Don’t MEWL On Me!

On the Threshold, Edmund Leighton

Lately I’ve indulged in escape reading, primarily Regency romance. In the past, I’ve read a few of this subgenre but in the last couple of months, it’s been a book a day. This is me refueling for my next phase of writing.

But what I wanted to say is, please, STOP using pat words/phrases like ‘come apart’ and ‘carnal’ and especially ‘mewl.’

Oh my god. Mewl. Do writers using this word not understand that the first definition of ‘mewl’ is that it’s the sound of a baby? As in, “cry feebly or querulously; whimper.” Or of a cat or bird?

From Merriam-Webster: Mewl: to utter feeble plaintive cries. Eg, The tiny kitten mewled for its mother.

Synonyms of mewl: bleat, pule, whimper

Words Related to mewl: fuss, sniffle, snivel, snuffle, whine, peep, squeak, mumble, murmur, mutter, groan, moan, sigh, aaaand you get the idea.

Granted, when writing about sex and the sounds, smells, and other details involved, it’s difficult to make it ‘new,’ especially in a subgenre like Regency where women are supposed to be virgins taken utterly by surprise at the sensation of sexual activity. One could argue that mewling like a baby or kitten is exactly the best way to describe her reaction when big strong hero man sticks his tongue in her mouth. Or elsewhere.

It’s just that after x-number of books with ‘mewl’ in key passages, one can hardly suppress the urge to vomit.

As for ‘carnal,’ well, yes, it’s a useful word in portraying the mindset of women of those times. The meaning of it sums up the idea a woman might possess about something she’s been taught to fear and repress. It neatly describes sexual needs and activities. But hey, how about giving readers a break? Here are some useful synonyms: sexual, sensual, erotic, lustful, lascivious, libidinous, lecherous, licentious, physical, bodily, corporeal, and fleshly.

I admit that the first four in that list, at least, would hardly occur to a sexual novice during a time when one must not use the word ‘leg’ or ‘breast’ in referring even to a roasted chicken, but rather must use the more delicate term ‘limb’ or ‘white meat.’

Then there’s the phrase ‘claim her mouth.’ Maybe the first few times I read this, I’m thinking Sylvia Day before she priced herself out of my range, the phrase held power to excite. After all, in claiming her mouth, the hero stakes out his territory and the reader knows seduction is underway. But time after time as it’s been overused, any power that this phrase might have had has long since been lost. How about seize, demand, require, win, or take? Or something else entirely.

  • But he didn’t move lower in his kisses, instead coming back up to thoroughly claim her mouth.
  • It was only a matter of inches before he could bend his head and claim her mouthwith his.
  • Eyes intense, he leaned in to claim her mouth, one hand at her nape, the other supporting her shoulder as he eased onto the bed to stretch his length, their bodies touching at breast and hip.
  • She shivered when he trailed kisses down the side of her neck, then back up to claim her mouth
  • She had broken out in a fine sweat; he licked it from between her breasts and her throat, working his way up to claim her mouthin a kiss as heavy and demanding as the ridge of flesh he pressed against her hip.

But I repeat myself.

As for “come apart,” I’d like to point out that this metaphorical concept of a woman totally losing it in the throes of orgasm is, at first, a reasonable use of language. But after years of overuse? Shall I demonstrate?

  • That night when he’d held her and she’d come apart in his arms.
  • Need pulsed through him, sending blood screaming to his groin, but he held back, wanting to feel her come apart in his arms, to watch as she gave herself over to his complete control.
  • Nothing was more important at that moment than seeing her come apart in his arms.
  • She wanted to come apart in his arms, and let him be the one who put all the shattered pieces together again.
  • Unable to look away, she pictured him in the McDaniel’s stables, touching her, making her come apart in his arms.
  • And as he took her like a man possessed, and she started to come apart in his arms, his name a keening cry on her lips, his only thought was that he had finally come home.

And so forth.

While I’m on this rant, let me also say I’m just as guilty as the next writer in using worn-out phrases and words. In the heat of writing the scene, it’s a real challenge to think beyond what happens next. It’s later, under the cold eye of our internal editor, that we must cross out the tired stuff and think of something new. That’s as much a part of our job as thinking up the story in the first place. Otherwise, we’re boring our readers. Or making them nauseous.

At best, writers reliant on these and many more familiar phrases routinely used in sex scenes hope the reader is so caught up in the story, in these characters finally – despite all odds – able to satisfy the desire that has been hovering over them since the opening pages of the novel, that mere word choice hardly registers. For many readers, this surely must be true. Yet how many readers come to ‘mewl’ and can’t stop themselves from throwing the book across the room?

For now, I’ll try really hard to refrain from remarking on his ‘cut muscle’ or ‘sculpted muscle’ or her inevitable ‘swoon.’ We already know these men have scent of leather and, variously, pine, soap, shaving soap about their person, or taste of salt. That his shoulders barely clear the door frame. That he towers over her and her hands twist in her lap.

I’m not the first or the last who will comment on the unique language of romance novels. Well, hardly unique in reality, but perhaps unique in the broader world of literature. There are books, I tell you, entire books on this subject. An internet search also turns up useful word-usage blog posts.

From a blog post in 2015, “The Most Ridiculous Sexual Phrases from Romance Novels” written of course by a guy. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/16/romance-novel-phrases_n_7545244.html

A great way to expand your sexy vocabulary is presented by blogger Sharla Rae in her Sensual Word Menu: https://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/sensual-word-menu-2/ What a fabulous resource! Thank you Sharla!

So go out there, make your characters suffer and whine, but PLEASE don’t make them mewl.

And–before I forget–READ OTHER GENRES.  There are entire libraries full of other books, all of them making fabulous use of all 26 letters.

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Those Sexy Pirates!

NOW! A entirely new collection of bad boy pirate stories. New release! Only 99¢

My story, “An Adventure for Burgess,” is one of the stories chosen for this anthology!

As a sleek sloop noses into Seraphine Bay, a female tourist resolves to discover if the man at the helm is the pirate of her dreams.

Excerpt:

The two women stood up and moved away from the table. Christ, the dark-haired one had curves—a full bosom tucked away in a modest blouse and a pair of shorts that outlined the rounded curve of her buttocks. His body tensed.

“Damn,” he muttered under his breath.

He slammed the rest of the scotch down his throat and stood up, angling his path to intercept the two women at the restaurant entry. This wasn’t like him, going out of his way to tangle with a female. Especially now with the dive project nearly finished. But something about her moved him, inexorable as the tide.

Morgan managed to arrive at the entry at the same time as the women. Despite her friend’s annoyed glance, his attention focused on maneuvering against the object of his interest. She turned just as he powered up against her, and he had to grab her arms to keep them both from falling.

“Oh!” she said. “I’m so sorry.”

He inhaled at the touch of her soft body. Her luminous eyes lifted to his face, and her pink lips formed a perfect O. Her shocked expression radiated naiveté but also eagerness. Despite the chaste lines of the blouse, the buttons obviously strained under their duty to hold it all together.  Long dark hair, blushing cheeks, she smelled like tropical fruit and rum—and something he couldn’t describe that made his cock throb against his zipper. Damn if he didn’t lose track of his surroundings. All he could think of was how those lips would taste.

“My fault entirely,” he murmured, releasing her and stepping back.

“I can’t believe this,” she said, slurring her words slightly. “I saw on you that boat out there, didn’t I?”

“You did,” he said, smiling.

“Beautiful boat,” she said. Her gaze flickered down his body before she gave him another wide-eyed stare. “Very sexy,” she said in a husky voice.

“Uh, Burgess.” Her friend tugged on her arm. “My flight, remember?”

“Burgess? Nice name.” He motioned toward the doorway. “I’ll walk you ladies out.”

Burgess giggled. They stopped on the sidewalk outside the entrance. “My friend Kendra,” Burgess said, motioning. “She’s flying back. Not me.” She chewed her lip and cast a sideways glance toward Morgan. “I’m going to have an adventure.”

The tip of her tongue touched her lips and sent a hot jolt to his groin.

“Come on,” Kendra said. “You’re tipsy, and you don’t know this man. Sorry, sir,” she said with a glare directed at Morgan. “You’ll have to excuse us.”

He flinched at the “sir” and bowed slightly. Christ, he wasn’t that much older.

“Yes, I do know him,” Burgess insisted. “I know he’s got a boat, and he’s tall. I think he’s a pirate.”

Morgan guffawed. “And he’s very lonely. Shall I call for a cab to take your friend to the airport, so you and I can get better acquainted?”

“Absolutely not,” Kendra said, tugging Burgess’s arm. “Come on, we have things to do.”

He backed up a step and held his hands in a surrender gesture. “No harm intended. Have a nice flight.”

~~~

Read the rest of this smart sexy story and more in the new anthology, Pirates (A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology Book 3).  Only 99¢ here.

~~~

Adrian Velasquez — Naughty or Nice? Choose Your Ending

Two versions of this story’s ending are included below. The first part remains the same and is presented first. Comment with your vote for the ending you like best!

 

At the sound of his voice, Rachel spun the chair around. Adrian Velasquez. His dark gaze always caught her off guard. He was wearing a gray-black suit, damn him, with a white shirt open at the throat that dazzled against his Latino complexion. Not for the first time in his presence, her stomach quivered.

“What can I do for you?”

He eased his suit jacket open and parked himself in the chair nearest her desk. With a half grin and sideways glance, his hazel eyes undressed her. Shit. Nobody should be this good looking. His expressive eyebrows and chiseled features screamed seduction.

He looked at the ceiling for a second then shook his head. “One question.”

“The same one?”

He stood up and rested his fists on the desk, his eyes riveting her gaze. “Are you afraid?”

Her breath caught. Hell yes she was afraid. His whole body emanated tension. Everything about him made her crazy to have him. But the thrill of his pursuit filled her with excitement, so different from her routine of work then going home to an empty apartment, the silence echoing down her hallway as she went about her regular boring tasks.

The weekend stretched ahead with nothing to amuse her. Yes, she’d agreed to meet Harriet for lunch tomorrow before browsing through the new exhibit at the museum. They’d end up at the library where both of them would assuage their loneliness with a new stack of books to take home. She’d reached the point where everything she read seemed like something she’d read before.

“Not afraid,” she said, feigning boredom. “Same old same old.”

His expression toyed with amusement and something more as his eyes flitted to her breasts and then back to her face. “You have no idea,” he said with a grin.

“I have an idea,” she snapped, infuriated that his mere words could cause her stomach to knot. “I have listings to sell and so do you. Work, remember?”

“Soon,” he said. “You’ll answer my question.”

She glared at him until the office door closed behind him. “Shit,” she muttered under her breath. She threw herself into her chair and tugged on her shoulder length hair so hard it hurt. She’d never met a man who could destroy her as completely as Adrian Velasquez, so why couldn’t she stop playing his game?

It wasn’t him she wanted, she kept telling herself. It was her need for something new and exciting. Something she could care about besides listings and prospective buyers and writing up contracts. She felt like she was dying inside, one slow week after another melting off into the distance like a never-ending road to nowhere.

That’s what he offered, not that he himself was something she wanted, but that he was new, undiscovered, challenging. It wasn’t that she wanted a man. She’d had enough pointless relationships to last a lifetime.

She turned to her computer screen, blowing out breath slowly through her pursed lips. This was exactly what she would not do, this drifting off into romance land, thinking about things she’d long since put behind her. She had a plan for her life – make money, invest in real estate, and travel. See the world.

The day dragged by. By four-thirty, she needed a drink so badly she could almost taste the tequila on her tongue. Thank god the Manchester Lounge was only a half block away. She shrugged into her jacket, stuffed her water bottle and iPad in her bag, and let the office door swing shut behind her. The place had mostly emptied already, typical for a Friday when any and every excuse known to mankind hovered on employees’ lips as they grabbed a head start on the weekend.

A small throng of restless people waited for the elevator. She knew before she looked up that Adrian had followed her out. Damn it. The man didn’t miss anything.

A voice like dark chocolate purred at her ear. “Did I mention how lovely you look today?” he said. “You do the ice princess thing very well.”

Gooseflesh erupted down her arms. “Is that a compliment?” she retorted.

“Of course,” he said, rocking back on his heels with a smug smile. “Also the truth. You are a very attractive woman.”

“Same old question?” she said.

He grinned in reply and raised his eyebrows. The elevator opened and she found herself squeezed between Adrian and the back wall as the conveyance lurched through its descent. His shoulders blocked her view, straining the shoulder seams of his suit and making her mouth go dry. He purposefully held himself inches away, saving her from the crush of annoyed people packed into the small space.

Well, thank you very much. As if she hadn’t negotiated crowds in elevators all her life. As if she needed him. As if he wasn’t fully aware that his musky scent filled her nostrils and sent waves of need down her belly. Yes, thank you, Adrian.

The elevator spilled its contents into the lobby and people streamed off in all directions. Rachel set off without looking back. As she shouldered through the wide door, she slipped on her sunglasses and turned purposefully toward the Manchester. Christ, tequila. Now. Please.

What was it about him that made her panic like this? That made her body hum and her mouth dry and her mind focused like a laser on nothing but him. What he would do next. What he would say.

The cool air of the Manchester, faintly scented with the smell of whiskey and cigar smoke, hit her face in a gust as she pushed the door open. Bits of conversation and familiar strains of Getz-Gilberto met her ears. She glanced around the dim room before she spotted an open booth at the back wall.

A moment’s peace. That’s all I ask. She slid into the cool leather seat and briefly rubbed her forehead. Why did she let him get to her like this?

“Ma’am?” A waiter leaned toward her as he slid a napkin onto the table.

“Margarita straight up, easy on the sweet.”

She knew Adrian had a past. How did someone leave behind that kind of history—gangs, drugs, street fights?  He kept his tattoos well covered, but she’d seen him once without his jacket with his sleeves rolled up. Dark curled lines disappeared under the white cuffs. Her nostrils flared as she imagined the rest.

She couldn’t keep from asking Christine, the agency owner.

“What in the hell is going on?” she had asked, dripping creamer into her coffee.

“He’s amazing,” Christine confided. “Fantastic sales record. Yeah, he’s from the streets, but he knows the business. And you’ve got to admit—he’s got presence.”

“Is that what they call it?”

Christine chuckled. “He sells property, and that’s good for us. The clients want him.”

Unfortunately, so did she. Somehow his past only made him more desirable. In her weaker moments, her imagination ran wild envisioning how his body looked without clothes, working out, gleaming with sweat, all sleek lines and cut muscle.

Her strict self-discipline forbid more wild thoughts like that. Yeah, like that was working. It was as if she had stepped off the train at some deserted station in the middle of nowhere and Adrian was standing there. Waiting.

A frosted margarita glass slid onto the napkin in front of her. She flashed a ‘thank-you’ smile at the waiter and lifted the salted rim to her lips. The citrusy burn swept over her tongue and scorched an icy path down her throat. Some of the tension in her neck relaxed. She sagged back against the welcoming upholstery and let her gaze drift over the room.

As if drawn by a magnet, her gaze locked with Adrian’s intent stare. Damn him, he’d followed her. Okay, she didn’t know that. He could have planned to come here all along. Lots of the office people came here.

He stood by the bar with a half-smile and cocked eyebrow, his jacket eased open and the ‘V’ of his open shirt neck glowing white in the dim light. Her blood pressure shot through the top of her head. Heat burned her cheeks.

She couldn’t look away. She had to look away. The longer she stared, the more cocky his grin became.

God, please let me look down. She focused on the drink where she gripped the glass stem so tightly she thought it might snap. How would she know when he stopped staring? How would she turn him away if he showed up at her table?

What now? What the fuck now?

Her eyes flicked again to Adrian. He sat on the other side of the room, a spot with a clear line of sight to her table. While she watched, helpless to tear her eyes away, he lit a cigar and sucked the smoke, caressing the thickly rolled tobacco with his lips.

He knew exactly what he was doing with that slow sensual motion. Her panties moistened as if he had licked between her legs. She drowned her quiet moan with another gulp of her drink.

A group of people intervened, taking a table and blocking her view. Released from his hypnotic stare, she fiercely stared at the table before digging out her phone, praying for a text, anything that could occupy her attention.

Sanity would be required here. A reasoned plan of action. She would finish the drink then leave. Maybe even not finish. Find another bar. Go home. Throw things.

“Mind if I join you?”

Chills ran down Rachel’s back. Her gaze traveled slowly up Adrian’s body. His thighs strained the tailored lines of his expensive slacks. That damn white shirt nearly blinded her. He’d taken off his jacket and rolled up his sleeves. Veins laced over the tendons at his wrist and forearms. Tattoos.

Jesus.

Enough tequila had begun coursing through her bloodstream that she felt daring. She smiled and cocked an eyebrow. “No, by all means, take a seat. I don’t see you enough at work, so why not be annoyed by you in my private time as well?”

He laughed and eased into the booth across from her. The man moved like a fucking panther, languid and taut at the same time. His hands toyed with his short tumbler. He stroked the rim with one long finger as if he touched her. Daring her, his gaze roamed over her breasts.

Exhausted as she was and without any will to resist his charm, her body reacted. Sensation ripped down her neck. Her breasts swelled and her nipples hardened to painful knots. Moisture pulsed between her thighs. Her heart pounded in her ears as the image of him over her in bed formed in her mind.

She must be out of her mind to play a game of chicken with this man. He would win. Was she ready for that? What happened to safe? What happened to her plans for the rest of her life?

This was so far outside her plans it wasn’t even written in the margins. But she knew it. Everything about Adrian Velasquez felt familiar, known like the shadow at the end of the hall. The monster you dare not look at for fear your gaze will cause it to spring.

As quiet shudder raced over her as she lowered her eyes to her glass and took another drink. The waiter appeared and disappeared before she registered on what had been said. She felt Adrian’s careful gaze, watching her like prey. He’d been stalking, waiting, watching, and here she was, cornered. A smile quirked the corner of his mouth.

“Adrian, Jesus Christ,” she hissed. “Save that killer seduction thing for your girlfriends. Surely you have a dozen.”

He laughed, sincerely amused. “Are you jealous?”

“Don’t be absurd.”

“You think I’m flirting?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. He clearly enjoyed seeing her flustered. A blush heated her face, a combination of his game and the liquor. It infuriated her that he could provoke her so easily. He snapped a lighter to tip of his cigar and mouthed the thick shaft as he inhaled. “Think I’m trying to seduce you?”

“Ha!” she exclaimed. “I don’t know what the hell else you would call it. I’m here trying to relax after a hellish week and you show up, uninvited, and start making suggestive comments,” she huffed. “I’ve seen all this before.”

“But not mine,” he said in silken tones.

Rachel gasped. Part of her—the sane part—wanted to leap up and run out of the building. The other part, unfortunately the part currently in control, wanted to rip off her blouse and hold her breasts to his mouth. The situation had suddenly changed into something charged and dangerous.

The monster she refused to see.

And he knew it, damn him. His smile formed deep dimples in his cheeks. He reached for her hand, covering it with his own and suggestively stroking the inside of her thumb.

Without warning, he leaned up and pulled her toward him over the small table, sliding the tip of his tongue against her lips. She loosened, her mouth parting slightly to give him entry. Her head reeled, wiped clean of every thought, every caution, she had made.

“Oh, god,” she groaned against his mouth.

She jerked back, her eyes widening as she looked at him. She threw herself into the seat and held the back of her hand against her lips as if she could erase the electric shock of their kiss. “Forget that,” she stammered.

Smile gone, his eyes darkened and locked on hers. “We’re going,” he said abruptly, standing up.

Say something. Say ‘no,’ say ‘wait.’ Make excuses.

But she didn’t say anything. She let him lift her elbow as she stood. She watched him throw money on the table. Her breath burned out in short gasps as she trotted out of the Manchester, her arm in Adrian’s grip.

On fire. Drunk on need so deep she couldn’t find the bottom. Drowning in everything Adrian.

She needed to stop before things went any further. Before she did something she would regret.

But she didn’t want to stop. Nothing mattered but Adrian and what he silently promised to do to her. What she wanted so much she could practically taste him.

“Where are we going?”

“To get a room,” he said.

“What?”

He stopped and pushed her against the front of a department store window. Fashionably dressed mannequins stared down in silent censure. Adrian’s hand slipped behind her and pulled her hips against his groin. “You heard me,” he said thickly. “A place where I can give you what you want.”

“How, what I…” Rachel struggled for words. The pressure of his body made her ears roar. She swallowed nervously. “I don’t…”

Madre de Dios, yes, you do,” he said impatiently. “Come on.”

 

Ending 1 — The Nice Ending

She pulled her elbow out of his grip. “No, Adrian. Maybe someday I’ll be ready for this, but not today. I’m tired, it’s been a shit week, and I don’t have the energy.”

As she turned to walk away, the expression on his face burned into her memory. Disappointment, yes. But something else, something that might have been the face of a very young man heartbroken in his first love affair. Briefly, his eyes had conveyed a message of more than desire, more than conquest.

The heels of her pumps beat a sharp rhythm on the sidewalk. Her lips formed a hard straight line. None of that could be real. She was reading into his expression, putting thoughts and feelings there that didn’t exist in reality. It simply wasn’t possible that he had any kind of emotional investment in her.

How could he? Why?

A strong hand grabbed her arm and spun her around. Anger and something else blazed in his eyes.

“You think you know me? You don’t know me, chica,” he said. “What have I ever done to make you afraid? Have I hurt you, threatened you? This is about the Reyes listing, isn’t it?”

She jerked away. “The one you stole from me? No, I’m not afraid of you. I’m just not interested.”

“You give me your words, but your body speaks louder. If you’re afraid to admit what you feel, are you also afraid to have dinner? We can talk about it.”

She shook her head, discarding retorts as fast as they formed.

“Dinner, Rachel,” he said, his voice softer. “Let me take you somewhere relaxing. We need to clear the air. I promise I won’t touch you.”

For some bizarre reason, his words and expression made her want to cry. She wasn’t a mean person but she felt mean.

“Christ, Adrian, you’re damn persistent. Okay. Dinner.”

A smile lit up his face, all white teeth and hooded eyes. What the hell was she doing, agreeing to anything he suggested? He might say he wouldn’t touch her, but his kiss still burned on her lips. He touched her lightly at the waist, propelling her forward along the sidewalk. At the intersection while they waited for the light, he pulled out the cigar and grinned while he puffed, turning the tip to a red coal.

And yes, since he brought it up, the listing for the Reyes property still pissed her off. It was a big deal, signing that project. An enormous commission and he’d slipped the entire deal right out from under her.

But that had nothing to do with his incessant flirtation. Unless…was he flirting because he felt guilty? She eyed him as they walked.

What was it about men and cigars? His lips clamped around the fat cylinder of tobacco, focusing her mind entirely on his mouth. He blew out the smoke in a disciplined stream and still she could not tear her eyes away from that mouth, those sensual lips tilting at the corner in a smile. Her gaze flickered up to his eyes. Yes, damn it, he was smiling at her in the most knowing way.

 

Dinner turned out to be a leisurely affair in the back corner of a rundown Mexican patio restaurant just a few blocks from the office. By the time they got there, she’d been seriously reconsidering her rash decision to accept his invitation. Now that their food had been delivered and she’d consumed half of her enormous margarita, an expansive feeling of pleasure penetrated to her bones.

“For one thing,” she said, pointing at him, “you didn’t tell me how strong they made the drinks here. I’m swimming.”

“You look lovely swimming,” he said, flashing another killer smile. “Do you like the chili relleno?”

For a moment, she battled her reaction to his pronunciation of relleno, the rolled ‘L’ somehow triggering a renewed throb between her legs. The relleno’s breaded flesh was thick and soft and draped in melted cheese. She’d never tasted anything that delicious. Tamales lay brimming in fiery green sauce beside a fat enchilada. Fresh salsa of chopped tomato, onion, and jalapeno heaped in a mound which she repeatedly carved with brittle, warm tortilla chips. “It’s fabulous,” she managed as the flavors mingled on her tongue.

It occurred to Rachel in that moment of sensory pleasure that this was how sex would be if she relented to Adrian’s persistence. Slow and full of heat. Delicious. Soft and languid with unexpected spice.

Her eyes closed as chills ran over her body. She had already imagined him without clothes, his muscled tan body rippling with muscle, tattoos spread across his arms, shoulders, and chest. She wanted to see him naked. She wanted to see his cock, which she felt certain was already hard. Waiting for her.

Yeah, way too much to drink. She wasn’t a lightweight when it came to booze, but something about the meal, Adrian, and the entire confusing situation set her off balance. Why did it have to be so hard? She giggled at the word—of course it was hard. A quick glance revealed his unflagging attention to her every nuance.

“Something amusing?” he said. “I love to see you happy.”

“I’m, uh, happy with the food. But we haven’t talked about the Reyes listing.”

He frowned and threw up his hands. “The fucking Reyes listing. Will you ever get over that?”

“Isn’t that why you keep pursuing me, trying to placate me?”

“That has nothing to do with it.”

“That commission was mine. He was ready to sign the papers. You must feel guilty.”

“No guilt. He wanted someone who understands the demographic. And a buyer who would appreciate what he created there. I simply pointed out that I am part of that demographic.”

“Bullshit, Adrian.” Rachel sipped the margarita and leaned back from the table. A row of yellow-flowering bushes bordered the fence behind them, attracting butterflies and birds, completely out of place in the busy intercity. It reminded her of the Reyes place with its gardens, fountains, and statuary of mythical creatures. “You know, anyone could appreciate what he created there. I did, and I’m not part of that demographic.”

“People with enough wealth to buy that place might not, you know,” he said, folding his hands on the table. Strong hands. Tendons and muscle lacing up from the wrists to forearms where the curl of ink hinted at more. “He was very emotional about it.”

Suddenly she realized—she didn’t want to argue. She wanted to skip over all of this and find herself stretched out on white sheets with Adrian over her, speaking to her in whispered foreign phrases. The thought shocked her.

“Look,” she said, struggling to form words. “I don’t think it’s a co—co.in—co-in-ci-dence that your come-on to me started with that listing. You feel guilty and you think by kissing up you can get me to forget about it. Well…” Words weren’t exactly rolling off her tongue. The day, the week, the margarita, and now this full court press by Adrian… She was weakening.

“Yes,” he said, leaning so close that his dark eyes seemed to draw her in. “Yes, it began then because that’s when I saw you for the first time. I mean, really saw you, your beautiful face, your perfect curves. More than that, I saw an amazing woman, a fighter, articulate, full of temper. Like a chili picante, sleek and hot.”

Wait. Was he comparing her to a chili pepper? She giggled.

His eyes blazed. “But guilt? I have no guilt. It was business. You want the Reyes commission, I’ll give it to you. It’s not important. What is important… querido Dios, do you not understand? You are what’s important. I want to get acquainted. I want to know what you like to read, what movies you like, where you went to school. Everything,” he said, waving his hands.

“Ha!” Rachel said. “That’s so fake. This is about seducing me.”

“You mean, do I want to touch you, taste you?” He smiled. “Yes, very much. I can’t get enough of your tart insults, the heat of your body with the cold of your words. I’m dancing on the end of your string, mija.”

She bit her lip. This wasn’t what she expected. Not at all. He couldn’t seriously mean he would give her the entire five-hundred thousand commission. This was just more of his ruse, his quest to conquer her. But damn, he talked a good game. It was easy to see why he was so successful selling real estate.

“Let me show you,” he said. “Let me prove to you that I’m the man to please you. I promise you, you will like it more than you can imagine.”

Why not, indeed? His words had become like a massage, rolling over her, loosening her shoulders and everything else. He made her malleable. How would it be to have Adrian Velasquez making love to her?

Okay, so she didn’t want another frustrating affair. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t have some random sex once in a while. That’s what this would be, totally random. But then, Christ, totally sex. Her panties had been damp since the office and even more so after that brief stolen kiss. All this drama since then had just made things worse. By an order of magnitude. Watching him eat, watching his expressions as he talked—she’d been falling down a hole the entire time, fixated on the barely leashed power of his body, the not-so-subtle old-world machismo that leaked off of him in little electric waves.

Face it, Rachel. This is exactly what you want and you’re a fucking idiot if you don’t take him up on it. She let her breath out in a slow hiss.

“Okay, Adrian. Let’s fuck.”

His mouth twitched. His eyes darkened and she thought for a moment he would push their chairs aside and lay her down on the earth-toned tiles. He signaled the waiter, threw some money on the table, and took her elbow as they stood up. Moments later she was hurrying down the sidewalk with his hand on her elbow, propelling her along.

 

He didn’t talk as the cab driver cursed and steamed through traffic. He remained silent as he escorted her through the entry of an upscale high-rise, as the elevator zoomed upward, as he punched in a code and shoved his condo door open. The door clicked behind them and he pushed her against it, his mouth against hers in a searing kiss that took away her breath.

His hands adored her, caught up her hair from her neck as his lips blazed a path down her throat. Crazy sparks dazzled through her body at his touch. So incredible.

His knee pressed between her legs as he pushed her jacket off her shoulders. Her breasts felt tight. Ripples of heat cascaded down her belly, centering low and wet. If he fucked her right here, she wouldn’t care. Her hands already gripped his shoulders, demanding the feel of his skin.

He made painstaking progress with the tiny buttons on the front of her blouse, pulling the shirttail up from her waistband and finally reaching the last button. The touch of his hands on her breasts, so hot and eager he was trembling, caused her eyes to roll back. The abrasion of his palms against the fabric of her brassiere filled her with desire so intense she could hardly stand.

Minutes passed in a blur. Everything he did made her want him more. The short time it took for him to unbutton his shirt and tear it off his shoulders seemed an eternity of deprivation. But then, there was Adrian Velasquez, bare from the waist up, a god in tan flesh resplendent over cut muscle. Her breath came in short desperate gasps as she looked at him. Tattoos of mythic creatures tangled across his chest, over his shoulders and down the bulge of his biceps. A thin line of dark hair disappeared at his belt, inviting her to the end of that rainbow.

The journey from the door across his kitchen-dining-living room left a trail of clothes. She hardly knew when he kicked open the bedroom door or when he laid her back on the bed. At that point she wore nothing but pink panties and he was down to black boxer shorts seriously deformed by what lurked inside them. The size of him startled her, waiting impatiently as she gripped him through the silk.

His hand slipped inside her panties. She was slick with want. There was nothing tentative about his touch, although he skimmed lightly over her most desperate bits. Teasing, stroking, slipping inside then back out until her hips lifted toward him. Gently circling, his fingers brought her to the edge of a chasm so deep, so intense, she might never escape.

He shifted position to bring himself between her legs. Only he didn’t immediately mount her. Instead, he tugged her panties down and licked her. His groan matched hers as he tasted her, nuzzling the crease between her mons and thigh, nibbling the swollen lips but avoiding any substantial contact with the tormented bud of flesh at the apex of her thighs.

His long fingers slipped inside. Her hips drove up, eager for satisfaction. He muttered against her skin, quiet little words she didn’t try to understand. Just the movement of his lips and brush of his breath sent her higher. When he finally latched his mouth over her throbbing clit and sucked it past his teeth, she screamed and came.

Then he was rolling on a condom and mounting her, pushing in, and she was thrashing side to side, her hands gripping his tight buttocks. He kept shoving deeper, filling her and spreading her and still there was more of him. Each stroke sent her spiraling into black space. All around her stars ignited. Flashes of brilliant light flared as he pushed further, rocking her now with the force of his movements.

Fire gathered, collecting from the tips of her fingers and toes, racing to her center where the flames grew more incandescent with each plunge. She looked on him in wonder, his muscle tight in exertion, his skin flushed with perspiration. He moved like a wild beast, intent on its quarry. Intent on her as he discovered her secrets, made her his.

An avalanche of sensation cascaded through her as her orgasm caught. Powerless in its onslaught, she dimly recognized that he too had reached the pinnacle. His hips seized then drove to the hilt, slamming so hard against her that his tight scrotum pressed between her legs. For an endless moment, their bodies locked together.

Even when he had spent himself inside her, he moved in slow short thrusts before finally shifting out completely. He settled next to her, pulling her against him. She curled into him, head on his shoulder, hand on his chest.

“I was afraid to talk,” he whispered after his breathing calmed, tugging a strand of her hair away from her cheek. “It was like a dream I have dreamed many times, chica, and I didn’t want to wake up. Only it wasn’t a dream, was it? It—you, are real.”

“Real, yes,” she said, kissing his hot skin. “There are no words.”

“Yes,” he said, pulling her tighter against him. “No words. Later, after I take you again, after I can taste nothing but your nectar on my tongue and think of nothing but the silk of your skin, we can talk. We can talk about when I see you next, where you’d like to go for a walk or a movie, what I can get you to please you most.”

“Words, Adrian,” she said, putting her finger across his lips. “For now, you are enough.”

She felt his lips spread into a smile.

 

Ending 2 – The Naughty Ending

He steered her to the front desk of the downtown Marriott conveniently located one door down, slid his card across the marble counter, and escorted her to the elevator where he waited, without speaking, until the doors opened on the eighth floor. She tried to reason with herself but reason wasn’t what she wanted. Later, she would think of all the opportunities she had ignored, a chance to walk away, to say no. Later, she would remember the low throb between her legs that said she had no choice.

He led her into the room and put out the ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign. His hands gripped her shoulders as he lowered his mouth to hers. His lips gently brushed hers and her knees weakened.

Chica,” he murmured. “What I will do with you.”

“Wait,” she said, pressing her hands against his chest. “Just wait.”

He sighed and moved back. “Haven’t we waited long enough? I dream about you, Rachel. I see you watching me and I…” He took her hand and placed it over the front of his pants. “You see what you do to me.”

Her fingers curved over the thick hardness pressing the front of his trousers. Heat flooded through her, a slow tide of burning need that settled to a painful pulse between her legs. Could this really be happening? Was she really in a hotel room with Adrian Velasquez with her hand on his cock? Her heart pounded in her ears.

“Let me give you what you want,” he whispered, bringing her hand up and kissing the palm.

“We work together, Adrian,” she said, struggling to think.

“I’m not your boss, not your supervisor,” he said, slowly inflicting little nibbles down the side of her hand and across the pulse point on her wrist. “There’s no conflict here.”

“The conflict is in me. I don’t know you.”

He stepped back and lifted her chin, forcing her look into his dark eyes. “You know me. I am a man, a man who wants you. A man who promises to give you everything you dream of. If you say you want to leave, I won’t stop you. If you say yes, if you let me do what I have planned for you, I promise you it will be like nothing you have ever known. Better than anything you could imagine.”

“Modest, too,” she said, her mouth quirked.

His eyes glittered. “No false modesty, of that you can be sure. I am a man who knows women. It hurts my heart to see you so lonely. I want to know you in all ways. You have to decide, now, before another minute passes. Yes or no?”

The word ‘no’ hung on Rachel’s lips. She wanted to deny him, deny she was lonely, deny that he had any power to please her. Everything was happening too fast. His presence overwhelmed her, everything about him hard and demanding.

What did she want?

A laugh bubbled up from her chest, ignited just as much by the tequila as by the wanton desire simmering in her belly. What the fuck ever. Yes, she wanted this. She wanted him and his hard edges and his demands. She wanted him to throw her down and rip off her clothes and fuck her until she couldn’t form a single thought. She wanted what wasn’t safe or reasonable.

“Is that a ‘yes’,” he said, the corner of his mouth curling in a smile.

Her eyes rolled back as his hands surrounded her waist to pull her against him. His hard body radiated heat. His scent filled her nose, killing her with the mingled smell of spice and soap. Words didn’t form as he slipped the jacket off her shoulders and tossed it to a nearby chair.

“Tell me now, Rachel. In a moment, it will be too late. I won’t be able to stop. And you won’t want me to stop.”

His lips brushed along her jawline and down her neck, setting her on fire.

“Yes,” she said. “Yes, Adrian.”

He groaned, pressing his lips to her mouth. Firm lips, demanding her submission. She opened to him, meeting the touch of his tongue with her own. Maddening. She wanted to rip at his clothes. She’d become insanely wet. Panting, she parted her lips to his tongue. He thrust inside her mouth, forcing her jaw open.

Her hands tangled in his thick black hair. His breath whispered against her collarbones as his fingers tugged at her blouse buttons. He kissed her again as he eased the blouse apart.

His kisses devastated her. He tasted of ripe tobacco and whiskey. His firm lips caressed hers, told of secrets only he knew, made promises across her lips, against her cheeks, the base of her throat. His tongue filled her mouth, demanding her obedience.

Her bra and blouse slipped away unnoticed. His head bent to her breasts as he seized first one then another hard peak between his lips and sucked it against his teeth. He held her arms tight at her sides, forbidding her touch. She could only tremble as he savored her breasts, teased the aching points, pulled her flesh deep against his tongue.

“I have dreamed of this,” he growled, nestling his face in her bosom. “You are even more delicious than I had guessed.” He let go of her arms and stepped back. “But now, you must do as I say. Take off the rest of your clothes.”

Rachel’s body shook in the intensity of her need. Whatever game he played, she’d passed the point of questioning. This felt too damn good.

She stood, fingers trembling as she struggled to let down the zipper on her skirt. It fell to the floor around her ankles. A fresh round of shaking seized her as cool air hit the wet center of her panties. She hesitated.

He stood with his arms crossed.

“The panties,” he said roughly.

She hooked her fingers in the elastic and pulled down. The only things left were her thigh-high stockings and heels. He bent to remove the clump of clothing from around her ankles.

Bellisima,” he breathed. “Turn. Let me see you.”

She turned, oddly detached from the analytical part of her brain. This wasn’t her, this nude woman quavering before a fully dressed man, a man who knew he could do anything to her. This was a dream so utterly depraved she had forgotten she ever dreamed it.

But she had. And here he was, making her dream come true.

“Spread your legs. Show me how you pleasure yourself,” he said.

Her jaw dropped and she sputtered. He put his finger against her lips, stepping close so that his animal scent and the heat of his body surrounded her.

“Don’t talk,” he said brusquely. “Just do as I say.”

He stepped back and crossed his arms, pinning her with his intense stare. Reluctantly, she pressed her hands over her swollen breasts and then down her stomach. She wanted to yell, run. Instead, she touched herself.

A faint slick sound escaped as she slid her finger between the folds. He inhaled sharply. Her clitoris had long since stiffened. A sharp jolt ran through her as her index finger made brief tentative contact.

She gasped. With two fingers, she stroked the sensitive bud. She was so close. Her body was on fire. “Dear god. Please,” she begged. She didn’t recognize her voice.

He began unbuttoning his shirt as her fingers slid over her sex. Moisture glistened on her hand. Her pussy clenched on nothing. She had never needed anything as much as she needed him inside her right now.

She couldn’t ask. Didn’t want to ask. She wanted to stand here skewered on his smoldering stare, her body violated by her own hands as he watched.

He left his unbuttoned shirt gaping over his chest as he leaned back against the wall to watch. Tattoos spiraled across his wide chest. She felt like she had drifted into another world. Coils of need curled through her belly, incited by his flared nostrils, the thick column of his neck, his bared torso.

“Ohh.” She dipped her two fingers into the hunger between her legs then circled again over the pulsing tip of her clit. With one hand gripping her breast, she pinched the burning shaft of her clit and sent herself into orgasm. A sharp cry, little sobbing noises—fluid dribbled onto her thigh as her body contracted.

Adrian’s arms closed around her. His big warm hand covered her wet center, sending her orgasm deeper. His other hand gripped her buttocks and pulled her against his groin. His mouth caressed her neck, raining a flurry of soft kisses across her shoulders and jaw before clasping her mouth in a hard kiss.

“Beautiful,” he whispered into her hair. “Perfect.”

He unzipped his pants revealing silk boxers stretched by his arousal bulging into the opening. Slowly, he pulled his belt free and pulled his rolled tie from his pocket. He stepped close and bent his face to her ear.

“For now, I own you, sweet flower,” he said. “I’ll give you what you never had before, and you will thank me. Do you trust me?”

Ignoring the argument murmuring in her head, she nodded.

He slipped the knot of his tie around her wrists and led her toward the window. After moving the table out of the way, he fastened the tie to the window latch above, stretching her up so that her naked front pressed against the thick glass. Below her frantic gaze, traffic rushed along the street below. Across the street, windows of other buildings stared back at her. People moved back and forth.

“Oh, no. Adrian,” she gasped. “People can see us.”

“I want them to see you,” he said. “Every single thing I do to you, they will see.”

“No.” Her mouth dried. “That’s too risky. It’s…wrong.”

His hand slid between her legs, pushing her legs apart, stroking her buttocks. For a few blissful moments, his hands caressed and coaxed. Up her back, over her shoulders. Down her thighs and back to her swollen pussy gaping open as he moved her legs farther apart. She trembled.

“I want them to see you come,” he said in a rough voice. “You will have a bigger audience each time you have another orgasm.”

“Oh, god.”

Spears of arousal shot through her. Every inch of her body responded to his words and his touch. Her breasts swelled into his palms. Her clitoris jumped as he teased the sensitive knot. His long finger slid inside her, stroking in and out until her hips thrust uncontrollably. Another orgasm exploded inside her and he drew out the moisture, tracing wet lines over her buttocks.

“This is for your pleasure,” he warned. A second later, the belt snapped across her ass.

She jumped, trying to turn. “Oh, damn, that hurt!”

“Yes,” he soothed, smoothing his hand over the welt. Snap! Another blow burned across her upper thighs.

“Ooh, you bastard. You’re hurting me. Let me down.”

“It stings at first.” His hand warmed the seared skin. “I will never hurt you.”

He hit her again and again, uttering quiet comforting words and easing the welts with his hand even as his blows brought her to tears. In all her dreams of pleasure at the hands of Adrian Velasquez, she hadn’t imagined this outrage. Her ass burned. Her thighs throbbed. Her breasts pressed the glass and his finger returned to ignite her clitoris and draw her moisture until the pain and the pleasure mingled.

Her frantic glance found a man transfixed at a window in a building across the street. She knew he saw her. Could he see what was happening? A thrill shot through her at the thought. Let him see. Let him watch Adrian’s finger pushing between her spread legs. Let him watch her shudder with each blow of the belt.

Intense desire consumed her. Fire licked from her abused buttocks and curled deep in her belly. How insane that he unlocked part of her she’d never known. She’d never felt this wild, ready to burst.

Adrian’s chest pressed her from behind. Moments later, his iron-hard cock nudged between her legs. When the broad hot tip breached her opening, she lifted her hips backwards.

“Oh, dear God,” she moaned. “Fuck me.”

The thrust of his thick shaft shocked her. The scattered hair over his lower abdomen scratched her sensitized buttocks. His hands gripped her hips, pulling her back so that her wrists strung tight.

“Yes, I will fuck you. Until you forget your name.”

One hand came around to tease her hard clitoris. His cock drove in and out. She had no choice but to meet his thrusts with the hunger that had overtaken her. He stroked her clitoris as he fucked her, building the crisis to a breaking point.

“Ah, my god,” she cried as a massive orgasm surged through her.

“I love how your silk grips me,” he groaned, feeling himself at her entry, massaging her swollen vulva.

Without removing himself from her body, he reached up and released the tie, bringing her against his chest and her hands captured behind her head. Briefly, he massaged her arms then made a performance of touching her, spreading her vulva to the world outside and stroking her clit, squeezing her breasts until her nipples burned.

“Fuck,” he groaned. “Grab the chair,” he demanded, bending her forward so that they were sideways to the glass. He still wore his open shirt, and his pants hung on his thighs.

Let the world see. They could never know who she was or anything about her. She would only be the woman in the window, the woman getting fucked for the world to see. Why that excited her, she had no idea. She’d never even considered such an outrageous act. But it thrilled her more than she could have ever imagined.

She bent over and gripped the chair seat as he stood behind her, both of them visible now in the window as he entered her from behind. In one lunge, he sank his massive organ inside her. Oh, dear god he was huge. Gooseflesh erupted down her arms. Her hips spread as he began pumping into her.

Rachel’s breath came in short gusts as Adrian fucked her. The burn of his belt marks added to the flames licking inside her. Her breasts swung with each penetration, increasing her sense of wantonness. He had awakened every muscle, every inch of her flesh. Incredibly, another orgasm grew closer with each thrust.

She turned her head to see if the man still watched. And yes, even as day had started to shift into evening, as lights had come on along the streets and in surrounding buildings, the man stood at the window. He wasn’t alone, though. Two other men stood beside him, their eyes riveted on the scene. Two other windows also framed the shocked faces of watchers.

This was what Adrian wanted, she realized. Not just for these people to see them, but for her to see the people watching. With each stroke, Adrian pulled back so that the full length of his big cock came into view. He drove in hard, forcing her body forward, finding a place deep inside her that no man had ever touched before. Her head arched up. Her back bowed.

He pulled back again. Shoved in so hard he grunted. A relentless rhythm built, circling and surging. A deeper more primal need built inside her. She wanted more of everything—more pain, more fucking, more.

In one of the windows, a man had his pants open, his hand moving in a steady jerking motion over his cock.

“You see that?” he said, his voice thick. “Look at them. You see how you please them? They all want you. They will think of you again and again, remember you as they touch themselves. When they come, their cocks will be yours.”

Adrian’s hands swept around to seize her breasts, holding tight as he quickened his pace. Sweat filmed both their bodies as his hips slammed forward.

“Do you see?” His breath came in gasps as he paused. “Look at them.”

“Yes,” she said, forcing her eyes open to survey the distant faces, men and even women who stood at their windows watching. Christ, it made her so incredibly hot. Her teeth gritted in urgency. “Yes, yes.”

“Do you want me to make you come again?”

“Yes, god, yes.”

“Tight hot pussy. I want to lick you.”

He reached up and flicked on a lamp hanging above them. The shock of sudden illumination sent chills down her body. She couldn’t believe it. One thing to hide in evening shadows, entirely another for a bright light to frame them in the window, expose them like a spotlight. What might have been seen accidentally before would now draw attention. The thought of strangers seeing her naked, of her body being used by Adrian—a powerful spike of heat sliced through her belly.

He knelt behind her and gripped her legs, spreading them. She screamed at the touch of his tongue between her legs, flicking her hot clit and probing deep into her swollen canal. Her back arched as he teased and licked.

She shivered and convulsed with his torment of light caresses. More, she needed more. She hovered at the brink of orgasm, and every curl of his tongue kept her hanging at the precipice.

“Oh, please,” she begged. “I need you in me.”

“Yes, chica, soon. You will need me more than you need breath.”

Shivers raced over her. Hot and cold flashes ignited over her welted buttocks as he bit and nibbled between her thighs. His tongue pierced the tiny rosette of her anus, sending her hips into frustrated thrusts.

Dear god, he was killing her. The light hanging over them heated her back. His fingers danced over her clit and into her vagina while he fingered her ass. She’d never been this burning hot, this crazy with need. She pushed her ass back toward him, moaning as he built her hunger. She looked again at windows across the boulevard. Even more people watched.

“Please, fuck me.”

He chuckled. “Do you feel good?”

“I don’t know,” she whimpered. “Yes yes.”

A cool substance hit the puckered opening of her ass. Then a smooth tip probed. Before she could object, something pushed inside her. As the unexpected object invaded that forbidden place, a different kind of pain radiated through her bottom. At the same moment, his fingers gripped her clitoris. Distended, slightly sore from all the handling, the shaft of her clit connected to her anus like a live wire.

“Oh, God, Adrian,” she cried. “Oh God.”

Jesus Christ. People could see him probing her ass, see her submission to his abuse. The shame of her dirty exposure skyrocketed as he shifted position and his cock probed her opening.

“I’m going to fill you up,” he said. “Can you feel me?”

“It’s too much.”

“Just relax.”

He pushed in and began slowly fucking her. At the same time, that thing, whatever it was, moved in her ass like another cock. It felt huge. The rim of her narrow opening burned with the stretching. But the pain of having something in her ass submerged into the insane pleasure of how unbelievably good it felt to have double penetration.

Adrian’s cock thickened. It felt huge, crowding the thing in her ass. She’d never felt this full, this exposed, so turned on she burned from head to toe.

Again she turned to see their watchers. If the scene had begun to fade with lack of daylight, the light shining down on their sweating bodies had changed that dramatically. She could tell from his slow rhythm and the angle of Adrian’s body that he leaned back to expose the full view of his probe in her ass and the movement of his cock. The man in one of the lower windows jerked faster now. The three men in the first window were also jacking off.

The thought of those men with their cocks in hand seeing her penetrated sent her over the edge. It was as if they all fucked her, as if all their bodies crowded around her, filling her with their heat. Her vagina began contracting. His big hand pinched her tormented clit. The shaft in her ass moved in short fast thrusts. She cried out as Adrian’s cock blasted hot come deep inside her.

~~~

They sat at the small table near the windows. Mercifully, after wrapping her in a thick robe, Adrian had closed the curtains when room service delivered the meal. Residual tremors of her orgasmic frenzy continued to ripple through her body, triggered by the thing still lodged inside her ass. Wearing only his slacks, he brought another fork full of charred steak to her mouth. Food had never tasted this good. His lips curled in a smile as she moaned over the flavor.

“When you’ve rested, when our food had changed into new energy,” he said, “I’ll fuck you again. But first…” He paused to dab at the corner of her mouth with the large cloth napkin. “I will lick your pussy.”

“Jesus, Adrian.” Rachel clenched the thick terry robe between her legs. “Let a girl get through dinner.”

“You are so beautiful,” he laughed, reaching up to tuck a strand of her hair behind her ear. “Everything about you excites me—your green eyes, your smart mouth. I waited as long as I could.” He carved a piece of steak and put it in his mouth, then sliced a smaller piece to feed her. “You are my woman now.”

“I don’t know…”

His eyebrow cocked. “Only until you say ‘no.’ If that day comes—and I say ‘if’ because I want it never to come—then I will not be your man. But now, I am your man.”

He smiled knowingly and brought the wine glass to her lips. It would have been far easier to let her feed herself, but he refused to release the ties holding her wrists. She had to admit there was something about this captive thing that thrilled her down to her toes. Authority radiated from him like a warm light. Her gaze lingered on his wide shoulders, the curve of his biceps.

He took liberties with her body, occasionally reaching inside the robe to stroke her breasts or slide his finger over her sore clit.

“Will your flesh remember me?”

“My ass is on fire. I won’t forget that any time soon.”

“I will excite you even more,” he said, smiling. “In many ways.”

“Adrian…”

“No, hush, don’t spoil it. More wine?” he interrupted, feeding her the last of the mashed potato and roasted asparagus.

She nodded. The bittersweet of the wine fit her mood. Christ, his body was magnificent, muscled and writhing with ink. The patterns seemed like they had sprung from inside him, outward evidence of the mysteries lurking in his soul. Everything about him excited her from his perfect male body to his arrogant possessiveness. Maybe she’d never see him again, but for now, she felt powerless to analyze what they’d done, much less get dressed and walk away.

He pushed back her chair and crouched between her legs, carefully moving the terrycloth out of the way. He kissed a line from her knees to her thighs. He nuzzled her sensitive flesh with his jaw, rasping with his after-five shadow as he scooted her hips forward. Her fingernails cut into her palms as he proceeded to eat her with calm deliberation. His tongue probed and licked. He sucked on her clit, scrubbing it with his tongue.

He inserted a finger and pressed forward, stroking her sensitive g-spot. She lost control as her vagina began to ripple into orgasm. The only thing that mattered was Adrian kneeling between her knees, smiling, uttering tender words. Owning her and every secret of her body.

“Tonight you are mine,” he said. “Tomorrow I am yours if you want me. But also, it will be up to you. I won’t call you. I won’t follow you or come to you at work. Don’t be afraid, okay?”

She nodded, not able to summon words.

“I am yours to ask. If you want dinner, a movie, a concert—let me know so I can escort you. If you want a vacation, I will take you anywhere in the world. I know you’re tired of being alone. I could always see that in you. But if anything about us…” He gestured, touching his chest then hers, his dark eyes full of emotion. “Anything feels wrong, I will accept your decision.”

He turned her hand and kissed her palm. “After tomorrow, I will wait for three weeks. Only three. If you have not called me, I will close the book on us. My heart will break, but I will do it.”

“How could you care so much? You hardly know me.”

“I know you. You have spoken to me from your heart. I have watched you, how hard you work, how you have no one but yourself to depend on. It hurts me here.” He touched his chest again, bringing her gaze to the expanse of carved muscle and the fantastical dragon spiraling across his skin.

He turned on the shower and ministered to her with scented soap, paying careful attention to her tender areas. He dried her and carried her to bed. He slept curled behind her, his arms wrapped around her waist.

She woke sometime in the night with him over her in the dark, his cock already inside her, her hands caught above her head in the tie.

She smiled in the dark. Adrian fucking Velasquez. She twisted, bringing him deeper.

“No more questions,” he whispered, leaning down to kiss her.

~~~~~

Have a preference between these two endings? Your choice could end up in print! Just post your comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why, Mark? Why?

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

A couple of years back when you decided to go public with Facebook, you made drastic changes to pages set up by authors to promote themselves to the public. You eliminated the newsfeed. You curtailed distribution of posts. You started cluttering up the page.

You evidently think that your average run-of-the-mill author has buckets of cash sitting around just waiting to spend on Facebook promotions.

I have nearly a thousand followers for my author page. Previous to your money grab, virtually all my followers saw my posts. Now, the average distribution on my posts is 7-10 viewers. SEVEN TO TEN! If I want to go past a dozen viewers, I have to spend money. For me, that’s not an option.

Aside from this craven manipulation of data flow to choke free interchange of ideas, you’ve also mucked up the intercommunication between authors and followers by eliminating page newsfeeds. The newsfeed on my author page used to be a way to communicate not only with my followers but also with other authors. I enjoyed seeing other authors’ posts. We had a community. Now that’s gone. If I want to other author pages, I have to visit them singly. No room for dialogue, no community.

So much for your touted goal of “giving people the power to build a global community that works for all of us.” What you mean is giving people with money power to whatever.

Yes, in theory I could ‘friend’ other authors from my personal page—which I have done. But that’s my personal page. It connects with member’s newsfeeds. There, the dialogue isn’t just professional talk. It’s mixed in with mostly personal stuff like kids, food, sickness, politics, and much more that has nothing to do with writing. What’s the point of any page if we can’t function through Facebook in a particular professional role?

Then there’s the mess you’ve made of the page itself. In order to actually see the content of my page, I have to scroll past over-sized boxes giving me choices of what I want to post—create an event, create an offer, advertise my business, start a live video, public a job post, and more. What’s wrong with regular-sized choice boxes like on my personal page? Or a freaking list? At any rate, all these choices are available on the sidebar. WHY cram up the timeline?

Once I scroll past this mess, then I’ve got another big section showing stats for this week and, once again, offers in big button boxes for “more page likes,” promote your website,” “boost a post,” “continually reach more people,” “get more page likes,” and “promote ‘shop now’.” None of this is necessary. It’s easy to accomplish any of these promotional tasks by heading to the left menu or the options across the top of the page. These obstructions are here strictly to get in my way, force me to slow down and stumble around the Facebook obsession with money money money.

Still scrolling down, trying to see actual feedback on my latest post, I’m confronted with a huge blog of photos. Photos I have posted. Why do I need to see this on my page? There’s a photo section I can pull up if I want to see photos I’ve posted. This is more bullshit in my way to functioning efficiently in my goal to communicate with people about my writing. I don’t have time for this!

Then finally we get to my posts. But WAIT! Only a couple, because this is yet another teaser. Once I see the latest two posts, then there’s another big box for events. As in, a chance for me to create an event. And SPEND MONEY!

You know, if I wanted to know about events, I could visit the left side of my screen and click on ‘Events.’ If I want to schedule an event. Or see what’s already scheduled. This is just one more barrier to efficient use of my page. One more in-your-face, poke-in-the-chest assault by Facebook.

Then, FINALLY, I can scroll down through my posts. Sadly, this is no longer the community I once knew but rather dismal evidence that five or seven or ten people saw the post. No dialogue. No fun. Nothing of the promise of what a page is supposed to offer.

So, hey, why not just kill author pages entirely? Why pretend Facebook offers anything more to struggling writers than a way to spend money? Because that’s what you’ve done. Aside from a very few more successful authors who can afford to drops hundreds of dollars to blast their latest post out to thousands of Facebook members day after day, none of the rest of us starving artists get a damn thing from having a page.

Would it kill you to distribute my posts to my followers without squeezing me for money? When and if some of us scrape together enough money to boost a post, we’d still boost. We do want to grow our audience and spending money on Facebook is a good way to do that.

But since your policy changes, we face a situation where we can’t afford to promote our work, meaning we’re selling less than ever, and you’ve thereby decreased our chance to ever have the money to pay for a boost.

Maybe other Facebook member pages aren’t like those of authors. I don’t know all the options for members who set up pages. I just know that you’ve hurt us, taken away one key resource that gave us a chance, and that impact is rippling through the entire indie-author community.

It’s cold. It’s mean. And it’s not making you or your stockholders any richer.

Say My Name – A Review

This review includes spoilers

My 2018 reading project takes me to the library weekly for another handful of romance books. One of the four I grabbed last weekend was this novel by Allegra Huston. Please don’t read further if you haven’t yet read this book, because I’m going to talk about details.

Apparent in the first few pages was this book’s noncompliance with standard romance fare. As the story developed, that first impression solidified. For one thing, the author’s skill with language and flow set it apart from average fiction. Delightful reading full of luscious description and mysterious character development.

I don’t quite agree with the library’s decision to classify this a romance. Maybe that’s good because that category might gain it more readers than if was shelved as literary fiction. But that’s the feel of it—literary.

Yes, it’s erotic but only here and there. That was the main deviation from the romance norm. Even Regency romances with all their corset stays manage to convey intense physical desire and the ripping of clothes pretty much on a page-by-page basis. Say My Name? Not so much. Rather, this novel includes a lot of navel gazing by this woman who changes so much in the course of the story.

The premise is that a middle aged severely under-developed woman meets a man twenty years younger who manages to wake her up in all possible ways. The story doesn’t hang on that however, but rather on her discovery of an antique viola da gamba with a bashed-in back. Turns out the young man is a musician and their mutual interest in the instrument drives the plot alongside their mutual attraction.

Then there’s the largely absent husband of said woman, a tormented soul flailing around trying to discover himself while, in the process, continuing to walk all over her. There’s a point near the end where he gets what’s coming to him, a triumphant moment for any woman who ever wanted to take a two-by-four to a similar man. So thanks for that, Ms. Huston.

The novel is set in the present day. For me, the drawback in reading this was my disbelief that any woman of our times could possibly be this inexperienced, this utterly out of touch with herself. I suppose it’s possible—anything is. But that particular aspect of her personality, which happened to be a major factor in how the story unfolded, really kept coming back as I read.

Are there really housewives out there who silently cook, clean, do laundry, and put up with a completely disinterested aloof husband? For all those years? On what planet? I mean, there are television shows, movies, novels, wine, and girlfriends to help you out if that condition applies. Who simply curls up inside herself never questioning that life might be better? Are there people out there who never listened to rock ‘n’ roll? Never heard The Doors sing “Break on thru to the other side…”?

But okay, I’ll set that aside for a minute while I talk about the younger guy. Mmmm, he’s scrumptious. Tall, dark, and handsome with green eyes that never let her go. Bold, ready to take her the minute they meet. But wait—I never hear him say what exactly it is about her that draws him like a moth to flame. Why does this fabulous young male so sought after by an endless herd of young attractive women decide he has to have a woman twice his age?

He thinks she’s beautiful. He likes that she’s cloistered inside herself. Maybe it’s his heroic urge to free her from all that swaddling and help her breathe in the air of life as an independent strong adult female. If so, his prescience is kind of staggering.

There are several places that drifted off the page for me, one of them her dive into sculpting and then her crazy idea to create a dildo in the shape of a tulip. This makes NO SENSE! How such a shape could be inserted is one painful question, but then how could it possibly be pleasurable while riding along inside her is another. For me, the story also fell off a cliff in the last scene of their sexual intimacy when he convinced her to swallow a Quaalude and then she wakes up to the vicious actions of one of his former girlfriends. I mean, why? Non sequitur.

Throughout the book, which I lingered over just to savor the language, I kept thinking this had to be something of an allegory. But what? What possible metaphorical meaning could there be behind an older woman and younger man joining in a bizarre love affair?

I haven’t figured it out, so if you have a clue please let me know. My thoughts so far are that if the author had any such intent, maybe the characters represent different parts of ourselves, she the intellect with its obedience to rules and patterns and habits we all craft to give our lives structure, structures that become a prison of sorts keeping us locked in step with what we’ve been doing for too long. Maybe he’s the art, the muse, the music and poetry and wild uninhibited rush into the unknown that –if we allow it into our lives—can awaken us to the terrible awful joy of being alive. That’s sex for you, a mechanism that takes us out of the ho-hum daily grind and, at least potentially, pops us up on top of a cloud where light shines brilliantly all around us.

Maybe that’s just me. In my writing, my objective is to show how sex serves a transformative role for people caught in an unhappy life. Sex is a doorway, an opening to the inner self—if we let it. That’s why I remain so frustrated with people/society who continue to be uncomfortable with open sexuality in literature. That said, the author here doesn’t linger on nipples and clitorises and neither does she actually ever present the word ‘cock.’ That’s another clue that this isn’t ‘romance’ in its standard iteration.

I’m happy that Ms. Huston created this story. As I read, I kept getting the feeling that it’s based on a real life experience in more ways than one. It seems older than our present day, mostly because the woman is so repressed, almost Victorian. But then, the present day is when we might be most likely to find a young man like this, dissolute and unstructured and so determined to pursue his reality in unconventional ways. I won’t soon be able to forget it.

Dare to Ask — FREE READ for your Valentine Treat

 

The minute they rolled into the fueling bay, Emily knew she never should have brought Sheryn along. But the gas tank hovered near empty, and the two of them were on their way to a showing at the new Springloft apartment complex, and Sheryn needed the training. Emily cursed under her breath as she stopped near the pumps and Sheryn started bobbing and weaving to peer out the windows.

“Oh, shit, I see what you mean,” Sheryn enthused, squinting her eyes as the attendant came toward the car.

“Well, don’t say anything, or I’ll throttle you.”

“Can I pant?”

“Shut up,” she hissed through clenched teeth.

His body moved inside his uniform like a well-oiled machine, all ridges and curves and hard planes of muscle that should be illegal. He leaned down at Emily’s open window and gave one of his most charming smiles. She resisted the urge to say or do something rash.

“What can I help you ladies with today?”

“Oh…” Sheryn began.

“I need gas,” Emily quickly interrupted. “And my windshield keeps streaking.”

“We can take care of that,” he said confidently. “Fill it up?”

“Oh. My. God,” Sheryn whispered.

Emily threw her a hate glare. “Yes, please.”

He held his head at a cocky angle as he walked around to the gas cap. Emily waited, completely distracted. A tapping sound on the back window. He pointed, reminding her to flip the opener.

“Damn,” she muttered.

“You should just ask him,” Sheryn said. “What the hell? Just quit thinking about it and ask him. I sure as hell would. God, look at that.”

He had gathered paper towels and a spray bottle and leaned across the hood to scrub the windshield. Muscle and veins corded his forearms and hands. Emily felt faint.

“I’m going to ask him,” Sheryn continued.

“Don’t you fucking dare.”

“Seriously? Do you have some kind of claim?”

“No, but if you’re going to get in the middle of this, it better be when I’m not around.”

“Then ask him. Or I’ll ask him for you.”

“No, absolutely not.” Emily resisted the urge to punch her dear friend.

“I am. Seriously.”

“No.”

“Okay, you asked for it.” Sheryn rolled her window down.

“Sheryn!” she hissed. “Stop!”

“No.”

“Okay, I’ll say something.”

“Not just ‘something,’ ask him out.”

He grinned from the front of the car and it crossed Emily’s mind that somehow he was hearing all this, that maybe the heat vents channeled their voices out through the front and he heard every word. She broke out in a sweat.

“Damn it, Sheryn, I’m never taking you with me again. Anywhere.”

“Am I fired?” Sheryn grinned. “His name is Chris, right?” She leaned her face to the window. “Chris?”

He came around from the pump, wiping his hands.

“Damn you,” Emily cursed, imagining kicking her—literally—out the door.

He leaned into Sheryn’s window. “Did you need something else?”

“Emily wants to ask you something.”

The bitch smirked and gave Emily a thumbs-up as he came around to the driver’s side. Her heart drummed in her ears. All the times she had thought of doing this very thing, all the clever come-ons, flirts, seductive glances, and none of it, absolutely not one shred, remained within the reach of her mind.

“What do you need?” he asked.

Oh fucking damn. “I need…”

“I’ll say it if you don’t,” Sheryl mumbled under her breath.

“I wondered what you were doing after work,” she said in a rush.

He straightened. Emily knew it. This was where he laughed in her face and told her to get a life, lady. Something like that.

“Whatever you’re doing,” he said.

Her head snapped up. Did he really say that? His muddy green eyes watched her like she would say something else. She had nothing to say. Actually couldn’t talk. Since when did she revert to thirteen? She considered just driving off without paying and never coming back.

“Okay,” she managed in a hoarse voice.

“I get off at four,” he said. “And the gas is forty-three dollars.”

She handed him the debit card and watched him walk inside. Her hands gripped the steering wheel so hard it hurt. She didn’t look at Sheryn. “I could kill you.”

“Oh, get over it. You’ve got a date now. How bad is that?”

“You’re a meddling bitch, and not my friend, and when this blows up on me, I’m going to kill myself right after I kill you.”

Sheryn was still laughing hysterically as they drove away.

~~~

Read the entire novelette FREE at Smashwords !

Writing Advice

The most fascinating writing I’ve ever found are the works of M. John Harrison. He’s a British author, taciturn and enigmatic in the proper style. He’s also a wordsmith of stunning skill. I aspire to write like he does, but I despair I’ll never catch up.

He reached early acclaim with the Centauri Device, his third novel. I actually haven’t read that. What I lust after are his Viriconium series and his later Kefahuchi Tract series. Look him up on Wikipedia.

But aside from ranting about his work, I want to share one of his blog posts where he talks about writing fiction.

1. Don’t write what you don’t want to read, Elmore Leonard says. For me, that would include anything that wastes time establishing “motive”, fauxthenticating a “world”, or assuring the reader of the author’s ideological correctness & general decency; along with those scenes in which the righteous anger of sympathetic characters is vented on unsympathetic ones on behalf of the reader getting her rocks off.
2. All plots are weak, & no-one alive now knows the difference between character & action anyway. Not even Elmore Leonard.
3. But I really agree with his eighth rule.
4. Never give advice to other writers, especially about excluding from their fiction stuff that is “ordinarily found in non-fiction”. (Shortly after performing this exclusion, Elmore recommends Annie Proulx, lately the queen of local history quasi-fiction, see “The Indian Wars Refought”, or “Dump Junk”, in which character is created as much by listing the paper trails, objects & architecture people leave behind, as by “characterisation”. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Then there’s William Boyd’s hilarious “Lunch” [Fascination], written as a sequence of expense invoices; & Ballard’s skeletal “Answers to a Questionnaire”, from War Fever.)
5. Always listen to the advice of responsible figures in the publishing industry. That way you will write a book with broad appeal & massive sales potential, & your work will be recognised, bought & published immediately. Like Richard Adams or JK Rowling you will be on your way to celebrity within months. You will not have to self-publish Watership Down, or hawk Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Magic Nice Stone around London for a long time, & be turned down by every fantasy editor in the industry before finding a publisher.
6. Never show the reader a morally unpleasant thing, then remind her it’s a morally unpleasant thing three or four times just in case she doesn’t realise you think it’s morally unpleasant too & writes a blog post saying how misanthropic you are. If you do I am coming with a machete & chopping the left half of your face off before you know what happened. & you know, I won’t care when one of your eyes is looking at the other where it dangles over your cheekbone. Are you ok with that ?
7. Reading is important to the writer. Never read anything good, in case you get the idea that you might want to do something like that too. If you do decide to read something good, here’s a tip: make it Maxim Gorky’s Fragments from My Diary. That will be all you need. Don’t read any of Gorky’s novels because they’re not good.
8. Joseph Campbell turned myth into the fiction of narcissism & self-glorification, enabling Hollywood to swaddle an entire culture in the same triumphalist story over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over &
9. The narrative structure is the story. Don’t think you can change anything by pouring different content into it. If you use the same narrative structure every time, you too will be writing the same story over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & over & & over &
10. You’re responsible for yourself. Get your head together. Write or don’t write.

The above advice should not be taken as advice. If you take anything that appears on this blog as advice, your aspirations may not be met by the publishing industry. This disclaimer was brought to you from the kitchens of the Ambiente Hotel. We don’t have a returns policy on the Squid Surprise, but you can sometimes come to an arrangement with the boy who serves in the back bar.

Amid his blog post cited above is a link to another post with advice from several other writings. This is excellent material, dosed with a rich icing of humor.