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The Tutor Has a Cover! And a Pear Teaser

thetutor_800I’ve been barely able to contain myself this past two weeks, just bursting to tell you the good news, and now at last I can. Not only can I tell you that my steamy contemporary romance novel, The Tutor, has been snapped up by the Totally Entwined imprint of Totally Bound, but I can now reveal the gorgeous cover which sizzles with the creative genius of Emmy Ellis. I’ll be filling you in on preorder dates and release dates and other details as time draws nearer, but today I just wanted to give you a peek at my gorgeous cover and tease you a bit with a blurb and a small excerpt.

The Tutor has a very special place in my heart because it had its beginnings last October at Smut Manchester during Kay Jaybee’s wonderfully wicked “trip to the supermarket” workshop on inspiration. We were all given an item from the supermarket shelf and told we’d been called over the loudspeaker to go to the stockroom. From that we were to write the beginnings of a story about what we’d find in the stockroom and what we’d do with our item in said stockroom. I still remember the smug little smirk on Ms. Jaybee’s face when she handed me the slip of paper that read A tin of pears in heavy syrup.  I never imagined in my wildest dreams that before the weekend was out, I’d have the seeds for a novel that just had to be written. In fact, it needed to be written so badly that I signed up for NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month in November and wrote the whole 95K in one month!  Here’s just a taste of the end result. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for updates as they happen.

The Tutor Blurb:

Struggling writer, Kelly Blake has a secret life as a sex tutor. Celebrated sculptor and recluse, Alexander ‘Lex’ Valentine’s, can’t stand to be touched. When he seeks out Kelly’s advice incognito, the results are too hot to handle. When Kelly terminates their sessions due to her unprofessional behavior, Lex takes a huge risk, revealing his identity to her at a gala exhibition, his first ever public appearance. When Kelly helps the severely haphephobic Lex escape the grope of reporters and paparazzi, rumors fly that the two are engaged, rumors encouraged by well-meaning friends and colleagues. The press feeding frenzy forces Kelly into hiding at Lex’s mansion where he convinces her to be his private tutor. They discover quickly that touch is not essential for sizzling, pulse-pounding intimacy. But intimacy must survive the secrets uncovered as their sessions become more and more personal.

The Tutor Excerpt:

“Was this your idea or Dillon’s? Kelly asked, hoping to relax him.

“It was mine, after Andy told Dillon and he told me. I thought it was something that I …” The muscles along Lex’s jaw looked as though they were made out of iron, and a fine blush crawled up his neck tinting his ears bright pink. “I’ve never touched a woman … in that way.” He forced a laugh. “Obviously. I’ve …” the blush deepened and he avoided her gaze. “I’ve put lube on some of the sculptures – you know — down there, but I … well it isn’t the same.”

“The pears won’t be either,” she said, her heart suddenly aching at the physical isolation this man endured on a daily basis, and it wasn’t just her heart that ached, she felt his lack deep in her core. It had been easier with Andy. She had been almost flippant with him. She was sorry for that now. She spread one of the towels on the Queen Anne chair across from him and settled herself onto it so they were facing each other. “The texture will be different and with the pear there’ll be less give.” She dipped her fingers in the bowl and rubbed the heavy juice between her index finger and her thumb. “If you touch a woman, she’ll be much warmer.” She gave him a conspiratorial smile. “You’ll be amazed at how warm and how soft she’ll be down there when she’s ready to be touched. With Andy, this,” she nodded down to the pears, “was improvisation, this was the best I could do under the circumstances, but a woman, well a woman feels like nothing you’ve ever touched before.”

He was no longer avoiding her gaze. His eyes were locked on her, and he was struggling to keep them on her face, she knew that; she understood the urge for him to drop his eyes to the place of which she spoke, the place with which she was so intimate, the place that couldn’t help but respond to the topic, to the situation, to the strange intimacy they had shared almost since the moment they’d met. “You can look, if you want,” she opened her legs so that he could see the place in between clothed in black denim, completely disguised and yet so very obvious. “And I’ll look at you too,” she nodded down to his own jeans straining to contain him already. “It’s what men and woman are naturally inclined to do when there’s a sexual attraction.”

With her heart hammering in her throat, she took one of the pear halves into the cupped palm of her left hand, then she brought it down between her spread thighs, feeling the juice of it run over her fingers and drip onto the towel as she spread her legs a little farther and held her pam to mimic the position of her vulva. “Touch it like a woman would touch it, and you’ll always get it right.” She drug her index and middle finger up from the bottom of the pear to the center and felt her own body respond in empathy. “The pear has no folds, no secret valleys, no swollen flesh to be teased open, so you’ll have to use your imagination with that.”

Lex gave a little moan soft and deep in his chest as he shifted to make himself more comfortable. “I know the anatomy,” he said. “I’ve watched porn and I’ve studied drawings. I know how it looks like it might feel. I know the response it elicits.” His tongue flicked nervously over his upper lip. “Of course that’s just acting, isn’t it?”

“Porn is about fantasy, about voyeurism, and it doesn’t matter if it’s real if it gets you off. But when it is real,” she spread her index and middle finger up the sides of the pear’s central opening, “if you’re good, if your sensitive, you’ll feel the spasms of your lover’s orgasm, even see them if you’re using your tongue; and you can feel them gripping at your cock when your inside her. If you’re paying attention.

“The clitoris,” she laughed softly, “Well with Andy I used a Ticktack, but he’s a chemistry major. He likes charts and graphs and periodic tables. You’re an artist, you live in your imagination, so you don’t need a Ticktack. Some women like the thumb stroking and circling while the other fingers work inside. Some women like to use their fingers.” She demonstrated on the pear, and Lex groaned. “It’s always best to ask and be sure.”

“What do you like?” His words were a labored rasp against the back of his throat, and Kelly found herself stunned by the question, and way more aroused than she wanted to be. He shouldn’t have asked. She should have answered. But she did.

“I like it this way.” She shifted her hips and opened a little further so he could see her thrust and scissor, circle and probe technique, and her body responded with the tight grip and release of muscle memory.

“Jesus,” he whispered moving forward on the sofa and leaning closer for a better look. “And when someone uses their tongue?”

She caught her breath in a giddy laugh. “Afraid I can’t tell you what I do since, sadly I’m not that flexible.”

“But you can tell me what you like.” His voice had gone rough.

“I like the flat of the tongue to part me and then probe me, circle my clit and then kiss and suck.” She closed her eyes, finding it difficult to meet his gaze when she spoke about something so intimate, so secret. Come to think of it, she’d never had a man actually ask her how she liked it. The few who had given a rat’s ass about her pleasure had been happy enough to let her order them about, but never quite got the hang of it.

It was the loud schussing sound that caused her to open her eyes. Lex had moved the coffee table out of the way paying no attention to the slosh of pear juice all over the towel V had spread. His eyes were locked on Kelly as he fished out his own pear half and fell to his knees in front of her. When she realized what the man was about to do she dropped the pear she’d been holding with a little gasp of surprise and scooted as far back in the chair as she could. He knelt low, holding the pear in the cup of his hand, as she had, placing it against the edge of the chair between her legs! She gave a little yelp and scrambled back in the chair still further, spreading her thighs over the rise of the chair arms to keep from touching him. He moved forward, the back of his hand so close to her crotch that she could feel the heat of it, and he lowered himself still further until his hair nearly brushed the insides of her thighs. Then, still looking up at her from his position on the floor, he began at the bottom of the open pear half and ran his tongue flat and undulating all the way up, flicking in just slightly in a little circle at the top end before he closed his lips around the apex and she could hear the slurp and suck of the sweet syrup.

“Oh! Lex! Ah!” And then she went non-verbal, holding her breath, tightening muscles deep inside her body, the only muscles she dared to move if she were to keep from touching him. She raised both arms and fisted her hands in a suicide grip around the back of the chair to keep from curling them in his hair. Her thighs trembled from her efforts to keep her legs on the chair arms and not throw them over his shoulders for leverage. She didn’t move. She didn’t breath as he licked and nuzzled and suckled until pear juice ran down his chin and onto his tee-shirt, until his face was damp and sticky, until his forehead was sheened with perspiration, and still he held her gaze as though they were locked together in each other’s orbit neither able to move without the other’s consent.

“Oh God, I’m gonna come.” She barely managed a warning when his own convulsion brought him dangerously near her body. He had stopped breathing, she was sure of it. She practically climbed the back of the chair to keep from touching him as he lost control. Then with a tremendous gasp of oxygen, he straightened, let the pear fall from his hand onto the Aubusson carpet and looked up at her.

“I’m going to pass out.” And he did.

 

 

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Brave New World or More of the Same?

Another one bites the dust… Writers of erotica and erotic romance are not surprised these days when another indie books_xl_4571699publisher shuts the doors or when another erotica imprint stops taking submissions … Indefinitely. We’ve all watched all the hype and the glitz from 50SoG with bated breath to see what it’s effect on erotica would be. We’ve watched the rise of the eReader, which allowed for the ‘secret read.’ It was great! You could read the filthiest stories, the raunchiest bodice rippers – even on a crowded train and no one would know. We’ve watched the rise and legitimization of self-publishing – at first hopefully as publishers began to sit up and take notice of the really good stuff that had been overlooked by the agents- the gatekeepers, and then watched with despair and disgust as it quickly became clear that anyone – whether they could write or not – could self publish and the market became hopelessly glutted with tosh that was not only unpublishable, but unreadable. The prices of eBooks dropped right along with the quality and … Another one bites the dust. Not only were indies dropping like flies, but authors, really good authors, were giving up hope and tossing in the towel.

 

Like moat writers, occasionally I gave into the urge to shake my fiat at the heavens and wonder if there was any good news out there to be had. Well, there is … Hopeful news, at least. I say that touching wood, just in case.

 

I’ve been perusing the Annual Guide to Literary Agents of late trying to get representation for a couple of novels in genres other than erotica, using the kick up the arse that the erotica market free fall has caused to work on some other projects, projects I’ve been wanting to tackle for ages, but never had time. I haven’t looked at an Annual Guide to Literary Agents since way before The Initiation of Ms Holly was published, and what I found was a pleasant surprise.

 

101119-e-readers-hmed2p.grid-10x2It seems agents have also had a kick up the arse along with publishing in general. Unlike the xxx I looked at in he pre-Holly days, the listing of what genres for which agents would accept submissions, what they were specifically looking for even, was liberally peppered with erotica – not just erotic romance but m/m, lesbian and LGBT. There was NOT an agent in the directory of hundreds of listed agencies that would have accepted erotica submissions back in the day. I can’t say that we owe their new openness to erotica submissions to Shades of Grey or to Crossfire. What I can say is that publishers, major publishers are still trying to find the next 50SoG, are still name-dropping 50SoG in their adverts to sell novels. Maestra, by L.S. Hilton, is a good example. I’m reading it now, and from what I’ve read so far, it’s a book as different from Grey as apples are from alligators, and yet the name of “that book” is being dropped as a marketing ploy. Hell, the name of that book was dropped for Holly and several million other books with fingers and toes of authors and publishers all crossed. Never mind the wildly divergent opinions of the book, that level of success in anything merits a big search for the next and generates a lot of name-dropping.

 

What does all of this mean to erotica writers who have despaired of life as the market plummeted and everybody and their dog and hamster tried a hand at self-pubbing? What does it mean to erotica readers who are sick of looking through all the tosh for something readable? I haven’t a damned clue, but I do know it feels hopeful, like there might actually be a light at the end of the tunnel. I’d like to believe it’s because erotica might be, just maybe, beginning to take the place of respect it deserves along side the rest of literary world at last. But I also think the rude awakening of the past couple of years is a harsh reminder that publishing is a business, and no more or no less noble than any other business, meaning it will always go where the money goes. We writers who believe there is something nearly sacred in our craft (that would be me for sure) would save ourselves a lot of grief to remember that.

 

I’ll have new work coming out soon, after taking a bit of time to play with stories and write some things I’ve wanted to dreamstime_xl_15490930write for ages. If anything, the bad situation has forced me to be brave, forced me to ask myself just why I write and what I expect to get from it. I imagine I’m in good company there, and I won’t deny I’ve had my share of bitterness and despair, but here I am older and hopefully wiser and ready to fight another day. What I have rediscovered in the interim is the pleasure of writing a story for the pure joy of it, just because I can. I’m a writer. It’ my passion and while the market and the publishing industry may be cyclical, may be in flux, who I am and what I do is not. While I believe I am always evolving to become a better writer, the fact that I am a writer is a constant and that was a good thing to rediscover as the publishing industry turns yet again.

 

The Psychology of Dreams 101: Episode 8

f7c97536836dc44ea7a1faaa02ab1a6aWelcome to Part 8 of The Psychology of Dreams, in which things turn dark. Awe, come on! You knew they would, didn’t you?

What if you got punished when you didn’t get your dreams right? That’s the dilemma our heroin, Leah, and her psychology of dreams teacher, Al. The Psychology of Dreams 101 is a romp into the sexy unconscious as Leah Kent takes a Psychology of Dreams adult education class, only to discover that the required Dream Journal leads to some seriously kinky night journeys.

No, I didn’t dream it, and I’m seriously hoping I don’t get punished like Leah and Al do if I don’t get it quite right, but The Psychology of Dreams did bubble up from somewhere in my unconscious and I had to share it. Since then,the Muse has been back knocking around in my imagination in some pretty unusual ways, and never taking the path I’d expect, but then dreams are like that, aren’t they? Enjoy episode 8!

 

I have no idea how long this little ditty will be, nor where it will lead, but I’m willing if you are. Please, read and enjoy The Psychology of Dreams 101.

 

If you’ve missed Episode 7, find it here. 

 

WARNING ADULT CONTENT! It occurred to me halfway through writing this episode of The Psychology of Dreams that this little tale might be a bit of a shock for those who just finished reading In The Flesh. While In The Flesh is dark paranormal romance, The Psychology of Dreams is just raunchy, fun erotica, a bit of light relief after Magda and her Consortium. Be warned, light it may be, but filthy it most certainly is. Enjoy!

 

Chapter 8 In The Dark

“In a coma.” Leah repeated the words in barely more than a whisper. A wave of vertigo washed over her and the diner suddenly tilted as though they were on the deck of a ship at sea. “In a coma,” she said again, a little louder, and the lovers shot her a worried glance from across their sundae, full spoons halfway to their mouths. Before she realized what was happening she grabbed Al by the shirtsleeve and all but dragged him from the booth, with him slapping down twenty dollars for the untouched food as she headed for the door, the lovers and the waitress looking on.

“Leah. Leah! What are you doing?”

She shoved through the door, him right behind her. “I’m going to your car and you’re going to drive us to Dr. Clyde and have him undo the hypnosis and then,” she turned so fast that he all but ran into her, and they stood nose to nose in the darkened parking lot, “then I’ll have a thought as to whether I want to bring charges.”

He grabbed her arm and pulled her back so quickly that the vertebrae in her neck popped in protest. “What are you going to charge him with, Leah? What? I can’t prove he’s done anything, and it wasn’t like the dreams were bad, was it?”

“And that’s another thing,” she said, jerking her arm away so hard that she nearly went over backward, “you were in the dream; you seem to know exactly what was going on or how else would you know that he’s manipulating my dreams unless you’re doing the same thing?”

“Seriously? You think I would do that?” He seemed offended by the obvious.

“Under the circumstances, what the hell do you expect me to think? And if it’s not so, then how about we ask the good doctor to send us into your dream instead of mine, hmm? How about we give that a try?”

“Christ, Leah, do you really think it’s that simple? You make it sound like Derrick is going to put us on a plane and send us to Mexico or something. It doesn’t work that way, and I really don’t want to discuss this with you in the parking lot at Eddie’s Diner.” He took her arm again, this time more gently, and she didn’t protest as he guided her to his car. “Get in.”

She settled into the care in another wave of vertigo, struggling to get her head around the horror story he’d just told her dark moon image_xl_6338206and the fear that she might have just landed in the middle of her own nightmare. When the feeling of being at sea passed and she could focus again, she realized they were heading out Highway 26 toward Mount Hood, and she was fine with that, though it disturbed her a bit that she still trusted him. Once again, in spite of all his reassurances to the contrary, she wondered if they were still in a dream.

When he remained silent, offering no information, she screwed up her courage and asked what happened next, even though she was pretty sure she would be sorry she asked.

For a long moment, she thought he was ‘t going to answer her, and she was about to ask again, more adamantly, when he hauled a deep breath into his lungs and spoke. “Obviously I couldn’t wake them up, but I could find nothing wrong either of them. For all practical purposes, they seemed to be simply sleeping, only no matter what I did, I couldn’t wake them of. Of course I wanted to make it right as soon as possible, I thought if I could pull them out of it before morning, then I would send Diana on her way, that was the woman’s name. She was a mutual friend – and no one would be the wiser. As for Derrick, well I wasn’t sure if I’d kill him or just beat the shit out of him. I was bigger then. I worked out in a boxing gym for stress relief, lifted a few weights.” She could see the curve of his lips in the pale lighting of the dashboard, a smile that was anything but happy, as he found himself transported into the past he’d rather not remember. “Looks like we’ve changed roles. Though I haven’t seen him since …” His voice drifted off and she could almost hear him thinking.

“I tried everything I could think of. You have to understand, I was scared. I was desperate.”

“What did you do?” The feeling of dread around her was thicker than the darkness in the evergreen woods on both sides of the road.

He glanced over at her as though she’d just asked the stupidest question ever. “I did the only thing I could do. I entered their dream.”

“Like you did mine?”

His laugh was nearly a growl, surprising in its bitterness. “Oh it was nothing like what’s happening with you, Leah. I didn’t come into your dream intentionally. You dreamed me there, and I have no idea how I actually became conscious of being there.”

“Then what?” She asked, seriously not wanting to know the answer and yet knowing she had to – needed to.

“I did the self-hypnosis ritual we’d been perfecting, careful to make sure all the safeties were in place. I was always the Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_bmost safety conscious of the two of us, and yet it was Derrick’s willingness to take a risk that had been responsible for a log of our break-throughs. Anyway, never mind that. It doesn’t matter now, except that it would appear nothing has changed. In my case, it was wise to take every precaution though. I was the only one in the waking world who had a clue how to deal with what was going on, and even I could barely get my head round it. I was afraid they wouldn’t let me in. That was always a possibility, that a subject wouldn’t let us in or they’d push us out. It happened occasionally. In fact it was responsible for almost 75% of our failures. I needn’t have worried though. Derrick all but dragged me on by the collar.”

“What, did he want you for a bit of ménage? Was that it?”

“He needed my help.”

“For what?”

“To talk Diana back from the dream.”

“Jesus,” she whispered, as another wave of vertigo hit, and she laid her head back against the seat and forced her feet hard against the floorboard to keep the car from tilting.

He continued. “I found them both in the middle of some dark city. I didn’t recognize it, but it was a sea of skyscrapers that went on forever. You know how dreams are. The were so high that, from the roof, you could barely see the street below, and they were standing on the roof of the highest one.’

There was another pause as he turned off highway 26 onto a forest service road that led deep into the woods, and her chest clenched and vertigo gave way to panic.

“Where are you taking me?” She undid her seatbelt, ready to leap from the car, which had slowed for the turn. “Al where the hell are you taking me?”

“Leah! Leah, calm down.” He stopped the car gently, and reached across to touch her shoulder, and the panic dissipated with the sound of his voice. “I’m sorry, Leah. I didn’t mean to frighten you. I should have asked first before I decided to bring you here. It’s just a campground where my parents used to take me when I was a kid. We always spent a week here at huckleberry picking time.”

That still didn’t make her feel really comfortable, but then nothing did right now.

“I can go somewhere else if you’d like. It’s just that I wanted … I just wanted to be some place neutral, you know, someplace with good memories attached to it.” When she made no effort to jump out of the car and make a run for it — not that she was sure her legs would have supported her anyway – he reached across her and buckled the belt back around her.

“No it’s fine. I’m fine.” She wasn’t, but she reminded herself again that she wasn’t likely to be any better wherever they were.

He started the engine again, and they drove in silence for a few more minutes before he turned into the deserted campground and, in another wave of vertigo, her adrenaline spiked at all the horrid possibilities of being alone with a man she barely knew, and yet here she was. Here they were, and Al was the only one who could tell her what was going on. He drove to a grassy spot near the back of the campground where a stream gurgled softly over rocks, and she couldn’t help feeling they were still in a dream, though a peaceful dream. Well, peaceful at least for the moment. No doubt that would change when he continued his tale.

“Are you sure you’re all right?” He asked.

“No. I’m not all right, but here’s fine. It’s nice.”

“Leah, I would never hurt you.”

“I know.” And she did, thought she didn’t know how she knew. She opened the door and stepped out into the velvety Writing pen and birds 1_xl_20156020warmth of one of the few summer nights in the Northwest that didn’t have at least a little nip to it. Not looking to see if he followed suit, she moved across the grass and sat down by the edge of the water, which filled the quiet night with its tinkle and murmur. Somewhere close by an owl trilled in the trees. Al came and sat beside her. For a moment neither of
them said anything. For a moment she wanted to pretend that everything was normal. For a moment she wanted to pretend that they were just two lovers who had found a lovely spot for some sex al fresco and, for a moment, she wanted pull him down on the grass and make love to him. For a moment she knew he would let her if she did. She brushed her hand against his and he caught her fingers in his slightly calloused ones and gave them a squeeze. She was just about to lean on and kiss him when he shattered all illusion.

“I said that Derrick was trying to talk Diana back from the dream. It was more than that, Leah, way more than that. He was trying to talk her back from the rooftop. She was about to jump.”

 

Hot New Release from Lily Harlem – DESK JOB

Desk-Job-evernightpublishing-JayAheer2016-finalimage-1Hot off the press is Lily Harlem’s latest ménage a trois novel based in London, Desk Job. Her London Ménage set of books are taking off, the first one Muscling In has received many 5* reviews and Desk Job is set to do the same. Currently working on the third book in this series, Lily says she never believes three is a crowd, and in her opinion more is definitely merrier!

Here’s the low down on Desk Job, which, incidentally, can be enjoyed as a standalone read, these books are only very loosely connected.

 

Desk Job

It’s just another PA job, right? Okay, the CEO is hot, and his partner hotter, but that doesn’t mean Stella Wright has to fall for their erotic brand of seduction. Does it?

Who is she kidding? Stella is only human, she has bills to pay and insecurities about how she looks the same as we all do. So when Andre Bramon asks her to work on more than just dictation she can’t resist.

Tristan Wainwright is a different matter. Brooding and dark, he barely has time to ask her to do anything. Then when he does finally pause, noticing her, all that pent up energy reaches a boiling point.

Before long Stella is swept up in a passionate love affair with not one man, but two. She never expected a threesome to be part of her job description, though now…well, perhaps it might prove to be the perfect solution to a whole host of her problems.

 

Excerpt

“I’m going to apologize in advance for this … but I can’t help myself.”

He ran his hand around the back of my neck, his fingers slotting into my hair, and pulled me closer. He pressed his lips 11255459_10152820816219149_811838467847775418_nagainst mine, his tongue sweeping into my mouth as he dragged me to him.

I released a groan of longing. He tasted exactly how I’d imagined—dark heat and man, a hint of coffee.

Releasing my grip on the chair, I grasped his shoulders. Beneath his cotton shirt was hard muscle. Damn, why was that shirt in the way?

He moaned into my mouth as he stroked over the top of my stockings, tracing the lace with his fingertips.

He kissed with the same skill and intensity as he approached his work. I surrendered to it. Allowed him to whisk me up into a heady soup of lust.

Could we? Here?

Fuck.

What am I doing?

I tore my lips from his.

He didn’t stop kissing me and traveled his lips over my cheek to my neck.

“Tristan.”

“Mmm, Stella. You’re so sexy. You’ve got me crazy for you. All week … how you look, talk, hell the way you walk…”

“No…” What about Andre? “But.”

“No, buts. Please, no buts.” He cupped my cheek and looked into my eyes.

“I’m sorry.” I pushed at his shoulders and tore my gaze from his. “I can’t.”

He tugged his hand free of my skirt and stood, releasing me. A flash of disappointment went over his face and I couldn’t help noticing a large bulge behind his zipper.

“Forgive me.” I stood, and in a strange, limping gate, rushed to the ladies’ restroom. I pushed through the door, then stood at the sink, staring into the mirror at my smudged lipstick.

My mind was swimming. What the hell was going on with me? I was a one-man woman. I never cheated. I didn’t two-time. That wasn’t who I was.

But Andre and I were hardly in a relationship. We’d had a night of fun. We were going for lunch tomorrow.

It was the start of something.
But I wanted to start something with Tristan too.
I liked him, more than liked him. I wanted him. I wanted his body, I wanted his mind, I wanted the special smiles that he seemed to save just for me.

“Stella. Please, come out.”

I glanced at the door. Tristan had opened it a fraction, though I couldn’t see him and he couldn’t see me because it opened in the opposite direction.

I didn’t answer.

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”

“It’s not your fault.” I reached for a tissue and tidied my smudged lipstick.cad922038872d61b85c9d22c7e326744

“Clearly it is. Please, come out here and let’s talk this through. I can explain.” “Explain?”

“Yes.”

I ran the cold water and put my wrists under the flow. It was as if a fire were burning inside of me.

“I promise you, Stella, there really is no reason to be so upset.”

“How do you know?”

“I just do.”
I turned off the water. He knew nothing.

“Please … otherwise I’ll come in there and get you.”

I didn’t doubt it.

I went to the door. As I reached it, my broken shoe emerged around the small opening. The heel appeared reattached.

“I fixed it.”

“That was quick.”

“I’m known for efficiency.”

Of course he is.
I took it and, with one palm placed on the wall, slipped the shoe back on.

“It probably won’t hold for long. But it will get you home,” he said.

I opened the door fully.

Tristan had one hand against the frame, his elbow locked. When he saw me, he released it and straightened.

“Thank you.” I stepped past him. “For fixing my shoe.”

“Stella, let me explain.” He gripped my upper arm and spun me to him, not roughly but not completely gently either.

My breath hitched as I looked into his earnest face.

“There is nothing to explain, Tristan. I like you, really I do…” And yes, given the chance I’d roll into bed with him in a heartbeat. He was someone I wanted to get to know better in every sense of the word, much better. “But I’m seeing someone.”

His eyebrows twitched, then he nodded. “I know.”

“How … But…?”

“Andre.” He kind of shrugged then released my arm. “It’s not a big deal.”

“How can it not be a big deal? He’s your business partner.” Damn, had Andre told him everything, the way I’d wondered if he had?

“He’s more than a business partner. He’s my best friend. We’ve been through the good and the bad times together and you…”

“Me?”

“We’d definitely like you to be the good times.”

“I’m not following…” I patted my hair, it was messy at the back from where he’d ran his fingers through it. “Why did you kiss me if you knew I was seeing Andre?”

“Because I know he won’t mind, not in the least.”

“How do you know that?” Most blokes I knew would mind very much if another guy kissed the girl they were seeing. “Is he missing the jealousy gene?”

Tristan gave a twisted smile. “Oh no. I can’t imagine he’d want anyone else touching you, kissing you, but me … well that’s different.”

“How? Because you’re friends, because you’re close?”

“That and…”

“And what?”menage1

“Well…” He shifted from one foot to the other. “We decided a while ago that we needed a personal assistant to share, one person who understood what the other was doing so that our diaries and commitments didn’t clash.”

I nodded. I understood that.

“And we also decided…” He hesitated.

I wondered what the hell he was going to say next. I hadn’t known Tristan to be anything other than super confident but he was standing before me now, slowly gathering words. “What did you decide?”

“That not only do we want to share a PA, we also want to share a woman.”

 

To continue reading, please purchase from…

 

Evernight Publishing, Amazon, Amazon UK, ARe or your favourite retailer.

 

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About Lily Harlem

Lily Harlem lives in the UK and is an award-winning author of erotic romance. She writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including HarperCollins, Totally Bound, Pride Publishing, Evernight Publishing, All Romance eBooks, and Sweetmeats Press. Her work regularly receives high praise and industry nominations.

Before turning her hand to writing Lily Harlem worked as a trauma nurse and her latest HarperCollins release, Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse draws on her many experiences while nursing in London. Lily also self-publishes and The Silk Tie, The Glass Knot, In Expert Hands and Scored have been blessed with many 5* reviews since their release.

Lily writes MF, MM and ménage a trois, her books regularly hit the #1 spot on Amazon Best Seller lists and Breathe You In was named a USA Today Reviewer’s Recommended Read of 2014. Her latest MM novel is Dark Warrior.

Lily also co-authors with Natalie Dae and publishes under the name Harlem Dae – check out the Sexy as Hell Trilogy – The Novice, The Player, and The Vixen – and That Filthy Book which has been hailed as a novel ‘every woman should read’.

One thing you can be sure of, whatever book you pick up by Ms Harlem, is it will be wildly romantic and down-and-dirty sexy. Enjoy!

Check out Lily’s website for details of her other books and her Amazon Author Page. Subscribe to her newsletter to be the first to hear of new releases and free reads, and if you enjoy Facebook, hop on over there and say hi!

 

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The Psychology of Dreams 101 Part 7

f7c97536836dc44ea7a1faaa02ab1a6aWelcome to Part 7 of The Psychology of Dreams, in which Al tells all … or at least some of it.

What if you got punished when you didn’t get your dreams right? That’s the dilemma our heroin, Leah, and her psychology of dreams teacher, Al. The Psychology of Dreams 101 is a romp into the sexy unconscious as Leah Kent takes a Psychology of Dreams adult education class, only to discover that the required Dream Journal leads to some seriously kinky night journeys.

No, I didn’t dream it, and I’m seriously hoping I don’t get punished like Leah and Al do if I don’t get it quite right, but The Psychology of Dreams did bubble up from somewhere in my unconscious and I had to share it. Since then,the Muse has been back knocking around in my imagination in some pretty unusual ways, and never taking the path I’d expect, but then dreams are like that, aren’t they? Enjoy episode 7!

 

I have no idea how long this little ditty will be, nor where it will lead, but I’m willing if you are. Please, read and enjoy The Psychology of Dreams 101.

 

If you’ve missed Episode 6, find it here. 

 

WARNING ADULT CONTENT! It occurred to me halfway through writing this episode of The Psychology of Dreams that this little tale might be a bit of a shock for those who just finished reading In The Flesh. While In The Flesh is dark paranormal romance, The Psychology of Dreams is just raunchy, fun erotica, a bit of light relief after Magda and her Consortium. Be warned, light it may be, but filthy it most certainly is. Enjoy!

 

Chapter 7 Deceit and Permeable Dreams

At Eddie’s All-Night Diner, the waitress took in their disheveled appearance with only a quirk of a smile, then she headed for the counter and the coffee pot. The first thing couples wanted when they came into Eddie’s in the middle of the night was coffee. Eddie’s had a reputation with lovers – both the starry-eyed first love kind and the not-here-with-the-spouse kind. If she only knew, Leah thought. But then again, the woman did have that seen it all look about her. Waitresses, if they’d been in the business very long – especially at Eddie’s – became Renaissance women, with a little knowledge about almost everything. No doubt that knowledge by osmosis and by the unavoidable bit eavesdropping involved at least some facts about BDSM and a good smattering of psychology as well.

They settled into a booth in the back, having barely spoken to each other on the drive over. Whatever was eating at Al had kept him zip-lipped until they were safely ensconced in the booth. Even then, he waited until the waitress brought coffee and left them to peruse the menus, all the while, he kept looking around like he was a crook expecting the police any minute.

“Al, what’s so important that you had to drag me out my bed at stupid o’clock?”

He sipped his coffee, burnt his tongue, then cursed.

“Al?” The knot that had been growing in her stomach since the ringing of the doorbell dragged her up from the dream world tightened.

He leaned over the table until their heads nearly touched across the Formica and spoke in a hurried whisper. “I Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_bthink Derrick is manipulating your dreams.” He gave a quick glance over each shoulder to make sure no one overheard.

“Manipulating my dream?” Leah sat back and folded her arms across her chest. “How the hell can he manipulate my dream?”

“Shshs!” He hissed at her just as the waitress showed up, and they both offered her a forced smile. To Leah’s surprise, Al ordered the jumbo Lumberjack breakfast complete with extra eggs. Even more to her surprise, she ordered the Death by Chocolate Belgian Waffles with half a pig’s worth of sausage. Suddenly she felt like she could eat the whole menu. The waitress’ smile grew wider and wider as she wrote down their order. Lots of lovers came into Eddie’s ravenous after their night of passion. From the size of their order, she must have thought they’d just come from a right proper orgy. The clench low in Leah’s belly reminded her once again, that while the woman might not have been far off in her speculations, sadly no one had gotten any satisfaction at this particular orgy. And then it hit her. “Wait a minute. This isn’t part of the dream, is it?” she said as the waitress sauntered away.

“No, it isn’t. It’s real. Remember Derrick said that if someone rang the doorbell or if there was some emergency, the word he gave us wouldn’t work any longer. This is real.”

“You’re sure?”

“Of course I’m sure,” he said with another glance around.

“You don’t sound sure.”

“I’m sure! All right? I am. Really.”

“Well then … If you’re sure. It’s hard to tell anymore.’” With a shiver, she sipped her coffee then held her cup between her hands for the warmth, recalling what they’d been talking about before the urgent need to order enough breakfast for the whole neighborhood. “Now then, tell me how Dr. Clyde can be manipulating our dreams.”

“It’s pretty simple really – at least in theory. He creates a sort of door into your dream using the same basic hypnosis technique he used on us.”

She recalled them both being surprised when the good doctor told them he’d already hypnotized them and that the word was in place. She remembered nothing. He didn’t even tell them to relax or look into his eyes or anything like that. Just suddenly, he said they were done.

Al continued. “He links it to the word that keeps us under. As long as we’re sleeping soundly and we’re in a safe, undisturbed situation, he can come and go at will. I didn’t know he’d perfected the technique. We could only get it to work sporadically.” He looked down into his cup, and she thought she saw a shudder climb his spine. “The few dreams we were able to sneak in to through the back door were not ones very pleasant to be in, not like yours.”

“We?” She definitely felt the shudder crawl up her back. “What do you mean we?”

He shifted in his seat and rearranged his cutlery, holding her gaze. “You may have noticed that on the syllabus and on my class handouts, it says Instructor: Doctor Aldrich Foster. I worked with Derrick — post doctoral research on the permeability of dreams.”

“Permeability of dreams? You mean like…”

“I mean Like what Derrick is doing with us. He shows up in your dream and makes … suggestions.”

“Suggestions? Suggestions!?” The lovers at the table across from them glanced up from the raspberry chocolate truffle sundae they were sharing to see what the fuss was about, and Leah took a deep breath in an unsuccessful effort to calm herself, as the stomach knot tightened still further, then she spoke between barely parted lips. “He’s a fucking pervert, that’s what he is. How the hell can he be in my dreams unless I dream him? It was my damned dream? Wasn’t it?” her voice rose again, and this time the lovers shifted nervously and pretended not to hear.

Al shushed her and tried to grab her hand, but she pulled it away. “Listen to me, Leah. You have to listen to me, dark moon image_xl_6338206whether you like what I have to say or not. You need to understand.”

She glared and him and braced her feet against the floor in a useless attempt to keep from trembling. She wasn’t sure if it was from fear or anger though she suspected it was a good mix of the two. “So enlighten me, Dr. Foster.”

She felt just a hint of satisfaction when he flinched at the use of his title, but he squared his shoulders and inhaled like he was about to go deep-sea diving without oxygen. “It was promising research – really promising. I mean we both thought it was possible, thought that maybe through hypnosis there might be a way to influence another person’s dreams, not just influence them, but actually enter the dream state with the subject. Believe me, Leah,” he raised his hand as though he feared her response, “Our plan was to help people. Think about it; a surgeon can cut away damaged tissue, go in and reconnect, bypass, heal a person by actually getting inside their body, finding what’s wrong, and making it better. But while psychologists and psychiatrists can diagnose and treat symptoms, we can never actually cut into the part that hurts, we can never actually see for ourselves what the problem is because the mind is not flesh and bone; it’s not muscle and sinew we can cut into or stitch back together. Think what an advance for medical science it would be – and advance for human health, if we could walk with a troubled person in their dream world and heal them from the inside. Like a surgeon for the mind.”

He leaned over the table closer to her, his eyes bright with conviction. “I mean imagine what it would mean if we could actually find a way in?” When she did nothing but stare at him, he continued. “Medical doctors have all sorts of tools at their disposal. They have X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and while we can do brain scans, while we can look into the actual physiology of the brain, we have no way of doing the same with the mind, no way of understanding on a psychological level, anything beyond the outward symptoms and what the patient is willing to share with us. And what if the patient can’t tell us? What if the patient is so traumatized they can’t speak or what if they can’t even remember? All we have to go on is the obvious and what the patient or client tells us; and people lie, Leah, people are notorious liars – especially when it comes to their mental health.”

“So you thought you’d just shove right in and help yourself to my dreams, did you? Christ, Al, that’s sick!”

“No! Leah, no! It wasn’t like that. Honestly. We never attempted anything on anyone who didn’t completely understand the process, what we were doing and the risks, which were minimal. We were very careful to be sure of that. We never tried the dream permeation technique without our subjects’ total and complete consent. Or at least I didn’t.” Suddenly he was toying with his cutlery again, avoiding her gaze, and the knot in her stomach turned to ice.

They sat in silence as the waitress delivered their food and refilled their cups. The waffles didn’t look nearly as appetizing as they’d sounded a few minutes ago, and Leah physically fought the urge to run away. She was in this mess up to her ears. She had to know the whole story, and then she would kill Al. Surely the waitress would bring her a steak knife. After that, she’d kill Dr. fucking Clyde and tie him to his own goddamned desk bare ass in the air. But first, she had to know. “What happened?”

“She was a friend of Derrick’s.” the fine muscles along Al’s cheekbones twitched. “More than a friend, I suppose, though I didn’t know that at the time. They were drunk. He took her to the office and then the lab we shared, and when he told her what we were doing, she insisted that he try it on her. He couldn’t refuse. He always was a bit full of himself, Derrick.” He sat for a long moment as though he had suddenly been hypnotized, and maybe he had been by whatever memories were going through his head.

Leah watched him, hands clenched around the napkin in her lap, feeling a chill that didn’t come from the AC. She watched him and waited, and when the silence became almost worse than the knowing, she asked the question she was pretty sure she’d rather not know the answer to. “And then what happened?”IMG_5339

He looked up at her as though he’d only just remembered she was there. “I found them the next morning, asleep in one of the beds we used for our subjects.”

“Well you did say they were drunk.” Funny how the brain always grasps for the easy answer. That was it, of course it was! Had to be. They were drunk, and the project got cut because, well drunk and disorderly … drunk and disorderly what? Drunk and disorderly sleeping?

With an effort, he held her gaze, his hands now clenched in fists on either side of the jumbo Lumberjack breakfast getting cold on the plate. “Leah, they were in a coma.”

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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