wait!’ He caught her by the arm in the hallway by the door, his grip talon-tight. His white shirt was untucked and unbuttoned to show the mat of hair across his chest that glistened with the heat of arousal. He’d made no attempt to do up his fly, and his erection fought against black boxers. He smelled faintly of whiskey. Mostly he smelled of sex and something else, something that prickled along her skin and made her shiver. He had never been anything but pristine, never been anything but under control, and the sight of him like this frightened her, confused her.

‘I’m sorry.’ She forced the words through the desert of her mouth. ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t know.’

And then he pulled her to him with such force that she cried out, and he kissed her. It wasn’t a kiss she had ever dreamed of or hoped for. It was a scorched earth kiss that took no prisoners and left no hope for survivors. As fear rose to the surface over lust and confusion, he crushed her hand to his bare belly, his muscles tightening as though she had punched him. He slid her palm down into the tent of his boxers, down over the prickle of pubic hair, and forced her fingers closed around the obscene heft of his erection, the erection he’d elicited by what he had done to Zoe. Before she could utter a sound, he took her mouth again and shoved her hard against the wall, his hand bruising an irresistible path up under her skirt, over the tops of her stockings and into her panties.

From her bedroom, Zoe was repeating the same gibberish over and over again like a mantra, like a hypnotic spell. And whenever she remembered that night, Stacie felt as though she might well have been hypnotized or drugged or maybe temporarily insane. Or maybe, she’d hoped against hope, maybe she had only dreamed it. 

All of it, the noise, the smell, the fevered touch of his body, of his mouth pushing at her until, at some point in an eternity that couldn’t possibly have taken more than minutes, Stacie kissed him back. At some point, she curled her fingers in her hair and cried out in frustration, in confusion, in fear, pushing back, clawing and gripping at him where he still held her hand to his cock. And then he shuddered against her and she felt the warm stickiness of his semen erupt over the tight grip of her fingers, and still he held her. Zoe’s high-pitched mantra became mere background noise as he stroked feverishly between Stacie’s legs and dug thick fingers between her raw folds, grunting to gain his breath, cursing and shoving at her.

‘I keep waiting for you and you keep running from me, making excuses,’ he gasped against her ear. ‘So I’ll take what I can
get. For now. But I won’t wait much longer. I always get what I want. Always. You should know by now, those are the rules.’ With a nearly painful rub of his thumb, she came in a trapped animal cry that drowned out the high-pitched rhythm of Zoe’s mantra as it clawed its way through her lungs and out of her throat. Then he stepped back, his chest rising and falling spastically, his eyes locked on hers, and that was the first time she ever remembered his eyes joining in the emotions of his face. It was hunger that stared back at her, like he would devour her whole, like she was prey and he had already taken her before she even knew what had happened. He jerked her hand from his boxers and wiped it on the hem of her skirt. With a little kitten cry, she shoved him away and ran out the door. 

While all of the characters I write, no doubt, represent some part of my psyche, the dark characters, the monster, human and otherwise, are the ones most able to drag me, often kicking and screaming, to places I fear to go. Perhaps that’s why demons and dark passages underground play major roles in my novels. And while those monsters may leave me trembling and disturbed, they never leave me there without new insights into who they are and into who I am.