Immoral Views — The Eyes Have It!

When it comes to sex, let’s face it, the eyes have it. Oh sure we have four other senses, and everyone uses certain senses more than others. No doubt sex is best when all senses are engaged. But the eyes have it. And certainly the eyes have it in the fabulous new Sweetmeats Press anthology, Immoral Views edited by KoJo Black.  And as if hot sexy stories for the eyes aren’t enough, Immoral Views takes the voyeuristic experience one giant leap further with the steamy illustrations of Florian Meacci.

I’ve always been a bit of a voyeur, so when KoJo asked me to write a story for this anthology, the voyeurism theme alone would have been enough to make me say yes. I’ve seen, fondled and drooled over the fabulous illustrations in KoJo’s sizzling collection, The Candy Box, so I was really keen on having my story illustrated. But when I found out I was going to be in between the covers (front and back, that is) with Kay Jaybee, Lucy Felthouse,  Rebecca Bond and Lexie Bay, I wasn’t entirely sure KoJo would be able to keep the pages of this super-heated anthology from bursting into flames before it hit the shelves.

In celebration of this hot new anthology, I’ve asked each of my fabulous co-authors from Immoral Views to tell us a little bit about their own versions of what I’ve affectionately come to call eye-sex, and I’ve included a blurb of each of their hot stories from Immoral Views. So tell me, my lovelies, just why do the eyes have it?

Kay Jaybee

He was sat in a cafe looking at the pictures that covered the brick walls. I was sat at the opposite end of the room, my notebook open, and my pen in my hand. I was not writing however. Nor was I looking at the paintings. I just looked at him from behind the safety of the menu I held before me- a menu I was not reading.

He was fairly ordinary. Not over worked, no horrid ‘gym regular’ type muscles peeking out from the arms of his plain t-shirt. I judged from how he was sat that he wasn’t even very tall. But his eyes!! They were wide, blue, and somehow never ending. If those eyes could have talked they would have only said one word, ‘Sex.’

Those eyes gave me the most beautiful daydream. Undressing him slowly, never taking my gaze from his gaze, telling him what to do- making him keeping his eyes open at all times…ummmm- you get the idea….

The Circus by Kay Jaybee
The line is blurred between spectator and performer in a theatre of pleasure and pain!

Lexie Bay

So what turns me on visually? Ooh where do I start with this one. I have to admit that I adore checking out gorgeous sexy men. There’s nothing nicer to look at than a strong toned forearm gripping a steering wheel or a firm bum in a pair of jeans… or what about that sexy little line that disappears into a guy’s jeans. Mmmm, yep I’m more than happy to ogle a fit bloke any day.

But I also love that secret thrill when you see something you really shouldn’t have….. and you keep watching because you just can’t tear yourself away. I don’t think women are that different to men when it comes to the visual, deep down we all love a little bit of voyeurism every now and then. I bet if you stumbled across a kinky scene you’d stay and check it out….. I know I would! Izzy, from my story Inside Looking Out definitely would, and it leads her on a deliciously decadent trail from one side of the world to the other. So keep your eyes open and give yourself a treat every now and then – you never know where it will lead you!

Inside Looking Out by Lexie Bay
Adventurous Izzy spans two continents in a search for her perverted Prince Charming.

K D Grace

I was out walking on the Downs. It had just rained. Sane people were inside where it was dry.  I had just climbed a steep stairs up to the side of the hill and stopped to take pictures of the mist clearing off the hillsides when I heard heavy breathing behind me. I turned and nearly ran in to a very wet, very fit bloke carrying his mountain bike up the steps, biceps bulging, chest heaving, dark hair mussed. His face was hard with concentration and exertion. Then when he saw me, he smiled and everything about him became warmer, softer. He said something about how the weather had cleared and how nice it was to be outside. I’m sure I must have blushed as I mumbled my agreement. Then he mounted his bicycle and rode on, leaving me feeling sexy and feminine in spite of my drowned rat hair and sweaty t-shirt.

Alloted Views by K D Grace
A nosey gardener is treated to a raunchy ritual through her bedroom window.

Rebecca Bond

There’s nothing quite like catching the attention of a stranger as you mooch about your business to give you a little flutter or giggle inside. As a city chick, the daily commute holds the most eye-fuck potential. Naturally you wanna be looking hawt, or the attention you attract could simply be down to the dark shadows beneath the eye, or the rogue globs of mascara that smatter the face. Never a good look. But whilst most people jump on and off the trains looking nowhere but their iphones, ebooks, or the daily rag, I sit back, relax and people watch like a pro. This, my friends, produces much eye-fuck fodder. Especially if a yummy tall, dark and handsome should so happen park his tushy on the seat opposite.

There is, however, danger in this sort of voyeurism. Yes, there have been moments when unintentional eye contact has been made with pure beasts and even though you know you need to look away, their ghastliness has you hooked. Just like beauty, ugliness is too fascinating too shy away from. But you must – look, look away or you might find yourself in an unexpected and utterly unavoidable mental strip-down-eye-fuck-all-out-bonkfest with Quasimodo’s twin! It’s okay though, because then the train stops, the doors open, and you never have to encounter Mr (or Mrs) No-Go again. Win!

Painted Pussycat by Rebecca Bond
An innocent student is welcomed into the Circle of Ink where tattoos, bondage and exhibitionism are all part of her initiation.

Lucy Felthouse

K D asked me to describe what turns me on visually, or something I saw that was really hot. Sadly, my answers wouldn’t have made for a very interesting blog post, so I decided to twist the question a little and let my imagination do the talking. That is, I’ve seen untold naughty things in my dreams and daydreams, and as an erotic writer, there are frequently things going on in my head that are pretty hot. And that’s definitely what was going on when I was writing my story, Caught in the Act. It took me a while to come up with the story idea, but once I did it pretty much ran away with itself. The more I wrote, the filthier it got… and it was filthy to begin with! The thought of a policeman becoming fascinated with dogging to the extent that he gets into the scene himself, well, needless to say I found the idea really interesting. There was some research involved, of course. On the Internet, I might add. There was no visiting of deserted car parks for me! So… coming back to answering K D’s question – I see things that are hot all the damn time, but they’re usually in my head!

Caught in the Act by Lucy Felthouse
A young policeman risks his reputation and his job for the adrenaline rush of sex alfresco!

Thanks, my voyeuristic Lovelies, for sharing the pleasures of the eyes and heating up my blog!

IMMORAL VIEWS

Kojo Black has compiled five titillating tales from erotica’s sultriest mistresses! Sweetmeats Press proudly presents a deliciously dissolute anthology of voyeurism – Immoral Views. Illustrated by Florian Meacci.

The e-Book versions are not illustrated (except with the pictures you provide with your nasty mind, of course)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Marriage of Intellect and Animal

Last night Raymond and I went to an  Astronomical Society meeting in which Stephen Slater was discussing the making of his film, Destination Titan, which was shown recently on BBC. As he played back footage of that amazing moment when Huygens actually landed on Titan, I had a lump in my throat.  And I couldn’t help it. My eyes misted a bit. This was humanity at its most amazing. With the help of our technology, we had flung our consciousness out into the cosmos. Over a billion kilometers from home, the Huygens lander, equipped with an instrument package not much bigger than a shoe box, sent us back information from a world that we could scarcely have imagined. Now, six and a half years on, I still can’t get my head around it, and yet it’s a fact. We have the data to prove it.

Afterwards I came back home and answered the questions for an interview Sarah Barry was doing for the  Fannies Rule website. The questions involved why I liked a full bush, something I’m always happy to expound upon. That’s right. We were discussing pubic hair. So what do the two have to do with each other? Seemingly nothing. That’s what’s so amazing. These are classic examples of our  human duality. We have the intellect to conceive, design and build a space craft and a landing craft that will visit worlds we can barely conceive of at distances we can barely imagine. And we made it happen. And yet in the blood and bone and DNA of us, we’re animals, so similar to all other animals on our planet that it’s astounding, even disturbing.

Are we a little lower than the angels? Oh, I don’t think so. I think any angel would envy the position of humanity, the marriage of intellect and animal, the being who can fling her consciousness into space and bring it back to herself and in the very next breath join in the rut that’s the biological drive of all animals. But even the down and dirty of it, the rough and tumble between the sheets of it,  is in itself an act of flinging our consciousness out there into the great unknown, into the great unknown of the other, the lover, the one who mirrors us, but whose secrets we can never quite touch except through that physical act of joining.

Wow! Humans! So wonderful and so terrible, so in need of each other and yet so alone in ourselves. And for the most part so totally clueless of what we are really capable.

 

Emerald Talks about Pink Floyd, Being Tied Up, and Her Amazing Story, ‘With Random Precision’

One of the highlights of the Erotic Authors Association Conference in Las Vegas this September was meeting Emerald and being totally enthralled by her beautiful bondage story, With Random Precision. I’m very excited that Emerald has agreed to be my guest and tell us the story behind With Random Precision.  Welcome, Emerald!

“With Random Precision” is titled after a lyric in the Pink Floyd song “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.”  The song plays a central role in the story, which seems fitting since it is published in the Love Notes: A Music & Sex Anthology, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel and published by Ravenous Romance.  Even before I ever saw the call for Love Notes, though, the music in “With Random Precision” was deeply connected to the story.

Virtually the entire bondage scene in “With Random Precision,” as well as the reference the Pink Floyd music therein, is autobiographical. I was tied up quite intricately several years ago by a friend of mine who has studied and practiced bondage extensively.  In a way he was practicing on me, but we’d also both agreed I might find the experience interesting.  I did—so much so that even as it was happening, I knew I wanted to write about it.

So much about the experience was noticeable—the silence in the room, his intense concentration, how strange being touched by rope felt, the absence of being touched by someone else’s flesh.  Things like how striking it began to feel on the occasions his skin did connect with mine jumped out at me, and some of what is in the story started writing itself in my head as I stood there while he wound yards of purple rope around me in silence.

Where the autobiography stops, perhaps ironically, is in the indescribable experience the narrator, Amber, has as a result of being bound.  What was not there for me when I was tied up that night was sexual attraction between myself and the person tying me up.  We were friends, but the experience for me wasn’t a sexual one.

I felt all the other things the narrator describes in the scene—the silence, the intensity, the uncertainty, and definitely the apprehension when the moment of finally realizing she is bound hits home.  Where the actual sexual attraction wasn’t there, there seemed (still seems) a part of me that inexplicably knew the potential that scenario held had the addition of attraction, that unique intensity enmeshed with a desire for intimacy and a mysterious and unquestionable trust, been there.  Even at the time, that vague understanding captured my attention.  Later, as I wrote the story, it came forth via my imagination.

There was also the music.  The description in the story is quite how it was—it was quiet, and all of a sudden I noticed it, and it captured my attention.  The degree to which it seemed to perfectly fit the atmosphere seemed extraordinary, and I was intrigued when he told me it was Pink Floyd.  I was almost entirely unfamiliar with them at the time.

To digress slightly, I met my partner a few months later.  Pink Floyd is his favorite band, and when he mentioned them to me, I found the timing striking.  I said I had only recently been properly introduced to them (beyond the radio play of “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. II” and “Money”).  My partner continued that introduction with impressive thoroughness, and Pink Floyd is now one of my favorite bands too.  Everything the narrator in “With Random Precision” indicates about how she feels about the band is autobiographical.

When I started to write the story, shortly after the bondage experience had occurred, it didn’t seem hard to recall how it had felt to stand there, how quiet the room was, what the rope pattern looked like, how I had felt being tied up.  It wasn’t hard either to remember what had occurred to me about what might have happened if the person tying me had been someone I felt that attraction to, to whom I knew I wanted to surrender what I vaguely—even unconsciously—could feel was there to be surrendered.

I wrote all that.  I didn’t have to think about it much—it was all right there and came out as my fingers typed.  When it came time to actually go further than where the bondage scene ends, to show what happens between Amber and Max, I grew continually stuck.  I tried writing that interaction countless times, with it feeling dissonant each time.

Finally, I realized I simply didn’t get to know.  Not only does the reader not see what actually transpired that night, I myself as the author do not know.  The interaction is a mystery.

As is what the experience might have been like for me under other circumstances.

When I finally let go of trying to create what happened between Amber and Max that night, the final scene of the story, the present-day one that Amber narrates, came about as effortlessly as the first part of the story had.  That scene, to me, expresses the understanding in me of the potential of what that experience could have been had something more been there.  How it could have—perhaps inevitably would have with the characters that came forth in the story—added up to an unequivocal, irrevocable surrender unlike anything I (and she) had before experienced.  The understanding, as the scene, is indirect—it was not seen by the reader, and for me it was not experienced directly.  But some awareness of it was, and still is, in me—even if not (yet…) consciously.

“With Random Precision” remains one of my favorite stories I’ve written.  I don’t know exactly how to describe why, but it has always felt very close to me.  It brings a number of things together—autobiographical experience, speculation of a potential by which I feel deeply intrigued, the opportunity to offer homage to a musical artist that moves me greatly, and the manifestation of something I feel or recognize only on a level beyond my ordinary consciousness.  Thank you so much, K D, for inviting me to talk about it here today.  It’s been really a pleasure!

BLURB:

Our favorite music inspires us to move, dance and, yes, get busy in more intimate ways. Love Notes celebrates dancing queens, rock stars, groupies, anthems and more as the characters stroke each other to the sounds that make them soar. One woman masturbates to her favorite song while a stripper slinks her way into a man’s life. From Madonna to Shania Twain to Led Zeppelin and beyond, they channel their favorite music to make love to.

Love Notes celebrates the erotic power of music to move us, whether it’s listening to a lover rock out, fantasizing about your rock star crush, or making the sweetest and sexiest of music together. Singers, sirens and dancing queens get busy to a sex soundtrack ranging from heavy metal to classical and beyond. Get ready to get serenaded, seduced, and smitten with Love Notes.

EXCERPT:   

With the final silent, firm tug Max gave the rope that secured me to the ottoman, I realized the precariousness of my position.  I had known at the beginning that this was a significant undertaking for me.  But the full realization didn’t materialize until parts of my body, parts I was used to being able to move at will, were bound in place—and the corresponding understanding that he was now in control of that part of my existence.

I couldn’t move.  I was, quite literally, bound.  I thought about what would happen if I suddenly couldn’t breathe, if the claustrophobia of my youth returned, smothering me and taking my oxygen as I lay there unable to do anything to save myself.  I thought of demanding that the rope be cut, screaming at Max to get the binding off me as quickly as possible.  Would he do it?  I wouldn’t be asking—I would be desperate, drowning, screaming inside with not only desperation but the revulsion of knowing that I was utterly, completely dependent on him.  That he could choose to disregard me if he wanted to.  To not take me seriously.  Even as it flitted through my consciousness, the liquid hatred of the idea rose inside me and started to course through my body.  My eyes were closed, but the darkness I was seeing was more than physical—I believe I would have seen it just as much had they been open, staring at the candlelit white ceiling of Max’s living room.

He touched me.  My eyes flew open.  Max was not looking at me.  Rather, he was examining the twists of rope at my left hip, his fingers resting softly on my left thigh.  The contact had brought me from darkness to the surface like a flash of lightning.  I inhaled deeply.

“That’s better,” he murmured in a tone as soft as the pressure of his fingers on my thigh.  “You okay now?”  Still he did not look at me.  His attention stayed on the purple silk strands around my hips and up across my abdomen, as though there were some imperfection there he was fixing.  And I wondered how he had known.

*****

Max shifted his hand.  I felt the knot I had noticed earlier move slightly against my clit.  The jolt of arousal that flooded through me stunned me as much with its intensity as with its unexpectedness.  I looked at Max, who met my gaze and knew what he saw there.

He smiled.  “It’s not about fucking tonight, Amber.  Don’t you know that by now?  You think that’s what you want, but what you want is so much more.”  His voice was quiet, a contrast to the newfound desire pulsing through me that didn’t feel quiet.  Confusion gripped me, twisting my inside with a movement my physical body wasn’t at liberty to reflect.

Max stood and walked until he was no longer in my field of vision.  I heard him kneel behind the top of my head, and his warmth reached me before he did as he slid one hand through my hair against my scalp and the other gently around my throat from behind.  His lips touched my ear as he whispered into it.  The sensation jolted through me like a gunshot, starkly contrasting with the barely existent contact of his flesh to mine.  What was he doing to me?

“Let go.  Let go, Amber.  Do you hear me?”  His voice ran like liquid silk, its gentle seamlessness giving no hint of the boulder-like intimidation of the order as my mind perceived it.  The voice was gentle, lulling, leading where it wanted to take me, knowing that was a place I wasn’t sure I had ever been.  So much so that I didn’t know where it was or how to find it.  The fierce resistance inside me reappeared, surging furiously and searing my senses.  A snowy fuzziness filled my vision.  An acidic sour seeped into my mouth as I raged against this position he had me in.

And somewhere even deeper, I saw that I was really in a battle against myself.

The voice knew that too.  The grip on my throat tightened ever so slightly.  The heat of his breath coursed through me via my ear:

“I know you don’t know how, Amber.  That’s what I’m here for.”

BUY LINKS:

Ravenous Romance (publisher)

Amazon US Kindle

Amazon UK Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook

BIO:

Emerald is an erotic fiction author and general advocate for human sexuality as informed by her deep appreciation of the beauty, value, and intrinsic nature of sexuality and its holistic relation to life. She holds a particular interest in the connection between sex and spirituality and deeply reveres sexuality’s inherent sacredness.  Her erotic fiction has been published in anthologies edited by Violet Blue, Rachel Kramer Bussel, and Kristina Wright, among others, as well as at various erotic websites.  She is an advocate for sexual freedom, reproductive choice, and sex worker rights and blogs about these and other topics at her (NSFW) website, The Green Light District: http://www.thegreenlightdistrict.org.

 

 

Susana Mayer Talks About the Fabulous Erotic Literary Salon

I had the privilege of reading for Susana Mayer’s Erotic Literary Salon on tour while I was in Las Vegas for Erotic Authors Association Conference. The experience was one of the highlights of the conference for me, and ever since, I’ve been dying to know more about the Salon and about the woman who made it happen. And now is my chance. I feel very honoured to have Susana Mayer as my guest on A Hopeful Romantic. Welcome, Susana!

KD: What would you most like people to know about Susana Mayer?

Susana: I have recently reinvented myself as a sexologist, receiving my MA in Public Health 2005, and Ph.D. in Human Sexuality 2009. I am not a writer of erotica, except for the occasional titillating emails I send to my beloved.

Presently, I am working on several projects; a unique anthology, ebook form (more info. can be found at the Salon’s website) and a non-fiction self-help ebook to better understand the complexity of libido, sex drive and sexual desire. Bibliotherapy is one of my passions.

K D: Tell us about the Erotic Literary Salon. How did it come about, and how has it evolved since its beginnings.

Susana: Creating the Erotic Literary Salon was a culmination of a lifetime love of erotica coupled with my dissertation investigations (searching for a catalyst for women’s desire to have sex). Conclusions drawn from the research and the sexual climate in the US led me to believe the time was right to mainstream erotica in Philadelphia.

The social messages women have been receiving did not allow “good girls” to admit to enjoying fantasies they consider pornographic. Based on media marketing, our society allows men the liberty of enjoying hard core material, whereas women are relegated to fantasies spurred on by soft core erotica.

Pornography usually conjures up negative judgements, and erotica is a term that is most often equated with sexual material for women. I must admit when I initially created the Salon, it was geared towards women, and I too used the term erotica so as not to offend my prospective attendees. The terms Literary and Salon were marketing tools to extend legitimacy to the event, since I realized porn or pornography would immediately offend people who equated this term with degradation.

Unfortunately, but ultimately most fortunately, the public space where the Salon was to be held could not discriminate against men. From the very onset the Salon attendance has been approximately equal among the sexes. Ages range from twenty-one (liquor law restrict minors from attending) to mid-nineties. Couples, singles, poly — all sexual orientations and an ethnic mix all attend the Salon.

This event has gone through several transitions since its inception. Initially the format followed most closely the concept of a true French Salon. Works were shared, discussed, and critiqued. It has now developed into performance, where the attendees expect to be entertained by the readings. Occasionally I have featured performers who incorporate music, song, or movement with their erotic presentation.

As the host of this event I try to keep the evening flexible, open to the possibilities of discussions, critiques and Q & A. The featured presenters, number of readers and attendee’s responses all impact how the evening will proceed.

It still surprises me when I hear attendees express their gratitude for having a venue to share their sensexual* writings sans censorship. Remarks like; “Susana is doing a very brave thing….It’s hard to overstate what a remarkable event you produce each month….Philly needs something like this,” remind me there are no other events of this kind presently in this area and few in the entire country.

People have confided in me how writing and sharing their words have helped them deal with a myriad of issues. Often this is the only occasion they have to hear how others express their sexuality. Exposure to these writings, especially journals and first person works, have given them the opportunity to reflect on their own sexuality. It can be of great comfort to know that there is such a variety of styles to creating sexual pleasure. For those who are troubled by sexual pleasure, the sharing of words may assuage their guilt.

The Salon has also given victims of sexual abuse an outlet to share their shame. By giving voice to their distress, in some instances the mere act of sharing has relieved them of the burden of shame. For others the control of the pen has allowed individuals to rewrite their sexual history, enabling them to cope more positively with their traumas.

Some people attend the Salon just to enjoy a night out with their friends, or it can be an unusual place to take their date. For an increasing core group of regulars, it is a community of like-minded people who enjoy sensexuala*.

The Salon is many things to many people, but one thing is a constant – each Salon is unique. I never know how the evening will progress, since each month the readings and featured presenters vary. Similar to my daily posts at the Salon’s website, I lend my voice to this event by offering news items with my sex positive spin. Individuals are given the opportunity to view a sexual newsworthy item from a different perspective. As a muse for this event I feel these items not only educate but can be used as research material for their writings.

The Salon also continues via the web between gatherings. Those unable to attend because of distance constraints are able to share their works on the site, while enjoying some of the readings from the Salon. A professor of English in India expressed his gratitude for having a community that would enjoy his writings and comment on them.

I believe the mainstreaming of sensexuala in Philadelphia is slowly becoming a reality. The first year the Salon averaged between 20-30 people. These numbers have climbed to 60-80 attendees any given month.

K D: The Salon sounds like such a wonderful community to be a part of, and I think it’s fabulous that there is a website where those outside of Philadelphia can connect up with that community. You must have so many amazing memories of the Salon, Susana, can you tell us, what was your most memorable experience of the Salon?

Susana: The Salon’s nonagenarian, Frances (she’s my Chosen Mom), read the best seller, “Go the FOK to Sleep.” Can you envision a 94 year old, white haired, 4’6” slim built, beyond wrinkled woman, armed with elocution lessons from grade school (sans microphone) reciting this adult story disguised as a children’s book to Salon attendees? She brought down the house. I have extended an offer to the author to attend in May to hear her once again read this piece. I hope to get permission to video tape and post it on youtube and my website. Can’t imagine him declining.

K D: Wow! I would have loved to be there for THAT reading! It must have been amazing. Susana, how do you see the future of the Erotic Literary Salon? What plans do you have for it?

Susana: I am considering adding several larger events, with the Salon as the foundation while including visual arts, music, dance for a spectacular evening of sensexuala. I’m also in the process of creating a Salon ebook press, not only to publish the Salon’s anthology, but also works of others. The Erotic Literary Salon is becoming an established brand, and I want to spread the word of sensexual writings as a tool for bibliotherapy.

*sensexuala/sensexual. A combination of (sensual & sexual) that does not carry the same judgmental values as those attributed to erotica and pornography. You get to enjoy the value of the piece, eliminating the need to discuss the sub-genre classifications.

K D: Thank you, Susana, for sharing with us. It’s been such a pleasure to interview you, and you’ve raised so many other wonderful questions that I’d love to pursue further that I hope you’ll come back again soon.

 

 

Looking for the Wintergreen with Trish DeVene

I’m so excited to have Trish DeVene as my guest on A Hopeful Romantic! Her story, ‘Looking for the Wintergreen,’ from the fabulous Oysters and Chocolate anthology, Nice Girls, Naughty Sex, is one of my favourite stories ever, erotica or otherwise. Trish is going to tell us the story behind ‘Looking for the Wintergreen.’  Welcome Trish!

Walking down a market street in Tokyo, a friend of mine saw a man with a long shine of black hair, cat-like in his stride—a person who halted her own casual walk and made her turn for a gasping gaze. That was twenty years ago and she hasn’t forgotten him, or that moment. Why not? What did it awaken? How did he pass over the threshold of her mind and become housed in her?

Another friend once told me that he and a friend were pulling up beside a car in traffic—a woman driver whose blonde hair flowed over her left shoulder, and whose smooth tanned arm draped lazily the wheel. They sat straighter; they waited for the car to press evenly beside hers. And they asked, “But does she have the face? Does she?” Oh, she did, and the friend wrote a poem because the moment was monumental, stamping his memory. For that moment, had she awakened something, created change? A new poem was born.

Every now and then, we happen upon something or someone that for unknown reasons snares us. I wonder if beauty catches the eye but something else deeper draws the longer look and holds the memory: the mystery, the potential, something sleeping in ourselves come to life? Or is perfect beauty—in nature, art, or people—a balm for the pain in life?

When I began writing “Looking for the Wintergreen,” I wanted quite simply to explore the possibilities of a beautiful man entering a sensitive, withdrawn young woman’s world. Aurelio literally steps up the porch steps, and through the front door of Leah’s remote family home that’s buried under swoops of snow. Except he isn’t made from their remote, white landscape; he is brown-skinned and warm, fit for a house of adobe. In him, Leah sees the summer valley at sunset, the gentle slopes that ride out to the tree line.

Does beauty make us vulnerable? Leah quickly monitors herself, noting as he passes casually into the house that care should be taken in crossing thresholds. “Think first, know the destination, prepare. There should be commitment in any crossing.” No one has crossed this threshold since her father’s sudden and soundless departure from their lives. And Leah, like the house buried in snow, has buried herself in literature—lust and love relegated to daydream only, as the family tries to recover.

Her pain is silent, her loss of trust unexpressed. In books, she finds fascinating heroes who reflect her own desires; she has no need for the messy, disappointing, fleeting attractions of real life, the kind that only leave you vulnerable.

She wonders if this beautiful boy knows what he steps over and into? But when he shakes out his hair, darker than their starless nights, he smiles and his gold-brown eyes sparkle on her. His face is open with trust. And for a moment her fantasy worlds blend with reality. She wants him to step in.

I was a child of gothic romances and fairy tales with noble kings, larger than life men who made the heroine take a second, longer, ever-lasting look. My grade-school girlfriends would get mad at me, asking why I never liked any of the boys in school. It wasn’t because I had too-high expectations, wanting real life to mimic books. It was because, for the moment, my own imagination excited me more. I wasn’t yet intrigued enough to take that messy step out of self and into another.

When Aurelio crosses the threshold into Leah’s house, it is her moment to step out—out of herself, out of fantasies, to take a chance on real life. He sees her desire. He acts on it.

When her brother, heading into town, hesitates at the door, paused in the white slit, one foot over the threshold, Leah urges him out, waiting for the door to slam, and suction Aurelio in.

But Aurelio, in turn, leads Leah outside where the white world melts, where behind the tool shed, he approaches her, his dark frame, his lush copper face, sunlit eyes, the petaled lips that part … kissing him, like gulping a sky of effervescent stars. She relinquishes to her very real desire.

In the end, when they return, he puts his hand on hers on the doorknob. Snow melts and her home’s threshold is new and solid with trust.

For me, stories are like crossing over thresholds, whether we’re closing our eyes to step into a new world in writing them, or we are readers entering an unknown tale to sit in someone else’s skin. And how often in life do we come across something, like the man on the Tokyo street, that opens our eyes or our hearts to a new landscape of possibility?

Thresholds are about change, one room to another, or one life to another. Sometimes the threshold is defined by great circumstances. But sometimes it’s just the passing gift of beauty and our own moment of trust that opens a new door.

Blurb:
In a remote house, buried under silencing snow, a young girl takes refuge in the fantasy world of literature to bury the pain of her father’s leaving. She disdains the clumsy antics of her brother and his friends, certain that in real life there is no one worth relinquishing her trust to, no Arthurs or Lancelots or Sir Galahads.

But when her brother’s friend Aurelio comes to spend the night, she finds herself watching him, sleepless with fantasies about him. In the morning, at their kitchen table, where he sits in his easy beauty, he catches her staring, and she discovers how it feels when a man knows a woman’s desire. A man who won’t leave it buried.

Excerpt:

The next morning, rattling pans woke me. My mother was making breakfast for the boys. A hearty breakfast always for my brother. I understood. I was here; he was away. He had that freckled-face enthusiasm that she remembered in dad.

I wondered for a moment what she thought of his friend Aurelio. Would she flush when she passed him a plate of eggs? Did girls scramble for the desk next to his at school? Teachers change Cs to As when he flashed that smile?

I was angry in the melting morning. Icicles dripped outside my window, and I brushed out my hair, vowing not to shower until I had coffee. When I walked into the kitchen, his mouth was open to a forkful of scrambled eggs. He shoveled them in before he smiled. Anger dissipated. I was the melting icicle.

Between him and me were twelve tile squares, two chair backs, one oblong table with a cracked Formica top, and a great wash of blurring sunlight. No slim belt-line barrier this morning. It was as if the entire room were a blockade. I was braless under the sweatshirt I’d thrown on, and the soft fabric scratched my nipples, sharpening them.

“Morning,” I managed, skirting the counter, as far from him as our small kitchen allowed. He grinned again and bit into the toast.

I was used to pale: The kitchen walls a faded yellow wash, the curtains sheer to sunlight, and all of us fair-skinned Irish. He was a shaft of dark color sitting at our table. Raven hair cut a straight line just above his black shirt collar, only a sliver of brown neck, and his hair fringed down his forehead, meeting black, defined brows. He looked down at his plate, focused on food. And he looked warmer than a hot plate of fresh pancakes, that syrup-colored skin shining in the streaks of sun.

I was staring at the sheen on his cheekbone when I realized he’d looked up. The smile was gone, his warm eyes darker. He knew I’d been looking. I tried a small smile and picked up the coffee mug on the counter, but he only stared.

So this was how it felt when a man knew a woman’s desire. I bit my lip, immediately annoyed with myself for this foolish reaction. Bitten lips. What did that mean?

His arm stretched toward me, that smooth hand wrapping the cold chrome of the chair. Here was a bridge – fingernails, knuckles, forearm. “Are you having breakfast?” he asked, and the chair scraped toward me.

I held the coffee pot up. “Just this for now.” I ignored the bridge, poured the dark liquid into my mug, and started back toward the bedroom.

“Did you get to look at the paper?” he called.

The paper. Yes, it was on my bed. I was stalled in the hallway, between the pull of his stare and safety. I pointed toward my room and nodded. The coffee mug steamed, my hand burning around it. I felt my clothes dissipate with the steam, left standing in his stare. “Yes,” I managed. “It’s …”

“I’ll come get it when I’m done,” he said.

I trusted my feet to take me back. I sat on the bed beside the papers. I wanted him.

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Nice-Girls-Naughty-Sex-Erotic/dp/1580053432

Author Bio:
Trish DeVene (also writing as Patricia J. Esposito) has been a writer of edgy paranormal fiction most of her life, but always knew she had a romantic heart and a tendency toward the sensual. Two years ago she decided to explore that sensuality and sold her first erotica short story. She hasn’t wanted to stop. She’s had numerous stories and poems published in anthologies, such as Nice Girls, Naughty Sex, The Cougar Book, Apparitions, and Lights of Love, and in magazines, including Rose and Thorn, Oysters and Chocolate, Clean Sheets, Karamu, Hungur, Sounds of the Night, and Midnight Street, and her GLBT vampire novel, Beside the Darker Shore, was released this year. Long-time married to the “boy-next-door,” she has two daughters and works at home as a copy editor, when she’s not off exploring the intoxicating realms of the imagination and chasing muses.

Personal Links:
http://patricia-j-esposito.blogspot.com/
http://patriciaesposito.wordpress.com/

Buy Link Beside the Darker Shore: http://www.amazon.com/Beside-Darker-Shore-Patricia-Esposito/dp/1615724168
Buy Link The Cougar Book: http://www.amazon.com/Cougar-Book-Jolie-du-Pre/dp/1905091567

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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