Archive by Author

Take the Lead for a Hot Summer Fling! Passing Through Is Live!

1 Aug

By Alexa Day

Party people! I’ve just returned to the ranch from RWA Nationals, four days of revelry in Orlando surrounded by some of my favorite authors and in the company of my favorite reader — my mom. I just got back to town yesterday, and I will probably need a few days to recover from all the fun. In the meantime, why not have a look at my new release? It’s an expanded, revised version of Passing Through, the novella I had in last year’s Hero to Obey box set. If you’re looking for some femdom-themed fun with a military hero and a dollop of workplace inappropriate, after-hours contact, this might be just the thing for you.

Take just a tiny lick here:

 

OMG, what? A blurb? You bet your bippie!

The summer’s brought two surprises to bar owner Gigi Dean: the former Army Ranger she hired is the perfect barback, and he pleases her in bed as much as he does at work. Gigi swore long ago never to let a man come between her and her business, so allowing herself to succumb to her intense attraction to her employee for more than one night is a definite no-no. But for how long can she resist the desire to seduce this powerful alpha male? 

Right from the start, Noah Monroe told his boss that he was just passing through on the way to a more permanent job. He hasn’t told her that his hunger for her keeps him awake at night. He won’t have more than this summer with the gorgeous woman who is his perfect match. Can he coax her into his arms for a summer fling? Or will acting on instinct cost him everything he’s begun to love? 

Want a handful of that? Of course you do. Get to clicking! It’s free just now if you’re in Kindle Unlimited.

And follow Lady Smut.

 

Alexa J. Day Opens Up About Femdom and Her New Release

26 Jul

 

By Alexa Day

In just a few short days, an expanded version of my novella Passing Through will be released with Blushing Books. To celebrate the upcoming release, Lady Smut presents three days of femdom festivities in keeping with the alpha heroine’s personal proclivities.

For my part, I’m contributing an interview with author Alexa J. Day. We took a moment in both our intensely busy schedules to discuss the new Passing Through, femdom, and why a touch of the inappropriate can be a very good thing.

(Yes, I did interview myself. I do it fairly often. I suspect I’m not the only one here doing that, but that’s a story for another day. For right now, just go with it, okay?)

Coming soon: shirtlessness at work!

Alexa: So I read the original Passing Through, in last year’s Hero to Obey box set. Should I pick up the re-release when it comes out, too?

Also Alexa: Absolutely.

Alexa: Any particular reason?

Also Alexa: The best reason is that the new version is about 50% longer than the last version, which is no longer available for sale. So in the new edition, we get to spend more time with all the characters — out of bed and in bed as well. Seriously, I really enjoyed drawing the hero and heroine a little more out of their shells. Former Army Ranger and Superman of barbacks Noah Monroe and his employer, alpha female business owner Gigi Dean, spend more time center stage, revealing more of their histories and the facets of their personalities that bind them together. In a way, I feel like I’ve always known them, but this expansion made me want them together even more.

Alexa: There’s more sex in the new version, too, right?

Also Alexa: Indeed there is.

Alexa: What’s up with the femdom?

Also Alexa: So the heroine, Gigi, enjoys taking charge in bed, and Noah turns out to be an ideal partner for her. He’s all about delaying gratification, testing his body to its limits, and making sure Gigi gets everything she wants. I

All that, and a dominant black heroine, too? Click and get it today.

think romance fiction has any number of alpha male submissives. Joey W. Hill and Megan Hart write those characters brilliantly, and those guys match up incredibly well with their heroines. I’ve often said that Hill’s Natural Law is a seminal work, and her new book Truly Helpless is super hot. I wrote about Megan Hart’s Beg For It back when Passing Through first released, and I still think that heroine’s desire for genuine service for the sake of service from her partner echoes the desires of many a modern alpha woman. I do think that many readers are inclined to think that the male submissive can’t be alpha, which is unfortunate. I mean, if we think a man is reduced by his desire to meet a woman’s needs — to the letter — then I think we must examine the level of importance we assign to our own needs. Gigi’s desires are so important to her that she entrusts them to her most capable employee and leaves nothing open to interpretation. To me, the best part is that Noah agrees. Of course, that leads to more problems, but that’s what makes romance awesome.

Alexa: Gigi is Noah’s boss at work, too, which is kind of a complication for her. Is the notion of office romance still taboo?

Also Alexa: I think it is for Gigi. Her business has been in the family for a long time, and she’s still worried that

Another workplace inappropro romance. Click to see that guy in the suit on his knees.

she’ll let her family down if she makes a mistake. Something like this is a big risk for her. If office romance was universally accepted, and it’s kind of close these days, Gigi would probably still feel the same way. It’ll probably always be a taboo for her.

Alexa: So when can we get hold of your book?

Also Alexa: Passing Through will drop this Friday, July 28. The easiest way to keep track of it and future releases is to subscribe to my newsletter. You’ll get a short story for free, and I’ll let you know whenever something is out and ready for you. I’ll also have exclusive stuff you cannot get anywhere else.

Alexa: Thanks so much for joining me on Lady Smut!

Also Alexa: You bet. Thanks for having me.

Alexa J. Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and licensed attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

 

On Fire Week Continues with a Femdom Twofer Tuesday

18 Jul

Click and get your copy right now — today!

By Alexa Day

We’re celebrating the release of Rachel Kramer Bussel’s anthology, On Fire, all week long, but today is extra special. This is the release date for the electronic edition of On Fire, so if you’ve got a Kindle, you could be reading right now. While you’re clicking, On Fire Week continues with a glimpse of one of my favorite subgenres: femdom.

As my colleague Rachel Kramer Bussel promised yesterday, the On Fire anthology contains a femdom story, entitled “Dreams Made Flesh.” The couple featured in the story is just starting to explore the world of female domination together. The protagonist must overcome his fear of revealing his particular submissive inclinations. He revels in competition with other men for his lover’s attention — my favorite analogy pairs the male submissive with the knight riding in the queen’s service, and author Lawrence Westerman does the same here. But the story’s sensual core lies with the protagonist’s willingness to own his submission, with his lover and with others, until he finds the pleasure he most desires with the dominant woman of his fantasies.

“Dreams Made Flesh” is an enchanting story about two people learning to acknowledge their own needs and meet their partners on their journey to pleasure. A great story to leave on your partner’s pillow if you’re struggling with that tricky conversation in real life. I love stories like that, don’t you?

Click here and get your very own copy of On Fire right this second. When you’re done, I’ve got another surprise for you all.

Ready?

No shirt? Mo’ service! Stay tuned to hear more about this hot military femdom story!

That’s the cover for my own, newly expanded femdom story, Passing Through, which first appeared in last year’s Hero to Obey box set. The novella pairs bar owner Gigi Dean with former Army Ranger Noah Monroe. As Gigi’s best employee, Noah should be off limits. She should do the right thing and refuse to act on the immense attraction between them.

But that wouldn’t be much fun, would it? Seriously, does that sound like the sort of thing I’m going to advocate in the fabulous world of erotic fiction?

I’ll have more to share about Passing Through next week, just in time for its release. Right now, build on the summer heat with your own copy of On Fire.

And follow Lady Smut.

The ‘O’ in ‘Team’: Would You Hire a Sex Coach?

11 Jul
You could go all the way. Heyo!

You could go all the way. Heyo!

By Alexa Day

Hello, neighbors! I’m hard at work this morning — FOR YOU — but I wanted to leave you with something to think about today. So think about this oldie but goodie from way back when. I’ll catch up to you again soon.

As part of my Post-Tax Clutter Purge and Shred Festival, I gathered up a lot of my old magazines to send to various magazine-seeking charities. Among this year’s odd discoveries were a stash of Cosmopolitans (not sure how those got here), a Playgirl (I know exactly how that got here), a People Sexiest Man Alive issue with Pierce Brosnan on the cover, and the June 2012 issue of GQ.

I got rid of the Cosmos, stashed the Playgirl and the People, and sat down with the GQ. I always enjoy my time with GQ. It’s nice to keep track of high fashion for men because real life is not providing me with useful examples of what erotic romance characters wear. But the June 2012 issue answered two questions for me and raised a third.

Question 1: What is this fascination with Michael Fassbender? The June 2012 issue features a lovely interview with Mr. Fassbender, who is a better looking fellow than I had first supposed. I think I was wrongly blaming him for whatever is now happening to the X-Men movie franchise. I hope he’ll forgive me for that someday.

Question 2: Where has Mark Strong been all my life? Mr. Strong is in the June 2012 issue, too, along with a handful of iconic movie villains. Big as life, with a safety pin in his mouth. He’s been right in front of me, apparently. I spent a little time imagining how the words “right in front of you” would sound in that voice. Then I had a really cold beverage and returned to my reading.

Question 3: Would I hire a sex coach to watch me have sex in the comfort and privacy of my home and then help me out with some pointers? Here’s a link to the article I read about Eric Amaranth. Check it out, along with the best headline ever.

Would I? Would you? Think about it.

Oh, come on. If you had an answer that quickly, you didn’t really think about it. Think about it.

Tab A in the slot formation.

Tab A in the slot formation.

First, let’s look at this in a general sense. I don’t mind telling you that I don’t know everything there is to know about sex. In fact, I would shy away from people who told me they did know everything there is to know. I’m delighted to report that there’s more for me to know and that the body of knowledge gets bigger every day. I keep a reading list and a little library here. I want to achieve my best possible performance sexually, and why not? I mean, I’m not putting any pressure on myself (heyo!). I just wonder if it’s possible to have more than what I have right now, and I think that’s a nice thing to wonder about.

But would I want a coach right here on the sidelines? Do I want that sort of practical hands-on and hands-off (mine on, his off) study?

I honestly don’t know. Seriously, I can’t answer that question. With the right partner, it might make for quite the experience. Even without a partner, it still has the potential to be fascinating.

And let’s consider our alternatives. There’s book learnin’, which is spectacular but has its limits. There’s personal experience, which is as limited as the person; bedding Tom only teaches you how to bed Tom, and only as well as he knows at the time. It leaves much to learn about bedding Dick and Harry. It also leaves out the things Tom doesn’t know but would like to know if he knew about them.

On top of that, there’s the lure of knowledge for knowledge’s sake. The world offers no more seductive whisper than this: “There’s so much more to learn.”

(Darn you, Mark Strong. Darn you to heckfire.)

So would I? Would you? Let me know what you think.

And remember: there’s no ‘I’ in Lady Smut. Follow us and see.

Three Diversions for the Fourth

4 Jul

Get your fireworks wherever you can, neighbors.

By Alexa Day

A merry Fourth of July to those who celebrate!

There’s always some measure of conflict about how the Fourth is best celebrated in the States and among Americans abroad. Does the day call for a trip to the beach? A cookout? Baseball game? Fireworks? What would best embody the nation’s ideals? Does the nation still have ideals?

This year, I mark the Fourth of July with one of my family’s enduring American values: I’m working. Work is the backbone of both sides of my family, so it would feel kind of strange to have nothing to do. But the spirit of the American workplace also demands an outlet for distractions. There’s little sense to working on a holiday if you’re not going to spend part of the day goofing off.

So for those of you who are working today, and those of you who are not, I present a brief list of holiday distractions. I just have one request for you all. When you encounter those who are working today, be good to them. It’s not enough to say that freedom’s not free. For a lot of Americans, freedom is damned expensive.

Now go have fun.

1. Playboy is on point as always. Get ready to see the founding fathers in a whole new light as the venerable Bunny Mag takes you on a kinky trip through America’s past. Feel free to break out those factoids when your fellow partygoer insists on the annual history lecture. He probably doesn’t know that Ben Franklin preferred cougars.

Also, this article about Pornhub’s new interactive porn caught my eye — you guys know I love the teledildonics. Pornhub says their interactive offerings are mostly (entirely) for men and their sex toys, but they’ll be sure to have something for the ladies soon. We must fight for our rights, my friends, and hold them to it.

2. OMGYes has been around for a long time, but I’m really just becoming aware of it. It’s a large repository of women sharing their frank observations about what gets them off. (Hint: the clitoris offers a near-infinite variety of avenues to climax, the most pleasurable of which are the least direct.) It’ll cost you to get in there, but $39 is a small price to pay for so much wisdom. Indeed, for some of us, that money is a tax deduction. Ain’t America grand?

3. Teen Vogue has emerged as a powerhouse of American journalism, and I am so, so proud to be able to say that without irony. Its standout political coverage, along with fashion articles and a feature on cake decorating that delivers on its every promise, declares to this nation and the world that the interests of teen girls are diverse, all-encompassing, and not limited to teen girls. Don’t sleep on the girls. Don’t sleep on Teen Vogue.

Guess what made me happiest? You got it — this article on BDSM and consent. It refers to itself as the “teen’s guide to understanding consent in BDSM,” and its crux, that uninformed consent is not consent at all, should be printed on billboards. Also not consent? Coerced consent. Such as when someone threatens to leave the relationship in his helicopter — or other conveyance, whatever — unless you do whatever he wants without complaint.

Actually, you know what? I’m no good at being coy. I’ll just drop a quote here.

“Christian Grey essentially coerced an inexperienced novice into a world of kink— she consented, but she didn’t even know what she was consenting to,” says Gigi Engle for Teen Vogue. “That is problematic and it is wrong.”

Her truth is marching on.

Have a happy Fourth and follow Lady Smut for all the fireworks.

For Love and Money: On Paying for Companionship

20 Jun

It’s not always about the Benjamins.

By Alexa Day

Making the rounds in my corner of social media is the story of Heidy Pandora, a 24-year-old who says she is a full-time traveler. After her first trip to Mexico, she discovered she loved seeing different parts of the world. But travel is expensive. In fact, the hefty price tags kept Heidy from exploring the world as much as she wanted to.

Then she found MissTravel.com, a website for travel dating. In other words, Miss Travel connects people interested in journeying to a specific destination. Women can participate on MissTravel for free. Members propose a trip, connect with someone else interested in visiting the chosen locale, and then arrange to travel together or meet up at the destination.

Heidy says up front that she has sex with some but not all of her travel companions, and that some of them are married. She says she prefers the married guys because they’re less likely to become emotionally attached. She’s about getting stamps in her passport, not a ring on her finger.

She’s also serious about not paying to travel with the guys she meets online. MissTravel requires members to upload a photo (something all dating sites should do, in my opinion), and it allows members to state a preference not to pay for trips.

It bears mentioning that site founder Brandon Wade is also the founder and CEO of SeekingArrangement.com. SeekingArrangement, geared toward sugar babies and the folks who support them, touts something called Mutually Beneficial Arrangements. The fact that they’ve trademarked the phrase basically sums up the nature of the site.

The headline for Heidy’s story calls her a sugar baby. I’m not sure that’s a fair characterization. Heidy is meeting up with people who will pay to travel with her, with the possibility of sex along the way. For her, the travel is the point. For the sugar baby, it’s all about the money. Money flows directly to the sugar baby, and so far as I can tell, the sugar baby’s relationship is far more likely to be sexual.

The concept of sex as currency makes a lot of people uncomfortable, but women have been exchanging sex for things of value as long as there have been women and things of value. If we want to be cynical about it (and I do, thanks for asking), we might describe much of the history of marriage as the exchange of sex for things of value. I think it’s just uncomfortable for people to be confronted by it. We might all be happier if the sugar babies and paid travel companions were plying their trade quietly, where we can’t see it, instead of in social media. At the same time, there’s a reason — perhaps an ugly reason — that billionaire romances were doing so well until the events of last winter.

I’d tell you to hop on the Maestra bandwagon, but no way these folks use a bandwagon. Click to buy.

Heidy’s story reminds me of Maestra, a novel Elizabeth Shore recommended not long ago. Heroine Judith Rashleigh enters a world of paid companionship and finds herself very much at home, even when she’s on the run, among wealthy people who sweep her up into their world. Judith just has to know her place and do as she’s told, and off she goes from one exotic locale to the next, gathering cash along the way. But Judith is capable of much more than her comrades know. The inner play of her emotions and her motivations, sometimes quite at odds with her outward appearance, makes for fascinating reading.

(By the way, two of us at Lady Smut have now granted their imprimatur to Maestra. If you grab it now, you’ll be ready for the sequel, Domina, when it comes out next month.)

But what to make of the paid companion and her somewhat seedier sister, the sugar baby? I had a difficult time coming to my usual position, to let a girl do what she wants as long as she’s chosen to do it and isn’t hurting anyone. Heidy’s been to 20 countries in three years. A high percentage of sugar babies are leaving college debt free, a thought that makes this attorney whimper wistfully. And even we call this prostitution, as some sugar babies do, the feminist in me says that if a woman owns her body, she should be free to sell it.

Still, something about this makes me uncomfortable.

For the right woman, clearly, arrangements work.

But how does the wrong woman discover that’s she’s not cut out for the world of pay for play?

Follow Lady Smut. We’ll keep it casual.

Alexa Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and licensed attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

 

Loving, Fiercely: Fifty Short Years

13 Jun

I bow to the Loving Project, both for this image and for their spectacular coverage of Loving Day 50.

By Alexa Day

Yesterday, June 12, 2017, was the fiftieth anniversary of the United States Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which made interracial marriage legal across the country. Loads of adorable interracial couples took to the Internet yesterday to thank Richard and Mildred Loving for their determination to defend their marriage against long-standing state law. This super-cute gallery is from last year, but couples turn up every year to smooch and be thankful.

Every year, someone asks me the same question.

“Alexa, are people still opposed to interracial marriage? After all this time, is that still a thing?”

In fairness, I have not heard that question yet this year. Maybe current events are answering the dubious for me. Nothing like hearing that some specimen left a noose at the National Museum of African American History and Culture to convince a person that yes, Virginia, people do still have an issue with racial equality.

But I’m going to approach this question squarely and honestly, by asking all of you to approach this question squarely and honestly. Take an objective look at the world around you.

Consider that 33 years after the Loving decision, Alabama finally got around to taking their anti-miscegenation law off the books. Consider that somewhere out there, someone’s first thought was that if the law was invalid anyway, why shouldn’t it hang out on the books for 33 years?

Consider that in 2009, there was a justice of the peace who would take the time to determine if a couple was interracial before refusing to marry them. In 2009. You might recall that the President of the United States at that time was the product of an interracial marriage.

And consider the many, many people who still endure hostile stares, snide remarks, ignorant questions, longstanding arguments with their families, and the occasional bold stranger who demands to know why they’ve chosen to marry outside their race. This will seem odd in a world where Richonne and a black Bachelorette and the golden days of Scandal are fresh in people’s minds. But in the real world, out there on the sidewalk with you, someone’s mom is being mistaken for the nanny. This happens all over the world, every day. Hip hop artist Eve, athletic goddess Serena Williams, and Prince Harry’s honey Meghan Markle have all had to take questions about the intersection of their racial identities and their love lives, and I promise that if it is happening to the three of them in the public eye, someone you know is having to deal with nastier questions.

So how do we fight this?

How a man looks at his wife is one thing. How he looks at the camera is quite another.

Take a lesson from Richard Loving. This is my favorite photo of him, with his arm around his wife. Mildred is smiling at someone off to our right, perhaps in the middle of a cheerful conversation about something other than being at the center of this court case.

Richard is looking right at us. His is the face of a man who knows his job is to keep his wife smiling, who takes his job very seriously, and who dares a nation of lookie-loos to make something of it.

Tell the Court I love my wife.

Or, if you’ll let me put frank language into his mouth: Fuck you. We’re happy.

How do we beat bigotry?

Choose happiness. Do it consistently, especially when people seem determined to make trouble. I can tell you from experience that this is harder than it sounds. One can only hear ignorant questions about what the sex is like or what everyone’s parents think so many times before wanting to flip out.

But today, we are much closer to a world where no one takes issue with marriage equality because of two ordinary people who wouldn’t back down. The least we can do is follow their example.

Love fiercely, my friends. And follow Lady Smut.

Speaking of loving fiercely, esteemed colleague Elizabeth SaFleur has a new release this week. Lucky is about a different sort of opposites attracted to each other, but my guess is that you can count on more BDSM in Lucky than in the average Supreme Court opinion. Click to score your copy of this super hot book about two people accustomed to getting what they want.

Click and go get it!

Billionaire, entertainment investor and resolute bachelor Derek Damon Wright and dance studio owner Samantha Rose are unprepared for their mutual attraction to one another. She desperately wants to have a baby, and family doesn’t match Derek’s sophisticated life of private jets, vacations in the Caribbean and his BDSM activities. Yet a magnetic passion draws them closer—at least until their past mistakes arise and threaten all hope of a real future.

All of the Above: Can Romance Play the Field?

6 Jun

What’s wrong with this picture? Not a damned thing.

By Alexa Day

I’m reading a book right now in which the heroine enjoys the abundant sexual charms of three partners. My guess is that she’ll eventually choose one of them — the cover for the next book in the series features two guys instead of three. But right now, she’s making no move to settle down.

The book is Taking Turns by J.A. Huss, and the heroine has an agreement with the three men. There are a number of stipulations, but once I heard that their arrangement basically entailed their putting her up in a nice apartment to take turns sleeping with her, I knew this was a story I needed to have.

It is romance’s most binding promise: the heroine will win, every time.

We can be sure that at the end of the story, she will be in a good place in her relationship, whatever that might look like. Maybe she’s getting ready to settle down with one guy. Maybe she’s establishing a relationship with a couple of guys (or more) in a relationship unit. I don’t object to that. Not really.

But this week, a troubling question tugged at my imagination.

Is the heroine winning big enough?

Put another way, why choose? Whatever happened to D: all of the above?

The modern romance heroine is a smart, successful, attractive woman. In the 21st century, a woman like that could — and honestly, ought to — have her choice of men. Indeed, more than one man would certainly be interested in her. But the modern romance heroine has less reason to settle down than ever. She’s at the top of her game, and she probably knows it. Why should she ever limit herself?

Even if she ultimately decides to choose one partner, why shouldn’t she take full advantage of what men have to offer first?

Chella is LIVING THE DREAM. Click to get some of that good stuff for yourself.

It’s important to note that this is neither menage nor polyamory. Both menage and polyamory involve multiple partners, yes. But in both situations, the men are aware of each other and have consented to share. They’re in a unit. Choosing menage or polyamory is settling down.

I’m talking about playing the field, in all its springtime glory, for as long as men will permit it. I’ve written it before. The heroine of Illicit Impulse has a bestie with benefits and an object of her more chaste desire. And in “Three, After Midnight,” the heroine enjoys a night of bliss with the spirit of her deceased husband, who’s borrowing the body of a hottie she seduced for that purpose.

Where’s the fun in limiting a fabulous heroine to one man, right? Why not let her have as much as she wants for as long as she wants to have it and her partners are willing to supply it?

I think there’s a group of romance readers who want, need and long for a heroine who is desired by many men, and who is determined to enjoy her status for as long as possible. I think romance readers need to know that in our abundant world, their heroine is free to lick as many men as will permit it. Their heroine doesn’t live in a world of masculine scarcity, and neither do they.

Consider Scandal in its golden days. For a long while, Olivia Pope thoroughly enjoyed the attentions of the President of the United States and the enigmatic Jake Ballard. When they had the audacity to suggest she choose one of them, she laughed and said she chose herself instead. She went right on sleeping with the both of them for as long as they permitted it — until Jake decided he wasn’t getting what he needed from the arrangement and bowed out.

And I’m reminded of a formative experience.

Look at those eyes, pleading, “Pick me! Pick me!”

I saw Tequila Sunrise in the theater in 1988, when I was quite young and impressionable. In the film, restaurant owner Michelle Pfeiffer must choose between reformed drug dealer Mel Gibson and police lieutenant Kurt Russell. That might not be a tough call today, knowing what we know, but in 1988, that was not an easy decision to make at all. I’m proud to say that Michelle spent the entire movie trying to make up her mind, and when it was all over, I left wondering how I could become a restaurant owner.

If Tequila Sunrise has a moral, it was to tell this child of the 80s that she could, in fact, have it all.

There should probably be limitations. The requirement that each men know about the others is not just about informed consent; I think it actually keeps everyone at their sharpest and most competitive. And of course, everyone would be free to stop playing as soon as things stopped working for them. Even in “Three, After Midnight,” the wrestling coach who found himself possessed by an eager spirit exercised his option to back out.

But with that in mind, why shouldn’t a heroine explore as many men — and as many relationships — as she wants?

Is there room in romance for a heroine to find more than one happily ever after, with more than one man, in more than one relationship?

Is it time for D: all of the above?

Follow Lady Smut. We won’t make you pick a lane.

Alexa Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and licensed attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

 

Gentlemen Prefer Marriage: Emmanuelle de Maupassant and the Bonds of Matrimony

23 May

It’s a big step. And not for everybody.

By Alexa Day

The historical romance thrives on change. Evolution keeps it fresh as it provides all that candy historical fans love so much. The fabulous details, the excitement of past events, even those exotic speech patterns — it’s all wonderful. But if the historical romance weren’t making subtle changes to keep up with its readers, it might lose some of that popularity.

Consider the historical’s focus on marriage. Once upon a time, the historical hero was all about avoiding marriage. While he tried to keep his freedom, he found himself ensnared by the meek heroine, enchanted by the calculating miss, or surrendering to some constellation of circumstances leading him to the altar before he’s ready. Marriage ultimately suits him quite well, but the fun part is watching him learn that for himself.

Emmanuelle de Maupassant sets this convention on its ear in two of her stories, where the heroines spend most of the action taking a pass on marriage. Commitment doesn’t agree with them, and they’d do any modern lady proud with their insistence on independence.

A bachelorette party at *this* club? Your friends would never stop talking. Click to buy.

I mentioned The Gentlemen’s Club before, a while back, when I was talking about what a woman-owned sex club ought to look like. The heroine, Maud, is in charge of her male clientele’s erotic experience. Her shows and tableaux are designed to arouse them and to free women to perform. They’re in control of the male gaze. Men look where Maud tells them to look. Remember that line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding? “The man is the head, but the woman is the neck,” the heroine’s mother explains, “and she can turn the head any way she wants.”

Maud is the neck. And she knows it.

After a night of erotic humiliation, Lord Macaulay can’t forget Maud, and he’s obsessed with the idea of possessing her. First, he’s determined to subject her to the same erotic treatment, but before long, he turns to a remedy that’s always available to her. He decides he wants to marry her.

Maud’s work comes with any number of people who are interested in keeping her to themselves, but she has no real reason to get married. Her entire life lies outside Victorian convention. She has nothing to gain from marriage and a great deal to lose. She’d have to pass on her abundance of sex partners, and she knows that sooner or later, she’d have to let go of her life’s work.

Marriage? No thanks.

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Highland Pursuits, Emmanuelle’s newest release, moves forward in time to 1928. The heroine, Ophelia, has declined an advantage marriage proposal, and her mother sends her to Scotland as punishment.

I know. I mean, I’m not a parent. But seriously, how is that a punishment?

Once in Scotland, at her grandmother’s castle, Ophelia takes in the wisdom of her elders, who enjoyed a variety of suitors before settling down into marriage with equals. They were able to marry happily because life experience taught them about themselves. Before long, Ophelia gradually surrenders her innocence to several other guests at the family estate. It’s not the predictable fuck-fest; she finds frustration, heartbreak, and jealousy alongside pleasure and excitement. But ultimately, she arrives at a conclusion that would displease her mother a great deal.

“I’m trying on versions of myself, she concluded, to see how they fit. Aren’t I doing just as a planned, exploring what it means to be a woman, without becoming a dreary wife?”

She’s got a castle, the opportunity to meet all sorts of men, and a hot, bearded widower who lives on the estate. There’s no reason to marry. At least not soon.

In another twist, the men of both stories seem attached to the notion of marriage. Lord Macaulay initially wants to marry Maud so that he can have her to himself — it’s the way marriage has worked for men like him since time immemorial. But as he guides his niece through the courtship dance, he eventually discovers that the way to keep Maud is to allow her to remain free. When they do come together, he can only promise to provide her with the opportunity to be her truest self, and Maud can’t resist the chance to expand her already broad horizons through an alliance with her favorite suitor.

In Highland Pursuits, Hamish believes in marriage for love, especially since he’s done it once already. He’s slow to open his heart again, and he’s no stranger to heartbreak. But he’ll only enter a relationship with Ophelia if it’s based on affection. A one-time dalliance is one thing for Hamish, but he won’t consider a true coupling without love.

I tend to be a cynic during the season of matrimony. Maybe I’ve attended one too many failed bachelorette parties. But Emmanuelle’s work is a balm to the hard-hearted, a glimpse at what marriage might be — and at how splendid life might be without it.

Highland Pursuits is free right now! Head on over right now and start your vacation in the wilds of Scotland.

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In Praise of the Wild Man

16 May

Be honest. Are you really that attached to civilization?

By Alexa Day

Civilization. It’s a nice place to visit, but living there has its ups and downs. So many rules. Conventions. And it’s insidious. You might not think you play by society’s rules, but if you have an opinion about the man bun, you are closer to society than you suppose.

Enter the wild man. The unprincipled savage. He might be a little unkempt — hell, sometimes, he’s downright filthy. But he can be a breath of fresh air.

You guys thought of Daryl first, didn’t you? Don’t lie.

Daryl Dixon, of The Walking Dead, is proof positive that the wild man has a hold on civilized lady viewers. Daryl doesn’t even exist in the graphic novels upon which the show is based. Indeed, he all but admits that his life before the zombie apocalypse was basically non-existent. No job. No purpose. And yet we threaten to riot if harm should befall this person with no history.

Daryl’s an unrepentant redneck, in the best possible way. While others whine about the quality of canned food post apocalypse, he’s good with a squirrel or a snake or half of a rabbit from a few days ago. And he takes some measure of pride in being filthy. Avoiding a long overdue shower in Alexandria gave him some pleasure, I think.

But we love the Dirty South’s dirtiest representative because he’s genuine. His code is his own. He’s not one to just say something to make a person feel better. (He lied to Carol once, sure, but he did it because he was the only one to recognize that she was too vulnerable for the truth.) He can relate to civilization without being swayed by it, so when he makes a moral judgment, people listen to him. And he has so little regard for polite society that it’s heart-squeezing to watch him getting attached to anyone. There might not ever be a place in our civilized world for Daryl. But when he makes a space in his loner’s heart for someone, it’s a pretty big deal.

Wilder than Daryl and yet inexplicably clean is the ultimate wild man, Tarzan. Unlike the redneck with the heart of gold, Tarzan was once part of high society. He’s chosen to spend his life away from civilization, both European and African, and make a solitary home for himself in the jungle. For the women of his day — well, for some of them, anyway — Tarzan presents a potent lure. He’s an attractive, virtuous man who won’t force them to respect civilization’s restrictive rules because he doesn’t live that way himself. He lives far from anyone who would judge, shame or diminish him, and his chosen mate would share that world with him. Everyone — well, almost everyone — wins with Tarzan.

Because Romancelandia is, above all things, a world of abundance, many species of wild men populate its pages. Bearded mountain men. Tattooed bikers. Bare-knuckled fighters. Shifters of all kinds and varieties. All guys with both the will and the ability to carry us away from the many, many pointless worries and concerns that fill our everyday lives, despite our best efforts. Once the wild man’s gotten hold of us, we’ll forget all about that nail appointment, or whether we might have worded that email differently, or if the chicken breast is going to defrost by the time we get home. Okay, he’s not the sort of guy to arrange for top-shelf bottle service at your local high-end strip club, and I definitely want to make that happen at some point. But once your savage boyfriend makes all those frivolous distractions disappear, who knows what wild ideas might take their place?

Might I suggest a little nude photography? One of my wilder adventures.

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Speaking of wild adventures, this week is Suspense and Thriller week for the RONE Awards with In D’Tale magazine. My esteemed colleague Kiersten Hallie Krum is among the finalists for this year’s awards, with her book WILD ON THE ROCKS. Pop over to vote for her this week, and be sure to score your own copy of this hot story about a beach bartender and the SEAL who loves her. It’s only 99 cents. Isn’t that wild?

And because I want you to win something, too, make sure you collect our various wild confessions this week for a chance to win $10 in spending cash over at Amazon. You like spending cash, right?

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