Naked Goodbye: An Extract

I am bad at endings. Really bad. I don’t want to burn bridges, but nor can I sit quietly and ride out the pain. So the bridges burn and I burn with them.

Endings are part of what makes me wary of the way erotica has shifted as a genre. I’ve never wanted to write happy endings (this makes my Dad snigger every time I say it) but the move towards erotic romance has made it the most commercially viable path.

So when I successfully submitted my first short story to the For Book’s Sake anthology Tongue in Cheek’ in Spring this year*, I was sort of amazed that the longest short I’d ever written turned out to be about an unhappy ending that turns happy.

Here’s an extract, and if you want to read the end of the story, you can buy the anthology here.

*I meant to write this post way back in May. This week’s #WickedWednesday prompt has finally spurred me into remembering to!

Naked Goodbye

I can’t remember our last time.

If I’d known it’d be our last, I wouldn’t have gotten so drunk. Wouldn’t have let him order that last bottle of red, that last plate of cheese. I’d have dragged him home while I could still match key to lock, still walk in my heels.

Instead, we grappled against an office block wall while waiting for the taxi, his kisses wet and his hand up my skirt. We stumbled through the door and I sat cross-legged on the bed, whipping off my bra with a wine-fueled flourish. And then… nothing.

We might have done it, we might not – I have no idea. The wine, and the resulting hangover, are a heavy fog that stifles my memory, letting me see details from that night, but not the bigger picture.

And now, it seems, we’re done.

It’s only ever been a sex thing, so I shouldn’t be surprised. It was never going to last forever. Yet,my hand trembles as I thumb through his text: “Met someone Friday. Don’t know where it’s going but thought I should give you a heads-up.”

It would be wrong to wait and see. I could sit tight, knowing that at this stage he has no way of knowing how promising this encounter is likely to be. But I don’t like loose endings. Plus he’s already dropped the kiss from the end of his messages. This is no time to be sentimental, but I wouldn’t mind making a few last memories. I text back: “Goodbye fuck? x”

If he’s surprised, he doesn’t let it show. His reply is brief. “Sure. Saturday? Your place? x”

By the time Saturday comes, I have to change the sheets. My pillow is streaked with mascara, and I’d rather he didn’t realise I care, not now it’s too late to do anything about it. So I switch pink cotton for blue striped flannel and hope that by later that evening, I’ll have replaced one set of salty stains with another.

We don’t make it to the bedroom.

It doesn’t feel like he’s gone off me. His cock is still rock hard as he manhandles me up against the kitchen worktop, sweeping my hair to one side and biting my neck, making me slosh wine over the side of the glass I’m filling. There’s no dithering or uncertainty in the fingers that push my knickers to one side and thrust deep inside me, a little too much a little too soon. The way I’ve begged for in the past.

Just as I start to sink in to it, knuckles whitening on the worktop, his name crystallising on the tip of my tongue, he pulls his fingers free, takes my hand and leads me to the living room. He leaves our glasses behind, and suddenly I’m longing for a mouthful of cool chardonnay to dissolve the lump at the back of my throat.

More than the chardonnay though, I want him inside me. I don’t care where – for all it matters to me right now he could bend me over the arm of the sofa, grate my knees against the carpeted stairs or have me on all fours on the wooden floor. But no. He unbuckles, frees his cock and makes himself comfortable amongst my scatter cushions.

“Come here …”

I want to, really I do. It’s just that there’s no blind on my front window and, well, it’s a sunny Saturday afternoon. Anyone could look in. I dither. Apparently I do care where, after all.

He holds out a hand, and a promise. “It’ll just look like we’re kissing.”

Oh, fuck the passers-by.

***

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#Lippie entry: Brave by @Tomwatched

#Lippie entry by the fabulous @Tomwatched.

Brave

The need has been building. Always present, every time with her husband she wishes he would try, do, something. Her twitter account shows images that make her clench, she reads conversations with graphic descriptions of things she can only dream of.  She squirms when on her own, but daren’t ask her husband, daren’t take that leap of faith to tell him her needs, he just wouldn’t understand. She fears the man she has been with for ten years would look at her in disgust.

She want to have control taken from her,  to be tied, toyed with, taken to new heights of pleasure.

To be used as a plaything.

To submit.

The twitter messages from Him start with a simple; “I know what you need”

Over the weeks He tempts her, every fantasy He relates makes her melt,  she exists in a constant heightened state of arousal. He begins the complete brain fuck, the learning and exploring of her mind. How to turn her on, how to give her confidence.

He asks  her things about her body, how she climaxes, how she prefers to come. What her fantasies are. She is shy and nervous but not reluctant to share.  She needs this.

Every day a new message, a new fantasy to explore or task to expand her awareness of her mental and physical desires:

He tells her he wants to teach her the deep sensations, the sting and throb of a heavy leather strap on her bottom and would make her so wet,  so turned on that the slightest touch of her clit would have her flooding on his hand.

He requires her to play with her unexplored bottom, to learn how it feels to have stimulation on her clit and something filling previously untouched regions of her body.

He encourages her to experience how pegs on her nipples send jolts straight to her clit, heightening her pleasure, accelerating and magnifying the orgasm.

He makes her imagine what it feels like to have a bit in her mouth,  back forcibly arched as he takes her from behind,  pulling the reins tight. Taking her.

A small, sleek small plug arrives in the post with a note that He wants her to feel it with her fingers in her pussy.  Imagining then what His thick cock might feel like bulging in her. What two toys feel like,  opening her up as she masturbates.

Another gift arrives, a book of erotica and a note: “I’m having lovely thoughts about you reading this and slowly sliding your fingers into your knickers, seeing how wet you get. Show me”.

He opens her mind to new possibilities , new challenges. She learns more about her body, her needs in those few weeks talking online to Him than she has in ten years of her relationship with her husband.

One evening, without warning, the message arrives she has half been dreading, half wishing would come. Simply:

“Meet me”

The panic grips her, she can’t contemplate taking such a large step. Then, her mind drifts back over the past few weeks, the feelings of near bliss He has elicited purely with suggestion, instruction. She has the realisation, this may be her only chance at fulfilment, the chance to sate her darker desires.  A fitful night’s sleep and in the morning, reaches for her phone, types Him the shortest of replies:

“I’ll be brave.”

#Lippie Entry: Myth, by @DarkJezebelle

A #Lippie entry from the lovely @DarkJezebelle.

Myth

She was in full opinionated swing as I began to clear up around her, her arms folded, her manner resolute as usual.

“I just don’t get it…”

“What?”

I turned, the empty coffee cups in my hand. I had my back to her now. I opened the tap and the water began to hit the base of the sink. She raised her voice slightly so I could hear her and I heard every word.

“I just don’t buy into the myth that women don’t know when their husband is sleeping with someone else. I think they just lie to themselves because they don’t want to know.”

She was fond of making these big statements in her lazy, southern drawl.
I shut off the tap and stared at the empty cups, not wanting to turn just yet.
Not yet.
I waited for it.

“I’d know if he was fucking someone else. I just would”

Pause. Breathe. Turn.

I looked at her. She is a long leggy woman, tall and elegant, feline, complacent almost in her manner. We were not alike. I am sharper in my manner. Small, petite, shorter, we were never friends who shared clothes.  I looked down at my hands.

“How would you know?”

I placed emphasis on that first word. I was genuinely interested.

“Well I’d smell her on him for a start….”

I glanced up . She wasn’t smiling. She never smiled that much. She just raised her eyebrows to indicate a statement of fact. Her arm released itself from the fold and she reached down, fumbling in her bag. I quietly observed, not yet sure of my response. She produced a lipstick and, with the skill of many years of experience, she deftly removed the shiny lid, twisted it and began to smooth it over her mouth, no mirror required.
Our friendship could be measured out in lipstick stains, on numerous coffee mugs and wine glasses, on my cheek at a party or dinner, on the lips of my husband when she kissed him in a moment of shared friendly intimacy, always in my presence, never for too long.
I gaze at the ‘barely there’ sheen on her lips, a thought developing in my mind.
Her mouth…..that colour ….his mouth…..my mouth.

Had she applied it on the morning of that first unplanned meeting, kissing his mouth as he left? And later in that stolen lunch hour, emboldened by wine, when he pressed against me in that City doorway and he desperately sought my lips with his, my permission, my implied consent, did some of that soft colour transfer from her mouth to mine via his?

Or the next time, as we lay on my sitting room floor, after his hand had found my skin because the underwear I’d deliberately chosen allowed him to do so with such ease. When he traced his finger along my thigh so that I giggled, when he moaned between my legs ‘my God, you’re so wet and swollen’ making me blush. And then come. Was there a faint slick of colour left behind in between my legs that I didn’t notice?

Or that snatched afternoon in his kitchen, when he pressed his cock into my mouth, had she left her mark on him at the tip so that it smeared across my face as I yielded to his insistence? Or was it left there, around the base, where I’d struggled to breathe, eager to impress a new lover?

Or the most recent time, when we didn’t even make it passed the hallway, when he grabbed and pushed, hastily lifting and ripping, fucking me so hard from behind as he reached round and thrust his fingers into my mouth. Did those fingers still have the vestige of their last encounter, the colour from her mouth painted on to mine?

I stared at that mouth. The lipstick was a soft inconspicuous shade. It was probably called something like ‘Illusion’ or ‘Whisper’ or ‘Myth’. Lipstick names making promises that they can never keep.

Still staring I realised her lips were moving. She was talking. She was saying something to me, her arm outstretched.
“Do you want to try it?”
And there lay the lipstick, like a bullet, in the open palm of friendship.

#Lippie Entry: Dubonnet, by Robert S

An email submission for #Lippie, from Robert S.

Dubonnet

He had got there a good twenty minutes early.  She had told him they should get a booth in the front, near the window.  It had more character there, she had said, in that narrow space next to the bar.  The booths were more intimate.  They could talk, she had insisted, and the bar staff were close enough that you could order from the booth.  He already had a Martini in front of him and had drunk most of it, another reason to get there early and get a drink ahead.

The bar had a French theme:  Parisian posters on the walls, yellowing posters for Ricard and Dubonnet, and a lit sign for a Bar-Tabac propped in the corner by the door.  The bar staff were young and tattooed, and he looked at his hands around his drink and felt old and weary.

Then, looking out of the window at the street, the sun setting behind the railway, silhouetting palm trees against the horizon, he started to have doubts.  Why had she asked that they meet so early, in the last of the daylight, and asked him to sit near the window? She might want to take a look at him before she came in through the door.  She might already have passed by and decided that the reality did not match the fantasies that they had shared.

It had taken him a long time to persuade her to meet. Each time he had suggested it she had been keen, but then cancelled on him.

I will share the fantasy but not the reality, she had written. I need to be open about my strength and my fragility.

Just one drink, he had replied, and finally she had agreed.  He had let her choose the time and the venue,

He was nervous, and in her last email she had said that she was too. Beyond nervous, verging on terror, she had told him, and he had been surprised.  They had been writing for two weeks, a torrent of emails and texts after that first tentative message on the website.  

They had discussed the most intimate things, personal things: the failure of their marriages, the difficulties of balancing family and career, the difficulty of trying to develop a relationship in what little time they had left over.  He had told her that he was simply unable to offer the commitment required to maintain a romantic relationship, which is why he had resorted to that particular website.  She had agreed with him and their writing had moved on to their desires and fantasies, and now they were explicit in a way that he had never allowed himself to be before.  He had found himself exploring the darker parts of his desires, and she had too.  Now they were on the verge of that fantasy life crossing into reality.

I might not be what you expect, she had written.  I’m not petite.  I’m not a porn star with a hard body.  I’m a middle aged working mother.  I have flaws.’  But he had seen the photos.  She had not lied to him.  Voluptuous was the word she had chosen to describe herself and he discovered that he liked that, liked that she was a natural woman:  no lies, no make up, no surgery, and no enhancements.  He had read the thoughts and fantasies in her writing and he had liked them too.

He finished the last of his Martini and when he put down the glass and looked up, there she was.  He hadn’t heard the door, so lost in his thoughts.  He recognized her at once from her eyes.  She was wearing little make-up, just eyeliner around her hazel eyes, which were wary below strong eyebrows. The only other make-up was dark red lipstick, which contrasted with her pale skin.  Her narrow face was framed by tousled black hair that fell loose across her shoulders.

He found that he was staring at her, and had not spoken.  He pulled himself off the bench and put a hand out towards her in greeting. She looked at his hand and the way he was half standing in the cramped booth, and smiled.

‘Hello,’ he said, an unexpected croak in his voice.

‘Hi,’ she said, her voice soft, and he realized it was the first time he had heard her speak. She took his hand lightly in hers and gave it a gentle squeeze as if in reassurance, and this was their first touch.  He thought that he had not yet smelled her, and not tasted her.

He found his eyes wandering again.  She wore a simple black dress, open at the neck showing cleavage, a tiny edge of red underwear visible on one side. She had told him that she liked lingerie.  She had sent him photographs and he had stared at them.  Even now he could recall each one, and compare them with the woman in front of him.

He was aware of the imbalance: the number of photos she has sent him of herself.  He had only sent her one photo, a conventional portrait without a smile, professionally taken by a mate who was a photographer.  Hers were selfies, the lighting poor and the focus indistinct.  He liked that about them.

‘Can I get you a drink?’ he asked.

‘Just one,’ she said, and gave him a half-smile.  She looked towards the bar and her eyes widened when they landed on the posters and she said: ‘Gin and Dubonnet, please.’

He was watching her lips move, remembering how she had told him how much she liked to kiss: how she enjoyed the give and take, and how it was the beginning and end of everything for her.

He broke his eyes away from her lips and looked towards the bar but the girl behind it had been watching and had heard the order. ‘Two,’ he mouthed at her and she nodded.

She let go of his hand and sat down, and as she bent her knees to slide into the booth he saw that the skirt of her dress was slit up one side.  He caught a glimpse of a black stocking top against the curve of her hip and realized he was staring again, so he focused his gaze on her eyes.

He tried not to look down at the swell of her breasts, and not to think about what she had said about the sensitivity of her nipples.  They were still staring at each other’s eyes, not speaking, when the girl put their drinks in front of them.

She lifted a hand to sweep her hair back, and he caught a glimpse of the nape of her neck, where pale skin glowed against her black hair.  She lowered her hands to the table and wrapped them around her drink, her nails tapping against the glass.  They were painted the same shade of red as her lipstick, almost the same colour as her cocktail.

I like to dig my nails into my lovers back,’ she had told him.

She looked nervous now, that first burst of bravado evaporating.  He looked into her eyes again and she looked down at her drink and raised it to her lips and took a deep pull on it.

‘So,’ she said. ‘Does the reality live up to the fantasy?’

‘Yes,’ he said. ‘You are exactly as I imagined you.  What about me? You’ve only seen one photo.’

She shrugged.  ‘It’s different for me.  Your words are what attracted me.  Plus, you didn’t try too hard to impress.  I was worried that it might spoil it, us meeting.  We couldn’t be as open with each other as when we were anonymous.  I didn’t want reality to kill the fantasy.’

‘Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth,’ he said, and he liked that it made her smile.

He saw her eyes soften, and he felt the connection they had made in their writing pass between them again across the table.

He stood up quickly, leaned across the table and kissed her.  She resisted at first, her eyes open and darting sideways, aware of the public place.  He put his hand behind her head and pulled her mouth towards his, and then he inhaled her, drank her in, and tasted her.

#Lippie Entry: Runway Hit, by @BilliousOne

The story below is an entry for my Lippie competition, by @BilliousOne.

***

I came to this erotica competition via a friend and got to thinking: would it be crazy to have a go myself? The fact that I haven’t written any erotica longer than a seventeen syllable Haiku seemed a minor impediment at the time, as did the fact that I am male and this is driven by lipstick of all things! So I contacted Charlie and she came up with “Runway Hit”. Being male I immediately thought of planes and the smell of burning fuel rather than the fashion show type of runway that was no doubt in the mind of the mysterious lipstick namer (now there’s a job!). I decided to re-locate an old fantasy. Here goes:

Runway Hit

She passed through the endless steel lined tunnels and walkways of Terminal 4 following signs for the Hilton Hotel, heels clicking, her summer dress swaying from side to side slightly as she walked. She’d nearly stayed at home, safe in an environment she could control; she’d nearly turned back at Paddington, so hesitant the platform attendant had pointed out the Heathrow Express was leaving; she’d nearly turned back when it arrived at Terminal 4. Yet here she was, walking down the last tunnel into the Hotel for what felt like strangest of meetings with a man she had never met; a man to whom she had never even spoken; a man who she knew full well was going to bend her over a chair and spank her.

They had met on social media, part of an informal network of people who shared erotic short stories, via each other’s blogs and websites. Hers were almost covertly sexual, beautifully crafted with clever metaphors and twists; his darker, more direct and filled with tales of domination and submission. At some point, she forgot quite why, they had started having private direct messaging conversations alongside their public blog exchanges.

A week earlier while relaxing at home, chatting with several people on-line as she liked to do, their communication had taken a strange and, for her at least, unintended path:

Her: I read a blog that described a spanking today. She made it sound so real, so intensely sensual

Him: Interesting. Have you ever been spanked? 

Her: Not really, I mean a bit but not so that it really hurt

Him: Would you like to be spanked. Does the idea of it interest you?

Her: Maybe. I’m not sure. I think the loss of control part might be fun. Would you like to spank me? 

After pressing send she had jumped up in horror, desperate to un-send a message that had been meant as rhetorical, but read more like an invitation.

Him. Yes. I would like that very much but I am in Paris and you are in London

Her: Well thank heavens for that then! I’m safe 

Him: But do you want to be?

She had invented a domestic crisis of some sort and ended the conversation, embarrassed. Yet despite herself she had been strangely aroused by the idea and it had stayed with her until two days later when an email had pinged into her inbox. Without any preamble it gave her an exact day and time to be at the Heathrow Hilton Hotel, where she was to wait further instructions. She was affronted by the email on so many levels; the assumption that she would ever consider meeting a strange man in a hotel; the assumption that she could just leave her business on a day of his choosing; the dictatorial way it was worded. She had written a reply expressing her disgust and severing their relationship but had let the cursor hover over send, unable to quite overcome the delicious taste of excitement, spiced with just the right amount of fear. In the end her reply had simply said: “Yes”.

As she turned into the cavernous but sparsely populated hotel lobby she heard a series of messages arrive in her phone. She knew she was already beyond the point where turning back was possible. Following the instructions (HIS instructions!) she took the lift to the twelfth floor and found room 1208. As she knew it would be, the door was slightly ajar. It was a suite! Shocked that he had both flown from Paris and rented a suite for this short meeting she looked around. There was a long glass window with an almost panoramic view of the runways, a jumbo jet lumbering into the sky on one while a smaller plane landed on the other. The suite was smartly furnished, all beiges and stone colours but, in the manner of hotels, was somewhat soulless. She nervously glanced at the one discordant note in the layout. A large curved leather arm chair had been quite deliberately positioned in the centre of the room facing the window, on its seat a pillow and a soft black blindfold.

Taking deep breaths to steady her nerves she moved to the bed room, removed her dress and folded it onto the bed. Perhaps because it all seemed so unreal that this could even be happening, she felt detached, as if observing someone else. That someone else looked at herself in the mirror and, seeing how her underwear accentuated the curves, the rises and falls, of her body, drew confidence from its still smooth skin and gym toned form. Moving back into the main room she stood behind the chair and put on the blindfold, defiantly leaving a small gap at the bottom. She leant over the cold leather of the chair, long stockinged legs stretched out behind, and rested her elbows on the pillow. She waited. She could feel her heart beating faster than normal, as if before a gym session. All she could hear was her breathing, rapid but shallow, and the muffled sounds of aircraft taking off and landing. She counted four aircraft landings while she waited and then jumped as the click of the door announced his arrival.

She heard him remove his suit jacket and hang it on a dining chair, sensed his approach and then glimpsed charcoal suited ankles and immaculate black shoes. Now she was breathing fast, the flow of adrenaline heightening her senses. Something that had seemed interesting as a vague fantasy suddenly seemed horribly real. She felt his hand rest on the small of her back. The hand seemed reassuring and she sensed that he wanted her to know she was safe. Her breathing slowed a little. But the character of his touch changed, strengthened. She pushed herself up slightly but met firm resistance, realising that now the hand was holding her down, pushing her against the leather. She heard the smack first, a loud intrusive sound, and then felt the heat across her bottom. She gasped more in surprise than pain, but smack followed smack, hard and fast, each more painful than the last. He paused at twenty, the room silent again but for her rapid breathing, almost panting as she struggled to deal with the surge of sensations flooding through her body. His hand returned with more force. She felt herself fighting a losing battle to control her reactions, gasping with each blow, pushing against the hand holding her down. But she was feeling other reactions. A combination of his powerful, unseen presence, the heat spreading from her bottom and the way each blow forced her clitoris down hard onto the back of the chair was making her hot and wet. The spanking seemed endless. Her whole world had reduced to the small space they occupied and that space was full of heat and pain. Just as the safe-word he had given her forced its way into her consciousness, he stopped. The downwards pressure of his hand was released and became once again a light reassuring touch. For maybe one minute maybe ten, he just stood there with his hand resting gently on her back while she fought to regain control of herself. He spoke for the first time, just two words: “well done”, and, retrieving his suit jacket, he was gone, the door closing with a soft click behind him.

Needing to let loose a reservoir of tension and nervous energy she pushed one hand into her wet panties, stroking fast while the other rubbed and squeezed her hot, sore bottom, reviving the sensations of the spanking. She came fast and hard, slipping to the floor as she did so. Dazed, she gathered herself together and stood under a hot shower in the suite’s beautiful bathroom, at one point shaking uncontrollably in a release of pure emotion. Feeling better, in fact feeling beautifully calm and relaxed, floaty even, she dressed and, pulling the door of the suite closed behind her, took the lift down to the lobby.

His last message had said: “If you feel the need to talk about it afterwards, I shall be in the lobby bar by the piano”. She spotted him immediately, long legs folded, drink on the table, newspaper in hand. She had fully intended to talk to him; after all they had never met, never even spoken. But something stopped her. Maybe this was how their relationship was meant to be: a virtual, social media relationship, carried on in chatrooms and blogs; knowing each other intimately and yet not at all. As she approached he looked up, eyes staring straight into hers, eyebrows raised slightly in enquiry. She held his gaze and, confident now she was doing the right thing, offered him a quiet smile and a small nod and walked on, heading back into the airport’s endless tunnels.

#Lippie Entry: Rebel, by @Chiaroscuro

The story below is an entry for my Lippie competition, by the wonderful @chiaroscuro.

Rebel

She plays pinball and she feeds the jukebox. She’s done this for going on for an hour. A pound in the jukebox, careful, lip-biting, brow-furrowing deliberation, then walking but subtly dancing to herself back to the pinball machine. A pound in there and she plays and plays.

And it’s a constant effort to not look at her.

Nothing about her demeanour suggests that she’s noticed me, she seems totally, joyously unselfconscious. The pub is sparsely populated. A few old soaks drinking silently together. They’d be here alone, if they had to be. A couple of students from the university drinking the strongest cider they sell. Me, waiting for a perennially late friend. And her. And her.

Pretty and slight and pixieish. Jeans, an old t-shirt that she could fit into three times over, some dainty little flats that just make her seem smaller, no makeup. An absence of effort appears to have gone into her look but she is utterly, intoxicatingly at home with it.

I pretend to concentrate on some pointless smartphone game but i’m just tapping a blank screen. She stands, one foot on top of the other, toes turned in, in front of the screen as she, yet again, chooses the soundtrack to our afternoon.

Her fingers start pressing the buttons quickly, decisively. She’s hit a rich seam and a heartbeat later, the jangly, jagged sound of early Bowie floods the bar. Grinning to herself, she walks back to the pinball machine and plays, her hips flicking in sympathy with the flippers.

I watch her moving, more intently now that she’s so thoroughly absorbed. The hips, obviously, the t-shirt draped over them. But the line of her bowed head, her exposed neck. I imagine my hands, my lips on her. I imagine taking a fistful of that t-shirt and pulling her close, bending to kiss her before even knowing her name, before even hearing her voice. I imagine pulling her jeans down and taking her over the pinball machine. I imagine the feel of her lips on me, pulling me deeper into her. I imagine the taste of her and how her hands would feel knotted tightly in my messy hair.

I down my drink. Not because I want to, but because I want an easy excuse to talk to her. As I approach I hear her singing quietly to herself…

“…torn your dress
Rebel rebel, your face is a mess
Dumdeedumdee, how could they know
Hot tramp, I love you so…”

I pause as I pass her, timing my line so she can hold the ball in a flipper.

“Excuse me, could I buy you a drink?”

She frowns, ever so slightly.

“No, you’re alright. thanks though.”

I buy my beer and head back to my table. But it’s changed, she knows that she’s being observed and she’s still, her hips aren’t moving, suddenly conscious of herself. I’ve ruined it. My friend arrives and I’m grateful for his presence. We talk of work and sport and meaningless stuff.  Soon, I look up and she’s left, her half-finished beer next to the pinball table.

#Lippie: The Entries

The full list of entries to my #Lippie competition. Entries will be added as and when they’re submitted. Closing date is October 11th, 2015. Enjoy!

  1. Cockney by @19syllables
  2. Sin by @girlonthenet
  3. Flamingos and Wolves by @cherrytartblog
  4. On Hold by @mollysdailykiss
  5. Rebel by @loucheasfuck
  6. Impassioned by @innocentlb
  7. Costa Chic by @GoodnightAngela
  8. Lipstick Color by @cammiesonfloor
  9. Politely Pink by @CollaredMom
  10. Lady Danger by @Mansplanation
  11. Peach Blossom by @Juniper3Glasgow
  12. Flat Out Fabulous by @Katya_Harris
  13. Runway Hit by @BilliousOne
  14. Real Redhead by Peter Stone
  15. Dubonnet by Robert S
  16. Myth by @DarkJezebelle
  17. Syrup by @Absolutely_Ruby
  18. Cosmo by @vidabailey2
  19. Crème in Your Coffee by @fdotleonora
  20. Kinda Sexy by @RiaRestrepo
  21. Saigon Summer by @octogirlscares
  22. Highlights by @mandapen
  23. Fanfare by @IAmAnnaSky
  24. No Persistence Here by @VenaRamphal
  25. Hot Tahiti by @JillyBoyd
  26. See Sheer by @StellaKiink
  27. Brave by @Tomwatched

I’ve got a guest! #03: Kristina Lloyd on Writing on the Body

Kristina last guested for me when her last novel Undone was released. She’s been quiet for a while so I’m incredibly thrilled that she’s just published a collection of her short stories, On My Knees. The collection opens with one of my favourite of Kristina’s shorts, No Sleep, which features some super hot Sharpie action. As writing on the body is a relatively new kink of mine, and one that recurs in Kristina’s work, she kindly offered to write me a guest post on why it’s just so bloody hot…

Writing on the Body 

Pete withdrew his hand from my breast – much too soon – and pressed it to the flat of my chest, telling me to keep still. It was difficult. Passion made my thighs tremble and my head spin.

Then I felt the cool tackiness of Ilya pressing the lipstick to my back.

‘What letter’s this, Beth?’ he asked as the lipstick snaked a winding path from a few inches below one shoulderblade and down almost to waist level.

‘S,’ I whispered.

‘Good girl,’ breathed Ilya. ‘And this?’

As he stroked a lipstick line down my back, the other guy gave my clit a series of tiny circular rubs, the pad of his thumb hard and abrasive.

‘Oh God,’ I cried, my body swaying with delirium. ‘I can’t take it. Please –’

‘Keep still, Beth,’ urged Ilya. ‘What letter was that?’

‘L,’ I gasped. ‘L.’

Pete carried on leering, giving my clitoris the odd teasing flick or two. Ilya continued drawing on my back.

‘And that one?’ said Ilya, quietly demanding.

‘U,’ I said, a hint of weary resignation in my voice.

‘Well done, Beth,’ said Ilya. ‘S-L-U ­– What’s the next letter?’

I could feel all my juices flooding from my pussy on to Pete’s hand. My arousal was more humiliating than being humiliated. 

(from Asking for Trouble, Kristina Lloyd)

*

Erotic humiliation features heavily in my fiction, tending towards the psychological rather than the physical. For the most part, the humiliation arises from the woman’s failure to be sexually appropriate and decorous. She might be shamed by being ‘forced’ into acts which debase her, such as cocksucking (because nice girls don’t) or shamed for having sexual desire (because yup, nice girls don’t). In all cases, her worth and status are lowered. Writing on the body is, for me, a quick, powerful means of achieving degradation (that lowering) and eliciting those concomitant hot feelings of shame. In this piece I want to attempt to unpick why that might be; not to offer an insight into my twisted psyche, but because I think it’s super interesting, and often useful, to explore the underpinnings and dynamics of kink, both psychological and socio-cultural.

Humiliation is about falling from grace; about failing to meet or adhere to a social value system. It requires a public, even if it’s just a public of one, who brings that value system to bear on the wayward individual. Where it gets particularly interesting for me is when the humiliatee sets no store by the value system they are deemed to have failed. The public system, or representative of it, must then ramp up their activity so the failure is recognised and, ideally, felt in the gut by the individual who’s attempted to bypass the shared values. The rebel must be shown the error of their ways and brought back into line. They must be punished by being publicly shamed.

In our culture, women are not permitted to have a sexual appetite proportionate to men’s. When we overstep the mark, society has  names for us ­– slut, whore, cumdumpster, skank, tramp, slag and so on – words which all have the same meaning: you are having a lot of sex. In this context, ‘ a lot’, of course, means ‘too much for our liking’.

If, as the accused woman, your response is ‘Hey, I am having a lot of sex, thanks, isn’t that awesome?’, it’s still hard to escape the pejorative sting of words intended to shame, of words which carry the values one has tried to ignore or evade.

Words such as slut, whore, tramp etc, are layered with meaning and inference. They equate to ‘lots of sex’ which, for many people, is cool because lots of sex is exciting. The words also, for me, carry the thrill of shame which taps right into my personal submissive desires. The process of being shamed means, for the duration, the humiliatee is exposed for being outside the value system, be it the value system of a society or a house of kink in the countryside. The disobedient person is made lesser by their outsider status and their failure to conform. They need to be taught a lesson so they’ll think twice before straying again. During the lesson, they have no right to reply. They are being shown their failure and are being taken deeper, lower, closer to a place that is beyond culture or rules in order to then be brought back. (The word ‘humiliate’ has its etymological roots in the Latin ‘humus’, meaning ground or earth.) As punishment, they are being reduced by being done to by a greater power.

I get off on scenarios of women being done to; of women being rendered so insignificant and worthless that her male adversaries needn’t behave decently out of respect for her personhood or her femaleness. And I like (the idea of) unrestrained (archetypal) masculinity because it trashes all those notions that say women aren’t really into sex; that they need to be approached at an oblique angle, seduced into ‘surrender’, then gently made love to on a bearskin rug by the fireside.

Submission and being shamed for having sexual hunger is often a way for me (or my characters) to say ‘Have at me, big boy! I like it just as bad as you.’

What does all this have to do with writing on the body? Language is a social phenomenon. Words require a reader. A person wearing signage intended to shame comes with a ready-made implied and disapproving audience.  A few years ago in the States, a deeply unpleasant trend arose for parents disciplining their kids by forcing them to wear placards listing their domestic misdemeanors. Fortunately, the practice was short-lived but it spawned the internet meme we see now where pets are shamed by signs, the joke being that animals can’t read (so woof, no harm done).

Shaming someone with written words emphasises the viewing, reading public, making it a very efficient means of humiliation. With just a few strokes of ink, it states the crime and shames the criminal. Bring this practice into the erotic arena and skin becomes a canvas, the naked body the signboard. The implied audience doesn’t just read the words, they see the person stripped bare, exposed, powerless and vulnerable. Add text to a bare body and, thanks to that implied audience, the inscribed person becomes so much more naked;  there’s potentially a whole bunch of ‘outside’ eyes on them, those metaphorically clothed representatives of the disregarded value system.

When it is written on, the body becomes an object. The living, breathing individual, with their protective ego and their dignity, is diminished. I don’t have space here to delve in to the liberating pleasure many submissive-identifying folk derive from being stripped of the attributes comprising our social selves, of becoming de-civilised. But if language and literacy are one of the hallmarks of an advanced society, it’s easy to see why being turned into a tool that facilitates an expression of that advancement highlights the power disparity between the writer and the written upon, between dom and sub, between being a person and being parchment.

Top all those factors off with the speed, convenience and spontaneity a writing implement affords, and you have a neat and nasty means of erotic humiliation at a dominant’s disposal. While many people kink for elaborate, ritualised forms of punishment, my own preference is for shabbier, less structured expressions of powerplay. When Ilya from my second book, Asking for Trouble, makes a cameo appearance in my fifth book, Undone, he asks Lana, ‘I assume you have a lipstick in your bag? May I?’

He doesn’t need any kit to humiliate and horrify Lana; just a tube of colour and her skin. He doesn’t need to be prepared and that lack of forethought again implies a de-valuing of the person to be punished. And yet speed also implies value: the feelings she stirs in him are so powerful and immediate, that he, the dominant or punisher, is going to act on them right now. (In RL, I don’t believe men are beasts with uncontrollable urges but that dubious stereotype is a hot line to pursue in the realm of consensual play, fantasy and fiction.) Similarly, in ‘No Sleep’, the opening story of my newly released short story collection, On My Knees, the dominant guy rejects an available bag of cuffs, gags, blindfolds etc in favour of a sudden idea inspired by a Sharpie he finds in his pocket. ‘It was a testament to his dark imagination he could reduce her to a sobbing wreck with so little equipment.’

Writing on the body of the shamed, submissive woman encapsulates and condenses so many facets of my own desire. I like a lot of kinky stuff but this small act carries a big erotic charge. In today’s popular culture, sexual submission is frequently represented by the external trappings of that red room of pain, by equipment and fancy stuff that costs time and money. And while all that gear can be awesome, when we look behind those easy media depictions, we can start to see a sexuality that’s often complex, paradoxical, slippery, unsettling, and is rooted in both the personal and the political. I’ve used an awful lot of words here to fumble my way towards some kind of point. As the saying goes, ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’. And of course, each to her own, but for me the pen, the lipstick, the literate badges of shame, are far mightier than the tawse, paddle or fully equipped dungeon.

*

You can read the entirety of my short story ‘No Sleep’ via Amazon’s preview of On My Knees or by downloading a sample to your Kindle. And if you’re up for some lipstick-related fun, please check out my competition, Match the Writer to the Lipstick, and Charlie’s accompanying flash fiction lippy comp. One of the prizes on offer for each competition is a paperback of On My Knees. Charlie and I are both donating a pound per fiction-comp entrant to Refuge, the charity supporting victims of domestic violence. Closing dates are 11th October. Go!

PS: You can buy Kristina’s new anthology and her novels Asking for Trouble (my fave!) and Undone by clicking on the links below:

Asking for Trouble

Undone

On My Knees

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Lippie Entry: Cockney, by @19syllables

The story below is an entry for my Lippie competition, by the lovely @19syllables. You can find her on Twitter here.

Cockney

His voice is direct when he addresses me. I can’t write his accent, because I can’t speak the accent. It comes from within him, visceral and connected, as if he grew out of the ground on which he stands, and it is laced with lilt and twinkle that I can only marvel at. My reply jars in comparison. My voice is schooled, not grown in nature but perfected and corrected, glass-house propagated until each vowel is tight and clipped, no word left abandoned by its final consonant, the last of which tucks every sentence neatly in.

I skootch in under the awning to avoid the curtain of water cascading from the tarpaulin behind me. It keeps me closer than I’m comfortable, so I buy time with flustering of my umbrella, and the noises and bustle that English people make to convey their managing in wet weather. He stands calm until our familiar charade begins.

“Please may I have six figs.”

“Ripe now, or ready in a couple of days?”

“Ripe now”

He assembles his wide right hand and its squared-off fingers into a delicate bird’s head shape and tenderly pinches the top of each fig, feeling for just the correct amount of yield. He moves methodically from fruit to fruit. I breathe in long slow breaths, in and out, to fill the time in which I have no words.  The time in which I become aware of my breasts, warm inside my wet outer clothes, my nipples tightening as he moves between each pointed fleshy apex, our silence heavy around us. I’m unable to look away of his deliberate manipulation.

“…and I’d like 4 pears please. Are they good? Sometimes they can be so disappointing”

You see? I’ve used conversation, to diffuse the situation.  I have brought it back out, out from my warm clothes, and from my erect nipples ticking in my bra.  Back into the street in the rain, back to the safety of groceries and quality and value.

“Mine are always good. Have one.”

He passes me a pear, and takes one for himself. It’s a moment of shared appraisal so we stand, facing each other like wine tasters.

There isn’t a polite, disinterested way to eat a good pear, and this is a really good pear. We both sink our mouths into the flesh and quickly the whole fruit is wet and soft. It is so good that we don’t want to waste a single drop, of which there are many. They roll down our chins, our hands too wet to effectively address it.  There is only the sound of lips and sucking wetness.

To sidestep I decide to convey my positive review before I’ve finished. I use words like MmmMmmm, and Uuuungh and produce a sort of frown/smile to show that it is seriously good. He just eats and watches, a half smile on his face and his head tilted a little in observation. He seems in no hurry to get to the part where he puts fruit in a bag.

It is always like this. Soon I will leave with my fruit and vegetables, out from under the awning back into the rain. My skin charged and ignited by his touch when he gives me my change, (one giant, gnarly hand cupped lingeringly under mine to catch wayward coins). I will politely say “goodbye”, and “thank you” in my chiming Kensington tone, with perhaps, a jaunty observation about the weather. But as I walk away I’m still thinking about his pinching, cupping hands, them sliding up my dress to my soft and yielding flesh. Up my legs, to the softest skin between my thighs and to the apexes of my breasts. I think too about juice dripping. In my head he is tender and efficient, arrogant strength metred out with deliberation, knowledge and care. The muscles in my thighs and back feel tense and watery at the thought of it. I picture how he leaned forward to reach the furthest fruit, and I’m imagining myself bent at the waist beneath him, pressed into the vegetables, a frown/smile on my face and saying “MmmMmmm” and “Uuuungh” into the apples and pears.

On Rape Fantasy

TRIGGER WARNING This post contains information about sexual assault, rape and rape fantasy, which may be triggering.

‘No,’ I said. ‘Not now. This isn’t playing. You’re for real because you’re sick. You’re a cold, twisted bastard and you’re scaring me. And I’m for real because I’m scared. I want to leave.’

He carried on pumping his cock. ‘Are you saying no, you don’t want me to fuck you?’

‘Yes,’ I breathed. ‘I am.’

‘And are you saying no, you don’t want me to force you?’

I nodded.

Kristina Lloyd, Asking for Trouble

I remember the first time I saw someone tweet ‘I want someone to rape me.’ It was in context, insofar as the person who tweeted it regularly wrote about dark fantasies and non-consent, but it bothered me. Even in context, you couldn’t guarantee someone would make the distinction between fantasy and reality; when the tweet was out there on someone’s timeline, with no context at all, it seemed risky, irresponsible even. You didn’t admit to stuff like that unless you were absolutely certain who your audience were.

Rape fantasy is top of my fantasy list in the sense that it’s rare for me to masturbate to orgasm without imagining being forced into sex, sex with a stranger, or more often than not, a combination of the two. As I teenager, I frequented the non-consent/reluctance section of Literotica. I find it hard to lay my hands on erotic fiction that’s dark enough for my tastes (more on that later) – Asking for Trouble is very much the kind of thing I’m into, to the point where I lend it to partners in order to explain my kinks, but I don’t think a mainstream erotica publisher would touch it if it was being pitched today.

I’ve never been sexually abused/assaulted in real life and I recognise that I’m incredibly fortunate in that regard. I’ve also come a long way in my understanding of the impact that reading about rape or non-consent can have on people who have experienced those things – years ago, I bought Asking for Trouble as a gift for a friend who lent it to her friend, who had been sexually assaulted, without having read it first. These days I’m not sure I’d buy it for/lend it to anyone without warning them about the nature of the sex first. I’m entirely pro trigger-warnings. But here’s the thing, I think trigger warnings are a good thing for literature because they allow people to evaluate the content without having to read it but from a purely selfish point of view, there’s something else potentially great about them: they allow authors to take more risks. In theory.

I say in theory, because unless you self-publish (and even then, I imagine rape might be a problematic keyword on Amazon), I can’t see publishers wanting to print rape scenes that are not explicitly fantasy. That’s one problem. The other, I think, is making rape work in a narrative. There’s some good rape fantasy writing out there – Sweet Danger by Violet Blue contains several great stories on the theme – but 75%+ of the time, it follows the same pattern. The main character is forced into sex, sex they do not consent to, but end up enjoying. So far, so good. Except at the end, we almost always find out one of two things: either the character’s ‘rapist’ is actually her partner, or someone else she knows and has previously consented to/expressed a desire to be raped by. It’s rape fantasy in the truest sense.

I’ve had trouble piecing together the next bit in my head, so bear with me. Obviously, rape and rape fantasy are not the same thing. No one actually wants to be raped. But because almost all stories about non-consent now take the format detailed above, I can no longer suspend my disbelief sufficiently to believe that the FMC hasn’t consented to what’s happening at some point previously, which will be revealed later in the story. The whole thing is an entirely consensual set up. Which kind of takes the edge off. For me, anyway.

So, what do I want from rape fantasy in erotica? I’m not entirely sure I know. Not actual rape, obviously. But something darker, something scarier, than a well-thought out arrangement between an established couple. Rape fantasy gone wrong interests me (and turns me on, often), but when I’m writing it myself I still feel obliged to stop short of actual penetration, for fear of crossing some unspoken boundary.

Is there an answer? Are there good examples of what I’m looking for (in erotica or mainstream fiction), that I just haven’t come across yet? And if this is your kink or s subject on which you enjoy writing, how do you get round the issues above. I’d be interested to know, so, as always, comments are more than welcome.