Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Review Tuesday: Fast Girls -- #anthology #erotica #ReviewTuesday

Fast Girls
Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Cleis Press, 2010

When I was in high school, “fast girl” was a barely polite term for a slut―a girl who'd do anything with anyone, at any time. Unlike “slut”, however, the term carried a hint of admiration. Fast girls didn't worry about their reputations, at least not when that conflicted with their pleasure. Fast girls were brave and bold. They went places and did things that the more timid good girls might only dream about.

Rachel Kramer Bussel's collection FAST GIRLS pays tribute to this image of the girl (or woman) who is not afraid to defy convention in the quest for her own satisfaction. The theme is evocative without being too constraining. The stories that Ms. Bussel has assembled take a variety of perspectives on the concept of “fast”. Some authors, like Jennifer Peters in “Confessions of a Kinky Shopaholic” or Kayla Perrin in “Temptation”, give us women who are willing to act on attraction to a stranger. Others―Jacqueline Applebee in “Five-Minute Porn Star”, Tenille Brown in “Speed Bumps”, Charlotte Stein in “Married Life”―show that it's possible to be “fast” in the context of a committed relationship or even a marriage. Angela Caperton's “Playing the Market” and Rachel Kramer Bussel's “Whore Complex” explore the forbidden allure of playing the prostitute. Kristina Wright, on the other hand, creates a heroine who gets her kicks playing on the right side of the law in “Chasing Danger”.

The Table of Contents includes many familiar names, and practically every story is worth reading. I thought I'd mention my personal favorites.

Tristan Taormino's “Winter, Summer”, the only lesbian tale in the anthology, is an exquisite tale of a bar pick-up that turns out to be much more. The unnamed femme narrator tells us at the start that her motto is “Get close enough to get off. No closer”. Yet the dominant butch who claims her manages to break through her frosty shell.

It was as if she had diligently studied my body and knew all its curves and tender spots by heart, like she knew the pool table: hands gliding, stroking, pressing until my soft flesh relaxed into warmth and wetness underneath her, ready to go into whatever deep pocket she was pushing me. She pulled back from me and stood studying my body with her acute, extreme eyes. Her concentration and the quietness that surrounded us were terrifying. Electric.

Stunningly beautiful and lewdly intense, this is the story that will stay with me the longest.

Another exceptional contribution is D.L. King's femdom fantasy “Let's Dance”. I have to admit that one reason I loved this tale was the fact that I know D.L. King personally―and this is a very personal story. The narrator, an author of erotica, notices a cute guy dancing, discovers (through some first-hand exploration) that the boy's genitalia are shaved, and decides (with his enthusiastic agreement) to take him home, tie him up and flog him. The scene in Eve's loft is explicit and arousing, but what sets this story apart is the humorous, natural dialogue and the way it shows off Eve's fast girl attitude.

Once in the cab, I said, “Hey, Cute Boy, who shaved your boy parts?”

A blush began at the top of his ears and traveled to his cheeks. “Uh, I did,” he said.

What made you decide to do something like that?” The blush spread to his forehead and neck simultaneously, and he looked at the floor of the cab. “Aw, c'mon, you can tell me.” I rested my hand on the inside of his thigh and gave him a good-natured squeeze.
Well, see, I was reading this book...and the guy in it―I guess it was a dirty book...” He looked out the window at the Manhattan Bridge. “Where do you live?”

Brooklyn. Go on.”

Don't worry about it. It's not a foreign country,” I said.

A third tale that touched me is the breathtaking D/s saga “Lessons, Slow and Painful” by Tess Danesi. The terrifying sincerity of the heroine's submissiveness struck a deep chord. Ms. Danesi takes the “fast” in the anthology title literally. Her master punishes her for taking shortcuts, doing things too quickly.

Beg me to cut you, Tess,” he whispers darkly. “Beg me, bitch.”

I don't hesitate. I can't pretend I don't want this. “Do it, Dar. Do it. Go on and just do it,” I reply.

And you expect me to do it hurriedly, Tess? I don't think so,” he says, accompanied by a cruel little laugh that chills me.

And lest you wonder why all my favorite stories appear to involve BDSM, let me also mention Donna George Storey's lively and intelligent “Waxing Eloquent”. The narrator, house sitting at her brother's Manhattan Beach condo and trying to break up for good with her married professor lover, ends up falling into bed with the television actor who lives next door. She decides to get her pussy waxed in order to have the full L.A. experience (“I guess in L.A. a woman is supposed to look like Barbie with her clothes off, too.”) and discovers that the reported heightened sensitivity of a bare pubis is only the beginning.

As I ride him, slowly, then faster, I realize I am much more sensitive down there. It's as if my time on the salon table was a kind of rough foreplay, priming me for his cock. Cody's wiry curls chafe my tender lips, and I feel as if I'm straddling not just him, but a knife's edge―one side is pleasure, the other sweet pain.

Okay, there's that familiar pleasure/pain dichotomy, but I swear this story does not involve any bondage or discipline!

Cherry Bomb's brief but eloquent contribution “That Girl” seems to sum up the entire collection.

I am a promiscuous girl... only not the way you think. Oh, I know what they say about me. I hear them back home, clamoring in judgment, their whispers. They don't even wait until my back is turned anymore. I know what they think of me, which is why the second that you show any interest in me, any desire to get to know me, they will come to you with the same words on their lips:

Watch out for her. She's dangerous.”

And I guess I am. What else would you call someone like me? Someone so emotionally reckless, a dangerous fuck. I am the girl that wants everyone and everything, the girl with the uncontrollable lust and insatiable hunger.

This is what it means, to be a fast girl. But it's not as simple as it sounds, as the authors in this collection demonstrate.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Snow Tires on a Chevrolet by Jan West - #unrequited #ComingOfAge #SouthCarolina

Snow Tires cover


What if you could get a second chance at love?

Scott is a man frozen in time. Timid and afraid, the blue-collar worker pines for the writer's life he craves--and the girl of his dreams who seems just out of reach. When a freak snowstorm forces his unrequited crush Janey to stand at his doorstep begging to be let in, a host of formerly forbidden fantasies come to life. But is he right to yield to temptation?

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Scott’s chest tightened. It contracted and grew long after he put the phone down and stared into empty space as he rested his hands and tried not to think. He waited for Janey to knock on his door, an interminable period of optimism and desire building within as he fought to compose himself. His knees buckled violently, a constant shaking that only served to underscore the nervousness simmering within. He pictured his muse trudging through the snow in her Uggs, her wisps of copper-colored hair flailing around her ears as her lips chafed in the stinging cold.

The off-and-on peal of sirens only heightened his anxiety. Janey lived only a half a mile or so away, in a trailer with spotty electricity and rusty ‘86 Buick that clearly seen better days. He'd have come gotten her herself if he hadn't forgotten to get the snow tires for his Chevrolet before the storm. The local news did such a good job downplaying it that by the time the bread and milk flew off the store shelves it'd already been too late. The dusting grew to about three feet when Scott kicked the covers off the bed.

The teasing screams of the kids having fun outside reminded him of his own careless childhood. If he were the nostalgic sort he’d wallow in a sea of sentimental schmaltz. But the presence of snow these days often didn’t translate into snowball fights. More and more as he got older it meant delays, roads closed off, work hours lost. He hoped the children would make the best of it as they frolicked in their gloves and warm winter coats.

There would come a time when they wouldn’t be as sanguine, their fresh faces lined with stress and
age. Luckily, Scott hadn’t aged that much. Even at thirty-two, he was more likely to be mistaken for someone in their early twenties than an older millennial. He was attractive in a boyish, studious sort of way--like a handsome older college student. Occasionally he would be complimented for his appearance. The vast majority of the time he was ignored.

He didn’t mind usually. Scott was never one to dwell on life’s bitterness. He was aloof in a sense--insular, reserved. Some might say stand-offish. He compensated for his loneliness with an insatiable curiosity and creative potential. What little angst and malaise he felt he poured into his writing, toiling at his laptop for hours on the weekends. It was his outlet, his escape, his way of processing the world.

But that didn’t mean he was incapable of feeling deeply, and lately, Janey was making him feel things. Things he’d only thought of as an abstraction until their paths crossed at a convenience store several years ago. He was happy to consider her a close friend, but sometimes he wanted more. More than he thought either of them could give. He was afraid of telling her. Not once did he ever consider it, but from time to time he wondered what the two of them together would be like.

It was good to daydream.

About Jan West

At turns spontaneous, earthy, soulful and creative, the pseudonymous author known as Jan West has in some way or form been a storyteller since they can remember. While erotic fiction may be a main focus, reveling in the triumph and tragedy of humanity's true spirit remains at the center--whether it is the anguish of unacknowledged love, the grit of adversity, the thrill of sexual exploration, the wonder of new beginnings. From the furthest reaches of the far-flung future, to the domesticated landscapes of suburban America, the deepest, darkest secrets of man and womankind are never far behind--if only one knew where to look.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

In Praise of Grammar -- #grammar #amwriting #amreading

The Moonstone cover

I recently reread a favorite book from my youth, Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone. Originally published in 1868, it is considered to be an early classic of detective fiction. An unscrupulous British officer stationed in India plucks the Moonstone, a massive diamond, from the forehead of a Hindu idol and carries it back to England. Misfortune, reputed to be the effects of a curse, dogs the man until his death, whereupon the gem becomes a bequest to his niece upon her eighteenth birthday. On the very night Rachel receives the stone, however, it disappears from her bedroom. Broken engagements, assaults, scandal, madness, illness, despair and death follow, as the mystery becomes increasingly tangled.

The first time I read The Moonstone, I was caught up in the story. That was long before I began my career as a writer. During this more recent reading, I found myself at least as conscious of Collins' style and craft as I was of the plot.

The novel unfolds in sections narrated by different individuals, each of whom (according to the framing conceit of the tale) has been asked to report on the events he or she personally witnessed relating to the loss of the diamond. Some of the narrators are major actors in the mystery, while others are peripheral. Collins does a magnificent job giving each one a distinctive voice. The various sections not only propel the plot, reveal clues and cleverly misdirect the reader's attention, they also create surprisingly three dimensional images of the characters – their motivations, prejudices and peculiarities. My pleasure upon this second reading of the book came as much from appreciating these unwitting self-portraits as from the gradual unraveling of the secrets of the stone. And much of the richness of these vignettes derives from the characters' differing use of language.

The experience started me thinking about the wonders of English grammar. Victorian prose tends to be far more complex grammatically than what you will find in modern novels. Sentences are longer, with multiple clauses, adverbial modifiers, rhetorical questions and parenthetical asides. Of course, some authors of the period produced sentences so pedantic and labored that they're painful to read. A more skilled writer (like Collins) uses these linguistic variations to express nuanced relationships that would be difficult to communicate with shorter, more direct sentences.

Consider the following passage, chosen more or less at random. The narrator (Franklin Blake) is a young gentleman, educated in Europe, and hopelessly in love with Rachel.

I might have answered that I remembered every word of it. But what purpose, at that moment, would the answer have served?

How could I tell her that what she had said had astonished me and distressed me, had suggested to me that she was in a dangerous state of nervous excitement, had even roused a moment's doubt in my mind whether the loss of the jewel was as much a mystery to her as to the rest of us – but had never once given me so much as a glimpse of the truth? Without the shadow of a proof to produce in vindication of my innocence, how could I persuade her that I knew no more than the veriest stranger could have known of what was really in her thoughts when she spoke to me on the terrace?

Complex indeed! We have both simple past (“I remembered”, “I knew”) and past perfect (“had said”, “had astonished”, “had suggested”). Blake is describing a past conversation with Rachel, in which they discussed another conversation that occurred the day after the diamond disappeared (a time previous to the first conversation). Even more intricate are the connections between facts and the counter-factual or hypothetical, both in the simple past (“might have”, “could I”) and more distant past (“could have known”). The tense inflections and adverbial modifiers elucidate relationships not only between different stretches of time but also different degrees of reality.

How many of us could pen a paragraph so complicated and yet so clear?

As an exercise, I tried to translate the passage above into simpler, more modern prose.

I could have told her I remembered every word. But I doubt she would have believed me.

I could have said that she astonished and distressed me. She had been in a dangerous state of nervous excitement. I had even wondered whether she really knew more about the loss of the jewel than the rest of us. But when we spoke, she hadn't given me the slightest hint of the truth. Since I had no proof of my innocence, there was no way I could convince her that during our conversation on the terrace her accusations were as much a mystery to me as they would have been to a stranger.

Even this reworking requires the past and past perfect. There's no way to get around them, since the distinction between the first and second conversations is crucial to the sense of the paragraph. I didn't manage to completely remove counter-factual expressions (“could have”,”would have been”), either. If I had, significant chunks of meaning would have been lost. As it is, I feel that the translation doesn't begin to compare with the original in terms of expressing subtleties of both logic and emotion.

Authors today have a tendency to view grammar as a necessary evil, a set of incomprehensible rules designed to trip them up as they proceed in telling their story. I look at it differently. Grammatical structures (and punctuation) exist in order express linguistic distinctions. As writers, we're fortunate. English is capable of communicating a bewildering variety of such distinctions, in wonderfully precise ways.

By comparison, I've been studying a foreign language where there's no grammatical difference between present and past tense, or between singular or plural, a language without articles or grammatical mechanisms for indicating that something is contrary to fact. Native speakers manage to understand one another, but I find the language frustrating in its lack of specificity.

I'm sorry to see the changes that are stripping English of some of its grammatical richness. One rarely sees the subjunctive anymore, even in written communication. Semi-colons are practically extinct. Indeed, one of my publisher's house style prohibits them, along with parenthetical asides.

Since I began publishing, my own writing has followed the popular trends. I've learned to limit subordinate clauses to no more than one or two per sentence. I've been trained to avoid long passages in the past perfect and to eschew adverbs. I won't say that my writing has necessarily suffered; my early work definitely tends to be overly prolix. Still, I sometimes feel like rebelling against the starkness and simplicity of modern prose.

When that happens, I sometimes write something pseudo-Victorian. Here, for instance, is a passage from Miranda’s Masks, ostensibly from a Victorian woman's secret diary:

I scarcely know how to begin this account of my adventures and my sins. Indeed, I do not fully understand why I feel compelled to commit these things to writing. Clearly, my purpose is not to review and relive these experiences in the future, for in twenty minutes’ time these sentences will be invisible even to me. Perhaps in the years ahead, I will trail my fingers across the empty parchment, coloured like flesh, and the memories will come alive without the words, coaxed from the pages by my touch like flames bursting from cold embers.

I have a secret life, another self, and that secret has become a burden that I clutch to myself, and yet would be relieved of. So, like the Japanese who write their deepest desires on slips of rice paper and then burn them, I write of secret joys and yearnings, and send that writing into oblivion.

Let me begin again. My name is Beatrice. The world sees me as poised, prosperous, respectable, wife of one of Boston’s leading merchants and industrialists, mother of two sweet children, lady of a fine brick house on fashionable Mount Vernon Street, with Viennese crystal chandeliers, Chinese porcelain, French velvet draperies, and Italian marble fireplaces. I devote myself to the education of my dear Daniel and Louisa, the management of my household, works of charity, cultural afternoons. In sum, the many and sundry details of maintaining oneself in proper society.

Though I have borne two children, I am still considered beautiful. Indeed, with my golden locks, fair skin, turquoise eyes and rosy lips, I am often compared to an angel. How little they know, those who so describe me. For in truth, I am depraved, wanton, and lecherous, so lost that I do not even regret my fall.

Ah, the glorious grammar!

Am I the only one out there aroused by this structural intricacy, as artful and constraining as shibari?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Hit the beach! #Beautyandthebeach #eroticromance #interracial

Beauty and the Beach cover

Check out this hot new romantic short from my friend and blog-mate Tim Smith! ~ Lisabet


When supermodel Brandi Knox is hired for a tropical-themed magazine spread, she insists on having her favorite photographer, Justin Malone, do the job. He arranges the shoot on Sunset Key, near Key West. The two have been involved on and off for several years, in a friends-with-benefits situation. This time, their feelings for each other seem to have developed into something deeper. When the sun finally sets on their latest assignment, will they still be just friends, or something more?

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They turned their attention back to the sunset. When it crested, then disappeared over the Gulf, they heard the loud cheering of the crowd on Key West. Justin looked in that direction and saw the hoard of people dispersing on Mallory Square in search of more liquid refreshment.

You’re right, this is much better,” he said.

Brandi sipped her wine, then cradled her glass. “Our very own private paradise. Sometimes I think I wouldn’t mind living like this.”

I had you figured for a cabin in the mountains type of girl.”

That would be nice, too. You should come visit me sometime. My place has a great view of the Smoky Mountains.”

Sounds idyllic.”

She reached over and traced a pattern along his forearm with her fingernail. “Ever made love in the mountains?”

Uh-huh. The higher altitude adds an extra rush.”

She laughed. “And all this time I thought it was just lusty euphoria.”

Brandi moved over to sit on Justin’s lap, facing him. She straddled her long legs over his, then rested her arms on his shoulders.

Justin pulled her face to his and kissed her deeply, probing her mouth with his tongue while his fingers massaged the back of her neck. He inhaled her freshly-bathed scent and musky perfume, and the aromas increased his arousal.

Brandi ran her fingers through his hair and kissed him with growing passion while grinding her crotch against him. After a few minutes of tongue dancing, Brandi pulled her face back and caressed his cheek. “You’ve got me feeling frisky tonight. Did you know you have that effect on me?”

And do you not feel the tent pole poking you from underneath?”

She gave a soft, wicked laugh. “Oh, yeah, I feel it.” She gyrated her pelvis against him. “Dry humping you in public is fun.”

Justin placed his hands on her ass and fondled her. “Real humping is more fun.”

Brandi continued moving on him. “What is this fascination you have with my booty?”

Can’t explain it. It just is what it is.”

She kissed him. “You like to photograph it, play with it, make love to it…”

I’ve never heard you complain.”

Not since you broke it in. You made me weak in the knees the first time you slid that pole of yours between my cheeks. Made me come buckets.”

Justin pulled her face in and hungrily kissed her. “Now you see what effect you’re having on me.”

Then let’s do something about it, before I slide off your lap.”

About the Author

Tim Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author whose books range from romantic mystery/thrillers to contemporary erotic romance. His website is www.timsmithauthor.com


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Writing Commando -- #amwriting #freedom #genres

Going commando

When I was in my mid-twenties – during my sex goddess period – I sometimes went out without panties. Walking around bare beneath my skirt, every current of air caressing my naked flesh, was thrilling to the point of addiction. It's not that I'm an exhibitionist (although perhaps we erotic authors all share a desire to expose ourselves). I wasn't interested in treating strangers to a flash of my pussy. Indeed, I would have been mortified if I'd accidentally revealed my bottomless state.

The appeal had more to do with a sense of freedom and a consciousness of risk, a heady appreciation of my own delightful recklessness. Most of my life I'd hewed close to the rules, an overachiever always trying to please others. I'd been shy and timid, dutiful and diligent, the quintessential good girl. When my hormones took over the helm, that changed. I found that I was far braver and more brazen than I (or anyone else who knew me) would have believed. And I loved that feeling, the notion that I was treading the edge rather than keeping to the straight and narrow.

My panty-less state focused my attention on the sensual. I became acutely aware of temperature and texture. Arousal simmered through me, ready to be sparked into flame by a chance encounter with a kindred spirit. Erotic possibilities waited around every corner, and, bare-bottomed and moist with anticipatory desire, I was ready to take advantage of them.

Writing my first novel felt very similar to “going commando”, though it came more than a decade later. I didn't worry about markets or reader sensibilities. I wrote what turned me on: wild, kinky, transgressive scenes, every assortment of genders, twosomes, threesomes and foursomes, floggers and spankings, nipple clamps and butt plugs, public sex, pony sex, anal sex, even golden showers. I pushed the limits of acceptability to the point that my editor actually made me tone down a couple of scenes (and this was back when Black Lace was billed as “erotica”, not “erotic romance”). My personal fantasies provided the energy to move the book forward. Craft issues were secondary. The book had already been accepted on spec, and I wasn't really thinking about what happened after it was published. The writing process itself was arousing.

I didn't know anything about genres back then., though reading Raw Silk now, I realize that it follows many of the conventions of modern erotic romance – except, of course, for its omnisexuality. The inclusion of F/F and M/M in a book that is mostly M/F will evoke criticism from many romance readers, who seem to want a sort of genre purity. They'd probably judge my heroine as promiscuous too, for having simultaneous sexual relationships with three different men, although in the end, in typical romance fashion, she chooses to commit to just one.

None of this concerned me back then. I wasn't so swept away that I lost sight of the story. Indeed, even now the novel's plot strikes me as quite tight and well-paced. I guess that was instinct, though, because my focus was squarely on the sex. Like those days when I eschewed undergarments and opened myself to adventure, I wasn't concerned with what others thought. I was free, writing for the pure joy of vicarious experience. I was in my heroine's mind and body, living my dreams through her. If others disapproved, so be it.

If you think catch a hint of wistfulness in my description of those times, you're not wrong. I don't go commando anymore. The notion embarrasses me – a sexagenarian exposing her graying pubic hair to the world? But I remember that intoxicating feeling of lightness and power. I miss it.

And my writing? I've had nineteen years of education on the tyranny of genres, what sells and what doesn't, what you can and cannot include in a book aimed at a particular market niche. I'm constantly tempted, for instance, to let my straight heroines indulge their occasional Sapphic inclinations, but I know that will be the kiss of death for any book aimed at the erotic romance market. Meanwhile, I have a difficult time keeping my erotica from becoming to “mushy”. Although I've had my share of zipless fucks, I've never found sex without some emotional connection – love, tenderness, loneliness, shared kink, whatever – to be at all arousing.

I yearn for the freedom – the innocence – of my first years writing erotica. I've started to realize I'll never be a best seller (and I'm not even sure I want to be). So why should I care about pleasing a mass of readers? I know there are some people who'll appreciate my particular approach, my personal blend of romanticism and filth. I should strip off my official author's uniform and just write to please myself, and them.

I can already feel the breeze.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Let Freedom Ring! The President's Wife by @SeelieKay #giveaway #eroticromance #lawyers

Seelie will be giving away an ebook of The Garage Dweller to three lucky winners drawn via Rafflecopter. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember there is a chance every day to enter to win. You may find all the tour locations here.

About The President’s Wife

What happens when one of your best friends, the First Lady of the newly democratic Republic of Lodatia, appears to be an imposter? If you’re criminal defense attorney Julianna Constant, you pursue the truth like a rabid dog, then wage a battle to save your friend’s life.

When criminal defense attorney Julianna Constant travels to Washington, D.C. to join her former college roommate, Marella de la Aerelli, in celebrating her husband’s election as the first president of the newly democratic Republic of Lodatia, she is met with an unpleasant surprise. Her friend of almost 30 years not only looks unwell, she is cold and distant. After Julianna becomes convinced the woman is really an imposter, she attempts to expose the faux Marella by using a secret only she, Marella, and the sitting U.S. President share. In the process, Julianna helps to uncover an international conspiracy to seize control of the new country, using the president’s wife as a pawn in a dangerous and potentially deadly game. Will Marella be rescued before a coup takes place? Or will she become collateral damage in one tiny nation’s fight to be free?

Buy Links

Amazon: coming soon

Barnes and Noble: coming soon


The state dinner at the White House was in full swing. Waiters were busy delivering food and pouring wine, as guests ate and chatted with others seated at their tables.

Julianna picked at her dinner, some sort of beef dish with quirky vegetables, and continued to study Lodatian President Georges and Mrs. Marella de la Aerelli, as they chatted quietly with the U.S. president and his wife. Marella barely looked up from her plate, and conversation with her hosts appeared to be minimal. God, that is so not the Marella I know. She hasn’t even acknowledged me and I sent her an email informing her that I would be here.

Julianna set her fork down on her plate and nudged her husband, Little River, Wisconsin Police Chief David Manders. “Something’s wrong.” Julianna whispered. “Marella looks wrong. Maybe she’s just tired after the campaign, but she looks sick. Too thin and too pale. And she isn’t smiling. Marella is always smiling, even when she feels like shit. And she hasn’t even looked at me. Why is she ignoring me? Something is not right. I can feel it.”

David looked at his wife and tried to hide his smile. “Jules, you find a conspiracy behind every door these days,” he said quietly. He looked around to ensure that the other four couples seated at their table were otherwise engaged. “I vote for tired, no, make that exhausted. My God, five months ago, she was a farm wife in Lodatia, now she’s been thrust into the international spotlight as the wife of the President. That would exhaust anyone. I know if you ran for president, it would have a negative impact on me.”

Julianna smirked. “If I became President, sir, it would have a negative impact on both of us.”

David sighed and ran a hand through his short, silver hair. His piercing blue eyes gazed at his wife, his fondness apparent. “Well, instead of jumping to conclusions, let’s wait until the reception at the Lodatian Embassy. There are a lot of rules and protocols for visiting dignitaries. Maybe it just isn’t appropriate to buddy up to an old friend at a state dinner. Once you get up close and personal with Marella, you can get a better fix on things. That woman has been through the wringer, what with that opposition group trying to assassinate her husband not once, but twice. I imagine the stress of clinging to Lodatia’s newly formed democratic government is a kind of like hanging on to a cliff, knowing that if you fall, there will be no net to catch you. Cut her some slack and do not tell her she looks awful.”

About Seelie Kay

Seelie Kay writes about lawyers in love, with a dash of kink.

Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in nine works of fiction, including the Kinky Briefs series, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, and The President’s Wife, as well as the romance anthology, Pieces of Us.

When not spinning her kinky tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.

Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Seelie can be reached at www.seeliekay.com, www.seeliekay.blogspot.com, Twitter or Facebook.

Author Links

Twitter: @SeelieKay https://twitter.com/SeelieKay

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Review Tuesday: Ekaterina and the Night by Maxim Jakubowski

Ekaterina and the Night By Maxim Jakubowski
Xcite Books Ltd. 2011

Will you tell other women stories about me when we are over?” she asked Alexander.

He wanted to be truthful and say no, but already she knew him too well. He was who he was, and aware that the temptation would be too strong not to talk about her, to improvise tales of beauty and fury, of lust and longing, songs of adoration and missing.

This self-referential quotation encapsulates Maxim Jakubowski's latest novel – a book of tales about women, lust, love, and loss. Although ostensibly focused on the relationship between Alexander, an introspective British author, and Ekaterina, a wild-hearted Italian journalist decades his junior, Ekaterina and the Night spends at least half its time tracing these two characters' travels through the lives of other lovers and sex partners, before and after their brief, intense connection.

The novel begins with sixteen year old Ekaterina's decision to seduce her handsome, urbane tennis instructor. She considers that it's high time she discarded her virginity, but she changes her mind when confronted with the grossness of male lust.

The scene shifts to Alexander's early explorations in the world of women. Both sensual and sentimental, Alexander finds astonishing variety in the female body and soul. His heart breaks more than once as he treads the torturous paths of pleasure. Although he recognizes his own susceptibility, he still cannot resist falling for the women he fucks.

Twenty year old Ekaterina meets Alexander when she interviews him for an article. No sparks fly, at least at first. A creature of words as she is, he woos her long distance with missives both tender and obscene. When they next arrange an encounter, in the terminally romantic city of Venice, passion has snared them both.

Even from the beginning, though, both protagonists seem to believe their love is doomed – by geographic and social distance and even more, by the gap of age and experience that separates them. They call themselves Lolita and Humbert, although in fact they have little in common with Nabokov's creations. The fantasy scenario of the innocent and the beast inflames them, inappropriate as is.

Over the course of several years, they meet, infrequently, in fabled cities – Paris, Rome, New York – share a few days of ecstasy, then part. Because they expect their love to fail, it finally does. Ekaterina cuts Alexander out of her life completely. Alexander, who craves women like an addict craves drugs, moves on to other conquests. Time marches forward – but decades cannot completely erase the marks the two have left on each other's souls.

Ekaterina and the Night offers a third major character in Emma, the personification of the night referenced in the title. Emma is a harvester of souls, a sort of emissary or assistant to the angel of Death. Several chapters follow her as she arranges the demise of individuals she has been assigned to harvest, some of whom are minor players in the lives of Alexander or Ekaterina. Emma is extraordinarily beautiful and strangely compassionate despite her role in the universe. As the novel progresses (if one can use that term for a book that jumps back and forth in time the way this one does), Emma's trajectory has near misses with those of the other two protagonists, until finally she arrives for her appointment with the aging Alexander.

I found myself surprised at the book's rather sudden conclusion. I read it in ebook form; one characteristic of ebooks is that it's not always obvious when you're nearing the end. Based on the blurb, I expected a three-way encounter among Emma, Ekaterina and Alexander. That never happened. Instead, Ekaterina fades out of the book completely, despite her prominence in the title.

In fact, I should warn readers to ignore the blurb and the cover (a shapely, boot-clad foot with a steel cuff around the ankle), as both are totally misleading. There's no BDSM to speak of in this novel, and there's nothing particularly shocking about Alexander's and Ekaterina's relationship, as claimed by the blurb. I blame the publisher for this; I suspect people who purchase the novel based on the marketing information will be annoyed when they discover how different the reality is from the hype.

Maxim Jakubowski's style offers a refreshing change from more commercial erotic fiction. His prose is simultaneously dispassionate and full of sensory richness. One has the impression of looking through glass, imagining the smells, sounds and tastes rather than directly experiencing them. Indeed, I think the author is gazing through the lens of recollection, evoking cherished scenes from the past and filling in the details from oft-rehearsed memory – telling his favorite stories, as Ekaterina intuited that Alexander would.

As in previous books, Mr. Jakubowski lovingly describes the geographies in which his characters come together. Indeed, cities, cafés, and hotels are practically minor characters, each one distinct with its own individual personality. Occasionally I found his metaphors jarring (such as a comparison of a woman's nipple to a pizza crust), but overall his literate, observant prose is a pleasure to read.

And is Ekaterina and the Night erotic? Arousing? Yes, and no. The novel includes a great deal of sex – some tender, some raw, some brutal, some boring. The encounters range from transcendent to banal. After Alexander and Ekaterina break up, for example, she falls on hard times economically. To support herself and her lover, she works providing remote sex shows by web cam. There's a long scene in which, on camera and in return for a large amount of money, she allows herself to be taken anally for the first time. There's no pleasure or joy in this scene at all. Other chapters offer accounts of similarly disastrous, uncomfortable, or unpleasant sexual activity. These sections of the book detract from the delicious eroticism one finds elsewhere in the book.

Do not misunderstand me – this is not incompetence. I don't believe that the author intended these scenes to be arousing. Since they do not contribute much (in my opinion) to either the plot or the character development, I'm really not sure why he included them.

And did I enjoy the book? Again, I feel ambivalent. At its best, Ekaterina and the Night is a melancholy, nostalgic evocation of lost love and vanished youth, a meditation on the transforming power of sex and the connection between romance and death. At its worst, it is a set of barely connected vignettes that sometimes arouse and sometimes disgust the reader, but all too often seem rather pointless.

A reader who's looking for a traditional plot, with a core conflict, rise in tension, climax and a resolution, should probably avoid this novel. Someone seeking a more subtle emotional and intellectual experience may well enjoy it. Ekaterina and the Night isn't really a story. It's stories, plural, braided together and united by a wistful sense of remembered joy and a consciousness of mortality.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Out Now – In Bed with the Enemy, Undercover Lovers: Book Two by Ellie Barker (@sinfulpress @EllieBa3)

In Bed with the Enemy cover

Released on June 15th 2018 from Sinful Press, In Bed with the Enemy is the new LGBT erotic crime novella by Ellie Barker, and is the second novella in the Undercover Lovers trilogy.

In Bed with the Enemy continues the story of Nikolas, a bisexual police mole, and Sky, a transgender thief, as they work to infiltrate the local crime syndicate. Ellie Barker has created a fast paced and highly entertaining trilogy, with a diverse range of characters, various sexual encounters, and unconventional romance. Secrets and Spies, the first in the trilogy, was released in May 2018, and For Queen and Country, the remaining book in the trilogy, is due for release on July 13th 2018.

In Bed with the Enemy is Amazon exclusive for a limited time before being released across all main platforms. It is available to read through Kindle Unlimited.


Nikolas Jinsen, police mole and mafia odd-job man, is given an ultimatum; stop seeing his girlfriend, or lose his job. When a hasty attempt to keep both goes wrong, he does the only thing he can think of: he lies. But with his new roommate a member of the elite gang that Nikolas has been tasked to look into, and his assignations with his girlfriend constantly interrupted by calls on his services as a lover, Nikolas finds that work isn't all fun and games.


I pulled out my phone.

Bear answered within two rings. “Nikolas! This is a pleasant surprise.”

I changed my mind about that nightcap, if the offer’s still open,” I told him.

Why the change of heart?” He sounded a bit surprised.

I can’t stop thinking about you.” And actually, it was true. I wanted to know what he was like in bed. How far down that beard went. What was under that suit. What he looked like when he came.

I thought you didn’t do one-offs?”
Sky wants to hear all about it afterwards.”

I heard the bellow of laughter down the phone, and then he came back on the line, still chuckling. “Well, I can’t disappoint her, can I. When?”

What’s wrong with now?”

Forty-five minutes later, I was getting out of a taxi at the foot of a tower block. Ten minutes had been picking up a bottle of wine that I liked, wondering if he’d like it, checking with Sky—who told me she didn’t have a fucking clue and I’d just got her killed, which meant she was playing something with Benny—and going back to my original choice. And now I was here, looking up at the lit windows above me and thinking about Tanya’s exhibitionism.

I’d wondered about getting a hotel room, but Bear had invited me over and I’d accepted. It meant if there was a trap I was walking into it, but then a hotel room had a veneer of anonymity that I didn’t necessarily like. Sky knew where I was going, and had offered to come and rescue me if needed—and that meant she could potentially bring both the Queen and Tanya’s resources down on someone’s head. Tanya Mardos didn’t care about much in the world, but I figured she’d probably have something to say if her current sex toy wasn’t available on demand.

And so I headed for the main door and pushed the button for the flat intercom.

Yes?” Bear’s voice said almost immediately.


Come on up.”

Book Links

About the Author

Ellie mostly writes short'n'dirty flash fiction and short erotic fiction in any genre going. She prefers vampires over werewolves, and is always hot for a rainy night.

You can find out more about Ellie over at http://elliebarker.co.uk/, or follow her on Twitter as @EllieBa3

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