Tag Archives: Free Read

Sexy snippet: New Charlotte Stein erotica story, “The Skin of Someone Else”

12 Dec

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

It’s Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3 week here at Lady Smut! This anthology of sexy short stories by women, which is full of major feminist hotness, is out now in ebook and print, with an audiobook narrated by Rose Caraway out later this month. You can find out more about the series at bweoftheyear.com and this volume specifically right here.

best women's erotica cover

Out now in ebook and print!

I’m thrilled to have a brand new Charlotte Stein short story, “The Skin of Someone Else,” in this anthology. If you read erotic romance, you probably are very familiar with Charlotte’s particular knack for writing sizzling hot characters in her many novels such as Addicted, Control, Beyond Repair and Never Better. I first fell for her mesmerizing writing with her short story collection Things That Make Me Give In and have been devouring her work ever since.

But whether or not you’ve read her before, you’ll want to check out this new first person erotic story, about a shy woman who works cleaning up in a bar and fantasizes about the man in the business suit who flirts with her coworker. She collects the notes he leaves Caitlin, studying them surreptitiously and letting them fuel her sexual fantasies. Though Caitlin doesn’t seem to notice this man, the narrator does, and when he nicks himself on a broken glass, she stumbles into inviting him to her apartment to get him cleaned up.

Here’s a sexy snippet of what happens once they’re alone:

I turn from the medicine cabinet, Band-Aids in hand, and his eyes are only on me. Steadily, like before, and even blacker in here than they were in the bar. Like the insides of a mineshaft, I think, though that doesn’t quite go. It sounds too scary, and cold, and his gaze is neither. There is a gentleness to it, like the hand he puts on my elbow when I stumble back.

And his voice, when he speaks.

“Easy,” he says, so soft and so weary that it just happens. My mouth is on his, too sudden to make sense and so clumsy it makes him sway. It makes him jolt. He pulls away, gaze rattling all over me. Assessing whether I’m a good enough substitute, I think, and when he turns me to face the wall I know the answer is yes.

From behind, I probably look a lot like her.

At the very least I feel like her, when he runs his hands up over my sides and around to my breasts, and then down to the hem of my skirt. A couple more moves and he’ll be inside me, working frantically for his release—or so I think. Or so I imagine, standing there with my face to the wall and his mouth on the nape of my neck. But then that mouth moves lower, and lower, and his hands are spreading my thighs, and I’m not sure what to think.

All I know is that it’s a shock when I feel him spreading me open. When I register that he’s on his knees, and the warm, slick thing I can feel is his tongue.

He does it slow and tentative at first, as if testing me out. Maybe waiting to see if I’ll protest, before going on any further. And then when I only stand there with my mouth pressed tight against my hand, he licks me more insistently. He presses his whole face into me, tongue lapping and lapping and his fingers digging in and oh god the sounds he makes.

He moans like a man devouring dessert.

And he talks like one, too.

“Tell me where. Here? Here? Ah, yes. Yes, here,” he says, and he isn’t wrong. When he rubs over that sweet spot my legs start to tremble. One of my hands reaches blindly for him—though I try to control it. I try to resist, until he tells me I don’t have to.

“Yes,” he says. “Hold my face against your cunt.”

But I swear, I don’t intend to obey. It just happens, the same way all of this has just happened.

You can get Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3, which has the entirety of Charlotte Stein’s “The Skin of Someone Else” plus 20 other sizzling stories in ebook for Kindle (all countries), Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo, or the print edition from Amazon, Bn.com, independent bookstore Powell’s or your local independent bookstore via IndieBound. Please follow us at @BWEoftheyear on Twitter and on Facebook for news, giveaways, calls for submissions for future volumes and more. And if you read the book and would like to share a review, that’s very much appreciated and helps guide me in selecting stories for upcoming volumes in the series.

About Charlotte Stein: Charlotte Stein (charlottestein.net) is the RT- and DABWAHA-nominated author of over fifty short stories, novellas, and novels. When not writing deeply emotional and intensely sexy books, she can be found eating jelly turtles, watching terrible sitcoms, and occasionally lusting after hunks.

About the book: Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3 delivers the kind of sexy stories you want most: daring, bold, and surprising tales of women who pursue their boundless passions anywhere and everywhere. Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, winner of multiple Independent Publishing Book Awards, these scintillating scenarios turn the tables on how women are “supposed” to behave. Instead, these uninhibited vixens indulge in their favorite fetishes, do deliciously intimate “Body Shots,” and get tied up with “Red Satin Ribbons.” They pose nude, dress up, and roleplay, always obeying their most exhilarating impulses. These lusty ladies take your most cherished, private fantasies—from making a sex tape, to taking part in a thrilling threesome, to having a stud delivered to your door hot and ready—and make them come alive. Written by beloved authors Abigail Barnette, Annabel Joseph, and Charlotte Stein along with several genre newcomers, these are erotic encounters you’ll want to savor again and again and again…

Strong And Sexy Week Starts At The White House

10 Sep

It’s Strong and Sexy Week at LadySmut where we’re celebrating all things hot and fierce — from Femme Dommes to alpha males. from what makes us feel virile and courageous to what does not. To start, here’s a free excerpt from Elizabeth SaFleur‘s latest, The White House Gets A Spanking where a Femme Domme finds herself in the most famous house in the world and, perhaps, discovers the alpha submissive male she’s dreamed of for six, long years.

EXCERPT

~~~~~

“Tell me Samson—I should call you that?” Stella placed her hand over his fingers that he drummed  on his leg.

“You can call me anything you want.”

“Samson then. What are you looking for?”

He blinked up at her. “Dominance.” He phrased it like a question as if she was either an idiot to ask such a thing or he wasn’t sure what that meant. She chose the latter.

“And what does this dominance look like? When you are in complete surrender in your mind, the thoughts you have late at night when you’re alone in bed playing with yourself . . .” she stilled his fingers once more. “Yes, Samson, when you are touching yourself, what is she doing?”

She didn’t need to ask him if he’d thought of her as he jacked off. She knew he did. He wouldn’t have come looking for her otherwise. And, his little gifts throughout the week were finally the right messages she’d sought.

“I haven’t. Touched myself.”

She cocked her head. “You’re telling the truth?”

“I always tell the truth.” His gaze shot to her.

“You forget I’ve been to your briefings.”

“I have never lied to the press.”

“Oh, the Assistant Press Secretary is ill? Or in bed with a certain someone?”

His nostrils flared. “Okay, I touched myself. But I didn’t—”

“You didn’t relieve yourself? Why not? Did Hannah forbid it until she got back?” If she had, that would have been another useful bit of information his former Domme should have shared.

His expression sank a little. “No, she didn’t forbid it.”

“But you wished to prove something to her anyway.”

“No.” He lifted his gaze to her, his eyes beseeching yet clear. “To you.”

Mixed emotion cascaded down her spine: pride, bewilderment, happiness and a little distrust. He still could be playing her. So many did in this town. But Hannah wouldn’t be with a player, despite the fact his job was in the biggest playpen. And, he had shown candor tonight. She’d give him the benefit of the doubt, but she wanted to know more.

“Why?”

He blinked. “You’re different.”

“How?”

He tossed her a small smile. “I didn’t take you for someone who required flattery.”

“Don’t you dare.” She smiled back at him. “Tell me what you’re looking for. Details, Samson.”

His head swiveled immediately upon her words to see who might be around. Three men were walking by them. He angled himself so he leaned into her more.

“You’re among friends, Samson.”

“I want someone to belong to.”

Now they were getting somewhere.

“Belong,” she repeated, not because she didn’t understand, but because she did. The transience of their worlds—media, politics, Washington itself—wasn’t for someone who required constant reassurance. Comfort wasn’t on the menu. But if one’s nature was in direct contrast with who one had to be on the outside, well, having a place to be yourself could be very comforting indeed. Who didn’t long to be themselves, devoid of pretense, pseudonyms, false identities and the niceties everyone must adopt in D.C.?

“What do you want?” he asked.

“I’ll tell you. But, first, tell me more about this belonging.”

His eyes didn’t get that dreamy cast like so many other submissives when they paint their ideal fairytale. His eyes grew fierce.

“You would tell me what to do, of course. We are equals but you understand my need to serve you. You’d love . . . having me. It would be a shared experience.”

His unwavering clarity made her sit back against the couch cushions.

“I know watching is not the same as doing,” he said. “But what I’ve seen, well, I can tell the difference between people who are playing and people who are together and playing.”

The man used words for a living, so she shouldn’t be so surprised at his articulation. But the fact he expressed himself exactly as she would have? His answer rendered her nearly speechless.

It didn’t matter if Hannah had told her to watch over him. She wouldn’t turn her back on this man for anything. He wasn’t just rare. He was perhaps once in a lifetime.

“Is that what you want, to be part of a 24/7 couple?” she asked.

“Eventually. But first I have to know what it’s like. To be sure.”

“That’s wise. There is a vast difference between the fantasy and the reality of what we do.”

“I learned that quickly.” His eyes lit up. “It was better.”

Controlling the squirm that rose inside her, she leveled her voice. She was investigating, not seducing. “So you’re hungry for more?”

He nodded and clenched and unclenched his fists. He had something inside seeking release. She took his hand and he seemed to relax.

“You enjoy being handled.” The words just tumbled from her lips.

“Very much so.”

Every fiber of her being wanted to handle him. Her mind spun with all the possibilities about the apparatus she could connect him to while strapping open his ass cheeks and plugging him, playing with his cock, and making those delectable lips do all kinds of things to her. . . . She told her imagination to take five. There was more investigation to do. Her lady parts complained bitterly.

Stella took a long breath and squared her shoulders toward him. “I wish to see you again. Do you wish to see me again?”

“Yes, but . . .” He leaned forward. “. . . we’re here now.”

She smiled. She could so easily tell him to drop to his knees, crawl with her as she scoped out a quiet corner for them, test him out a little. Perhaps a short spanking scene or binding him with his own clothes and asking him to service her.

She loved to delay sating a man’s lust until he couldn’t take it anymore, and then let him unleash on her, give her pleasure while taking his own. She once thought she’d found such a man. But, no, her last submissive lover had to end things because his wife had found out—a spouse tucked away in Northern Virginia that she didn’t know he had. This time she would be wiser.

“Tonight, we just talk,” she said.

“Hannah has already told me it’s fine, but if you wish to speak to her—” He stopped abruptly likely due to her face coloring. He’d spoken to Hannah, and Hannah hadn’t bothered to call her back? Then again, Samson was under her charge at least some of the time. She would feel obligated to return his call.

“I’m glad she called you.” Sort of. “And, you asked her about me?” She parted her legs a bit more and let one thigh rest against his. Man, he had muscles.

“I said that we saw each other at work, and you were generous in offering to accompany me here.”

Generous? Hardly. Want for the man would make fulfilling Hannah’s request the easiest thing she’d done in years.

She stood and held out her hand. “Let’s take a little walk.”

~~~~~

Pre-Order The White House Gets a Spanking at the discount — $0.99. Releases September 15.

Blurb: Stella Martin, reporter, single, Femme Domme meets the submissive of her dreams in Laird Harkness. Only problem, he’s the assignment she loathes to take. As the White House Communications Director, Laird’s secret desires could end his career. Stella calms his fears, as she sates his craving to submit, serve and belong to someone, but the balance of work and play is a hard line to walk.

Enter Elizabeth’s Rafflecopter giveaway in honor of this new release.

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Elizabeth SaFleur is an award-winning author of contemporary erotic romance. Many of her books were inspired from her thirty years as a PR practitioner in and around Washington, DC — where she learned not all power in D.C. is wielded by politicians. She writes, tweets and posts under a pseudonym since her business clients might be (WOULD be) shocked at her new career choice. When not writing, she’s dancing or drinking good wine. Life’s too short for bad wine. And, if her house were to catch fire, she’d grab 3 things: her furry baby, a Westie; her laptop; and her Sally Rand, 5-feet wide, ostrich feather burlesque fans — in that order. (Words of wisdom she shares with everyone: it’s never too late to learn to dance with fans and boas.)

Sexy Sunday Snippet: For the Love of a Soldier edited by Kristina Wright

25 Jun

Today’s Sexy Sunday Snippet is about a popular subject: sexy military romance! For the Love of a Soldier: Military Erotic Romance edited by Kristina Wright and published by Circlet Press, is out June 29 for Kindle, Nook, iBooks and Kobo.

About the book:

Sixteen stories of passion with soldiers, sailors, pilots, and men (and women) of war. When you love someone in the military, erotic opportunities can few or far between. These authors, veterans of the erotica and romance writing world, turn their pens to the subject with insightful and sizzling portrayals of those in (and out of…) uniform.

Edited by award-winning author Kristina Wright, who is married to a former Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy, For the Love of a Soldier is filled with sexy, romantic stories by some of the top authors in the erotic romance genre. Cat Johnson, Victoria Janssen, Lucy Felthouse, Sidney Bristol, and 12 other talented writers reflect on the lives, loves, and sacrifices of men and women in uniform and answer the provocative question: What would you do for the love of a soldier?

Excerpt from For the Love of a Soldier from short story “Penelope Pending” by Axa Lee:

It happened fast, too fast. It was less a whirlwind romance than an obvious. Of course, you moved in with me. Of course, we wanted a baby. Of course.

Neither one of us really noticed that we’d only known one another a couple of months. It felt like we’d been together far longer. Of course. You’re the type who’s willing to gamble and risk again and again. Just so happens that this time, you won.

And now you’re leaving, and the thought of it, of days and weeks piling up on one another without you in them, makes my throat tighten. It’s amazing how quickly you and the baby have become my whole world.

You come up behind me while I’m folding laundry and the baby is napping and grab a handful of my ass, squeezing just hard enough so it hurts, the way you know I like. Then you do that thing, pulling my hips back into yours, biting my neck, in that way that makes me absolutely cream for you.

“Only another seventeen years and two months,” I joke, “then I’ll be rid of you.” It’s been a joke between us that we’re only together for the sake of the baby, based off something someone said while I was pregnant.

“Oh really?” You lick the edge of my ear, biting the lobe. I suck in my breath. “How about I buy a week at a time, every time I make you come.”

“A day at a time,” I bargain, biting my lip as you press your hand over my mound, using a sudden but steady pressure.

My pussy will still be sore tomorrow when I throw my leg over a horse from how hard you fuck me this afternoon. But I don’t care. I want to freeze this moment, be able to rewind and play it again while you’re away.

You tease my lips and tongue with yours, until I’m bursting for you. Usually we make love, but this time we rip off our own clothes, desperate to press as much skin against skin as possible. It makes my head spin when you kiss me, all wrapped up, knotted up in my head, until there’s only room for your and pure sensation. Your touch is as purple as a thousand clichés, scorching, sizzling, burning, tingling, tender, savage, tortuous, yearning, transcendent.

You split me open with those smooth, gentle fingers, sliding into my wetness with a groan, as I suck you. Your cock in my mouth feels exquisite, full and hard. It’s got me dripping wet already. Sex has always been my drug of choice. You run your hand over the smooth curve of my ass. I love the sharp, sudden crack of your palm, how you grab my flesh, twisting, moaning.

“God, I love that ass,” you say. “But, baby, I really need to be inside you.”

Then I’m impaled on your cock, up to the hilt, dropping my head back, moaning, grinding against you, your hip bones jutting upwards, pressing against me. By the time your thumb finds my clit, I’m done. You fuck my pussy so well I speak in tongues, babbling, begging, so hot and tight for you that I swear you’re going to come in the first few minutes. I think you swear you’re going to come in those first few minutes. Holding off is something you pride yourself in. We’ll have sex a couple three times sometimes before you’ll let yourself come. You’re that into getting me to come. And come, and come… It’s not a line when I say I’ve never come like this, explosively, vibratingly hard.

“How many days does this buy me?”

“One…” I breathe.

You thrust into me, roll your hips. It’s so unfair that you know all the combinations that get me.

“Two…” My breath catches. “Three… oh… fuck!…”

My mouth swallows the vibration of your chuckle.

You turn me onto my side, legs stacked, change the sensation and angle with delicious insightfulness. I’ve barely recovered from the first few and already I feel another orgasm building. You’ve learned this, over time, the amazing variety of ways you can get me to come. And you exploit them ruthlessly.

You pound into me, fast and hard, almost stereotypical, fucking like a soldier looks like he should fuck, with your whole body, all dominance and power, with barely restrained strength rigid through your thick neck and shoulders. You fuck the way guys imitate fucking when they’re around one another, palms up, pulling the girl into them, making them feel all cocky and in control, flaunting the power of their being a trained killer.

But your eyes put a lie to the illusion. Your eyes are raw, exposed. And it’s as though we’re having the most connected sex on the planet right now, as you lean forward, hips still shallowly thrusting, and nip the side of my neck, breathing hard beside my ear.

“Mine,” you say, “you’re mine. And I’m yours.”

I feel safe in your arms, safe enough to be vulnerable, safe enough to admit my want for you in return. I don’t have to be tougher than you are. I don’t have to be ashamed that I like being your woman, like it’s a shameful thing for a woman to enjoy—even get off on a little—on having the protection of her man. Because, in return, you’re willing to do anything for me, anything to keep me safe, to help me be happy. I can set aside my mother’s feminism for that.

“All yours,” I agree.

I can’t see the look on your face, but I feel the breath go out of you and the complete yielding to this thing between us. There’s nothing sexier than a trained killer, who can end a life with his bare hands, being completely vulnerable and in love with you. And you embrace me as I erupt on your cock, coming so hard my legs kick and I clutch you like you’re the last solid thing in the world, as I descend into body rocking orgasms, that only get better when you come inside me, making me quake even harder as you stroke against my cervix and I feel you fill me, pressing the entire length of your long body against me, and we both quake, overwhelmed with the intensity of the raw emotion between us.

Love only cuts as deeply as one is willing to be cut. You and I are both gutted.

Erotic romance excerpt from The Discipline by Jade A. Waters

19 Mar

by Jade A. Waters

Today’s excerpt is from BDSM erotic romance The Discipline by Jade A. Waters, the second in her Lessons in Control series from Carina Press, following The Assignment. Also be sure to check out our Lady Smut Q&A with Jade.

Here’s the official blurb for The Discipline:

How far would you go to fulfill a fantasy?

Maya Clery has taken risks before. Her relationship with Dean Sova started out as a risk—a series of sexual assignments, each hotter, wilder, more intense than the last. Exploring her submissive side with a powerful, trustworthy Dominant has been everything she hoped for, everything she needed.  

Dean pushes Maya to her limits—it’s one of the things she loves most about him. But as they push the boundaries outside their sex life, meeting friends and family members, Maya realizes there’s still much she doesn’t know about the man with whom she’s sharing her bed.

And when a fantasy simmering between them becomes their latest challenge, past secrets begin to reveal weaknesses in their relationship that neither is ready to face.

Excerpt from The Discipline by Jade A. Waters:

A chill blared through me having left the bathwater. It was almost as sharp as the curiosity tripping from my head to my toes. I stepped out and padded across the carpet to the bed, where I spun to face Dean. I made a show of leisurely slipping the towel off my body and tossing it to the floor, but he stayed unfazed and motionless in the water.

Fine, tough guy.

But who was I kidding?

I loved this.

Eager for the game to commence, I lay back on the bed, my toes barely touching the floor and an uncanny ripple of excitement shooting through my limbs. At Dean’s rise from the tub, I saw how hard he’d grown. The bulbous head of his cock stuck out from his pelvis, those beautiful dark veins running from root to tip. He dried off, the view forming a heavy cloud in my lungs, and I lifted my hands to my stomach to spread them over my goose bumped flesh.

How the hell had the mere act of walking over here and seeing him watch me get me this aroused?

Dean discarded his towel. He bent to dig his fingers into the pile of my robe on the floor, and I tried to make out what he was doing. It wasn’t until he stood upright and held the tie in his hand that I clenched my knees together. He curled the fabric around both his palms and walked in my direction at an excruciating pace, then stood against my knees, naked and hard before me. He smelled of the lavender salt we’d sprinkled in the tub, and him. Sexy, masculine him.

“Give me your hands,” he said.

I stretched them out. Dean wound the fabric around my wrists, close to my skin but not too tight. My groin flexed at the scent of his body and the swell of his cock not quite reaching my needy flesh. 

After he tied a loose knot, he gave my wrists a shove to indicate I should lay them above my head. “Spread your legs.”

I did. Dean stared down at my sex, his eyes glazed. His mouth formed that O I adored, and I couldn’t believe how much I was shaking, how fucking riled I’d gotten before he started stroking my slit. I could hear how wet I was in the gentle slicks of his finger. “Oh, fuck.”

“You’re so excited. Wetter than I imagined. I love how our conversation has done this to you.” 

I closed my eyes at the slide of his fingers inside my entrance, pulsing in and out to tease the rim of my pussy. Once I rocked my hips up for more, Dean withdrew his touch, resting one hand above each of my knees.

My eyelids popped open and I pouted, tortured by his naked body between my legs and his faint touch across my thighs.

“Are you ready to hear your test?” That devil of a grin played on his face when he pitched forward to lick one of my nipples, and every fiber of my being screamed for satisfaction.

“Yes. Please.”

“If we’re going to live that fantasy,” Dean said, inching one finger along the inside of my thigh in a dare, “then we’ll need it to be perfect. Safe. I need you to tell me what you want from it. How you want it to happen. What you want to happen.” His finger returned to my cunt, but his stroke was there and gone before he held back. “And if you tell me well, I’ll touch you more.”

Oh, yes.

I tongued my lip. “Why are you such a tease?”

Dean slipped his finger inside enough to make me whimper, then he took it away. “Because you crave it.” He sucked his finger into his mouth, and I groaned before he dropped it back to my thigh with a smack. I gasped and jerked on the bed. “Start talking, sexy.”

“Okay,” I said. He didn’t move, the outside of his thighs against the inside of mine, his cock fucking hard and tempting. I was going to lose my mind. “We start in a room after we’ve made sure all are on board.” To this, Dean curved both hands around my thighs and held them in place. My pulse hammered as I tried to envision how it might go. I rolled my head against my arm, keeping my wrists high above my head. “But we’ll be at a hotel, because it has to be neutral ground.”

Dean slid his hands higher and stopped. “What are you wearing?”

“Something sexy. Dressy. We both are.”

Dean shifted higher. “I know you like dressing up. Feeling sexy, though you always are.” He shifted higher still, his fingers almost reaching the creases between my sex and my thighs. “But get to the good parts.”

I giggled. “Fine. You’ll overwhelm me. He’ll overwhelm me.”

“That’s all you have to say?” He took another swat of my thigh. “No, no. Be explicit.”

I shivered as his thumbs resumed their sway across my skin. “You’ll strip me down for him. I’m yours, but you’re letting him in…” The grip of Dean’s hands crept up. “I’m not sure of everything that will happen.” Dean shook his head, dissatisfied and smacking the inside of my other thigh. My eyelids fluttered and I spoke swiftly. “There will be kissing. Touching.”

“And? What do you really desire with us? You’ll have two men. What is it about the idea that truly revs you up? How do you want us to overpower you?” He ticked his fingers back and forth, his use of my word making me blush. When Dean crouched to the floor and breathed hot air over my sex, I jumped. “What’s in that head of yours that’s got you glistening right now? Because you are…” He shoved my legs farther apart and leaned closer until I gasped.

Opening my mouth, I tasted the words, and when I spoke, I nearly purred. “I want to kiss him while you watch. But while you touch me.” Speaking it amplified the crash of my pulse and shot a bolt of arousal out to my toes. The image alone had me wet, but saying it to the promise of Dean’s fingers? Yes.

“There we go,” he said, strumming me with his fingers, parting my pussy lips with his thumbs. I moaned, and he tongued my hole for one enticing moment. “You taste delicious. Keep talking, naughty girl.”  

The Discipline is available for purchase for KindleNookGoogle PlayiBooks and Kobo.

FREE READ: Cherries After Dinner

19 Nov
via Lascivious25 on Tumblr

via Lascivious25 on Tumblr

by Madeline Iva

The evening starts, as many good ones do, with one glass of wine to many.

My golden harvest soup comes out perfectly.  Not so much the other stuff.   Oh you would like it. But you, my darling reader, aren’t a certain Australian television chef. The one with whom I’ve been feuding for two years. The one insisting a home chef can never be as good as a trained professional.

I’m holding back tears trying not to think about the other dishes.  The golden harvest soup is a fucking poem–a perfect combination of pears stewed with white wine and sweet potatoes cooked with cider and cinnamon sticks.  Blended together with white pepper and a dash of cream, it tastes like squash–but the kind of squash you only find in heaven. It’s my signature style—stunning food taste with only a few simple ingredients and not at all complicated to prepare.

The rest is not as spectacular.  Okay, maybe spectacular, but not spectacular enough. The clock is ticking, he’ll be here any minute and I find myself gulping down the fatal glass of cava champagne.

I need to go change into my dark purple dress and do my make-up, but tears are dripping down my face.

The duck is good.  I don’t need to taste it. It’s sitting with it’s feet propped up, driving the juices down into the breast. I have my own secret methods for making a superior duck.  Boil duck to open pores in the skin.  Then use a hair drier (you heard me) to dry pores open. Immediately pop into the oven where you’ll see the fat start to render. The melting fat bastes the entire duck while it cooks, so it’s juicy and succulent, with a crispy skin like you can only get in France.  The grease splatters everywhere of course, and just wrecks your oven, but it’s worth it.  Lingonberry compote goes with the duck.  Very simple, perfectly prepared.  Yet not…mind blowing enough.

I turn to the mache salad with golden beets and toasted walnuts.  Meh.

The panko and crushed almond yam cakes with mushroom ragout is a hair too salty.  Erg!  Holding back more tears of defeat, I stomp into the bedroom, zip up my hides-all-flaws stretchy dress, apply killer burgundy lipstick, tame my hair and await the firing squad.

This certain Australian chef—tall, gorgeous, charismatic–has resented insinuations I’d made on my foodie blog.  Just a little innocent comment about some chefs are form over content.

His ranting in the comments section was very good for the blog. Then during a TV show, he really went for the jugular.  He said he wanted to choke the life out of me. Intense. Then he said he’d settle for having me eating every one of my words.

The hostess ate it all up and my agent wanted to send him flowers. In the end I was issued a challenge–Thanksgiving day at his home.  It was a good meal, I’ll give him that. About fifty ingredients went into every component of every dish. Things like Himalayan pink salt—the trend sucking wuss.

He liked my tepid praise.  He changed his tone after that. He insisted that I could write about good food, I could appreciate food, but I could never ever in a million years make really good food without professional training.

Ha!

I issued my challenge for the next Thanksgiving. We spent the year happily carping back and forth and the free publicity was just orgasmic. Now I had a meal that anyone reasonable would love–anyone but a three star Michelin chef with an ego the size of Tasmania.

The doorbell is ringing — must go.

***

Oh my head. My aching brain.

He didn’t show.

I opened the door and standing there was a man who was not our be-loathed Australian chef.  Tall, but not as tall. Same sort of ripped, lean body, but not as freakishly good looking and no frosted highlights in his hair. Instead a normal, pleasant face with ordinary brown hair was looking at me. The only stand out feature is a pair of big brown bedroom eyes.  You know the kind I mean. Shiny, dark, with heavy lashes. The kind of eyes that always look sad and soft and sensuous.  I felt a hard shiver shake my spine.

“You are not XXX!” I said, (sorry, but Mr. Australia’s lawyer now says he’ll sue me if I use his real name).

“No, I’m his brother. XXX is in the hospital having his gall bladder removed. He wanted you to know he is sorry, but he has to cancel.”

“That’s awful!” I said, relieved to the bottom of my heart. I think I even clutched myself and staggered a wee bit, trying not to be overwhelmed by giggles.

“Yeah, well, he’s been having trouble with it for years but thought it could wait.  Apparently not. So he sent me with his regrets and this bottle of champagne.  Also this bottle of red, so–”

“Come in–” I interrupted. “I need someone to taste the soup.”

“Smells good in here,” he said, taking off his coat.

“Would you like to stay for dinner?” And maybe for breakfast?

That was the wine talking.  Or not.  This guy was infinitely more to my taste than his ken-doll brother, the spray tanned wonder of television. “What’s your name?”

“Tony. No, but thanks.  I’ve got friends expecting me.”

Like his brother, he was tall enough so you’d need a running start to jump up on his body if you wanted to kiss him.  Not that I am picky, since I look like a plump Italian peasant girl.  The last boyfriend said I should be barefoot in a vat of grapes, stomping away.  Shiny black eyes like olives, shiny black hair, a lotta curves.  Sad to say we’re a dime a dozen in NYC. I straightened the v-neck of my stretchy purple dress.

“Come into the kitchen big boy, and tell me all about it,” I said.  Yes, the champagne was in control.  Soon he was pouring more, and combining it with framboise.  The raspberry smell made my nose tickle.  I thought it would be harmless to have a little more.

Tony was polite enough. “So he keeled over China town and had to be rushed to the hospital.”

I tskked for a second. “What do you do Tony? In the food biz ?”  I asked, standing close to him. Too close.  I held out my spoon and he tasted my soup while I made sure to keep my eyes on his chin.  I needed to retain my coordination. He smelled like Lagerfeld.  Spicy, woody.  I wanted to lick the tip of his chin where there was a very nice dent.

“I’m not in the biz, no.  Look, you made all this food, maybe I’ll call my friends and cancel,” he said.  Those bedroom eyes flicked to mine once, then went back to the soup I was stirring.

My great relief combined with concern for his brother (I’m not totally heartless you know,) combined with the champagne in a rush.  I smiled involuntarily and stumbled into him only once on my way to pop the cork on the red wine.

Words left me for the next ten minutes as I made gravy.   Tony talked to his friends on his ‘mobile’ as his brother would call it.  Tony’s eyes tracked me up, down, front and back the entire time.

I am not with men a lot.  I like men, but I can’t stand modern dating conventions.  Call me crazy, but I’ve never appreciated someone wanting to sleep with me, yet being downright touchy about getting to know me a little first.

It’s much worse in the city, of course, but I maintain my standards. I expect a guy to have my name firmly stuck in my brain before I go down on him.  There’s nothing worse than hearing “Oh, that feels good….Cindy?” I just won’t go there. This is why, my gay friends say, I’m divine and delightful, but still single.

Dinner was going along fabulously. At first.  Tony showed every sign of wanting to get to know me.  I’ve seen interrogators use milder tactics. I had to give it up–tell him all about the blog, my education, how long had I lived in New York? Had I ever been to Europe? To a Jets game? I didn’t mind the questions.  It’s refreshing.  I wanted to get to know him too. It turns out that XXX moved to Australia with his dad in high school when his parents divorced, while Tony stayed behind in America with his mother on Staten Island.

Tony is an anesthesiologist, divorced. He has a particular love for rugby and my way of hair-drying a duck.

We took a break after dinner before dessert. We started joking about my feud with his brother.  Tony likes to yank his brother’s chain, it turns out.  He is delighted with my blog.

How we go from all this delightfulness into a spittingly furious disagreement is hard to analyze. Especially with my hangover this morning. My kingdom for an ice pack!

***

Let me sip some more hot tea and try to recall where it all suddenly got edgy. I probably made a joke about XXX’s extravagant love life.  Yes, and Tony responded that if you stacked all XXX’s one night stands from end to end, they go from the Hudson River to Hobart and back.

Then I made some quip. How far would Tony’s one night stands stretch?  I got a shrug. I knew what that meant. It’s New York, he’s easy on the eyes, he’s a doctor. What did I expect?

From here to Staten Island? I said with a laugh. Then I said something rather harsh and judgmental about one-night stands and Tony took offense.

That’s when our banter became bitchiness.

“You seriously think two people using each other for pleasure is so wrong?

“Not necessarily,” I replied. “Unless what you call ‘two people using each other for pleasure’ is almost always person A using person B for pleasure, while person B silently fumes because she isn’t getting off and knows perfectly well she’ll be expected to lie about it afterwards.”  That situation is in fact fucked up.”

“That has never happened where I’m concerned,” he said.

“Prove it,” I said. “Oh, but you can’t because these are total strangers–so how do you really know? It’s not like you ever contact them again. Do you?”

I think he might have conceded the point. I think the point might have stung. I’m not sure because being very drunk, I didn’t take the time to listen to his retort.  I plunged my hand into my brandied cherry pie and flung the cherries at him. It was definitely a challenge.  I’m also not sure what happened next, the details are fuzzy. I just remember he grasped my wrist and was licking off the juices from the pie.  The nibbling of my fingertips tickled me deep down in my pelvis, and without thinking about it I plunged my other hand into the wrecked pie and got him right in the face with that, watching his eyes widen, as my own mouth opened and I arched my back.

Take that, I thought. Very provoked, he responded by…well he did something thoroughly childish. With yams. We wound up on the dining room table. Panko crusted yams were in my hair and as the food fight continued somehow my dress came off.

At one point I thought about my poor table.  Old, and creaking, it held up, but for a second there I wasn’t sure it would.  I definitely got off. I had to give him that one.

However, I stuck to my guns.  When I could stop panting I thanked him. I let him know I’d never had a better Thanksgiving in my life.  Which is true.

Yet the polite comment seemed to infuriate him. I confessed as well that I was going to be very sad now—much more sad than if I hadn’t gotten off. He left off with tongue rasping a particular part of me that rather enjoyed the feeling and gave me a look. I couldn’t make it out because there were two of him. I tried closing one eye, but that didn’t help.

“Why?” he finally asked. His voice full of hesitant caution.

“Because this was just a one time thing. You see? And now I’m going to be sad. You can’t win, either way.” I put his head back where it was. What I didn’t tell him was that, in general, the sadness was why I made a point of staying away from extremely attractive men.

He seemed to have a point in response to this some time later, when we were in the bedroom, but I didn’t hear him properly, because by that time he was on top of me again and I was preoccupied tasting the salty pliancy of the skin just above his nipple.

An hour later when he was getting out of my bed I said, “I’m sorry, I missed that last part.”

By this time his thumb was in my mouth, between my teeth, slowly moving in an out, and before my ears turned completely off I heard him say, “You think I don’t get it? You’re not a one night stand kind of woman—I know that.” Then when he was done, he put on his clothes and left.

It was like a koan. Alright, he knows I’m not that kind of woman….and???? One could project a thousand unspoken statements onto such a comment.  The trick was not to.

But now I’m very happy, which is making me grin, which is really hurting my head. I just got flowers oh so early this morning.  (Being woken to the sound of the buzzer was horrendous.) Gorgeous tawny mums. The card reads I agree.  Best Thanksgiving ever.

I’ve also gotten since I started typing this a text, an email, a facebook friend request and yes, even a Western Union telegram. Just to make sure that I know I will be hearing from him again.  And again.  And again. Clearly the man likes to yank my chain.

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