Denial — House of Rae Book 3

Martin Bernard has spent his life becoming one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful men. But that’s not helping him now that his criminal son-in-law Ned Argenta has gone rogue, putting Martin’s empire on the block in order for Martin to ensure his daughter Marie’s safety. Weeks, months fly by as Martin tries to control this nightmare, leaving his lover Mohana in the sidelines. He just wants to get control of things and then he’ll make it up to her.

Mohana James isn’t waiting any longer. At her friend Giselle’s urging, she visits the Paris House of Rae to find some pleasure. The pleasure partner there doesn’t disappoint, but the entire experience stirs up her grief about Martin. Is he ever going to call? Should she forget him? If she does hear from him, is she going to slap him and walk away? She’s pretty sure that’s all he deserves. But her heart is breaking and she’s not sure she can forget him.

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EXCERPT:

Shortly after, a man approached. She’d been staring at her hands, fighting her fear, and only noticed him when she saw his legs. Her gaze slowly lifted, taking in the tight fit of fawn-colored breeches over strong thighs and the notable bulge at his groin. A thrill shot through her before embarrassment overwhelmed her. Swiftly shifting her gaze up to his face, she found no relief from the heat scorching her cheeks as she met his amused expression.

Christ, he was gorgeous, dark expressive eyes watching her as his cruelly sensual mouth curled in a smile. He bowed, shocking her with a mocking lift of his eyebrow.

“Mademoiselle,” he said. “Bonjour. I am Henri, here to serve you. Shall we?” He waited while her mind stumbled through a thousand refusals, excuses, and worries. Finally, she placed her hand in his. He helped her stand then lifted his elbow, waiting for her to accompany him.

She licked her lips, searching for a suitable reply. She didn’t have to reply.

“Yes, merci,” she said stiffly, placing her hand on his forearm. How odd, this sampling of a former time when gentlemen served ladies in exactly such a manner. But of course it wasn’t the same. Now it was the woman who determined the partner, the time, and the nature of the exchange.

All she could think as they entered the elevator then walked down a hallway was how stunning he was with his powerful masculine physique. His dark blue cutaway coat fit him like a glove, the seams straining to enclose his wide shoulders and broad chest. A gold satin waistcoat fit snugly across his lean stomach. His high white cravat brushed his clean-shaven jawline and covered his neck, making her hungry to see the line of his throat.

All of it was silly, this entire charade of play-acting another time, an amusement for women with sufficient fortunes to pay the price not to mention sufficient brass to contemplate such an encounter. As he entered a keypad code to the door where he’d led her, she took a deep breath, fighting panic and a renewed urge to run.

Cherie, let me ease your mind,” Henri said, his voice a rich baritone that sent chills down her arms. “I am here to serve you. Whatever desires you have named, I will fulfill them. And some perhaps, that you did not name, oui?” He winked, his lips twitching with another curbed smile.

He motioned her into the room and closed the heavy door behind them before guiding her further into the room. From the far wall, muted sunlight filtered through sheer white curtains framed on either side by heavy dark gold drapes. An enormous bed with mounds of pillows and pristine white bedding perched high off the floor, its massive corner posts and headboard of dark wood. Lush carved rugs in shades of pale gold lay on either side of the bed while a sitting area around yet another rug included a settee and chairs of dark wood and gold upholstery. A large oil painting hung over a small regal fireplace featuring a nude man and woman entangled in each other amid a mass of sheets.

Mo was afraid to move. Even if she wanted to move, she didn’t know whether to just rip off her clothes and fling herself onto the bed, or wait for some instruction. Or what. She chewed her lip, aware that her hands were perspiring. Hell, she was probably perspiring all over.

How seductive, she thought bitterly. This had been a truly stupid idea.

“May I?” Henri said, taking her purse from her sweaty grip and placing in on a small table by the door.

“Oh, yes, of course,” she said, hardly aware of what words came out of her mouth.

“You are nervous,” he said softly, coming behind her to grip her shoulders with big warm hands. “I will help you relax.”

“Oh, but…”

He nuzzled her neck, holding her long dark hair to the side as he kissed under her ear. She shivered. Would she enjoy this? Or would the entire experience end up haunting her with humiliation for the rest of her life?

She stepped away from him and turned, her hands tightly clasped against her stomach. “I have never done this before,” she said in a hoarse voice. “I’m too old, I think. I should leave.”

“Too old?” Crinkles appeared at the sides of his eyes as he smiled. “Who told you that? You are perfect. Beautiful, in the full blossom of your life.” He touched her cheek then the corner of her mouth. Each spot he touched burned and tingled. “I will make you smile, ma cherie. If you will let me.”

“I – I don’t know…”

“Come. Sit with me for a moment.”

He led her to the settee then walked to a nearby chiffonier where he splashed some amber liquid into a small stemmed glass.

“This will help,” he said, handing her the glass then sitting beside her. His scent came to her, a whiff of cedarwood and perhaps a hint of lavender, but underlying that wafted a fragrance that surely was Henri alone, musky and pungent in ways that caused heat to curl down her belly.

Well, that was unexpected. Her mind stumbled for something to say. Her hand shook as she lifted the glass to her lips. The liquid rolled over her tongue and burned a path to her stomach. Sherry, one of the best she’d ever tasted. She took another bigger sip, savoring.

He brought up irrelevant subjects, whether it would rain, the latest movies. A short time later, after she had drained the glass, he took it and set it aside, then lifted her hand to kiss her palm. Little tingles of excitement raced to her stomach. She could only stare at his golden skin and long fingers, nicely manicured nails cut square and blunt.

“I’m sorry, I’m just…”

“Hush now,” he said, placing a finger on her lips. “You are wonderfully desirable. Your lips are lush, begging for my kiss.” He leaned forward and brushed his lips over hers, leaving little kisses at either corner of her mouth.

“And your breasts. So beautiful,” he said, his voice lowering as he traced a finger down the front of her blouse to slide across the tops of her breasts. “I want to taste you, Mohana. May I?”

Reprieve — House of Rae Book 2

House of Rae franchisee Marie Argenta is on the run after her estranged husband Ned inflicts unimaginable tortures. Leaving her Paris House to hide out in the U.S., she ends up at the San Francisco House to serve as temporary manager. The very first day, her gaze lands on the most arrogant man she has ever seen, Adrian Velasquez. He’s also the most compelling devastatingly attractive, over-the-top pleasure partner the universe could ever conjure, which makes her think twice about the rules forbidding employee relationships.

Adrian knows what he likes and this new House manager Marie ranks above and beyond anything he’s ever imagined. Too bad his life is already crammed too full of family troubles, work overload, and finishing his law degree to even consider stretching the rules with this irritating woman. But a touch here, a kiss there, might be too delicious to refuse and she’s, well, she wants him. He knows it.

What Marie and Adrian are soon to discover is that Ned knows where Marie has fled and plans to take her back no matter what.

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EXCERPT:

As she rounded the court in her return route toward the entry, a couple of men splashed to the edge of the pool, evidently completing a race from the other end. Laughing, they grabbed the steel ladder at the same time.

Water sluiced from the first man’s body as he slung himself up the steel ladder and onto the deck at the same moment she tried to hurry past. They slammed into each other and if he hadn’t grabbed her arms to steady her, she would have fallen. His wet chest crushed against the front of her tidy gray suit. Her pulse fluttered in her throat like a captured bird. Adrian.

Struggling to catch her breath, Marie tried to speak. But words did not form. Water dripped from his dark eyebrows as his glittering blue eyes stared at her. Her mouth went dry as she stood immobilized against the virile lines and planes of his muscled body. He was wet. Heat poured off him, warming her through every point of contact.

She wrenched away from his grip and stepped back, trying to regain her composure. But her mind blanked as her gaze haplessly skimmed down his body. Then back up. Impossibly wide shoulders tapered to trim hips. Tendons wreathed his forearms from his hands up to his bulging biceps, and from there his broad chest tempted her to touch its scattering of dark hair and tiny brown nipples. His abdomen rippled with waves of muscle, taut and smooth before leading her eyes inexorably to the tiny strip of black cloth stretched over his … Mon Dieu, son encroyable excitation.

She licked her lips at the thought of tasting him, and the monstrous prize encased there grew even larger until its continuing entrapment in that band of black fabric defied the laws of physics. Her eyes flicked up to see him watching her, a brooding fire of awareness burning in his blue eyes. Her body instantly responded with a rush of liquid heat to her center.

Gasping, she put a hand to her flaming cheek and without uttering a word, turned to hurry past him.

He grabbed her arm, his grip burning through the fabric of her clothes. “Did you see what you needed to see?” he growled, his voice vibrating through her body.

Monsieur, s’il vous plait.” Her words came out thready and weak, as if she already lay under him with nothing but hot skin between them. Her mind had reverted utterly to the French language, unable to stumble through the process of translation. Really, she seemed unable even to think of what to say next, or of how to extricate her wrist from his iron grip, or of even whether she could possibly tear herself away from him when she wanted nothing more than to be pressed against him. He was hot, hard, and towered over her like a conquering lord, his blue eyes glimmering down at her, his nostrils flared.

The corner of his mouth curled in a seductive half smile. “Do you like it?”

Mon Dieu, he must have such an ego to brag like this, to think just the sight of him would cause a woman to swoon. Never mind that she was in fact in a kind of swoon. She would not let him take advantage of the situation. This time when she jerked her arm away, he let go. She took a step back and brushed down the front of her clothing where the dark gray marks of his wet embrace remained.

Marie leveled her most chilling gaze on him, eliciting his amused grin.

“Well played,” she said, hot anger rushing up her cheeks. “That is, for someone who needs constant adoration, évidemment.”

He laughed, a deep robust laugh that sent chills down her arms and peaked her nipples. “So you adore me?”

She huffed, straightening her jacket and aligning the cuffs of her blouse. “That is not what I said,” she sputtered, “but of course you will hear what you need to hear. Coureur de jupons,” she finished under her breath as she turned to walk away.

The Biggest (Little) Lie in Romance Fiction

Soon after ending a twenty-year marriage, a friend of mine began dating. We’ll call her Marti. One particular hunk she had her eye on was a six-foot-two, green eyed country boy with a build that would put a linebacker to shame. After a few weeks of flirty stuff, he asked her out for drinks. Soon after that came an invitation to dinner, and then, well, you know. They went to bed.

Marti called me for lunch soon after and related her story. At his apartment and with all the appropriate amount of kissing and fondling, he undressed her down to her panties. She unbuttoned his shirt and a few minutes later he was down to his tighty-whities. They lay on the bed kissing and petting and while he slid his hand inside her panties, Marti slid her hand inside his briefs.

And kept sliding. Because what she expected to find, she couldn’t find. Seriously could not find.

She said she thought she had slipped into an alternate universe. Did he not have a penis? His testicles were there, large and heavy. But the particular biological feature essential to intercourse? Finally she realized that this tiny thing brushing her palm was in fact his penis. It seemed about the size of a large acorn at first, but after she touched it a few moments, it grew in size to his full erection—about the size of her thumb.

Even in telling me, she was embarrassed. How many times had this guy gone through this torment? She said she couldn’t imagine what it was like for him to experience this discovery process with each successive woman.

But more than that, she was angry. She would have preferred to have the choice whether to enter into sexual congress with a micro-penis before getting stripped down and in the clench. He could have manned up and had an adult conversation as the petting got serious, set Marti down, and said “I have a micro-penis. What that means is…” Etc.

Maybe he’d done that before. Maybe the result of such a conversation was the woman getting dressed and walking out the door. Marti didn’t see him again after that because, well, two reasons. The last couple of years of her marriage had been sexless and she was desperate for a good fuck. She wasn’t looking for a love affair or any kind of serious relationship. Just good sex.

The other reason—she felt like she’d been lied to. One of those sins-of-omission kind of lies where vital information was withheld. Almost like false advertising.

Sadly for Marti and the rest of us women, the reality is that lots of men are dick-challenged no matter how great their abs. And even more sadly, it seems environmental pollution is making this a much more common problem.  Various studies have shown a correlation between environmental contaminants and the size of otter organs, polar bear penises, and crocodile cocks. In some species, the pollution impact is so strong that the critters can’t reproduce.

Is that where we’re headed? So far, even the micro-penis is capable of successfully planting sperm inside a vagina. But, scientists warn, fertility levels are decreasing.

These pesky details are way too serious for romance novels where making babies is generally beside the point. Romance novels are many things, but most of all they are escape and entertainment. Just as men’s magazines feature images of women with fabulous breasts, tiny waists and nice tight bums, women’s romance novels feature tall muscular men with rippling abs and a massive cock.

“She watched with avid interest as he took off his shirt, revealing a chest that seemed sculpted of marble, all carved lines and beautiful symmetry. Even the smattering of raven curls over it turned her knees to jelly… He shoved off his trousers, then swiftly divested himself of his drawers. And that’s when she thought better of her plan to lose her virtue to him. Because that massive engine thrusting out from between his thighs like a cannon headed for war was far more daunting than she’d expected. It was as arrogant as he, with ballocks the size of plums.” (The Secret of Flirting, Sabrina Jeffries)

“She shifted her hips, feeling the large, hard…thing pressed against her. And she wanted to see him. Theresa rolled off his right side, her lags tangling in her disheveled skirts. “Oh, my,” she whispered, looking down past his hips.” (A Lady’s Guide to Improper Behavior, Suzanne Enoch)

Of course every woman knows that such descriptions are idealized in order to entertain. Who would be interested in reading stories about men with micro-penises, pot bellies, or acne?

We crave the ideal and that’s what escape literature provides us. In these romantic adventures, we can become lost in a world where micro-penises simply do not exist and all men are virile hunks destined to fall in love with that cute little vixen of a female. Of course, most of us aren’t cute little vixens, either. By the standards of romance novels, we all fall short of ideal.

Romance plots usually follow from instantaneous attraction based on looks. That attraction leads to entanglement which leads to stunning sex which results in love. Which leaves one to wonder: without stunning sex, could there be love?

Love is one of those things no one can explain, but some wags have ventured to say a woman falls in love with any man who gives her a good fucking. There might be something to that. Orgasm is a hard thing to ignore.

Sex causes increased production of oxytocin, which is often referred to as the “love hormone.” Before orgasm, oxytocin, released from the brain, surges and is accompanied by the release of endorphins, our natural pain-killing hormones. It also increases blood flow to organs throughout your body, and reduces inflammation. In other studies, scientists have found that up to 30 different parts of the brain are activated by orgasm, including those responsible for emotion, touch, joy, satisfaction and memory.[1]

Yes, women can gain orgasm without penetration, although clitoral orgasm alone leaves something to be desired, especially if a woman has previously enjoyed vaginal orgasm along with clitoral. For most women, the clitoral orgasm is like phase one. Then it’s time for that serious fucking.

Studies have shown that women prefer larger dicks and in fact, evolution may have favored the development of larger male organs specifically for that reason.[2] Longer slongs also have a biological advantage in depositing sperm deeper in the female reproductive tract, reducing the chance that a successive male with a shorter penis could displace the sperm.

So what should women expect in real life? A report published in the British Journal of Urology International analyzed 17 studies of male organ size and found the following:

… the study participants totaled more than 15,000 men. In addition to the averages listed previously, the analysis charted sizes and placed them into percentiles. For example, an erect penis of 6.3 inches is in the 95th percentile. That means that out of 100 men, only five would have a penis longer than 6.3 inches. Likewise, an erect penis of 3.94 inches is in the 5th percentile, meaning that only five men out of 100 would have a penis shorter than 3.94 inches.

[The report also found that] The average size preferred by the women in the study was an erect penis that is 6.4 inches long and 5 inches in circumference for a one-time encounter. For a long-term relationship, the average size preferred by the women was a penis that is 6.3 inches long with a circumference of 4.8 inches.[3]

These preferred sizes are slightly larger than the actual norm for the male organ. The study also found that men with below average penis size suffered lack of self-esteem and confidence, which in turn surely affected their approach to women.

You can bet that successful authors of romance fiction have done their homework about such details, and that’s why they’re successful. Their stories push the right buttons in women’s imaginations where a man’s John Henry needs to be big.

Common sense tells us it’s a rare man who is so magnificently built and awesomely hung as romances depict, much less handsome, courteous, clever and dying to make us his own. Did I mention rich? For every duke story in Regency romance, there’s an equally breathtaking billionaire in modern romance. These are merely a retelling of the fairy tale of the knight in shining armor, and no matter how smart we women might be, deep down inside we feel cheated when we have to accept less.

The question is, does romance literature exacerbate the problem? Or does it serve as a release valve for women caught up in mundane reality?

We’re biologically destined to seek the best representative of our species in order to produce the best possible offspring. So it’s not just vanity or fluffed up fantasies that lead us to enjoy those magnificent men in romance literature. We’re only doing what our genes tell us to do.

These stories also provide a few hours of escape from whatever troubles us, whether the size of our partner’s manhood or his increasingly pudgy tummy or his lack of wealth. If he loves us, makes us feel beautiful, and does his best to care for us, what’s the problem? The sexy novel might stir us up, but it’s our real partner who’ll benefit when we drag him to the bedroom.

So yes, size matters, and it would be tragic for thousands of years of evolution toward larger pricks to be reversed by modern society’s indiscriminate use of chemicals. For myself and probably many other women, I prefer not to get naked with a man who isn’t going to make me feel it. Or to curl up with a glass of wine and a novel about a man who is anything short of, um, overwhelming. I hope that magnificent men with the skill (and equipment) to deeply stir us will continue to appear in our romantic fantasies. And in our beds.

~~~

 

[1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2031498/Sex-Why-makes-women-fall-love–just-makes-men-want-MORE.html

[2] https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/04/130408-penises-science-evolution-genitalia-health-weird/

[3] https://www.healthline.com/health/mens-health/average-penis-size

Writing is Growth

When I started writing erotic romance, sex was the focus. Glorious uninhibited sex scenes with all the descriptive words that made the action come alive. (Heh–no pun intended) For a person like me emerging from a very conservative, religious family, this was a breakout moment.

Now, looking back, I’m not completely thrilled with the result. Oh, don’t get me wrong—the sex scenes are smokin’. But that’s simply not enough.

Stories of any kind are about people. And people are more than sex. While I managed to create compelling sex scenes, I didn’t manage to create compelling life scenes.

So I’ve decided to dive into revising a couple of my early novels with a greater focus on the personal struggle facing the characters. I’m adding scenes that show how they deal with adversity. I’m showing how they grow in the process of facing difficulties, how they develop more self-confidence or come to grips with challenges both internal and external.

This is a thrilling process, delving into the character with greater willingness to sit at my desk and think about them to let their personalities take full form. Before, although there were strong storylines and situational drama, there wasn’t as much depth to the characters as they needed. I’m letting myself feel them now, where they came from, what they worry about, care about, more than the person with whom they’re having sex.

My previous mindset about all this was that sex was the key motivating element. Sex was the transformative event that broke the character from his/her previous point of view and propelled them into a new paradigm. Yes, this is important.

But it’s not enough to be the main thing. I admit it kind of breaks my heart to say that because I’ve always seen sex as having the potential to do exactly that. It still does have that potential, but it’s like a really lovely slab of chocolate cake. It doesn’t make a meal.

It’s exciting to dig deeper and important enough that I can justify taking the time to go the next mile with revision rather than plunging into yet another new story. This learning process about creating stories with rich character and complex plot lines is an important one for any author.

Writing is a multi-phase, multi-layered endeavor. Creating something meaningful out of thin air isn’t an easy pursuit, and it is as much about looking deeper into oneself as it is about thinking up story details. After all, inside our minds and our life experience is where our stories come from. I’m happy to see where I stand on the long road toward ‘great.’

And yes, ‘great’ is my goal!

Happy writing in the new year, everyone.

Jarrod Bancroft: The Novel

Limited Time — FREE with Kindle Unlimited — don’t miss it.

A collection of five novellas tell the full story of Jarrod and Macie’s torrid romance. Over the top sexual kink.

It started innocently enough. A rich young man in search of adventure in sadistic humiliation. An older woman intent on her profession as dominatrix. Their crossed paths should have been six weeks of a purely business relationship.

But things never go as planned.

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FREE READ — Smutty Novella

FREE NOVELLA — A Gift for Jarrod. Not like anything you’ve read before.
Warning: Not for the fainthearted or easily offended. Includes scenes of extreme sexual kink.
It started innocently enough. A rich young man in search of adventure in sadistic humiliation. An older woman intent on her profession as dominatrix. Their crossed paths should have been six weeks of a purely business relationship.
But things never go as planned.
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Holiday Special!

Bryn McClure is running out of time. With foreclosure in the last stages, she’s about to lose the beloved twelve-hundred acre Ozark farm she inherited from her grandparents. Her desperate last hope is to sell hunting rights for deer season.

Alex Cannon is running out of options. After a humiliating discovery about his wife, Alex’s cousin and property development business partner Dan has spiraled into a life-threatening depression. Alex hatches a brilliant idea of what might help Dan, and on advice from an old friend, contacts Bryn. A hunting trip might be the perfect route to a new outlook for Dan, especially with the extra touch Alex wants from Bryn.

When Bryn agrees to Alex’s special request, she’s thrilled not only with the promise of badly needed income but also with the prospect of bondage and discipline at the hand of his cousin Dan. Her appetite for kink has sharpened during her lonely year of rural living. It seemed like such a good idea when she agreed to it.

But standing on her porch watching these two gorgeous men climb out of their truck and walk toward her, she thinks maybe she hadn’t fully appreciated how complicated things could become. Alex stuns her with his warmth and charm, but the cold and angry Dan is the one she’s supposed to submit to. By the second day, when the first spanking sparks her passions, she realizes she may be in for more—much more—than she expected.

Special discount, 5 days only — only 99¢  Offer ends December 16

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Christmas Special!

5 days only! Full length novel reduced to 99¢. Don’t miss it!

The year is 2056. Fire rages unchecked across the American countryside. Water rationing is a way of life. A new plague creeps across the land, an insidious degradation of cell function called Brown Death.

Lu Haverson stumbled across a cure for this malicious killer when he joined forces with Rae Stewart at her House of Rae, a pleasure house serving women. He loves bringing women the height of sexual pleasure, but even more he loves Rae. But he and Rae can’t seem to get past their jealousies and power struggle.

It’s the pleasure energy generated at the House, not only the flagship operation at Kansas City but in Rae’s chain of houses across the nation, that fuels the restorative powers that heal Brown Death. That’s Lu’s mission even if things never work out with Rae.

But now she’s brought in this young buck, Josh Carter, a new hire who seems anything but eager to serve the House’s female clientele. Lu’s instincts tell him there’s a lot more to this kid than what’s on the surface, and he makes it his mission to find out more.

Rae resents the hell out of Lu’s suspicions. She knows a hit when she sees it, and there’s nothing more appealing to the House clientele than a potent young man so full of himself as Josh. Plus she personally finds him irresistible and is determined to introduce him to the world of erotic pleasure.

Trained since childhood to carry out the Brotherhood’s mission, Josh hardly cares what this Lu guy thinks. If he has to sacrifice his moral standing to satisfy his boss Rae, he’ll do it. The mission is the important thing, the mission to destroy her and her House.

Available at this super-discounted price through December 15!

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FREE NOVELLA

With everything she cared about gone, Dominatrix Macie Fitzgerald has built a new life in service to those seeking pain and submission. She takes pride in her success. So when she accepts Jarrod Bancroft’s application to her next training session, she acknowledges the risk. The ten years that have passed since he was her high school history student have only made him more magnificent in every way.

Life has been too easy for Jarrod Bancroft—rich parents, football star, law degree, high powered job, women by the score. Something is missing. He wants whatever Stonybrook Academy can dish out, much as it scares the hell out of him. And he was right to be afraid. He never imagined this. And the voice behind Madam’s mask sounds familiar, but after days of torture and deprivation, Jarrod’s only thought is to obey.

Macie faces her biggest challenge as she struggles to fulfill her professional obligation to give Jarrod what he wants. What he needs.

Will Santa leave anything under the tree for her? And if he does, can she bear to open it?

~~~

Warning: This novella includes scenes of extreme BDSM as well as a few pages of same sex activity and group sex. For adults only.

~~~

Buy link: Smashwords offers all formats to suit your electronic reading device. I’d love to also make it free on Amazon, but they only allow five days free. So it remains 99 cents on Amazon.

Also, check back here or subscribe to my newsletter, Liz’s Hot News, for announcement of other FREE READS during the coming holiday season. It’s a once-monthly newsletter with excerpts, freebies, pre-release deals, and much more. Sign up at http://eepurl.com/bHOyS9

 

Sex as Liberation

One of my best friends gets completely sidetracked by the sex scenes in my romance novels. Not in a good way. I get that sexy romance novels are not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m positive that if she wasn’t trying to be a friend, she’d never read sexy romance. So there’s that.

But what triggered my recent, well, shock, was an email where she said I’d do just about anything to upset my parents.

It’s hard to hear something like that from a best friend. I’m stunned at her total lack of understanding about why I write sexy stories. Or, more importantly, why I’ve lived my life the way I have. We’ve shared experiences from our earlier lives and I’ve been honest about my adventures. She’s been aghast but not condemning.

I thought.

I want to sit her down and emphasize that my choices about sexual behavior have nothing to do with rebelling against my parents. But then, I really don’t think she can ever understand. Although she hasn’t specifically stated this in so many words, I’m pretty sure she’s only ever had sex with her husband.

That’s her choice and I haven’t made any judgment about her for limiting her life experience to one man. Or judged any other woman for any decision she’s made about how to live her life.

Unlike my friend – well, let’s say I lost count somewhere around seventy. This was over a four year period in the early 70s and maybe a few after-divorce flings in my mid-40s. (Okay, I’m old.) This information blows my friend’s mind and apparently causes her to decide (a) that I’m a hopelessly immature minx forever rebelling against my parents (my dad has been dead since 2004, but I guess that didn’t factor into her analysis) and (b) that I’m a unrepentant slut. A dear friend slut, but nevertheless…

I have to guess that this is probably the way she’d see herself if she enjoyed sex with multiple partners.

For me, sex with multiple partners has been the most educational and liberating thing I’ve ever done. I actually consider it an essential part of my growing up to become who I wanted to be. Writing explicit sex in my novels continues that essential effort, my personal mission to free other women from millennia of patriarchy, just as it freed me.

I took part in the free love movement, the cresting wave of the sexual revolution that occurred in the 60s and 70s and continues in some measure even today. In 1961, birth control pills entered the marketplace and assured women they could have fun just like men—without fear of pregnancy.

Also, hooking up for a roll in the sheets was an important healing counterbalance to riots in the streets, assassinations, and the Vietnam War. But it was more than that.

Sex served an important role in liberating women from the traditional degrading view that we were only valuable as baby machines and housekeepers, subordinate to men in all ways. Women weren’t ‘capable’ of making important decisions like handling money or owning real estate. Thus men were required to maintain firm control on the ‘weaker sex.’

More to the point, while men could go out and get ‘experience’ with multiple sex partners, women who did so were unredeemable sluts. Women required strict supervision both by men and by society’s rules. Those who stepped over the line merited our worst condemnation. This is the narrative that seems to run in my friend’s head.

Sex was a dirty act to be hidden behind closed doors. Or it was a holy rite reserved to those sanctioned by church marriage and under the control of the male partner, preferably indulged only for the production of children. If you ventured away from the sex-only-for-babies concept, you at least limited sex to a chosen partner whom you ‘loved’ and with whom certain promises had been exchanged. Largely, those promises had to do with fidelity to the chosen partner.

The sexual revolution blew the doors off this Victorian mindset. Sex isn’t dirty. Sex shouldn’t be hidden behind doors. Sex is an option for any and all kinds of relationships. Sex is a joyful experience, a supreme human pleasure, and could serve as a path to spiritual awakening and connection. Sex is beautifully transformative, opening its participants to the connection we share with all humanity. Sexual intercourse allows its participants to soar beyond words and rules.

To interact with someone through sex means stripping away surface judgments about appearance, clothing, or hair style. It’s a way to say ‘Hi, nice to meet you’ without the games. Whether a one night stand or the beginning of a passionate affair, such interactions can be and often are the foundation of lifelong friendships. With the trappings of civilization stripped away, nothing stands between us but our inhibitions.

Looking into someone’s eyes while lying next to each other naked is a damn good way to get acquainted.

For me personally, and what I’ve tried to explain to my friend, is that sexual freedom gave me my life back. Stolen from me since the day I was born female, my life had been narrowed, judged, and denigrated by the mere fact of my gender. I could never be ‘equal’ to a man, never aspire to lofty goals. Rather, I should content myself with a wife’s role and be forever penitent that I embodied the Eve who introduced sin into the world. After all, God was a He.

Well, fuck that. I rebelled against that entire sexist narrative from my earliest memory. I questioned church teachings about women by the time I was eight years old. As soon as I left home at eighteen, I never again set foot in a church. But that didn’t mean the weight of all that crushing propaganda suddenly lifted.

As with many women who have sought to move beyond the confines of tradition, I struggled with confidence. Sex fixed all that. As I pursued my desires, I became skilled at picking up men I wanted instead of shrinking into a corner waiting for a guy to make a move. I gained assurance about how I looked and about the fact that it didn’t fucking matter how I looked. I realized I could meet another person on a level playing field. I slowly acknowledged my value as a human being.

My experience in one-night stands and short-term affairs freed me from the constraints put on me by patriarchy and its religious teachings meant to keep women barefoot, pregnant, and silent.

None of that prevented me from falling in love, getting married, having children, and leading a fulfilling life as wife and mother. But by then I had no qualms about starting my own business in a career dominated by men. I didn’t hesitate to participate in or take a leadership role in advocacy projects that sought to bring about social change in a variety of pressing issues.

I accept no boundaries in writing explicit sex scenes, some of which go way past what I ever personally experienced and which explore some of the darker chapters of domination, submission, and sado-masochism. I write females with the chutzpah to do whatever they want including pursuing a career as a dominatrix or happily fulfilling her desires as a masochist submissive. I write group sex when it fits the story. I write ‘normal’ romance when that’s what the characters demand. Whatever sexual preferences and activities thread through my writing, I see them as the vital organs, the blood veins, of humanity, just as important as how we treat our children and neighbors.

In my view, I owe this freedom of thought to my willingness to break through barriers of sex norms. Norms are what we make them. I’m so proud of how much the ‘norms’ have changed during my lifetime so that now we can openly accept same-sex marriage, homosexuality, and transgender identities — whatever makes us happy.

Maybe someday I’ll tell my friend.