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Scarlet Ladies: Reclaiming Women’s Sexuality Part 1

Scarlet Ladies-logo-medium

 

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of being included on a panel on porn and female sexuality sponsored by the totally amazing Scarlet Ladies –Jannette Davies and Sarah Beilfuss. They have a plan for world conquest, as Sarah says, it includes “empowering every women on this planet. We want to have an impact on shaping sex education in this country and every country. Basically we want to change views on how people think of female sexuality.”

 

The Scarlet Ladies host women only events in London to talk about sex with the aim of normalizing the conversation Scarlet Ladies pic Unknownaround female sexuality, its problems, pains and pleasures.

 

Theirs is a plan, I can happily support. With that in mind, I invited them to a Skype interview so that they could share it all with you. The interview was so full of exciting information and so intriguing that it will be in two parts. The first one is here on my blog today, and the second half will be on The Brit Babes Blog on Monday the 23rd of May. Be sure to put that date on your calendar. You won’t want to miss it.

 

A Scarlet Lady is a woman who is or wants to be in charge of her sexuality and her needs. She understands her needs, desires and is not ashamed to get what she wants. From her work life to her personal life she is the author of her book.

 

This is the definition of a Scarlet Lady front and center on the Scarlet Ladies website. I personally think aspiring to be a Scarlet Lady is a very worthy goal.

 

“It was actually a rant at Costas about sex that got the idea of more women sitting around talking,” Jannette tells me.

 

“Everything came about really organically — two women talking about sex.” Sarah adds. “We just wanted to give other
women the opportunity to talk about sex the way we did that day.

 

Jannette nods her agreement. “The more women we met, the more they started introducing us to other people. A few Scarlet Ladies pic 3months down the line we launched Scarlet Ladies and here we are.” At this point, Sarah’s cat, Kira, hops up onto her lap and both women laugh. Sarah says a pussy is the perfect mascot for the Scarlet Ladies.

 

Sarah and Jannette met at networking events. Sarah is a personal transformation coach specializing in burn out and fatigue, and ‘getting your BOOM back.’ She uses those skills in the group coaching environment to help women overcome sexual challenges in SLT Scarlet Ladies talks.

 

Jannette runs an online website and magazine, Chareemag to which women contribute stories as well as fashion, lifestyle, sex and relationships articles. “It’s a place for women to have their voices heard,” she says. She was a beauty therapist before that. She also worked in Ann Summers. “That allowed me to be comfortable with sex and seeing it as a natural thing.”

 

The two tell me that while Jannette was more liberated, Sarah really had hang-ups around her sex life. Jannette’s goal is to create a space where women can talk without being judged. Sarah sees her goal as supporting the kind of women who aren’t that open, would like to be more so but don’t quite know how.

 

The Scarlet Ladies have clearly discovered that women want to talk about sex; they just needed the opportunity and a safe place, but I wonder if it was hard in the beginning to get them to open up?

 

The answer is a resounding No! Both women assure me that even before there was a group coming together to talk, the Scarlet Ladies59044624women just turned up, and they just talked. “It’s an amazing release,” Jannette says. “We don’t struggle to get them to open up. The panelists lead the way to that opening up.”

 

The bigger challenge, Sarah says, is getting women through the door, because there’s lots of stigma around women’s sexuality. “Initially the reaction I got was that it was a bit smutty – ‘you just want women to go and sleep around.’ That is precisely what SL is not,” she emphasizes. “It’s about pleasing yourself. It’s about what we want. We need to learn what WE want. In promo, however, it’s still a bit of women’s little dirty secret.”

 

I ask what they think frustrates women the most about ‘the politics of sex. What frustrates them the most?

 

Jannette thinks a lot of frustration comes from how women really are and what they and popular culture think they should be. “Even though now women are more sexually ‘out there’ than before,” she says, “everything about life and society pushes women to be a certain way — the expectations of what they should be and what they need to be in their sexuality and the way they look.”

 

“While appearing not to be sexual, but virtuous,” Sarah adds.Scarlet Ladies pic 2Unknown

 

Sarah goes on to say that she thinks one of the biggest problems is gender inequality – the idea that certain thing’s are ok for men but not for women and how that inequality puts women at risk. “Our attitude that ‘boys will be boys’ is not protective of women,” she says. “We have to teach boys how to act around women.”

 

The lack of sex education is another problem they both see. Sarah states the sex education that used to be taught in the UK was barely worth having, but now even that’s not mandatory.

“Society says men always want sex, but women want it all the time; they think about it, but don’t communicate it,” Sarah says. “I think women are a lot more sexual. In the very ancient cultures the female energy is where all sexuality sits. Tantra is a good example. The loss of that freedom was to suppress women to take away their power. If a woman is at the top of her game, her vagina will be part of her.” Then she adds sadly, “Most women end at the neck.”

 

I ask what surprised the two of them most when they started Scarlet Ladies.

 

“That we’re all so different and that it’s all normal,” Sarah says without having to think about it. “For example, while Scarlet Ladies friends-966489_1920
women may like lesbian porn; it doesn’t make them lesbian. Very often women come back to us after the meeting
saying, ‘Oh, I’m normal!’ We keep it to ourselves so much that we don’t really know what normal is.”

 

Check out The Scarlet Ladies website for more about their mission and for all upcoming events.

 

Be sure to check out the second half of my interview with The Scarlet Ladies on The Brit Babes Blog Monday the 23rd of May. You won’t want to miss it.

 

 

 

 

The Ruby Glow: Inviting Everyone to Sit Down for the Self Love is in the Air Blog Hop!

Tabitha's Self love is in the Air Hop

 

 

It’s May! That means it’s Masturbation Month, and this Merry Month of May is even more special because it also means that it’s time for the Self Love is in the Air blog hop with prizes, fun and tales of self love by some of your favourite writers. the Self Love is in the Air blog hop is not only celebrating the personal touch, as it were, but even more importantly, celebrating Brit Babes’ very own Tabitha Rayne’s wonderful new invention, the Ruby Glow sit-down sex toy, now sold by Rocks On and nominated for 2016 ETO Awards Most Innovative New Sex Toy!

 

 

And it’s no wonder the Ruby Glow is up for an ETO award. Just read what the Rocks Off website says about the Ruby ETO_AWARDS_2016_NOMINEEGlow:

“A saddle style non-penetrative toy, designed to stimulate your whole vulva. The Ruby Glow has a ribbed clitoral stimulator and vibrating vaginal/perineal mound which sit snugly in place anchored by your pubic bone. Dual vibrations are controlled by buttons at the front for easy access, putting you in control of your orgasm. Made from firm yet velvety silicone, Ruby Glow can be used through clothing but is skin safe to enable full contact if desired. The Ruby Glow has many unique contours making it also ideal for using against your body as a traditional clitoral stimulator or massager. Let the potent sensual rhythms of Ruby Glow be your guide as you feel your body respond and move to its powerful dual heartbeats, seductively taking you to your ultimate hands free orgasm.”

 

 

 

I’ve been privileged to be one of the testers for the Ruby Glow, and I have to say it’s right up my alley, since I have a little bit of a fetish for hands-off getting off. I’m especially fond of secret self pleasure in the back of busses that are, well perhaps not the best maintained. In fact, I had the total hands off secret wank in the back of the bus in mind when I wrote my poem, The Dodgy Bus for Ashley Lister’s fabulous Coming Together In Verse anthology, which was long-listed for the Saboteur Award. Now with Tabitha’s fabulous Ruby Glow causing people all over the UK to sit down and take notice, I can’t help but feel that I’m the not the only one who liked to sit down on the job. Enjoy!

 

 

And don’t forget to comment for a chance to win your own Ruby Glowbritbabes_badge_1

Just follow this link to find all the other lovely folk taking part-

http://tabitharayne.com/2016/05/self-love-air-blog-hop / and you could win some incredible prizes- including a Ruby Glow by Rocks Off and paperback copies of Sexy Just Walked Into Town by Brit Babes, Chemical S[ex] edited by Oleander Plume and A Clockwork Butterfly by Tabitha herself – and most exciting of all- some of Tabitha’s beautiful artwork is up for grabs.

 

 

AND!!! I’d like to add a copy of my travel novella, Migrations , which opens with a filthy self love scene, to the pot. Just leave a comment for a chance to win.

 

 

Coming together in verse Ashley-ListerCTIV2-200x300The Dodgy Bus

I always ride the dodgy bus no matter my destination.

Though the windows rattle and the floorboards shake,

I ride without hesitation.

 

Ignoring the stench of the oil and grease, I ride with enthusiasm,

Cuz it’s only on the dodgy bus I get the best orgasm.

 

Once onboard, I head for the back, as always is my habit,

Where the seats vibrate and shiver and shake like a really Rampant Rabbit.

 

My man-spread’s quite unladylike, but I open my legs real wide,

Ignoring the stares and the dirty looks. I’m only along for the ride.

 

While others get quite anxious, their stops anticipating,

No one ever guesses I’m just here masturbating.

 

The lack of good shocks makes my tits shake, the vibrations, they tickle my clit.12340460-urban-sketch-sign-with-image-bus-stop-and-man

I’m an expert at finding the sweet spot on the naugahyde seat where I sit.

 

I don’t care if it’s cheap or it’s pricy, don’t mind if it costs a good sum.

Though I may not get where I’m going, I always have a good cum.

 

***

 

Don’t forget to catch up with all the other blog hop blogs while you’re at it!

 

An Unexpected Encounter with Alonso Darlington 2nd Entry

I first shared my little encounter with Alonso Darlington when the novella, Landscapes was published as a part of the wonderful m/m Brit Boys: On Boys boxed set. For those of you who’ve read my online serial, In The Flesh, Alonso is a familiar character, but his story starts long before In The Flesh. and Landscapes is his first public appearance and, one — as you’ll see from the tale I began to share with you last week, he isn’t overly happy about. I felt with the release of Landscapes as a stand-alone novella coming up very shortly, it might serve as a warning to all of you  who choose to delve into the private life of a vampire. I’m risking Alonso’s displeasure again by sharing the tale, which I began last week. I’ll share the last entry just before the release of Landscapes, the novella, on May 24.

 

Read and be warned

 

An Unexpected Encounter with Alonso Darlington: 2nd Entry

 

 

LandscapesI remember only one time in my life when I woke up with no memory of what had happened to me, and that was in the recovery room following a major surgery. This time, I woke battling a heavy duvet and found myself in a … tent? It was winter. Why would I possibly be in a tent? By then I’d regained enough of my wits that I realized I was in a bed, a heavy antique bed with velvet curtains pulled around it to shut out the light, and the tight little space around me smelled of strange spices laced with a musky outdoorsy scent I couldn’t quite place. A peek outside the curtain revealed sharply-angled sunlight falling anemically across stone floors and Turkish carpets. The heavy wardrobe and bureau in the room matched the dark wood of the bed. I appeared to be alone.

 

It was then that the memories flooded back to me, and my heart battered my ribs as I grabbed for my throat, cursing in spastic breathless whispers. With trembling fingers, I examined the place where Alonso Darlington’s lips had been, where his tongue had been, but there were no bite marks I could feel. Christ! Surely he wouldn’t bite me. Why the hell would he bite me? The Alonso Darlington I knew – well the one I’d written about at least – would not have brought me to his own home and bit me against my will. But then until last night, I thought Darlington nothing but a character I’d dreamed up for a story.

 

I stumbled from the bed, caught my foot in the duvet and fell on my arse. A frantic look around showed an open door through which I could see the dark blue tiles of a bathroom. When I couldn’t find my clothes, I wrapped myself in the duvet and stumbled to the sink. A close inspection in the mirror showed no evidence of bite marks. Then I remembered that the neck wasn’t the only place that Alonso bit people. I dropped the duvet, then twisting and turning like a contortionist, I checked every part of me I could see in the mirror. Then I plopped down on the edge of the claw foot tub to check my legs and groin.

 

‘Don’t worry, K D, he didn’t bite you.’

 

I yelped and nearly upended myself in the tub as I looked up to find Talia standing in the door dressed in a red cashmere sweater and black jeans. I quickly grabbed for the duvet to cover myself.

 

She shook her head and offered me a wicked smile. ‘If he had bitten you, he’d have wanted you to know in detail exactly what it felt like.’ She leaned closer and the smile became dangerous. ‘He’d have wanted you to enjoy the experience completely.’

 

She looked me up and down. ‘Me, I wouldn’t have cared if you’d known what I was doing to you, but just for your peace of mind,’ she leaned closer still, and once again I nearly fell into the tub trying to avoid her touch, ‘I was otherwise occupied last night.’

 

I stood up clutching the duvet tightly around me. ‘Then what happened?’ I managed to sound almost calm. ‘Because I don’t remember anything after he …’

 

Her lips quirked into something that wasn’t a smile exactly, and I felt a chill snake down my spine. ‘You’ll have to ask Alonso.’ She nodded back to the room. ‘Cook has made breakfast,’ she chuckled, ‘though you’ve slept half the day away. You’ll find your bag has been unpacked and your clothes hung in the wardrobe. I’ll take you to Alonso when you’re ready. In the meantime make yourself at home.’ She turned and left.

 

I ate like a starving woman, like someone who had been … kept up all night. But surely I would have remembered if that had been the case. After a quick shower, I discovered that my make-up bag and toiletries were on the dressing table near the big window but my shoulder bag and my mobile were nowhere to be found. That left me with an uneasy feeling. Though Raymond had known I was coming to Cumbria, he would be worried if he didn’t hear from me.

 

Once dressed, I was surprised to find the door to the room not locked. I thought about making a run for it, but one look out the window at the frozen landscape with the heavy cloudbank rolling in over the fells, and the fact that I also couldn’t find the heavy coat from last night made me reconsider. On top of that, I was reminded again that I had no idea where I was, nor had I recognized the route by which I’d arrived last night. I thought I’d recognized the hulking shape of Scafell Pike from the window, but even that was lost behind the cloudbank. I was completely turned around.

 

 

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There was no time for a Plan B. Talia shoved open the door without a knock, inspected me with a gaze that made my knees weak, then she smiled. ‘Come on. Alonso’s waiting for you.’ What choice did I have? I followed her into an unadorned stone corridor that smelled dusty and muddy with the scent of heavy renovations in progress rather than the scent of age. She led me down a steep stone staircase claustrophobic in its tight twists and turns, and treacherous in its smoothly warn steps. The deeper the stairs descended, the closer the walls became. I’m not fond of tight places, and by the time the space opened out into a pleasant well-renovated sub-basement, I was having a bit of trouble breathing.

 

‘It’s several hours till dusk,’ Talia said, noticing my distress. ‘That being the case, this is where you’ll have to meet Alonso.’ She offered a throaty giggle. ‘You were right in your written accounts, hon, no coffins, not for Alonso at least.’ Without preamble, she opened a heavy wooden door that screeched against the stone floor, stepped back and nodded me in. I stumbled and nearly ran into Reese who was leaving in a hurry. He didn’t seem pleased.

 

He grabbed me by the shoulders to keep me from stumbling. ‘I’m very sorry about this, Ms Grace,’ he offered Alonso a hard glare, ‘but he’s a pigheaded prick at times.’ Then he glared at Talia and shoved his way past. I could hear the clumping of his heavy boots receding as he ascended the stairs. Then I turned to see Alonso fighting back a smile.

 

‘I’m afraid Reese is right, K D,’ he said, giving me the same once-over Talia had only minutes before. ‘I am a pigheaded prick at times, and until I get to the bottom of how you uncovered even my existence let alone such a … vivid view into my private life, I shall continue to be so.’ He nodded to a wingback leather chairs in front of the huge desk behind which he now sat. I settled reluctantly, more than happy for the comforting expanse of the desk between us.

 

For a long moment, he studied me without speaking, then he leaned over his desk and offered a genuine smile. ‘Did you sleep well, K D?’

 

Strangely enough I realized I had slept very well, or at least I certainly felt very well rested. Before I could answer, he shot Talia a quick glance and continued. ‘Did you have … pleasant dreams.’

 

The skin on my arms rippled with gooseflesh. I shivered in spite the warmth of the room, which looked more like the library of a wealthy English manor house than a room in the sub basement of a crumbling ruin. ‘I don’t remember dreaming at all,’ I said, glancing over my shoulder as Talia came forward and settled into the chair next to mine.

 

Alonso made no response, and neither did Talia, but I could feel all eyes on me. I forced myself to sit perfectly still as though I wasn’t bothered by the gaze of two alpha predators who could, and might have already, done anything they wanted to me, who now were staring at me like I was lunch. Of course I couldn’t do anything about my galloping heart nor my sweaty palms.

 

At last Alonso heaved a sigh, and I found myself wondering if vampires breathed. I’d read conflicting stories, and in all honesty, I couldn’t remember if the Alonso in my account breathed or not. Christ, if I’d had any idea I’d be meeting him in person I’d have paid more attention. My thoughts were quickly refocused completely on his person when I realized he had somehow, in a heartbeat, come from behind the desk to lean over me, and I definitely felt his breath on my face, warm and sort of spicy, a scent that brought with it intimations of wild remote places. I froze. It wasn’t like I could have Dale Head Pivotal location for Elemental Firedone anything else. He mantled me as though he were a bird of prey and I was a fresh kill.

 

‘You’re telling the truth,’ he said, smoothing my hair behind my ears and cupping my face so I had no choice but to meet his gaze, an act which in and of itself felt like falling off a cliff on the high fells. ‘You honestly believe the story you’ve written about Reese and me is just that, just a work of fiction.’

 

I fought for breath. ‘I would never violate anyone by putting their private life into my stories. Ever.’ There was no keeping my voice steady. In truth, there was no keeping my body steady. I was shaking like a leaf.

 

‘No. Of course you wouldn’t,’ he said, his thumb gently raking across my bottom lip, which did nothing to ease my breathing. His dark eyes flashed over to Talia. ‘Which brings us back to the question at hand. How could you have possibly known the truth of what you wrote?’

 

Talia only shrugged and held his gaze. ‘Interrogate me if you want. I told you it wasn’t me. If I’d visited her bed and shared with her, I’d have taken a great deal of pleasure in sharing it with you, Alonso.’

 

What happened next I still can’t believe, and it’s not easy for me to write about. I’m used to writing sex and violence in fiction because I’m always safely removed from those acts that evolve in my imagination. But this … this was an encounter in which I found myself the accidental voyeur, way more up close and personal than I ever hope to be again.

 

In a heartbeat, Alonso pulled Talia up from her chair. I heard her breath catch, heard the bones in her neck pop in the violence of his efforts. Then with a single tug of his fist, he ripped open the front of her sweater and shoved it aside. I think I might have yelped. Not that anyone noticed. Talia gasped, but in that gasp I heard no surprise. She was naked beneath the torn cashmere, and in less than a heartbeat, Alonso pulled her into a back-breaking embrace, cupped her right breast and … brought his mouth down onto the swell of it high above her heavy nipple.

 

One of them, maybe both of them growled, and as he jerked her closer, I could see the garnet welling up of her blood just before his tongue slid over it, just before his mouth closed around it in a sound that was not unlike a lover’s passionate kiss. And then, I swear, the color of her eyes changed just before she closed them and fisted one well-manicured hand into his hair effectively holding him to her in an act no less intimate and no less violent than his own. Her other hand snaked around his waist and burrowed beneath his tailored black shirt and up his spine.

 

His response to her touch on his bare flesh was a quick, but violent convulsing of muscles until I feared he’d break bones. Then he groaned and shivered. I remember wondering at that moment if her touch had made him orgasm. I remember thinking I should look away, that I should leave them to whatever strange disturbing intimacy this was, but I couldn’t look away. I knew at that moment that to do so was physically impossibly. Then, to my horror, I felt as though I were the third party in the joining. No, that’s not really a good explanation. I felt as though I wasn’t there at all. I felt as though one second I was Talia being bled by Alonso’s powerful predatory kiss, being nursed upon by his warm lips; and the next I was Alonso being touched, in far deeper places than his bare flesh, being taken over by the succubus. And when I was sure I would pass out from that strange sense of terror and arousal that I couldn’t quite imagine existing in the same instant, Alonso pulled away, stumbled backward against his desk, his eyes still locked on the succubus, and Talia fell back into the chair with a little sigh.

 

Wiping his mouth and bracing himself on the edge of the desk, he moved back to his own chair. Talia sat straight and square shouldered next to me catching her breath. She made no effort to cover herself and I could see the bite marks bruised blue and bright red above her nipple. ‘Are you satisfied now?’ she asked, sounding as though she’d just been britboysonboys cover imageout fell running.

 

He scrubbed a hand over his face, then looked from her to me and back again. ‘If not you, then who, Talia? How the hell did she know?’

 

‘Don’t be daft, Alonso. You know how. You just don’t want to admit it.’ Then she stood and exited the room with way more dignity than someone who had had her shirt ripped off by a vampire should have been able to manage. It was only with the door screaking closed across the stone floor that I suddenly remembered, I was alone with Alonso Darlington.

 

 

Preorder Landscapes now

Available for download 24th May

 

Four Brit Babes Nominated for ETO Best Erotic Author of 2016

ETO nominations 201613178915_1544610769173865_9045889525401355353_n

 

It’s that time of year again! The nominations are in, and I’m very happy, and extremely honoured, to be nominated again for ETO’s Best Erotic Author. I’ve been nominated four years running and was lucky enough to win in 2014 against some extremely fabulous writers in 2014. In 2015 my dear friend, sister Brit Babe, and fabulous writer, Kay ETO_AWARDS_2016_NOMINEEJaybee won that lovely trophy and here it is 2016! In proper Brit Babe Tradition, four — count ’em FOUR Brit Babes are nominated for that fabulous award — Along with myself and the lovely Kay Jaybee, this year’s nominees include the delicious Victoria Blisse and the Lovely Tabitha Rayne, who is also nominated for her wonderful invention, the amazing Ruby Glow sit-down sex toy.

Brit Babe world domination is well in hand, or as Janine Ashbless refers to us, The Muffia. I seriously like that.

In addition to the excitement of being nominated, wandering the halls of the ETO conference, seeing all the sexy displays and chatting with all the wonderful people who attend every year is well worth the trip to Birmingham. Then there’s the awards banquet with everyone dressed to the nines and ready to party. The excitement in the air is electric as the winners are announced, and the celebration and dancing follow. I’m very much looking forward to celebrating with old friends and new this year, and certainly I’m looking forward to a Brit Babe quorum. I thought I’d share with you a few memories from ETO Banquets past.

 

ETO 2013 celebrating with the fabulous Kay

ETO 2013 celebrating with the fabulous Kay

 

Sweets for the sweets

Sweets for the sweets

 

 

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In 2014 The Brit Babes invaded the ETO Conference, and what a party we all had. Kay Jaybee, Tabitha RayneVictoria Blisse, and Lexie Bay joined Mr. Grace and me to celebrate my win. Not much sleep had that night, and all the better for sharing it with so many of the Babes!

 

In for the Win!

In for the Win!

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Brit Babes taking it with me in 2014

 

 

 

And in for the sugar!

And in for the sugar!

 

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Lexie Bay Tabitha Rayne, Lily Halem and moi ready to party in 2015

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Kay Jaybee winning in 2015

 

 

 

 

Thank you for your lovely nominations. We’re feeling the love <3 Your votes are always appreciated by all of us, and here is the link:  http://www.erotictradeonly.com/eto-awards-voting-2016-05/

 

KD xxx

 

 

Dry Canyon Dreams

airport9I’m once again somewhere in the air over the Atlantic as you read this, so the next episode of The Psychology of Dreams will be postponed until next weekend, but I won’t leave you bereft of jet-lagged travel entertainment. I’m sharing a story I wrote in last year’s High Desert visit with my sister. Central Oregon is always an inspiring place. I’ve always loved mountain lions, though never seen one in the wild, and when I heard that there were sometimes sightings in the dry canyon and along the walking trail, near where my sister lives, well there just had to be a story. I hope you enjoy.

 

Dry Canyon Dreams

The night of that first encounter I was restless, and my imagination had been running wild ever since I’d landed in the States two nights before. I had been having dreams, crazy dreams, lust-filled sexy dreams that had driven me from sleep to find myself in sweat soaked sheets aching and wanting and needing … something. ‘Be present,’ I kept telling myself. I needed be present. I needed to learn to be in the moment. That’s a part of what this holiday was all about. Being in the moment was something of a struggle for me with one tight deadline bleeding into another and then another. The insane pace had been going on for over four years and now, for the first time in a long time I had given myself space between projects, space to breathe, space to rest, space to regroup. The problem was; now that I had the time and the space, I didn’t know what the hell to do with it. I’m a writer. That’s not just my job, it’s my vocation, and my identity is tied up in it – very possibly more so than I had imagined.

It had been the dreams that had driven me to the dry canyon in the middle of the night. In my dreams someone I never saw, someone holding me in a close, sensual embrace, someone nuzzling and cupping and caressing, kept whispering in my ear that I needed to write the story, that I needed to get it all down, but they would never tell me what story I was to write, and when I burst into wakefulness restless and uncomfortable in my own skin, the feeling of being stretched and expanded and then shoved back into myself was overlaid with a shimmering patina of arousal. Feeling like I’d suffocate if I didn’t get some air, I’d dressed quickly and left the house, leaving a note on the kitchen table for my sister just in case she should wake and find me missing.

In ten minutes I was in the dry canyon alone in the middle of the night wondering why I wasn’t at least a little bit nervous about my choice of how to spend my time in the wee hours. My sister said that in spite of the fact that the canyon ran through the center of the town with five miles of paved walking path from one end to the other as well as other footpaths meandering along the canyon’s edges, in spite of the fact that the canyon was almost never deserted, occasionally there was a mountain lion spotting, occasionally warnings were posted. There had never been an attack, never been even a threat, but it wasn’t all that uncommon in areas where human habitat encroached on puma territory for the two to come in contact with each other. But not now, I told myself. In my visits to my sister’s I’d seen deer in the canyon, myriad birds, rock chucks and other wildlife, but never a mountain lion. And if I were being completely honest, I found the shiver up my spine at the thought of seeing one of the beautiful cats at least as exciting as it was frightening. The full moon hung heavily just over my head, almost like I could reach out and touch it. It gave off enough silver light that I could see in exquisite monochrome layers, juniper and sage and the rise of the steep volcanic cliffs of the canyon walls.

IMG_5578The dry canyon splits the town of Redmond, Oregon right down the middle and until recently the only way to get around it was to drive to the end. Now there’s a huge bridge that spans it joining the two sides, the architects and builders having taken particular care that the bridge should blend in with the canyon and the high desert’s natural beauty. The bridge glistened pale in the moonlight, giant concrete arches rising like the bones of some graceful prehistoric monster whose death throes had spanned the canyon in rib-boned arches. It’s the landmark I always walk toward. And that night, when I got there, I drank deeply from the water fountain placed strategically in the shade for passing bikers, runners and walkers. There’s even a fountain for dogs next to it. Then I settled on the lone picnic table beneath the bridge, lie down on my back and look up at the shadowed underbelly of sinuous concrete.

I heard the runner before I saw him. I heard his heavy breathing, I heard the scuff, scuff of his feet against the ground, and I stayed still, listening, not wanting to startle him. I knew I should make good my getaway, or at least make my presence known, but I didn’t. For some reason I just lay there and watched as he drew near. The moonlight glistened on his bare chest, and I didn’t even pretend not to look. He was light footed, slender of build, long and well muscled. His hair was tawny pale and unkempt, clinging in wet curls around his ears and onto his shoulders. At the fountain, he drank long and deep, then tossed several cupped handfuls of water onto his head, down the back of his neck and onto his face. His nipples beaded, and goose flesh bloomed and spread across the rise and fall of his pecs where the water dripped onto his chest and over his taut belly. It was then that his gaze lit on me and the little breath of his surprise sounded like a soft growl in the muted night.

‘Strange dreams,’ I said in response to his unasked question as to my presence. I made no attempt not to stare at him, which didn’t seem too impolite, since he stared right back at me. ‘I needed some fresh air.’ Frankly I was surprised I could speak at all, let alone that I can be so brazen about it.

He bent for another drink, and I noticed he was barefoot. My insides quivered at just how little clothing the man really had on. The running shorts were thin and rode low on his hips revealing his navel and the slender path of soft hair disappearing into his waistband, a path I found myself wanting to follow with the stroke of a palm.

I was surprised when he moved to the table next to me, and settled a large hand in my hair, fisting it and stoking it until I sighed softly and moved against his palm. I was even more surprised when he stepped back, stretched his arms high above his head, yawned deeply, and then lay down beside me, settling himself around me in a spoon position. The dry desert air had dried the sweat from his flesh almost entirely. He was surprisingly warm and he smelled of desert heat, juniper and sagebrush. For a second I panicked as his strong arm snaked around my waist and pulled me back tight against him. Then I felt his mouth on the back of my neck, first parted lips, then tongue, then a slight nip of teeth. I found myself inexplicably calming under his touch, calming to the low rumble of satisfaction deep in his chest, to the steady hard pumping of his heart as he pressed his chest tight against me.

Once he was certain I wouldn’t run, his hold on me relaxed and his palm, flat against my belly, slid beneath my tank top and up to cup my breasts. I caught my breath in a startled moan as he thumbed my nipples alternately until they rose stiff and sensitive against calloused skin. I’d not bothered with a bra when I left my sister’s house. I never expected to meet anyone in the canyon. Easy access for anyone’s hands other than my own had not been my plan. While he cupped and kneaded and pinched, his mouth went back to work on my neck. He raised himself on one elbow to tongue and nip the hollow of my throat and I could feel the shape of him, hard and urgent, beneath the thin fabric of his shorts.

I barely had time to think about the hard rub and shift of him pressing against the back of my sweat bottoms before his hand migrated back down my belly and eased under my waistband with me shifting forward into the cup of his palm as he fingered and worked his way down. My legs parted and shifted and moved of their own volition to allow him access, and the shiver down my spine was not from the cool of the night as he stroked and fondled, all the while nipping and tonguing the back of my neck and the lobe of my ear, an effort leaving me weak and trembling with need that felt bone deep.

I don’t know how his hands could be everywhere, but they were. He slid my sweats down over my hips and, for a split second, I felt the cool night air against my bare bottom. Then I felt him bare and hard and anxious against me. The biting of my neck became more urgent and, God, I wanted him to bite me hard, I wanted to bite him back. I was only half conscious of the sounds he was making, animal grunts and groans, growls deep in his chest, sighs that I felt hot and moist against my skin. Then the nipping and the suckling and the caressing migrated down the length of my spine, and strong arms lifted me onto my hands and knees until my bottom was raised high in the moonlight and, before I could even think to protest, he continued his explorations, spreading me and kneading me with strong hands until his tongue found what he was looking for — me wet and restless and needing. I don’t remember much beyond that point except intense desperate pleasure, except his breath hot and fast against the swell of me, except him tasting me in hungry, lapping mouthfuls. And when I was boneless and weak from his efforts he pulled away, rose up and bit me on the shoulder, bit me hard enough to make me cry out, then he plunged into me, crushing me to him, holding my hips tight against his body, wrapping his arms around my waist, burying his face in my neck. I remember rearing back against him with each thrust, matching him growl for growl, holding my breath, bracing for impact, anticipating the breaking and shattering and falling apart as we came together and collapsed in desperate gasps back onto the table. Then he curled around me and we slept.

I remember waking alone on the picnic with the moon setting and dawn just beginning to gray the rim of the canyon, or at least I think I remember. I was barely aware of the walk back to my sister’s house, and the stripping off of my clothes and the falling into bed and into unconsciousness. In fact when I woke later in the morning snuggled down in the bed with the cool desert breeze blowing the curtains at the open window next to my bed, I figured I’d probably dreamed the whole experience. I mean the whole experience of dressing and walking in a dark canyon in the middle of the night alone, of sharing my body with a man I didn’t know, a man who never spoke, it wasn’t me at all. Surely it wasn’t the kind of thing I’d do. It was my imagination, I was sure. Jet lag often makes for powerful dreams, though it was strange the way my body felt that morning, I woke to the achy tenderness that follows rough sex, that follows a ravenous encounter too wild to really be just fucking, and yet just tame enough not to scare me into running away in fear of being completely devoured.

After breakfast my sister and I walked the canyon – her anticipating a good bit of morning exercise and me wanting to see if just maybe something would jog my memory, if just maybe something would bring the vividness of the encounter back to me. The dry canyon has been one of my favorite parts of where my sister lives for a long time. Walking it together has been a major part of our visits. We’d just descended the side road into the canyon and I was admiring how the bridge shown in the morning sun, thinking about my dream encounter, when my sister drew my attention to a sign on the notice board.

mountain_lion_petroglyph_photo_print-r1c1d777189c04e63a2426808aab6f0e1_wyy_8byvr_512Caution: Mountain Lion Sighting.

 

The breeze that had been warm felt suddenly chilled and the hairs on my arms rose.

‘There hasn’t been one in awhile,’ she was saying when I finally managed to turn my attention back to her. ‘Usually people see them at dawn or at dusk, people out for a late or an early run. They’re nocturnal, you know?’

‘Yes, I know.’ I said, remembering with a shiver low in my belly the nip of teeth on the back of my neck and the rough push and shove of flesh against flesh.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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